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Gone Writing – aka November’s Craziness

November is already half gone, and I’m currently in the throes of the kicking-my-butt event known as National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. Even though I’m not meeting the 1,600 word daily goal, I am plugging right along on a work-in-progress tentatively called “The Ones You Love.” So I’ve been a little busy, but I’ll be back soon!

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Camp NaNoWriMo win!

It’s my first time to succeed at the crunch-time writing known as “NaNoWriMo.”  The regular NaNoWriMo exercise occurs in November, National Novel Writing Month, when writers force themselves to produce around 1600 words per day to complete a novel in one month’s time.  The stipulations are looser for “Camp,” which happens in April and July each year, with each person setting an individual goal.  Image

I am exhilarated to boast about surpassing my personal attempt at 30,000 words (+671) for the win!  Our randomly-assigned cabin is not likely to succeed as a group with the deadline looming tomorrow, but we can all celebrate our joint effort at the closing cyber (albeit imaginary) campfire.

The Office of Letters and Light is a nonprofit organization that runs the novel-in-a-month practice and supports a Young Writers Program.  Sponsorship contributions and participant donations fund this wonderful effort.  Congratulations to anyone else who also accomplished a writing goal this month!

So look for my forthcoming novel, Her Own Way, about two young women who spend their first summer of independence in a unique lake community where they learn excitement can also lead to danger.

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And the winner is …

Not me. Insert sad face emoticon. The month of November 2012 was not my NaNoWriMo “win” year.  My National Novel Writing Month effort was not all for nothing, though, because I got much further along in the 30-day long writing stint than last year.  The 2012 work in progress was at 38,371 words at the end of the month.

While it may sit at that number total indefinitely, I am committed to finishing it. The NaNoWriMo exercise is a great way to get those creative juices flowing and make yourself work at a project no matter how much else you have going in your life at the time. Anyone who works full-time at a different job and has any semblance of a life while they try to write on the side knows exactly what I mean. We’re all treading our mental road to hell we’ve paved with good intentions.2012 wife

I’d hoped to make it to 50,000 for the first time, now I’ve committed to finishing and editing this work, and after promising to go easy on myself while writing this post, there’s still a chastising voice in the back of my mind.  It resounds with, “But you said you would …” and “Now I plan to …”  Fill in the blanks.

SONY DSC

photo- phonedog.com

There’s no need to listen to outside critics much when the one permanently stationed inside my brain is loud enough on its own.  That inner-monologue pushes me onward despite its jabs at my self-confidence.  But I’ve powered down the tablet for the time being, and I hope to silence the nagging little mental monster  for a bit.  No matter what I will keep writing.

I want to finish my NaNo ’12 work-in-progress and see it to fruition.  There’s great value in the NaNoWriMo effort, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t done it in the past to step up to your own personal challenge.  Keep it up, indie writers, your resolve to plod along is not in vain.  Good luck to us all in reaching our goals!

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NaNoWriMo 2012 update

My hair is still in place and finger nails aren’t down to stubs yet, but I must admit my interest is waning. It’s always a challenge to aim for a goal that seems so utterly unattainable from the beginning. I’m not usually good at the daily expectation thing either. The National Novel Writing Month project is a good exercise in self-discipline, though. Most of the participants, I dare say, probably wouldn’t be currently writing without this yearly prompt and support of the other writers. One of them is me.

Misery loves company. Regional groups are an excellent motivator, and those writers seem like a very mixed bag in my geographic area – every age, level of experience and any other classification. The commiseration happens at least on a weekly basis, although I haven’t gone to any of the write-ins this year. Some of the more enthusiastic WriMos go for the comradeship while others sit at the periphery tapping violently away at their keyboards. The spiderwebs of power cords link the expanse between die-hard talkers and more diligent typers.

This year enlightened me to similar activities across the world. There’s NaBloPoMo for bloggers and digiwrimo, the no-holds barred electronic conglomeration. Who knew there was so much concerted creativity in the 11th month? While I’m still trying my best, the nagging worry in the back of my conscious mind is the 11th hour. I hope to not be bleary-eyed and scrambling to finish on the 30th. It would be nice to “win” this time around, but it’s only my second attempt at it, and there’s always next year, right? I’m down on my word count but not “down for the count.” We’ll see what happens by the 30th.

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Booking along

Today is the start of the wonderfully tense time called NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month.  It’s my second year of participating, even though I didn’t “win” last time.  That stature is achieved by penning at least 1500 words per day to complete a full-length, 50,000-word novel by the end of the month.  No gold star for me under those stipulations, but there was success in the form of my last novella, Tests of Will.  Fifty-thousand words were not written, but it was a close enough race for me.

Sometimes I write stories that fall into my own favorite genres.  Other times they’re way off from my usual reading fare.  The choice for subject matter boils down to the all-important aspect of writing something I think would be interesting enough to read myself.

I try not to be a book snob, especially in light of my novice status in the writing realm.  My conversations and sometimes even blog posts, are still sprinkled with statements made while looking down my nose at other people’s reading choice.  Shame on me.

The women in my book club are a discriminating bunch, though, and I usually consider their suggestions as the best ones.  And that’s a good thing, right?  They have great taste and are experts, in my opinion, because they all work or have worked within the local library system.  By virtue of an overwhelming exposure to different genres, subjects, and vocal readers, I trust their taste.

I take these reading recommendations seriously, because my time is too valuable to spend on questionable, if not worthless, drivel.  And time is at a premium during November.  Being my wishy-washy self, though, I have to admit it’s all relative.  One person’s chicken is another person’s steak (treasure/junk … whatever).

There’s a story brewing in my head and lots of notes about it in my notebook already.  Let me just say I hope my NaNoWriMo writing this year adds up to a big ol’ delicious whole roasted chicken.  Succulent and savory.  At least for a few discriminating consumers.

And the writing begins.

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Caffeine-fueled finish

We’re down to the last stretch for NaNoWriMo, and I’m coming up seriously lacking.  All is not lost, though, as this was my first year to participate, and I’ve exceeded my personal goal.  It’s been a fun venture shared with a few people online and others face-to-face.

Next will come the editing process, which is hard for indie authors.  I pick every willing person’s brain who will consider reading my work and whose editing ability I consider way above par.  Fortunately, I have several capable friends and family members from whom I can choose.

My subject matter this time comes from an idea that had been ruminating in my mind for a while now.  We live in a very quiet, not-so-well-lit cul de sac that takes your imagination away when you venture to walk through it after dark.  Funny, my silly Labrador Retriever companion doesn’t seem to notice anything out of the ordinary at all.  I take that as a good sign.

So with only a few more nights (technically) to go, I’m drawing my newest writing draft to a close.  I have to celebrate my accomplishment-to-come with another picture of a beautiful white mocha pumpkin latte from Mudhouse in downtown Springfield.

I must also mention the good conversation shared with my ever-creative friend, Sandy.  She has the best idea for a play she intends to write, starting with no less than an upcoming interview of a convicted felon at a maximum security prison.

I’ll take my serene keyboard and the tension of only what’s inside my head over that any day!

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Day 11

If only my imagination were as delicious as my recent pumpkin latte at Hebrews Coffeehouse! I attended a local NaNoWriMo “write-in” last weekend and thought I’d kick things off with a favorite beverage. Alas, no burst of creativity came from that cappuccino offering. So here we are at Day 11 of the wonderful “National Novel Writing Month” of November, with my latest work in progress lingering below 5000 words. It’s not even hovering around 5K … slinking toward it at best.
It’s not for lack of motivation. The dot org offers up lots of tips and words of encouragement to keep your process progressing. Several people are trying the 11/11/11 approach today as well — writing for 11 eleven hours or at least an 11,111 word day. That brass ring of 50,000 words sure seems to be a long time coming.
My lull in work yesterday allowed a stint at hand-writing quite a bit, but now it’s time to type it all out and put some more down. So here’s to all the other busy working parents who are forcing their wordsmithing along this month, too (and many more coffees while we’re at it)!

And I have to give a quick thanks for all the U.S. Veterans who have selflessly served our country!  May you live long and prosper.

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National Novel Writing Month

The countdown is on for a great mass project that starts tomorrow (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en).  NaNoWriMo i’s a wonderful concept, one I imagine a writer gets as much out of as she/he puts into it.  To Do list:

  • Choose a genre: Sci-fi, comedy, drama? Definitely not paranormal romance — that is out! Don’t jump on the vampire/faith-based fiction/zombie love story bandwagon. On second thought, maybe that would be the perfect combo!
  • The characters: Gotta love a strong female. Following the Bechdel test (http://bechdeltest.com/),
    1. It has to have at least two women in it
    2. Who talk to each other
    3. About something besides a man

    Hmmm.

  • Premise: Not too far-fetched, somewhat believable story of a likable enough protagonist named ________ who {add verbs here}.  (Oh no, it’s turning into a Mad Lib!)

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