Category: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: Priorities

NaNoWriMo for me this year is much different than the last time I did it in 2012. Not only have I changed my ‘rules’ for this year but I’m also taking this month as an opportunity to train myself into being a writer worthy of the career I hope to have one day. To do that, I’ve made myself a list of my priorities, not just for this month but for the foreseeable future.

  1. My Marriage – My #1 priority is always my marriage. I’m lucky that we don’t tend to have many issues or disagreements but I definitely do have to work hard to not take what we have for granted. My husband is my biggest fan and supporter and comfort in this world and he deserves more time and effort than anything else in my life.
  2. My Mental Health – Like so many I struggle with my mental health. I have bouts of depression, compulsive tendencies, and severe anxiety. But those are things I can work through, push through. They cannot control my life and I have to take care of myself if I’m going to reach my goals.
  3. My Writing Career – This is a big focus for me, especially in the month of November. I’m working to better my writing ability, upkeep this blog, grow a platform, and dedicate myself to making this far off dream a reality.
  4. My Social Life – My friends understand how important my marriage and my writing are to me. They also understand the mental health struggles I have and help push me to overcome them and live my life. I’ll admit, likely because friends fall as my #3 priority, I don’t have many, but the ones I do have are the most kind, caring, inspiring people I know.
  5. My Retail Career – While I wait for my writing career to take off, I’m working in a department store and I absolutely love it. I love customer service and I love visual merchandising. This job pays the bills and, though I don’t enjoy it as much as writing, offers me the opportunity for advancement with the company.

All of my priorities are somewhat reliant on each other. Striving to build a writing career helps with my mental health, keeping my mental health in check makes my marriage more successful, my friends encourage me stick to all my other priorities, and my retail career funds my ability to prioritize the others.

For me, setting these priorities and writing them down in my writing journal has really helped me focus on what’s important. It’s helped me see that if I want to have all the things I dream of, I have to push myself and limit my extra curriculars.

What are your top priorities and how do you remind yourself of them daily?

NaNoWriMo: Plans Change

November is here, it’s time to write, and yet here I sit staring at the screen wondering where to go from here. Sometimes plans change, and sometimes that’s alright.

As I mentioned in my first NaNo post of the year, this year I was intending to write the first draft of the second book/companion novel to the book I finished for NaNo in 2012. But I also took on the challenge of rewriting that first book. And now, on November 1st, 2016, I’ve sat down at my bar in my new apartment ready to put the story I’ve been lovingly developing, literally, for years in my head into words on the screen and I ca’t seem to get it started.

Beginnings are usually my favorite to write. The first chapter is one of my favorite things to write. It’s a lot of world building and a lot of internal dialog (for this series) and It’s so much fun for me to get to explain bits and pieces. Especially with this new character I’m working with. She’s quirky and in the process of becoming her own person and understanding herself and I love her. But I can’t seem to let her sister go.

The first book, as I’ve nicknamed LiS, was just that, my very first book. It holds a very special place in my heart, being the first thing I’ve ever finished and loved and thrown my whole heart and soul into. It’s a mess, the first draft is sitting in a box printed and beautiful but covered in the pink and purple inks I use for editing. It’s a damn mess, but it’s my baby. And now that baby is sitting in a file on my computer, partially rewritten and begging for my attention.

On the other hand, LiS #2 is sitting in my head ready to come out into the world and grow.

But rewriting my baby.

But creating a new baby.

But rewriting.

But creating.

But…

So here I am, with a blank document and a document with 18,249 words sitting open on my computer, knowing which is the technical “correct” one to choose for NaNo but unable to do it. So plans change. My new goal for NaNo is to write 1,667 words each day. Most of those I plan to add to the 18,249 words of LiS #1, but if one day the juices are flowing and LiS #2 is calling my name, maybe she’ll get my 1,667 words.

I’m breaking all the NaNo rules, changing my plans, and making November my own personal writing month, to be the writer I want to be.

We’ll see how this goes.

Do you strictly follow NaNo rules? Or do you make November your own?

NaNoWriMo: A Poor Decision

I have, perhaps, made a very poor decision. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen the link to said poor decision, but if not, let me inform you now. I have signed up to take part in NaNoWriMo 2016… Oops?

For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is an annual challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. There are a few other lose “rules” but that’s the gist of it. 1,667 words every day for the 30 days of November.

Now, that’s a big chunk of writing, but I’ve done it before. In November 2012, I wrote 51,046 words of a novel that is still very close to my heart. So, you may be thinking, attempting NaNo this year isn’t such an extreme or poor decision since I’ve tried and succeeded in the past. But you would be wrong.

Just before the beginning of this month, I decided it was time to take my writing seriously again. I pulled out that old novel from 2012 NaNo and began the process of revising. That revising has developed into basically a complete rewrite. I am now about 9,000 words into the, hopefully, 80,000 word rewrite and I’ve just signed up to write the second book in the series next month.

I make very poor decisions indeed.

I suppose we’ll see what happens? I’m going to continue with this rewrite throughout this month and, hopefully, by November I’ll have a pretty decent chunk of it done. Then I can work on the second book’s first draft in November, finish the first book’s second draft in the beginning of December, and then maybe I won’t wait another 4 years to revise/complete this year’s NaNo project. Maybe?

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? If so, what’s your #1 NaNo tip?

Winning NaNoWriMo and Where to go from there

That is what I did. I really wish I could tell you how I did it, but I can’t. I write differently from others. It’s very much a personal journey. I really just want to spend this post congratulating myself. To avid that, just scroll down to the bold to see my plans for the blog and my book from here with a word of advice for fellow winners and NaNo participants.

Winner badge 180x180
My final, documented, word count was a little over 51k. Only took a picture of when I hit 50k, but that was my goal. I was so proud of myself when I hit it that I called my partner and told him, texted my mom, and cried. 
This was a really stressful process for me. As you can see in the picture below, I’m really bad at keeping things going every day, or even most days. But in the end, I refused to lose and forced myself through the story to the finish.
Now that that’s done…

I want to talk about where I’m going from here, but first I want to give a word of advice:
If you won NaNo this year, congrats! If that’s all you wanted, then good job. If you want more, take more. Give it some time, then go back and edit. See if your second draft can be around 55-60k words (if your goal is publication with an agent or big publishing house.) 
If you didn’t win, you still tried! And don’t stop trying! Keep writing. Don’t give up, especially if you’re real goal is to write a book, not just win NaNo. Just keep writing for yourself and get your book finished!
Now that November is over, I have the semester winding down here at school. Today is the first day of Prep/Dead Week and next week are my final exams. I only really have two, so it’s not too stressful, but I need to take them just as seriously as I normally would. 
For my book, I’m not abandoning it. My ultimate goal is an agent and a publisher. I’m taking a month or so off form this story, thought. I’m planning to wait and read through my book at either mid-January or early February. I’m going to read through it on my Nook like it was any other book and try to critique it as such. Then I’ll rewrite it and I hope to have all this done by the time I (hopefully) leave for Ireland!
As for this blog, I hope to be so much more active! I know in the coming month I have at least 3 book reviews, hopefully more. I also hope to come up with, maybe, some tutorials and such. Sadly, with the distraction of writing and avoiding writing, I haven’t planned out the month yet, so we’ll see how this month goes. 
I’m sorry I disappeared and did horribly last month and please forgive any disorganization this month.  
I did notice a spike in pageviews and a few new followers and to you all I wanted to say welcome and thank you for visiting! Sorry you came in such a strange time. I hope you enjoy it as things get back to normal, and better, in January!
Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? Did you win? Did you have fun? What are you plans for your book in the future?

NaNoWriMo: How I Prepared

We’re about half way through the month, which should mean half way through my novel, right? Haha… right. Anyway! Though this is my first year attempting NaNoWriMo I am in no way new to writing novels/stories. So in preparation (as per the suggestion from le internet), I did my planning at the end of October. I knew my story pretty well, it’d been developing for 6 years, but I wanted to make sure I knew everything about it before November came and I had to actually write it and make it sound good. Today, I thought I’d share with you some of the stuff I did to prepare.

First, I bought a journal. This lovely little journal you’ve seen on my other NaNoWriMo posts is, in fact, my NaNoWriMo planning book! I bought it specifically for this story and for NaNoWriMo. I don’t usually buy spiral bound notebooks, but it seemed the most functional for this month. This little notebook was an ever present accessory for me for the last two weeks of October.
I’m one of those super paranoid egotistical people who thinks
everyone wants to steal my story, hence the burring.
Sorry, except I’m not.
Next, I mapped out the major plot points I wanted in my novel from beginning to end. I also tentatively assigned each a chapter. I’ve certainly changed a lot of the chapter assignments and added a lot from this list of 13! 
Like the fancy swirls I did there to hide the building names?
In my hours of procrastination from my school work, I drew up a map of the main setting of my novel, the school campus! I was really excited about this. I started with little sketches in my journal and suddenly decided I needed a good one as a constant reference point, so I drew it up, as basic as it is, and then got carried away with the watercolours and fancy labeling of each building. I really enjoyed making the map and I’m really glad to have it now, even if I don’t describe the path a character takes to somewhere, I like to know what they’d pass in case anyone should ever ask.
Finally, I decided I needed a cast of characters. I wrote out each name of the main characters with a short bio, physical description, and relation to other characters. I’ve also been adding to this the minor characters I’ve used should I need to spell their name again or should they become strangely important.
I would say I’m one of those writers who likes to let the story take me, so sometimes I’m surprised by the importance of certain characters. Granted I’ve worked on and thought about this story for 6 years, every character has changed drastically since the first imagining and I have to say I’m fairly happy with this one finally.
If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, how did you prepare or did you? If you aren’t how did/do you like to plan and organize projects/papers/etc. in school or at work?