NaNoWriMo: Thoughts from November


So November is definitely over.

Boy, was it a hard one for this writer! Each year I tell myself I will hit the 50K goal, and I can count on one hand the amount of times I have managed it. This year was no exception, and possibly even more difficult than I had originally thought it might be.

Aside from outside influences causing issues with my writing, I also began to hit the point in my pregnancy with my third child where mental and psychical fatigue kicked into high gear. With a school aged child, and a toddler already taking up my time and energy this made for a hard time writing. There just weren’t enough hours in the day.

It was either choose sleep, or choose writing.

At this stage the choices I made were simple in nature to make. I chose to let myself rest in November instead of keep up with the challenge, but I did try to write when I could find the time.

Does this make me a failure, though? Of course not!

Even those few thousand words I managed helped with my writing. Each and every chance I get to write helps to further my novel along. Perhaps one day my novels will be complete, but for now this writer mom is preparing for her newest arrival in early January. I couldn’t be happier with putting my novels aside for this endeavor. They will be waiting for me when I return, refreshed and ready to bring them to completion.

How did your NaNoWriMo adventure go this year? Win or lose, at least you tried!

NaNoWriMo: Week 1


Well, here we are! We are a few days into NaNoWriMo now, and for those of you who have joined me on this journey you know full good and well what you should be doing right now.

Writing, of course!

I expected that NaNoWriMo would start off easier for some, but for those of us who are struggling it is only day 3. Today I should personally be at 5,000 words, but due to a busy schedule I can’t always seem to find the time.

I have well over 3,000 words in order to hit the daily word count. It seems like a lot, but thankfully I remember the tips and tricks to help me survive this November.

This year, I am going easy on myself by writing short stories as well as revisiting a novel idea that never got past the first chapter. For me, this NaNo challenge is more of a way to get myself writing regularly again. As a stay-at-home mom this can be especially hard with young children. Regularly for me means not allowing myself to go over two days without writing something. It means writing during nap time, writing before bed, and writing when my toddler happens to be distracted with an episode of The Wiggles, or Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about winning for me. While I have won a few times it isn’t hitting 50,000 words that makes me feel as though I’ve accomplished something. It is writing, pure a simple, even if it may suck at times. It is giving myself a timetable of when I should have things completed, and striving toward that goal. It is failing some years, and winning others.

Remember this month as you write that however things turn out at least something is written. You have put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and worked your tail off. It may not be that amazing prose you expect, but it is a start.

That is all that matters.

Happy writing, everyone!

NaNoWriMo: Surviving the Challenge


As I’ve mentioned in my previous posts NaNoWriMo: What Is It?, and NaNoWriMo: Preparing for November it is that time again; time to think about, and get ready for the challenge ahead that begins November 1st.

Now it is time, I believe, to take a moment to talk about how to survive the challenge. These little tips and tricks are proven effective. Don’t believe me? The study has been conducted by the Institute of NaNoing.

No, it isn’t a real institute, but it should be! Haha!

There are a lot of different tips and tricks out there, and many of them can be found on the official forums if you are so inclined to take a peek. However, I will just focus on three tips that have helped me out countless times during NaNoWriMo.

First, go to the write-ins. Believe it or not, spending time with writers in a social setting can do wonders for your writing. Not only are Wrimos there for the same thing, but they are perfect to help bounce ideas off of when you get stuck. The encouragement you get from others who are just as passionate about writing as you are can do wonders for your writing.

Second, participate in word wars and sprints. Word wars are typically a set limit of time for you to do your absolute best by writing as fast as you can in that time limit. Sprints are normally a set limit of words you must reach. Often these will happen at write-ins, but you can also find plenty online in the forums. The best place, though? Watch Twitter’s NaNoWordSprints, where the staff often tweet out wars and sprints all throughout November.

Third, and mostly importantly, silence your inner editor. This is the little voice in your head that feeds you the doubts that you feel about your work, and/or makes you feel the need to edit as you go. Editing during November slows you down. A rough draft is simply that; rough, and unpolished, but at least it is written down. It is perfectly fine to have a rough draft that needs a lot of work than to not have a rough draft at all. That is one of the main points of NaNoWriMo; to simply write it all down as quickly as possible with a deadline looming over you.

There are eleven days until NaNoWriMo begins. Take these tips for surviving November to heart, and you won’t regret it.

Are there any tips and tricks you use during November to keep the momentum going?

NaNoWriMo: Preparing for November


In my last blog post I talked about National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. If you are still on the fence about joining in on this fun, but challenging, endeavor then I highly recommend you try it at least once in life. If you’ve chosen to take the plunge, but you aren’t sure how to make the most of it, then here are a few tips on how to prepare for the writing challenge starting on November 1st.

One of the first things that I advise is to join a region. This will become your home region. Depending on where you live there might be several to choose from, and it’s best to choose one close to where you live. The ML of that region is responsible for all of the local events, like write-ins and parties, as well as be a sort of cheerleader to help push you to the finish line. Write-ins are a great way to get the inspiration, and motivation that you need to make it through the next 30 days. It’s also great to be social with others who get your passion for writing, and often leads to lasting friendships beyond the challenge.

Next, decide on your survival kit for November. It seems silly, but in reality this could be the basic essentials you will need to keep you focused on your writing. For me, some of the necessities I need are: my laptop, a notebook, pens, my NaNoWriMo book manual with my outline in it, and an external back-up hard drive for regular backing up of my novel. Some people don’t use all of that, and others use much more. An assortment of coffee and tea are often on the list of necessities for other Wrimos, too. Writers love their caffeine, after all.

Another great thing to do before November is to decide on what kind of incentives you can use to reward yourself. This can be something big like a shopping spree at your favorite bookstore, or it can be small like your favorite candy bar. Rewards can be just about anything within reason, and having something to look forward to always makes that extra push toward the finish line that much sweeter. All of these things can make November a bit smoother when the 1st rolls around.

If you have taken the NaNoWriMo challenge before, what are some tips and tricks you have used to prepare for November?

How I Outline


Believe it or not, I used to be a pantser.

For non-writer types that term might be a bit confusing. Essentially, a pantser is a writer who doesn’t outline and writes “by the seat of their pants”. I did this with one successful outcome (Bloodstream) out of many unsuccessful ones. I cannot tell you the frustration when I would lose steam halfway through a project, or forget the basics that I had in my head at the time that I began a new project.

Since then, I have been trying to find the “right” outlining method for me. There isn’t a one size fits all outlining template out there. Actually, there are many, and though each one seems to work to a degree there has never quite been one that has fit like a glove.

So I began to pull what does work and leave out the pieces that don’t. I decided to snatch up a few (cheap) empty binders and designated them for my novel projects. These are what I call my book manuals. So what goes in a book manual, you ask?

Each area has designated information. Outline, the characters, and the setting are the important parts of my manual. I don’t feel I need anything aside from these three things so I haven’t added anymore. I’m keeping it simple.

So while this particular project is set in modern day Earth, it’s nice to add a few bits of information in case I need a quick fact about the State my book is primarily set in. Plus, it keeps me from Googling it and then getting lost in research. Distractions are limited that way.

The character portion will have detailed character sheets, and maybe a portrait or two of what my character looks like to keep them in mind when I’m writing them. This way, I can just double check the manual to make sure I got the info right the first time.

The outline portion is a beast. It hosts practically the entire story itself; main plot, plot twists, timeline, scene outlines, and practically anything else I need to remember. This is also the most flexible and ever-changing portion of my manual. I’ll add the bits I need, or take away what I decide needs to be discarded as the book progresses.

This is still a huge work in progress for me, but so far it’s working. I’m so excited to delve into this novel with my book manual at my side. But, for now, I am still filling it with the information I know is still needed in order for me to begin.


For me, blogging doesn’t come naturally. It never has. Back in the day I used to have a personal blog where I would bitch and moan about all of life’s little problems.

I was a teenager. Life’s little problems meant my baby brother had done something to annoy me.

Well, now I’m stuck. I’ve been stuck before – in the writing sense of the word, anyway. Stuck is that moment when you look at the project you have to complete and dread it. Stuck is when the characters that typically rule your head are oddly silent. Stuck is when you just don’t care about the thing you once loved.

Sometimes it takes a few days, and sometimes it takes a few months before I feel “unstuck”. Normally I just shrug it off and say: “Oh, it’ll be back before I know it!” but this time is different. I miss it. I miss every bit of writing, but yet I can’t bring myself to think for too long. If I do, I get a headache. Writing literally has been giving me headaches. I’ve not written a thing to my current project in almost three weeks. Editing my rough draft has come along okay, but it’s still a pain at times. There is often a lot of sighing, or frustrated groans when I sit at the computer to write. I’m so ready to get back into the groove of it, and yet I’m not sure where I left my groove.

How does one get their groove back? Maybe I should as an emperor.

Oh well…time to get back to the grind!

Oh, and Happy 3rd Anniversary to my Husband, who’s always been there to listen to my frustration, my excitement, and even my insanity when it comes to my writing. I love you, dear!

Camp NaNo

So here I am, at it all again. Camp NaNoWriMo is an off-shoot to the official NaNoWriMo website. It’s basically a watered down version of NaNoWriMo where you can set your own personal word goal, you have a “cabin” full of writers, etc. It runs April and July this year, but in previous years it ran at different months. You can write just about anything from novels to screenplays, or even just work on editing. It’s perfect for those who can’t commit to NaNoWriMo in November, or who need to start off with a smaller goal.

Now last November, I hit the 50k mark within the first two and a half weeks of the event. I was on a high so after a full day of celebrating I went right back to it, and completed the rough draft. It ended up just about 55k total. Not amazing, but not bad either. Since then I had issues trying to get started on editing; I was terrified because I’ve never completed a rough draft and I didn’t know how to edit. It’s scary the first time around, and even though I tried I often stopped a day into editing and quit, only to try to restart a week later.

When I found out there would be a camp in April I thought I might take a break from this editing fiasco and write something different. I figured I needed to get my mind off of my “baby” before I came back to rip it to shreds. Of course, two weeks before camp I began to feel as though I needed to continue on with the story – just book 2. After a little consultation with some fellow writers, I decided to go for it.

April 1st rolled around and it took me a while, but I managed to hit my personal goal for that day. By the 2nd I was doing well, and by the 3rd I was really sick and lost some writing time. It’s been rough going due to being sick, but I’ve muscled my way through it. I set a smaller goal this month of 35k, but my ultimate goal is to still hit that 50k mark by the end of April. Of course, having only hit 5k so far it’s hard to see the 50k goal line in the distance. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get there, maybe I won’t. At least I’m writing what I love and I have people to encourage me to do it.


Update on Bloodstream Series

I’m terrible, it seems, with blogs. I have a bad habit of creating them only to let them sit around for days, weeks, or months at a time. In hope to remedy that, I have been trying to break my bad habits. One is to try to use a blog more, and keep it regularly updated. For me, regular is at least once a week. I’ve also starting journaling on occasion to keep myself writing on the days I don’t feel like it, and to also have a “hard copy” of something that will remind me of the struggles I’ve faced, and overcome, in my life as a writer.

A while back I read a book about being a writer. The book, which is called You Are a Writer, really helped me to realize something that I had been doubting for many years: that I am a writer. For the longest time I thought saying the words meant you had a publishing contract, or you had sold at least one book. Well, that’s wrong. A writer is someone who writes for the pure joy of writing. It isn’t measured in how many books you have completed, published, or sold. It’s about one thing and one thing only: writing. I used to use “aspiring writer”, but nowadays I simply tell people I’m a writer.

Because I am.

In 2012 I finished my first ever rough draft. I had started projects and stopped them, and never finished anything in my life. I haven’t a single clue how to begin editing the thing, and creating something out of it that I can be proud to show off to friends and family. Do I think it’s worthy of publishing? I don’t know. Do I love it and feel accomplished? Yes.

I already have two more books planned, making it a trilogy. The second book will begin April 1st for Camp NaNoWriMo, an event I hope to win by not only exceeding my expectations, but finishing another rough draft. The excitement I feel over this series is nothing I have ever felt before when writing. I cannot wait to begin.