It’s October, and you know what that means. Blog posts, all month long!
Why am I doing this?
The main reason is to prepare for National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) which is next month. I use Blogtober to help put me back in the practice of writing something every day. There is no word count goal. There is no extra pressure to create a coherent narrative. The exercise of finding time every day to write SOMETHING shows me the places in my schedule I’ll be able to utilize next month when I try to write something more meaningful.
Also, this is the one month in the year where I really take my blog seriously. Previous Blogtobers produced positive results. So we’re doing it again.
What will I talk about this month?
I’ve succeeded at Blogtober three previous years, and I discovered the best thing I can do is prepare my topics in advance. In the past, the topics were all over the place. This year, I’ve chosen a theme: writing tips.
While looking at posts from last year, I stumbled on this one titled Pithy Writing Advice. I think it’s one of my better posts, so I’m going to try and make this month similar in tone and usefulness.
Here is a full list of topics by day:
- Blogtober 2019 (this post)
- How to Evaluate Writing Advice
- How to Outline
- How to Discovery Write
- Writing Science Fiction
- Writing Fantasy
- Write what Matters
- Internality and Show vs Tell
- How to Write a Fight Scene
- How to Write Dialog
- How to Write Humor
- Descriptions – Pacing and Characterization
- Story Idea Myths
- Writing Different POVS – Pros and Cons
- Overcoming Passive Voice
- Overcoming Distancing Language
- Sensitivity Readers
- Trusting the Reader
- Handling Alpha/Beta Feedback
- Killing Characters
- Writer Support System
- Staying on Task
- Handling Writer’s Block
- Marketing and Writing to a Target Audience
- Profanity and Other Ugly Language
- World Building Pet Peeves
- Writing a Compelling Character
- Tone and Voice
- How to Revise a Draft
- Recovering a Lost Story
- Nano Project: A Clean Slate
That’s a pretty compelling list, and I will probably stick with it. However, if you’ve been paying attention to current events, you should know an impeachment has begun. We’re living in very interesting times in the US. I may stray from the dedicated topic to share my views and write from the heart. Maybe on those days, I’ll write two posts: one political and one writing related. We will see.
I also have these four other topics which I might use in place of any of the ones scheduled:
- Tools – Scrivener
- Time Management
- Online Distractions
- Why You Should Write
I have plenty to say, and I mean to say something every day this month. That’s the goal and the plan.
Is that it?
Actually, there’s a few other things I want to mention.
In conversations with some of my online friends, I had the idea that maybe I should spend Blogtober serializing a story. Instead of coming up with the list above, I could write an outline with around 31 beats. Then all I’d have to do is stick to the outline and make this blog entertaining.
I nixed that idea for one simple reason: I’m already working on a novel. I’m about 25,000 words from completing it, and I want to finish it before November. I understand my limitations, and splitting my focus to draft two stories at once is beyond me.
Writing blog posts while working on a novel isn’t so bad. I think I could even edit one novel while drafting another. I do not think I can write a novel and a short story at the same time. Not while I have a full-time job.
Here, then, are my writing goals for this month in order of priority:
- Finish the first draft of Synthetic Dreams, a story about two synthetic humans living on Earth about a century after the rise of The Singularity.
- Write a blog post every day for the month of Blogtober
- Create an outline for my next Nanowrimo project, A Clean Slate. If you have a really good memory, you might recognize that title as the story I tried to write for Nanowrimo back in 2012. I failed that year, and I want to try it again from the beginning. I still think it could be a really great story.
- Attend World Fantasy 2019 in Los Angeles, which is from October 31st through November 3rd.
- Plot out a short story to be serialized on this blog, perhaps in December or January.
That’s a full schedule, but it’s very achievable. Even though it sounds like a ton of writing, I can meet all my goals by writing around 1500 words a day. That’s significantly less than I achieved during Nanowrimo last year.
An Important Disclaimer
I’m going to be spending this month doling out writing advice. However, I am neither an expert nor a teacher. I have no formal education to support my advice. This exercise is not about my ego. I am not trying to tell anyone that what they are doing is wrong, and that my way is better.
All of the advice I will present this month is based on my experience and my opinions. These are the things that work for me. They are notions and concepts I think about when I try to work out a problem in my writing.
While I am open to hearing other people’s advice, I am not interested in getting into an argument in this space. That is not what this is for. Please leave comments as you like. You can even disagree with me. I’m just not going to entertain any debates on my blog. Not this month.
That’s it! Let Blogtober 2019 begin!