NaNo Meets Thanksgiving

This week has been really hectic. I’m trying to clean things up for Thanksgiving, and that’s not going well, and I’m really behind. I’ve kept up with my word count–I’m even still a day ahead–but everything is kind of foggy. There’s too much going on in my head, and it’s keeping me from being fully engaged with anything I’m doing. I’m getting writing done, but the having fun part has slipped away.

I don’t know if I’m going to get back to really enjoying it until Thanksgiving is over. I’m really looking forward to not having to prep for a holiday! Thank goodness Christmas is at someone else’s house!

I’m going to set a pre-New Year’s resolution–next year I am *not* going to wait until November to start getting my house in order so that I can have people over. Now I just have to figure out how to actually get myself to get organized enough to not do this again.

Meanwhile, back to my haunted world. Things are easier there.

In Medias Res

I’m feeling in the middle right now.  Of a lot of things. And why am I writing? Probably because people want connection and conversation and to feel like they have community and like minded people around them. And I’m a people.

Every time I think of restarting a blog, I freeze because I feel like I should explain where I’ve been or try to catch up on things. But I’ve decided I’m not going to do that. I’m just going to write. Like a good novelist, I will start with the current action and filter in the backstory as it’s needed and pertinent.

So right now, I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo. (That picture at the top of the page is my novel notebook.) Of course. It’s November. I’m doing things a little differently this year, though, mostly because I’m signed on to a Habitica challenge for NaNo. Writing and updating the NaNo site are on the Dailies list, and I can’t stand losing any digital points for not completing my dailies, so I am actually writing every day. I don’t usually write every day, even for NaNo. This is turning into an interesting experiment.

I don’t know if I could ever be an every day writer all year round. But this challenge has given me a better idea of how to structure the way I write. For the challenge, you can check that you’ve done “some words” although the goal is to get the full 1,667 each day. I added a “reward” where I pay 100 gold coins for days that I write but don’t meet that goal. And it’s working really well. I’m ahead on word count and getting some good writing sessions in. And this made me realize that the way to get writing to be a stronger habit is not to schedule it for certain days of the week or put it in the non-daily habits list so I get points for it whenever I happen to get around to it. The way to do it is to put it on my Dailies list but give myself the option of buying a day off from writing. I like my digital points, and I know I won’t pay coins too many days in a row to skip, so I think this will really prod me to sit down and write more regularly even when I don’t feel like it.  The only thing I need to decide now is what a writing session will entail. I think it’s going to be word count oriented–that’s working really well for me.

Another thing I’m doing, although I’m just starting it so not exactly in the middle of it, is reading Shawn Coyne’s The Story GridThis is going to be especially helpful for editing. So far, from a brief overview and watching the YouTube videos, this looks like an excellent system. I’m looking forward to getting to know it better.

I’m also in the middle of a lot of life. Trying really hard to find a way to make my house organized and welcoming for myself and maybe even for visitors. Bringing a new kitty fully into the family (and there’s this third lovely boy in the backyard whom we feed and who is now letting me pet him, and I don’t know what to do about that sweetie). Getting ready for Thanksgiving. Figuring out health stuff. So much, but life is always like that I guess.

I’m also not in the middle of a book. I just started a new one today–The Tower by J.L. Bryan. It’s the ninth in the Ellie Jordan series, and I’ve enjoyed all of them. They had some fabulous settings and fun ghosts, and they’re fast and fun reads. This one is looking to be the same. It breezes along and pulls me right in.

This is the stuff I want to talk about here. There are so many books I’ve read and loved, but I can’t go back and try to catch up, so I’m going to go forward. And I’ll talk about writing. And probably exercise as I attempt to be a more healthy and mobile author. So much to talk about. Not all today, though.

NaNo Wrap-up

nano-winner-banner-2016

I really intended to write a few posts during NaNo, but somehow it didn’t happen. So here’s a wrap-up instead.

I got my win last night, and it feels weird.  This year, I have been using Habitica to get tasks done (you should check it out–it’s so fun and useful, too!).  So, I joined a writing guild that had a NaNo challenge going.  Because of this, I actually wrote every single day. I did have two days (the day before Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving itself) that I didn’t hit the daily goal, but I wrote.  Then I caught up over the weekend, so I didn’t have to do any crazy, 10K days, or even 5K days to catch up.  This is the first time I wrote every single day of NaNo (yes, I’m writing a bit on my story today so I can really say that).

I learned something this NaNo.  I am not an every day writer, at least not a comfortable every day writer.  My best writing schedule for stories is to write three or four days a week.  Maybe some writing practice on the other days.  Trying to work on my story every single day left me feeling oddly rushed and pressured even though I wasn’t behind on my word count, and I’m pretty sure the days I struggled the most (and wrote the worst drivel) happened because I needed a break from the story.  This is good.  Knowing my best rhythm is important, so I’m glad I did this experiment.

Now comes the fun part of trying to grab hold of this story and bring it together and finish it.  I ended up re-plotting it two different times during November. I think the new direction I found myself going in over the past three days is actually the right way to go, so now I need to figure out what parts of what I’ve written work with this and what needs to change and what needs to be added.  For today, though, I’m mostly going to celebrate.

I won!

 

NaNo 1st

nanobanner

I’m starting a new habit. I’m going to post writing goals on the first of each month.  November’s are kind of easy.

November Goals

  • Win NaNoWriMo
  • Keep up with Habitica NaNo challenge tasks
  • Do crit group feedback and meeting

The hardest part will be the Habitica tasks. Two of them are daily tasks–meet the day’s word goal and update on the NaNo site. I don’t usually write every day, but I really want to win the challenge, so I’m going to do it.  But it’s going to be a little bit odd for me.  It *will* be nice to not need to do any marathon catch-up days.

Now, off I go to get those words started!

My Why

Stories to tell 3

This is from a post I wrote on MuseCraft™ about why I write and the difference between a passion for writing and love of story.

Right now, I’m in the first week of teaching a beta test version of a NaNoWriMo prep workshop, so I’m not actively writing a story at the moment.  But November is coming, so that will change.

Getting ready for the workshop (plus getting ready to move) helped me fall off the ROW80 wagon.  I’m hoping to do better in the final round, but meanwhile I wanted to do a sort of final check-in for this Round 3 even though it ended last week.

What’s going on in your writing life?  Are you writing? Planning?  Going to do NaNo this year?  I hope to see you there!