Tag Archives: nanowrimo

October – The Best Month of the Year!

October 1st is pretty much done.  I have decided that I am going to give NaBloPoMo another go.  Next month is NaNoWriMo (which by the way, every time I write either of those I feel like I’m taunting you with the age old “na na na boo boo” and I promise I’m not) which means I’m going to be submitting myself to the annual masochistic ritual of trying to write a 50,000+ word novel in 30 days.  It’s something I actually look forward to every year since I discovered it.  This year will be my third year and hopefully my second win.

It’s probably my most favorite thing about Fall.  October is prep month – outlines, character sketches, tons of post it notes and journals filled with questions and ideas.  I love it.  Until I start writing that is.  Then I hate it and totally start from scratch.

Le sigh.

At least I know that my Caramel Vanilla Creme coffee will keep me adequately caffeinated as I attempt to work my way through both this month of “warm up” and next month’s actual writing blitz.

My fuel.

For those  who don’t know about either of these two writing events, I know I have written about them in the past but I will gladly re-cap because if you want to join, you should.  The more the merrier!  I also know that I enjoy the personal challenge of trying to accomplish something that I truly enjoy doing.  Yes, it really is all about me.

Let’s start with NaBloPoMo, or National Blog Posting Month.  It started out as just one month of posting a blog post every day for an entire month but us bloggers, we liked it so much that the creators of the great idea decided it do it every month.  You can read more about it here and sign up for it today!  If not this month, come back another month and give it a go.  It’s not monitored.  It’s kind of a personal goal and I can say that the first month I actually did it, I felt pretty awesome.  At first you think, 30 days (or 31 in this month’s case) is nothing.  You start out strong and the first week goes by no problem.  You move into the second week and you’re like ok, this is still working out.  Then the third week, you find that the prompts are pretty vital to creating new content because you start to feel a little narcissistic. By the fourth week, the end of the month can’t come soon enough.  I was amazed that those were the emotions I went through.  I hope that this month is going to be a little different.  I know some people plan out their content.  I usually don’t do that because every day, I feel something different and that affects what I feel like writing about.  We’ll see how I feel about this plan as the month goes by.

In November, NaNoWriMo begins.  National Novel Writing Month is simply 50,000 words in 30 days.  It averages to about 1700 words a day.  It’s not that bad if you have a good plan and stick with it.  There is no editing.  There is no revising. It is just getting words on paper, or on virtual paper if you will.  I love it.  I don’t love the months after where you have go through and reconcile things that you wrote down on page 38 with something you wrote on page 155.  That is not fun.  That is when you wish you had a real editor to help make sure that you have good continuity and didn’t miss one small word that you changed on one page but forgot to change on another and it ends up changing the whole meaning of everything.  I’m still working on last year’s NaNo novel’s revisions.  It’s taking some time because as I was revising one chapter, I realized that I needed an important piece of the puzzle changed.  That then led to three new chapters being added.  Nothing wrong with that, just a part of the process.  Did I mention that I love it.  I’m almost to the point where I’m going to need some friendly “proofreaders” to go through and just read it for me and point out any issues.  Just something to keep in mind.

That's how November will feel...

That’s how November will feel…

So yes, Fall is wonderful for apple picking, pumpkin picking, Halloween (the greatest holiday ever), cool days, crisp blue skies, sweaters, frosty mornings, warm cups of coffee…it’s really the perfect time to sit down and start writing.  But in my case, it’s time to start seriously writing.  I cannot wait!

This post is part of the October NaBloPoMo.  The theme this month is Fall (how apropos).  Check out the other great blogs participating in this month’s blogging blitz.  

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2013 – The Year of Energy

January is already over.  ALREADY!?

It amazes me how fast life goes now that I’m a “grown up.”  It could be because I have a child and watching her grow is so fascinating.  It could be that there aren’t as many “breaks” in my year (summer break, Christmas break, school vacations).  For whatever reason, this year is already going by too quickly.

This year, I have pledged to myself that I am going to get back 100% to my goals.  I have three main goals that I want to accomplish this year.  They are not simple ones either but I know that throughout the year, I’m going to have to take measures to ensure that I keep my energy levels up so I can complete these three goals.

writingGoal 1 – Finish my NaNoWriMo book.  I hit my 50,000 word count back on November 29th but I haven’t finished the actual book.  I got a little stuck.  Ok. I got a lot stuck.  I had my outline but I just am not sold on the ending.  I don’t know how to finish.  To keep my energy up on this behemoth of a project, I try to write at least five sentences a day on it.  This way I can keep the characters alive in my head and hopefully they will speak to me and tell me what the end of this particular story is.  I just wish that they would hurry up and decide how this particular story is supposed to end.  I’ve written five different endings and they don’t feel right.  Something isn’t clicking…time to mute the self-doubt voice but seriously – it’s annoying me.

Goal 2 – Be at my 75 lb gone mark by December 31, 2013.  It’s not that unreasonable to think I could hit that goal.  Now that’s 75 lbs from my starting Weight Watchers weight back in May of 2010.  It’s not even close to my end goal but it would be a nice leap toward that finish line.  If we break down that amount by 52 weeks in the year, that means I would have to lose about .7 pounds a week through the rest of the year.  I can do that. I can focus and actually work on it and get there.  Obviously if I could get even further, that would be amazing too! To keep myself energized on this journey is a little harder.  After a two week of meh planning and tracking, it’s hard to pull myself out of the funk and get back to basics.  But you see, that’s really the best way to fix it.  To get my energy back, I need to go back to basics.  I need to take one small step at a time.  (Sorry if I sound like a broken record but honestly, it’s one of those things, the more I say it the more I believe it.  Just bear with me again…Someday, I won’t be as virtually needy, I promise.)

BooksGoal 3 – Read 100 books this year.  This one is not really a completely serious goal but it is something I would really like to be able to say I’ve done.  I love Goodreads.com and they have a reading challenge every year to read x number of books.  Last year, I tried to read 100 books. I failed miserably but you know what, I kind of got started late in the year.  This year, I’m shooting for 100 again.  I’m behind but you know what, that’s ok.  I’m going to keep plugging along at it.  Again, to keep my energy up with this one, I’m going to just keep reading.  I’m going to [try to] commit to one night a week with no tv and no computer.  Just me and a book (or my kindle).  This way, I should be able to get pretty close to that 100 book goal, especially if I have books that turn out to be page turners.  Some are going to be.  Some are going to drag.  But in the end, it will be pretty cool I think!

Throughout the year, I’m certain I’m going to need to recharge my energy.  It’s almost inevitable but it will be worth it all if on January 1, 2014 I can proudly say I have accomplished at least two out of the three goals listed above!

What will you do to recharge your batteries?  And if you have any books to suggest to my list of 100 books in 2013, please feel free to share!

This post is the last post of the January 2013 NaBloPoMo.  January’s theme was energy.  The prompt for January 31st was “What will you do to energize yourself for 2013?”  Well?  What will you do?

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NaNoWriMo Has Taken Over My Life!

I have never written so furiously before.  My fingers have not flown on a keyboard like this in years.  It feels good.  It’s liberating.  It’s amazing how pushing yourself to write a little every day keeps those creative juices flowing.

If only it were as simple as drinking a juice box!

The ideas have been flooding me and I can’t seem to get them out of my fingers and on to the keyboard fast enough.  Why, then, am I so far behind on my goal of 50,000 words by the end of November?

I suppose Life happens.  I suppose having a holiday in the mix didn’t help either.  I am going to hit that 50,000 word goal.  I like this story.  It may not be anything earth-shatteringly new but I like it.  It’s fun and it creeps me out.  Hopefully it will creep other people out too.

I need to finish it and re-work some of it.  I haven’t felt this confident about anything I’ve ever written, even if I still secretly feel like it doesn’t live up to the standard I would like to see myself at (there’s the perfectionist in me rearing her hideously disfigured face).

“Untitled (perfectionist)” by Sarah Hobbs – Check out her other work here http://www.solomonprojects.com/artistpage/hobbs/index.html

Even if it’s not up to my personal standard, at least in four days I will be able to say that I wrote 50,000 words, the average length of a novel.  With any luck, I will be able to say it in 3 more days!

Then the real fun begins.  Fixing plot holes, re-writing scenes so they make more sense, checking continuity.  Then, I may just try to submit it to a few publishing houses.  What the hell right?  I want to wall-paper my craft room with rejection notices and then hang the framed acceptance letter on top of them.  I’ll take a picture of it and pin it on Pinterest, it could become the newest design trend for struggling published writers.

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Researching, Accuracy, and Writing

I’ve been making the mad dash lately in an effort to really close my writing gap.  Today is official the mid-point for my 30 day writing project.  I have 15 days to get to that coveted 50,000 word mark.  As it stands today, I would have to 2,180 words per day to finish by 11/30.  Theoretically, it’s doable.  Realistically though, I am beginning to have my doubts.

Today’s challenge has been finding out more about a place I need to describe.  It’s kind of an important thing and I have it stuck in my head that this one place is so integral to the story.  It’s got to be half way around the world.  It’s got to be somewhere where there are ancient ruins of a civilization that had multiple deities.  It has to be somewhere there isn’t a lot of technology.  It’s to got to be somewhere there is the chance that people could be killed and not found for weeks or months or even eaten by wild animals.  In my head that’s somewhere in Western Asia (think India, Nepal, or one of the smaller countries in that region). For some reason, I can’t let this image go.

Something like this…that’s what I’m thinking of and stuck on.

And so begins the research.  I have never been to this part of the globe.  I have only seen it in movies and documentaries.  I have read about it through authors who have been there.  This makes for a romanticized view of this area.  Now, I see this romantic view in two different ways.

My first thought is that it could be somewhat problematic to make it semi-believable since I have no working, personal knowledge of the region or area.  Despite the genre of story I am working on now, I want it to seem somewhat plausible.  I want readers to believe that maybe it could happen or that the world in which these events are occurring is real.   I know as a reader, I love being immersed into a world.  I love believing that what I am reading is real even if the events occurring there are not even close to possible.  It’s just one of those things I like.

The second way to look at it is that maybe a romantic view of this world isn’t that bad.  Maybe since it’s just a setting, albeit an important setting, it’s not going to make or break the main story line.

A more romantic view of this region

I know that this questioning and need for research is  part of this is my inner editor shrieking in her cell, but on some level, I agree with her.  I know that this month is all about just getting the words on paper but I feel like in order to do that and move on, I need to spend time I don’t really have to research something that may or may not in the end have an impact on the overall story.  In the end, after editing, it may not be as important as it is currently is in my head.

As a reader, I know how I feel about things like setting and how accurate it is.  What do you think about setting?  Do you really care, in the end, if the setting is accurate?  Or is it the characters that make you really believe a plot?

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NaNoWriMo Update

Here we are on November 12.  NaNoWriMo is almost at the half-way point.  I have been writing a lot.  I passed the word count from last year so that’s a good thing.  However, here I am, slightly stuck and watching my word count slip farther away from the daily goal.  Sigh.

My inner editor has managed to yell loud enough that her words are starting to make their way to my brain.  I need her to shut up.  She needs to just keep her mouth shut for 18 more days.  That’s it.  And since today is almost over, it’s really only 17 more days.

The worst thing is that I am behind.  Today’s word goal was to be at 20,000 words.  I am only at 12, 495.  Not good.  I have a lot of ground to make up but, see here’s the thing.  For the first few days, I was just writing with no direction.  I had this character in  my head.  I knew her.  I didn’t know what was going on with her though.  Then last week, it just hit me.  I knew what her problem was.  I knew what she needed to do.  I spent a lot of time trying to learn a little more about the big bad meanie who would be in her way.  There was a lot I didn’t know.  I finally had my outline more solidly nailed out and it felt good.  I felt like I really could work with it.  But then I looked at the NaNo site and realized how off par I was with my word count and I got nervous.

But I needed that spark moment.  It was kind of like that moment when you are doing a color by number and you aren’t quite sure what it is you are coloring in (like when you were five) and all of a sudden, you color that one block and it hits you.  You can see the whole picture without its colors.  It all makes sense and at the same time, you can see all the options just unfolding in front of you.  It’s a satisfying feeling.  You finally connect with it and you are ready to tackle it and make it as awesome on the page as it is in your head.

I assure you, I do not sit on the floor and write like that. I like not having back problems…

So, here I sit, procrastination setting in.  I have the word document open and it’s there, talking to me.  Whispering really, over the shouts of that dumb voice that is itching to edit, re-write, and delete.  I suppose I should go, turn on my Pandora electronica station and write until my eyes blur.  How do you deal with procrastination?

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Halloween and the Eve of Insanity

It was another successful year of trick-or-treating for the daughter.  This year, we did the whole neighborhood, for the first time, and she made out like a bandit.  She even had a few people recognize who she was dressed as, which of course sent her over the moon!  The Husband even got into the Halloween spirit in his Lucha Libre mask.

Now the challenge will be to ration out the candy so that we don’t all gain 10 lbs in a week!

Now, dear reader, you may be thinking that my title “…and the Eve of Insanity” refers to Halloween.   Sadly, you would be mistaken.  Tomorrow is November 1st.  For those who practice, it’s All Saint’s Day, a Holy Day of Obligation.  As a kid, I always thought it was the day we celebrated the saints we can’t remember, which it kind of is.  Then as I got older, I realized why it was placed the day after Halloween.  I have to admit, Samhain had a pretty cool story.  But I digress…

So, aside from the initial thought of “Where the [bleep] did this year go and how the hell is it November already?!”, I am about to make my November one month of intense writing.  I am doing it gladly and willingly, too.

November 1st marks the start of NaNoWriMo.  I mentioned it last week but here we are.  It’s time to start writing 1,667 words a day.  As I look over my outline, my inner editor is already rattling in her cage.  Little does she know, I have thrown away the key right now and am going to probably need to sound proof the room in my mind she is locked in.  Maybe even gag her.  She’s kind of a loudmouthed know-it-all.

So, I’ll try to keep you updated as to my word count and maybe even post an excerpt or two of what comes from this little month of writing insanity.  I keep saying insanity but, I love it.  I just hope that my inner editor, let’s name her Myrtle, will keep her loud mouth shut!

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13 Days and So Much to Say

I have been a poor blogger lately.  Nothing for 13 whole days!  Well…that’s about to change because these past 13 days have been a whirlwind of adventure and there’s a lot to catch up on.

In the coming days, look for:

Product Reviews

Book Reviews

Crafting updates/Holiday Crafts and Traditions

NaNoWriMo updates since November is practically tomorrow!

For those who are not familiar with it, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month which is the month of November.  There is a great organization that hosts a “contest” for writers.  The goal each year is to produce a 50,000 word novel.  It doesn’t have to be the next War and Peace, but it should have a plot that one can follow.  I see it as a way to produce a solid first draft.  It’s a great way for writers to work on putting that inner-editor to sleep for a month and just let the words flow.  It’s fun.  Lots of places do have groups that meet religiously each week for write-ins and word wars – another thing that was hard to do last year with a 2 year old because they were always held during the bedtime routine.

Image: NaNoWriMo.org

Last year, I sadly did not make the 50,000 word goal.  I hit a sad and pitiful 8,057 words.  I wish I could make up some excuse but in reality, I got lazy and just stopped making time at night.  This year, I am determined to at least make it to the 25,000 word mark.  I would love to say that I can hit the 50,000 word mark but I’m trying to under-promise and over-deliver.

I have an outline that’s almost complete.  I have a few ideas that are rattling around too so we’ll see what ends up spilling out of my brain and onto my computer.  I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t really excited for it.  It’s just a fun thing to try to do if you like writing.  If you enjoy storytelling, maybe you should give it a shot.  You never know what could come from it.  Plus, some real, honest-to-god writers participate and you can follow their progress while you “compete” to get to that 50,000 word goal.

Ok…off to take a walk and a bike ride with the Daughter who is practicing her pedaling in the hopes that Santa will bring her a “big-girl” bike.  60 days as of today!   GAHHHH!!!

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Writing Feels Good

I just was writing that story I mentioned a long time ago.  It’s kind of cool how it’s developing.  It’s like they are coming alive. So many authors that I have admired always talk about how their characters come alive and it’s as if they are immersed into the character’s world. I kind of feel that way right now.  It’s a pretty cool feeling.

It was no surprise to  me that when I started college out as an Economics major it was interesting and all but, it just didn’t feel right.  Then, there was that whole phase where I kind of lost who I was and made some interesting life decisions.  But everyone has a path to follow and everyone is where they need to be when they need to be there.  Taking two years off to not worry, to go a little crazy – it was part of my path.  The people I met, the friends I made, even though some stayed and some left, they all are part of who I am.

When I’m writing characters, I like to really think about where they came from, who they met.  It’s fun to write a little outline of the character telling me about their family, their job, their apartment, their favorite music, favorite books.  For me, it’s all so important to a character.  When I switched to a Writing major, the creative classes were my favorite because we got to spend hours talking about the development of the characters: the dialogue, the way they interact with each other, and how they develop the story with the slightest raise of an eyebrow.  It’s exciting to me.  It’s why I have been working on it again.  It’s a dream – a hard dream but that just means I need to work hard to make it happen.

Here’s a clip of what I was working on tonight:

At 12:30 that night, I was still trying to figure out who could possibly be coming to speak with us.  I even had called my mother to see if she might want to take a guess.  Sadly, she reminded me that she could not see the future.  I sat playing a game on Facebook, puzzled over it and bothered by the fact that I was so intrigued by it.  This was the highlight of my week, a stranger coming to talk to me about job opportunities.  I finished the last bite of my Ben and Jerry’s and flipped the tv to reruns of 90s television. 

Late night television was usually not very good.  Talk shows, reruns, and bad movies.  Then there were the infomercials.  I spent three weeks with insomnia right after I got laid off and I think I saw every infomercial that was on.  I came scarily close to buying one of each too, just to see if it would work.  Lack of funds was the only thing preventing my humble abode from turning into the infomercial test home.   There’s a thought, maybe I should see if they need testers for infomercial products.  I should look into that.

As I flipped to another channel during the commercial, my cell phone chimed with a new text message.  I checked the clock again.  12:43 am.  I grabbed the phone and rolled my eyes when I saw who it was.

“Wanna buy some vodka.”  The text read.

“Not if you were the last man on earth.  How did you get my cell?” I furiously typed back.

I stomped into the kitchen to throw away the empty ice cream container while I waited for the reply.  Who would give Camden my phone number?  Even better, why would they give Camden my phone number?  Yes, we knew each other but really, I didn’t want to know him outside of the unemployment class. 

“Sylvie gave it to me.  Hope you’re not mad.  Coffee?”

I sighed.  She really was in love with him.  That’s the only reason she would have given him my cell phone.  I was intrigued, though, why he wanted coffee with me at this hour of the night. 

It’s up to page 14 now.  That’s exciting stuff.  I did a lot more outlining tonight too which is good.  I had done a ton of outlining on little pieces of post-it notes and had them in order in a book I was using to develop the notes a little further before going to write.  The outline has actually been very useful for me so I think I will keep working with it. 

In case you were wondering what colors you might want to outline with.

I think I’m going to give NaNoWriMo a stab again this year.  It’s intense but I think that this year, I can do it.  I can come up with 50,000 words. Last year I came up with 15,000 then kind of gave up because life was happening and I just wasn’t feeling inspired.  November is a few months away so I think that I have some time to work with what I’ve got going now and then start thinking about what to write in November.  Good times.

I guess the point of my little rambling tonight is that you should always chase your dream. How else can you die with no regrets?

 

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