Reaching the NaNoWriMo Summit

DSC_3326Something very unexpected has happened during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  It started last week, when in the throes of illness I dragged myself to my keyboard and lived vicariously through my characters.  My word count climbed, perhaps not as vigorously as earlier in the month, but nevertheless it climbed, until on November 20th, gasping for breath and begging me to take a break, it hefted itself over the 50,000 word mark.DragonExhausted and humbled, I stood at the summit and looked at what I had achieved.

And then it happened.
It wasn't enough.
I wanted more. I wanted to finish this story.
I have to finish this story.
I owe it to my characters
to let them find closure and of course,
being the optimist I am,

I kept writing, and writing, and writing. Today with 60,735 words on the page (10,950 of which I already know I am going to cut), I am two-thirds done with the story. I have every intention of finishing my first novel in December. And I’m actually looking forward to working on the second draft. Can’t wait really. Luckily I get a little over a week off during the holidays.

Maybe we’ll have a tree this year. Maybe not. We’ll see.

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Wkly Brief – Elevator Music

It’s hard enough to give yourself NaNoWriMo pep talks when you healthy, but add a dose of illness and it is easy to succumb to fears and negative reinforcement. That is exactly what has been happening during the past five days of writing.  Then, (cue harps and angels singing), this post about entrepreneur’s worst enemy: fear came into my email.  If you have to combat your inner critic, hopefully it will help you too.

I’m signing off tonight. I’m tired. I’m still sick. And I miss writing my novel, so I’m going to write in Scrivener for thirty minutes.  I hope you will forgive this short post, but to get you through the next few days, here’s my version of elevator music.

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Ten Priority Shifts to Meet NaNoWriMo Goals

FYI for artists:  if you want to donate art for a cover design, key word being donate, please let me know by sending me an email. Let’s see if we can work something out.

Week three of National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo) started today, and I’m back in business after a rocky week two.

The past week was going great right through Wednesday, when I hit 33, 410 words. Then my week fell apart.  Thursday started with an interesting conference about support services metrics  hosted by EDUCAUSE-NERCOMP.  But, as I concentrated on slides and speakers, cuddled in my heavy sweater, scarf. and winter coat, I was incubating a down-for-the-count illness.

Luckily, my friends took care of me, I didn’t have to drive in the Boston traffic, and I arrived home in time to go to the walk-in clinic where my fever was kind enough to spike up to a hefty 102.9. A course of antibiotics prescribed and ibuprofen at my fingertips got me through the next 24 hours. But ultimately I missed three days of writing and my daily word average plummeted. Continue reading

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Wkly Brief – Day 12 and Throttling Back

It’s nearing midnight on the ninth day of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I have joined hundreds of zillions of people throughout the world by pledging to write 50,000 words in November, with the hopeful side benefit of having a first draft of a novel.


And oh, I am so tired and bummed out. For tomorrow I have to be out the door by 5:30 AM to go into Boston for a conference. There will be no writing tomorrow . That means no stolen kisses, no intrigue, no misunderstandings. Just a conference to learn about customer service metrics. Ah well.

Tonight though, I hit 33,410 words. For fellow WriMo’s here’s the two tips that have kept me going:

  1. It’s okay to stop for a day and regroup, replot, meet and greet your characters.
  2. I still struggle with self-editing. I have to continuously remind myself to get the concept down. STOP EDITING. JUST WRITE.  Sketch, sketch, sketch.  I can contour and color later.

Other NaNoWriMo moments:

  • Scrivener saves the day.  On Monday, I used my two hours before my real job to rework my whole plot.  That night I typed all of my notes into scenes in Scrivener and my word count jumped by 4,000. One of my best days, and now my plot is tighter and my characters are doing all the right (and of course, all the wrong) things.
  • But real life is starting to get in the way. Evening meetings, social life, veterinary appointments demand attention and are welcome distractions. It makes it difficult to maintain the 2,700+ words per day average. But my goals is to hit 50,000 before Thanksgiving so that the rest of my writing is gravy (and Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes).
  • Best of all, I really think I’m going to finish this story. And then I’m going to clean it up until the sentences sing.

I’m even starting to think about rounding up some Beta readers.

But that could be my exhaustion speaking.

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Week Two of NaNoWriMo

Is a picture worth a thousand words? If so, here’s mine.NaNoWriMoChartToday is the ninth day of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Throughout the world people have pledged to write 50,000 words and hopefully have a complete novel by month’s end.  I have made the pledge and as of 1:00 today I am halfway to my goal and earned all of the awards available. Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  1. You know those people who talk about Friends or General Hospital as though they were just out with the show’s characters the night before? Yeah, well that’s me. Only problem.  No one else knows my fictional characters; and perhaps no one else ever will. But they are part of my life to the point that I can’t sleep at night.
  2. There are times I read my work and I’m floating on air. Action, scene, setting, characters: they’re all coming together.  Then I take a break and if I make the mistake of reading a published work, all of the insecurities shower down, reminding me of how shallow and undeveloped my work is. During NaNoWriMo month, there is no time to feel sorry for myself. I have to just keep on putting words on paper and get over that whole ‘I’m not good enough’ stuff.

For those of you who are checking in to find out about Scrivener, here’s my latest findings.

  1. Scrivener doesn’t play well with McAfee (or vice versa). If McAfee’s virus scan is running in the background, Scrivener has to battle for keyboard strokes.  Twice now, I’ve had to turn the scan off so that I can write.
  2. The compile feature is functional and easy to use.  Every day I compile what I’ve written in “NaNoWriMo” format. This format changes every word in the document so that it cannot be read, while maintaining the word count. I can then copy and paste my novel into the NaNoWriMo site and get a word count.
  3. Back-up is easy and efficient.
  4. Sometimes when I’m typing, my cursor will jump off of the page I am writing and into the Doucment’s notes area.  Then I have to click back into the scene to start again.
  5. I’m still missing my letter ‘A’ in many of my scenes (see my Weekly Brief to discover why). It’s going to be a while before I fix them all.

That’s all folks. I’ve gotta run, because Brigit and Avery are having an argument, and Clare needs to use the computer.

Oh, wait.  You don’t know who I’m talking about, do you?

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