The Root of Inspiration

I didn’t cross the finish line for NANO this year, and I don’t feel like I failed. I could talk about the stress of the last year (and did on in my personal newsletter), but as I enter the final weeks of 2020, I’ve written close to half a million words. I wrote just over 70k in the month of November, but only half of that was actually for my official NANO project, so technically, I failed the challenge. I just don’t feel like it matters right now. Years from now, I’ll probably log into my NANO screen and scowl at the fact that I don’t have a badge for 2020. Such is life.

I’m one chapter away from finishing the rough draft process on my Quantum Bang project. I had something bigger planned, but I think trying to complete that before the deadlines next year would stress me the fuck out, and why should I do that to myself? Especially since I’m just in the first draft stage, and it’s December. I love my project for the challenge, which is exciting.

I feel like the quality of my writing is only improving over time, and that’s more important, to me, than the number of words I’m putting down on paper. I’d rather have one well-written paragraph than a whole page of meh. There was a time when I didn’t feel that way, so I feel pretty mature about that whole thing. While I can hammer out 10k in a day, it’s not sustainable, and really, honestly, that kind of pace doesn’t lend itself to good craft.

Yesterday I started my zero draft for my Rough Trade project for next year. Yeah, just one project that is going to span across all three challenges. I like the three-act structure a lot, so expanding it over 3 stories is very appealing. I’ve completed the plot for book 1, and I’m halfway through the intermission novella for July. It’s all unfolded in my head in a very full-bodied way, so I feel like it’s just going to flow out of me like water next year. I’ll be announcing the project details on my website once I finish the zero draft process, and I’m satisfied with the work and the titles. I did already make the art because I’ll take any chance to Fotojet. Some of my readers are going to be really fucking pleased with me next year! 😉

Our discord servers continue to grow, and the communities we’ve built for fandom and writing are a constant source of entertainment and inspiration. I speak to my desire to surround myself with writers a lot, and the Just Write server helps me accomplish that goal even when I’m just lurking and watching the others play writing games and participate in sprints. It’s just honestly great to be around the whole process, and we’re lucky to share it in a raw and honest way.

Having a group of people to write and struggle with is just amazing. I don’t believe in New Year’s resolutions—why set myself up to fail? I used to do it, but I also used to be deeply invested in Valentine’s Day and other Hallmark holidays that literally served no purpose in my life beyond making things stupidly stressful both emotionally and physically.

The root of inspiration can be hard to define within the human experience, which is probably why the myth of a “muse” is so prevalent even today. It’s been decades since I’ve romanticized my process in such a manner, and it’s only been to my benefit. Learning to own my words and ideas was a huge stepping stone on my path to being the writer I am today—for good and bad.

So, while I’m actively zero drafting for RT next year, noodling my final chapter for the QB…I’m also meandering my way mentally through a Mass Effect fix-it and one from the HALO ‘verse featuring a very different, dimensional traveling John Sheppard. I’ve decided, basically, to let my inspiration guide me.

Keira Marcos

In my spare time, I write fanfiction and lead a cult of cock worshippers on the Internet. It's not the usual kind of hobby for a 40ish "domestic engineer" but we live in a modern world and I like fucking with people's expectations.

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