Archive for the ‘NaNoWriMo’ Category

Nov

1

2016

NaNoWriMo with a Tini Twist

Filed under: Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Stuff I Love, Writing

NaNoWriMo with a Tini Twist

It’s been a long time since I’ve written a blog post. It’s been a conscious decision–one I’m happy with. Although I will tell you, I do miss blogging from time to time.

Where have I been?

I’ve been writing and growing. It’s that simple. I’ve come to realize that my blog (no matter how much I love it) takes time away from two very important components of life as a writer.

  1. Writing
  2. Improving craft

So, I made a new contract with myself when it came to my blog. I would only be spending time posting when I had a topic I was passionate about sharing. I would no longer be taking time from writing a manuscript and improving my craft, to cultivate a blog post. All posts would either be on the tip of my finger tips–straining to become a link in my blog chain–or they wouldn’t be written at all. Because, let’s face it, there’s nothing that I have to blog about that so important the world will stop spinning if I don’t show up every Tuesday and Thursday. In fact–I wouldn’t be surprised if some of you haven’t even noticed I’d gone MIA. And that’s okay. I’m hoping you’ve been busy doing productive and inspiring things, too.

But today I do have the urge to check in and to share a bit of info with you. Guess what today is????

 

November 1st.

NaNoWriMo 2016

Others wise known at the kick off to National Novel Writing Month!

Just to be up front–I am not a die hard NaNo-er. I’ve attempted the challenge on a few occasions. And once I even completed it. Score!

But my inability to be a NaNo Winner–more than that once–was rooted in all kinds of complexities.

*Sometimes I wasn’t in the right spot in my WIP to participate. Bad timing.

*As a die hard PANTSTER I often wrote myself into a corner that I couldn’t dig my way out of if I’d been driving a back hoe. Depressing and a waste of time.

*And sometimes real life, company and obligations severely challenged my writing time. It is what it is.

But despite all these very legit speed bumps. And despite more failure than success in this venture, I still find myself fascinated and addicted to the frenetic group mentality. It’s exciting, supportive and motivating. And by golly, I want to be able to order the NaNoWriMo T-shirt at the end.

So, I’m doing NaNoWriMo again this year. Starting today.

But if I’m being honest with you–I’m doing it with a Tini Twist. (Play on words oh, so deliberate.)

*First–a confession. I am no longer a DIE HARD PANTSTER. And I will NEVER go back. I’m not judging you if you like to pants the hell out of everything you do. I’ve just had my own epiphany. And there are two books that have been instrumental in rocking my writer world…

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SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder

and

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STORY GENIUS by Lisa Cron

These books were complete and utter game changers for me. I ADORE THEM. In fact, I could blog post for days about them both. But you’ll be better served by reading them than listening to me wax poetic. Just know they’ve made me a better writer. Which leads me to my next point…

*I’m going into this year’s NaNoWriMo Challenge with two months of foundational work on this project. SLICE was a twisted little scrap of an idea that flew down and inspired me over a year ago. It’s been sitting in my recesses, incubating and waiting to grow into something more. The moment I found STORY GENIUS–I figured out the tools I needed to put this story together. And with the support of SAVE THE CAT, I’ve found my way from PANTSTER to BOOKSTORMER. I’m not calling myself a PLOTTER deliberately. I feel like both of these methods offer so much more than just plotting. They are helping me to take my book, my writing, my story telling and my ideas by storm. So, I’m a BOOKSTORMER now. It’s my thing. And because of the books’ positive influences on me, I’ve been developing my own hybrid method of drafting, culled and pasted from these two great approaches. I’m finding what really works the best for me. And because of that, I have never been more ready to take on NaNoWriMo

*And lastly, I have adjusted my expectations for this year’s challenge. I’m confident I can write the 50,000 words after all the pre-planning I’ve done. In fact, I think I’m going to find it rather enjoyable to finally start this thing. But I’ve also wrapped my mind around the big picture for this project. This book storming process is a fluid one that requires me to write the draft from beginning to end, but it also demands that I’m constantly moving and planning with fluidity over the whole project. It requires creativity and flexibility as I move forward in my process.

And because of that, my mantra is…The Work Will Not Suffer. What does that mean to me? Basically, it’s an acknowledgement that I will benefit from the challenge, but I will not write less than my best work just to complete the challenge. I am using NaNoWriMo to my best advantage, but I will never forget my true goal and purpose and the real finish line for me is the one that creates the best book I can write.

But hopefully, my writing, even with it’s Tini Twists will make me a winner at NaNoWriMo and with the bigger picture.

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? If yes, do you have any “Tini Twists” that you use to enhance your NaNo experience? Any NaNo tips you want to share? Have you read SAVE THE CAT or STORY GENIUS? I’d love to know what you think. And if you’re looking for a NaNoWriMo Buddy–you can find me at Kimmiepoppins. Let’s do this!

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Oct

29

2015

NaNoWriMoANoNo

Filed under: Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Stuff I Love, Writing

It’s that time of year again…

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NaNoWriMo!!!!

Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. And even though I’m NOT participating this year, I’m completely jealous. I LOVE the sense of excitement and adrenaline that comes with being a part of this community. So, why would I give NaNoWriMo the cold shoulder if it’s such a blast? It’s simply not the right time for me to be drafting something new. I’m deep in another project and that takes precedence at the moment.

But I promise, I’ll be rooting you all on.

Are you planning on tacking NaNoWriMo this year? What’s your favorite part of participating? Did it before, but you’re ditching like me? What’s your reason for skipping it? I’d love to hear what everyone’s doing or not doing.

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Nov

18

2014

Drafting Series: NaNoWriMoANoNO

Filed under: Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing

Well, it’s official. As of Sunday morning, I officially quit National Novel Writing Month aka #NaNoWriMo.

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And I’ve got to tell you, it feels fabulous. But I’d love to share with you why quitting was the best choice I could make.

This was my third attempt at #NaNoWriMo. My first shot at it was in 2012. I was in the middle of debut novel launching and I think I wrote approximately 6,000 words. It was bad timing for me, but I made a mental note to try again. And in 2013 I did and I wrote all 50,000 words. *fist pump* A huge achievement, but I didn’t use any of those words–at all. Even so, I learned a lot about myself and my process and I did a lot of exploratory writing so I felt the experience was deeply beneficial.

Now fast forward to 2014 and this year’s #NaNoWriMo attempt. I was lined up for success. I had a loosely thought out idea with characters that I’d been mulling over for about a year. I’d been increasing my daily writing and consistency for months now and felt I could handle this because I’d been “training” for it. And I’m super competitive with myself and if I did it once, why couldn’t I do it again, right? And I like NaNo–I really do. I’m a huge fan of the collective energy.

I should also tell you, I started out strong. My first two days out, I wrote a lot of words and built myself a little buffer so that I’d be able to miss a day or two in an emergency or my daily word count wouldn’t be quite so high. I was trucking along great until last week. And then something pivotal happened. My story started to rewrite itself. The more I explored the characters, the more I realized that G and C needed to combine and become one character. And I could absolutely not write this story from so many 1st person perspectives, but maybe I should write it from third. So I simply moved forward with these drastic changes knowing I could go back and fix the beginning later. The whole idea was to just move forward with the free flow of ideas. But then 3rd wasn’t intimate enough and the MC was beginning to reveal herself (especially now that she was combined with another character) so I’d write it that way and test out this idea I have for a way to get some intimate information from the other characters. But at this point I am so confused. What I really, really need to do is print it all out and while I reread it, compile all my current information into clear character sketches that would allow me to do a little plotting before starting from the top. But that’s not how NaNo works!!!

So, even though I went from quickly popping off my word count most days, I was now struggling to decide how to move forward. But I felt sure I could still write my way to NaNo success while getting some useful information that I’d be able to mine later. So I kept writing. I left my usual process of writing in consecutive chapters and began to write scenes. And again I unearthed some fabulous information that is a gold mine for this book. I’m so excited I wrote it. And then the well went dry. I had 1,000 words to write by yesterday to hit the halfway mark. I could knock that off easy peasy. But I didn’t. On Friday I only wrote 382 words. Those words took way too long to write. I should have had over 1,000 in that amount of time.

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But I gave myself a 1/2 of a star just for motivation. And even though I was still on track, I wrote nothing on the 15th. I told myself it was still okay–Sunday I could get caught up and this week I could power through. But then I realized I couldn’t–because the truth was I knew I can’t go forward until I go back. And this contest isn’t built for that. Deep in my heart, I knew I had to put a fork in it and call it done, but let’s be honest–I was still trying to find a way to make it happen. I told my husband my dilemma and he looked at me and said it should be about writing words for the sake of numbers. And I smiled and mental quit on the spot. And I ain’t going to lie, it felt great because I was no longer writing what I wanted to write. I wasn’t being true to where the story was taking me and that’s not productive.

What I learned is that the tool I’m using to write should never have more power than the actual writing. And that is why for 2014, #NaNoWriMo became #NaNoWriMoANoNo LOL!

Now, don’t expect me to become a slacker. I’ve still got lots of work I want to do and I believe I even have a couple more Drafting Series posts left in me–at least one for sure. It’s percolating already. And if you’re still doing NaNo–you must keep me updated on your progress. I am rooting for you!!!! But I’m here to tell you that I’m confident that I made the right/write decision for me. More to come on that later.

Are you holding the NaNo course? How’s it going? Did your inner compass have alternate plans for you, too? If so, what are they?

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Nov

13

2014

Drafting Series: Knowing When

Filed under: Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Writing, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I am enjoying this drafting series way more than I expected, particularly since I’m blogging while doing NaNoWriMo. And I’ve done a lot of talking about the things I’ve learned and continue to learn about the drafting process. But as I’m closing in on my #NaNoWriMo halfway mark (which means that I’m far enough along that the novelty has worn off and not far enough along to see the light at the end of the tunnel) I’ve realized that part of drafting is…

KNOWING WHEN

As in, knowing when to say I would rather sit on the couch tonight and catch up on The Voice while eating a big bowl of ice cream, than think deep thoughts about writing. Especially when my brain already hurts. So, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.

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When you’re pushing to reach a deadline, how do you “know when?” And what do you need to do to take a small break?

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Nov

11

2014

Drafting Series: Drawing or Writing a BLANK

Filed under: Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing, Writing for Children, Writing Style, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’m 19,000 words into #NaNoWriMo and one of the things I’m learning about is when to draw a blank, or really when to write one. Normally when I’m drafting and I arrive at a thought that’s related to a previous thought, I take a break to go back and look up the detail. Sometimes I take a minute or two or three to ponder the direction I might be heading with something that’s surfacing from my subconscious. This break allows me to examine a creative thought or remember the name of a character I’ve been fleshing out or keep a place description uniform. It also slows me down. Normally I don’t care, I like my process and it works well for me, but in November, dilly dallying and day dreaming is a luxury I can’t afford when I’m participating in NaNoWriMo.

During my regularly scheduled drafting, slowing down might make my first draft take longer, but in my opinion it does’t really hinder my overall process because I’d have to go back and sort it all out eventually during one of my revisions. Do it here or do it there–it all has to get done in the end, right? And to be honest, I like the practice of taking a moment to look back. It allows me to better “place myself” in my own writing. When a world or it’s characters are new, it’s easy for me to get lost. I can wander around like a girl from the suburbs in NYC. Sometimes I have to retrace my steps to see where I was going.

But during crazy NaNoWriMo style drafting, I’m pushing myself to think less and let go. Stopping is counter productive. It is the fine line between drafting and revision and there’s no room for it in November or any time when you’re speed drafting. So, what’s a girl to do who can’t keep it all straight? Or what happens when I need to spend hours dreaming about what perfect book my MC should be reading in English class? I’m learning to substitute the missing thought with a CAPITAL BLANK. Here’s some of my favorite BLANKS from my draft so far…

BLANK shivered and I was sure she was picturing BLANK’S disgusting butt on the kitchen island.

“I’m not a good liar. My mother knows every single time I tell her BLANK,” I said.

“Remember that Saturday after BLANK, when she had the flu and your parents had to cancel your trip to BLANK?”

I’d seen the school’s production of BLANK and even though BLANK didn’t have a big part, he’d been in that crew of guys who’d had the audience in stitches.

I looked at my plate, there was a table spoon of BLANK in a middle of the dish. I looked at my mom’s plate, which had a serving of BLANK and BLANK that wasn’t much bigger than mine. Dad on the other hand had a large helping of BLANK.

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And it works. It’s a hot mess, but it’s getting the job done at the moment. But here’s the big question–will I draft like this all the time? Absolutely not. LOL! It feels like trying to run a marathon in the dark. It makes me anxious and confused. BUT…the experience of drafting outside of my comfort zone has taught me that my natural drafting rhythm, can (and often has) easily morphed into unproductive procrastination. And getting comfortable with pushing over those unnecessary speed bumps is why I always think it’s important to try new things with our writing process. You never know how an experience will clarify your process. How it will make you a better, more flexible writer. Conscious doing almost always evolves into growth–especially when you’re drawing a BLANK.

Do you use BLANKS in your drafting process? If you do, do you find it helpful to your process? Have another method for speed drafting over the rough patches? Please share–I’m always looking for more ways to drive myself nuts LOL!

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Nov

4

2014

Drafting Series: NaNoWriMo

Filed under: Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Writing, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Officially I’m writing this on October 29th, but you should be reading this post on November 4th. Why am I so uncharacteristically prompt and organized? It’s because it’s National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWRiMo!!!!

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I’m only FOUR days into my 50,000 word drafting adventure, but I’m really trying to set myself up for success. In fact, just doing NaNoWriMo, is one of the important ways I put myself in a great writing spot. I may have mentioned this like a gazillion times, but drafting is the most “painful” part of my writing process. If I could dig into my brain with a hook and pull the ideas out I would. But obviously it doesn’t work that way. Damn. But there are other ways of getting those ideas from brain to laptop. NaNoWriMo has become one of my secret techniques. I love the collective energy and I’m a wee bit competitive. It is exciting to be doing something so energetic with writers all over the world. Just watching the #NaNoWriMo thread on twitter gets me excited. And now that I won last year’s NaNoWriMo, do you really think I want to come up short this year? No, I do not. And another perk of NaNo is that it gives me a sense of writing legitimacy that I don’t have unless I have my editor giving me deadlines. With NaNo, my family seems to join in the collective enthusiasm with me anyway. They ask me if I can do (whatever it is they need me to do) AFTER I’ve gotten my writing in. It’s such a small thing, but it really illustrates how much they value my passion for my job. It makes me want to write better books and make them proud.

 

NaNo has also been helpful in giving me drafting success outside of the month of November. What I used to think I was capable of, has become a completely different thing than what I know I can do. This has been very enlightening to me. I’ve become a much more productive writer since I started doing NaNoWriMo. Now, don’t think it’s a magic fix. I still have days where writing gets pushed to the side for other really important things like my family and friends. And I still have stretches where I dream instead of dot i’s and cross t’s. But I really value those breaks and creative moments more now that my productivity has increased. I need that balance, but it feels better now. Setting realistic goals, based on what I know I’m capable of, has made me a better at drafting and more content with my process.

With the help of Victoria Schwab and her star calendar idea, I’ve been tracking my word count and holding myself accountable with stickers. You can find out more about it HERE, but basically it’s kind of a less intense, personalized, version of NaNo that I can use on a daily basis. It feels manageable, not as wildly all-consuming as the month of November usually is. My goal is to write at least 15,000 word a month. Which means about 500 words a day. That’s something that’s very manageable for me, especially since if I miss a couple days here or there, I can make it up with longer writing sessions at other times. And I’ll be honest, it’s the first 500 words that’s the hardest part. Once I’ve gotten going, I can usually get more words flowing.

Part of my drafting success with my Star Calendar is giving myself the same public accountability that inspires me when I’m doing NaNoWriMo, so keeping it real, here were my stats for my drafting in October…

 

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I’m happy to report that I wrote on 20 out of 31 days (plus an extra mini two where I didn’t make stars) and my word count was 22,689 . *fist pump* Of course, that’s not 50,000 words, but like I said, outside of November, I’m looking for sustainable drafting–not burn out. I hit that mark in October and now I’m all warmed up for NaNoWriMo.

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Hope you’re signed up for NaNo. If you are, we can be buddies. I’m writing under Kimmiepoppins if you want to find me. If you aren’t ready or able to try NaNoWriMo, that’s okay, but hopefully you’re doing some kind of activity that gets you inspired and enthusiastic. At the very least, get yourself your own Star Calendar and start pushing yourself to get your drafting done! Have you been using your calendar? How’s it going? Are you four days into NaNo too? How’s it going? What’s your favorite method for getting that NaNoWriMo feeling?

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Oct

7

2014

October’s Accountability Calendar-I’m a Star

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Reading, Running, Writing, Writing Style

When I kicked off September, I told you of my sticker/calendar plan for being more accountable in my writing. #writesticky The original goal was to shoot for a very reasonable, attainable daily word count. I started off working on two very different WIP’s so I split my goal to at least 200 word on each piece, but I also gave myself room for revising. Ultimately my first month using stickers was successful, but over the course of the last few weeks I’ve made a few changes. I’m going to tell you what they are and why I made them, but first a look at September.

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Woo hoo! I earned 20/30 of my adorable stickers. There were a few days were I got in some writing, but real world distractions kept me from getting my reward. So close… *sob* But there were also days where I wrote way more than my goal. As I mentioned earlier, I quickly started seeing ways in which I wanted to modify this accountability system to suit me better. The first thing I discovered was that I didn’t always want to work on both manuscripts. When everything is clicking with one WIP, it was counter productive to stop one project to hit my word count in another. So, shortly into the month, I gave myself the option of writing 400 words for the manuscript of my choice and I was really happy with that.

Next I decided that I didn’t want to count revision towards this goal. I have a tendency to let my inner editor have too much room in the drafting process (which isn’t always good) so I decided that I could revise all I wanted, but I still needed to hit my 400 word count. I was all set to do even better in October than September when outside forces really made me reevaluate how I wanted to use my calendar and stickers. I saw everyone abuzz on FB and Tumblr. Victoria Schwab started doing this neat little calendar with stars. You can check it out HERE! I LOVED it!

In a nut shell, she did this…

Basically, I get a calendar and a variety of colored stars, and make a key each month based on what I need to accomplish.

Usually it’s:

1) 500 words written

2) 100 pages read

3) exercise

4) school

I loved the idea immediately! But I also needed to individualize it for me. I didn’t want to keep track of my reading, because I do that on Goodreads and I’m happy with my reading output anyway. I also didn’t want to track my running on the calendar because I keep track of my miles religiously on Nike. It seemed like overkill. But I found I did want to give myself a bit of an incentive for writing more words above the baseline. So, my October calendar now looks like this…

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My key looks something like this…

*Blue Star-500 words

*Green Star-1,000 words

*Red Star-1,500 words

*Silver Star-2,000 words

*Gold Star-2,500+ words

And I’m also writing in the actual word count. Because let’s face it, 1,643 is different than 1,500 when you’re counting words. And I loved how Victoria was able to see what her total was at the end of the month. That’s motivational. So, that’s what I’m doing now and as you can see, I’m doing pretty good so far. *fist pump* Almost 5,000 words in 6 days and only one day I didn’t get to write at all. Although, I’m thinking of throwing a notebook in my bag when I’m on the move and seeing if I can get those mobile words in. Sometimes I forget I’m not surgically attached to my lap top LOL!

What’s also great about what I’ve been doing is I also feel like September and October are getting me prepared for NaNoWriMo. I really want to do this again. So…if I can get far enough in the draft of the book I’m working on, I might feel comfortable putting the MS away for a much needed break and starting a draft of something else that’s been brewing. Something I’ve been scratching out notes on. Something that’s been tugging at the corners of my brain when I run and when I’m dozing. I don’t know if it will make sense to drop what I’m doing. If I’ll be far enough along to switch gears. But we shall see. Part of me thinks it would be delicious–having two drafts to revise. Drafting is always the hardest part for me and the NaNo momentum is just amazing. I loved it last year. I learned so much about myself and my writing process. But I think my October calendar will tell me what I need to know as I get closer.

And what about you? Hope you’re having a lot of success with your calendar or whatever form of accountability you’ve chosen to get the words on the page. I’ve been re-listening to WRITING DOWN THE BONES and I just caught a segment today about how writing is like running, which you know made me smile. The gist of it was that people who want to be good at something train. They show up. They do the practice. Running is hard, but if you do it enough, you start to get into a rhythm that gets you back out on a regular basis. You learn to love the practice. And I believe that. In August I ran 7 miles, I don’t think I ran much more than that in the stretch of months before that. A long stretch. But in September I ran just over 75 miles and I’m sticking to around a 20 mile a week pace as I’m hitting October. It feels good to be showing up to my runs and my writing. Tell me what you’re practicing.

 

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Mar

24

2014

How We Weave the Words–Drafting

Filed under: Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing, Writing Style

A funny thing happened on the way to my NaNoWriMo revision. I had a complete epiphany about how the book should be written.  Out of the blue, a new supporting character walked up, plucked me in the forehead and said…I’M HERE! She is sooooo different and interesting–I just had to let her tell me who she was and where she came from. And as I started to give her some space on the page, she also illuminated the main character. And now that I know my MC so much better, she’s begun to pull in other characters and plots I hadn’t been expecting. Interesting things have started happening and it gives me chills.

But what about my draft I worked so hard on? While I had the best experience putting my inner editor away while participating in NaNoWriMo, right now I’ve found myself slipping comfortably back into my old drafting style. And surprisingly it feels amazing–like pulling on the coziest pair of sweat pants I own.

Does that mean that NaNoWriMo was a waste of time for me? Hell no! I figured out what I wasn’t supposed to be writing–which is kinda important. LOL! And some how the very act of doing something completely different has taught me how to do the familiar better than I was doing it before.

What a tangled web of words we weave.

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What strange and convoluted things do you do to weave your word web?

 

 

 

 

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Dec

3

2013

This Post Is Like a Turkey Pot Pie

Filed under: Check-it-out, Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Writing

This post is like a turkey pot pie. It’s put together from all the bits and pieces of the holiday.

*First up…I’m a NaNoWriMo Winner!!!! Very proud of that. I clocked in very, very early on the 29th with 50,057 words and the cool part is that last day, in order to make my goal, I wrote just over 6,100 words which is more than I wrote for last year’s attempt at NaNoWriMo. And out of more than 300,000 people, I was one of 41,940 to finish. *fist pump* And yes, I don’t want to look at any of those words for a least a couple weeks LOL!

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*On Thursday December 5th I’ll be at the Crawford Public Library in Monticello, NY. All the info is HERE.

*Saturday I had the pleasure of attending my 25th High School reunion. I had an amazing time. What was intriguing to me was how much we had changed, but at the same time all stayed the same. And I mean this in a good way. Growing up, we’ve developed into better evolutions of ourselves, but we still have so many great memories from being kids. It was kind of cool to be in a room of people who all know the same stories you do. But having said that, despite it all, I could still feel myself slipping back into old teenage insecurities at times. But I have a feeling, that’s par for the course with a reunion. Overall, a two thumbs up for me. Can’t wait until the next one.

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*Because we’re moving pretty early into the new year (*fingers crossed* this process will give you grey hair) I traded the Christmas holiday for Thanksgiving this year. I’ve got TURKEY!!! OMG!!! I’ve been missing this meal’s leftovers for years. It’s my death row meal. *grin* But then their are leftovers. And last night I made my first ever homemade turkey pot pie. I may have died from yum it was so tasty. But I’ve got more up my sleeve. Turkey salad sandwiches and turkey soup too. I have a feeling I’m going to run out of turkey to recycle before I run out of meals to make. So, new resolution–even if I don’t do Thanksgiving Dinner next time around. I will still have to make my own just for the leftovers LOL!

 

How was your holiday? Did you survive NaNoWriMo? Are you still shocked that I’m 25 years out of high school? Yeah, me too! LOL!

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Nov

19

2013

What You Give Up to Get NaNoWriMo Words on the Page

Filed under: Chasing Adaptation, Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Pondering, Writing, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

I’ve passed the 30,000 word mark for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and although it’s still a ways away, I can see the light at the end of the 50,000 word long tunnel.

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I know I’ve mentioned that this year, the challenge has been a lot easier for me than I expected, but that’s because I decided (after listening to LOTS of advice about NaNo) to do the things that weren’t necessarily comfortable for me, but are kind of essential for making November work. In no particular order, I’m going to highlight some of the things I don’t usually do, but decided I should do, in order to be successful.

* GIVE UP PERFECTION: I’ve always hated place markers. I don’t like to leave incomplete thoughts and information on the page. When I don’t know or remember something, I usually go back and look it up or work through it until I have the information I need to move on. This is a time suck! It’s word count repellent. Here’s an example of me using a place marker in my text…

I hadn’t seen her since I was blank years old and she…

I need to go back and look up how old I said the MC was when this happened in an earlier chapter, but I don’t remember which chapter I wrote it and I’m 24 chapters in. It would take me forever to find it, so I decided to let it go, save it for the read through after NaNoWriMo is over. NaNoWriMo is about flow. Letting your stream of thoughts come out organically. It shouldn’t be impeded by details. Of course I may have stopped drafting to write this blog post. *head thunk*  You don’t want to do that either LOL!

*GIVE UP YOUR DEPENDENCY ON YOUR LOGICAL MIND: Every night after I complete my words for the day, I go to sleep thinking about the chapter or scene I have to write next. I especially like to do this at night as I’m nodding off to sleep. Ironically, I get some of my best clarity when my vision is relaxed and a little fuzzy around the edges. Basically I give my subconscious some time in the spotlight and it really works for me. The next day I may not know all the words, but I know where I’m starting and for me that is usually half the battle.

* GIVE UP A COUPLE POCKETS, THE ZIPPER and MAYBE A CUFF OF YOUR PANSTER PANTS: In case you didn’t hear me, I’ll say it again…I am not an outliner. I’m never going to be that structured of a person. I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants pantster. But you waste a lot of time when you do your creative thinking in front of the keyboard or with the pen in hand. Jot down some ideas ahead of time. Pre-planning doesn’t have to be an old school outline. It can look like a doodle as long as it helps you to organize your thoughts a little better, freeing you up to write with more ease.

* GIVE UP THE STUPID IDEA THAT PERFECTION ON THE PAGE IS GOING TO SAVE YOU TIME: It doesn’t. If you like to write slow and methodically, I say go for it. I do it all the time. But I’m no longer under the illusion that I’m saving myself later work. I think you have to pay the piper along the way, no matter how you structure the process.

* GIVE UP FEELING SO ALONE IN A VERY LONELY PROCESS: Every night when I post my NaNoWriMo Word count, I get at least a few people cheering me on. I also check to see how everyone else is doing. I’ve even made some new online friends along the way. But ultimately, I enjoy that festive, collaborative environment that November brings. It really helps me to stay motivated. I don’t run into so many moments where I can talk myself into stopping. Momentum is fueled by the community collective.

What have you had to give up for NaNoWriMo that’s been a gift in disguise?

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