Blogging Contest · NaNoWriMo · Writing

Finding Positives From the Worst November

I’m ready for next year! 😀

This is not the worst November because it was my first NaNoWriMo and I didn’t “win.” On the contrary, NaNo pumped me as a writer. I’m looking forward to finishing my third book in much less than half the time of my previous two.

This has been the worst November because it was parenthesized by the deaths of two beloved grandmothers.

So, positives:

1. My grandmothers were both ready to pass. They died in relative comfort. I’m grateful that neither one is in pain anymore.

2. I’ve proved to myself that it doesn’t have to take a year to write a book. Even one that requires a bunch of research.

3. I had fun posting my blog contest entries and engaging in the comments that were made.

4. I won the blogging contest! And Jessica has been gracious enough to allow me another month to finish my book. I’m looking forward to her critique. 🙂

5. I didn’t get glutened.

6. I got a new computer. 😉

Despite, and in some cases because of, the positives, I’m exhausted. So I’ve decided to take a two-week blogcation. I’d like to focus on family and finishing my book. In that order. 🙂 I hope everyone has fun with their pre-Christmas festivities. See you in two weeks. 😀

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Blogging Contest · NaNoWriMo · Writing

#28 Do You Plan To Do NaNoWriMo in 2014?

Image via Wikimedia Commons.

Absolutely! One of the things I recognize in myself as a writer is my utter inability to turn off my inner editor. I need to gag her, bind her and stuff her in a closet along with the cotton that fills my head whenever I accidentally eat gluten. I’m counting on NaNoWriMo to help me with that.

NaNo will be the drill sergeant I never got to have. Because if I really want to be a professional writer, well I’ve got to be my own boss. A physical boss imposes deadlines, doesn’t care if I’m sick for a month because of gluten, and doesn’t tolerate playing computer games on the job.

NaNo will be the Boot Camp I need to get me fit for writing as a professional. “I don’t care if you’re cramping and nauseous! You’re not vomiting, so you can drop and give me 2000 words right now!”

“Yes, drill sergeant!”

I love the way Kristen Lamb uses the analogy of the inner editor in NaNo Boot Camp. If we edit while writing, it’s like cleaning dirt and vomit off our boots while climbing a hill.

“What do you think you’re doing Private Ford? I don’t care what Private Editor told you! Leave the passive voice and head hopping on your boots! Move it! Move it!”

I’d like to think that I’ll keep the Nano momentum for the rest of my life, but I know life will get in the way. So yes, I’ll be looking forward to next year’s contest where I’ll be held accountable for my word count for the month. I’d like to write more than one book every two to three years. Besides, I’ve got ideas in my head that are ready start smashing windows in order to get out. So to avoid the broken glass, I’d like to get them out as quickly and effectively as possible.

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: 25,289. Happy Thanksgiving! Okay so, yeah, while it looks like Boot Camp has failed me, I’m here to say it has NOT! 😀 External circumstances have kept me from writing as often as I had thought I could. It was like getting a severely sprain ankle on the second day of Boot Camp. Days ago, I set two new goals: get to 25,000 before the end of the month (DONE!), get to 50,000 or finish the book by the end of the year (ON TRACK!). I’m actually pretty stoked since my last two books took a year or more to complete a piece. 😀

Blogging Contest · NaNoWriMo · Writing

#18 NaMoWriMo Goals

Survive the month.

Okay, okay. That’s too general. Hmm, goal #1, write 1,667 words a day to hit 50,000. For me, writing longhand, that means about three hours of writing a day. Scratch that. Make it four to five hours, because there are going to be days that I can’t write, particularly around Thanksgiving.

Four to five doesn’t sound too bad. If I can do that as much as possible, I can have more than Thanksgiving off. Maybe I’ll even finish early!

*slaps face* Don’t get ahead of yourself.

Okay so goal #2. I really want to do what this contest was designed for. I want to turn off my inner editor and let the story come out the way my subconscious wants it to be told.

Goal #3 is to plan a little better. I’m a total pantser, and that’s probably why my inner editor screams at me all the time and slows me down. I have nightmares…okay, well, daymares of getting stuck in November because I haven’t researched the aspect of the Civil War that my plot takes me if I don’t plan it out well enough. Then my eyes will be bugging out on Wikipedia for hours trying to come up a historical fix for the predicament that I put my characters in.

Researching instead of writing… I can’t imagine that’s a good thing for November.

Finally, goal #4 is to prove to myself that writing a book in a month can be done. I mean, I know it can be done, there are thousands of winners who prove that. One of my author friends from Astraea Press, who has participated in NaNoWriMo several times, is attempting 50,000 x 2 this year! But I need to know that I can do it. If I can, When I do, I’d like to write that way whenever a book idea hits me. That way I can just get to the end already. I never know yet how my books end. It’s like having read through 4 different books and never having finished them. Then you spend your hours wondering how they end.

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: hahaha! How ironic that this post goes up today! I couldn’t put off laundry and other chores any longer, and since I was catching up on chores I decided to catch up on sleep and go to bed “early.” Word count’s the same. Am going to a write-in tonight though! I may not get to goal, but I’m not giving up! 😀

Guest Posts · NaNoWriMo · Writing

How Do You Prepare To Write 50,000 Words In 30 Days?

Yeah, uh, it was furious writing…yeah. That’s what broke the pencil…certainly not frustration… Image attributed to User: connortk via Wikimedia Commons.

Personally, I’ve been winging it this first time around. I don’t really know what I’m doing, so I’ve asked a super talented writer friend who has some experience behind her how she prepares for NaNoWriMo. Chynna Laird has graciously agreed to share her words of wisdom with me. Take it away Chynna!

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When I started my first novel, I was told by a few publisher and editor friends that it takes about a year to create a ‘publishable’ book. That’s from the first word typed, through the editing process, and finally having it wait for consideration on the top of an Acquisitions Editor’s pile. It can be a long journey. But guess what? You can write a book in less than a year. In fact, I’ve written two novels in less than a month! How, you ask? Dedication, organization, focus and setting small, reasonable goals.

NaNoWriMo gives writers and authors-in-the-waiting a chance to get that story that’s keeping them up at night, out for the world to enjoy. The challenge is that the novel has to be written in a month. Thirty days. Impossible, you say? Difficult, maybe, but nothing is impossible.

I’ve managed to complete two novels during NaNo, both of which have been published (Out Of Sync and Dark Water). Now, I’m the sort of writer who gets an idea, then types like mad for a few weeks and I’m done. So for me, the time frame for NaNo wasn’t a problem. But it kept me more in line because I had to complete a daily word count goal in order to stay on track. I’m not saying it’s easy by any means of the stretch. Like many other writers out there life often gets in the way, interfering with those daily goals. But here are a few tips that might help you make that 50,000 word mark:

Dedication: Like when trying to reach any goal, you have to start with the commitment to do it, which is the easy part. The more difficult part is sticking with it. Attempting to write 50,000 words in such a short period of time is no small task. Just keep reminding yourself that you are doing it not only for the challenge but more because in the end, you’ll have a completed story. And that’s something that many writers haven’t done, even without the time restraint.

Organization: The most important thing I found in participating in NaNo is making sure everything is organized. You need to have your idea, and it’s also a good idea to have a story plan. Next, you figure out your daily word count goal you need to reach in order to stay on track. The daily minimum would be around 1667 words (50000 words/30 days in November). Some days you may be able to write more, some less but if you see that as your bare minimum, you’ll be off to a great start. The final and most important thing is to set aside time to write each day. Again, it may not work for everyone to be able to have the same time to work each day. For those of us with children and other activities, you may have to get up early one day but have to write at night the next. Just be sure to slot some of that time in each day for those 1667 words.

Setting smaller, reasonable goals: As mentioned above, it’s important to have a daily word count goal in order to stay on track. Even the 1667 words may seem overwhelming to some writers. The trick is to know what you can handle on certain days. There may be days where you get ‘stuck’ on a certain scene and be unable to continue. That’s okay! Stop when you feel frustrated, do something else for awhile then go back to it with a clear head. Forcing yourself to go on when the inspiration just isn’t there will only make you want to give up. Do what you can, when you can (even if you have to have a few short writing spots throughout the day rather than one long one) is key.

Focus: One of the main reasons many people drop out of NaNo is because they lose their focus. It could be due to anything from feeling uninspired to write one day to writer’s block. The best way to battle loss of focus is to have a strong support network. Lean on writer friends, find your local NaNoWriMo group, call on family and close friends to cheer you on and keep you going.

These are only a few of the ways to help prepare you for NaNoWriMo. Two other important tips I was given were: a) have your favorite beverage and snack of choice on hand. That goes without saying. And, b) have fun!

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Thanks so much Chynna! I hope I can keep my head clear and follow your advice to meet my goal. 😀

Have you completed NaNoWriMo? What tips do you have? Did you not quite meet your goals? What do you think you could do differently the next time around (because you know you’ve got to try again, right 😉 )?

Writing

Fly Like An Eagle

The Hampton Court Clock. Very cool looking, but seriously outdated. Note the SUN revolving around the EARTH? Image attributed to Mike Cattell via Wikimedia Commons.

I’ve always liked the Hampton Court clock. First of all, because I was fortunate enough to see it in person during an excellent tour of the palace, courtesy of one of my Cambridge professors. Secondly, because it gives me the impression that there are more hours in the day. All 24 hours are represented, giving me the proof illusion that I have plenty of time to complete my projects and squeeze in some ‘me’ time.

Maybe I torture myself.

A few weeks ago, I started to realize that my postings were quite irregular, and many times I just couldn’t come up with anything to write about making that my excuse for not posting at all. So I set a goal that I’d post something, anything on Monday mornings. Last week, I got my post ready days in advance and relished that I was able to tweak it here and there to make it better before Monday. But it is Monday morning as I type this one… *sigh*

The lyrics to that Steve Miller song keeps running through my head – Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’, into the future.

A big chunk of my time is devoted to my boys. Other spaces are filled with housework, researching the next inspiration for my book, getting the inspiration written, and now I’ve added harp practice to the blend. But this last gave me a nice idea for the subject of another post when I have more time to devote to it. 😀  So yeah, I’m just going to get back to the illusion of more time via Hampton Court’s clock...

How does time, or the lack thereof, frazzle affect you?