Tag Archives: friends

Boston versus Camp

If you’ve been following this blog for a while, or even for a little bit, you already know that I have a relationship between running and writing. I’m in love with both, and I see parallels in both quite frequently.

So it should come as no surprise that I’m drawing another parallel, one between the biggest US marathon and a smaller, less stressful month of writing. Both, this year and last, have happened within the same time, with one Camp month of two falling on April. Boston has annually been in April.

This parallel is brought to you by my camp cabin. It had come to me while I was reading about the winners of the marathon, and the times of each. Men are obviously up ahead of women by at least 15 minutes because of natural physiology. Depending on ethnicity, physiology also plays a huge role in how fast a runner is and how much endurance they have. There are a lot of factors that go into what makes that person win, including what they eat, their previous injuries and recovery, and their style of running. Genetics can also have a massive effect on things like endurance, recovery time, and and speed.

Though pace is less important in writing, depending, there is still an instinctual stakeout that I do of the top writers, those who have gotten the furthest in the month. I may not have been able to write as early as others in the cabin, but consistently, I was ahead of the pack.

If you don’t know, Camp NaNoWriMo has a feature that allows you to “bunk” was 11 other writers in a cabin, to help push you through the month and influence and inspire you. That is the charm of camp, it’s not just you, there’s more with you trying to achieve goals unique to themselves and their writing. Both Friend and I are a bit competitive and definitely ambitious, and seeing others up where our wordcounts were made us want to surge forward.

Being toe to toe with others in a race not only helps you push yourself, but it helps you understand what you’re capable of. Sometimes, you’re going to push too hard and fall out of the pack. The pace is going to get more than what you can handle with everyone else, too much for you to sustain.

Other times, you’re going to be the one setting the pace, and it’ll pull you ahead of everyone else by a longshot or a short one.

I have had very little competition this month so far in terms of wordcount. The closest behind me is 13k short of catching me. I am going to probably break 50k by the end of the month when my goal was 35k and I hit that on Thursday.

This morning, while reading the live tweets of the Boston Marathon, after the women’s winner was announced, I found out that her last time in the race was 2012, and she didn’t finish. This time, she surged ahead in a sprint to win it.

I know it’s ridiculous to compare, but it made me think of struggling through November, how difficult it was for me to finish that novel and do it well or do it any justice. How worried I was about my work and progress. I limped out of November 4k above the goal, and had even stopped writing two to three days before it ended.

Camp is different. Six months later, I’m above my goal and searching more to finish the small novel instead of stopping just because I got where I need to.

Writing, unlike running races, doesn’t stop when you break the tape at the end. It stops when you say it does, when you’re satisfied. In the case of NaNoWriMo and the Camp series that they have, the end of the event may serve as simply a checkpoint for some of us, depending on just how big the story is. Writers have a race to run that takes much longer than two hours and nine or twenty-four minutes, but ours can be taken as slowly as we need to, and with as many people as we want to involve.

In the mean time, I think I’ll grin at my early victory and hope this November goes a whole hell of a lot better than the last one. My training for it should be fairly simple. 😉

– The Novice Wordsmith

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Prompt: In the Spirit of the Holiday

Giving presents on Christmas is taboo, and it always has been. No one knows where it came from or how it got there, but they respect it as an unspoken rule. Everyone, that is, except you.

Write about what happens when you give a friend or family member a gift, and the resulting backlash from it.

Merry Christmas, you rebels!

-The Novice Wordsmith

Long Lost

One of the biggest go-to plot twists (and tropes) has been the “long-lost” sibling, parent, friend, etc. Your writing is going well, and then you stop and you wonder about what could spice things up, and all of a sudden you’re staring at the computer screen or notebook with wide eyes and your jaw dropped open, because having someone be introduced into their life that they should have known since the beginning is such a hard throw for anyone.

Some of these are easier than others depending on where you are in your story, and what kind of holes you’ve left open. Think about it before you jump though; what feels right for the character and their life? Another thing to consider is the execution of this. How are you going to introduce it, and does it help you do something else?

As an example: does the feel of the character having a long lost sibling make up for something else in their life and development, or do you feel like you should go back and write them as the youngest/oldest/middle of a group of children instead of alone?

Of course there’s another way to go about this as well: instead of a random interjection, make the person’s absence a conscious part of the hero’s life. The long lost brother who’s been missing or cut them out of his life for so long, who turns up unannounced one day.  Or the friend thought dead who gets spotted at a crime scene. Or, neither of them show up just yet; they lurk in the outskirts of the novel until you’re ready to bring them in, or you decide you didn’t want and or need them after all.

Some plot holes may support these newly thought characters, though, the ones who jump in at you at the last second and turn the story on its head. The ones who grin at you and wave and show you something that could work rather well.

Others may not work out at all.

The Long Lost ______ is an interesting dynamic, when you look at it: you’re putting someone in front of your hero who should have been in their life all along, thus throwing them for a loop and making them come up with countless questions. Confusion. Anger. Upset. Betrayal. In some cases, embarrassment.

It’s a quick way to spice things up, but it can also change the tone of the story, so be careful how you use it. Find what degree of focus you want to give it, or not give it, and run with it. The phrase is “the more the merrier” for a reason, right? 😉

-The Novice Wordsmith

You Matter – National Suicide Prevention Day

This strays from what the blog is centered on, but this day has a big enough importance to me that it deserves the attention I’m going to give it.

I can start off by saying something about Robin Williams, but I know this disease is gripping more people around the community, the country, and the world, than simply to just give one example. He is the biggest example at the moment, for those who haven’t seen this up close, but I am willing to bet, with how many people follow my blog, and with how prevalent depression is, that there isn’t at least someone who’s lost a friend, or a family member, or a classmate, to suicide.

And the worst of all is that I’m sure one or two of you may have thought about it yourself. I used to.

I lost someone very dear to me to suicide. It was probably the most difficult thing I’d ever gone through, and I still remember sitting up at night, crying, saying that I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy. Because it’s not fair. It hurts, bad.

My biggest plea is that you matter. You mean something to any person in your family, in your group of friends. There is so much more to you than a noose waiting in the closet, or the balcony outside of the hotel room at the seventh floor.

Backing up just a second, for those who haven’t gone through this, it may not have as much of a meaning. It may just be another day, another well-meaning organization is trying to boost awareness, and that’s that, let me elaborate on that:

To Write Love on Her Arms heads this day. They started back in 2006, I believe, where people would simply write love on their arms. I remember hearing about them through high school, and that’s the target, typically, for them. Teenage kids who are going through bullying, who are going through a very rough time, but they exempt no one. Their biggest effort is to get people to understand that it is a disease, and that it can turn someone into something that they aren’t. That, ultimately, suicide is something that they convince themselves that is the only way out.

IT IS NOT THE ONLY WAY OUT.

It isn’t. There is so much more you can do. I know it’s hard to get out of bed, I’ve seen it. I know it’s hard to try and smile, to try and do anything else but cry, but don’t force yourself if that’s all you can do. It’s okay to feel so much, but you have friends, online or in person, that will help you. They can hold onto you in whatever way possible, they will strive to make you better.

The death of Robin Williams opened the eyes of a lot of people. It showed that some people feel like they are beyond saving. It showed that it can be very difficult for any person, no matter how big they smile or how much they make you laugh. It showed that, those who bring the greatest joy, often feel the deepest pain.

It showed that the disease is real, and it helped lift some of the stigma of mental illness in our country, and the world, which is staggering.

Hug someone today. Someone who is hurting, if you’re not. Realize that you matter, or tell them that they do. Don’t worry. Breathe, take it a step at a time. It’s okay to feel too much. You are not alone. You’re here, and there are so many people who don’t want you to go, including me, no matter how little I know you.

Spread the word. Spread the love. Remember that you have love, from friends and family.

Please don’t hesitate either, if you’re suffering from depression, to talk to me. Send me a message and I can be here for you if you need someone to be. If you’re afraid to talk to anyone else. I understand. And I love you.

Thank you.

-The Novice Wordsmith