Monthly Archives: November 2014

Keeping What is Left of my Sanity

When I stopped to think just how daunting a task doing 50,000 words in about two weeks would be, I decided I would only aim at 25,000. I had already committed to doing 50,000 words in December, and another 50,000 this month would be a bit much. I’m not sure my sanity would survive.

It’s not as if I don’t already know I can do it. Two wins has proven that I can. I just don’t like the idea of not finishing what I started. I guess that is why I decided to do it in December. I had committed to writing a novel in a moth this year, and November wasn’t going to be that month. I wasn’t ready to give up that commitment.

Does that mean I’m a quitter? Nope. It means I am willing to accept my limitations. Writing 50,000 words in a month is doable for me. Writing it in less than two weeks is not. This is about losing my inhibitions, not my sanity. I would like to keep at least a small portion of that.

I saw one woman posting about how she is aiming for one million words this month. All by herself. She already has over 750,000. How is that even possible? My mind is officially blown. My sanity would be too, if I tried that. Heck, 100,000 is more than I can handle.

I am not saying my sanity is completely in tack. It isn’t. I doubt anyone who attempts NaNo is completely sane. Fully sane people would know it can’t be done. Those who aren’t completely sane do it anyway.

I’m sorry if I have shattered your ideas of being fully sane. If we were fully sane, why would we become writers? After all, we have characters who talk to us, and insist on us doing thing their way. Our minds go into strange and dark places. Or light places. It depends on what type of novel we are writing. I’m so weird I can’t settle on just one genre. The first one I did for NaNo was a mystery novel. This one will be a sci-fi novel. My short stories tend to be psychological in nature.

We writers have one thing sane people don’t. If someone makes us mad, we can take it out on them in our novels. Those might even be the best scenes we write.

So, pick up a pen, or grab a keyboard and start writing like what is left of your sanity depends on it. Then, take a break. Your characters will be glad you did.

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You Are An Inspiration

Did you know you were an inspiration? Yes, you are! Just ask Lilo Abernathy, author of The Light Who Shines. No, her book wasn’t written during NaNo, but NaNo was an inspiration. She says “I was hesitant about my ability to write. But when I saw that with NaNo regular people were writing a book in a month, I said ‘Hey, I can write a book!’ It gave me the confidence to go forward.”
Yes, that’s us. Regular people. You don’t have to be Superman or Wonder Woman to write a book in a month. You just have to be persistent. You have to be willing to give up a social life. You have to write, write, and write some more. You have to write until your fingers hurt. You have to write until you can no longer stay awake. You have to write until you can’t write anymore.
What does all of this get you? Well, it gave Ms. Abernathy the confidence to write a novel which is going to be a Kindle Daily Deal on Amazon tomorrow, the 20th. You might not get to have a Kindle Daily Deal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t reach your potential. You just have to believe in yourself. That is one of the main goals of NaNo – to give you the confidence to take that first step and then another, and another, and another, until you have done what you set out to do. You might even find that you can do more than you ever imagined.
I haved decided I am starting today and seeing how far I can get in my novel by the end of the month. Whatever it is, it will be that much more than I had at the beginning of the month. Will I win NaNo for the third year? I don’t know, but I will still be a winner. Why? Because I tried. So many people are afraid to try. They are afraid of failing.
Thomas Edison failed 1000 times before inventing the light bulb. It might take 1000 submissions before someone finally accepts something you wrote. You might publish it yourself. Just don’t give up. As my grandfather used to say “Old I can’t never could do nothing.” My grandfather was a smart man.
Do people think you’re nuts? Great. You have to be nuts to try something like this. People who are not a little nuts are boring. I don’t want to be boring, do you?
So, what do you say? Can I do it? Feel free to cheer me on. I will be happy to return the favor.

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The Story Goes Where It May

NaNo. The very thought is mind-boggling. I mean, 50,000 words? In 30 days? Who am I kidding?
These were the thoughts that went through my mind the first time I did it. Now, I think, 50,000 words. I can so do that. Piece of cake.
Of course, it isn’t. 50,000 words is a lot. I thought about just aiming for a lower number the first time I did it. I’m glad I didn’t. The success was invigorating.
Now, I look forward to NaNo. Yes, I still wonder what I am getting myself into the first day but, then, I settle in and just write. It took a while to get to the point that the editor in my head didn’t pop in every sentence or two. She still shows up. My muse just runs her off.
My muse has a mind of her own. She makes my story run off in directions I didn’t intend for it to go. Last year, for instance, I had about five extra murders that were committed. My MC was devastated. Especially when I killed off a whole family.
I was dreading that scene. I knew it would be emotional. I didn’t even realize how emotional. I took off a couple of days before writing it. I was drained when it was over.
Are there any scenes in your story that are like that? Do you dread writing certain parts of it? I was told this scene would be cathartic. It wasn’t. It was just hard.
Don’t let the parts of the story that scare you stop you from writing. They may be the best parts of your novel. I know this scene changed the MC completely. It is interesting to think how she will change by the time I finish the next novel in the series.
Does every story have the potential for a series? No. But a police procedural does, and that is what I wrote. The one I am writing in December is going to be a series as well. I was planning on it being set in the contemporary world, but it works better as a sci-fi novel, so that is what I am going to write.
Let your story take you wherever it may. A good story is one that has room to grow. You might grow as well. Don’t fight it. You will be glad you didn’t.

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My NaNo Story

I remember my first NaNo. I was sure I wasn’t going to finish, but I was determined I was. Does that make sense? It was true.

My first novel was a mess. It had a bunch of disjointed scenes, a subplot that went nowhere, and three separate endings, with three separate killers. I couldn’t make up my mind. But it was 50,000 words. Success! I did it.

The next year, I was going to write another novel, but had to back out at the last minute. Last year was my second time to do NaNo.

I decided to redo the novel from the first year. Did I feel like I was cheating? Yes, but under NaNo rules, I wasn’t. I could do a previous project, as long as it was completely new. There was very little from the second version that would be recognizable from the first. I had several more murders. I gave my MC a brother, and he had a subplot that worked. I knew whodunit from the beginning. It was coherent. It made sense. When I finished, I felt as if I had written an actual novel.

Over the past year, I have made various changes to it. I still have several more to go. I have a plot mistake that will take me rewriting about half a chapter to fix. I decided to take out my belly dancing class and put it in the novel I am writing next month instead. I am replacing it with a yoga class. I have an idea for a subplot 3 or 4 books into the future, which I want to lay down a bit of the groundwork for in this novel. I hope to finish this draft by the end of January or February.

Once I get that far, I intend to send my baby off to Createspace, where I will order a few proof copies. Those, I will send to the people who agreed to give me some feedback before I write my final draft. Hopefully, it will just involve some polishing. Even if it doesn’t, I intend to have it published before next year’s NaNo.

It is good to have a goal. Do you intend to publish your NaNo novel at some point in the future, or is it just to prove to yourself you can do it? Do you have another goal entirely? Whatever it is, you can do it. I know you can.

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Halfway There

How is everyone doing? Have you reached the halfway mark yet? Does it feel like you will never finish?

Although I’m doing my novel in December this year, I know the feeling of getting halfway there and feeling a high and then a low, as I realize I’m only halfway there. Don’t let that low get you down too long. Remember, you’re halfway there! And if you’re behind, you still have plenty of time to catch up.

One thing to remember about NaNo – there are no losers. Just trying makes you a winner.

I was down about not being an official winner this year, so I printed out my certificate from the first time I won, three years ago. It’s going to be reminding me I’m a winner from now on. I will look at it and get inspiration throughout the month of December. Don’t have one to print out? Don’t worry. You’re still a winner. You’re a NaNoer aren’t you?

If you need something to remind you you’re a winner, and you don’t have a certificate, just get out a sheet of paper and print, in giant letters I’M A WINNER! Then hang it up where you can’t help but see it.

Remember, I’m rooting for you. You can do it. I know you can. You know it, too.

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Story Woes

Tomorrow, I intend to tie the scenes together that I have already written before going on with my short story. It is proving too confusing to do it any other way. Does this happen to anyone else? I need to continue. This may be the only way.

I want to get into a writing habit before starting on my novel in December. It will be a lot easier. Also, I have already recruited a few people to do a December NaNo with me. So, I won’t be alone.

Because of that, I will probably be doing this blog in December, as well. You guys don’t mind if I keep writing it this month, do you? I need something to motivate me to finish my short story. I have only been working on it three years. No joke.

My cousin wants to read this short story, if I ever get it finished. By now, she probably has doubts I ever will. I could use some encouragement, if anyone wants to give me some.

Good luck on your writing this month. I’ll be here to cheer you on.

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A Change in Plan

I’m afraid I’m suffering from depression this month, so my NaNo month will be December. I won’t be an “official” winner but, maybe, I can be an “unofficial” one. Anyway, the rest of this month I am going to spend finishing the short story I am writing, which is turning into a novella. I might do a little more planning on my novel for next month.

Am I cheating if I buy myself a NaNo shirt that isn’t a winner’s shirt and say I deserve it for writing a novel this year? I will write that novel. I promise.

I have an appointment with my depression doctor at the beginning of next month, so I should be good for most of the month. I doubt I will do any good at all this month. I refuse to beat myself up over it.

What do you think? Should I still write this blog, since I’m not doing NaNo this month? I’ve been feeling too guilty to write it up until now.

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Zero Words in Two Days

Yikes! Two whole days without writing a word. I am in danger of getting kicked out of NaNo. Not really, but I need a good kick in the rear. Is anyone else guilty of this?

Why is it I always seem to get off to a slow start and still finish? I am a procrastinator. I’m surprised I have always finished November NaNo. The one exception was the time I decided not to do it at all. I will do it this time. I just have to get started.

It’s way too early to give up. I’m not a quitter. My novel might not be the best but, then, when is a first draft ever any good? This is simply a month to get my thoughts and plotline on paper. I can fix it after NaNo. By that time, my mental editor should have had a good vacation.

I guess it’s time to turn into Superwriter and hit that keyboard hard. 50,000 words await.

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I’ve Been Working On A Novel

 

I’ve been working on a novel

All the live-long day.

I’ve been working on a novel

Though I don’t know what to say.

Can’t you hear the keyboard humming?

All the way to morn.

Can’t you hear the wheels a-turning?

A story will be born.

Fingers won’t you type?

Fingers won’t you type?

Fingers won’t you type a lit-tle more?

Fingers won’t you type?

Fingers won’t you type?

Fingers won’t you type a lit-tle more?

Someone’s at their laptop a-typing.

Someone’s at their laptop I know, I know-oh.

Someone’s at their laptop a-typing.

Trying to reach the 5-Oh-Oh. Oh. Oh.

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Are You Behind Yet?

Day 2. Are you still keeping up? I’m not. I haven’t even started yet, due to illness. I’ll start tomorrow. I promise I will. Yeah, I know. That’s what they all say. Well, I haven’t lost a NaNo in November yet, and I don’t intend to start this year. There’s still plenty of time to catch up.

Next year, I intend to publish that first NaNo novel. It will never be perfect. I just have to let it go. Will I publish the one from this year? I don’t know. Probably. Just not next year. But I can’t publish it at all if I don’t get it written. That is why NaNo is so important. It forces me to quit procrastinating and get it written.

Yes, I am putting extra pressure on myself with this blog. That is a lot of words to write that won’t count towards my 50,000 goal. I also have a violin blog I do once a week. I have gotten into the habit of writing once a week on my violin blog, but not on anything else. This month will see if I have the stamina for the daily routine, once I get started.

If you’re in the same boat as me, don’t despair. Illness kept me from writing for the first week or so last year, and I still finished. I haven’t had a year when illness hasn’t gotten in the way at some point.

If you need a motivator, do as I did last year. Buy a “winner” shirt and, if you don’t win, you have to donate it to the local ML at the end of the month. I found out I wasn’t willing to give up that shirt.  I’ll be doing the same thing this year, just as soon as my next check comes in.

Just remember. I’m a winner. You’re a winner. We’re all winners. It doesn’t matter if we do 50,000 words or 500. That is that many more than we had at the beginning of the month. I took a chance. You are taking a chance. Many others are too scared to take the chance. That’s why we are all winners. We are talking that first step. The journey has just begun.

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