30K and counting—and second-guessing

wrimo 2017

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


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.


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

On breathing fire

I went through an awkward phase (as most of us did) when I found myself super self-conscious about how my breath trailed out in puffs of white whenever it got even just a tiny bit cold. It never seemed to be happening to anyone else, and I felt like a weirdo even when it was 15 degrees and everyone could see everyone else’s breathing, filling the air with fog.

It was just one item on a laundry list of things I hated about myself. Continue reading On breathing fire

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

Scott McCloud totally read the email I sent him

No, really, he did.

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My senior year of college, I had to complete two theses — one creative, to fulfill the requirements of my BFA, and one academic, as the culmination of my time in the Honors program. The last long-form academic thesis I’d written was my senior thesis in high school, in which I, for some reason, delved into the history and practice of racial profiling. As a white teenager in suburbia,  I really can’t tell you what drew my to the topic. We were probably told that our ideas had to be “Important” with a capital I. I admit that I did not get out of the project what I should have.

For college, we were encouraged to be a little more creative, and to choose something that “spoke to us,” or allowed us to explore our majors in a new and exciting way. It felt so liberating, to be 21 and able to dive headlong into whatever topic I wished, to live for months studying something wacky or fun or otherwise fascinating. I toyed with the idea of doing something about food and literature, studying meals and mealtimes and eating rituals in everything from classics to contemporary tales. But then, I chose comics. Continue reading Scott McCloud totally read the email I sent him