Tag: Nanowrimo

How I do NaNoWriMo: One woman’s reflection of the process.

This morning, I was like, hey! When is National Novel READING Month, but I was informed by my kids that NaNoReMO is a year long affair. However, NationalToday.com states that in 2003, the National Book Foundation recognized October as National Book Month. We missed it this year, readers. Mark your calendars though, because we will be doing it to the extreme next year!

We are on day seven of celebrating the month designated in the writing world as National Novel Writing Month.

I wanted to address three things that my excitement in the previous post didn’t allow.

  1. I am not a National Novel Writing Month Master. In the past, I avoided it because I was not in a position to put myself into a 50k surplus of words. The first time that I entered NaNoWriMo was last year, and I was successful only because I trained.

I have spent years writing, building my literary muscles, and learning strategies that have made me relatively successful in meeting goals that I set in place. I also have a work environment that promotes writing, and I have amazing coworkers and mentors who are continually checking in on me. I have a relaxed home life with no expectations that consume all of my time. I am one of the blessed.

I also have a kickass kitty editor:

2. I was asked the other day, if your main objective is to just get 50,000 words in a month, aren’t they going to be really crappy? For example, you could just blather on about the blue sky, or well maybe it was more gray but at either rate something that made your character think it was about too to rain, which thus altered their mood and made the whole day seem pretty blahworthy? <~ in other words, wouldn’t you just be putting words on a page, and not really have accomplished much if you’re going to revise them out?

I agree that sounds like a waste, and I’m not going to claim that people don’t do that. However, I would say to give me more credit than that. I am as equally likely to put an excess amount of words into my drafts even when I’m not tracking them, not because I’m a bad writer, but because I know that my main goal in creating a draft is getting words on a page. My focus is on my ideas, or what I’m visualizing, which can change as I gain more clarity through the act of writing. I embrace the sloppiness and redundancy of my drafts no matter what time of year.

Despite my bravado in the previous paragraph, I was curious, so I looked back at a rough draft of a piece that I had started in September. It was a short story, still kind of crappy and needing a lot of revision. In this piece, I did what I’d like to call a very skeletal telling of the situation. The plot was moving on, but there was no real description of anything. There was also a lot of dialogue that felt awkward (Do people still say Greetings?). Then, I looked at what I had written on the first day of Nano. My first day of NaNo work was superior to the short story. But it wasn’t because I was focused on getting words out and spending more of my time writing, I credit the fact that I did more prep work for my NaNo project. For the NaNo project, I had spent October detailing things so I had a clearer picture, and because I had a clearer picture, it was easier to bring the words out. I don’t really know the characters in my September short story yet, so sometimes they became stiff as I was writing about them. As such, I would say that NaNo is not affecting my ability to write efficiently, plotting is. And it’s not to say that my September piece won’t eventually be on the same level, it just means I took a different approach to get there.

3. My biggest secret to the NaNoWriMo experience is that I don’t write all day, nor do I write in large spans of time. Never have, even as an academic writer, and to me, an hour is too long. During NaNo, there has not been a day so far that I haven’t been able to sit down and do some level of ninja writing sprints. In these sprints, I don’t look at 50k, I look at 500 words. I’m just going to commit to sitting wherever I am at, watching my characters, and seeing how they interact with each other… for 500 words. Sometimes it takes ten minutes, others 20-40 minutes, but after that, I am off to do something else.

I don’t make it a habit to be consumed with writing so that I become burned out. You will never catch me trying to sit down for more than 40 minutes to write, and this is a model that I celebrate throughout the year. The only thing that has changed during NaNo is how many times that will I sit down and sprint throughout the day. It also doesn’t mean that I won’t go over 500 words; I have on several occasions, if I am in the zone. I just don’t expect it.

I also don’t do any writing after 7 p.m. unless I am at work on Thursdays.  I embrace the me time during these hours, but again, I have a schedule and support network that allows me to do this. Not everyone has that luxury.

I am really curious to see what every one else’s tricks to NaNoWriMo are. What tricks do you find successful that I can add to my toolbox?

Or what are your reasons for not attempting NaNo? It’s not for every writer, and these reasons are just valuable.  

National Novel Writing 2019 Edition

Forget Halloween and dressing up for candy, it’s time to talk about my favorite time of year:

National Novel Writing Month! NaNoWriMo is an organization that collaborates with writers and helps them receive resources, thus allowing them to reach success within their projects. I’m a long time fan, and have blogged about it numerous times in the past.

This year’s project is a bit tricky:

My mother asked me to write a romance Navy-Sealesque type story for her birthday. She’s big into these type of books, which have quite a huge range to choose from. I got about one chapter done before scrapping it. Commission writing is hard, especially when you’re not getting paid for it, but the idea I had in mind stuck with me. Then, I had a genius idea to synthesize it with a previous story that I also scrapped. Throw in another romantic duo and BAM, an idea is ready to spring forth into fruition!  It’s unlike anything that I have written before, and definitely not like the romance books my mom reads, but I’m excited to see how it all comes together.

This is the first time that I have done some serious prepping for my upcoming project. I created an index: character profiles, histories of each country involved, and all the socio-political issues being faced. I’m quite proud of myself!

I also created a log to accompany me around, which was great in helping me strategize when I can write. In theory, 1667 a day seems doable, until you run into a day where you have only 3 hours free. As a result, my daily count ranges from 500-3,000 a day to make sure that I can maximize my free days and not stress about the days that aren’t. If I keep on track, I will have no trouble reaching the hefty 50,000 goal.

However, there lies the one catch to this whole process. To get to 50,000 words in a 30 day window, I have to be really focused, especially since I am a turtle writer. One missed 3,000 day will instantly derail me. And I have a lot of distractions to contend with. I have a new writing buddy, who is only seven weeks and eager to have my attention at all times. I have work, which often exhausts me because it comes with a huge mental load. I have a family and their numerous activities. NaNoWriMo is a serious test of perseverance.

And if that were not enough, I like to take NaNoWriMo to the extreme. On top of writing, I will be reading The Right to Write by Julia Cameron. When I saw this for sale in a scholarship bookfair event on campus, I knew that it would be perfect for November.

For audio pleasure this month, I will be listening to You Do You by Sarah Knight. It’s not about writing, which I try to stick to each year, but I felt like this had the right energy to keep things in perspective. Plus, her Tedx Talk puts me in the right mood to be reminded of how valuable my time is, and to spend it wisely. There’s no extra f*cks during National Novel Writing Month!

Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo?

Camp NaNoWriMo Is Back!

If you have never heard of CampNaNoWrimo, I have written about it before in other blog posts, but the gist is that for the month of July writers set goals and hold each other accountable via intimate forum based groups.

It’s my understanding that NaNo time is supposed to be spent drafting and the off time revising/planning. I suppose that’s a good process, but I’m still revising the 50,000 words I wrote in November, not including all the new extra 30,000+ from April’s CampNaNoWrimo. I’m a slow revisionist, very meticulous in my ability to procrastinate revising, and so it’s not in my best interest to devote July to drafting more words.

As such, this Camp NaNoWriMo I am going to embrace the art of the red pen!

I don’t actually own a red pen, so a red highlighter will have to do…

There will be many surgical cuts, padding where needed and sometimes complete overwrites. It will be hard to capture word count, which is the conventional progress tracking system of fellow Nanoers.

With my trusty stopwatch app on my phone, I will be tracking hours. My goal is to dedicate one hundred hours to the revision process, essentially turning my goal into a part time summer job. Or should it be considered an internship, as I am not really getting paid?

I will also be reviewing the audio book English Grammar Bootcamp from my favorite linguist, Anne Curzan. This series is great, and I gush about it at least once a day at work. I like to pair my writing process with good literature like it’s a fine wine.

Good luck to my fellow NaNo peeps!

I’m Going to Camp!!!

Camp NaNoWriMo is only a few short days away, and I’m excited!

For those not in the know, Camp NanoWrimo is the love child of NanoWriMo, a time away from the vigorous expectation of the elder namesake and it’s 50,000 words within a single month of craziness.

My story idea is a new one that I’ve been developing: a child not too school savvy who has fallen in love with only one book of his life, and it ends with a cliffhanger. The need to find the sequel to the book is strong, but it seems the author never got around to making it! What’s a kid to do? Give up?! Obviously, the answer is no!

One of my favorite features of the Camp experience is that YOU, the amazing writer with a million other responsibilities, get to make your own manageable goal. Forget the NaNoWriMo box; create your own!

This month I will try to write 30,000, which is about 30,000 more than I wrote for the month of February.

Ok I lied, I spent some time writing poetry.

But drafting stories is a mixture of feeling almost godlike to being reduced to a mere mortal within the same breath.

It’s not good for the blood pressure some days.

Which is why the second unique feature of CampNanoWrimo is so valuable: bunkmates! In a forum-based discussion group, you are paired with various people (or create your own cabin) to have a support group.

So far my bunkmates are ready for action!

Anyone else participating in CampNaNoWriMo this year?

The End…..

Thus concludes National Novel Writing Month, and with it the Nanowrimo challenge.

If you remember, I was taking National Novel Writing Month TO THE EXTREME!

Some were able to make it to champion status.

Others didn’t, but they have more words than when theystarted, and I hope they continue to bring their ideas to fruition.

The most important lesson that this month taught me as a writer,is the need for discipline. That seems an ironic concept, as I trained in the martial arts for a few years, especially with the mindset that what you learn on the mats transcends into your every day lives.  

Even if you don’t have a game plan for the writing, you have to have a game plan of when and what you’ll be working on each day or it won’t work. And if your schedule is as crazy as mine is, you really do need to pencil in times to write.

Writing is also like a muscle. You can likely finish a 10k without a training, but it won’t happen in the same time frame than someone who has been training for the big day. I was only successful because I have been working out almost every day… on writing. Don’t think I can actually run a 10k or anything.

I let the Stackskill thing go to the wayside. Again, from the martial arts, I was conditioned to believe that you must always go back to the fundamentals if you want to succeed, but these fundamentals diverted from my time to get to work. I felt like I was stuck in a lecture that, although brief, I couldn’t get out of.

I have about an hour left of Steven King’s On Writing. I’ve enjoyed it some extent,but I can see now why he claims he will never be able to break out of that Suspenseful Literature like he wanted to a few years back. His views on writing are the makings of the own box that he put himself into, but his insights are something that all writers should go through so that they can make conscious choices about their writing.

How was everyone else’s National Novel Writing Month?

And when is National Novel READING Month?

National Novel Writing Month TO THE EXTREME!

November is National Novel Writing Month, and if you don’t think that I am the kind of person to take that seriously, then by golly you know nothing about me, for I have taken National Novel Writing Month TO THE EXTREME!

crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76First on the line up- I have already declared that I am passionately participating within NaNoWriMo’s challenge of writing 50,000 words . My name on their site is ScriptorimKeeper, so it if you are also participating in the challenge, let’s be NaNo buddies!

51or-DxbWzL._SX306_BO1,204,203,200_In addition to that- I am listening to Steven King’s “On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft.” Honestly, I almost bailed when the Foreword mentioned his love for Elements of Style, but I am trying to be respectful of others making choices that might not exactly align with my own. I figure this is a good step in that direction. So far, I’ve enjoyed learning about little Stevie King!

41mZzOS48VL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_I am also reading John Dufresne’s The Truth That Tells A Lie. I have read sections of it before for classes, but now I am going read it cover to cover to get the full Dufresne experience.

And to round off my obsessive tendencies, CNN was having a promotion of StackSkills courses featuring writing and copyediting. As I just finished my Bachelor program, I thought it would be fun to stay on the learning wagon and see what their courses have to offer me (plus it’s cheaper than going to get my Masters!).

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Is anyone else celebrating National Novel Writing Month, and if so, what are you doing?

NaNoWriMo and Caffeinated Rebellious Adolescents

My son’s school is expanding, which kind of sucks because my property taxes went up, but it’s exciting because it looks like my kids now go to the school of the FUTURE.  Seriously, I think they modeled the look of the school to be like a building on the Jetsons…only firmly cemented on Earth. Could you imagine the taxes needed to keep up  a building that defies gravity?!

Now, I don’t know if this really makes sense, because you figure that if the school is expanding, so is the library, but they recently did a purge of books. I am proud to say that my book squirreling fanaticism was passed off onto the eldest, for he came home with more than his fair share of free books.

He had me in mind when he snagged one:

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The Latte Rebellion by Sarah Jamila Stevenson.

coffee… social activism… rebellion… angsty characters..

Yup that about sums up my needs as a reader.

I will be making sure that every adolescent that crosses my path knows of this book’s existence. In a world that is so politically charged (and divided), this book inspires our next set of social justice activists. Now, the main character didn’t exactly set out to be a political revolutionary, but I’d wager neither do most social activists. It’s one of the consequences of seeing the need for change in the world you live in and realizing that no body is going to bring about that change but yourself.

More importantly, you don’t need to be older, smarter, or richer, in order to create change in the world. Young people are doing amazing things each day.

For example, The Stoneman Douglas Highschool Activists on creating safer gun control:

Malala Yousafzai advocating for women to receive equitable education:

Sophia Cruz on humane immigration practices.

It’s truly amazing whether you agree with their stances or not. Every day, no matter what your age or position in society, you have a voice!

And writing is a great tool for becoming empowered!

crest-05e1a637392425b4d5225780797e5a76Stevenson wrote The Latte Rebellion during a NaNoWriMo challenge, which given that it is the Eve of NanoWrimo, should inspire those embarking  upon National Novel Writing Month. I’m surprised that so many writers around me have not heard of this, so let me do a quick clarification. November (yikes that’s tomorrow) is National Novel Writing Month, and there is an organization called NanoWriMo that challenges writers to spend this month plugging away at a project. The goal is to get to 50,000 words, which is the smaller side of an average book. They have an online forum page, regional chapters who host events, web series, and word sprint mini challenges to keep writers engaged. They also host CampNanoWrimo events twice a year that allow you to set your own goals.

I find it incredibly useful to build up your writing muscles, but more importantly to NETWORK! Writing is incredibly isolating, and so it’s healthy to find a community of writers to support and to be supported by. I’ve found a lot of my online community by being a resident CampNaNoWriMo member. This will be my first official attempt at NanoWrimo itself. I have faith that if Stevenson can be successful, I can be as well!