Saturday, November 16, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 16 - Why We Should Keep Going

Earlier this week I confessed that despite some slight difficulties, the Week Two Blues have basically passed me by. I'm here telling you now that they have come back to haunt me. But here's why I'm not giving up.

I've reached and passed 51,000 words. I've met the NaNoWriMo challenge goal so, despite my personal challenge of 80K, it's seriously tempting to take a day or two off. If I do that though, that means that I probably won't reach my 80K goal. But a much more awful thing could happen. I may not finish my novel.

It's times like these that you have to stick it out. Write what you can. Try your best to keep to that word count goal (whatever it may be) because the moment you let yourself slack, is the moment moving past this difficult phase will become more difficult.

This is the time you might be discourage. This is the moment you may want to give up.

This is the moment it all counts the most.

If you can't get past this stage of noveling, you aren't going to make it because that novel won't ever get finished. So don't give yourself permission to slack off. Yesterday I didn't get the last 800 or so words in. Am I beating myself up for it? No, because I ran out of time. But I'm not letting that slip become the regular for me.

You've got to hold to your guns now more than ever. I have plenty of things vying for my attention: reading, scheduling, t.v., twitter, and commenting on blogs. Lowering my personal expectation will make things harder though.

So don't stop now. Don't lower your goals and expectations.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 14

All right so Week Two isn't completely lost on me. I did have to force myself to start yesterday and again this morning, but always remember that on days like these, you'll most definitely never regret writing. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming.

Now that you've heard me go on about my novel now for a few posts, I'll throw you a limb and let you in on my rough outline which is...well, predicated upon my MC's overall emotional experience.

0-20K - Depression and Isolation

20-40K - Anger

40-60K - Denial and Bargaining

60-80K - Acceptance and Recovery

All of that is subject to change but so far it's going pretty well. Having an emotional outline is pretty helpful as I fly by the seat of my pants. It gives me smaller objectives to meet that eventually lead to my overall resolution; thus giving me any idea of how to get there, even though I don't really have a clue as to what's going to happen that far into the future. There are one or two things but that's about it.

If I could write every novel like this, I think I would. But I think only the life of a contemporary can be created this way. I've actually had some interesting developments I didn't anticipate at all but they made sense when they came to me. You know? It feels like the MC's emotions are easily leading into each other so at this point I'm just seeing where all this anger takes me. All can be fixed later.

In other news, I've realized yet again that I try to mimic my character's faces when I write or read over dialogue sometimes. You know, to just try them out with the words they're associated with? It actually works. I try to do it discreetly but I'm pretty sure I've probably been caught by now....

Current word count: 45,286

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 12

We're two days into Week Two and I'm doing well - not really feeling the Week Two Blues. I just reach 40K earlier today and although my novel's length is a planned 80K, it's exciting to see that 50K isn't far off.

For those of you who don't know, Week Two of NaNoWriMo is famous for being the most discouraging week of the month. Most people are between 15-30K, fighting to get pass that very rough stretch. The story is still new but the enthusiasm is waning and you're starting to realize how much work writing really is. If you're a first timer, you're probably wondering if you love your novel enough to keep writing.

My advice? Keep going. Just keep chugging. Don't feel like writing? Force yourself to. No, your writing will not suck if you make yourself sit at the computer however long it takes to get your words in. The woes of Week Two don't just disappear when Week Three roles around. In my experience, they don't go away until you're at about 30K, which puts you about half way through Week Three.

My second suggestion? Trust your novel. I've asked myself more than once what will happen if I let this or that big thing happen. I can't let it go too soon! Which is right to a point but you have to let the big things happen. You have to let your character feel bad, good, and bad again. It's called conflict. Readers like it. Keeps things interesting. Ask yourself what could sensibly happen to your MC (or someone they love) that would help you complete your objective.

So if you can only think of one thing to write of next. Dive in. Write it. It'll present new ideas and possibilities during or after. It'll come. Deviate from that outline if you must. Add to it. All can be fixed later when you have the entire story laid out before you.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 10

Yesterday was the great NaNoThon and I had a super productive day. I started with my usual 3,000 words written with my awesome twitter writing buddies Teri Brown (@teribrownwrites) and Natalie (@NatReads). After two one hour sessions, we all had or were pretty close to having met our minimum daily goals.

But, as I expressed on Day 8, by the time I had made it a little past 3K, I was in the zone, flying through my novel's brain. Or more accurately, my MC's. So I kept cruising along. I took a break, fed myself, and almost wrote another thousand before heading out to see Thor: The Dark World.

Yes, it was a writing marathon and I definitely could have stayed home for those three hours (we got there early and the previews were almost a half hour). But I decided to reward myself with a movie I've been very excited to see. I'm not kidding guys, I was excited about this movie the moment I heard they were making it. Thor is one my favorite Marvel superheroes. End of story. And he's played by Chris Hemsworth *faint*. And, just so you know, it was amazing. Definitely a  must see, you know, if you like these superhero movies. Asgard was beautiful and the acting was fantastic.

When I got home, I stayed up until almost 11 pm to write 2,151 words, surpassing my special marathon goal of 5K and hitting 6K written in one day. Plus I got to kind of watch Sherlock Holmes at the same time.

So what's my total? 33,005. (I haven't written yet today.)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 9 - Morning

Today is the official NaNoThon (declared by the workers of NaNoWriMo at the Office of Letters and Light). I'll be writing just about all day so I'm hoping for at least 5K if not more. We'll see how well I can focus. The rest of the NaNo universe will also be participating (or a fair portion at least) today and you're welcome to join us, even if you haven't written a single word and sign up today!

For your entertainment, here are a few songs I've been noveling to this past week. If you have any suggestions for a story with a depressed MC, let me know in the comments!



Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 8

As the title suggests, it's day 8 of NaNoWriMo and I've completed my daily word goal and actually came in with an extra 1,037 words.

It only took me a little over 2 hours to get my 3,000 words in. How did I do this? I'll share a secret. But I suppose it isn't much of a secret. @NaNoWordSprints likes to do a lot of 5, 10, and 15 minute word sprints. But I've found that when I'm just opening my scrivener file for the first time in the day, it takes me anywhere from 10-15 minutes to actually focus enough to seriously write.

When I hit the fifteen minute mark, that's when I usually start panicking a bit. "Oh my gosh, how am I going to beat Teri Brown in this sprint if I don't get writing? And fast?" Maybe not those exact words, but that pretty much conveys my thought process for the past few days. At the end of the hour, I've usually hit my stride and, if I'm in a good spot, can keep going. If I'm still kind of hiccupping, a short break can be necessary. But, at the end of the second hour, more often than not, I'm in a good place.

Now, don't get me wrong, there have been those days where I'm like, "Phew! Hit 3,000 words. Hallelujah." Again, that isn't my exact thought but it's pretty close to the relief I feel at having hit that word goal.

My second secret? Long word sprints with people. No, I don't mean sitting next to someone (that has never worked for me). I mean tweeting something like this:
Finding even one person will help you focus even more because then you're really racing. You have someone on the other side writing at the same time and you are in direct communication with them (not via @NaNoWordSpints).

Don't get me wrong @NaNoWordSpints is awesome. It totally saved me back in 2011. But the more I write, the more I become aware of the best ways to help myself succeed.

If you're curious, then my grand total so far is 27,000  words and I was just cruising along. I could write more and I want to. I'm really in the zone. I've infiltrated my novel's brain. But, unfortunately, work calls and I must leave my novel behind for a bit.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Welcome, Readers!

Hey there! People of the interwebs, I am a yet unpublished author in the thick of writing my first contemporary novel. It lacks a name, synopsis, and, yes, outline. Because I'm totally flying by the seat of my pants here, only knowing my main objective and seeing only a few steps in front of me at any given time.

So, you've now entered my world during a time in which I have set a minimum goal 3,000 words a day for the entire month of November because it is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo or NaNo. For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization designed to help people write 50,000 words in the month of November. Winners receive bragging rights, prizes from sponsors, and a cute certificate to print out.

I've been writing novels since before my first NaNoWriMo in 2009, but it wasn't until then that I finally finished my first one. Since then, I've written quite a few. Things have changed over the years, and as long as things go according to plan, I'll be seeking publication this coming year.

As I've discovered (and not to my surprise), the 1,677 pace imposed by the founders of NaNoWriMo is the normal pace of a published author. Therefore, I've decided that since I don't do nearly enough writing during the year, I'll be building a steady habit of 1,677 words every single day.

Now that you know what this blog is about, here's a bit about myself.

I am actually a book blogger over at Chasm of Books, and have been busy building over there this past year. I play piano. I read (obviously). I go to church. I love music (yes, I novel to it too). And I work. That's about it.

I believe that the true test of whether or not you're cold is by checking you nose. If it's cold, then, well that is cold. If not, then you aren't that cold. I know this because I was cold for years. I have the fluffy socks to prove it. There were quite a few sweaters given to me for years. My grandmother (mom's side), always knew what to get me. As it turns out, the key to being warm turns out to be chasing children throughout the day to prevent them from hurting each other or themselves. Mostly themselves (you know, climbing on tables and chairs, standing on slides, etc.).

So now that I've introduced myself, let me know a bit about you and what brought you here!
In the mean time, you can follow this blog on Bloglovin' and keep track of my progress this month here.