Everything Update

Writing/Nanowrimo: I’m still behind on Nanowrimo. I’ve been in a lot of pain and my writing motivation was nil. My muse is in hiding and my I don’t know how to coax her out. I’m going to try though.

It is unlikely I will win Nanowrimo this year but I’m almost positive I don’t care. What I do care about is not giving up. If I say I’m not going to win and just stop then it’s a problem. If I say I’m so behind I can’t see the end in sight but still try then I win. So I’m going to put as much effort into it as I can.

I realized I’m an idiot last night. Forgetful is probably a better description but whatever. I spend a lot of time lying down. I hate it, every second. If I’m in bed I can’t write. Except I can. I have Dragon Naturally Speaking, which is a dictation program. After reformatting my laptop I never got around to reinstalling it. Which is dumb on my part. I can’t physically write when I’m forced to lay down but I can talk. Hell, I can always talk, unless I’m sleeping and sometimes even then!

I feel silly for not thinking of this earlier. It’s not as easy to ‘write’ this way for me but it’s possible. I’m sure once I get in the habit again things will go well.

I’m not at home at them moment but when I get there I’m going to install the software and start using it. I will have to close my door because I can’t do it in front of anyone else, not even my kids. I’m the type who wouldn’t even order a pizza in front of my husband. (Ordering online is the best thing ever!).

Hopefully it will work out the way I think it will. If it doesn’t, that’s okay. At least I’ll get more story out of my head during a time I haven’t been able to. Even the lessening of the irritation I feel when having to get into bed should help. Maybe my muse will come out and play again.

As for my new Nano project, I’m happy with it so far. Since picking it up I’ve already made major changes but none of them changed the flow of the story in a bad way. It’s still going to end the same way but getting there is much stronger now. I’ll have to replot a bit but I did a sticky note outline so it won’t be hard.

The main change is with a young boy introduced in the beginning of the story. He’s an important character but not the main one. Originally my main character (MC) rescues him and takes him to a nearby garrison. He was going to show back up later and his identity was going to surprise my MC. Now she’s going to keep the boy with her. She still won’t know who he is until late in the story. He’s going to be a handful and this kid is full of it but with good reason.

Protecting him adds a sense of urgency, on top of her hiding from the bad guys. Dealing with him adds some small conflict and the byplay between the boy and a man who joins them later will add more depth.

None of this changes the last act except when the boy does his part, it will mean more to the reader. I’m still developing this character but I decided to do it as I go because I’ve already stalled out too much this month.

I’ll update more about this story as it goes along.

Medical: My pain management doctor is awesome. His PA is not. A while back I went to an appointment and saw the PA. She told me I should get an injection to help with my back pain. If it didn’t give me enough relief then she thought we should burn off the nerve. This would require a nerve block, which is basically a test to make sure they get the right nerves. Then the actually burning if the test worked out.

After first losing my paperwork and lots of confusion and many calls I finally got an appointment for the first injection. Except it didn’t happen. Oh, I did get an injection, but it was the nerve block. The PA basically forgot a step. I’m irritated with her but to be honest it works out for the best. I thought doing the first injection was a waste of time because it was clear I’d eventually have to do the burn procedure.

Because of her mistake I’ll probably be able to get the burning procedures done before the end of the year. They do one side, wait two weeks and do the other. This is good because if it’s done before December 31st, I won’t have a pay a dime. I’ve had so many medical things happen this year that I met my maximum payout. Money things aside, I want the relief now so I’m not complaining about the PA’s dumb move.

However, this could have easily worked against me. So I’ll have to be careful with her and make sure I write everything down and keep on top of everything I’m told and make sure stuff not only gets done, but gets done in the order it should.

Unfortunately the nerve block procedure only lasts a day so I’m still in tons of pain but at least I have hope. The next procedure will actually cause me extra pain for a while, probably a few weeks but I’ve done it before and it’s worth it.

I’ll let everyone know how it goes.

Reading: I am rereading David Eddings. I started with The Belgariad, then read The Mallorian. I moved on to The Elenium and now I’m on the second book of the Tamuli. The first two I mentioned consist of five books each and follow the same characters throughout. The other two are both trilogies set in a different world. I reread this books at least once a year. I shouldn’t be reading so much during Nanowrimo but it’s what I do when I can’t write. I didn’t want to start any new books because I would get too distracted from my own work.

I’ll finish the last trilogy before November is gone so I might pick up one of the companion books to The Belgariad. One of them is very long so hopefully it will get me through the month. There is a new book tempting me but I’ll resist for as long as I can.

Gym: I haven’t gone every day but I do go most days. I’m still trying to find what works for me. There are certain exercises I can’t do and others that I have to be careful with the amount of weight I use. I’m not progressing, as in not increasing the intensity, but I’m staying steady. Maybe after my procedure I’ll be able to work harder.

That’s all for now. I’ll post a Nanowrimo update soon.


Nanowrimo 2016 Update #4

I’m slowly catching up. I’m still 5000 words behind but it’s nice to see the gap closing. I might not win Nanowrimo this year but I’m glad I’m trying. So far today I’ve written a bit over 2200 words and I hope to write some more later.

I dumped my first Nano project because it was not working the way I thought it would. The story needs more thought and plenty of changes before it can progress. Nanowrimo is not the time to redo a story so it’s on the back burner for now.

Another story raised its hand and politely asked to be considered. It’s one I previously plotted but hadn’t started writing yet. I would have but I wasn’t completely happy with where the story was going as I planned it out. So I was reluctant to pick it back up after putting aside another problematic story.

Still, I decided to give it a look and as I read through my notes I could clearly see what it needed. I made an index card outline and liked where it went. So now I’m writing it. I’m only 3000 words into it but I’m invested again. I always loved the idea of this story and I’m glad it’s starting to see the light of day.

All l have to do is keep my muse happy now. I’ll let you all know how it goes.


Flash Fiction – The Perfect Man

“Seriously Karen, he’s the perfect man.” Mona announced to her best friend and co-worker.

Karen’s raised a single eyebrow. “I’ve heard that one before; six months ago was the last time I think.”

Mona laughed. “I know, I know. But this time I mean it.”

“So how is this one perfect?” She told herself to withhold judgement.

“He’s sweet but not the annoying kind. He holds the door for me but doesn’t complain if I pay for dinner sometimes. He’s smart, emotionally stable, and he makes me laugh.” Mona’s knitted brow made Karen wonder what was wrong with the guy. Perfect was never really perfect when it came to her friend’s choice in men.

“Does he have a decent job? You have a habit of finding men who can’t keep their shit together.”

“Yes, he’s an analyst and he just got promoted. He’s been with the same company for ten years. He’s not the kind I would have to support.”

Karen nodded. “Good, he sounds great. So what’s the problem?”

Mona glared at her but Karen waited patiently knowing the ‘but’ was coming.

“It can’t work.”


“Many reasons. He’s so perfect I could never be the woman he deserves.”

“That’s ridiculous.”

“He also thinks I’m perfect. We both know that’s not true. How could I live up to his expectations?”

“I’m sure he likes you the way you are, Mona.”

“There’s more. He’s a neat freak, you should see his house. I throw my socks on the floor and forget to do laundry until my closet is empty. I would drive him crazy.”

“Relationships are all about compromise. You can adjust to each other if your feelings are strong enough.”

Mona sighed. “He likes fine dining and I’d rather have burgers and pizza. He dresses in suits and I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl. He watches crime dramas and I like Star Trek.”

“You like to dress up and he probably likes to dress down. You can suck it up and watch his shows and he can do the same. Why are you trying to talk yourself out of this?”

“I don’t have a choice. There is one major road block I can’t get past.”


“This morning I was offered three million to kill him.”

“Oh, I see. I wonder what he did to warrant someone hiring one of the two best assassins in the country to take him out.”

“I was curious at first too, but for that amount of money, it was easy to lose interest in the whys of it.”

“Yeah, but sometimes our job sucks right?”

Mona nodded. “Romance is all fine and good but business is business. Still, my deadline is in a month. I think I’ll enjoy him while I can. He is the perfect man after all.”

“Good girl.”

Have you ever had a story come to you and not know where it came from? This story popped in my head, almost fully formed, while in the car on the way to eat lunch with my husband yesterday. I got out my journal and wrote down all my thoughts on it and finished up before we pulled into the parking lot.

There was nothing in particular that I can see inspired. I was just looking out the window watching other cars and story happened.

It’s not my best but at this point I’m happy words came out of me. I’ve stalled out on my Nanowrimo project and need to work on another one but I don’t know which one. For all I know this may turn into a half a month of short story writing. I would be okay with it.

I’m almost convinced I can’t win Nanowrimo this year. I was frustrated at first but not now.

I had back surgery this year. My recovery has been a roller coaster. I had an injection and it’s helped some but I’m still in a bad place with pain. I’m forced to spend a quarter of my awake time laying down.

The truth is, I’m lucky to have written as much as I have this month. I’m choosing to be happy with however many words I end up with. At least I’m trying. That’s all I can really do.


Nanowrimo 2016 Update # 3.5

I said 3.5 because I haven’t written since the last update. I’m five thousand words behind at this point. I’m not sure what I will do but I managed to figure a couple of things out.

First was what is missing from my Nano project: a relationship. I have this weird rebellious thing in me where I try to avoid romantic stuff in writing. I guess I’m afraid the story will be perceived as a different genre than it’s meant to be.

This novel is urban fantasy but if I make my characters fall in love then it could be put into paranormal romance by some. I don’t actually have anything against romance, I just don’t think I can write it well. I don’t want someone to pick up this book thinking it will be all about the relationship and walk away unsatisfied.

It gets more complicated because this story might Need to be romance. It started out plot driven and now is so character driven it surprised me and I’m unsure how to proceed.

I need to decide which road I’ll go down. Either choice will be hard for me. I have to choose between writing in a genre I’ve never tackled or try to replot and completely change what I’ve already written. I may need to wait until Nanowrimo is over to decide.

For now I’ll probably change projects. My muse can’t make up my mind for me at this point though. I’ve been looking into my middle grade project. It’s meant to be a series. I was thinking of making it a collection of longer short stories instead. I’ve been working on a timeline for it and coming up with story ideas.

If I don’t work on that one, then it’s likely I’ll work on one I call The Order Of Life. I’ll probably change the title because I don’t think the acronym TOOL is appropriate for the content. There is a lot of political intrigue involved. Since I have no experience with that I’m not sure I want to jump back into this story. It is the most planned project I have though. At least I can fall back on it.

Part of me wishes I could magically come up with a new idea to run with so I don’t have to make decisions. Even some short story ideas would be welcome at this point. I just want to make stuff up again!

The election was another issue. It stressed me out more than I realized and now it’s over, I’m hoping my muse will come out of hiding.

Cross your fingers for me!


Nanowrimo 2016 Update #3

Yesterday my word count was 10,305. I’m caught up, assuming I meet my goal today. Unfortunately, I haven’t written anything today and I’m not sure if I will or not. I encountered a problem I’ve never had, not only during Nanowrimo but with writing in general. My story is finished, except it’s not.

Let me explain, since I know that sounds odd. I thought I was prepared enough to write this story but apparently I wasn’t. All the major scenes were planned out. I wrote scene cards and pinned them on a cork board and was confident I knew how to get from beginning to end.

I did. I wrote every one of those scenes. The problem is, with only a couple of exceptions, I only wrote those scenes. Normally, I start with my opener and the first few scenes. Then, if I’m lucky, some magic happens between the first sequence and the next, or even between those first scenes. Call it filler if you will, or transitions, or whatever. It didn’t happen this time. This story reads like a 100 meter dash instead of the marathon it needs to be!

This could mean several things. It could simply indicate this shouldn’t be a novel length story, but I don’t think so. It could mean I am not as interested in the story as I believed. Maybe I wasn’t as prepared as I needed to be. Perhaps this novel needs a lot more planning than previous ones, or less. It’s changed a lot since I first conceived it, so it could be it changed so much my muse doesn’t understand it anymore.

I don’t know what the problem is, so I don’t know how to proceed. Some of what’s missing is what I call padding. I write very little description in a first draft, unless it directly impacts the characters. I have several scenes where I’ve fleshed out the setting a lot and others that only say ‘forest’, ‘town square’, ‘grocery store’, etc.’ I haven’t taken the time to describe either main character or any of the lesser but important ones. I did spend some time on the villain though. I figure I know what they look like so I can just get the story out and add that stuff later.

If I go in and add all the items listed above, I would still only have about 15,000 – 20,000 words. I need to take some time to figure out what happens in between the crucial scenes. Therein lies my biggest problem. I’m doing Nanowrimo. I don’t have time to flesh out a story I thought I understood and still write 50k words.

So today, I’m taking some time to think and make decisions. Do I set aside this story and pick up something else so I can get the word count? I’ve done this before, every year I’ve participated actually. It seems to be my pattern. Or, do I take the time to work on a story I believe has massive potential and give up on Nanowrimo? I can’t do both.

Either choice is appealing to me equally. I will hate making this decision. I honestly don’t know what I should do.

I’ll post another update when I figure it out.


Nanowrimo 2016 Update #2

My word count is 3749. I’m behind due to not writing yesterday. I had a procedure that involved four gigantic needles being shoved into my lower back. The stuff they gave me made me sleepy so when I got home I took a long nap. Afterward I didn’t feel like writing. I was sore and a bit out of it.

The plan is to make up for it today and tomorrow. Hopefully the injection (nerve block) will allow this.

I’m going to write a scene where my main character uses magic in an unexpected way. It’s either going to confound me or I’m going to write a ton of words. I hope it leads to many more scenes. In my vague index card outline there is only haziness around this scene.

A true planner I am not. I do some basic plotting, pin up some index card scenes, and write a synopsis only I will ever see before I start to write. This leaves me plenty of room to still be half a pantser. That’s where the magic happens for me.

Tomorrow I might go to a write-in. I suspect I need to be around other writers for a  while to pick up creative vibes. Sunday is my writing group so I’ll be busy all weekend. I probably won’t post another update until Monday or Tuesday.


Nanowrimo 2016 Update #1

Yesterday I wrote 1669 words for my Nanowrimo project. About half were written between 12:00 am and 12:30 am. The rest I managed while writing with my best friend in the afternoon. Everything except him distracted me. Staying up three hours past my bedtime and sleeping badly took its toll.

I feel lucky I met the daily Nano goal (which is 1667). Nothing could make me reread anything I wrote yesterday though. I was so out of it I can’t be sure any of it makes sense. If I read it, I’ll want to fix it. This cannot be allowed. My inner editor is a bitch and will take over, throwing me out of creative mode.

So I’m going to start today’s writing with the assumption I did everything right. Since I’m trying to write in a linear manner, I’ll simply write the next scene, then the next and so on.

All the past Nanowrimos I jumped around in the story. I started out with the beginning but at some point jumped to the end, then back to the middle, and all over the place. Each year I ended up getting stalled and moving to another story. The hopping around in my timeline might have been the reason. So I’m going to try to stay on track this time. Try is the keyword here.

I won’t beat myself up if I do end up following my usual pattern though. What matters is words. I’ve got lots of those.

My goal for today is 2000 words. I prefer to stay ahead as much as possible. There are several days this month I won’t be able to write much and at least one where I can’t write at all. So it’s important I have days where I write more than the regular goal.

Tomorrow is one of the no write days. It’s injection day. I’ve had several of these procedures but I’ve never looked forward to one this much. Sure it will suck getting an IV but if this thing works then it might get me through the month with less pain. Less pain means more writing. I’m very worried back pain will dictate whether I win this year or not so I desperately want this injection to work for me.

I will posts updates when I can but I hope to be too busy to do it often. Good luck to all the other participants!


Flash Fiction – A Man’s World (and a quick update)

This is from a writing prompt posted in my writing group. It was the amazing picture of a man kneeling down on one knee with several arrows sprouting from his back. It took me quite some time to come up with an idea but when I finally did, I wrote this in a 25 minute timed exercise.

A Man’s World

Conneth dropped to one knee as Elyse approached to survey her victorious champions. Exhausted with blood loss he was glad of a reason to rest. The arrows still lodged in his back might kill him but not kneeling before the crown Princess would definitely cost him his head. He hadn’t fought and killed scores of men for her just to end up one of her victims.

As she passed by, he chanced a quick glance. The royal brat wrinkled her nose up at the sight of the injured but devoted men prostrated before her. He returned his gaze to the ground. Rumor had it she threw men she didn’t have killed in the fabled dungeons of Sarvon for not showing the proper deference.

Not for the first time Conneth wished men could rule. Elyse’s older brother Landor would be a great ruler. He understood the plight of men in this kingdom, but it would never happen. If Elyse didn’t survive to become queen her closest female cousin would ascend the throne, even if the girl hadn’t reached her majority.

Someday, probably not in Conneth’s lifetime, men would not be thought of as lesser creatures. They would not be bred merely to cater to a lady’s whim or to fight wars started by women. What he wouldn’t give to be able to choose his own wife and make his own decisions.

Being paraded at the multitude of Men’s Balls for some random female to bargain with his mother for his hand was degrading. It didn’t help that he was reaching an age where he was almost too old to be marriageable. It was unfair that he would be forced to either marry a stranger who would rule his life or risk being labels a bachelor. His stomach tightened painfully at the thought.

His head jerked up at unexpected movement in front of him. Elyse stood looking down at him. There was a light in her eyes he didn’t like. She stared at him for several minutes as he defiantly glared back. The blood running down his back distracted him but if he was going to die, he was going to go out in his own way.

“This one,” Elyse said to the man beside her, her personal slave mage. “Heal him, send him to my tent. Oh and find his mother.” She turned and walked away.

Confused he stared at the mage as the man bent over him and began the healing.  “What is going on Victor?”

“You poor bastard. You’ve been chosen as the Princess Elyse’s next consort. I probably should have let you die. Maybe you’ll survive longer than the last three. I gave you a little extra stamina, you’re going to need it. Her um…appetites are voracious.” The sympathy on the man’s face was almost painful.

“Sex?” he asked but he knew the answer. Wasn’t that what women really wanted men for? For the first time in his life Conneth passed out from fear.

*rough draft: 496 words

I am choosing not to edit this due to Nanowrimo starting tomorrow. My inner editor is safely tucked away and I hope not to see it until December. I’m going to the kick off event tonight and will start writing my novel at midnight. I’m wimpy so I won’t stay very late but I like the way it starts off Nano. On Tuesday I’ll write for as many hours as I can handle (which of course my stupid back will decide).

I have a procedure scheduled for Thursday, an injection, which will mess up my writing stride but might enable me to get through November and finish Nano.

There is no way to know how often I’ll be posting here during next month. My regular Wednesday posts hopefully and the Saturday post for sure will show up. Updates will be sporadic.

You might see some excerpts but no more short stories as I’ll be concentrating on one project (hopefully).


Annual Nanowrimo Post

Today I opened Facebook and saw a post from an old friend about Nanowrimo. He said he’d signed up and was really nervous. A first-timer! So many thoughts went through my head. Part of me wanted to ask if he knew what he was getting himself into. Things like: Are you nuts? Don’t you understand how stressful it is? Blah, blah, etc.

The better side of me said a variation of “You got this!” All the bad things associated with Nanowrimo are true, sometimes. They are false other times. Or the negatives might apply to one person and not another.

There is always my case, where the first year was awful and I failed. Then on reflection I realized I didn’t write 50,000 words but I wrote half that amount, which is 25k more words than I had before November. I acquired a daily writing habit and after I finished being a metaphoric Dobby (imagine him punishing himself), I gained some confidence in my skills. I realized I could and should write.

Let’s break down Nanowrimo. The goal is to write a 50,000 word story in a month. November has thirty days so to accomplish this you must write 1667 words a day. If you’re anything like me there will be days where you pump out twice that or more. There will also be days where you’re lucky to get 70, or none.

Some people get discouraged if they are not right on track with the daily goal but the thing  to remember the end goal. I say this every year but it’s important to note Nanowrimo is a competition with yourself.

What exactly does that mean? It means you only lose if you give up. Fifty thousand is a number some writer picked. Hey, you are a writer too! We all know there is no one correct way to write. So be you. Write as much as you can, as fast as you can, and see what you end up with.

For those of you who are competitive, well, this is the perfect opportunity! Also, you can cheat. No, I don’t mean copy and paste old stuff. I mean you don’t have to write in one story. You can write many short stories, or half of two. It doesn’t have to be fiction, or even a novel. You could do a screenplay, or a collection of poems. What matters is words, on paper or screen.

If you do win there are some nifty prizes (yes, I actually said nifty). Scrivener, my all time favorite program to write in is 20% off if you don’t win but half off if you do. If you want to try out the program there is a special Nanowrimo trial version available: click here to try it. There are free and discounted publishing tools, a discount on a cool timeline program and many other goodies.

The biggest prize of all is words. The words you wrote. However many you end up with will be more than you started with and probably more than you would have written without Nanowrimo.

We need to go back to the negatives so no one walks in blind.

  • Stress. Yes, this happens to most of us, but doesn’t it already happen when you write?
  • It’s hard. At times yes, but most of the time you’re so busy in the process you don’t notice. My best advice is to have some kind of plan. You don’t have to plot every detail out, although if you like to, then by all means do it. Just have at least a basic plan of where you’re going. If you’re an ‘organic’ writer, you might have a difficult time.
  • Life. It will get in the way as often as possible. If you have kids or pets or a spouse or partner who live with you then you’ll realize quickly they are more needy in November than any other time of the year. As soon as you put a pen to paper or hands to the keyboard they will need you. Even when they try to leave you alone, well, you know how when you’re trying to be quiet so you don’t wake someone up? It will be just like that, all the time. Don’t worry, this is a good thing. I’m not crazy, at least not about this. You will learn to write around distractions, or to tell everyone to shut it. If you have a live in significant other, enlist their help to distract the other distractions. Kids thrive on structure. If you set a time for writing and enforce it then they will get used to it quickly and you’ll forever have your writing time. It’s best to also make this their time, as in give them something they can do as well, that is far away from you and preferably doesn’t involve food.
  • Speaking of food, you have to eat and so does your family or pets. Slow cooker. That is all.
  • Not finishing. Notice I didn’t say failing. If you wrote during Nano, you haven’t failed.
  • Writing yourself into a corner. I’ve done this. I had a plan, it was a bad plan and I got stuck. You have several choices if this happens to you. 1. You can agonize and Dobby yourself and not write another word and be miserable. Trust me, this is not the option to pick. 2. You can pour over your outline or synopsis or whatever you did to plan and try to find where it needs to be fixed. If you do this one, try to keep the pouring short and sweet. Once you figure out the problem don’t try to actually fix it. Write as if you already did. You can revise later. 3. If you’re completely stalled then stop working on the story. Try writing something else. It could be a new novel, something you’ve already worked on, some short stories, whatever you like. It’s your contest and if you write the words, they count. It doesn’t matter if it’s all one novel. My goal is 50,000 words, regardless. For the last two years I’ve written in two different stories each time. One year I finished a middle grade novel. It was only about half the 50k, so I started working on book two of the series. Last year I got stalled and another story was trying to take over anyway so I wrote the second one. In fact, I wrote the entire thing in 15 days.
  • Sucky quality. Well, it’s going to happen. When you’re trying to get as many words out as possible, you’re going to have some terrible stuff. For example: The flower was exceptionally pretty, especially the way the ends of the large petals were a completely different, but beautiful shade of the darkest red you can imagine and the stem was a shining and healthy green, like pine trees in the fall in northern Alaska. Long, weird, and awful right? Just wait. Your muse will wax eloquently and you will unconsciously try to stack as much in as you can to reach your word count, especially near the end. Don’t worry when this happens to you. Words first, revision later. By the way, it was hard to make up the above example, but it won’t be in November!
  • The opposite of sucky quality. You might have the inner editor problem. Every sentence must be perfect and if it’s not you might go back and fix it in three minutes. Don’t do this to yourself. It’s crucial you turn off the inner editor. This isn’t a competition of perfection, it’s about word count. You can fix it later. Always remember, no matter how hard you try to make each line perfect, first drafts suck. You will have to revise it later anyway, so just write.
  • Comparison. Remember, this is a competition with yourself, not anyone else. If you’re part of a Nanowrimo group you’ll start seeing people finish halfway through or writing 3000 words every day. STOP IT! Don’t compare yourself. All you need to do is what works for you. Remember my Alaskan flower sentence? For all you know, every sentence they wrote is the equivalent. Or maybe they are channeling Stephen King and simply write that fast. It doesn’t matter. All that matters if you, and what you can do, what you are doing and what you will do.
  • Loneliness. This one is huge. I know writing is a solitary endeavor, but we all need to be around others who understand. It doesn’t have to be in person. There are forums on the Nano website and a lot of regions have a Facebook group. If you can pull yourself out of your introverted ways, attend a few events. Most areas have write-ins a few times during the event. You don’t even have to talk if you go. Bring earbuds and remain silent if you must. Whether you interact or not you’ll be soaking up all the good writer vibes. There is something to be said for being around a bunch of people who are enthusiastic about writing. My first year I lurked in the Facebook page but did all the writing on my own, never speaking to anyone. I wrote 25k words. The next year I got involved and smashed through the goal and have won every year since.
  • Writing Advice. There is a ton out there, especially during Nanowrimo. Don’t read it, at least not during November. You want to write, not read about writing. Read as much as you want or can over the next couple of days but once you start, put the books and posts aside and just write. If you get stuck, then check out some tips and get back to it.
  • You might win. How is this negative you ask? Well if you finish then you have a novel that needs revision, editing, publishing. This is scary stuff, especially if it’s your first book. I can’t tell you how to get over the fear of hard work or success but I can tell you it’s debilitating if you don’t. Writing is a process and it’s hard. It’s not for everyone but if you can get through all the steps it will be worth it and you’ll be so proud of yourself. If you’ve always wanted to write a novel, do it. You’ve got this!
  • You might not win. You may not end up with 50k but you’ll have something. I didn’t win my first year but I did get half the words. I also got my daily writing habit and a huge boost of confidence. I got all the things I listed below, in the good section and a lot more. I can’t forget to mention I got competitive, with myself. I was determined to win the next year. Even with the negatives I had a lot of fun and even though it took some time, in the end I didn’t care that I didn’t ‘win.’

Now for the good:

  • Words.

Yep, that’s what you really get out of this. Sure, if you win you can take advantage of the sponsor offers and goodies but even if you don’t, you have words out of your head. You have something to work with. Whether it be 50,000, 25k, or less, you win at writing. If you participate with others, you might walk away with new friends, a regular writing or critique group, some great encouragement, and maybe a few beta readers. You’ll see.

So to everyone who wants to do Nanowrimo, I say try it. You’ll either love it or you won’t. It’s only one month of your life and you may come away better for it.

Good luck to everyone going for it this year. I can’t wait to get started.

Everything Update

Writing: As mentioned in a previous update, I finished the first draft of book one of my unnamed trilogy. I’m a bit at loose ends now.

I started planning the novel I plan to write for Nanowrimo but the middle is giving me trouble. I know the beginning and end. I even know a lot of things that need to happen in between but once I made my story board I saw the middle was sparse. At this point I don’t know how to fix it.

On a good note, I did figure out how to introduce some important back story. I have less than two weeks to figure out the rest. This may turn out to be only a partially planned story. I’m going to start writing it on November 1st whether I work out the issues or not. It will be like old times, when I would write by the seat of my pants, but with a bit of a safety net.

Since finishing my novel and getting stalled on planning the next I wrote one piece of flash fiction (click here to read it), and not much else. I have a few ideas for more short stories but haven’t been inspired enough to write them. My brain is too wrapped up on other things.

One of those things is an older story trying to intrude and push my Nanowrimo project to the side. This is no surprise as it happens every year I participate. Last year I started with one story and when I got stuck I switched to a different one. The new novel kept pulling my attention away and once I let it have my focus it poured out of my head quickly. I wrote the entire first draft in 15 days. I did the same thing the year before, and the year before that.

Sometimes I write one and a half novels in November and other times it’s two halves but apparently this is my pattern. I’d like to break the habit but I’d rather write parts of two different stories than get so stalled I can’t write a thing. I do not advise jumping from story to story for most writers.

In other writing news, I plan to go to the West Texas Writer’s Academy in June. I know how to write but I feel like adding to my writer’s toolbox is important. Also, I need to recharge my writing battery. I’ve talked to several people who’ve attended in the past and know this is for me. I can’t wait to be around a bunch of other writer’s who want to learn and share their knowledge. It’s part classes, part networking, part absorbing writer vibes.

The problem is it’s expensive. I’ve started saving but I’m nervous I won’t be able to manage it. There is a small scholarship available and I applied for it. I had to write a short essay about why I want to be a writer. Yesterday I finished it and forced myself to send it. I was a nervous wreck! At first, after attaching the file, I kept my mouse pointer hovered over the send button.

I’m not sure how long I sat there in fear but I finally clicked. That’s when I started shaking. Tears were running down my face and I was freaking out. It was weird! I stamped down the ‘what-if’ questions trying to overwhelm me and stared at the table in front of me so no one would notice. I wasn’t sobbing, it was only nervous tears, which I had never experienced until that moment, but I didn’t want anyone to ask if I was okay. Did I mention this all happened in a coffee shop. I’m so glad I sat in the corner! If I had known I would react this way I would have done it at home.

I told some writer friends what I did and even typing it in a text brought back the anxiety. Telling my husband that night did the same. I’m okay now as I type this, but I’m still a bit nervous about it.

That tiny partial scholarship could make the difference between me going or not. I desperately want to go. I think I need to. I have to pay in January and I’ll do everything I can to make it work. Wish me luck, I think I’m going to need it.

Reading: I’m rereading Harry Potter. I don’t want to get too distracted from my own writing so for the last couple of months I’ve only read books I’ve read before. I tried to only pick ones I’ve read several times.

When I picked up book one I was surprised by the beginning. I love J.K. but the first chapter is awful. Not the story itself, but the writing. Even by book two you can see a huge improvement in her skill level. Noticing this gave me hope. I’ve reread some of my early work and been appalled. Knowing this happens to all writers is encouraging. We all get better. I don’t know if I can ever get J.K. better but I can certainly try.

The other thing I noticed was I haven’t reread these books in a very long time. I probably shouldn’t keep reading but it’s already pulled me in. So I’ll treat it as research.

Coincidentally, the story trying to intrude on my Nanowrimo story is a middle grade tale. Reading at least the first four Harry Potter books really is like doing research since Harry is in the age range of my characters.

Okay, I’m pretty sure I just decided, literally as I wrote the previous paragraph, I’m going to switch projects now for Nanowrimo. Tommie the fairy and her friends really want to me write about them and I will. It will be a lot more fun than the story I had planned. It has a lot of death and impossible choices and betrayal and creatures that kill and eat humans.

Tommie and her friends never eat people! Well, one of her friends would if she was allowed outside the fairy realm, but that’s not important here.

I think I won’t pick up The Prisoner of Azkaban today. Instead, I’ll plot out my new Nano project!

Medical: I’m still waiting to hear from the doctor’s office about insurance approval to do an injection in my back. There is a nerve basically being a little smushed. It’s more complicated than that but my silly word serves. I hope this procedure happens next week. If it works then I’ll be all set for November’s crazy writing schedule.

Everything else: I’m going to search for freezer meals today so I can get some good use out of my slow cooker next month. I’d rather spend two or three days preparing a months worth of meals than cook every day when I’m trying to write 2000 words a day. Plus, meal planning will help me save money towards the academy.

For those of you who read my post about my daughter’s friend, I have an update. The abusive jerk who hit this girl got expelled. I’m not sure if it’s because that is policy when someone is accused or if it’s because one of the times he hit her it happened in an alley that runs along one of the parking lots. If they consider it school property, well they have a no-tolerance policy on violence. He now goes to a school across town, so the girl feels safer. I’m waiting to hear what the police had to say about it.

I’ll post an update on my planning progress soon. Don’t be surprised if I change my mind again.