Saturday, October 15, 2011

And Now For My Next Trick...

If you've spent any time on my blog you'll know that I'm rarely content.  I'm addicted to challenges.  The Rubik's Cube was the gateway drug to other unique twisty puzzles.

I can't get enough.

With every new puzzle I eventually have an epiphany.  It's a rush.  I realize I can use knowledge I have already discovered about previous puzzles and apply these lessons to the new puzzle.

So what can I do as a writer to continue to challenge myself in this manner?

It's the same thing.

I have a decent foundation in place for crafting sharp, high quality stories.  To date, my focus has been writing short stories.  And I am happy with this.  I can turn around edits faster and produce more work.  Plus, I love short stories.

But November is almost here and you know what that means.  NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month.  The challenge is to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

Well, I'm ready for something new.  And I can't have my wife tripping over any more boxes of puzzles shipped from mysterious origins.

So, I'm writing a novel.
I always have the same level of doubt with any new challenge.  With these new puzzles, it's always, "I just can't do it!  Seriously, I don't know how I'm ever going to figure this one out."  This one has way more pieces, or different angles, or circles cut into it.  It's totally unique.  It's too different.

Guess what?

I eventually figured it out.  Every single time.  So that's why it's time for me to write my novel.  I know how to tell a gripping and evocative story.  The foundation is in place even though the challenge will be unique.
But I'm willing to step outside of my comfort zone.  I have to.  I bore too easily.

What about you?  What are you doing differently?  Are you writing something new to challenge yourself? Writing in a different POV?  A different genre?  Or like me, in a different format?

Thanks to S. Trugliai on Flickr for the wonderful image.


  1. Ah, another Nanowrimo convert. Nice to see you're doing it, and best wishes! As for me, I'm challenging myself to finish a novel by the end of this year. At least in draft form. It's a bit out of the box for me because it's got a little more horror in it than I typically write. Not a lot. Just enough to be different for me.

  2. :-)
    Yes, we'll see how it goes. The end of the year is my "back up" goal. But it should be fun to share in the camaraderie, (misery) of others doing Nanowrimo.
    Good luck with yours!

  3. Good luck Chipper and Jason. I'm sure that each of you will learn a great deal from your challenges. Though I'm not doing NaNo in November, I do have a plan to write my novel 2nd draft in one month (mid-December to January.) We'll see how that goes. :)

  4. A fellow NaNoWriMo writer! Yeah!
    I write different genres that require different tones and POVs to help get the juices back to rolling.
    I too, bore easily and so have to write the short stories/blog posts/etc. in between to keep it going. I completely understand your situation. ;)

  5. Hi Mindi, I'm sure somewhere around November 15th I'll be wishing I was revising instead of trying to hammer out the first draft. Good luck to you.

    Hi Maureen, Cheers to NaNoWriMo. Misery loves company ;-)

  6. Thanks for the kind words about my story Jason :).

    I think it's awesome that you're continuously challenge yourself with more and more puzzles. Must keep you really sharp.

    As for trying new things, I love challenging myself with my writing. Every time I write a short story I write it from a new character's point of view in that one time it might be an 80 year old man or another it might be a little girl. I try get into their heads and write down what they would do. What they would feel. Can be interesting...

  7. Hi Craig, I'm looking forward to more stories from you. The puzzles are really easy compared to writing. Especially flash fiction; I don't know how you do it. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. I'm writing my first sequel this November, which will definitely be a challenge. I've never written a sequel before, and I've never produced 50,000 words in 30 days. We'll see what November brings!

    Jason, will you be expanding on one of your short stories this November, or starting with a completely new idea?

  9. Hi Lori, Welcome to the blog. Good luck with the sequel. There are so many possibilities to continue the adventures-- or have you thought of using back story? A prequel perhaps?

    My NaNo story is completely new. Most of my short stories are best suited as short stories, however, I have one character whom I could throw into different situations and expand that into a novel. Cart before the horse ;-)

    We've got 50K words to get moving on...tick, tock.