4 Reasons To Do NaNoWriMo You Haven’t Thought Of.

NaNoWriMo is only a week away!! Are you ready? Because I am… not. I’m close. I think. Any who, I decided that along with my post containing NaNoWriMo resources, I’d also jabber on about why I’m choosing to participate in the insanity for the first time. I mean, let’s all admit it, writers are crazy. I know I am. These are the reasons I’m ramping up my crazy factor and why you should consider jumping on the NaNoWriMo train to psycho-ville.

4 Reasons to do NaNoWriMo you haven't thought of

 

1. It’s a chance for a new beginning

In case you didn’t hear, I published a couple new books last month. And while I’m incredibly proud of them, sales didn’t go as I’d hoped. (It never does, really.) I found myself a little more discouraged than expected. Many who PROMISED to buy/review/promote/whatever simply didn’t come through.

It sucked.

So! I’ve taken hold of this raging knife in my heart and yanked it out. Now, the blood is spurting everywhere and staining the carpet. Instead of mopping it up, I’m going to collect it, and pour it into a new manuscript. An AWESOME manuscript. A few reasons for this:

  1. As a writer, the most common piece of advice is “keep writing”. The best way to sell books, is to write the next one. Produce content. Publish more. Give readers something else to love. Yada… yada… yada… While I don’t necessarily write to make me rich, I do require food. I have a husband who insists on eating every day. And, don’t even get me started on student loans! Therefore, I gotta try to make a penny or two. This is where NaNoWriMo comes in. The timing is right for me to take a step back from marketing, and follow the advice of those who have gone before me. WRITE THE NEXT BOOK. So, that’s what I’m going to do.
  2. I actually LIKE writing. It can build my confidence (it can also demolish it to rubble, but that’s another post for another time). Writing can help me feel like I’m not wasting my destiny. It can spur on new ideas for even more books. There’s just a thousand reasons to write, okay? I’m really feeling the call, though. I hear a whisper on the wind saying, “write that story you keep thinking about in the shower…”
  3. I’ve had several ideas for fairytale retellings, and it’s high time I birth them unto the world. One is done (by done, I mean the first draft is finished), and the next is my NaNo project. Hooray!
  4. The final reason to write a new story… it shakes off the rust and reminds me I am a writer. It’s that simple. I am a writer. So, I will write.

 

2. We can try something new!

NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity for me to try some new writing techniques. Since I have a draft deadline, instead of a publishing deadline, I can experiment with new routines, techniques, and what not. Oddly enough, the quick deadline has given me the gift of time.

I think of it like this…

I’m usually writing with a strict timeline of all the following steps:

  • Draft
  • Beta reader
  • Rewrite
  • Rewrite
  • Edit
  • Teaser promo
  • Edit
  • Heavy promo
  • Edit
  • Format
  • Even more promo
  • Final edit
  • More stupid promos
  • Final read-through
  • Giant promo dump all over the internet
  • Submit
  • Wait for Amazon to decide the book’s fate……..
  • Publish!!

For every book it’s been like that. (Mind you, that’s just a bullet list of the basics.) It’s a lot of work and a lot of steps to get the book into the hands of readers. For NaNoWriMo, I only have to accomplish step one. That’s it!

So! Since I only have one thing on the to do list, I can mix it up. I can try a new way of writing. A new approach. Maybe I’ll write in a different room. Maybe I’ll write first thing in the morning, instead of whenever I can squeeze it in. Maybe I won’t write beginning to end. I might start in the middle! The possibilities are endless!!

My point, now that I’ve taken a hundred years, is that I can try to find new ways for myself. I very well may come across something that works amazingly and can implement it into my regular writing routine. That’s the point. I have a chance to better my process. How else do you figure out a better way to do something? You try it out!

Specifically, I’m going to focus on NOT EDITING AS I GO. Write first. Edit later. I’m 100% the worst at this. I can write fast. I can publish fast. But, I edit as I write my first draft. Honestly, for my novellas, it works out okay. But, for a full novel, it will definitely not work okay. I’m not so set in my ways that I don’t see that. For NaNoWriMo however, we’re going to write write write. And edit in December.

 

3. There’s a legit community.

NaNoWriMo has an awesome way of bringing writers together. Our industry is often a solitary one. We sit in our dark rooms, alone with the keyboard. Clattering away in isolation. AND WE LIKE IT THAT WAY.

But! NaNo is different. We sort of become this giant group of cheerleaders. Pep talks, meet-ups, write ins, parties. You name it. We’re in the same boat. We boarded “Ship Insanity” together. So, we enjoy the cruise as friends.

NaNoWriMo has an awesome and helpful writing community
(CLICK TO TWEET!)

It’s awesome. There’s support both online and in person. People helping people. It’s beautiful and wonderful. And, I’m excited to be a part of it. I know, for a fact, I’m going to come away with more than a manuscript draft. I’m going to make legit friends.

I’m going to be a cool kid! Finally!

Honestly, the writing community is one of the best things in the universe. We’re helpful, encouraging, and supportive. I’ve had an amazing experience. Other writers are simply the best. And NaNoWriMo is an opportunity to expand my “personal community”. It’s a great time to meet EVEN MORE awesome writers. I’ll take as many friends as I can get within the writing world. They’ve been an invaluable resource. My success is attributed to the community. And, I can’t wait to grow mine!

 

4. Writing can FINALLY be a priority.

Sometimes, it’s all I can do to kick out 500 words. The day gets away from me, too long of a to do list, stuff comes up, whatever. There are days when it just… doesn’t… happen.

Enter NaNoWriMo! For a month, I get so say, “Sorry, can’t do that. I gotta write!”

I have prepped my family and friends. They know that come November, I’m gone. I’ll be head down, cranking out 1667 words a day. AT LEAST. My goal is at east 2000 a day. Pretty sure my story is going to need more than 50,000 words, so my target is a bit loftier than NaNo “requires”.

My point is, tell yo kids… tell yo wife… November is YOUR time to write. Say no, as often as you can to the other stuff. This is when you get to make writing a priority. It can come first. Not second, or fourth, or umpteenth. First.

As best you can, anyway. Obviously, we all have responsibilities we can’t throw away. But, for NaNoWriMo, we get this legit excuse to move writing closer to the top of our to do list.

I’ve literally told people, “Unfortunately, that’s not going to happen. I’m booked until December.” I’m really excited to immerse myself completely. I’m diving all the way to the bottom of my imagination’s ocean. See you in December everyone! Byeeeeeee

I am seriously looking forward to it just being me and my book. My words. A golden opportunity is lurking within NaNo. An opportunity to write your story. For you. You deserve it. We all do. We deserve the time to write what we need to. And in November, we get it!

So… Are you NaNo-ing??

Because, if you’re a writer, you totally should.

And, most importantly, enjoy the writing.

 

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Authors Who Turned Me into a Reader-Part 1 of Why I Write

Most, if not all, writers start at the same place. As readers. Our love of reading leads us to fulfill our destiny of saying what others cannot. To produce the stories people need. And how did we learn such a career existed? By reading! We started as the readers we now cherish. Certain authors set us on the path. Everyone has their favorites. And these are the beautiful souls that lead me to my journey. The authors who turned me into a reader, and ultimately a writer.

Books writers and readers, Tolkien, Andrews, R.L. Stine, Ann M Martin

We’re going to do this as chronologically as possible. Becoming a reader starts in childhood. The books we’re read at home. The books our teachers and parents read to us. So journey with me, if you will, to the days of my youth…

P.D. Eastman

Go Dog Go a children's book by P.D. Eastman

Truthfully, this is my mom’s favorite children’s book. She read it to us often. And, while I have no idea why she loves it (I found the dog who didn’t like the other dog’s hat mean, but what did I know? I was just a kid) this book was a staple of my childhood. I knew all the words, all the puppies inside, and all the silly pictures. Entertaining and memorable. This probably started my whole crazy writer life. So… Thanks Mom!

Eastman created a lovely dog world in Go, Dog. Go! Simple. Fun. Relatable. My four year old niece loves it. Her grandma, my mom, reads it to her. Just as she did with me. Hopefully it will instill in her a love of silly stories the way it did for this writer. Who knows? Maybe my niece will grow to be an author herself!

R.L. Stine

Goosebumps Welcome to Dead House by R.L. Stine. A popular scary story for kids.

What kid doesn’t love Goosebumps? I think every child in America gets a solid start with R.L. Stine. Spooky. Creepy. So. Much. Stinking. Fun! I loved every single one. And then he did the Choose Your Own Adventure books! The ones where you pick where you go in the story. Jumping around the entire book. What fun! Ah! I can’t get over what Stine did for me as a kid. I picked up my first Goosebumps in like… 5th grade? (ish.) And let me tell you… I wasn’t thrilled. I thought, “This book looks stupid. No princesses. Why do I care about monsters? These books are for boys!”

What an idiot. I loved the first one, and every single one after. So great! R.L. Stine speaks to kids beautifully. He entertains. Reaching the entire audience of children. Every kid loves his stories. He speaks to them, and their interests. Such a talented writer.

Ann M. Martin

The first Baby-sitters Club Book a book series for kids by Ann M. Martin

Oh, man. My friends and I LIVED off these books for all of 6th grade. At least. Actually it started in 4th grade. Maybe even sooner. We read these books furiously. Every single one. All the spin-offs. We watched the TV show and the movie. A great time was had and this book series was responsible for so much of it.

Martin creates fun stories, that deal with what kids deal with. Friendship dynamics, step-parents, diabetes… Her stories aren’t traumatic, but they don’t graze over real-life stuff. Growing up, I was totally a Kristy (kind of bossy, resourceful, ambitious) and my best friend was a complete Claudia (artistic, free-spirited, innovative). Parts of our personalities had the potential to put our friendship at risk. But! I fully believe this book series showed us that different personalities can thrive together. Everyone is important. We embraced who were were, just like the girls in Baby-sitters Club did. Ann M. Martin just gives me all the good feelings.

Yoshiko Uchida

Journey to Topaz, the story of Japanese Interment Camps, a children's book by Yoshiko Uchida

I read Journey to Topaz three times between 6th grade and 7th grade. I LOVE this book. The subject matter is deep and painful, but Uchida tells it with hope and beauty. A terrible mark on America’s history, this story made me think. Feel. I think that’s why I kept going back to it. It made me feel. It showed me something ugly, but taught me that people are strong.

I think this was the first book I read that invoked true emotion through writing. Oh! The Feelings!! Conflict. Sadness. Confusion. Injustice. But also hope. Strength. Tenacity. Ah! Yoshiko Uchida did such a beautiful job with this story. I think I’ll go read it again…

V.C. Andrews

Runaways, part of the Orphans series, by V.C Andrews.

I read this book in 9th grade. CHANGED MY LIFE. V.C. Andrews was a turning point for me. I went from girl who kind of likes to read sometimes to always having a book with me. In my backpack, in my locker, in my purse. I became a reader. A bookworm. And so, SO, happy.

This book may have been a tad mature for me at 14. But! It was so engaging. The story was captivating, driven, suspenseful. Andrews has a way of sucking you in, without mercy. Some of her plots are even predictable, but her storytelling forces you to keep going anyway. This author taught me the power of a book. Of a story.

J.R.R.Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings, fantasy books by J.R.R. Tolkien

No list of authors (if composed by myself) can exclude Tolkien. He is my literary idol. Tolkien took me from reader of whatever, to literature enthusiast. Okay… Story time!

First of all, I honestly thought I was too stupid to read “real” literature. Classics, if you will. I thought I wouldn’t understand them. That they’d be over my head. Vocabulary would be too difficult. Themes wouldn’t be exciting. Blah blah blah. People discouraged me from reading things like this. They said, “it’s probably too hard for you and boring.”

THEY WERE 100% WRONG.

I love classics. You don’t have to be a genius to get them. Or love them. They’re all beautiful and wonderful and if anybody tells you differently you send them to me. I’ll take care of it. >insert chosen angry threat here<

Second, and this is a little shameful, I saw the first movie BEFORE I read any of the books. I hate myself for it, but… that’s just how my life played out. Any who, after seeing the movie Fellowship of the Ring I dashed out and bought ALL the books. I now own Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, The Simarillion, The Book of Lost Tales… Even some theory and language books on Tolkien’s world. Read ’em all. Love ’em all.

Tolkien opened up a doorway for me. Not just for classic literature, but for fantasy as well. A deep love of high fantasy grew quickly. Which led me to science fiction. Which led me to write. My first book is science fiction. Had I not ventured into Middle Earth, I never would continued on to create my own worlds. It really is that simple.

He is a true genius and beautiful soul. I owe him my life.

Literally.

There was a time when I felt all I had was Middle Earth. Those adventures gave me purpose when dealing with a particularly difficult phase of life. I clung to them for strength. I keep them near now… Just in case I need them. Tolkien’s characters were my friends. My family. They still are.

And now I’m a reader who writes. Or a writer who reads. You can pick.

These are the writers who turned me into a reader. They’re the reason I write. Had I not found them, the fire of story telling would never have ignited. I’d be wandering around searching for a destiny. Now, I wander searching for a story.

But, you know what Tolkien says…

Quote by J.R.R. Tolkien author of Lord of the Rings (Not all those who wander are lost)
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Be sure to check back for Part 2 of Why I Write: Authors Who Turned Me into a Writer. More authors to gush about. More books to swoon over… All that jazz. Also, I’d love to hear about the authors who took YOU from “regular person” to reader. What book changed your life and turned you into a fantasy world creature?

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!

Books 1 and 2 Now Available!

image

Delilah says smart things. I love her as a character. She’s insane, but wise. Beautiful, but deadly. She knows who she is and doesn’t apologize.

Get to know Delilah better in Demonic Illusions.

Demonic Impulse (Book 1)

Haunted (Book 2)

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.

Throwback Thursday 2.18.16

Here’s a poem I wrote in 2009 that’s a little emo

Enjoy! (or gag, whichever)

 

The voice on the wind

sings of anguish.

 

Whispering memories.

Echoing heartbreak.

 

 

Speak to me of beauty.

Speak to me of charity.

Speak to me of hope.

 

Things lost upon humanity.

 

An ever growing weed of hate coils

to strangle compassion.

 

Bringing the fall of grace

and the death of mercy.

 

Deliver acceptance.

 

 

Carry with you the hour of awareness

so we may survive the weakness of our pride.

 

Sing to us the song of unity.

 

Only then

can we sing the lullaby of peace.

 

Bowie

I know it seems cliché, but I’m devastated by the passing of the exquisite David Bowie.

I’ve been a fan since I was eight years old.

He’s been an inspiration, role model, and friend. (I didn’t know him personally, wish I did, but I feel like I did. He’s always been there. I needed Space Oddity, Under Pressure, Labyrinth, and others more than once.)

Bowie Quote 1

I used to say if Bowie stopped me on the street and proposed marriage, I’d say yes without question. Now that I’ve married my husband, I’d settle for Bowie and me being super fun BFF’s.

And, one time, this friend of mine mentioned how upset he was when Brad Delp from the band Boston died. He really took it hard. I said, that would probably be my reaction when Bowie finally goes. He told me it would never happen. “Please,” he said, “Bowie is immortal.” And, I think a part of me really believed that. I mean really. While I know that his music, and presence, will live on forever, it still seems unnatural that he’s gone.

Bowie Quote 2

I’ll miss him.

And I will never, ever, forget him.