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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 ūüôā Go on, click it. It’s worth it ūüôā

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 ūüôā

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôā¬† #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?

I made it through Day One. Well, not all the way through yet, but I passed the daily word-count goal, so that’s something. I was up until 4 a.m., knowing I had other obligations and distractions happening today, I decided to be one of the thousands of crazy WriMos who actually started at 12:01 a.m. The new server NaNo has this year is getting a workout, let me tell you. When I tried to send a “Good Luck!” note to one of my new writing buddies at 11:55 pm, everything froze up. Then, 20 minutes later when I hit Save for the first time, my writing program blitzed and shut down. First time I saw this. I am using Word which I am just so comfortable with, but I keep hearing about nifty noveling software that I wonder if I should try. Thank gawd for Auto-recovery though, which at least rescued most of my opening paragraph. No idea where the rest went.

So far, so good with my intro and exposition from the male¬†main character, but all of a sudden, the female main character chimed in her voice. I have been considering using multiple narrators because it really is a group adventure narrative, but I wonder if I am taking too much on for my first complete [cross those toes] full-length work. It just keeps coming back to me that the supporting characters need to be heard from too. Anyone ever worked with different narrators/multiple points of view? I think I need to keep going as long as I can keep the words flowing, but I don’t want to freak out in two weeks and try to change everything. I am going with the mindset of “Just keep writing, just keep writing”- get it out and edit later, but I do want it to be a coherent story too. I managed to squelch my anal inner editor enough, but i did go back and do a little editing before shutting down for the morning due to exhaustion and delirium. Now I just have to make sure I get back there tomorrow. Thank goodness for the extra hour!

 I am working on linking this blog over to NaBloPoMo and now I have noticed that my NaNo wordcount widget has been hijacked. I am having a bit of struggle managing my media and links, but am hoping that is going to be one of the promised changes coming to WordPress soon. I really want to be writing my novel rather than dealing with HTML which is a foreign language to me. More kudos to the programmers who do all the work for us!

NaNoWriMo is so busy I can’t get to many pages today, but I did read their recent blog and thought I’d share. Chris Baty is actually discussing just how busy their server gets as NaNoSeason rolls in and shares some stat shots. As you can imagine, it grows every year. I know they have a brand spanking new one this year when they are anticipating the busiest, biggest year yet. I’m crossing my toes for luck. [My fingers are obviously busy :)]

I have been looking at the stats here¬†more too, now that I have been blogging regularly again, which is something I did not really think I would care about when I started.¬†This still is a personal project for myself, in that¬†I do not expect to gain anything from my blog except some more writing skills and some peace of mind. Lucky me, I have also made some friendly connections, with other writers and bloggers, and activists and even learned a thing or two. Still, it’s fun to look at the stats and pings too;) It’s like a virtual pat-on-the-back, or the plus-mark on a teacher’s checkmark. Gives you a reason to keep going.

¬†It is amusing {or very sad} that my Most Viewed¬†[through searches]¬†post is a short, silly one I wrote about the auction of J.K. Rowling’s hand-crafted copy of Tales of Beedle the Bard. Just goes to show how much impact she still has on the literary culture as well as the “Interwebs”. So happy to report that we¬†Muggles do get to read them in December, though the cover is not nearly as cool as the original. Still, it will be a fun read after a month of writing.

 

[Update: HEY! My widget’s back in play. Can’t wait to see if i get past zero!]

I apparently do not feel challenged enough with NaNo looming around the corner [one week!] so i have also signed up for National Blog Posting Month, which is supposed to be an alternative project for November, but also runs year-round. I am hoping that it will work with me blogging here, daily, about my NaNo experience, but I also am making some posts over there. This is what I wrote today:

OK i now have my official blog [“writer’s flow“] Rss’d on the side of this page, so I think that should count for the NaNoBloPo posts but I am also determined to post here every day this week to get in the swing of things. When NaNo starts, I will be limiting my posts to wordcounts and updating/ranting/whining. That should be fun. I swear i will try not to grate on too many nerves.

At this point it really is getting to be more of a personal weblog than I originally planned. I had great aspirations of “saving the book” or something when I began my blog. I was [am] appalled at some of the exploits of the mainstream media [MSM] and I had a lot to say to absolutely noone, because my kids don’t care and my husband works most of the day, most of the time. I have since found many great outlets online and am virtually conquering my writer’s block, though sometimes I cannot control the flow. I admit to being skeptical about the whole blogging experience as well as social networks, but now I am a happy blogger/social network butterfly. Networks like this one combine the best of both.

My latest ‘discovery’ [yes, i tend to be late to most cool things] is Newsvine, which I signed up for today. I doubt I will be able to focus on it much until December, but recommend it to news junkies who want to contribute and speak out. It seems to speak to my Inner Journalist whom I pretty much killed during college. Perhaps it would be better to say I inebriated her and left her for dead. I admit to claiming to be “disillusioned by the media” when I changed my original Mass Communications major to the comfortable standby of English, though I probably also believed then I could be a poet in Reallife. Now, though, I often wish I could be part of the amazing alternative journalistic movement and online communities. Well, I can at least blog about it and contribute to the dialogue.

I often wonder what made other bloggers start? Obviously some folks have found a niche that needs filling and have become the place to go for info while others write about subjects which they just love and want to share with others. Some people write blogs that are much like diaries, but I suspect that many, like myself, just have so many thoughts bumping around in their heads that they needed to find another outlet. It is a great way to communicate, with or without personal commitment, and frankly, a good writing exercise.

I do not know if I will make any new connections here,but I am already inspired by a few other bloggers, like Kat’sStuff, who has reached out to others and is even sponsoring her own Giveaway a Day event. There are good things happening here! Have fun!

 

Taurus
April 20 – May 20
You are both a highly sensitive and a highly intellectual person, dear Taurus. This is a wonderful combination, and part of what makes you the superstar that you are. Today’s planetary positions challenge you to think about how you can best combine these two key components of your personality. Have you ever considered writing as a career? It might provide just the sort of balance you seek. Give it some thought or, better yet, simply start writing and see whether or not it suits you.
No kidding. I mean, I couldn’t write this kind of irony. Or, maybe, I can, hmmm….
I have been working on plotting out my story for next month and trying to keep myself psyched up for the main event. Earlier this week, I chimed in on the discussion over at Becky Levine’s blog post about writing first drafts and found a few new ideas and resources.
I am, however, growing more concerned about my time issues. I have had a hard enough time getting on here to complete a follow-up post about Blogging Action Day due to the myriad distractions and duties I am balancing with my writing “career”. Yes, I love my family, friends and politics but sometimes I wish I could be the lone writer isolated in a cabin with only a classic typewriter for companionship. I do not even have an office door I can shut to block it all out. I know in my heart and mind that it is possible to maintain a writing flow and healthy relationships, but I cannot stop wondering “How!?”
Maybe I can count on my partner and 12y.o. to support me next month, and in the future, but it is quite hard to explain to the preschoolers that I am trying to work. Especially since they know my¬†real job is mommy. I don’t want to lose my cool next month under NaNoPressure, and it is, after all, about having fun first [oh, and writing]. I am trying not to hinge too many expectations and fantasies on a thirty day spree, but part of me [the writer within?] wants to complete this work so much just to prove to myself that I can. The funny thing is, people who know me seem to believe I can write a novel more readily than I do myself. And I would hate to disappoint them.¬† So, no pressure, I’ll just slap on a happy grin and spread some freekin’ sunshine…and keep looking to the stars and forums for inspiring words.
¬†I did get a smile one day while driving when I saw a license plate reading “2X NANO”….pretty sure it wasn’t Mork’s car ūüôā

It does not take much to put me in a funk, I¬†can tell you. Immediately after I posted my last entry, I went on a “Blog Surf” here on WordPress which enables you to keep track of other blogs you like. I was almost instantly slapped back down to earth by one writer’s opinion about NaNo and any person who uses the project. Without giving him the ping, let’s just summarize that he feels nothing but disdain for NaNo¬†and all involved. Of course, I felt the need to add my two cents. Then, I left to do some volunteer door-knocking for one of the presidential candidates [if you read any further down my blog you may surmise which one]. I had other things on my mind and plenty on my plate that day.

For some reason, however, I awoke Sunday morning with his words echoing in my head, and my own response sounding more feeble than it really was. I could not shake it off all day. Maybe, if I had ventured outdoors to enjoy the sunshine, it would have been easier, but that’s not how I roll. Hiding under my blanket, reading bad news in the Sunday paper and staring at my pile of composition notebooks interspersed with the stack of half-read books on the nightstand while my family functioned around me, that’s my style. The good news is I had finished reading two of those books by midnight. I decided if I could not write, could not call myself a writer because I am only an amateur wanna-be, then I may as well read the works of those who can. [More on those two books to come in future post.]

Why, you may wonder, do I care what he thinks? Maybe because part of me agrees. I should not need a writing group/project like NaNo to write. In fact, I do not. Noone does. I do not even need a computer [hence the stack of notebooks and random jottings on napkins in my possession]. But, I do need motivation and discipline. Which is another point of his, though not an original one by far. In fact, in one of my recently completed books,¬†there was a quote from Dr. Ben Jonson [circa 17th century] which essentially says the same thing: A writer needs the discipline to write anywhere at any time. So many others have given similar writing advice: “apply butt to chair and write.”

To his credit, the anti-NaNoer, wrote me a relatively congenial email which claimed his problem is only with hobbyists who use NaNo as an excuse to write [and, I suppose, to invade the space of other writers]. Those of us who actually write the other 11 months of the year are not on his shist, I guess. I almost wrote back that the only thing I have done daily, without fail [perhaps with a day or two off] for the past 4 years is change diapers. I do not have an office or unlimited writing time. I write in fits and spurts, and often do not write for long periods [see writing block tags]. Yes, of course I dream of the day I can say I am a professional writer and I write 12 hours a day non-stop. They call them dreams for a reason. At this point, I am happy if I revise a poem, complete a submission, or, hello, a blog post. Like I said, here and in my comment, I do not harbor the delusion that NaNo will bring me a contract or even a completed work. There is no secret ingredient to be found in any of the forums. In the long run, it is a personal challenge. I have to actually participate, first of all, and I am still alone at the keyboard.  And I still have to change those nappies, as well as the other duties I am neglecting now. But I am not alone in the NaNo-niverse.

Fortunately, I came back today. I even checked out some of the other comments and blogs from¬†fellow WriMos. He’s right, they are everywhere, shaking off the dustcovers, getting ready for the fun to begin next month. Talk about inspiration: Creative Procrastination [which is obviously up my soul-alley] and¬†La Plume de mon Esprit¬†are two I visited and added to my blogroll. One belongs to a published writer and the other to a young writer even newer than I am to the game [or career or hobby or lifestyle, whatever writing is to you]. I also found inspiration in another professional’s website who has chosen to help, inspire and teach others about NaNoWriMo, as well as writing in general. Lazette Gifford offers new NaNo participants a free¬†advice filled e-book on her site¬†the primary suggestion being: Have Fun. So, I am definitely not giving in because of one man’s opinion. I am not even giving up because of my own opinion, doubts or personal distractions. I am looking forward to the event more than ever, not to prove anything to anyone else, but only to myself. NaNo is not a door to publication, but it certainly is an opportunity to learn and grow and enjoy writing just for the sake of writing. I say that makes all WriMos real writers.

OK I am coming out of my writing coma, shaking off some persistant doubts and applying pen to paper. It is happening, slowly, and all of a sudden it’s Fall and NaNoWriMo¬†looms around the corner. Talk about motivation; this is a procrastinator’s ultimate challenge. In case you don’t know of what I speak: November is [unofficially] National Novel Writing Month meaning you have 30 days, and 30 days only, to write 50,000 words, an estimated 175 page novel. No pressure. Really! It’s all in good fun and I have already found comfort in my explorations of the site and forums. It’s like the biggest writing support group in the world!

This is the 10th year of the project, which started as a good-natured dare between friends and¬†now attracts thousands of would-be and really-are writers from around the world. The best thing about it is, if, muse forbid, I don’t make the writing goal, nobody gets hurt. In the end, maybe I will at least be a little further ahead with a new project and I can look again at the old ones with tired, experienced eyes.

I must admit, I already almost chickened out once. I had signed up back in December after learning about the project a little too late to try in ’07. I have kept track of some forums and learned more about the phenomenon during the year,¬†been thinking about the new story I want to work on, even researching details,¬†but when the site recently closed down to rennovate itself, I was unable to sign back on after the relaunch. Not the motivation a weakling like me needs. Fortunately, I got an email from the local regional moderator which inspired me to try, try again. And, the way these things happen, my sign-in worked this time. Reading stories like this on the blog, is also inspiring. I may not make it to 50,000, but I am determined to try, and with motivational sources like these, plus the knowledge that I am not alone, though I am a lone writer, certainly helps, too.

I am planning on tracking my progress here, as well, with one of their nifty word-count widgets. I think blogging about it all will be another motivating factor, along with my cool NaNo desktop. I feel like I have joined a club, or cult, idk, time will tell :)…now I just have to warn my family and friends!

YAY…it’s a new year, a good enough reason to try again and do all the things I should have done last year…. or last century.

Since I have this space to let it all flow out, I guess I can add some peer¬†pressure to my life and make my resolutions public. That doesn’t mean I will follow through any quicker or more thoroughly, but I will have written proof at my attempt to change for the better and contribute to this world some positive work. Much like the lists I made in my high school journal, this list will probably be ignored between the months of February and November, when I will either summon my remarkable skills of creative procrastination, and finally write that novel, or I will berate myself into another season of holiday doldrums. ‘Tis the season of hope, though [still, right? can we at least hang on to that?] so I am crossing my toes for the wonder-book to come forth. Which leads me to

Resolution #1 Which is, of course, WRITE…this is probably the same every year, but look, it’s in black and white, so it’s real. And this counts, right? Well, just to be sure, I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year, and I am going to be prepared come November. Outline, notes, determination…November is a crazy month in my house, but what the hey…I thrive under pressure.

Resolution #2…CLEAN [continuing in the spirit of One Word]… as in detoxify the house and keep going through the boxes of stuff and reducing, reusing, recycling. I am in the process of switching from chemical laden products to natural sources, sometimes just finding that the product does not need to be replaced and discontinuing use…. must organize and simplify.

Resolution #3 Will be WORK…which seems a given, but a change must be made and I am determined to improve my income issues before 2009…. plus, the word covers so many areas…career, activism, health, relationships, home, my self, my writing, my probs…

So Reso #4 has to be RELAX…just to keep the balance, but don’t take me for a quitter already, b/c this is a biggie. I must let go of so many anxieties and fears. I must relax my instinct to worry and stress and kvetch. I need to socialize a little bit more and enjoy my simple life, count my blessings and all that jazz…and I probably should do some yoga too.

Resolution #5 is my easy one so I can at least say I accomplished one… VOTE

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