NaNo Prep: Free Write

NaNo on Facebook gave us a prompt a few minutes ago to free write for 5 minutes. I’m supposed to be writing for thirty minutes a day, but probably won’t get that far before work, so this will likely be very short. I’ve created a new account on the NaNo website, so I can completely divorce myself from the previous appellation I was using after my breakup. It’s a very freeing thing for me, to completely remove all traces of that name from my world. The next step I need to take for that is a burning ritual, but that can be done on the next new moon. I think a new moon is a better time for such a ritual, since it signifies new beginnings to me.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to write this year for NaNoWriMo. I’m considering something in the world I started in last year, but I’ve decided that that world needs a -lot- of building before I can write in it effectively. I need to know more about it in order to expand the stories. It’s possible to make the single novel into a series, and I tried to leave the ending such that it led to a second novel, though I’m not certain I did so terribly well. Perhaps I’ll practice writing series’ of short stories this month, in preparation for a longer series of novels/novellas.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Preparations

Yes, I’m going to do it again. I’m going to be crazy enough to write 50,000 words (or more!) in 30 days. On top of that, my work schedule is more hectic. I’m full-time now, training five days a week starting very soon. Luckily, I’ll have a month to get myself in a habit of writing daily again, and probably more on my days off. Unless things change, those’ll be Tuesdays and Saturdays, which are good for me. It means I’ll have a day I can spend with Jason when he does have a day off, and a day which I can devote to long bursts of writing. Plus my schedule will now be set, which means I can get up and write before work, knowing exactly when I’ll be working. This is what I wanted, a stable schedule in order to have more regular time to write.

I still have no idea what I’m going to write, though. I haven’t even edited last year’s novel. It desperately needs it, honestly, but I’m not going to ‘cheat’ and use NaNo 2014 for that. It’s going to be all writing, something new. Maybe I’ll finally get to writing Thirty-Three Days into something real, or maybe I’ll start the second part of the novel which I started last year for NaNo. Or maybe I’ll rewrite the concept I started last October. I really, really enjoyed the concept, it just became really disjointed, and I think I can take the ideas and write them more concretely now that I’ve had some time to think on it.

Of course that brings me to the dilemma of what to do in October.

I don’t want to run the risk of basically writing all my ideas for NaNo 2014 in October, but I really need to get into a writing habit again, since it’s been a long time for me. I love writing, and I feel like I’m happier and healthier when I’m writing, but after a year almost of not writing I know I need to get back into the habit. I also need to learn how to work it into my daily/weekly schedule. I suppose I can use the month to work through a backlog of writing prompts, and that will help me get into the habit of writing both for a word-count and on a regular schedule. Both will be good for me.

I found myself wanting to read through some of last year’s novel, and I noticed something interesting. I didn’t remember a lot of it. I don’t know what that means, really, but there were a lot of details I didn’t remember whatsoever. I guess that says two things: first, that I really need to sit and read the story so I can edit it, and that a lot of that story came to me in flashes of pure inspiration, but didn’t stick with me. Is that a good thing? Maybe not. If it wasn’t memorable to me maybe it wasn’t memorable at all. Though realistically, it’s a rough draft. It’s a first draft, and by no means a finished novel. It needs a lot of work before it’s a finished novel. I haven’t even considered really publishing it somehow. I think it has the bones of a series, but that requires work I haven’t been able to put into it yet. Yet.

TDB’s Writing 101 – Unlock the Mind, Commit to a Writing Practice

I’ve found myself with the itch to write again. I was doing so well last year, leading up to and then all through November and even December as I worked on my novel. The novel has now languished for nearly a year, unedited, and thus uncompleted. Part of it was that I wanted to let it rest, like letting the twist set in a yarn I’ve spun. Then work got weird. I got a promotion to full time and to pet trainer, and there was added stress from my coworker. This has resulted in me turning to more mindless forms of distraction in my off-time, like Minecraft.

But I’ve been feeling the itch again. I want to write. I found an article on Facebook (oddly enough, my main source of information) today about writing and health. It claims that there is a link between people who write 3-4 times a week for 15-20 minutes at a time, and their health and well being. That just seems intuitive to me. And in hindsight seems almost obvious: when I am writing, it seems to me I’m healthier, when I’m not, I tend to get illnesses.

The itch to write now has nothing to do with the fact that I’ve been sick for nearly two weeks, though it is helping my resolve to reclaim the writing habit. I’ve had to alter other habits in my life recently, especially my eating habits. I’ve discovered I am diabetic, and that I’ve been living with elevated blood sugar levels for probably years now. My headaches, certainly, were coming from high blood sugar levels and not from tension, as I’d assumed they were. I had to shift my eating habits, and learn to control my weight and my blood sugar much better. Certainly I can shift my writing habits, and see if there’s something to this writing/health connection.

If nothing else, writing 3-4 times a week for 20-30 minutes a day would give my brain something to do. Maybe I could vent my work-stress into something more productive instead of (as I suspect I have done) internalizing it. It might also develop into an every-day habit and then I could almost certainly edit and then perhaps even publish my novel. I have a dream of it being a series, actually, and have the imaginings of another novel already in my head. It would be nice to actually do something with my enjoyment of writing.

I’d also like to work on a collection or two of poetry. I have a hard time writing poetry with a specific theme, honestly. I write when I am moved to do so, and the themes tend to be quite emotionally charged. I’d like to break out of that, to see if I can write poetry that doesn’t have anything to do with intense emotions, that isn’t inspired by drama, effectively. My dream is to write some nature-based poetry, which requires me spending time in nature. Perhaps seasonal themes. Maybe a spiritual collection as well. I don’t know. I need to get in that habit as well, writing poetry more regularly. Perhaps practice with specific structures and styles. Nearly all of my previous writing has been free-verse, but I feel like I want to have some experience with more structured forms.

I think I need to develop some sort of plan, a schedule of sorts for writing. Perhaps nothing too structured, but something that gives me a framework. Like with my crafting, nothing too rigid that I feel as if I’ve failed if I cannot do something exactly as I have planned, but rigid enough that it keeps me motivated. I’ve been restructuring my lists with that in mind, so I can just extend that into the writing realm. I’m going to continue with that, and see if I can’t push myself over the course of the next month and a half, so that come November, I’m ready to write another novel for NaNoWriMo.

April Intentions

I’ve already written once about my intentions for writing in April once, but I thought I’d revisit that topic again, since it’s a little closer to April First, and I’ve clarified a few things in my head.

I am going to be attempting participating in Camp NaNoWriMo this year. It will be my first year doing Camp NaNo, but I’m coming off the heels of a NaNoWriMo win in November so I have high hopes. One thing that may help me with it is that the word count goal is flexible for Camp NaNo – I can choose anything from 10k words upwards. I had started thinking I might set 33,333 words (because the title of my collection is ‘Thirty-Three Words’) as my goal, but I may have to drop that back because I may be working a lot more starting next month. (Yay!)

I also want to do NaPoWriMo, which is the poetry version of NaNoWriMo. I haven’t been writing much of anything lately (I’ve been doing much more knitting and spinning than writing), so it may be difficult for me to do both, but poetry is one thing I definitely love, and I don’t want to let that slide just because I’m writing short stories for a while.

Something I did last April was A-Z April which was hosted at Haiku Heights. Sadly, that blog has closed, but I think I might do it on my own. I really like themes, and at least if I’m posting one little poem a day it encourages me to sit down and write. Also, I enjoy haiku. I’ve written a fair bit of it. I even did a small series of fairy tales rewritten as haiku. I could certainly continue that, or do another themed set … or several.

Camp NaNoWriMo & NaPoWriMo

As you might remember, I participated in NaNoWriMo last year, for the third time, and for the first time I won. I ended up writing over 64k words, when the goal was 50k, and I’m pretty impressed with myself in that regard. I have a completed rough draft of a novel that needs some serious editing, but it’s a completed rough draft and that’s big for me.

The people who run NaNoWriMo also do Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. It’s a more flexible version of the original NaNoWriMo, but based on the same idea: set a goal for the month, and work your ass off to reach that goal. I wasn’t sure I would participate in this, but I think NaNoWriMo was so good for me as a writer that I’d be foolish not to do Camp as well.

I first thought I might use Camp to do my first edits on the existing novel, which I really need to do and not let it sit and be forgotten. But then I thought maybe I could do another novel that’s been rattling around in my brain for a bit.

Thirty Three Days

The asteroid some had predicted would hit the Earth is on a collision course with the planet, and all estimates said there is only a month’s time before it hits. Even if it doesn’t obliterate the planet, life will certainly change.

What would you do, if you knew you had only thirty-three days to live?

The idea for that one came from a writing prompt several years ago, and I thought it might be a nifty novel idea. Maybe a group of short stories. I’m not sure. Short stories seems a little more doable, really, now that I’m thinking about it.


I then was reminded that NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) is also in April, and that led to a renewed wish to put together and publish a collection of poetry. So I’ve decided that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to write poetry. I don’t know how much poetry it’ll take to feel like I’ve really accomplished something, especially since I tend to write shorter pieces. I only wrote a total of 5800 words in 2013 (not including NaNo!), though I did write 14k+ in 2012. I’ve settled on 15k words, so I may have to write 6-10 pieces a day in order to get 15k done in one month, but that could be doable, even if they’re crap.

So, Camp NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo are a go! Even if I get that promotion I’ve been teased with for four months, I should still be able to manage it. And if I don’t at least I will have tried.

30 Days of Writing

So my friend Xiane posted on Facebook that she wants to join in the 30 Days of Writing found here, and I thought I might use it to push myself to get back to writing regularly. But when I started looking at the rules, I found myself rather turned off, especially by the requirement to write first thing in the morning. I don’t have a regular schedule of any sort. I don’t even work the same days every week, much less the same time. Sometimes my ‘first thing in the morning’ is already 3am. I’m certainly not going to wake up an hour or two earlier (making it 1am!) just to adhere to some strangers idea of ‘the right way to be a writer’. And before you say it, no, I’m not going to go to sleep at 6pm or earlier so I can wake up early to follow someone else’s rules of writing.

“You need to write first thing in the morning. Period. Your true life depends on it. If you must get up earlier to do this, then get up earlier. I know I have to.”

Screw that. Screw her. She’s a little too judgmental for my tastes, making broad assumptions about those reading her articles. I agree that for me personally, I need to write, but I don’t agree that I have to completely change my life and make myself miserable to write. Perhaps for her it works, but she is not me, and I don’t think she should be informing other people what works for them.

I work best with framework, I know that. But I don’t work well with rigid rules. Structure, not absolutes. So I’m going to take her basic idea, that writing every day is a goal, and I’m going to make my own plan.

She says: “I don’t fucking care what else you have to do.”
I say: Some things take precedence, like sleep. And work. I don’t get paid for my writing. We need to pay bills. Work and sleep will take priority over writing.

She says: “Writing time: 1-3 hours.”
I say: Setting a time limit is stupid. I can sit in front of the laptop for an hour and not write a damn thing. I like word count goals. I discovered that when I was writing my novel for NaNoWriMo, I could write around 800-1000 words an hour. If I’m writing poetry, certainly, I’m not going to write that much, but for novel/short story writing, or blogging, I can certainly shoot for 1000 words a day and be pretty happy. And more often than not, I’ll exceed that.

She says: “It has to be first thing in the morning.”
I say: Screw you. I bet you don’t have to be up at 3am some mornings to work a very physical job. I will write when I can. If that’s late at night, then that’s when I will write. I already know that I don’t do well with the ‘morning pages’ concept from The Writer’s Way, at least not at this point in my life. Screw you for assuming you know what works in my life.

She says: “The only thing you’re allowed to do BEFORE you “sit at your typewriter and bleed” is your physical morning routine: drink water, poo, go for a walk, exercise, shower, have your tea, coffee, breakfast, whatever your body needs to function.” and “What you can’t do: Don’t check your email or social media, don’t make or answer phone calls, don’t engage in any conversation beyond a sweet good-morning to your life companion/s.”
I say: This makes sense, but again, it depends on the day and my schedule. Some mornings it’s not feasible for me to write before engaging in conversation because I’m at work at 3am, or my husband and I have plans. I woner if she’d be a happier person (assuming her tone in her articles is indicative of her attitude) if she didn’t take such a rigid stance with her own writing time.

She says: “It can be ANY type of writing, but it has to give you pleasure.”
I say: Finally something I can agree with. Telling me to spend 1, 2, 3 hours writing poetry every day is the surest way to make me not want to write a damn thing. Same goes for blogging, writing short stories, writing anything at all. I love writing, and it has shown probably all my life. I do best when I don’t limit myself to any particular type of writing, and just write what I’m inspired to write.

She says: “Stay in touch via social media / email / etc.”
I say: I don’t know that this is necessarily important, but it certainly does help a writer feel like part of a community of sorts. I do post about my progress when I’m writing, and I enjoy seeing other people talk about their writing. I don’t think it should be about accountability, though, because I don’t think I have to be accountable to anyone but myself.

So I’m going to take on the challenge of writing every day in March. I may not write every day, and that’s okay. I probably won’t write first thing in the morning, and I may not write for an hour on the days that I do write. I won’t always write before I check email/social media/play stupid online games/talk to my husband. I will, however, write. I will try to write every day, but I won’t adhere to someone else’s idea of the right way, because what’s right for her isn’t right for everyone, just like what’s right for me isn’t right for everyone.

Twilight Garden Update

It is finished. No. It is done. It is far from finished. Done, not finished is what I always call my knitting projects before they’re blocked and have ends woven in and buttons sewn on, so that is what the novel is. Done, but not finished.

My word count is 64,334. That’s a lot of words, especially for me. I think all of my poetry over the last couple of years might in total be about twenty thousand, so writing over sixty thousand in the span of a couple of months is incredibly impressive to me. I suppose it’s impressive to anyone, really, though I know there are people who do this regularly. There are people who finish NaNoWriMo every year, there are novelists who write several books in a year, there are other writers whose word counts I feel certain far surpass my sixty-five thousand in one year.

But this is an accomplishment for me. It proves to myself that I can do it if I don’t allow myself to give up. That I have a lot more willpower than it sometimes appears (unless it involves going walking in sub-freezing temperatures – then I have none). That I can write a book, goddammit. And I think it’s a pretty good book. The one person I’ve let read it so far (don’t worry, there will be more, I just wanted to wait until it at least had an ending) says it’s pretty good.

There are things I do need to finish though. People and places need names. There are a few names at the beginning, but even in the beginning I didn’t bother naming places. It was too distracting to try and “get it right” so I left things named CoffeeShopName and BookshopName and CityName. Then there are characters who still need names, and characters whose names I’m not certain fit who they truly are in the story. Midway through the first twenty thousand words or so, several of the characters decided to be something other than I intended, so the names I chose for them probably should be changed to reflect that.

Because of that flip-flopping, I really need to edit. I had a hard time not editing as I went anyway, so I did do a little, but there’s a lot that needs to be filled out, not unlike an over-thin but otherwise healthy stray. There are most certainly plot holes you can at least drive a Mini Cooper through, if not a tank. There’s a lot of missing information. Scenes I think are important probably need to be expanded. There may even be some things I could condense where it’s not absolutely required for the plot. I think I skipped something entirely, now that I’m thinking about it.

So I know it needs editing. A lot of it. I’m putting it away for a little while though. At least a couple of months. In March, perhaps, I’ll bring it back out, give it a read. See what needs fixing, see how it reads if I do it straight through. I may even let Larissa read it, though doing so is a little unnerving. She’s published, and her first book (I haven’t had the privilege of reading the second yet) was amazing, and far more finely crafted than this effort of mine.

2014 Month-by-Month Writing Plans


  • Start organizing existing poetry into collections/themes
  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)


  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)


  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)




  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)



  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)


  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)



  • NaNoWriMo
  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)


  • Submit poetry to 4-6 journals/magazines (Keep notes!)