Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaNowriMo 2012: Week 4 Update & The Joy of Getting Comments


National Novel Writing Month has just completed its 4th week. Today is the 28th and we now only have two day left until we are supposed to be done with our 50,000 words.

For me, 50,000 words is not a complete novel. It's more of a novella. I have never completed a full-length novel, despite having successfully completed NaNoWriMo three times previously. This year, I decided I was going to write a full novel in the month of November, rather than just 50,000 words. I write over 75,000 last year, so I knew it was possible.

My goal was to write a minimum of 85,000 words. I've already done that, so I revised my goal to reach 90,000 words. Then I decided that I might even try for 95,000 words. I've still got two days of writing to go and only a little under 10,000 words left to get there, so it's possible. And I like stretching myself by setting these personal goals that push the boundaries of what I can do each time.

I don't just want to reach 95,000 words; I want to have a completed first draft to my novel. Every previous year, whether I wrote 52,000 words or 75,000 words, I stopped at the end of NaNoWriMo and never picked up the story to continue with it afterward. This year, my goal is to get to a first draft and then I am giving myself three months to finish the first round of edits on it.

Once I've gone through the first round of edits on it, I will start having writing friends do some critiquing for me. And then I will go from there. This story is going to make it to publication eventually, just not until I know it is ready.

As a blogger, comments on the writing I do on my blog mean a lot to me. It's rewarding to know that people are reading what I write and if it helps them or interests them or gives them something to say, it is extra rewarding. I don't know if anyone is reading what I write unless they comment.

As a writer, when I share bits of my creative writing, it is even more important to get comments. I suffer from a common writer-disease called self-doubt. It is more prominent when it comes to my fiction writing. When someone reads some small story or snippet of writing I have shared and tells me they enjoyed it, it literally gives me a happiness boost.

I started out, in the beginning of this year's NaNoWriMo, just posting my daily word count and total word count, at the end of each day's writing, on Facebook. A little ways through the month, I decided that it was a rather boring way to let people know about what I was doing, so I started sharing snippets from each day's writing along with my post about my day's word count.

Today, one of the people on my Facebook friends list, (someone I have known since she was a child who played with my own kids) gave me this comment when I wrote about my goal to finish the novel.

"Do It Becky I LOVE reading your snippet of the got me hooked and I've only been reading little bits!!"
She has never before commented on one of my word count posts, so I had no idea she was even reading them. And her comment has really brightened my day and given me a slight confidence boost for the story I am writing. It's also made me wonder how many others are reading my daily snippets without commenting.

So please, if you enjoy someone's writing, let them know!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - Week 3 Update & Excuses


Week three is over now and we should all be getting much further along in our stories. How is it going? Are you learning more about your characters and how they would react in the different situations you throw them into? (Please, let me know in the comments below.)

I hit the 50,000 word mark on the 15th, and, for me, that was just a little over half-way through my novel. My goal is to complete the first draft of my novel by November 30th. My novel should be somewhere between 85,000 and 95,000 words long when it's complete.

But there's a problem. My writing is slowing down. I'm not bored with my story. I still love the story and the characters, and I'm still excited about where the story is going. But I am bored of writing the story.

In order to fit writing time into my day, I have started writing in a notebook while I am on the two buses I take to get my children to their schools and again on those two buses on my way home. This "school run" happens twice a day. Add in some time walking between schools and walking to and from the bus stops and these trips take me two hours each time. So I spend two hours in the morning taking my kids to school and then going home again, and then I spend another two hours picking them up from school and going home again. If you take out the walking times, I spend about 3 hours a day on buses. And now I spend that time writing.

Not only am I starting to get pain in my hand because it's starting to cramp up from all the writing I am doing, but I miss chatting with the people I have gotten to know on the bus journeys. Add to that the fact that typing up, in the evening, everything I write in notebooks during the day, and my evening becomes mind-numbingly boring.

So I am finding myself making excuses to not write as much. I've already reached the 50,000 NaNoWriMo goal, so it has become one excuse I use, despite the fact that I know it's not enough to complete my book. "I'm tired" is frequent excuse I use, which, though true, is not a good enough reason to write less. The other excuse I use is that I don't have time. I've decided to only allow myself that excuse for the typing part of my writing and not the notebook writing and only if I don't then spend any time watching television or on Facebook, etc. It's only a valid excuse if I really am busy doing doing other necessary things all day.

So what excuses have you come up with during NaNoWriMo for not spending enough time writing? Are they legitimate? I'd love to hear them.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Half Way! #NaNoWriMo


We are halfway through National Novel Writing Month! We are already 15 days into the month with only 15 days to go! Some of you may be less than halfway there with your writing. Some of you may have already reached 25,000 words and are halfway to the goal of 50,000 words and some of you may have already finished. Wherever you are on your NaNoWriMo journey, be proud of yourself for making it this far!

Not everyone is going to win. Not everyone will reach 50,000 words. Although the goal is to reach 50,000 words, reaching 50,000 words is not the point of NaNoWriMo. The truth about why NaNoWriMo is important is that it gets you writing, no matter how much you actually manage to write. It gets you to make an effort to sit your butt down and write more than you were doing before attempting NaNoWriMo. So if you are writing more than you would during a non-NaNo month, take a moment to congratulate yourself.

Let me know in the comments how you are doing and how you feel about NaNoWriMo so far?

I reached over 50,000 words today, but I'm going to continue writing until I finish the story. I'm enjoying the story too much to leave it hanging. I want to know how it ends!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

NaNoWriMo: The Second Week Check-In


It is the end of the second week for those of us participating in National Novel Writing Month. Many writers say that the second week is more difficult than the first. In the first, the writer is excited about the story and full of creative ideas, and by the second week, the writer gets closer to the middle of the story and all of the minutiae of getting from one point in the story to the next. For some, this is when the fire of excitement dims and the writing becomes more of a struggle. All of the advice I have heard to give to writers who are at this point in their writing is to not give up; it will get exciting again if you keep going.

Fortunately, I have not reached a point where I feel a lack of excitement for my story yet. Let's face it, I have been pantsing it (as in "flying by the seat of my pants") from the beginning, so every step in my story is new to me. I didn't create an outline; I didn't even have this story idea until I started writing it on Day 1 of NaNoWriMo.

I am absolutely loving my story so far though, and I have decided to save an interesting snippet of writing from each day during the month of November, so that, when I reach November 30th, I will have a collection of 30 snippets to share with you by December 1st.

Check in:

As of today, I have written 41,677 words in total, which is an average of 2,976 words a day. My expected date to reach 50,000 words is November 16th. If I continue at this pace, by November 30th, I will have written 89,293 words.

How are you doing? Please let me know in the comments how your NaNoWriMo efforts are going. What's your favorite part of NaNoWriMo? What's your least favorite part of NaNoWriMo?

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

One Week Into NaNoWriMo - Check In


Well, we are now seven days into National Novel Writing Month. this is my official check-in and I hope some of you will be willing to check-in by leaving a comment on how you are doing.

Last year, I blew past the 50,000 word count goal within 14 days. this year, I am trying to take it more slowly. Last year, I felt like I was going insane during those two weeks. the pressure to write all the time really started to get to me. this year, I still feel just as crazy, which I didn't think would happen with my slower pace.

I have written 15,385 words so far. I am averaging 2,197 words a day at this moment in time. At this rate, I will reach 50,000 words on November 22nd. If I keep up this pace, I will be at 65,916 words by November 30th. I might try and up that number to reach an even 70,000 words.

Here's a quick (and very unprofessional) synopsis of my story:

Marie is a single mom of four who finds herself helping a couple of guys who fight demons and spirits. She's blown away by meeting these guys and some of the creatures they hunt because it changes how she views her world and how safe she feels she can keep her children. She's not a demon hunter and has never before had any dealings with the paranormal; she's completely ordinary, or so she thinks until strange things start happening, suggesting she might have some inhuman powers of her own.

Please share in the comments about your word count so far and your story. How are you feeling about your progress at the moment? Do you like the story so far or do you already think it's terrible? (I'm caught somewhere between the two.)

Friday, November 2, 2012

#FlashFiveFriday - Generosity

#FlashFiveFriday: Rules and Prompts

#FlashFiveFriday is a weekly flash fiction / flash blogging prompt.


The rules are very simple if you’d like to take part:
1) Write for no longer than five minutes
2) No upper or lower word limits
3) You must write something new
4) You can prepare your post ahead of time but the 5 minute limit still applies
5) If you add your blog post to the weekly linky you must visit five other blogs that week too to show your support

Today's prompt is: Generosity


Generosity is more about the heart than about actions. Yes, it is generous to give to to others. But generosity is more than just that. Generosity is about giving of yourself, being willing to look for the good in others, to find ways of helping that aren't just about money or things.

It's about the spirit inside of you. You can have a miserly spirit that only worries about SELF, your wants, your needs, your likes and dislikes or a generous spirit, willing to spend time helping someone move home, willing to talk to someone who looks like they need cheering up, and willing to give people the benefit of the doubt.

Having a generous spirit helps to feed and enrich your soul. When you look for the positive and spend time doing good, your heart lightens and your outlook becomes brighter.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012!


Today is the beginning of National Novel Writing Month 2012.

Here is what the NaNoWriMo site has to say about their purpose:

National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.

Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.

As you spend November writing, you can draw comfort from the fact that, all around the world, other National Novel Writing Month participants are going through the same joys and sorrows of producing the Great Frantic Novel. Wrimos meet throughout the month to offer encouragement, commiseration, and—when the thing is done—the kind of raucous celebrations that tend to frighten animals and small children.

In 2011, we had 256,618 participants and 36,843 of them crossed the 50K finish line by the midnight deadline, entering into the annals of NaNoWriMo superstardom forever. They started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.

I have participated in NaNoWriMo for three previous years: 2009, 2010 and 2011. I've succeeded at it every year, usually going well over 50,000 words. Last year, I managed over 75,000 words, having reached the first 50,000 words in two weeks. (I wrote a blog post about how to write 50,000 words in 14 days.) I have not yet published a novel, but I have managed to create several short stories from my NaNoWriMo novels which I have been able to enter into competitions (with a only a few alterations to them) and I have even won some of those competitions.

Today, the first day of this year's NaNoWriMo, did not start out well. I have been sick for a couple of days now. Every muscle in my body has been aching and every movement I make hurts. I have a raging headache and a fever. I woke up today to find that my cats had made a huge mess of the litterbox, so my first act of the day was to clean out the very messy cat litterbox. Then my dog, apparently also ill today, had diarrhea all over the hallway floor which I had to clean up and then disinfect the floor. Then one of my sons wrote on my bedroom wall and that had to be cleaned up. Then my 6 year old started complaining that he felt cold. I checked his temperature and he was running a fever.

So basically, today sucked. However, despite all of this, I managed to spend some time this evening writing and I wrote 2,009 words of a new novel. Although I had been determined to plan ahead and outline my novel beforehand this year, I didn't actually decide on which story idea to use for NaNoWriMo until I sat down to write this evening. Now I am so excited about the story that I can't wait to get back to it!

And that, in essence, is what draws me back to NaNoWriMo every year, what keeps me writing my novels: The excitement of writing a new story, of being pulled into a new world that I get to create and meeting new characters who always seem to dictate to me where their story is going to take us.