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?

 

Too Many Hobbies October 2016 edition

Or, unofficial nanoprep to do list.

Mostly this is to order things in my head and if I put it here maybe it’s easier to find later!

  1. Finish the surge shawl WIP. It’s close.
  2. Actually finish that one baby knit that I had so much trouble with before I switched patterns.
  3. Play Civ VI
  4. Wind the Cascade Yarn worsted merino so I can gauge swatch for the Harvest sweater by Tin Can Knits. DEFINITELY start this December 1st.
  5. Decide on one idea for NaNoWriMo 2016. (Or nanoprep step 1)
  6. Finish Nanoprep blog post?
  7. Write up an Act 3 outline of said idea in step 5.
  8. Flesh out the outline as described in steps 5 and 6.
  9. Type up my “rules and reminders” for NaNoWriMo participation. Put on blog and or print out and hang up with NaNoWriMo word count calendar.
  10. Block the everyday shawl in green gradient.
  11. Visit the Ross Perot museum.
  12. Prepare to see Lindsey Stirling first weekend in November.
  13. Color some posters, in November too when I’m needing breaks from NaNoWriMo.
  14. Note any doctor appointments on NaNoWriMo word count calendar. (Post-Its if necessary)

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

NaNoWriMo 2015: What I learned

I was looking back at my old scrivener files and the first year I started NaNoWriMo was 2012. Life has changed a lot and I’ve learned a lot too.

This year is the first time I planned and developed so much before November 1st. When I started in 2012 it was pantsing all the way – and it was crap! This time I feel like I have something worth keeping and editing. Interesting that. Such a surprise. (Maybe there’s sarcasm here.) Last few times I attempted NaNo I lost. Either health problems or doctor appointments or both got in the way. I tried Camp Nano in May 2014 but then spent about 4 weeks recovering from a really tricky lumbar puncture. Last year’s NaNoWriMo I caught a cold the first week of November and spent the rest of the month SICK. Anyway.

When you have any or all of the above: chronic illness(es), easily sick, chronic pain, cognitive problems, fatigue issues, dietary restrictions; then regular writing advice about how to write and how much to write isn’t helpful. Self care must come first. Always. Read advice about writing itself. Read books on how to improve your writing. Read books on how stories are organized/developed. Don’t listen to someone say you must write every day to be a writer. If you identify as a #spoonie, someone living a #chroniclife, or another hashtag I have forgotten (see what I did there?) then you have to figure out writing for yourself. It sucks but we are used to the universe not being fair, most of the time.

You must write to be a writer. It’s that simple.

I managed to write, on average (guessing didn’t do math) 3000 words about once a week. I didn’t know I had that in me and it was easier because I planned and had a more developed idea before I started writing. But there are also days where you just have to stop looking at the words. Some days I was barely able to get out 1000 words. 1000 words is still 1000 words.

I did not attend any local write ins for a variety of reasons. I did however, pay attention to @nanowrimo and @nanowordsprints on Twitter. I also made a friend online to check in with daily. We were like each other’s cheerleaders. I’ve grown to appreciate the nanowrimo subreddit as well. Last, I joined in on the local nanowrimo group that has their own FB page. There’s also the official nanowrimo forums but they are overwhelming for me. It’s like by the time I figure out the right thread to post in I’ve forgotten what I want to say.

A lot of people (writers) will recommend a dedicated writing place. I can’t manage that. I don’t have dedicated transportation right now so sometimes I can’t leave the house. I do, however, have a laptop so I can write in different places. It’s important for me to not get stuck in the metaphorical rut and sometimes write in a different place. But, as great as a laptop, a laptop in your lap is probably bad posture. It only took one night of typing away on the laptop in my lap to learn I can’t do that (anymore). Bad posture is worse than not stretching. Which is another thing. Stretch and move about regularly. Stretch arms and wrists too.

Also important, but I think I did fairly decent here, is remembering to eat and drink regularly. Snack if necessary, don’t automatically assume caffeine is (or isn’t) ok. (For me, I can’t tolerate much at all.) While sugary snacks are ok, you can’t do that every damn day either.

Last, there was a number of random things I learned about writing. Don’t force yourself to organize your writing as you’re writing it if that is slowing you down. I did not write linear and I did not write chapters. I wrote scenes. This will make editing a little more interesting – or easier – depending.

And remember good book openings are just like porn, you know it when you see (read) it.

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

Reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo

  1. Kickstart my creativity. I’ve been stuck in self-doubt and self-editor mode
  2. Step out of my comfort zone.
  3. Have to make some creative decisions
  4. Practice
  5. Face my fear of not succeeding because I haven’t succeeded at either Camp NaNoWriMo event this year
  6. Practice – yes, it’s so important I’m listing it twice
  7. I have time
  8. I have ideas
  9. If I’m going to be a writer I need to find the time, energy, and focus to write, somewhere, somehow.
  10. Have a deadline (the whole point of NaNoWriMo)

Does that mean I should go for it? hmmm. I think I’m leaning towards yes. Reasons to not participate in NaNoWriMo are basically one large word, followed by a few smaller words.
Health. Sanity. Stress

Writing and Chronic Illness

I have this thing floating around in the back of my head. I’m trying to figure it out and give it some flesh and blood. What if fibromyalgia is what happens in my life that means I finally take the steps to become a full time writer? (Thankfully I have a supportive spouse in this equation.)

It’s weird because while wondering if my chronic illness is going to make it easier for me to change my life I’m also afraid my chronic illness has trapped me and I won’t be able to change my life.

The trick, I think, is to find a place to start. I’ve realized that writing is like mental exercise. I’ve started exercising at 10 minutes every day or every few days. We’ll play it by ear. I can do the same thing with my writing. To start. Blog posts don’t necessarily count.

I also recently read on the internet that on days you cannot write, you read about writing, or think about writing. I’m hoping this book will help too.

In theory, if the CoQ10 I’m now on seems to be helping my fibro fog. Exercise will also help. So, I just have to think about this like it’s a journey. You have to start someplace.

Post NaNoWriMo 2013

2013-Winner-Facebook-Cover

A few things I learned:

1. I still love the actual process of writing.

2. There are only as many rules as you want there to be.

3. Writing first person is harder (for me) than writing third person.

4. Writing first person only happens if I want to write some kind of humorous this is some of the crazy stuff I’ve done book.

5. I want to try short stories too.

6. Writing happens. It’s not magical. Writing happens when you’re tired, sick, in pain, happy, well rested, giddy, sad, etc.

7. I’ll probably have to go back and fix all my dialog formatting.

8. I’m not good at writing action sequences like fights and plane wrecks.

9. Stop using the word suddenly!

In a post NaNoWriMo world, I’m looking for writing outlets since I want to take a break from my NaNoWriMo novel. I succeeded at NaNoWriMo because not only did I write the necessary 50,000 words before November 30, 2013 at midnight but I also learned a lot about my own daily writing methods. My low word count day was around 800 words. My high word count day was like 3200 words. For reasons I’m not going into here, I do not have a regular full time job so the finding time part of NaNoWriMo doesn’t figure in here for me. It was more about finding the energy.

If I want to do more than just write in any given day, then 3200 words is obviously not happening often. The 800 words in a day means I can write when I don’t feel that great and or do more than just write in that single day. This is obviously ideal since I want to get into freelance writing and make money from writing WHILE working on finishing my NaNoWriMo 2013 novel.

I’ve also updated my blog. Again. I’m trying to figure out blog options for something a little more official than a free blog on the wordpress domain. I continue to think that if I own my blog I’ll publish to it more.

Writing and Unemployment

So far I’ve been unemployed for 2 weeks. I quit my job willingly for a number of reasons. I felt the economy was better and I was safe to start looking for a job that uses my masters degree – instead of being stuck in a two parts customer service one part technical support job that was sapping the time and energy needed to search for a job. The job I quit was slowly sucking my soul – also for a number of reasons. I’m not going to gripe about the job I no longer have because I’m not going to dwell on the past.

I haven’t started going crazy, yet. It probably helped that my first week of unemployment was spent recovering from a double vaccination. I got the flu vaccination and the pneumonia vaccination at the same time. My knitting has also helped me. I’ve finished two small projects in the last 2-3 weeks.

The federal government shutdown is also making me nervous. I’m hoping to find a job in nonprofit – which could be hampered by this shutdown of government funds. I’m hoping – illogically? – that this will be taken care of before the United States defaults and so it will not hurt the economy and job market too terribly much.

I’ve been searching for jobs on multiple sites almost daily. I’ve applied for lots of jobs too – not all of them in nonprofit. I finally got around to reading this blog post on freelance writing earlier this morning, which affirms that I need to get back to writing daily. My blog is an easy way to do that!

Unfortunately that means I need content – unless I’m going to use writing prompts. Writing prompts haven’t worked for me in the past, so that brings me back to needing content. Content, content, content.

This first post was easy, writing and unemployment! Come November, writing daily will be easy because of NaNoWriMo. No reason to wait until then to write though! Reading that blog post also reminded me of my (old) idea to review a TV show through a sociological lens. I’m thinking that might work better with a current show though. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. perhaps?

Finally, I’m debating paying for this. I think I’ll go ahead and disable comments on this post because I see it attracting a lot of SPAM. Also, why did I say also so much here?

NaMoWriMo 2012: What I learned

Let’s keep this simple shall we? How about a list? In no particular order, what I learned from my first – successful – attempt at NaMoWriMo.

  1. When your background is research, theory, or policy papers in an academic setting, fiction is hard. Fiction means you use as many words as you want to. Describing is more nebulous than getting your point across in a clear fashion.
  2. I spend a lot of time watching tv shows or looking at random stuff on the Internet. I don’t have to do that.
  3. It is worthwhile to prioritize your free time.
  4. Somewhat self imposed deadlines are damned useful. Especially if you buy yourself a t-shirt when you meet the deadline! Or reward yourself with bright fuzzy yarn.
  5. Writing can be done, even when you’re exhausted and just want to go to bed.
  6. Writing can be done when you’re feeling like the world has been shitting on your head.
  7. Writing is fun. If you let it be fun.
  8. Just like everything else, you need to find the right tools for the job. (I <3 Scrivener.)
  9. I would like to write regularly. I don’t know if this should be blog posts, short stories, or another novel.
  10. 2000 words is a lot in one day when you have to go to the real job too.
  11. Just because you can use your own life, self, or close and personal friends for inspiration or basis for your story doesn’t mean you’ll like it when you’re done.
  12. My book didn’t turn out quite like I expected.
  13. I can write plot. (I didn’t say I could write plot well, I just didn’t think I could write plot before.)
  14. I don’t like writing chronologically or in any other kind of order. With the right tools I don’t have to.
  15. It’s really cool to say: “I finished writing a book today, what did you do?”
  16. Inspiration might come at interesting times. Other times inspiration might leave you crying in a corner, or wake you up at 7 am on a Saturday.
  17. I want to do this again.
  18. I can write while sick. It might not work well, but if words happen, does it really matter?
  19. The first draft is the first draft is the first draft, no matter what you’re writing about.
  20. I think if I wrote more regularly it would be easier to write more in a fixed period of time.
  21. When it’s fiction, do whatever the hell you want. Seriously. Make up shit! It’s ok!
  22. Editing has a time and place. When you’re trying to get the story out on paper? No editing. When you’re trying make it better? Editing is fabulous!
  23. If I spend a month doing a lot of writing, I will miss knitting.
  24. Some people will think writing for the sake if writing and not for the sake of sharing is crAzy.
  25. I should balance tv and reading out a little more. Sometimes my book felt like the plot to a tv show. Or maybe that’s just because it was a little cheesy and predictable and I should watch as much tv and read as much as I want?
  26. I couldn’t have completed NaMoWriMo 2012 without some support.
  27. Writing buddies are good when there’s a deadline.
  28. It’s ok to use random stuff or people in the Internet for inspiration.
  29. You do not need to name a character to continue writing about the character. You can name the character LATER.
  30. It’s a really cool feeling to be aware that hundreds and thousands more other people in the world are doing what you’re doing.
  31. The No excuses part was hard sometimes.
  32. It’s ok to add in silly stuff to pad your word count, or add one more to your list. After all, life has silly stuff too.

When revising IMO

This is the list of steps necessary to revise your paper that I built up when doing an independent study during my masters work.

So, when revising, read for:

1. Relevance and redundancy

2. Amount of quotes vs. use of your own words

3. Sentence structure and passive voice

4. Format, citations

The numbered steps mean I’m suggesting rereading four times. Yup. At least.

Insert spell/grammar check in whatever software you are using before these steps, maybe after, maybe both.

Now I’ll erase this list from the white board and clean up the white board!

Words that start with A

This randomly popped in my head. I’ll try to limit to just nouns too. I spell-checked too, and may have had some help with a few.

1. anger

2. animosity

3. angst

4. apple

5. anchovy

6. answer

7. antennae

8. antifreeze

9. actor

10. action

11. anonymity

12. allowance

13. addition

14. Andromeda (I said nouns so proper nouns count too!)

15. availability

16. accent

17. anaconda

18. anagram

19. albatross

20. anthem

21. anathema

22. alabaster

23. appearance

24. ass

25. asthma

26. allergy

27. agriculture

28. adjective/adverb

29. ark

30. arc

31. antimatter

32. avocado

33. artichoke

34. Anteres

35. atoll

36. anchor

37. American

38. Audi

Ok I’ll be done.

Writing Prompt

Using this (bits in parentheses not specific to prompt, how I thought of the word)

Dogs (lived with them)

daffodils (up after the crocuses)

dandelions (blowing seeds)

danger (ER visit)

dragged (kids get dragged places)

deer (seeing in the field)

day (at the library)

dots (glasses in junior high)

dreams (wanted to be a veterinarian, then a scientist, then a writer)

dads

dear (cause it seems to fit when thinking of childhood)

don’t (do that!!)

distractions

dead/death

dreary (rainy days)

done (with a book, with school, with chores)

drift (watching clouds)

deed (doesn’t apply but it’s a d word!)

drowned (bugs, frogs in the pool)

dandy (cause I wanted a word that starts with d that is a candy but thought it up instead)

dessert! (Christmas cookies every year, baked by mom)

desiccated (hard shell crab dinner at home on the patio)

dragons! (I had the infamous loved dragons and unicorns stage)

digging (in the dirt, under rocks, I had the less infamous liked to play in dirt stage)

different (me)