Category Archives: NaNoWriMo

Mini-NaNoWriMo…#SummerWritingChallenge, #WordCounts

As the Secretary of my chapter’s local RWA, I’m always thinking of ways I can help get the writers in my group motivated. Okay…let’s be honest: I’m always thinking of ways I can get myself motivated to write and I just use them as the excuse!

I write every day. I’ve mentioned that ad nauseum in this blog. But just because I write every day it doesn’t’ mean I wake up every morning with happy butterflies swarming around me and snow-white unicorns frolicking in the living room, thrilled to start the day’s writing session, my brain filled with award winning ideas and storylines. There are mornings ( a lot of them, truth be told) where I am just brain-fart dead and thinking of what to write makes me queasy.

So…in an attempt to get myself to finish the two books I have due, I’ve promoted a summer Mini-NaNoWriMo session with my NHRWA chaptermates.

I mustn’t be the only one who needs a fire lit under them during the summer days because a whole passel of them are writing along with me.

The rules are a little different from the month-long NaNoWriMo of November. We have 2 weeks – not 30 days; we can set a daily word count, a weekly one, or a total two-week count of any choosing, not the standard 50,000 words dictated by the NaNo-Gods. There is no official website to track progress, just a little ole’ Google.doc where I’m keeping track of everyone’s counts.

Easy peasy. No pressure.

I’ve got motivational memes lined up, words of writing inspiration and motivation saved in a NaNo folder, and I’m going to have little writing sprint sessions throughout the days to pushpushpush, I mean, HELP, my fellow writers. And ultimately myself!

My goal is my standard 2500 words per day, so after 14 days I should have………….(sorry, math isn’t my thing) 35,000 words. We’ll see how that goes.

Pray for me!

When I’m not trying to motivate myself and others you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

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Winner! Whiner?

Strange blog post title, right? Well, maybe not.

So, November is a memory, but not the November challenge of NaNoWrimo. You’ve – hopefully – gotten your winner banner, letting one and all know you managed to eek out that 50,000 word minimum for the month, and maybe even a little more ( like me!) and now you’re internally debating the next step.

Dive right into editing? Start to query agents, editors, and publishing houses?  Print out the book and give it to one and all of your supportive peeps to read and review and critique?

Well, I hate to give advice because I hate to receive it, but….

Let’s sit back for a second and think this through.

You’ve just spent 30 arduous days giving literary birth to your new baby. A quick pregnancy in potential plotting ( if you’re a plotter) and then 30 continuous days of delivering it into the world. 720 hours, 43,200 minutes, 2,592,000 seconds ( does this remind you of a Broadway show tune?) That’s a lot of time spent in doing one thing, any way you slice and categorize it. The goal of the challenge is to write your story. To get it onto paper or the laptop. Like most writers competing  in the challenge you did not edit along the way. I’m sure your manuscript – like mine – is rife with spelling, grammar, and tense mistakes, not to mention maybe a plot hole or two. Or three. Now is not the time to submit it or allow ANYONE to read and review it.

Now is the time to….sit back for a little bit. Let the manuscript safely stew in your file section. Don’t read it…don’t edit it…don’t start letting the publishing world know it’s available, because it’s not.

I know the excitement of getting the story down – and quickly – is high. Believe me, I know it. But you need to rest your creative brain for a tad and forget some of the words you wrote. Then, when sufficient time has passed – and that can be two days, two weeks, or even a month ( like AFTER the holidays!), you can open it from the file and start to read it with fresh eyes. Eyes that will see all those mistakes, plot holes, and character problems. Those setting mixups and description errors. You’ll be able to SEE you gave your heroine green eyes in chapter one and then realize the hero described them as brown in chapter four. You’ll be able to SEE the motivation you gave your killer to kill was the same internal struggle you gave your hero to. You’ll SEE the escape plan you concocted in chapter 6 is pretty much impossible if you’re penning a contemporary tale and not one filled with dragons and wizards.

Right now you are high on the fabulousness of what you’ve written. Let it stew a while and you’ll realize it’s still fabulous, but needs work. Namely, editing.

Editing with fresh eyes is the best way to find the problems and think of ways to correct them.

Now, as far as querying – don’t. Not now, and certainly not after the first read through. My last three NaNo written books have been published AFTER they went through extensive edits and rewrites BEFORE I even submitted them. The books I submitted to my publisher were the ones where I removed all the mistakes, fixed the grammar and tense, and idealized the plot and story line. My settings were all consistent, my characters fully formed and possessing the correct hair and eye color throughout the book! And even after they were bought they still needed more editing!!!

Do yourself a favor: have a glass ( or two or…) of wine, sit back and put your feet up on the ottoman. Watch a good romance chick flick or even an action adventure movie. Or both. Relax. Rest. Revive. Then you can review, revise, and rework those wonderful NaNoWriMo pages.

Trust me. You’ll be happy you did.

AND ( here comes a shameless plug and I’m not ashamed in the least) if you want to escape into something funny and read a holiday tale, try A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS, available right now. It’ll take your mind off writing and put it back on reading someone else’s work for a bit.

When I’m not being shameless you can find me here:

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Editors, Life challenges, love, NaNoWriMo, research, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Home stretch…NaNoWrimo, Week 4

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It’s hard to think that November is almost gone already and with it, NaNoWriMo. On November 30th at midnight, not only will the month end – giving us 25 days until Christmas, but for the millions of writers around the world who are participating in this year’s annual event, it means we can all breathe a little easier, take a little break from the laptop ( a very little break!) and see where we are in our current works in progress ( WIP). Hopefully, many of us will have reached that brass ring of 50,000 words ( or more!) and be declared a WINNER by the NaNo team. Many of us will not have reached it, but that doesn’t make us any less a winner. Just devoting yourself to writing something any day is winning in my book.

I happened to make it to the golden number a while ago. Don’t hate me. I knew what I wanted to write, and my life is such that I can devote it to writing for long stretches if I so desire. I did. I realize I am one of the lucky ones who can do this.

But even if I hadn’t reached my goal I would still have considered my efforts winning-worthy. There’s an old saying that it’s not the destination of a journey that is important, it’s the journey itself. I sosososo agree.

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Just attempting to do the NaNoWriMo challenge is empowering. Getting in the habit of committing your words to your laptop everyday fosters that continual need to do so, so that, long after November is a memory, you are still devoting yourself to the thing that gives you such joy, namely, writing.

Take these last 4 days of the challenge and pour your heart and soul into it. Get those emotions, those worlds, those characters, settings, and plots from the depths of your imagination to the confines of the page.

The world needs your book.

And you need to give it to them.

When I’m not participating in NaNoWrimo, you can find me here:

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The benefits of writing sprints….

On my last NaNoWriMo post,  I told you a dirty little secret about how I bribe myself to continue writing when I’m getting tired/bored/unfocused. I give myself little incentives –aka BRIBES — to keep going and then reward myself when I’m done.

Another way I’ve found to keep myself motivated and typing  when I really want to do something else —  like watch a Real Housewives marathon or dive into the new J.D. Robb book on my Kindle — is to do timed writing sprints.

They don’t have to be very long, 15- 30 minutes at the least and 60 at the most ( mainly because there is no way on God’s green earth I can sit still longer than 60 minutes without imploding!) During these timed writing sprints I write as much as I can, knowing that I may have to stop in the middle of a sentence or a thought when my cell phone signals the time is up. I can justify this by knowing that the next time I get set to write I am prepared with what I want to say, how I want to say it, and how to carry the scene/dialogue/plot onward. Plus, this process keeps my body fresh and my mind sharp.

Knowing that my time is limited I can stay focused and set on getting my thoughts down on the page and not worry about spelling, tense, format, etc. I can always go back and fix that later on. The most important thing is getting everything I want to say, SAID, ( or written, in this case) before the time runs out.

If you’re one of those enviable people who can sit for long stretches of time, composing on end, without a break, know first that I hate you, and second, you are blessed! I have too much energy to sit still for long periods, which is why I hate to fly long distances or drive anywhere for more than an  hour before I need a break to stand up, stretch, and realign my body and soul. Writing in timed sprints allows me to do what I have to do – namely, get the words on the page – but also lets my body have a respite from sitting for too long.

Truly, my a** is big enough  – I don’t need to expand it further it by spending hours on end on it.

SO, writing sprints: they’re a good tool to use for NaNoWriMo.

When I’ not sprinting you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

And for a little writing motivation/inspiration, here you go…. from me to you.

nano24

You’re more than welcome!

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Bribery…and why it works so well during NaNoWrimo

So this is a totally ridiculous, narcissistic blog post today. I’m going full honesty here and tell you how I stay motivated to write so much during the NANOWRIMO challenge. Be prepared…you may learn something that clouds your opinion of me forever.

Okay…Taking a huge, cleansing breath…Here goes.

I bribe myself to keep writing.

I know! How awful is that?? I should be writing because I want to, not because I’ll get a reward if I do. The 50,000+ word book SHOULD be the reward. The ONLY reward.

But no, it’s not.

I start off with a mountain of motivation each morning as I sit at my laptop, fingers flying across the keyboard, giving full vent to all the thoughts and scenes and dialogue that have been running through my brain for the previous 8 hours – the time I should be sleeping but, well,  you know. Chronic Insomnia. The brain that never shuts down. That’s me.

Anyhooooo….

I start off like a speeding train and about hour 2-3 I start to get a little fatigued, a little distracted, a little, well, bored. I know I have many more words to write – can feel them jumping out of my fingertips in their efforts to break free from my mind – but I start to wane. To keep myself glued to my chair ( figuratively, folks) I’ve developed little bribery rewards for my diligence. Here are just a few of the things I pamper myself with for my perseverance at the laptop:

  • If I get another 1000 words down, I’ll have a cup of tea and a Peppermint Patty
  • If I finish this chapter I’ll troll thru Amazon and look for new books to read
  • If I hit my 2500 minimum daily word count, I’ll schedule a facial this afternoon
  • If I can get this dialogue perfect in the next 20 minutes, I’ll go get lunch at Panera.
  • If I exceed my daily goal I’ll go shopping for makeup/skin care products/perfume, in other words, I’ll go to Sephora.

See how this works???

And isn’t it ridiculous? I didn’t raise my child to do what’s right in life by bribing her. I would  have never even thought of that. Her father and I taught her to do what is correct simply for the reward of getting it right. We didn’t say, “do you your homework and you’ll get a cookie. Get an A on a report and I’ll take you shopping.” We never even gave cash for good report cards. The end result – the good grades – was its own reward. None other was needed.

Why can’t I, then, as a fully formed and functioning adult, heed that wisdom?

See? I told you your opinion of me would get clouded.

Le sigh….

When I’m not ruminating on my hapless state or bribing myself to go on, you can find me here:

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And if you are in need of it, here’s a little distracting motivation for you to peruse and ponder…nano23

you’re welcome………

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Dialogue, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, love, Lyrical Author, NaNoWriMo, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Commitment

The definition of commitment is:

  • the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, activity, etc.: the company’s commitment to quality.
  • a pledge or undertaking: I cannot make such a commitment at the moment.

It is, in my opinion, a loaded word because you can attach so much to it and extract so much from its meaning.

NaNoWriMo, in my opinion, is the practical exemplification of the word commitment. In order to adequately perform the challenge, you must commit to writing every single day inorder to fulfill the 50,000 word goal at the end of the month. To break it down numerically, you need to have a minimum of 1,667 words written every day for 30 days to hit those 50,000 words . Or by the page, you must have written almost 7 pages per day of 250 words per page.

That’s commitment.

Most of the writers I know are far succeeding that minimum every day, myself included. Well, most days, anyway! Life does intervene.

So, as we move towards the end of the second week of NaNoWriMo, let’s keep committed to the goals of:

  1. writing daily
  2. writing a minimum of 1667 words
  3. writing 6-7 pages minimum of approx. 250 words each
  4. staying focused

And because I am such an avid fan of commitment, here’s a little motivation for you to be so, as well…

nano21

When I’m not committed to NaNoWriMo, you can find me committed here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+

and I’ve also put together a Pinterest motivation/commitment board as well if you need more inspiration ( and by inspiration I mean looking at some pictures of hot guys telling you to write!)

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NaNoWriMo – week 2.

One week down, 3 more to go!! Yowza.

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So, all you NaNoWriMo peeps… how’s it going?
Have you gotten into the habit of writing every day yet? Or are you still struggling with life and finding little bits of time to carve out for you to write?
I’ll admit I’m having a little trouble fitting in as much writing as I’d like right now. I’m away from home, spending time with my daughter, and trying to fit in a little laptop time here and there has been challenging. I’m doing it, but my insomnia – which is active when I sleep in my own bed and rampant when in another – hasn’t actually helped me this round, because I’m so bloody tired at the end of our days, both physically and mentally, and even though I’m not sleeping, I have no where-with-all to do my usual 2-5 am writing sprints. Which truly, sucks,

And I just read that paragraph out loud and realized what a ridiculous whiner I am!!!

Hee Hee.

Writing shouldn’t be a burden…or a chore…or something that needs to get done just to say it was, or get to a finish line. It should be, what it is to me actually: A blessing. First, last, and always.

So grab a cup of whatever your daily poison is, crack your knuckles and flex your fingers, and go forth to…create magic with your words. (HeeHee – you thought I was going to say something else. Admit it!)

Here’s a little funny for today to inspire you:

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For more inspiration and writing tips, check out my NANOWRIMO Pinterest board.

 

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NaNoWriMo…How to make it a habit

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Three days down, 27 to go. So, how are you doing?

In yesterday’s post, I shared with you that I thought the main impetus behind the NANOWRIMO culture was to get writers into the habit of writing every day. I believe that. I live that.  But that got me to thinking, what exactly does it take for something to become a habit? To become so ingrained within your psyche that you don’t even question why you’re doing it, you’re just doing it?

When I was in nursing school (a 175 years ago!!) I remember reading in one of my psychology courses that it takes 7 days to make something a habit and 21 days to break it. That always explained -to me at least- why it was easier to gain weight than to lose it!!  Think about it….

But I digress.

Since I read that first article, lo those many years ago, I’ve actually heard those numbers disputed. At the end of this post I’m going to list a few links you can peruse and decide for yourself what the actual number may be, but suffice it to say, habits don’t form OVERNIGHT. They take time, dedication, and concentration before they are so ingrained in your thought processes that you just do them. Without thinking about what you’re doing or saying, Or even singing.  Like when you hear a song on the radio over and over again ( do people still listen to the radio??? Heehee. I’m old) until you’ve got the words memorized. They become  a part of your unconscious thought processes.

Here’s something that’s fun to do with friends. Don’t even stop to think – just respond the moment you read what I’m about to write. Ready?
Trix are for ????

ChooChoo Charlie was an ?????

It’s fingerlickin’ ???

Between love and madness lies  ????

?????. There is no substitute.

Takes a licking and keeps on ????

How many did you get correct? If you said all, you need to know you’re probably in the majority and not just super smart. Sorry! But the reason you got them all (or most of them!) correct is because you’ve heard these slogans over and over and over and….you get the idea….again. The first rule of advertising is to make sure people remember what you’re selling. How do advertisers accomplish that? By repeating, reminding, and reinforcing the product name or slogan so many times over a course of time that your brain automatically shifts to it the moment you begin to hear the slogan or jingle. The slogan becomes, for lack of a better word, a memory habit. You know what’s going to be said as soon as you hear the first word or so.

Well, the NaNoWriMo challenge is a bit like that. You write every single day, no matter what, no matter where, until you’ve become so used to pushing words out everyday, you continue doing it even after the challenge ends.

Does that make sense to anyone other than me?? I hope so.

So…onward. Keep writing EVERY SINGLE DAY. No matter what, no matter where, no matter what time it is. You’ve got this. 3 days down already. Just keep pushing and moving through.

Here are some articles on making something a habit I found interesting. What I find really interesting is that a few of them dispute one another, but that’s just me!

http://jamesclear.com/new-habit

http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/18-tricks-to-make-new-habits-stick.html

And just because some people may not know all the answers to the above slogans/jingles, here they are:

Trix are for kids. (Breakfast cereal)

ChooChoo Charlie was an engineer. (GoodNPlenty candy song)

It’s finger lickin’ good. ( Kentucky fried chicken slogan)

Between love and madness lies  OBSESSION ( really lousy smelling perfume. My opinion. Don’t hate me.)

PORSCHE.  There is no substitute. (Ridiculously expensive male-menopause car)

Takes a licking and keeps on ticking. ( Timex watch slogan)

And here’s a little eye candy motivation to keep you going strong on the challenge….nanosuperhearos

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NaNoWriMo2016 – day 3

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Another day….another thousand words.

So, how are you feeling this morning? Are your fingers still flying across the laptop? Are the words forming in your head faster than you can get them on the page ( or the screen!)? Are your characters pushing you, speaking to you, compelling you to get their story out to the word?

The beginning of every NaNo challenge is heady. You’ve got all this internal….STUFF… begging to come out, and you allow it to, thankfully. But think about the real reason you’re doing the challenge this year. It isn’t just to get you to finish a manuscript, or help you make a deadline. Those things are great, but NANOWRIMO is much more than that…so, hear me out.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is not simply to get you to write  50,000 words in a month. That’s a big part of it, sure. But the real underlying challenge is to instill in you the HABIT of writing every day. Of making a commitment to yourself to sit down and log in some scheduled, uninterrupted time for you to write.  We are all busy, have challenging lives, kids, dogs, life issues, you fill in the words that make it hard for you to do what you love.

But…NaNo wants you to understand the necessity of making writing every single day the norm, the routine, the matter of practice of your life.

What defines a habit? Webster’s Dictionary states it like this: a habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially something that is hard to give up. See those words, regular  and practice? And the ones that follow them – something that is hard to give up? This is what writing should be to you  – something you can’t give up on or let slide, no matter what.  When you take the time every single day to devote a few minutes or an hour, or several hours, to doing something you love – namely, writing – soon it will become so ingrained in you to do so, that NOT writing isn’t even an option or a thought in your head anymore.

My website tag is WRITING IS MY OXYGEN. And this is the truth. To me, writing every day is as essential and necessary to me as is breathing. If I couldn’t breathe every day, I would surely die. Well, if I don’t write every day, I feel as if I can’t breathe – emotionally, spiritually, and yes, even physically.

I once heard famed and uber-amazeballs author NORA ROBERTS liken writing every day to a muscle. She said (paraphrasing, here) “Writing is like a muscle. If you don’t exercise it, work it, use it frequently, you loose tone and substance. The muscle isn’t as strong, so you’re not as strong. You don’t function as well as you should or can.” That statement resonated with me on such a high level. And really, Nora Roberts should know about being a strong writer – the chick has over 400 books in print! She walks the walk and talks the talk like no other writer out there. It’s obvious she exercises her writing muscles daily.

So, today when you sit down to write, remember how you feel as you put your fingers to the keys. That sense of happiness, of fulfillment, of simple joy you get as you create those words on the page. Remember that feeling of elation. You’ll want to feel it again, and again, and again, and…. every day.

nano3

 

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Nano 11/2

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So, day one has come and gone. How did you do: wordwise, motivation-wise, time management-wise?

Were you able to bang out 3500 words yesterday? 2ooo? 50?

It doesn’t matter how many words.sentences/paragraphs.pages/chapters you did yesterday, BRAVO for starting.

There’s an old adage that reads, a journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. For us NANO’s I’m changing it to, a manuscript in 30 days starts at the first word.

Now, let’s keep it up. Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin to get you, well, stimulated.

nanopix

And if you need motivation and…stimulation of a more verbal kind, check out my NANOWRIMO Pinterest board.

My job here is done for now….. get writing, peeps. More tomorrow!

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