Fanfics, Journaling, and NaNoWriMo

I love the show Criminal Minds and adored it in solitude for years. I finally went online in 2008 to the CBS message boards to chat about the show with other fans, and I ended up making some really great friends there. CBS shut down their message board a few years later and turned it into a Twitter-styled posting area, which was not conducive to fans actually talking with each other, so a small group of us made our own message board. We still chat on it together regularly, though I have limited my talk time to once a week to chat about the latest episode since I became more serious about my writing endeavors a few years ago.

Since our conversations are all written, many of us have strong writing skills. Two years ago, one of my CM family members, Thn, decided to write a piece of fan fiction for the show every day for a year. She called the project 365. She succeeded in writing about the show every day in 2013. I didn’t read it until after I finished my first novel last year. I was impressed and inspired by her dedication, and I enjoyed many of the storylines she came up with for these beloved characters. It’s an amazing piece of work that she accomplished, which you can read here.

I decided to start a daily journal this year where I could write down all my story ideas and scraps of writing each day to keep track of them. I named it 365 as a tribute to Thn’s work, and it serves as a reminder for me to write daily. Today I noticed that my journal is 382 pages long. Some of those pages are filled with screen shots of pictures, drawings, and other visual information I wanted to save, but they also contain (at this moment) 179,371 words that I’ve written. I was surprised I’ve written so much, and there’s still three months left to this year! (To give some perspective, my novel was just under 76,000 words after I edited it, and it took me two years to write.) Thanks for your excellent example, Thn!

I’d like to say my 365 journal is full of remarkable musings that I will someday spin into entertaining stories, but most of what I’ve written within those pages isn’t worth sharing with anyone else. It quickly turned into a normal journal, and I have written a ton of my thoughts, feelings, and nightly dreams in it. Still, it has kept me writing this year, and I find that process therapeutic. I strive to limit what I blog about here on my website to the “best of” my thoughts from this year, and spare my readers my rambling reflections. However, I do have a few story ideas I’d like to develop that wouldn’t fit neatly into a short blog post.

NaNoWritMo is coming up soon. For those of you who don’t know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it is an organized event each year for writers to sit down and write 50,000 words for a novel in the month of November. I’ve participated in the past, but I’ve never met that writing goal or finished any of the novels I started for NaNoWriMo. I usually lost interest before the month was over.

I have been thinking that this year I might instead start a story here on my website on November 1 and add to it each day for the whole month. I’m hoping that having an audience would motivate me to stick with it and finish the story in that time frame. I want the exercise to be about getting myself into the habit of writing creatively daily, not about word count or whether I finish the story by the end of the month. Writing my thoughts and dreams down has been helpful to me, but I want to move away from that to producing work I can share with others.

I have an idea for a novel that I’ve wanted to write for a while that has a little mystery in it. The story would be rough and unedited, nothing like what I normally post on here. It might have continuity problems since I probably won’t remember everything I’ve written as time goes on, and I might go off on tangents that don’t initially make sense. I think it could be fun though. I considered just starting it at the beginning of this month, but I liked the idea of doing it concurrently with NaNoWriMo, as I don’t plan on joining in with that competition this year but want to do something creative. So that’s what I’ve been thinking about this week.

Please feel free to comment with any thoughts you may have on this idea. Thanks for reading!

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