WRITING/PODCASTING A NOVEL IN 30 DAYS wrap up


CAP Logo, Black and White photo of a fountain pen on a paper and a microphone on a microphone arm

National Novel Writing and Podcast Posting Month 2021

Welcome friend to Create Art Podcast where I help you tame your inner critic and create more than we consume. I am Timothy Kimo Brien your thankful head instigator with over 20 years in arts and education. How I accomplish this is by providing you with commentary, interviews, discussions, and projects that will inspire you to create art. This month I will be podcasting daily and writing a novel in 30 days. I am participating in NaPodPoMo and NaNoWriMo again this year as I did last year and you can hear those episodes here. You will be able to listen and read along to what I wrote for the day. I like to practice what I preach when it comes to art so I am challenging myself to write and having you come along for the ride. It is my hope this inspires you to accomplish your goals with your art and if you would like to share what you are doing email me at timothy@createartpodcast.com

History of NaNoWriMo and NaPodPoMo

NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand new novel. They enter the month as elementary school teachers, mechanics, or stay-at-home parents. They leave novelists.

NaPodPoMo: NaPodPoMo* is a month-long event along the same vein as National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo. The difference? Well, instead of writing a 50,000-word novel, you podcast every day for 30 days from November 1st-30th. Use any platform you desire. From full production studio to iPhone app and just about anything in between. The goal is to use the challenge of podcasting daily as a form of podcasting boot camp.

Writing My Final Thoughts

Thank you for tuning into this special episode of Create Art Podcast. Today I wanted to talk about what I learned about myself and my process throughout this past month and these two challenges. Why would you be interested in what I learned, well maybe some of the nuggets I got can help you out in your practice, or maybe just maybe this will inspire you to complete a challenge that you have never tried or succeeded at in the past. You may need this gentle nudge or as I like to call myself the Chief Instigator to get you moving on your artistic journey. If you did attempt or complete either of the challenges last month, namely National Novel Writing Month or National Podcast Post Month please let me know about your journey. I’d be interested in hearing about as I know it would inspire me on my journey. If you did another challenge let me know about that as well. I  

First off, I want to thank those of you who either listened to or read what I wrote last month. My initial plan was to create a totally new novel. I had an idea banging around in my head for about a year on what the new novel would be, but I didn’t have a clear picture on where I wanted to start it and where I wanted to go. At the last minute I remembered that in 2020 when I did the NaNoWriMo and NaPodPoMo I had started up a novel and gotten over 50K words done on that project, but I hadn’t finished it. I pivoted and since I had put so much work into the first novel, I wanted to complete the process and since I didn’t have strong feelings on the new novel yet, I didn’t want to approach the challenge halfhearted. I had more emotion tied into the novel and I felt I could complete it. The first novel is called Shared Diary and the second novel doesn’t have a name. My first lesson in this project was to be able to pivot at the last minute and be open to pivoting. When I start a project I wat to be emotionally attached to it, the reason being is that I want to have enough in my gas tank to be able to push through the tough times that life provides. It’s similar to picking out a major in college, yes you want to be able to make a living from what you study and eventually will be making a career out of, but you also want to enjoy what you are doing. I chose theater as my major, now you could argue that I am not using my degree, but I feel that I am every day. The things I learned in school are applicable to real world experiences, my acting classes helped when I was showing transitioning soldiers how to interview, my movement classes showed me how to breath to provide relaxation which I teach employees in my current job. So, you are right, I am not using my degree in theater pedagogy in the traditional sense, but I am using bits and pieces of it that fit the need at the time. If I would have chosen a major in HR, which is what my day job is, I would have never gotten these skills that have pushed my career to where it is today. Being able to pivot and prioritize your work will help when life decides to give you challenges. Plus, if you work on something you are excited about, more than likely you will either finish it or in my case brin git closer to completion.  

Another lesson learned was time management. With the NaNoWriMo challenge they provide an app that you can record your progress and look at what you have left to do. It also has you put in when you started writing and when you ended as well as where you wrote. In my situation it was at home on a laptop. When I look back at when I started writing and when I ended, I found that when I was alert and feeling good, I was able to write more on those days in a quicker time versus when I was not feeling my best or when I was tired.  So, I am learning to come to the work in a good mindset that is relaxed and open in order for me to do my best work, if I am not in that mindset, I know the work still needs to get done, but it may take longer. Since I work a day job and I have kids and a wife that I want to make sure get the attention they need, I let them know that November is going to be tough but I would ensure that the next month I would be spending more time with them. My wife is very supportive of my creative projects and aspirations so she was able to accommodate, my kids don’t quite understand it, but they will when they get older and follow their creative practice. Each day I gave myself an hour or two to write, sometimes I had to take some time from work to get my writing done, sometimes I wrote in the evenings while my wife watched tv so I could be near her especially on a tough day with the kids. There were about three days I didn’t write and that is because life just got really busy as it does and also, I do struggle with energy levels due to my MS diagnosis. These are not excuses as to why this year I got to 44K words and not 50K, these are things that happen and it was not a failure to not technically complete the challenges, I got farther along in my goal to finish the novel. Next year I definitely would stick to more stringent times, maybe wake up early and write while everyone else slept. Proper time management and including the unknowns that life will throw you should be in that plan.  

Another lesson learned is to look back at your work and admire it. You put your heart and soul into it, on occasion you need to step back and look at what you have accomplished even though it is not complete. Ten years ago, if you said Tim you are going to write a 100K word novel I would have said you were nuts. For the longest time I told myself that I don’t have enough material to fill a novel, I was a poet and a short story writer, however, as the piece sits right now, I am at 94K words. Now when I go back and edit it, I am sure there will be things taken out, but then there will probably be things put into it that balance that out. Don’t say never, because if I would have believed that I could never write a 100K word novel I would not have tried to do it, my initial goal was simply 50K words and it has just about doubled that goal and when it is done, who knows how long it will be. When we take time and review what we have put on the canvas, the notebook, the piano or whatever your form is, we should allow ourselves time to appreciate it, take it in and remind ourselves that before we started the work, this was only a thought that we helped bring into the world. The world needs these ideas, yes, I did say needs these ideas. Look at any library, any school and what do you see, thousands of ideas being brought forth every day. Plus, when you realize what you have done, it does wonders for your mental health. We all have that inner critic and we need that critic to help guide us and direct us, but when that inner critic stops us from creating, that’s when we need to tame it and make it do the work, we need it to do. When we look at the work in progress or the finished work, we can use that progress to tame that critic when it tries to stop us.  

The last thing I learned is to prepare to put down the pen or paintbrush so that you can start new projects. Right now, I am running 3 podcasts, one of them has been idle for a year. So, there are other things I would like to do, other ideas bubbling up in my head and I need to find time to get them out into the world. I am planning on finishing the novel, probably in a month or two. I know I am close to the end and I don’t want it to end quickly because then it looks like I am giving up on the novel. I am not putting a word limit on it right now, it’s not needed. But I will put a time limit on it because I want to have time to work on other things and give them the attention they need.  I know some painters say a painting is never done, I don’t feel the same way. There comes a time when you need to put it out into the world and share it with others and it may be difficult to know when that time is, experiment. You can always take it back into your shop and refine it and get it in a more completed place. Theater has staged readings, musicians have open mics to try things out, poets have open mics to do the same thing. Find ways to get the work out of the shop and into the world. You may have to brin git back and tinker with it, you may sell the piece and find out that it is perfect the way it is with imperfections.  

Now what did I get out of this experience, well I accomplished a few things. First a sense of accomplishment. For many people that is the main reason that they do things because they believed at one point, they couldn’t do it. I would have never in the past attempted something like this, I have close o 100K words on a novel and it’s still not done yet. As a poet and a short story writer, I am really stretching my writing muscle to keep this story going. My largest work in the past was a thesis for my Master’s degree which was about 50 plus pages talking about a production that I put on and why I made the choices that I did make. Just having the knowledge that I can do it makes me happy and content even if no one reads the story. Which leads me to the second thing I got out of this which was having people follow my podcast during this project. I was consistently getting about 15-20 downloads and people looking at my site and listening to the show. So, the story is out there in the world and people now know about it. I also know that some people were waiting until I finished the project before they downloaded the show and I am seeing people download the past episodes to catch up and see or hear what I am doing. This has the potential of increasing the audience numbers. On my other podcast Find A Podcast About I recently talked with the hosts of Writers Drinking Coffee who are novelists. Having the experience, I was able to extend my network and talk intelligently about writing. This gave me a new perspective and appreciation for the craft. It gave me a bit of expertise when I talk with you about writing your story.  

Well, I appreciate you listening to this episode and coming on the journey with me. If you got something out of the podcast I’d like to ask you to share it with a friend who may be struggling with their inner critic. Reach out to me for questions and show ideas timothy@createartpodcast.com There is not much left to this year, I have a KDOI Rebroadcast coming up soon and a year-end wrap up both via live stream and an episode. I am planning for 2022 so if there is something you would like me to talk about or you want to be on the show reach out. Now go out there and tame the inner critic and create more than you consume. Go make art for someone you love, yourself. See ya next time.  

Reaching Out

To reach out to me, email timothy@createartpodcast.com I would love to hear about your journey and what you are working on. If you would like to be on the show or have me discuss a topic that is giving you trouble write in and lets start that conversation.

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