During NaNo’s home stretch, my inner Disney Park Geek rears her ugly head, I don’t write a damn word for several days (again), buy food and booze in a hurry, make some trouble while Christmas shopping, lose the turkey recipe, get the finalized cover art from “This Poisoned Ground”’s publisher, wish a good friend a belated birthday and make some stupid plans (do they work out?), have a crazy-fun Thanksgiving, congratulate Nathan on his big win, and desperately try to hammer out the last of it…for now. See how everything turned out in the final days of NaNoWriMo this year, and thank you all for watching!
…I stop working on the project, try to restart, fail at finishing just about everything including watching the movie Let’s Scare Jessica to Death, make a book trailer, visit the frustrating Shop Rite Bottle Return, have a drunken meeting with my editor, get a preview of the cover of my upcoming novella, remember I’ve forgotten a friend’s birthday and more!
Week Two is normally the NaNo slump…worthless orange cones on the highway cause a jam-up, my husband is kicking my word-count ass, I cancel a weekend trip to Rhode Island because I’m overwhelmed, I finish (finally, seriously?) the Canopic Jars trailer, I find illiterate notes…and if you’ve ever wanted to get a peek at what writers REALLY do when they get together and party, now’s your chance: an inside look at AnthoCon 2013! Enjoy!
Halloween at the cemetery, an action-packed trip to NYC, a tip from a dead writer, a surprise cocktail invitation, laundry, interruptions, a cat sleeping on the cable box and emotional ups and downs. Plus, shout-outs to buddies who are makin’ it—or havin’ a hard time…and oh yeah, and some bottles of wine that clearly won’t be making it to AnthoCon this weekend. Enjoy!
Yes, I am participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this year for the first time since 2009 (which I don’t really count, because I signed up and then never did anything, so let’s just call it 2008, ’kay?). Even though writing is a priority in my life and rises above all else—when I need to write, I stop everything and do it—NaNoWriMo seems to be one of those writing projects that I have to be in the mood to do, because for me, it’s about Read the rest of this entry
NaNoWrimo, that lovely November event that challenges you to write a novel in 30 days, is a project in itself. In 2013, I’m taking it a step further: I’m going to attempt Read the rest of this entry
Ah, it’s that time of year—NanoWrimo, in which those of us who are looking for a lot of diversion for 30 days hole up in our homes, coffee shops or libraries and party on with our laptops and AlphaSmart Neos to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
I’ve done Nano a few times, and won most. In fact, my novel Bad Apple, which is forthcoming from Vagabondage Press Books early next year, was sort-of a Nano project—I wrote the whole thing in nine days in September of 2005, then used Nano as my first revision timeline. The novel has undergone heavy and extensive revisions since then, a few times over—but wow the fun I had doing it. When they said ‘literary abandon,’ they weren’t kidding.
This year, I won’t be joining the happy throngs of burgeoning novelists—I’ve just got too much on my plate. I actually feel guilty about that. Writer Stacey Longo, though, shared some advice with a classroom full of writers recently that reminded me that whether I do Nano or not, that doesn’t make me any less of a writer—I’m a writer all year, and that this November there are things I can do that keep me in touch with that part of myself.
n Re-read your favorite writing advice book.
n Read a book you’ve been meaning to get to forever and haven’t had time.
n Clean out your writing files—chuck old drafts, notes, etc. that you don’t want.
n Do some revisions.
n Hang out with a writing friend.
n Research places to submit your work, then if you have anything, submit, submit, submit.
n Get your future story ideas in order.
So, if you’re NOT doing Nano this year due to lack of time, or energy, or craziness in your life, and you’re feeling some loss—remember, there’s always next year. Until then? Check out Stacey’s article. What she shared with the class reminded me there are other things we can do in November to keep that feeling of loss and disappointment at bay—and that if you’re a writer then you’re always at it no matter what the calendar says.
Congratulations to everyone who attempted National Novel Writing Month—it isn’t whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game. If you made it? Awesome! If you didn’t? You’re still awesome for at least trying it!
Anyway, I barely made it this year—I started in 2004 and won every year, but in 2009, I fell 8,000 words short. I just couldn’t do it. Which actually made me nervous, and heading into Thanksgiving week I was sure I was going to fail again. Then, in the last three days, I was luckily struck by inspiration and railroaded the remaining 15,000 or so that I needed.
My project this year was called “Bloom and Other Tales.” Yes, a collection, so to speak, of ghost stories. I didn’t get a collection—I rather got a few toward a non-Disney collection and a couple toward the next Disney collection. They’re all a mess and will require months of clean-up and hard work, but they’re out. The titles of the stories are: “Bloom,” “Below the Birch Trees,” “Can You Hear Me Now?”, “Under the Kudzu,” “Frosting Cookies,” and “Right Now Nothing” (because it doesn’t have a title yet). Not bad. They’re all way longer than they need to be, which means they’ll probably have several thousand words cut out of them. In any case, watch for them sometime in the next couple of years!
The third weekend in November, National Novel Writing Month holds a huge fundraiser called The Night of Writing Dangerously out on the West Coast. NaNos from everywhere gather for a crazy six-hour writing marathon that raises funds for the non-profit NaNoWrimo (for more information on this year’s event in San Francisco, visit here: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/writeathon).
Here in the Fairfield County region, our shiny-awesome Municipal Liaison Charles Muir (to most of us, YGJunkie) will be hosting The Afternoon of Writing Dangerously at The Acoustic Café, 2926 Fairfield Ave., Ste. 3, Bridgeport CT. This pot-luck event will be full of writing challenges, and raffle tickets will be given out for having met certain goals or can be purchased. Three copies of Skeletons will be offered as prizes.
I was planning on attending, but my very good writing buddy Nanette Morges—who introduced me to NaNo in 2004 and boy did we have a great little club with some other friends of ours like writer Tamela Ritter going there for a couple of years—moved up to a sprawling farmhouse in rural Upstate New York. She and I are going to do a three-day write-in of our own. Two creative ladies in the middle of nowhere with a wine cabinet in the middle of nowhere? Now THAT should be called The Weekend of Writing Dangerously! Can’t wait to see you on Thursday, Nanette!
Many of us who participate in National Novel Writing Month seek balance between the expectations of writing, writing, writing—and all that other mundane stuff, like housework, laundry, the full-time gig, a social life, and eating. But I’ve found over the years that applying some tips I learned during NaNo are useful to me at other times of year—and can even be useful to non-writers just trying to balance their lives.
Here’s my top five:
~ Clean one thing a day. Meaning, vacuum one room, scrub one toilet, dust one shelf of knick-knacks. Doing just one small thing a day will either get you stoked to do more than that—or will just help you feel like your house is under control until you do have the time to clean. You’re less likely to feel overwhelmed.
~ Give yourself fifteen minutes a day to do whatever you want. Playing your fave Facebook game, calling an old friend, watching a couple of stupid things on YouTube, reading five pages of that book you keep meaning to get to. You’ll feel like you always have recreation in your life. And don’t say ‘I don’t have fifteen minutes.’ You do.
~ Stock up. Don’t buy one tube of toothpaste because you’re out. Go buy TWO. When you start the second one, you have PLENTY of time to remember to put it on your list before you get to the bottom of your second tube. In short: buy two of each product next time you run out. This saves so much stress I can’t believe it.
~ Safety pin your socks. I’m totally serious. If you safety pin each sock to its mate, you’ll never lose a sock again in the washer/dryer. When you take them off at night, re-safety pin them together before you put them in the hamper. I haven’t lost a sock in eight years since I started doing this. How does this aid your life? Well, you won’t run out of socks so often unless they get so warn out you have to throw them away. Saves time-saves money.
~ Limit your to-do list to five items. Don’t put too much on your to-do list. Five things is enough. What usually happens is you’ll finish all of them, feel accomplished, and then you’ll want to add just one more thing and finish that. It also keeps you from feeling overwhelmed and like your work never ends. Some days you might finish your five and feel so good you’ll be able to say, ‘the rest of this day is mine.’