Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

If I can, you can

I interrupt this blog for an important announcement:

I won NaNoWriMo and met my goal, writing more than 50,000 words during the month of November.

I’m not here announcing this to brag, but rather to point out that if a whiny, crabby, overtired, complaining, uninspired, slacker-of-meager-talent such as myself can accomplish this, well then you. dear readers, can do anything.

Live the life you were meant to. You totally deserve it.

Oh, and if you’re in the states like me, have a Happy Thanksgiving. Be grateful and try not to think of the nasty injustice the pilgrims brought upon the native peoples of this land. Cause turkey smells goooooood.

Two updates, some publication news and one shocking fact

Update #1:  My novel The Kwan Factor is up to more than 27,000 words on NaNoWriMo.

Publication News: I’m proud to announce a short story/personal essay I wrote has been selected to appear on the University of Iowa’s Iowa Writes Daily Palette:  http://dp.uiowa.edu/index.php?artwork=3951

Update #2: My novel The Kwan Factor is up to 27,000 words today on NaNoWriMo. I know I said that, right? But I’m so flipping amazed at my progress that it bears repeating.

The shocking tidbit: I don’t hate it! My story, I mean. Astonishing as it is, I think I may actually finish this draft and have somewhere to go with it.

Happy November 12th.

The Working Parents’ Guide to Winning NaNoWriMo

It’s November 26th, do you know what your word count is? If you’re competing in NaNoWriMo you undoubtedly know what it is now, what it was yesterday and what you are aiming for tomorrow.

NOTE: if you’ve already won NaNoWriMo, congratulations! This post won’t be of any interest to you. January is just around the corner so you’ll want to get busy polishing that manuscript for Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel contest in 2015.

Okay, great. Now that the overachievers are gone, let’s talk.

Writing is hard. Work is hard and so is that overtime job turning runny-nosed static-urchins into productive citizens. But we love a challenge (obviously) and so here we are: X days left of NaNoWriMo and XX,XXX words to go.

So, in the spirit helping frustrated and exhausted writers everywhere survive the 50,000 words in November challenge, I’ve pulled together this concise list of handy tips:

  1. Unplug. Completely. Unplug your internet connection, your phone, your cable. In fact, go outside with some hedge clippers and cut the cord completely. Avoid Twitter, Facebook, all forms of social media and blogs. In fact, what are you doing here right now? Seriously, don’t even answer your door. Trust me, you’ll be glad for this later.
  1. Set aside a quiet time every day to write. Note that this might be at 3:00 am. You should try to be awake for it. Do not rule out the use of ear plugs and duct tape.
  1. Clean laundry is overrated. Look, kids don’t care. My daughter would wear the same pair of dirty pajamas for the entirety of summer break if I let her. And as far as you go—by the time your coworkers catch on that you’ve been wearing the same pair of black pants since Veterans Day, this thing will be all over.
  1. Clean anything is overrated.  Housework will wait. How many people have actually died from a cat-hair embedded sofa? I suppose maybe someone…but those people just need to steer clear. Remember, you’re not answering the door (see item #1). Handy, eh?
  1. Ignore your kids completely. C’mon, it’s only a month. Of course I’m not talking anything that would merit a trip to the ER. But that spelling review? The book report on Divergent? Reading them Llama Llama for the 4,987th time? All that can wait until December.  After all, what’s more important? Well actually, it’s your kids. But still, what are they gonna do about it? You’re the parent—you’re in charge.
  1. One word: Depends. As in the undergarment. I know right now you’re probably thinking gross, but really, it’s better than some of the medical interventions I contemplated. This is also where not answering the door comes in handy. Just think of all the time you waste on any given day. Bahaha! Ah well, I guess it all Depends on how bad you want to win. (The puns practically write themselves! Ahem, as opposed to my manuscript.)
  1. Yes, you can all survive on carryout. Leftover pizza keeps indefinitely and consists of all the major food groups. Breakfast, lunch and dinner–all solved! Theoretically, I suppose someone could call the authorities on you for feeding your kids pizza for ninety consecutive meals. But you’re not answering the door, remember? Those people can’t get in. I told you you’d be glad you weren’t answering that door.

There you have it, that’s not so hard, right? And if all else fails, remember: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. After all, it worked for Jack Torrance.

The Forehead-Smacking Moment I Figured Out NaNoWriMo

There are two kinds of writers in the world: those that do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and rise to the challenge of producing 50,000 words in November, and writers that spend the month coming up with excuses why this is not sensible, practical, rational or useful.

I’ve always been in the latter camp.

I mean sure, I could write 50,000 words in a month. But who wants to read a book composed of “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” repeated 5,555 times?

Then, the Beast showed up. “Best Friends for Never,” he said in a phlegmy whisper.

“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’ll write it. Someday. Like when it’s warmer. When the bills are caught up. I’ll take some vacation time—next year maybe. When I’m caught up on my sleep. And laundry. Better yet, when my youngest is out of elementary school and I don’t have to haul my oldest to band practice at 6:30 am. Or when I’m retired.

“Write it now,” he said. He let out a stale stream of cigarette smoke and flicked some ashes on the rug.

“I don’t even know what happens. I mean it’s just an idea.”

“Write.”

Fine.

I was late out of the gate, starting on November 5th. For a few days, I juggled 400 words at a pop and questioned the point. And then: BOOM.

I got it. I got what NaNoWriMo is really about. And no, it’s not a contest. And no, it’s not about discipline and it’s most certainly not about perfection. It’s about opening the door wide. And in the process of opening that door, you need to slam your inner critic hard against the other wall. (Mine left a long lipstick streak down the door jamb before she fell unconscious.)

And when that door is open, well that is when the story happens.

As of today, I’ve got 20,000 words. And while it it’s pretty unlikely I’ll win NaNoWriMo this year, I have to say I’ve already won. I’ve got a story that’s making me breathless and I can’t wait to finish it. And the fact I won’t get done by November 30th isn’t because it’s not there—it’s because there’s not just enough time. So when November goes and December comes, I expect to be still happily click-clacking away on Best Friends for Never.

Congratulations to all of those who have completed NaNoWriMo and to any and all that have taken the challenge. Best of luck in taking your novel to the next step. And to those writers who always put entering NaNoWriMo right up there with pushing a shopping cart to the top of Mount Everest, consider this: what have you got to lose?