November Has Arrived

Hello, hello!  I hope everyone had a delightfully scary Halloween!  It was pretty dreary around here, so we just sat in the house and waited to see if any trick-or-treaters were going to show up (only my four munchkins showed up).  Anyway, since it’s now the first (and apparently national author’s day), I thought I would post something writerly in celebration of the day.  Actually, it’s not so much writerly as it is something to hold me accountable to my writerly things.  I’m talking about goals.  It worked really well for me in September, so I’m posting them publicly again.

I got a rock
Rocks are nice, Charlie Brown.

1. Write 18,000+ words.  I know it’s not NaNoWriMo levels of writing (I like what little sanity I have left, so I don’t participate in that), but it’s something I can accomplish in a reasonable fashion without killing myself.  Plus, it leaves me with time to do the rest of the things I have to do each day.  But I wish everyone doing NaNoWriMo well.  I’ll cheer you on from the sidelines!

2. Read two and a half books.  I’m currently in the middle of The Curious Affair of the Somnambulist and the Psychic Thief by Lisa Tuttle for my own amusement.  I’m supposed to read Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate for the book club I’m in.  Then, I have an ARC (advanced reader copy) of The Curious Affair of the Witch at Wayside Cross, also by Tuttle, to review by the end of November.  Not to mention reading all the little things I have to keep up with.

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A little slow, but decent so far.

3. Revise and send a flash fiction piece out into the slush-void.  I got some wonderful feedback from my critique group on the piece I sent to them back in September.  They all insisted that I clean it up and send it out.  Some of them might flog me if I don’t, so here… it’s officially on my to-do list.

4. Submit a story to my critique group.  It’s just another flash piece that I forgot I wrote a long time ago.  It suddenly popped back into my head a few days ago.  So, after I find it and clean it up a little bit, I’ll send it their way.

5. Last, but not least, I want to write one new short story or flash fiction piece.  I know that I mainly want to work on my novel, but I haven’t written anything short in a long time.  I miss the feel of completing something in a few days instead of months.  I’m probably rusty, but I want to get back to the conciseness inherent in short stories.  I’m afraid I’ve grown too accustomed to writing longer pieces.  I don’t want to lose the ability to focus on something short.

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So yeah.  Those are my writerly goals for November.  What about you?  Is there anything specific you hope to accomplish this month?  Are you participating in NaNoWriMo?  Feel free to comment here or on my social media accounts!  Let’s hold each other accountable.

Brace Yourself: NaNoWriMo Is Coming

Hello, hello!  It’s already nearing mid-October, which means November is right around the corner.  We all know what that means, right?  And no, I’m not talking about the election.  It means that NaNoWriMo is almost upon us.  For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s National Novel Writing Month.  Every November, a bunch of writers (new and old alike) try to write a short novel (defined by the website as 50,000 words) or a good chunk of a larger novel in order to win prizes and bragging rights.

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It’s like that.

 It’s a pretty interesting concept and their definition of “novel” is incredibly loose.  On the website, it says “We define a novel as ‘a lengthy work of fiction.’ Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of ‘novel.’ In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.”  It pretty much just requires you to write 50,000 words on one project in 30 days.  That’s roughly 1,667 words a day.  The goal is basically quantity over quality with the belief that it’s more important to get the words on the page, then you can revise and edit everything later to polish it up.  And the forum provides a nice community area full of helpful tips and plenty of others who are also procrastinating (why else would you be in the forums?).

I know many people who participate (many of whom often win), but I don’t.  I’ve tried in the past and failed miserably.  Up until recently, I couldn’t even fathom writing that many words in one day.  Even though I’ve done it before, I doubt I could do it more than two days in a row, let alone 30 days.  I don’t believe in writing every single day anyway.  It becomes a slog if I do that.  So, maybe I’ll try NaNoWriMo again in the future, but for now, I will remain a bystander cheering on those who do participate.

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Part of the bystander’s job? Remind them to write.

 Why must we brace ourselves even if we aren’t participating?  Because, our friends who are doing it will be posting about larger than average word counts (I know some people are sensitive about this and that’s okay), they’ll bounce back and forth between love and hate for the new novel more often than usual, and they will generally be in a writerly panic throughout the month of November.  As bystanders, it’s our job to provide love and support and understanding during this process.  It’s also our job to gently remind them to keep on schedule or catch up when they miss a day.  We never tell them to quit.  If they don’t reach 50,000, we don’t recognize that as a failure, we celebrate the words they did write.  This is how we help.  We also remind them to eat and sleep and shower if need be.  The bystander’s job is an important one.

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This works for writers too, just make sure to include a computer or something for writing.

 Are you participating in NaNoWriMo or are you going to be a bystander?  Any words of advice for newbies on both sides?  If you need support and encouragement throughout the month (or want to talk about why your writer seems crazier than usual), don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Until next week!

A Month of Giving Thanks (Part One)

Hi there!  So, it’s November!  That means we’re coming up on my favorite holiday (and no, I don’t mean Christmas).  Yup, it’s almost time for Thanksgiving!  Because of this, while everyone else is getting all excited about Santa and elves on shelves and all of that wonderful stuff, I have decided to dedicate my posts this month to what this part of the season is really about: giving thanks.  Each week, I will list five things I’m thankful for.  Feel free to join in!

November

What am I thankful for?

1. Family, of course.  This includes Dads and Minions and the like.  I was raised in a way that let me realize early on that family isn’t about blood and biology, it’s about the people who love you for who you are regardless of what you can do for them.  They are the people who stick around (whether they live close by or just keep in touch) and let you know they think of you.  So, for my family who’s reading this, I appreciate everything you do.  I love you.  And that’s enough sap for a long, long time.  Never speak of this again.

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Dad!
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Minion!

2.Friends.  My creepy kindred spirits.  Whether we’ve known each other for 10+ years online or for less than a handful of years in real life or anything in between makes no difference to me.  You guys (and gals) are pure awesome covered in awesome sauce with a cherry on top.  And now, back to our regularly scheduled creepiness, please.

3. The Interwebz.  Aside from the fact that most of my friends live in there somewhere, it just makes life easier.  I don’t know how many stupid (or disturbing) questions I’ve found the answers to in order to make my stories more accurate.  The NSA might have me on a watchlist somewhere, but at least I know the correct procedure for performing an enucleation (and that’s not even close to the weirdest thing I’ve looked up).  Plus, I can stalk people.  Take that how you want.

4. Spiked coffee.  Whoever originally accidentally spilled booze in their coffee (or vice versa) and decided it was a good thing, you are wonderful!  And each person who has experimented with different combinations ever since is kind of great in their own right.  Then you have the genius who added whipped cream (you rock).  Don’t ask me why (because I really don’t know), but I love the stuff.  Disclaimer: I swear I’m not a lush.

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Yes, please!

5. The fact that I can block posts on Facebook from all of the people who started posting nothing but Christmas stuff at 12:01 AM on November 1st and they will never know.  Not that I would ever do that.  But, if you don’t hear from me until December… well, yeah.  Sorry, not sorry.

I think that’s enough for this week, don’t you?  I’ll be back next week with another five things I’m thankful for!  What are you thankful for this year?  Comment here or Facebook or Twitter or G+