My Most Successful NaNoWriMo Ever

I did a lot different this year. I used some bullet journal style tracking including my word count for the day and a sentence about what I did.  I wrote down a variety of things for inspiration or brain storming. I prepared for NaNoWriMo by setting up a process and working on *my* process.

I realized some things. Like when you’re developing a story you don’t need to pick the perfect option or motivation for your character now, you can consider every single option you can think of. Silly things. I realized silly things. But important nonetheless.

This is the first year I’ve ended NaNoWriMo with multiple story ideas. I’ve done enough work now to recognize some trends in my own writing ideas – so there’s a story I want to tell. But there’s other ideas I haven’t figured out yet. For example, writing a character with mental illness who still manages to be successful and kept together and, well, a hero (or heroine).

My goal became to write for 30 days in a row. I did not have enough of my story developed to actually write scenes and dialog and content. I spent a lot on further development – because I was trying to cram too much into 1 story? I also arbitrarily assigned myself a word count goal of 16,000 – and also removed/rewrote a chunk of 700 words and still kept over the 16,000 words.

My next steps: 1. Set up scrivener files for each story idea. 2. Figure out how to track progress and word counts. Progress is story specific, word count doesn’t need to be story specific. 3. Start Chuck Wendig’s No Fuckery Writing Plan. Like officially. 4. Writing next will be outlines for at least 2 of the 3 stories. The third story is probably a short story? It’s got to sit and simmer for a while so it’s decide if I want to bounce around or focus on 1 at a time.

See that?  A plan!

I’ve had improvements in my physical health in the last few months – and now better mental health treatment in the last 2 months – and I think that’s helping more than I can possibly explain. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2012 —-

— This is the first year I’ve felt I have something I can continue to work on. Mental health treatment probably has a great deal to do with that. I’ll know more for certain after I’ve done more work on my mental health/well being. I have this funny feeling as I write this blog post. I think it might be pride and accomplishment because I did a thing! Emotions are confusing and hard. Anyways –

If you’re a writer, or trying to be a writer, and dealing with depression, anxiety, ptsd, or any kind of mental illness. You aren’t alone, keep at it. As they say, “Your story isn’t over yet;” Also Chuck Wendig has  lot of good things to say on the subject.

NaNoWriMo – More Writing Reference

I like having things to jog my brain, get ideas started. What am I missing when I think about my characters? Or my plot? These aren’t how tos, or walk throughs, or tutorials, but handy little things to keep around.


This is a copy I found big enough to print out and be able to read. (Google search will get you lots of options too.)

And courtesy of “The Mad Scribbler” are these character templates. One is extremely detailed (spreadsheet!) and one has lots of info on one page. (Pay attention if you print it out and check your settings.)

This one is a collection of “writing tips.” (link straight to pdf)

Here’s another created by a helpful writer. LOTS of information in this “writer’s cheat sheet.”

The website Writers Write has some handy looking tables with a total of 350 character traits. I saved each picture and printed them out.

NaNoWriMo 2018 Prep

I remembered NaNoWriMo Prep in the beginning of October! I’ve done more prep this time too. Still no outline (yet).

I’ve joined the followers of Rachael Stephen. I like her and her videos. I love she’s a research nerd. I learned her approach to the embryo plot device, I recommend trying it out. At least try it out.

I’ve been a fan of Chuck Wendig for a while and his blog is fantastic for so many reasons. He’s talked lots and lots on NaNoWriMo and I’m sure he’ll talk more about it still. His post collecting the ways you can outline for NaNoWriMo is damned extensive. (I also like how he says National Plot Your Novel Month too.)

I’ve also done some bullet journal stuff for NaNoWriMo too. Not a lot, but I’ve decided to start a project journal/bullet journal for general writing stuff just for me. Like things to help get me writing and tips for outlining.

This time around, I might use these from Better Novel Project dot com too.

Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Your 30-Day Cheatsheet

Day-by-Day NaNoWriMo Outline: Characters & Themes Cheatsheet | Better Novel Project

Master Outline | Better Novel Project

There’s also a lot of information at Fiction University by Janice Harding. I have her book. It’s useful. Here’s a guest post from her blog I really liked. The Alchemy of Inspiration.  I started a “pet peeves” list after reading that and it’s also very useful.

 

What mind am I in today?

Here’s a poem (?) I wrote sometime in the past few months when I decided to do some writing about mental health and my mental illness symptoms.  I don’t remember writing it. It sorta sounds like me but doesn’t all at the same time. I can’t tell if it still needs an ending/if it’s complete. I’ll leave the interpretation up to the reader.

Some days I don’t like living in my mind

The weather is always changing.
Nothing is where I remember leaving it.
Doors that were open yesterday are locked today.
Stairs and routes from rooms to rooms change, often overnight.
Windows don’t work right, they won’t shut or they won’t open. The blinds will get stuck too.
Sometimes I wish it was brighter so it would be easier to find my memories.
Other times I wish I had more rugs.
You can sweep things under rugs but eventually the rugs stop laying flat and you trip.
There’s no way to forecast the weather, it can change stormy in a breath –
Or be calm and quiet in a breath.
Days and days everything will be as I expect
But then
Something happens. Someone happens. Time passes.
And the rules.
My mind has so many rules to keep track of too.
Rules for talking to people, feeling, being alone. Rules that have nothing to do with my body.
Some days everything is stress. Everything is bad.
Sometimes I can’t leave the house. I can’t deal with anyone.

Final tally: Camp NaNoWrimo April 2018

Yes so I didn’t think of this until April 9th but that’s okay. Dammit. This will be an experiment. I picked time this year since hours/minutes were an option. It’s really cool they made the “camp” months less rigid. I’ve also realized, since it’s the ninth day of the month, April seems to be a bad month for me. Weather is a big part of it.

Tracking my writing activity –

  • 1 – gaming – Shadowrun
  • 2 – writing wasn’t fiction/for Camp Nano
  • 3 – 15 minutes
  • 4 – 30 minutes
  • 5 – 30 minutes
  • 6 – DFW Fiberfest – most of the day
  • 7 – migraine
  • 8 – migraine recovery but I looked at my writing!
  • 9 – appointment, chores, 20 minutes
  • 10 – 60 minutes and a 30 minute walk, realized a different approach to my story
  • 11 – creativity spent in other ways, like knitting
  • 12 – 15 minutes
  • 13 – 30 minutes
  • 14 – busy day outside of the house
  • 15 – recovery
  • 16 – bad day, with an appointment
  • 17 – doctor appointment with injections in my neck
  • 18 – other things, like going for a long walk, chores
  • 19 – I think it was a rest day
  • 20 – 85 minutes!
  • 21 – walk, rain, pain levels higher
  • 22 – chores I think
  • 23 – 40 minutes
  • 24 – 45 minutes
  • 25 – long walk, just thought about writing
  • 26 – from this day until
  • 27 – ….
  • 28 – ….
  • 29 – this day my pain levels had doubled and then tripled and then gaming
  • 30 – things better. doctor appointment and 50 minutes writing

Came up with a total of 420 minutes writing and looking back at previous years, April is not a great month for me. I set my goal for the Camp NaNoWriMo event too high but learned how to track my writing in a way I can keep up with and SEE PROGRESS!! when I’m not actively writing sentences and developing scenes. Also, only counted active focused work.

post updated May 1, 2018 with full month of tracking

Let’s talk about notebooks for Bullet Journals

I’ve been keeping a bullet journal and adapting the techniques to my own life for now over a year. At least. I’m needing a new journal so I thought I’d do more research this time around.

Previously, I’ve used the official Bullet Journal, a Leuchtturm1917, and a Rhodia webnotebook. All of these have the dot grid style page. Rhodia has 90 gsm weight paper but the Bullet Journal and Leuchtturm both have 80 gsm weight paper (since Bullet Journal is made by Leuchtturm) and that’s not think enough for me. I really like the index and page numbers in the Leuchtturm but it’s not worth the trade off of thinner paper for me. I seem to have a heavy hand and prefer liquid ink. Though I’m also having a great experience with a Faber Castell artist pen. I would get another Rhodia except it has the least number of sheets (96), which is slightly offset by being able to use every page, but it seemed best to check my options.

I’ve also been using a pocket thing slipped over the front of the notebook to hold pens/etc. I could switch things up and attach this to my doctor appointment tracking journal instead. Especially since I’ve started favoring different pens in different journals. (I favor a lined book for that notebook but that’s another post.)

Thank you to the random people who wrote up great blog posts about what they thought were different options. Through a few google searches I found more notebooks than these listed here. Call this selection the finalists.

Rhodiarama Soft Cover Notebook – pretty, very pretty. The slightly larger size would probably offset the fewer sheets (80), but still these are kind of expensive. I love the paper in Rhodia books too – the look, feel on my hand, and how it handles ink.

Miquelrius Soft Bound Medium Journal, 300 Sheets/600 Graph Pages – The paper weight is only at 70 so I would definitely only be able to use one side of the sheet but it’s more sheets! Overall, I’m still getting more pages than the other notebooks I’ve tried. But, I’m not sure a fountain pen wouldn’t bleed through multiple pages and I’d like to be able to go back to using my fountain pen(s) more since they are (more) comfortable.

Northbooks Dots Hardcover Notebook – Then I found this one. It seems simple enough and has all requirements. The 89 gsm paper should fit my requirements and the 96 sheets are ok. But there’s nothing compelling here.

And I think this one is the winner:

Essentials Grid-lined Notebook – It has 100 gsm paper! Also, while doing my research I realized I’d like to try grid-lined instead of dot grid. It only has 192 pages but it’s $12.99 (full retail from manufacturer) which is a significant enough difference to make it more attractive than a Rhodia. Also, maybe the binding is better?

Tangent:

When looking up the Essentials Grid-lined Notebook on the Peter Pauper Press’ website I discovered log books that might be relevant to my interests. Daily Food Journal which could be used for symptoms for nailing down food sensitivities. The Book Lover’s Journal which might be something I want to help me remember books I’ve read. I’m not sure about the Daily Food Journal though, maybe just save it for the future. I’m more tempted by the book log book.

Maybe I’ll make another post when I investigate new tips for my Lamy fountain pens and find some alternatives to the ribbon bookmarks common in this style of notebook.

November 2016 My NaNoWrimo

How did my NaNoWriMo go? I wrote almost 28,000 words. I’m very happy with what I accomplished but I am a little sad I didn’t “win” with the 50,000 words. My month was also way crazier than I wanted/hoped for.

Accomplishments:

  1. I wrote 27,871 words of a novel. It was not my original idea, I changed my mind and then did not have enough time to do much outlining. That’s 27,871 words I’m still willing to look at and add to in December instead of just wanting to ignore the hideous conglomeration of ideas that may or may not belong together.
  2. I finally have my own personal set up in Scrivener for novel’ing, especially during NaNoWriMo – or when I don’t have that much outlined. I have to figure out how to make it a template and also update the character templates with more information/options.
  3. I started with clearer more fleshed out characters and what I wrote is less of a disaster and more of the start of something I can manage to finish.
  4. I can write 800 words a day fairly reliably regardless of how crappy or tired or exhausted I feel, as long as I have a decent outline or an idea of where to start.
  5. Stayed sane and didn’t freak out about my trailing word count.

What else I did in November:

  1. Attended a Lindsey Sterling concert. She’s a fabulous performer. She’s intelligent, funny, adorable, and down to Earth. She’s great with a violin too. I recommend her youtube channel for writing. Great music and something you can also watch if you happen to get stuck or need a break.
  2. Saw Dr. Strange. It was still a typical Marvel movie and therefore good and worth watching again because it was entertaining. However, I think the Dr Strange character was flat compared to other heroes in the Marvel universe, and other characters could have also had more depth/detail. I feel like the characters suffered because they needed more screen time for all the neat special effects.
  3. Saw Arrival. Fantastic movie! I cannot currently remember the title of the story it’s based on but I have it on kindle now and need to read it. I’m pretty sure Arrival inspired me to add some things to my novel. (I can’t remember now.) I recommend this movie, especially because it had a female character trying very hard to keep the world from going to shit (further).
  4. Took one of our cats to the vet. Discovered she has a tumor pressing on things in her neck. This is not good news but it’s probably not cancer at least.
  5. I had five different doctor appointments that were all specialists. In my experience specialist appointments always take longer. One appointment took 4 hours from the day – but was very productive. Another appointment took less than an hour from the day but was horrible and stressful and I cried in the car. (not going back there) There was also an appointment that involved receiving trigger point injections in my neck – much needed – but resulted in no computer use that day.
  6. I had two physical therapy appointments. Those last an hour.
  7. Learned the counselor I’ve been seeing for therapy for at least the last two years is on medical leave until further notice. Well, I had a lot of shit happen in October and was really looking forward to the counseling appointment I had scheduled the first week of November. Scheduled with a new counselor who may or may not work out for me.
  8. I had two chiropractic appointments. These were my first two ever appointments with chiropractor (and receiving acupuncture).
  9. There was, I think, two different visits to labs for blood work.
  10. There was getting a haircut and some shopping too.
  11. Read some comics and finished reading Ready Player One. The book was not amazing but it was solid. I enjoyed the world and plot, and the author’s attention to small details. I recommend it.)
  12. I dealt with six different migraines or headaches. None were severe so I would have averaged “losing” half a day and not being able to accomplish much. Severe migraines are losing 1 to 4 or more days to pain management.
  13. Went to knitting group twice because socializing is health, at least in small chunks and getting out of the house for something besides going to the pharmacy, grocery store, or doctors is vital to your sanity.
  14. I finished a number of knitting projects, including a baby gift for a previous coworker. (Good people receive hand knit gifts.)
  15. I re-visited/re-tried a coffee shop that’s not $tarbucks and managed more than one writing session outside of the house. yay!
  16. Of course there was Thanksgiving.
  17. And how could I forget Election Day and the rest of the week and being sad and scared about the unknown coming for the next who knows how many months or years. Will I lose my health insurance? Will I lose any rights or access because I’m a woman or will I be safe because I’m white (and married)? Will any of my friends be in more danger because they are different?
  18. Then there was a few days with major weather changes that affected my ability to focus because of causing me more pain and other similar problems.
  19. Started a few new knitting projects too, including some gift projects that aren’t on ravelry yet. (I should fix that.)

So, that was some exciting stuff, some totally normal stuff, and eleven medical/health related appointments. I had wanted to keep this month clear of doctor appointments and I hoped for less headaches. Neither happened. Basically, I had wanted no more than two appointments each week.

After four different doctor appointments this week, time spent with a friend, and time spent with my husband outside of the house (dinner, shopping, etc.) – I guess there’s no surprise that I am TIRED. Fatigued. Exhausted. Sore. I plan to spend December focusing more on knitting. I have three (smaller) gift knits and I want to swatch for my first adult sized sweater (for myself!)

NaNoPrep 2016

Or a place to put more #nanoprep resources so they’ll be all in one spot. I’ve found some more resources this year. Less inspiration, more application perhaps?

Here’s my nanoprep list from last year.

Nanoprep official on nanowrimo official site. Here let me say official one more time.

I read somewhere about different types Nanowrimo writers and that post made me really curious about “worksheets.” oh hey, I found it. 5 types of NaNoWrimo Participants and your tools.

I found this writing site via searching for some Nano prep worksheets.  Here’s a specific nanoprep post I found useful. And a NaNoWrimo 2016 calendar! It’s in color but it seems ok when I printed it in black and white.

I love Janice Hardy’s approach to preparation and developing your idea into a novel. I have her book and she does some Nanoprep stuff on her blog too.

Free resources for writers from Word Hunter

Plot development worksheets! from/collected by Iconoclastic Writer

This site called “Geeks and Geeklets” seems great, for more than just NaNoWriMo too. I just discovered it. I don’t understand the rules for being in good standing to access some of their info though, just so you know that’s a thing.

Another Iconoclastic Writer post that might be useful

NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning your Novel’s beginning by Janice Hardy: I think I’ll actually use something like to keep me focused on the first section of the story and then when I have my word count for this I know how to pace the rest of the story. I wonder how likely I’ll be to actually stick with this!

I think this post is finished?

 

It’s easier to edit something that I wrote in acts, not chapters 

I’m editing, or attempting to anyways, my unfinished story from NaNoWriMo 2013. I had started editing it in 2014 and I didn’t get far. This is my planned project for Camp NaNoWriMo for July 2016.

In 2013 I used the chapter set up to write/organize what I was writing – in Scrivener. I wish past me had never read about using the 20 chapter route for story writing, especially while pantsing. So I have added the three folders representing each act of the story into the “top” of Scrivener. I’m also going to try identifying each part of each act in my own words because either all my teachers have lied to me, or that’ll help. Here’s what I have so far….

  • Act 1
    • Introductions all around
    • Inciting event
    • What’s the plan?
  • Act 2
    • Roll initiative
    • Midpoint reversal
    • Surprise! A lot of shit hits a fan
  • Act 3
    • The (new) plan to save the world
    • Climax
    • Clean up

I will welcome our nanobot overlords

Someday we will have nanobots and you won’t have to wait for your body to get over a cold. The nanobots will fix it. Everyone’s immune systems and bodies will work so much better but then, there will be a nanobot uprising. The nanobots will eventually take over because they have infiltrated everywhere. Except some people will welcome the nanobot overlords and become human conspirators in the great nanobots war. Finally, the human conspirators, all the chronically ill and disabled who cannot be fixed by human doctors, will rise up and rule all the world.

*Inspired by a conversation with my husband this morning

Final Update: Preparing for Nanowrimo

Final list

WHY YOU SHOULD DO NANOWRIMO… AND WHY YOU SHOULDN’T (It amused me to go ahead and copy the blog post title from Chuck Wendig’s blog to be all in caps here.)

The actual prep page on the NaNoWriMo website

Outlining options according to Chuck Wendig – This is a very useful post.

Some very very serious prep, something for every day of the month of October – I’ve only used this as a guideline so far.

A guide to writing awesome characters by Chuck Wendig – need to read this still but I know it’ll be useful

How to guide – outlining in Scrivener – I need to remember this website exists.

Free e-book (pdf) – Nano for the New and the Insane: A NaNoWriMo Survival Guide – I’ve only started reading this

Courtesy of Janice Hardy’s Fiction University:

Planning Your Novel’s Beginning

Planning your Novel’s Middle

And her book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure; A step-by-step guide to turning your idea into a novel – this book has helped me a TON

Scrivener keyboard shortcuts

Short list from “for the Dummies” that shows Mac and Windows

Better list for Mac

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

I’ll add to this as I come across more:

The actual prep page on the NaNoWriMo website

Outlining options according to Chuck Wendig – This is a very useful post.

Some very very serious prep, something for every day of the month of October – I’ve only used this as a guideline so far.

A guide to writing awesome characters by Chuck Wendig – need to read this still but I know it’ll be useful

How to guide – outlining in Scrivener – I need to remember this website exists.

Free e-book (pdf) – Nano for the New and the Insane: A NaNoWriMo Survival Guide – I’ve only started reading this

Courtesy of Janice Hardy’s Fiction University:

Planning Your Novel’s Beginning

Planning your Novel’s Middle

And her book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure; A step-by-step guide to turning your idea into a novel – this book has helped me a TON

Scrivener keyboard shortcuts

Short list from “for the Dummies” that shows Mac and Windows

Better list for Mac

Writing Advice for Chronically Sick People

Everyone likes writing advice. I would bet every single published writer with a presence online has been asked about how to write or how to be a writer more times than they can count, or remember, or forget.

What’s been impossible for me to find advice for is writing and writing goals for people who cannot write every day or cannot write a lot every day because of their health. Finally, I realized, after months of reading online and trying to make myself fit into someone else’s routine, that the only reasonable advice is:

Find what works for you.

If you really want to write, it’ll happen. It might not happen every day or every week. Your health is more important than the next 1000 words. No buts. It just is.

I’ve been fighting myself trying to find a way to write. I joined Camp Nano again for April thinking it would be the motivation I needed to write. Well, most days I had no idea what to write, no focus to think through writing, or no energy after I finished the other things that needed done that day. Maybe this is what made me realize that someone else’s routines and goals won’t help me…. or at least I better have planned out exactly what I’m doing to be able to succeed for something like Nanowrimo or Camp Nano(wrimo).

Things I’ve learned:

1. It’s okay to not write every day.

2. Sometimes you can just think about writing.

3. Reading is good too.

4. Finding ways to brainstorm a little at a time is helpful. For example, I’ve started brainstorming a story idea on notecards. I have lots of notecards and write down a simple thing on each notecard.

5. There are days where you have to take care of yourself and rest and writing just won’t happen. If you can’t decide if you want to go back to bed after breakfast, you probably won’t be writing. Or maybe you’ll be writing after you take a nap.

How I use notecards/plan to use them: When I’m ready to actually sit down and write, I can grab one notecard at a time. I don’t need to start writing with chapters in mind. A first draft, or a pre-first draft, or a zero draft is just that… the very beginnings of a novel. The baby novel. The not ready to meet the world yet novel.

This advice works for everyone, but I think it’s especially important for anyone who is chronically sick or chronically ill and has to “count their spoons” to get through every day.

 

Camp NaNo starts in 2 hours

First month of Camp NaNo starts tomorrow – or in two hours since it’ll be midnight in about two hours for me.

I have no idea what to do about it or not to do about it. I haven’t been able to write because of health issues and, well, stuff. My health problems make it very very difficult to write long periods of time and regularly.

I can’t figure out how to give myself goals to get back into writing either.

I know I have this vague idea for writing a story/book/something where the world has zombies and magic and the/a protagonist is a woman who’s awesome at fighting zombies and just plain awesome.

Oh, hey. How did I manage to go like a whole month with no blog posts? What’s up with that?!

Look, a badger! with a gun!

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for

After being sick with a sinus infection for the first week or so of November, I’ve now been working on NaNoWriMo. When not being part of NaNoWriMo I’ve been knitting or going to doctor appointments.

Blog will probably continue to be quiet through the end of the month.

I need to figure out a way to blog, work on my writing, and work on the type of writing on writing websites that will make me bits and pieces of spare change.

That way needs to not just rely on my memory since my memory is shit.

My Go Fund me page is still around. It’s still depressing and needing some love.