NaNoWriMo 2016- LET’S DO THIS

In six-ish hours it’ll officially be NaNoWriMo prep time. For me anyway. Some have been preparing since September 1st, some before that, some may not gear up for a few more weeks. But! No matter when, or how, NaNoWriMo is coming for us all.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for those that don’t know) takes place November 1st-30th. It’s a challenge for writers to complete a novel draft of 50,000 words during those thirty days. Basically, write a book in a month. Boom. Easy, right?

Um…. no.

It is not.

This is my first year participating. While very excited, I’m doing my best to OVER prepare so as to avoid getting overwhelmed. As a result, I’ve gathered some awesome resources. And, lucky you! I’m going to spill it all here, so you can play too!

NaNoWriMo advice, resources, and general help for National Novel Writing Month

Okay!

Let’s start with NaNoWriMo in general.

First, I found this great, probably pretty accurate, representation of what to expect. Our friends at BuzzFeed wrote this up a few years ago. While not SUPER helpful for participants, those who know someone involved may learn a thing or two. I’m planning on sending this to my husband come November 1st. It has some hilarious info and gifs on the stages we writers will experience during NaNoWriMo. Like this gem. Stage one:

 

NaNoWriMo Madness from BuzzFeed

(It is from like… 2012 I think? But still relevant)

 

Next up, some great posts on preparation:

Checklist: 30 Things to do for NaNo Prep

A great list of stuff to do. Everything from plotting to social calendar clearing. Even a handy graphic I may print out and carry around with me. She’s has great visuals with every step. Many of which cracked me right up:

 

Game of Thrones NaNoWriMo funny meme

 7 Strategies for NaNoWriMo Prep

A lovely compact list to help with plotting. I especially like the idea of drawing a map. Fantasy or not, a map of your character’s surrounding and geography can be immensely helpful. Also, thoughtfully choosing a point of view helps a ton. Pick one and stick with it.

The National Novel Writing Month official website

Alrighty. Head over here. Register. Get yourself set up for success. I did. My profile is still a bit bare for the moment, but find me. Add me. Let’s be friends and cheer each other on. I love to hear from readers and writers. And, I love talking and joking and sharing ideas. All that jazz. Sign up!

Now for the juicy stuff.

Once November is here, these will help you stay organized and keep you going.

Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Your 30-Day Cheatsheet

An awesome day-by-day process of where your story should go. Great for the planners (like me) to read through before you outline. Can also be good for the Pantsters*. You crazies can peek at it to keep your plot moving along. Super great list for story construction. Also contains a neat graphic. Woo!

*A “Pantster”, I learned, is a writer who “flies by the seat of their pants” when book writing. For example, they don’t outline and such. Pretty sure I would actually die a death if I tried it. They’re cool and badass and I want to hear their war stories…

NaNoWriMo: The Art of 1667 Words Per Day

Great tips on how to keep your micro-goal of 1667 words per day. That’s all we have to do. One thousand six hundred sixty-seven words. A day. For thirty days. We can do that, right? It’s going to be fine.

If you’re like me, and have momentary panics about achieving even a hundred words a day, this post will really help. Awesome advice, about distractions, momentum, etc… I also loved her idea of changing your font color to a super light gray. To keep from editing as you write. I’m a major culprit (victim?) of that. I’m horrible. Fixing every little problem that shows up when my atrocious first draft crap spews out. I tweak here and there. Bad! No! I’m the worst person to tell you not to do that, because I can’t stop doing it myself. But, DON’T. I’ve actually made a sub-goal for NaNoWriMo. JUST LET THE CRAP FLOW. Don’t edit. This blog made some great suggestions for overcoming that. Awesome.

This Generous Person’s Spreadsheets

If you’re like me, I love to see progress. While I’m usually one for instant gratification, sometimes it’s nice to see steady progress toward my goal day-by-day. Especially if I have thirty days where I have to stay focused and finish. These spreadsheets (all totally and completely free) can really help us keep track of word counts. Which, as we all know, are important to be watching.

The spreadsheet with this link is technically for 2015. But! The post states there will be an updated one for this year posted soon. Hooray!

Also, you can donate to the cause for more spreadsheet goodness. If you’re feeling extra nice, it’s a cool thing you can do.

Write a Novel in a Month (without Losing Your Mind)

This one isn’t NaNoWriMo specific. But, it’s a great resource for reminding you why we write first drafts. It’s got some good stuff on plotting and discovering your story. While the post is sort of an ad for a book about writing a novel in thirty-one days, it still has some great points about first drafting.

I hit up this blog a lot for advice and motivation. So, browse through some other articles. This is where I first read about publishing shorter stories on Amazon. And even though my novellas are longer than what is suggested, I found that I loved writing shorter fiction. It taught me a lot and I’ll keep doing it. My point? You never know where you’re going to find inspiration, or have an “ah ha!” moment. So poke around. Read a little about what you don’t think will interest you. You’ll be surprised. This applies to ANY blog, of course.

To conclude…

NaNoWriMo is going to be awesome. I’m really looking forward to it. Even though it’s my first ride on this merry-go-round, these are the things I’m going to keep in mind that you’ll also want to consider:

  • Don’t forget to prep your friends and family. Let them know you’re not going to be as reachable as normal.
  • Guard your writing time. This is one month out of the year when you are going to choose you. You owe it to yourself to write. You love it. You deserve it. For thirty days, say no to the other stuff. Protect the time you’ve set aside for yourself to do what you love.
  • Write through writer’s block. That syndrome doesn’t get to exist in November. My best advice when you think you’ve got it? Pretend you don’t. Write anyway. The point of this exercise is to write. Not to write well. Remember that. Just put words on the page.
  • Don’t edit as you go. Just say no, kids.
  • Try to get enough sleep.
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Have an outline. Set micro-goals. Word counts, page counts, scene completions, whatever. Strategize so you can be successful. And so you don’t get overwhelmed. (As a side note, this point may be lost on the Pantsters. I don’t know how you do it, and I have MAD respect for you dudes that can fly like that. PLEASE tell me how you do it. I think I’d just end up weeping under my desk.)

The point of #NaNoWriMo is to write. Not to write well. Remember that. 

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There you have it! For now, at least. As I find more throughout this crazy writing spree, I’ll update this post. Again, find me on the NaNoWriMo official website so we can hold hands and cry together. I mean… win together.

LET’S DO THIS!

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Throwback Thursday 2.25.16

This was part of a 30 day letter writing challenge I did on a blog I used to have. On July 18th 2010 I was to write to a stranger. This is what I said:

Hello, Stranger:

I’m not really sure what to say to you. Being as I don’t know you, I have no idea as to your interests. I could tell you about myself. Although, I’m not sure what good that’ll do you. I’m not sure what good that will do me either. 

What do you believe in? For you, what’s worth fighting for? I’m always intrigued by other’s ideas and notions. What’s most important to a person teaches me far more than “what do you do for a living?” Quite often our occupation is what’s there, not who we are. 

I work in retail. It’s not what I “do”. It’s what I tolerate so I can have food and a car. See? You didn’t learn much about me there, did you? Oh well. It’s not as though you’re going to write back. 

Do you believe in Destiny, Stranger? I do. I’m not really sure how it’s helping me, but I believe in it. I wish on stars, too. Although, lately, I’ve only stared at them. No wishing. I’m trying to give up wishing. It’s no good. Every dandelion, first star, 11:11, necklace chain and penny in a fountain wish has proved false. I never expected the wish to magically materialize before my eyes. I only thought that maybe putting that hopeful energy into the world would make things a little lighter. 

But, alas, it did nothing.

Interesting how one can say things to a stranger and feel alright with it. I don’t know if you’re even listening. Doesn’t really matter, though, does it?

Goodbye, Stranger. Lovely chat.

Challenge Day 10

Hey! We made it!

Honestly, I’m a little sorry to close out this challenge. A longer challenge is in order for next time. If there’s any extraordinary challenges you know of, drop me a line. Now! On to the final day…

10. Would you rather sing every word you speak or always speak in rhymes?

This may come as a surprise to those who know me personally, but I would choose to speak in rhymes.

I’m a vocalist. For reals. I sing many songs, I’ve been in several musicals, and I’m in a “band” (I use quotes because there’s only the two of us, but trust me THAT’S ENOUGH. We friggin’ rock.) However, singing everything would get really annoying really fast for those in my life. My tiny dog howls when you sing too loud. So, if I got mad at him and were to sing loudly at him for leaving me a surprise (translation: poops) he’s just going to howl back. What good is that going to do anyone? Also, I’m pretty sure the boyfriend would leave me for a non-singing writer.

If I spoke in rhymes though, I’d sound like a super mysterious sorceress. People would come from far away lands to hear me cast my spells. (Or burn me at stake, whatever)

Also, I could probably make a fortune selling books in the style of Dr. Seuss.

Thanks for challenging with me!

Challenge Day 9

9. Would you rather have to sit all day or stand all day?

Aw, man… I’m afraid I’d have to say sit.

Because I’m lazy like that.

Really, though standing is fine, but walking is better. Just standing gets so… boring.  I don’t think I ever really just stand. I’m fidgeting, or pacing, or wriggling around in some way. At least sitting, my feet don’t hurt…

Challenge Day 8

8. Would you rather go without the internet or a car for a month?

Buh-bye car!

I love my car. She’s super cute, and totally “gets me”. Her name the The Money Penny (y’know… like James Bond) and she’s orange-ish red and wonderful.

HOWEVER. I hate driving. For me, driving is a oneway ticket to Anxiety-land. I just panic so fast. Ah! I don’t even drive on freeways because I get too freaked out.

The internet though, is my best friend. There’s just so much information to get my hands on! I don’t think I could function without accessing the internet to find out what I need to find out. It’s all there. I can’t write without the web, I can’t talk to people without the web, I can’t breathe without the web… you get the idea.

Challenge Day 7

7. Would you rather only be able to whisper or only be able to shout everything?

Whisper. All the way. My voice naturally projects (I get it from my mother) and people are always telling me to quiet down. I don’t even mean to be loud. It’s a tad annoying. So… whisper. I would guess only being able to yell would be the equivalent of always typing in caps. People are just going to assume you’re mad. I’d rather not, thank you.

Challenge Day 6

6. Would you rather have a rewind button in your life or a pause button in your life?

Man, oh man. A pause button. And, I’ll tell you why…

I think a rewind button is just too dangerous. In my opinion time travel is just not taken seriously enough. Every move you or I make directly and indirectly affects people lives. If I do something I regret (or don’t regret, for that matter) it causes a ripple that goes on forever; and I truly feel like that’s enough. I certainly don’t deserve the power to go back and try again. Once is more than enough. Every little thing we do goes on and on and on. If I go back and change ANYTHING, I may accidentally change EVERYTHING. Too big a risk. No thank you. Just a big ol’ bowl of nope.

Pausing however is more than welcome. For instance, if I’m in a heated discussion and I need the perfect thing to say… You bet your bottom I’m going to hit my pause button, think, then respond. It would give me the chance to be diplomatic, tactic, and clear. It would be nice to have the “best response ever” to someone when I need it, not two hours later.

Also, wouldn’t it be nice to pause your life when you see a disaster about to happen so you can fix it? (eg: Once I saw a dog running across a street and a truck was coming, and I couldn’t stop the dog, and it was tragic, and I’ll never in all my life forget that day) A pause button could be handy…