Monthly Archives: July 2014

The Final (Gasp) Day of Camp

It’s the last day to write this month. Are you jumping for joy, crying, or somewhere in between? Are you making one last push to reach your goal?

 Ready or not, the curtain closes at midnight. Your time will be up. Your time to WRITE will be up. You still have time. Make the most of it.

I read something today that said readers were more intelligent than non-readers. What about us writers? We must be the most intelligent of all.

So, share your intelligence with those who are yearning for it. Make that a goal. It doesn’t matter if you finish by midnight, or six months from now. Finish. Share. I’m not saying to give it away for free. Just don’t keep it all to yourself. Someone out there is waiting for what you write. Don’t disappoint them.

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Two Days Left

Only one more day after today. Are you ready? Are you excited? Have you had fun?

It doesn’t have to end, you know. You can pretend that every month is NaNo month. Set yourself a goal each month. It doesn’t need to be 50,000. Make it whatever you want. If you want to take a little time off, that’s fine too.

This month has been about confidence building, for me. For you, it may have been about something else. Getting you over a hump. Tackle that editing project. Win a bet. Whatever it is about, pat yourself on the back. You have done well.

When the end of the month gets here, put your feet up and relax, even if it is only for five minutes. Fill your glass with tea, wine, a big shake, or whatever else you want and reflect on the past month.

Put that on your calendar. “When I finish this month, I’m going to put my feet up with a refreshing drink. I’m going to enjoy.”

Just a couple of days, and you’re there.

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Are You Freaking Out?

Three days to go. How are you doing? Have you freaked yet?

If you have, it’s okay. We all freak out every once in a while. It’s called being human. You don’t give that up to be a writer. We writers might freak out more than the average Joe or Jane. We have too good of an imagination.

Okay, so take a deep breath. Hold it. Slowly release it. Feel the breath as it enters your body, and exits again. Relax. Do it again.

Sometimes, it is necessary to take a few seconds, or even longer, to relax. Panicky writers don’t do as well as others. They also don’t keep writing. You want to keep writing, and you want to do it well. Well, don’t you?

Now that you are relaxed, go ahead and write. You will be surprised at how much that little bit of relaxation can help.

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A Million Words to Become a Good Writer

I remember reading somewhere that it took 1,000,000 words written to become a good writer. Don’t ask me where I read it. I can’t remember.

Why 1,000,000? Why not 100,000? Why not half a million? What is so magical about the number one million?

I don’t think there is anything magical about that number. Yes, writing breeds competence, but only if you write competently. If you write garbage, you are only going to get better at writing garbage. “Me want food” is not good writing. Writing stuff like that for a million words won’t make you a better writer. You have to consciously work at getting better to improve.

The biggest thing I get from this is that it takes time and practice to become a good writer. Good writers are not born, they are made. We have to work at our craft to become good writers.

Notice I said “good”. We merely need to try to be the best we can be, not the best Stephen King or Mary Higgens Clark can be. We have to be true to our own writing while doing those million words.

Yes, it takes a while. If we only write the 50,000 words in November every year, it would take us 20 years to reach that million words. But we don’t have to only write in November. Writers don’t have a set time of the year to write and not write at any other time. Sure, set times are good, but we can write anytime we feel the urge. It might not be appropriate to do so, but we can do it. We can even write sitting on the john.

Don’t go telling your significant other I told you to write on the john. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying not to limit yourself. If you want to be a good writer, then write. Don’t let anyone stop you.

 

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Never Give Up

Someone wrote in the forums over at NaNo yesterday, asking if she should give up because she is so far behind. Absolutely not! Never give up.

Are you sure you won’t meet your published goal? Write anyway. You can always revise the goal in your own mind, if it bothers you. I understand it is now too late to revise it over at camp.

So you don’t meet your goal. So what? At least you tried. You will never get anywhere if you don’t try. You may have to try 200 times before you succeed, but don’t give up. Never give up.

I’m not trying to be negative here. I’m just saying you can’t expect to succeed every time. Did you know it took Thomas Edison 1000 failures before he invented the light bulb? Where would we be if he had given up?

So, continue on. You never know when success is just around the corner.

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Keep Writing

As people started validating yesterday, how did it make you feel? Were you excited because you got to validate? Were you bummed because you haven’t reached your goal yet? However you felt, it is okay. You have a right to feel.

Still, don’t be a Negative Nelly. You have done something amazing already this month. Give yourself credit for it. So what if you don’t think you can meet your goal? Keep writing.

People who can’t write will look at you with admiration. Sure, some of them will tell you what a lousy job you have done. There will always be those kind of people. Ignore it. Your writing is not for them. Your writing is for you and those who will appreciate it. If that isn’t them, so be it.

Now go out there and write. And have fun. If you aren’t having fun, fake it. You know you can.

 

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Winning

I sat here anxiously waiting for the clock to turn to midnight, so I could validate. Even though I didn’t write 50,000 words, validating feels good. I think it is my favorite part of NaNo. It isn’t just my novel that is validated, it’s the validation of my identity as a writer. I feel like I have accomplished something.

And I have. And so have you. Whatever we write, we have accomplished something. We are winners, whether we click that validation button or not. I was still a winner the summer I didn’t meet my goal and you will still be a winner if you don’t.

I’m too excited to write much tonight, so I will just leave you with a cheer.

I’m a winner.

You’re a winner.

We’re all winners.

Our readers are all winners,too.

Why are our readers winners? They get to read our masterpieces, of course.

Say it one more time.

(Insert name here) is a winner! Yay!

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Why Write?

What made you want to write?

I have heard that question so many times, and I still don’t have an answer. You see, I don’t remember ever not wanting to write. Who inspired me? Dr. Seuss, I guess.

Surely I am not the only person who can’t remember a time when they didn’t want to write. I think I was born with a pen in my hand and a million stories in my head. I just had to grow enough to start writing them down.

Does that sound like you? Don’t worry. Always wanting to do something isn’t wrong. It just means we knew what we were meant to do from an early age. Most people aren’t that lucky.

I remember when I was in college, I would dream of getting locked in the library overnight. I could go down the aisles and touch books and feel a sense of wonder. I wonder where that has gone.

For a while, I was depressed and didn’t feel anything. I knew I had to write, but I didn’t feel the same excitement. Now that I’m no longer depressed, the excitement is coming back. I find myself dreaming about going to the library.

When did I start feeling this way around books? Again, I can’t remember a time, other than when I was depressed, that I didn’t feel that way about books. There is just something magical about them, and I’m not talking Harry Potter magical. Almost anyone can join in this magic. All it needs is an ability to suspend your disbelief. Even muggles can do that.

The next time someone asks me that, I think I’ll ask them what made them want to breathe? It’s the same thing to me. I could no more not write than not breathe. If I were to cease to write, I would cease to exist. How about you?

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You’re Awesome

Two more days and I can validate. Who else is getting excited about doing this? Is it too early for most? That’s alright. It’s okay if you don’t reach the validating. Just doing what you have is validation that you are a writer. You rock, folks!

Who out there is asking themselves why they did this? You’re a writer, that’s why. You’re a writer among a community of writers. You are a part of something greater than you. You are challenging yourself to achieve greatness. You’re awesome.

Are you still telling yourself you are an awesome writer, like I told you to earlier this month? If you aren’t, do it now. Repeat after me. I am an awesome writer!

And you are. You are awesome for accepting the challenge. You are awesome for attaching butt to chair and typing on that keyboard. Or sitting on that bed, writing with pen and paper. However you write, you are awesome.

My grammar checking program doesn’t like my sentences. I don’t care. I’m going to write them anyway. Why? Because I’m awesome. I’m awesome and so are you.

Are you thinking that you don’t like your writing? Write anyway. Are you thinking that no one else will want to read it? Write anyway. Are you worried that others will find out how lousy a writer you are? Write anyway. You’re better than you think.

Let’s tell the world that we’re awesome. Altogether now. One. Two Three.

I’M AWESOME!

Yes, say it in capital letters. Scream it out. Let the world know you are awesome. You might be surprised at how many already think you are.

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Quinn the Eskimo

The song “Quinn the Eskimo” has been running through my head all day. What can I do when that happens? I have four choices.

1 Sing it out as loud as I can

2 Ignore it

3 Go nuts or

4 Write all about it until it gets tired of me.

I’m a writer, so you know which one I choose. How am I going to write Quinn the Eskimo into a story of a magical tree? Well, why do you think my MC is hearing the tree talk to him and picking a fight with it? Maybe the tree is Quinn. Nah. The tree already has a name. Maybe Quinn the Eskimo will come around offering Frank some relief. Maybe he will hear Quinn talking to him on TV.

There are lots of ways I could go. In this case, the thought of what I could do with him released him from my mind. I didn’t even have to put it on paper. Ah, the joys of a good fantasy. I needed the release.

It wouldn’t have stuck in my storyline anyway. This is the third time I have written the story and I want to get it finished before going off in another direction entirely. That could be another story.

Isn’t it amazing how we can come up with half a dozen story ideas while writing one piece and have a block as soon as we sit down to do them later. I have at least 1,000 ideas that haven’t gone anywhere. They might make a cameo in another story, but they crawl back into a hole and hide until I quit looking for them and move on to the next idea.

I think I hear my MC calling. He is getting tired of holding his dog while standing, with a broken foot, next to a tractor he is about to do the haying with. This should be fun.

Hold on, Frankie, I’m coming!

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