Thursday, 7 February 2013

My New Shawl

Of which I am dang proud, so here's a picture.

The pattern is frozen leaves, which can be found here. Although, it really doesn't hurt to have the reworked charts on hand, as can be found here (you need a Ravelry account). But that's beside the point. What I really want to talk about is the similarities between knitting a shawl and writing a novel, as occured to me when I finished my shawl. They really are quite striking.

Step 1: The Beginning
You've decided what you want to knit/write, and set about your task with speed and dedication. The intial work passes quickly, leaving you wondering how quickly you'll have it finished. You start daydreaming on how it will look/read once it's finished.

Step 2: The Dreaded Middle
As the stitches/words rack up, things start moving slower. You realise that it is going to take longer than you thought, and maybe turn out quite differently than you expected. At this point you may take some time out from your project and pursue something else, promising you'll return to it. This is the stage at which your work is in the most peril of remaining a work-in-progress forever.

Step 3: Completion
You find that as your work nears the end, you become more and more excited. You speed up your progress as you near the end, vowing to have it finished soon. Finally you knit/write that final stitch/word. The End!

Step 4: Or maybe not...
Before you can say that you've completed it, you need to turn this...

...into this.

And that takes work. You want to show it off, but first it has to be perfect. So, on to the blocking/editing. Most of the work is done, but there are a few tweaks that need to be implemented. Finally, now you can wear/read it!

And that is why you need to think of your novels as lace shawls. You wouldn't leave a half knitted shawl lying around, would you? I know I wouldn't (as demonstrated by my completion of this masterpiece). Just think of your work as a bunch of yarn lying in your room, taking up space and screaming at you to finish it. It needs to be dealt with, so deal with it.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Keeping Track

Now, if there's something I am, it's an excel nutcase. I use it to keep track of everything, from uni timetable to writing. Incidentally, it is the last one I am interested in today. There are several spreadsheets available online to do with tracking your writing achievements/goals. Since I am so particular, I didn't like any of them. So, being the person I am, I decided to make my own. And here they are!

The NaNoWriMo Spreadsheet
This one is to track your progress both during NaNoWriMo and to help you set a goal for subsequent months. Simply plug in your wordcount for the day and your goal for the given month, and the spreadsheet will do the rest for you. For continuing projects, there is the existing wordcount box, which lets you plug in the words you already have so as not to mess up the average words per day box or the 'Daily Goal' column.

The Writing Log
This one is for those who don't need a goal, or who can't be bothered to write every day. Plug in the date in dd/mm/yyyy format and your total wordcount, and watch the percentages climb. You can customise the daily wordcount goal, but it won't affect any other part of the spreadsheet. Your total wordcount goal is just a point of reference and a way to calculate the percentages, giving you something to shoot for.

A couple more things before I go and actually do some writing. Please do not mess with the formulae unless you know what you are doing. Otherwise excel could have a spaz attack and spit out error messages. If you find any errors (the spreadsheets haven't been tested by anyone other than myself) please let me know and I will fix them. Enjoy!