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Glaring isn’t it? It makes it look like I am slacking already but REALLY, it’s a reminder of last night’s NaNoNightmare.

As I said, I want to use this NaNo to really focus on getting in the habit of writing every day, which really means every night, for me. I can get in the flow and write a lot better when I do not have juvenile distractions and other duties to perform. I have eagerly looked forward to 9pm (aka: bedtime) every night. Last night, I was somehow waylaid and it was closer to 10 when I got back online. So, I used Write or Die which helps me do fast sprints. 2000 words in 90 mins was my goal and I made it, passed it with time to spare and was typing along when everything disappeared.

The whole computer was off. The screen was black, my headset was silent. I almost passed out. It was raining, and we do tend to get the power blown out sometimes, but no, the rest of the house was still electrified. So, trying not to panic (i.e. “cry”) I got on my hands and knees and checked every freaking plug and wire and yes, the main cord to the tower was wedged loose. But, I still thought all was lost. I  felt like a loser who had just lost over 2000 words and I was mentally kicking myself while watching the computer reboot.

I knew that if I had been on Scrivener, like I was supposed to be, the Autosave function would have saved me (*maybe). And that if I was already a more dedicated writer, writing daily would not be such an issue. I also knew that  it was not an enormous problem; I am still on track and can easily finish at this pace. I was going to chalk it up to Lesson Learned and just take the red mark. I restarted Firefox, planning to just post a sob story about the words that got away. So, I was truly grateful to see Dr. Wicked’s tab open with *My Words* still in that wicked box. 🙂 Oh joy! I thanked the gods, declared my love for Dr. Wicked, and opened Scrivener. I Cut and Paste and Saved and Saved As and checked my word count and…

Seriously, then I could not find the chapters I had written the night before. Now, I was pissed. I like teh way I can organize and split up the document with Scrivener, but I thought somehow when I Split the entire text up, the new pages had been eaten.  I had seen them the night before, neatly filed, but they were gone. So I had the first chapter and what I had written on Write or Die. Fortunately, I did make backup copies, saving it in Rich Text and on open source software, on a flash drive, so I pieced it all back together and finally…

I made it back to the NaNOWriMo site to put in my update, waited…this week is definitely kicking their servers around…and the update saved– at 12:01 am! Seriously. And now, that red box just stares at me, taunting, mocking me. Let it stare. I know that I wrote, and I know that all of those obstacles were just tests, minor setbacks and that I met them all, kept trying, did not lose my shizzle, and I wrote. Tonight I will break 10K and I should be at 15K by Monday. I hope everyone else is having fun and remembering to BACK UP YOUR WORK!

Day One! Hope everyone is having fun so far. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo you are keenly aware of what today signifies. Of course, we are still coming down from a national sugar buzz (actually, I think today is National Eat Candy Day) but for many of us crazy folk, this past weekend/week/month has been all about preparing for “30 Days of Literary Abandon.” Last night, I was watching the time zones count down and I realized that I was somehow set to Pacific time. I wouldn’t have been able to update for 3 hours. Glad I caught it, though I still was on when the West Coast hit midnight. It was like NaNoNewYear’s! So we are all in now, and the fun is only beginning.

So, the good news is, I read over last night’s (this morn’s?) 2000 words and I still like them. I know that a lot of NaNoDieHards say I should not read back or proofread, but um, sorry. If I don’t feed the Inner Editor, she gets mean. I have set myself a daily 2000 word/day goal and I am determined to use NaNo to get into the very good habit of writing every day. I am still writing today, so I will already be ahead. We have to drive to Ohio for Thanksgiving and it would be very nice if I was past 50K by the 25th. Though I do love the rush of the final two day catch up. 🙂

I liked Nicole Humphrey’s idea to taper down the writing so you can end on Day 30 with only 1 Word. When we start NaNo we often have been holding back the writing flow, so it all comes out in a rush. Then we hit Week 2… Some folks write towards 100,000 words which is closer to an actual novel length. [BTW: 50K is pretty short for a novel unless it is middle-grade or some genre paperbacks.] I am not that ambitious this year. But I will win! 😀

I am participating in the NaNoBlogger blog hop and will be visiting every single one of those blogs, at least once! My favorite part of NaNo is the connections we make. I can write alone anytime. So, I welcome visitors, writing buddies and cheerleaders! I am going to blog about NaNo, but not every day. I will be on Twitter for word sprints and pep chats.

I am also using the Beta version of Scrivener for Windows, so I need time to learn that program.  I studied their tutorial and demo last week, but did not write in it until last night. Before midnight, I made an outline, using their cool corkboard feature, and laid out the chapters as I envision them. Then I was ready for Chapter One. So far, I like the program. I have been hearing praises of Scrivener from writers who are Mac people for a while now. I was very excited when I heard they were going to have a Windows version available next year. If you want to test it out during NaNo they have a Beta download. All winners of NaNoWriMo will get 50% off the final version in January, which makes writing 50K worth it, imo. But using the Beta version is fun. I am fastidious about backing up, ever since a nasty incident with a college thesis paper. They want us to report bugs and I will be sending a note about the ‘spelling’ feature they have which is very quirky. I know, I know, I am not supposed to be editing…. It’s a sickness, really.

I leave you with a musical interlude. I love the many other creative projects WriMos produce and this was one of my favorite things last year. Write on, y’all!

I just had to share this link, a guest post on Adventures in Children’s Publishing, because I think it is exactly what all writers need to read. I know I did. I don’t feel much like a writer today, but the way I reacted to this brilliant pep-post tells a different story 🙂 Go on, click it. It’s worth it 🙂

I also want to point out my nifty NaNoWriMo badges over yonder, especially the NaNoBloggers one. I will not be blogging every day, though I am determined to write every day (practice good habits and all that jazz). I will be using this linky thing, though, to connect any posts I make in November to the “Blog Hop” which has a huge list of other NaNoBloggers. It should be fun to check out others’ experiences, and as far as I am concerned that is the main point of NaNo: having fun. The writing too, of course.

I’m actually struggling with what to write this year. I have one of those problems that some people may roll their eyes at: too many ideas. I originally planned on using NaNo this year to try writing a new genre for me…Romance. Don’t snicker, because Romance is one of the greatest traditional forms of literature we have. In fact, most books seem to have some element of romance in them. The popular romances today sell more than any other form of book in our culture. I am not a fan of most formulaic romances, but I love a good historical fiction read (many of which are of course Romance), and have several favorite books which would be considered romance by definition. Besides, if it was good enough for Jane Austen, its good enough for me 🙂

So, I had this idea and it keeps growing in my head. I think it will be fun to write, and I want to expand my skills. I think that trying new genres is a great use of NaNoWriMo. Though I already have some dramatic points sneaking into my outline, I wanted to veer away from moody literary eco-novels and YA drama. I do have some of those on the list though 🙂 I haven’t officially decided yet, and could end up sitting down on November 1st and flying through another story by the seat of my pants.

Now, don’t think that I am suggesting writing romance novels is any easier than writing any other form of book. In fact, I probably will suck at it (this will not  be erotica in any form. That would be embarrassing and stilted). Like I said, I want to practice, so I was thrilled to find out that Harlequin Books (which has romance written all over it-lol) is sponsoring “So You Think You Can Write” a week of writing workshops, blogs, critiques, etc to begin the month of NaNovember. I guess there is also chance at publication involved, but I won’t be going that far. However, I am sure to learn a thing or two which will improve my MC’s love life, as well as my own writing life. There’s also a hashtag for Twitter of course 🙂  #SYTYCW

Yes, November will be busy (along with all of the other life activities, natch!). I am excited about it though. Anyone else who is participating in NaNo is welcome to add me as a writing buddy. I think I can be a good one. And follow me @janflora on Twitter, because I will need chat breaks and love the word sprints. I wonder if anyone else is trying a whole new genre this year? Or has any advice on writing a cool-and-not-too-cheesy romance novel?

Another freakily close to life astrology reading:


You aren’t interested in taking the easy way out today, for you won’t feel good about yourself unless you can meet or exceed other people’s expectations. But don’t get so tied into someone’s assumptions about you that there’s little room left for your self-expression. Ultimately, you’ll find time for everything, including rest and relaxation.

I wish I could say that reading this horror-scope led to a productive writing session, but instead I have thrown most of that self-expression into prepping #2 Son’s b-day celebrations.  I hope they met his 4 yo’s expectations. But I am working on the whole finding-time-for-everything thing, hoping the rest/relaxation part does not come before I leave the keyboard with a couple thou new words. I was dozing off over the keys again last night after midnight [looking much like this great banner at Write From Home]. I know I am aging b/c the night used to be my peak time. Not that mornings are any better these days…

I have recently read a couple more NaNoResignation blog posts out there. It is not easy to make that decision, at least for some and I definitely do not see it as a failure. In fact, at this point I am just in it for the party. I am at least a week of words behind but I am hanging in for the month and will celebrate whatever happens. I am already thousands ahead of my last attempted novel [which has been put aside temporarily…again]. Of course there are yet other celebrations to come this week which will take up precious time. As much fun as being a NaNoWinner may be, ’tis the season to be social, and half the people I know are scorps or sags so I have many reasons to be thankful and celebrate this month.

I think I took today off. I did try writing but got little done, mostly because I was being Mom first. But that is okay. I was reminded of the blessing that job is by Kristi Holl’s latest post at Writer’s First Aid. [Yes, I spent some of my precious computer time visiting some blogs and sites that I have been missing recently, instead of writing like a good WriMo.]  Quick quote from her:

If you love your kids, you never stop being a parent. If you’re a parent and a writer, you’ll always search for ways to combine the roles effectively.

She’s specifically discussing her writing career as it parallels with her now grown daughter’s life. There are a lot of writers who make their careers and creations flourish while also going through all of the ups and downs and chaos that is parenting. I know that everyone’s situations are different and we all have to find how to balance our particular needs. I am still relatively in the beginning stages of my writer’s life, but I am already learning how difficult it can be. They [writing and parenting] both take a lot of time, energy and attention and do not seem to want to share me with the other. Some days I want to quit, but there really never is such a thing as a day off, is there? I am always thinking about them [the kids, the books, the random duties I have], and worrying that I am not good enough.

I am struggling through NaNo, for many reasons, but I am also struggling through their childhoods, every day. In so many ways, writing and parenting are similar. I know i can be am a writer, just as I can be am a mother. Growing up, I was told by others that I would be good at both and I have always known I would do both jobs, [which are both more like lifestyles than jobs, I think]. But, in both roles, I do not necessarily know if I am doing it well or correctly, I am just following my instinct and trying not to lose my patience, will or mind. We may begin with an idea of what our precious creations are going to be like, but it takes time, flexibility and a whole lot of patience to help shape them into their own life. I have found that like my kids, my main characters do not always do what I expect them to, have minds of their own and in the long run, they are not going to be the beings I imagined in the beginning. But I am still so proud of them.

And it all takes time. Squishing an entire creation into 30 days is sheer madness. We would not expect our kids to be completely ready to go out on their own in a month, or even a year or a decade. I do not want to spend that much time on this book, but some authors do. I do want to watch it grow, though and this NaNoWriMo period is much like the gestation period, too. I want to see what my baby looks like! I want to get through the month so I can really start grooming and priming it to enter the world.

But I need to get there first, with a healthy bundle of joy. So I am going to let go of my expectations and just focus on the creation. When that is done, then I can become the tough-love parent, pointing out all their flaws and trying to get them to do what I want them to do. And loving them even when they don’t.

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