Round 4!

I can’t believe we’re already in the last round. This year swooshed by me! But here we are, time for the final round of ROW80 for 2018. At least goal setting for this round is always easy. It’s NaNoWriMo season! The goals practically set themselves.

The only hard part about goals for this round is what to do about December. I have so far never done a good job of keeping things rolling after NaNo, and this year I’d really like to change that.

I am mulling over how to make December not feel like a flop this time around. I’m thinking that separating my goals out by month might be useful, so I’m going to try that out.

So, here they are! My Round 4 Goals:

October:

  • Work on NaNo planning at least 4 times each week
  • Continue writing practice at least 3 times a week
  • Blog at least 3 times

November:

  • Work on my NaNo story at least 4 days a week
  • Run a weekly online write-in
  • Go to or host at least two in-person write-ins
  • Blog at least 2 times

December: 

  • On December 1, write a blog post with more precise December goals
  • Include some sort of work related to my NaNo story
  • Blog at least 3 times

Pretty Close

I came close to my goal of having a name for my character. I’m not quite there yet. I have it narrowed down to two, and I’m hoping that as I do a little work getting to know her I’ll figure out what her name is supposed to be.

This part, figuring out whose story I’m telling, always gets the excitement building in me. I can feel that buzz in my stomach, and I’m starting to see images of scenes. I can’t wait to start the planning on this one!

I still have some work to do on my NaNo planning class, but I am far enough along that I can say it will be ready to start on the 24th. And I will have a registration page tomorrow. So that goal is pretty close to met, too.

I didn’t have as much time as I expected for working on all of this because I got a three-week sub job! I was not expecting that so early in the school year, but I’m really happy it came along. I may have to readjust my schedule a bit, but it’s so worth it. I am so glad to be back in the classroom!

For now, though, I’m going to go out and enjoy this sunny and warm-but-not-hot beautiful late summer day. Happy writing everyone!

Stirrings of Fall

I love fall. I think I’ve mentioned this a million or so times before. But this time of year hits, and I come alive. I have ideas, I’m ready to do things. And one of the things I do in the fall is NaNoWriMo. This year, I’m taking part in their fun Instagram challenge in September. Today’s prompt was “cover art,” so I made this for my horror story.

I’m also gearing up to teach my “Plan Your NaNo” class after a couple of years off, so most of my writing is centered around updating and touching up the materials for that. But I also made a cute graphic for it (apparently this week is for making graphics). I’ll share that below, because I’m kind of proud of it.

So not a lot of writing is happening, but there’s a lot of writing-adjacent activity. But after a really droopy summer, I’m feeling like things are moving again, and that feels very good.

I got a new idea for NaNo just over a week ago, so I need to get moving on fleshing it out. I’m going to set a goal of having a character name and some background on her by Sunday. See you then with an update!

Going Camping

Somewhere in the midst of trying to do revisions, I realized my best choice is to do a second draft of my story. So I’m jumping in on Camp NaNoWriMo in April.

I’ve signed up a few times and even set up a project once, but I’ve never been part of a cabin, so I feel like I haven’t really done Camp. This time, though, my local writing group is having a cabin, and I’m going to be doing this with them. I think that’s going to make it a lot more fun.

So far, I have ideas for a few new scenes, and right now I’m working on making scene cards and fleshing out ideas for some of the scenes I want to keep that feel too scant. The rest of March will be for planning out the rewrite, then on April 1 I’ll start Draft 2. I

I’m aiming for 20,000 words for Camp, which should be pretty easy. I’ll probably be sticking with my usual method of writing 4 or 5 days a week rather than every day. The every day experiment was interesting, but it’s not by best way to work.  So, writing more days than not, nice easy goals. That should about cover it. Where are the marshmallows? I think I’m ready for camp!

 

NaNo Wrap-up

I’ve started this post numerous times in my head. I have so much to say! It’s all still tumbling around excitedly inside my brain. This might call for a list!

  1. I won NaNoWriMo with 52,513 (52,527 in Google Docs) words.
  2. I finished the story! This one is huge. Immensely, amazingly huge! I have never done this before. Not just during NaNo, either. I have only ever finished short stories before. Every long work I’ve started up until now remains unfinished. But not this one. This one has an ending!
  3. I’m feeling niggling worries about whether or not I know how to do the next steps to add scenes, clean things up, do revisions. It’s all going to be my first try for my own work. I’ve helped other people do theirs, but I’ve never done this on my own. It feels completely different and like brand new territory. I have to remember that finishing a novel felt that way, and I did it by just figuring out and doing the next thing without knowing what I would do after that. I have to let go of wanting to know how every part of it will look before I get there (oh so hard for me!).
  4. I have a plan for what I’m doing next. During December I’m going to be reading through about 4 pages a day and making notes about things that need to have more info or different info, marking places where I need another scene, marking places where a scene needs to be removed or replaced. My plan is to be ready to do the writing and clean-up starting in January. I’m trying not to try to figure out how long that might take right now (oh my control issues!).

 

Slogging

I’m struggling to get to the writing today. I’m exhausted and headachey. But I am so close! Just under 3,000 words left to write to win NaNoWriMo. And I think that’s going to bring me to the end of my story, too, so it’s really exciting. Except I can’t get off this couch!

There are too many of these exhausted and not-quite-well days. But at least the fire is going again, I am not freezing like I was earlier, and I have a plan to put together a quick dinner and get it into the oven so we will have food. Things could be much worse, right? If only the motivation fairy would come and get me on my feet!

Heading Into the Final Stretch

November is almost over, and therefore so is NaNoWriMo. I’m still moving along. I’m no longer sure I’ll reach the end of the story by the end of November, though. An extra episode inserted itself into my story, so I’m not quite where I thought I would be at this point.

This afternoon, I’m going to take a little bit of time to do some planning for the next phases of the story and see if I might manage to still get to the end by November 30. I’ve never managed to do that during NaNo, and this year is the closest I’ve ever come, so I’m still holding out hope that I can make it work.

As soon as I post this, I’m going to take my stack of inspirational books and my story notebook and settle in with the fire going and music and the washer as background noise, and I’m going to get my writing done earlier today because I’ve been leaving it until too late at night all this past week. Things are nice and peaceful today, though, so it’s a good day to spend more time with my story.

I hope you’re having a great writing day!

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!