How Was your NaNoWriMo?

Hi Everyone – I’ve been a bit MIA on this blog as of late…and I don’t know why.

It could be because I started a full-time job this fall, and I just don’t feel inspired after a long day of sitting typing at a computer. Also, about mid-November I was sick for like a week with a cold, and that about wasted my November.

On the positive side, though, I have been writing more as of late. I think it all started after watching Outlander one Sunday. I was curious about the books and I went on Diana Gabaldon’s website, and something I read of hers inspired me.

It was what she said about the first book of Outlander. She said she wrote it because she wanted to see if she could write a novel, and Outlander was just a trial, a for-fun novel.

Well, several books later and a successful TV Show and she is still writing. I guess it made me realize that you shouldn’t doubt yourself. It might not be as awful as you think it is, and if it is awful…who cares? It was meant to be a draft, right?

If Diana Gabaldon can do it, well then so can I. Plus, my writing process seems to be a bit similar to hers. I tend to just wing it…I’ll have a rough outline, but otherwise I tend to be at the whim of my characters: “alright, guys, where do you want to go next?”

How was your NaNoWriMo? Any words of wisdom for the rest of us?

(Also, my NaNoWriMo wasn’t all that successful, but I got some more useful scenes written for my novel-in-progress and that’s something!)

NaNoWriMo Day 8 Update: How’s It Going Guys?

Hi Everyone! How’s NaNoWriMo going?

I haven’t got so much of a word count in, but I have been plugging away at 30 days of world building, which I found on this blog here.

Basically you spend each day working on the different aspects of creating your world. So far, I’ve created a climate, created a rough sketch of map, and selected what races will be in my world and how they will interact, etc.

The planning is so detailed and it’s been a lot of fun so far. Some of the stuff I’ve already come up on my own, but before I started doing the exercises I hadn’t even thought as far as climate and how weather (like a bad storm) could help drive a plot point.

Kind of neat! I think tonight I will do my world building exercise, (Economy and Politics!) and get down to some actual writing for once. I tend to not want to sit at my desk, because I sit at one for work all day long, so here I am propped up in bed and it is working so far.

How is everyone doing? How do you keep yourself motivated to keep writing?

Happy Writing Everyone!

NaNoWriMo is less than a month away!!

So, apparently October is Preptober…

and that means that NaNoWriMo is just around the corner!!! (National Novel writing month.)

I have actually never heard of Preptober before, but I think it is something new that started last year. Now, let’s hope this year’s NaNoWriMo goes a lot better than lasts, eh?

Have you signed up for NaNoWriMo yet? Well, what are you waiting for!!

NaNoWriMo: How’d you guys do? Finish a novel?

writing-828911_1920Well, my NaNoWriMo month wasn’t very successful. I honestly didn’t have the time.

Buut…wanted to ask everyone: How did it go?

Since it is no longer November, don’t you think we should have a December novel writing month?  DeCeMoWriMo?

Wait, that doesn’t make much sense…December NaNoWriMo?

Anywho…did you guys get a lot done? Create awesome characters? Type out about 50,000 words of trash? (Hehe!) Trash is still good!

The important thing is, is that you are writing and no one can take that away from you.

Something I ‘scribbled’ in my phone today on the way home from the library tonight:

 

for what I have are words

life’s love song

I hold them like a talisman

close to my heart

 

Hope everyone is having a great night! Happy writing!

NaNoWriMo Days 1-3: How’s It Going?

writing-828911_1920Well, my first few days of NaNoWriMo haven’t been all that successful…I must admit I’m not sure I’ll have the time nor the attention to devote to it this year, but I’m going to try.

Starting a new job soon and I’m in a new location and that makes it even harder to concentrate…but we shall see how it goes. I had hoped tonight I would get more brainstorming done so I can start working on building some sort of Plot Map.

I like the idea of a Plot Map, rather than an outline. Outlines really don’t do that much for me. Not when stories have the potential to branch out in so many different directions.

Plus, with maps you can see the path illustrated in front of you to follow. To me outlines are just a bunch of words on a page and I have a hard time visualizing my story if I were to plot it out that way.

When I say plot map, I’m picturing something like these examples.

Anyway, how are you guys doing with NaNoWriMo this year? How did you brainstorm or prepare for your story?

Will You NaNoWriMo this Month?

Whoa, honestly, where did last month go? Seems like these fall and holiday months always slip right by us, you know? Next thing we know, its middle of February and feels like the cold will never end. Sigh. 
Anyway, I totally forgot that today was the first day of Nanowrimo. I should have been planning and outlining and creating some kind of character list. Last year I worked on a novel that’s been in the works for awhile, and its definitely grown so much since then. And even though I never made my word count goal, that focus I had on that story for a month really paid off. I think I’ll do something similar this year.

Here are some reasons why I think all writers should participate in Nanowrimo at least once in their lives:

The brainstorming possibilities. 

This goes without saying. When you are forced to write a lot in a short amount of time, you have to make a lot of decisions for your characters. This makes you explore possibilities in your story that you might not have thought of before.

You learn how to write a novel.

If this is your first try at writing a novel in the month of November, no worries! There are a lot of first timers out there and they are here to help. You’ll be learning about plot, crafting a beginning, middle and end, and sometimes you’ll learn that some stories start out in the middle. 

If you have questions, remember: you are not alone.

Get online, create an account and feel part of the community of writers. Invite your friends, make some friends and celebrate! This is the month for writers! 

Will you Nanowrimo this year? I’d love to hear about it!

NaNowriMo Update, Days 16-30: There’s a Silver Lining to Everything

I meant to get this post out a few days ago, but I haven’t felt very motivated lately, and sometimes when it comes to it, life tends to get in the way a lot of times.

This is what I go going on tonight. Ohhh, yeaah...

This is what I got going on tonight. Ohhh, yeaah…

I am a lucky gal tonight though; “Mike,” the other half, is cooking us our Thanksgiving dinner…it pays to wait until after the holiday when Turkeys are on sale!  (Plus, we weren’t really home on Thanksgiving anyway as a few of our relatives had delicious dinners that gave me a serious food-baby…eek…I totally didn’t have to eat for like two days after.)

Anyway, that’s my life tonight, back to the NaNoWriMo life, which…didn’t go as planned, of course.

Final Word count: 8,380

I cringe a little bit when I admit this…maybe I should fudge it and say yes, I typed 49,999 words, but I didn’t. And I’m not really a great liar anyway.

I don’t really understand what happened, to be honest. I didn’t mean to give up, I guess I got frustrated with my story and stuck. I realized that I definitely should have done some more world-building, and my characters seemed underdeveloped.

But then I tell myself, well yes, of course, it is a rough draft, and the whole point is development. Which brings me to the other thing.

I realized I have a tendency to hold back when it comes to my writing. Instead of writing out that fluff, stretching that idea, going there, I pull back and seem to think: well, what if it turns out awful? What if it really IS as corny as it sounds?

It’s that same old Writer’s Fear again, and it is crippling me. Every year because of the winter blues I do go through a period where I feel uninspired, but it’s not just that. I want my voice back, that writing environment where I was open and free to say what I want and to learn what I can. This is definitely also why I think an MFA degree would be beneficial to me.

Anyway, I don’t want to be completely bummed about this recent failure. Not everyone is successful at NaNoWriMo, and it definitely has taught me some new things this time around.

First things first: It’s okay that you don’t know where the story is going to go.

That’s really the whole point of a first draft, really. To explore, figure out what works and what doesn’t.

Creating some kind of outline is beneficial. Especially for NaNoWriMo. It’s great to have a set plan when you plan to write a lot in a short period of time. Then you don’t waste time wondering what the heck you are supposed to be doing next, and why isn’t this character doing what he/she is told?!

Writing is supposed to be fun. Sometimes it is difficult to remember that when it starts to feel like a chore. I will have to find new ways to motivate myself. Perks, snacks, music. I have Pandora on ALL the time. Music is a great inspiration.

And, Don’t be afraid to write what you want. Write from the heart. Write that fluff, that cheesy, cliché, Oh-my-God-he-gasped-in-surprise type of writing.

Write what makes you happy and then build from there. There’s that expression: dance like nobody’s watching. I need to write like nobody is watching, or potentially reading. In the end, it is MY story. I can make it how I want it to be.

Well, that’s it for me. I am going to go and try to write that fluff I was talking about. Odd how writing is really a reflection of the person behind the helm. My whole life I’ve struggled with self-worth and feeling good enough for myself. So, naturally, it would make sense that I would have problems with that in my writing, too.

But, I am a strong, confident, business/writing women, and I can go and conquer the world! (If I so desire).

Hope everyone is having a great night! Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo Update, Days 10-16: Keep Writing and Work the Problem

Word Count: 7,132

Does any of that word count make sense? Not a clue.

Will I make my goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month? Probably not.

Did I learn something about my story, myself, and my characters? Yes I did!

spy8Working the problem…

About 5,000 words in, I ran into a snag. My characters were bored. I was bored, this was not the direction that I wanted to go in. So I did something odd, I jumped back to the beginning. I changed a POV, and then suddenly: viola! I’ve got a snarky character, a new perspective, and the idea that my story really is going somewhere…I just go lost somewhere along the way.

Even though something wasn’t going my way, I found that it doesn’t solve anything if you give up. Instead, you work the problem. You ask yourself questions:

  • What can I do differently?
  • What don’t I like here?
  • What can I change?
  • Is it the character?

Remember to ask yourself positive questions, and not place blame. It sounds odd, (and I learned this from a friend,) but if you ask yourself questions that are positively phrased like: what can I do differently? Instead of: what did I do wrong? It tends to work a lot better.

Don’t wallow in failure, be your own positive motivator when you work the problem!

Another thing that I found helpful when I found myself stuck and not sure where to go: I started writing from a different area of the story. Sometimes if you are writing in the beginning of the story, and something isn’t working out your way, skip to the middle.

Who said that a writer had to write all their scenes in consecutive order? Sometimes a change of the writer’s  perspective is all you need to get your story where it needs to go. It might help you see the bigger picture.

Also, lastly, and the most important thing: Keep Writing!

Even though sometimes the going gets tough, I’ll never be able to perfect my work, if I don’t keep working at the rough drafts to get me there.

(Even J.K. Rowling didn’t write her final draft for Harry Potter from the get go.) 😛

Eh, I suppose I better stop yammering, and get back to working. Hope everyone has a great week! Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo Days 7, 8 & 9: Now I Know Why Some Writers Use Outlines

Word Count: 6,005

Saturday was not as productive as it should have been. Sunday, I managed to write about 2,000 words, but most of those words are garbage, and I’ll say it again: now I know why some writers use outlines.

I usually write some kind of  rough outline, but sometimes it doesn’t really help me either. If I can’t see the scene I am writing…an outline becomes pointless.

My story is rapidly on its way to going no where…I imagine this is the natural order of things. You write, you change direction, you realize suddenly that the twenty pages that you just spent the last two hours on, perhaps isn’t the right way to go with the story.

And then you begin again.

Wow. Can I just throw this out there: I do not like this.

Seeing the crap that I’ve written makes me doubt myself and suddenly I think my whole story is one big cliche, and who would read this anyway, unless I were to add some kind of steamy sex scenes?

Okay, no sex scenes. At least…not here. Yet. Who Knows. But still…how do you guys move on from the crap, and get to writing the good stuff?

Such a common misconception among writers: One, that everyone automatically knows how to write a novel, and two, it’s going to be awesome from the first draft because of course, its supposed to be.

No.

Just…

No.

Part of me is embarrassed to admit that I don’t really know what the hell that I’m doing, and then a part of me finds comfort in the fact that Stephen King said that most writers don’t know…and I guess isn’t that the magic of it all?

That we all (eventually I hope) find a process and a way of writing that works best for each of us?

I can only take this as a learning experience, and move on from it.

I said last night to Mike: “What would J.K. Rowling do? How would she write it?” (More often than not that’s become my mantra).

And then he said something to me that made more sense than anything he’s said before to me when it comes to writing: “He said no, babe, how would YOU write it?”

I thought about, and there’s no tension in my story between the characters.

I’ve made the mistake of putting two strangers together, and suddenly they are getting along like they are best friends. Or best acquaintances. What the heck?

Ah, you live and you learn. Now, time to make some people angry! Rah!

How about you guys? Any road blocks along the way?

Happy Writing!

NaNoWriMo Days 4, 5 & 6: Uh, Still Writing?

Word Count: 4,107

Well…totally dropped the ball on my last post. Last night was supposed to be a lovely update with how fantastic I’m doing, and well…life happens sometimes.

It’s difficult balancing writing, work, and other chores that most of us don’t like doing but needs to be done…(laundry, dishes, etc.) Last night was one big trip to the laundromat which was good, because clean clothes are nice…buut, it doesn’t always leave time to do writing, which is bad.

I find that my core time for writing is at night-time, but I work early in the morning, and well…6am comes very fast sometimes. Ugh, Work.

Work.

Which, was awful. As far as Fridays go…yuck! I could practically see the tire marks of everyone’s cars as we pealed out of that parking garage…now I get why people always drive crazy on Fridays. I wonder if people who hate their jobs on top of having a bad day, actually pull their hair out? Like big clumps? Seriously, people. I just want to forget that today happened. At all.

io

Tonight was nice, though. Mike made dinner and we watched Inside Out which I just had to buy the other day. I love this movie. Hmm, maybe I’ll write-up a review of that tomorrow…

Anyway, the point is: Life

How do you manage to juggle work, family, friends, social time and writing? I think I read somewhere that in order to be completely successful in one aspect of your life, you have to give up another. Like someone who becomes work-obsessed…might let social time with friends fall to the way-side.

But, I’m like Joy on Inside Out, who doesn’t want Riley’s memories to fade, I don’t want any aspect of my life to fade. Heck, I could give up housework. I’d be happy with that. Buut, having clean dishes is important, too.

I guess the idea is to sort out your priorities. I think I could give up TV more, and Facebook time. I love keeping up with old college buddies and family on there, but once a day check-up is all I should really need for the time being.

And Youtube…sometimes (too many times), productive hours are taken when the YouTube vidoes suck you in. I know I can gain more time by giving up that.

Hmm…it sure is difficult working on writing when you work full-time hours, and I am forever in awe of those who’ve managed to write a best seller on their down time after work.

More often than not, I feel like sadness, who has that kind of energy?

But, there is a silver lining here, too. I’ve got the weekend! And I look forward to catching up on my writing tomorrow after some rest and relaxation. Oh, sleep would definitely be nice!

Anyway else always feel so drained when Friday comes around? I think its possible I need more Vitamin D and C, and B, and H and L…and yeah. Everything. Back to that grindstone…

How do you guys make time for writing?

Happy Writing everyone!