A Quick Programming Note

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As you may have noticed, things are getting quite busy around the blog and around the Jet Fuel Review. The majority of our bloggers here are still attending classes and it’s midterm season! For myself, this month means National Novel Writing Month, which means I’ll be writing like crazy for the next thirty days and attending events. In addition, the Jet Fuel Review is inching closer and closer to the release of its second issue! Not to mention, our wonderful blogger Mark is having some computer issues at the moment. So, in accordance with all of these things happening in a short space of time, some of the blog posts here may suffer.

Now, I know our readers here are kind, patient, and forgiving! So this won’t be a problem at all. During the month of November, the ‘Prompt Wednesday‘ posts will be taking a hiatus and some other posts may be delayed at times. We ask for your patience and understanding, as we are sure that you’re busy too.

Thanks, readers!

— Jet Fuel Editor, Mary Egan

Community Discussion: Writing Successes

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I know it’s unseemly to brag and, trust me, I really hate to brag. I mean I really, really, really don’t like it. And I promise this won’t be a regular practice around the Lewis Lit Blog, but I just need to toot my own horn a bit today. When you’ve spent the past month struggling to reach daily word counts, staying up until midnight to make sure both homework and your writing for the day has been completely, you need to take a little time at the end to brag.

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Tales from NaNoWriMo Land

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So, today begins the second week of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo, for short) and I’m still plugging along. Somehow. It is usually around this time in November that I stop and wonder how on earth I’m accomplishing what I’m accomplishing while still maintaining schoolwork and a plethora of other responsibilities. Invariably, though, my answer to myself is: please shut up, you’re doing it and that’s all that matters.

One of my biggest problems in 2008, the only year that I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo since 2006, was staying motivated in my storyline. This year, I feel that I’m doing well in that regard. I’m trying to give myself daily prompts to write toward and I am, luckily, liking my characters so far. I feel like I’m going somewhere with my plot, and that’s important in the month of November.

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Writing Advice: Go Out on a Limb

 

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At some point in your writing career or even if writing is just a hobby for you, there comes a time when you simply need to go out on a limb. If you continue on in the same vein, keeping your normal writing schedule and writing the same kinds of things each day, you’re going to get bored and you’re going to need to try something new. Eventually, you might feel like you want some change in your life and might want to be challenged in your writing.

For me, this is where National Novel Writing Month comes in. During the month of November, hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are gripped by a temporary insanity that causes them to participate in National Novel Writing Month. Participating in this special event entails attempting to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Yes, that’s right, 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s definitely do-able, I’ve done it three times now, and I can tell you it pushes you to take risks in your writing and shoves you right out of your comfort zone.

While National Novel Writing Month places a lot of pressure on you, what with the time limit and word limit, it also gives you a lot of freedom. If you don’t create an outline ahead of time, then you are forced to simply write each day and not over-plan or over-prepare while not getting anything done. National Novel Writing Month makes you get writing done and that feels good, it feels good to have a word count at the end of each day and to know that you’re accomplishing large swaths of writing.

If you have an issue with bad writing, this might not be for you. You’re definitely going to do some bad writing under this time crunch and strict word minimum. If that bothers you and you don’t think you can get over it, this isn’t the even for you. But if you think you can get over it, or you just want to write for writing’s sake and not necessarily toward a publishable manuscript, come on board!

Personally, I find it very exciting, thrilling, nerve-wracking, insane, inspiring, and crazy. Sometimes it makes me want to pull my hair out, but there are times when I am on such a high from getting writing done and breaking new ground for a whole new plot and spending an entire month with characters and creating a world. I think that’s the biggest selling point of National Novel Writing Month. Because you’re forced to write every single day to meet the 50K word quota, you’re forced to be always thinking about your story and spending a lot of mental time with it. You get permission to write, as we were talking about last week, and you get time to craft a novel.

If you have the time and you think this is an interesting idea, I would check it out. Writing begins on November 1st and ends on November 30th. You can read more about this exciting writing event at the NaNoWriMo website.

If  this doesn’t sound like something you’re interested in, though, there are plenty of ways to go out on a limb in your writing. If you’re a poet, try writing some fiction. If you usually stick to short stories, try drafting a novel outline. Take risks, take chances, step out of your comfort zone.

— Editor, Mary Egan