30K and counting—and second-guessing

wrimo 2017
‘CAUSE I’M KEEPIN’ THE FAAAAAAITH

NaNoWriMo has always been a bright spot in my year, even as it’s a challenge. It forces me to write as often as I’m able, which I sometimes don’t have the brainpower or time to do. I have to manage my time better in November, to ensure I have the time to write. I’ve gotten a lot better at scheduling and strategy in the last year, which has helped enormously on that front, and I’m happy to report that I’ve written every single day this year (so far). With an exception or two, almost every day, I’ve gone over the 1667 recommended word count. Not far over, but enough to make myself proud.

Still, I’ve found myself losing steam a lot this year. I had one great, 3500-word day, but though I’ve written every day, I’ve found myself more wrapped up in the word count than in exploring—and progressing—the story. This year has become more of a contest than others, as I fight to meet the target goal, and then defeat it. I’ve used the goals and markers as signposts in the past, helpful to keep me from getting lost, but not entirely important. But I want those green bars and check marks this year, even more than I want to know what will happen on the next page. Continue reading 30K and counting—and second-guessing

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Ready, set, WriMo

Some people love celebrating Halloween. I’ve never been a huge fan of the holiday, and once I found out what a certain abbreviation stood for, I always found myself looking forward more to November 1.

As I write this, there is just about one hour left until National Novel Writing Month kicks off for 2017. My plan was to stay up until midnight and get some writing done as the clock struck twelve, as I’ve done the last few years, but I had a bit of a crazy weekend and I think I’ll need some sleep before starting fresh when the sun comes up tomorrow morning.

I don’t want to jinx myself, but I’m feeling pretty good about my story this year. It’s another one that’s been percolating for a while now, and I have a decent plot worked out, with points A through Z pretty well mapped out and still plenty of room between to fill with meanderings and ramblings when the word count feels a little too small. I had Halloween plans that I had to set aside due to travel exhaustion and vague plane illness, so I’m taking that as a sign to rest up before the Big Game. I need some more sleep and to make sure I leave enough time to write, but story-wise, things seem okay.

These are just some short thoughts on pre-WriMo preparations and jitters. I’ll expand upon some of my prep work later on and try to post periodically about how things are going, what’s keeping me motivated, and how many words I’ve managed to write—that’s the plan, anyway. In the meantime, add me as a writing buddy and let’s keep each other on track.

Excelsior!

The State of the WriMo: November 2016

*Insert inspirational speech here*

1f1a36e3e31189c9077d281654cfccc50b5470cdc653f7cf72a259620e3cf5bcAbout this time last year, I wrote a post about meaning to have written a post about National Novel Writing Month at the halfway mark, to share some of my “wisdom” from the work I’d done thus far. Of course, it was intention to do the same this year, as well as perhaps a kick-off post on November 1. For a variety of reasons, neither of these things happened. But I’d still like to say something.

I don’t presume to tell my fellow WriMos how best to go about tackling this most wonderful time of year, but I know that, in my seven (seven??) years of doing this (to varying degrees of success), I’ve learned a lot about myself, my writing habits, and how my ideas seem to come to fruition on the page. And I’ve always figured that sharing some of that new insight might be helpful to those of you who may be struggling right now.

Also, I realize that some advice or a folksy anecdote might have come in handy, say, a week or two ago, instead of in the home stretch. Sorry.

Continue reading The State of the WriMo: November 2016

NaNoWriMo 2015: The Home Stretch

November can be a cruel mistress — I hope she’s treated you well.

AtQpTdUCMAA9UuGI meant to write up a quick post around the middle of November to cheer all my fellow novel-ers onward to victory, so please excuse this extremely delayed love note. But life, as it has a way of doing, got in the way of my carefully laid plans — work got crazy, my WriMo novel got (*gasp*) interesting, “Jessica Jones” dropped on Netflix. But please know that I’m here for you. We’re still going to make it through this. Together — and alive. Continue reading NaNoWriMo 2015: The Home Stretch

Something WriMo this way come

We can will survive November together.

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A symbol of hope, opportunity — and fear. Happy November, y’all!

If you’re into reading, writing, editing, publishing, or any other creative writing outlet or profession, you’ve probably heard all about NaNoWriMo. For those of you for whom that it just a strange jumble of letters, that fun little name stands for National Novel Writing Month. And if you have bookish friends, get ready — it’s happening next month.

Every November, millions of would-be novelists leap into the creative fray, pushing themselves to complete a 50,000-word novel in the thirty short days of the month. (It also doesn’t help some American contenders that they’re more or less out of commission at least two of those days, consuming far too much on Thanksgiving and then sleeping off a turkey-hangover the next day.) In the weeks leading up to November 1, and then throughout the month, writers are given email pep talks from WriMo staff and published authors alike. The WriMo site also boasts an extensive system of forums, where writers can let free their plot bunnies, work through a tricky plot device, or just take a breather. The advice and insights gleaned in these safe havens are invaluable.

But the advice can also contradict itself.  Continue reading Something WriMo this way come

How the sausage gets made; or, “Yeah, I still want to write”

Portrait of the Editorial Assistant
Portrait of the Editorial Assistant as a Young Woman

A full year into my Actual Adult Career in publishing (I’m not counting the three months I interned at the company I’ve called home since last June, because I wasn’t getting paid, and Actual Adults get paid), I’ve been asked a few times now if working in publishing has in any way killed my writing dreams. Sometimes, I misinterpret the question and say, “Nah, I’ve realized I can actually be super productive on the commute in and out of the city.” I’ve been reading on the train since I started doing the commute, but I only recently realized I also had a solid hour to get some writing done, and that’s been a game-changer. Even if I’m only listening to music and staring out the window, I’m usually plotting the next phase of a new project. Reading and editing and working all day makes me actually yearn for those train rides, the time when I can let my mind wander. At the end of the day, I want to go home and write something that isn’t a pitch letter or a tweet.

But when I’m pressed, I have to say that working with editors and authors and agents, and being surrounded by digital manuscripts and galleys and finished books all day, has actually been exhilarating. No, I’m not writing as much as I should be some weeks, and some nights I plan to write a magnum opus and I’m lucky if I work up the strength to work on a blog post. But there are also nights — and mornings and weekend afternoons — when I start writing and I don’t stop. And there are mornings I write all the way to work and sit by the East River and read, and I cherish those uber-productive days.

Somehow, someway, I know what’s in your book-sausages, and it’s only made me hungrier. Continue reading How the sausage gets made; or, “Yeah, I still want to write”