NaNo Reward

This semester I’m taking a psychology course called “Learning and Behavior.” It’s all about how we learn, how we behave, why we behave the way we do, etc. It discusses ways to reinforce positive behavior and ways to get rid of negative behavior. My professor wants us to focus on our own behavior, but the textbook focuses on children in a classroom setting; which is fine with me because I’m able to use what I learn from the textbook and use it at work.

But I’m supposed to be focusing on myself. We have a behavior reinforcement project to do. In other words, I have to put myself on a behavior plan.

The first assignment was to come up with a behavior I wanted to increase or decrease. I had to admit, this was a tough decision. I have myself on a pretty tight schedule when it comes to balancing work and school. Then I realized… it’s pretty difficult for me to fit writing into that schedule because I work full time and always seem to have so much homework. So I thought, why not? I decided to put myself on a behavior plan that will get me to write more.

Write It

Of course I always want to write, but there are things that take bigger priority. My homework has a deadline, I have to be at work at a certain time each day, my writing… well, it has no deadline as I have nothing being published and I don’t have a certain time to write every day. I tried doing that and I didn’t get very far with it. The main problem is that I don’t write when I don’t have time and I still don’t write when I do have time because I’m usually exhausted from work and school.

After I decided on this topic and submitted it to my professor I thought, how am I going to do this? This isn’t an ordinary project where I sit down at my computer and type an essay or do research on Google. No, this is something I will be working on every day without even realizing it.

Yesterday, Kris and I were discussing NaNo and rewards. During July’s Camp NaNo session, Kris and I bought Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U. We didn’t open it and left it leaning it against the TV. We were only allowed to open and play the game if both of us hit our word goals–50,000 for me and 25,000 for Kris. Due to the game staring us down, we both won and spent many hours playing the game when the month was over.

We decided to do something similar like that this year and reward ourselves for winning.

I told Kris that I was going to give myself a dollar for every 1,000 words I write. In other words, when I hit 50,000 I’ll have 50 dollars. If I only get to 34,659 I’ll have 35 dollars (remember: always round up!). Then I can use that money for whatever I want at the end of the month… it will most likely be for a new video game.

This idea has been in my head for a bit and I just realized about an hour ago that this is my project. My reinforcement for writing will be money. So I guess that solves that problem. I bet my professor is going to just love my project! The thing is I wouldn’t need a reinforcement system for my writing if it weren’t for homework tying me down all the time. Ironic, huh?

Is anyone else giving themselves any kind of reward; whether it’s a daily word count reward or an overall reward for winning?

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Growing As A Writer

Kris quit her job a couple weeks ago. She was constantly working and hasn’t really had a vacation in a long time, so she decided to take a month or two off before finding something new. In the meantime, she’s going to focus on her future writing career.

Due to this wonderful decision, she and I are able to have our writing dates at Barnes and Noble again. Starting this past Saturday, she and I are going to spend every Saturday morning at B&N for a few hours to write or edit or whatever we need to get done. This is great because I’m always so busy with homework and such that I can never guarantee myself that I will get writing done every day. Saturday will be like a catch-up day for me.

So, as we all know, I decided to outline Far Away this month so I could finish writing it for NaNoWriMo in November. Well, my laptop was dead because I forgot to charge it the night before, so I brought my hard copy of Take Over to B&N with me this past Saturday. Kris and I were there for at least three hours and I only got six pages done. Part of that was my getting distracted at nothing, but also because the first draft is a little bit… well, terrible.

On the first page, I rewrote two paragraphs and cut out the rest of the page.

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The second page looked a little bit better, but again… it didn’t make much sense.

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Needless to say, it took me a while to get through the first couple of pages.

Kris was proud because she said, “Look! You’re growing as a writer.”

You know that feeling you get when you finish writing something whether it be a full length novel, a short story, or even a poem? You get a great sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. You feel successful. It doesn’t matter whether it came out good or not, you completed something. Well, that’s how I felt when I finished writing this manuscript.

I wrote Take Over for Camp NaNoWriMo way back in April 2013. When I finished writing this novel (this was before I started writing Detective Florence), I thought to myself: This has got to be the best first draft I’ve ever written!

A year and a half later and I’m realizing just how wrong I was. I read the first sentence of the novel, turned to Kris with a look of disgust on my face and said, “I already don’t like this.”

I even considered re-writing Take Over for NaNo this year and let Far Away wait a little bit longer. However, it’s going to take me a while to re-read and edit through the first draft of Take Over, so I think I’m going to just stick with editing it for now. I’m most likely going to be re-writing it as I edit anyway. When NaNo is all said and done, I’ll worry about re-writing Take Over.

Out of all the pieces I’ve written between April 2013 and now… who knew I was actually learning along the way? It doesn’t feel like I’ve been learning, but I must be doing something right.

 

Writing Schedule

I am happy to announce that I have finally come up with a plan for myself for my writing! Well… at least until the end of 2014.

For the past couple of days I’ve been trying to figure out Detective Florence. There are a lot of things I need to work on for both the first novel and the second, plus I need to write the third. Of course, I think the third novel is going to end up being the ending of the second novel, but for the sake of being more confused than I all ready am, I’m going to write it as though the story is it’s own novel.

As much as I don’t like editing, I figured I need to spend between now and November to edit. November will be used to write the third novel. In other words, I gave myself a deadline of November first.

I all ready edited Detective Florence during the month of June so I could write the sequel for Camp NaNo in July. With that being said, for the rest of August I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence. I’m giving myself a whole month to do this because it’s all ready the ninth and in a week I’m going on vacation for a week (I’ll explain more about that on a later date).

For September, I’m going to edit the first draft of Detective Florence 2. Both school and work will start up again so this will be interesting to see.

In October, I’m going to type up the edited first draft of Detective Florence 2 and outline Detective Florence 3. I’m hoping to have the entire outline done as well as have all the questions answered. I also hope the novel (and the whole trilogy) will make enough sense so editing won’t be that bad.

November, of course will be spent writing Detective Florence 3 for NaNoWriMo. I think it’s funny that it’s been almost a year since I started the series.

I came up with the idea for Detective Florence a long time ago and started writing it in a notebook. All the characters were different except for Detective Florence himself, but he had a completely different personality. I can’t remember when I wrote it because I didn’t date it (I’m kicking myself for that one), but there’s about 31 pages written before I stopped. Maybe someday I’ll post a bit of it on here so we can all get a good laugh.

Of course, I may use that case and characters in another Detective Florence novel. Who knows? I have way too many ideas for these characters all ready.

I finally got it in my head again and I wrote it for November 2013’s NaNoWriMo. I’m pretty sure I hit 50k words on day 17, but I didn’t finish the whole novel until the end of December (or early January). Now a year later I’m going to be writing the third book.

Anyway, for this upcoming December, I’m not sure yet, but I might be editing the first Detective Florence again to give myself a break from writing the third one. Then I’ll either rotate editing through the series or I’ll edit one book at a time. It depends on if the outlines for all three novels makes sense and are in order with each other. So, December is up in the air for now, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get to it.

For now, I have plenty to do before November first.

Yesterday

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The only form of writing I did yesterday was post on my blog. I wanted to write more than that, but of course I didn’t. I could have edited a bit, but I didn’t. No, yesterday I went back and forth between playing Mario Kart 8 and binge watching Pretty Little Liars. My Wii U was certainly tired by the end of the night. I didn’t go to bed until 12:30 a.m.

I kept complaining to Kris that I wanted to write, but I wasn’t sure what to write. I don’t even think it was that I didn’t know what to write, I just had too many ideas that I wasn’t sure where I was supposed to start.

When I lost my flash drive about a year and a half ago I lost so many novels. Some finished, but the majority of them were only halfway done. I accepted my fate and decided to make the best of it. I told myself I was going to finish everything I started so I wouldn’t have so many unfinished manuscripts. It worked for a little while and then I got back into my usual groove of not finishing what I start. I am, after all, a Virgo.

So, I was flipping through all my novels yesterday trying to figure out which one to work on, despite the fact that I now have six novels that need to be edited. However, I was in the mood to write yesterday, not edit.

I tried to figure out what to work on and discovered that I have 15 works in progress at the moment. Yes, 15. Where did all those novels come from?

I have a list of story ideas and I think the amount of novels on the list is roughly about 90. It’s a lot. Will they all get written eventually? I don’t know… I all ready went through the list a few weeks ago and knocked off some ideas because I couldn’t remember them. I did keep the titles and I wonder if that was why they were on the list to begin with; they were just decent title ideas. Of course, the new list–with 90 novels on it–are all legitimate plots that I remember and have many ideas for.

Needless to say, 15 out of 90 isn’t bad, I don’t think. If I had 50 out of 90 started, but not finished I think I would be concerned. Maybe I’m just making excuses for my lack of focus.

Either way, I think it’s time that I start getting something done every day and not just during the NaNo months. Whether it’s editing, writing, or a little bit of both.

Happy August!

Camp NaNoWriMo has officially ended as of…well, many hours ago. I have to admit that I have never been so happy in my life that a session of NaNo has ended.

Losing 44,619 words of my manuscript five days before Camp ended was probably the worst experience in my life. Dramatic, but true. I was determined to win Camp so I pledged to myself that I was going to write 45k words in four days. 45k because Kris was able to get the first 5k words back for me and I say four days because there was no way I was going to be able to write anything as soon as I lost my entire novel. I needed a brand new day to start fresh.

Monday July 28, I wrote 15,029 words. Tuesday July 29, I wrote 10,019 words. Wednesday July 30, I wrote 5,016 words. Yesterday, July 31, I nearly died, but I wrote the last 15,036 words bringing my novel to a total of 50,112 words. Of course, Kris told me to validate my novel twice because I technically wrote 90k in one month. I just didn’t have all the physical words to prove it. So, I did and my NaNo stats look really weird because I had 44,619 for July 30 and then on July 31 the bar shoots way up and says I have 94,731.

Let’s keep in mind that these last four days I was constantly screaming in my head:

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It was true. It was fairly “easy” to rewrite the novel because I wrote notes of all the scenes in order as I wrote them the first time around. Of course, before I lost the novel I realized the story was taking a different direction and I was getting lost. I took this rewrite as an opportunity to get my novel back on track and I spent a lot of my time moving the scenes around (I wrote them on sticky notes inside a notebook) trying to make some sense of it all.

It worked. To be honest, I think this version of the novel turned out better than the first. There was just one problem… I had finished the novel before I hit 50k.

I have many ideas for my Detective Florence series and I always pictured the entire series to be in a set of trilogies. Of course, now I’m wondering if the books need to be in sets of twos or many they don’t need sequels to each other at all. However, the first novel is fairly big with about 92k words and about 291 pages, but I’ve only edited the first draft, so it will most likely be less. Now the second novel is about 50k with less than 200 pages.

I think I’m going to write the third book pretending it’s going to stay a trilogy and see where that plot takes me. In other words, editing these novels is going to be just grand! (<—Please note the sarcasm.)

So, now I have another novel written, my third NaNoWriMo certificate, and a very sore wrist. I love writing and wish I could do it all day every day. The binge writing was fun and interesting to say the least, but… I am never going to do that again.

However, if you want to look on the bright side, at least I realized I can hit a deadline if I really set my mind to it.

But… Let’s be real now. Why did I want to win Camp so bad? Well, to complete another manuscript, of course. Yes, but also because Kris and I told ourselves that if we BOTH won (and we did — go us!) we could buy Mario Kart 8. Now I’m just waiting for her to get out of work so we can play it together.

Congrats to everyone who got through yet another month of NaNo! 🙂

So Far So Good

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Here’s a quick blurb/update on my progress after losing my entire manuscript:

I wrote 10,019 words today on my new draft of my Camp NaNoWriMo novel Detective Florence (Book 2). It’s only a little after 2 PM in the afternoon and I have to say that I am proud to have written that much in such a short amount of time.

I am now 30,060 words into the novel.

I have 20k words left and two more days.

I wish I always had this energy to write so much in so many days. Honestly, if school didn’t end this past weekend and if I had homework this week…I think I would have been screwed.

Lost And (Hopefully) Found

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Does anyone remember when my flash drive died about a year and a half or so ago? I lost just about everything. All my manuscripts and ideas. There were a few novels I didn’t lose because they were all ready printed out, but I lost about 85% of my writing. Yeah, that was not a fun time…and I’m sure you’re wondering why I’m bringing that up again.

So…Camp NaNoWriMo ends in about three days. I have been writing my novel Detective Florence (Book 2). I wrote a little over 3k words yesterday bringing my to about 44k. After that, I decided to write my Short Story Sunday because it was getting late in the day and it needed to be done.

Well, I have been working so much on Detective Florence that I have been in the habit of clicking on that document when I hit the “save” button. So when I was working on my Short Story Sunday and I hit save…

Yes, I saved over my entire 150-page-44k-words-so-close-to-being-completed-for-Camp-NaNo-and-the-entire-story-line manuscript. The worst part of it is that I did not do this once, but three times. Yes, three. When my flash drive died, I had no back-ups so I got Dropbox and fairly recently got Google Drive. Every time I work on something–writing, homework, anything–I save it to all three. Therefore, when I did my Short Story Sunday, I saved it to…all three.

However, I have overcome the initial shock and sadness of this tragedy. I have been taking notes and writing the scenes as I write them on sticky notes so I have all the ideas. Plus, the story wasn’t going where I originally wanted it to go. So today I moved around some sticky notes, got rid of a few, and added new ones. The story (hopefully) will make much better sense.

Kris was good enough to get back the very first draft from when I saved it the first time, so she got me back the first 5,012 words of my story. This means I have about 45k left to write in order to validate for NaNo. With five days left (including yesterday and today), I decided I’m going to rewrite the entire novel. That’s about 10,000 words a day.

Since I all ready had the 5k I just needed to write 5k yesterday and then 10k for the rest of the month. Except I was too discouraged yesterday so I decided to start fresh today.

It took me from 8 in the morning until a little after 7 tonight, but I wrote 15,029 words. My novel is now back up to 20,041 words. I can only hope I can keep up this pace for the next three days (seriously, pray for me!).

Tipping Over

Balance

Life is hard. Can I just throw that out there? Of course, no one told me life was going to be easy and I never expected it to be… I mean, why would I?

It’s not that life in general is hard, it’s all the little bits and pieces that go with it. You just need to work your way through each one, but the trick is that you need to deal with it all at the same time. I can’t say, “I’ll go to work this week and then stay home and write the following week. After that I think I’ll go on vacation!” Sadly, life does not work like that.

So how does life work? I certainly don’t know and I’m pretty sure no one else really understands it, either. What I do know is that I need to have some sort of balance between everything that goes on in my life. That’s one piece of the puzzle solved, but how do I find that balance and implement it? Let me know when you figure it out because every time I find my balance–even if it’s just for a short while–life throws another lemon at me giving me a black eye.

For the past few days I’ve been writing “to do” lists for myself. So far it’s been working, but probably only for a little while. I’ve done this before and soon enough I get out of the routine whether I get sick, something unexpected happens, or I just get lazy.

We all know Kris and I have conversations about life and the future every so often, but with both of us getting older those conversations have been happening more frequently. We’re in no rush to leave our parents, but we want to move out for the experience. We don’t have the money to do it. Plus, I’m still in school so I have a lot less money than my sister does.

I’m going to be 21 in about a month. My friend who is three months younger than me got married and moved across the country. My other friend who is a year older than me (and also the sister of the other one) is pregnant. I feel as though I’m “behind schedule” even though I’m really not. I should be focusing on work and school and that’s what I prefer to work towards. Yet, it’s hard to work towards something when everything else is about money.

I want to be a writer and I’ve written many things, yet none of them pay as they’ve never been published. This is okay, but I’m wondering about when September hits. I will be taking five courses, one is accelerated (which will be kind of nice in a way because then the last month of the semester I’ll only have to worry about four courses), but one of the courses is going to make it feel as though I’m taking seven courses–not five. This course, by the way, is Selected Authors: Tolkien & Rowling; the class I’m super excited for. I don’t think I’m going to be so excited for the homework, though. Not to mention homework from four other classes, one being accelerated.

should also be working full-time. I say “should” because I don’t know if I officially have the job, yet. If not, I’ll still be a substitute which won’t be so bad with all the school work. Money-wise, it won’t be so good, but I have to take what I can get.

Then there’s babysitting on the side and…oh, yeah writing.

Camp NaNoWriMo is drawing to a close and I am at 41k words or something around there. I’m also done and I will win. I was actually hoping to be done by today, but I started reading Harry Potter to get a head start on my class in the Fall and I got so into the series that I’ve just been reading nearly non-stop.

(To throw a lame excuse as to why I haven’t been blogging a lot is because of Harry Potter, trying to win Camp NaNo, and also homework…but the school semester ends tomorrow, yay!)

So with that in mind I have about six days left. I plan on going overboard (but let’s get real–I probably won’t) and come August I hope to edit the first book (I’m writing the sequel now). I edited the first draft in June, but obviously still needs a bit of work.

Good luck in the last few days of Camp, people! I can’t believe the end is near…but at the same time, I feel as though the month of July dragged on. Maybe that’s just me. 😉

Halfway Done

I always tell myself l’m going to blog everyday during NaNo and then l never do.

My goal for Camp is the standard 50,000 words, but instead of writing 1,613 words a day l try to write 2,000 words a day. This helps me get ahead quicker if l skip a day or two. Plus, it’s an even number. Honestly, that was the main reason l decided to write 2k a day.

I skipped writing pretty much all week. Between homework and lack of motivation, l just didn’t feel like it. But, like every other NaNo session, l thought l could afford to skip a few days because l was all ready “so much ahead.” Well, l ended up getting myself a lot behind and it took me three days to catch up.

According to NaNo l should be at 24,000-something. I think the number is closer to 25k. According to my 2k a day, l’m supposed to be at 30k.

Today l sat my butt in my chair and wrote from 8AM up until 7PM. I had a few breaks here and there (the longest being a Dick Van Dyke episode). Then my cousins came over and wanted to play Clue. That game took about two hours…no lie.

So l should have hit 30k way sooner than 11-ish hours of writing. But l did it. I hit 30k.

I’m at the top of page 101 on my novel, too. I love breaking 100 pages.

Good luck to those particpating in Camp! We’re halfway through the month…we can do it!

Camp NaNoWriMo July 2014

“I’m playing Mario Kart 8… Don’t bug me.” –Lilah Williams

It’s that time of year again and we’re all ready three days in! As you all know, I edited my novel Detective Florence last month in preparation for NaNo so I could write the sequel: Detective Florence 2. Yes, it was July 1 when I realized I don’t have any decent titles for these novels. Which is strange because I usually come up with a title and then base a plot off of that. These novels are different for some reason. But…that’s something to think about later. As of right now I need to worry about hitting 50,000 words.

I haven’t written yet today, but I made it up to 5,012 words in the past two days. If you follow me on Twitter, you probably know I had a late start on day one. I was babysitting my cousins and Kris opened at her work. I wanted to wait for Kris so we could have a writing session together. She hasn’t written yet today either, but I think she only needs to write another 200 words or something in order to be on par for today. She wrote extra yesterday.

For day two we went to Barnes & Noble to write. We had Starbucks which was fabulous as always. That’s when I hit 5,012 words and Kris…I forget her word count, but I think she’s around 2800–something. Her word count goal is 25,000, so she’s actually ahead of the game.

Kris is still sleeping (she did the over-night at her work last night), but when she wakes up we’re probably going to have another writing session in the blue room, as some people call it. Kris and I sometimes call it our office because it makes us sound important.

I also got our friend Nickie into doing Camp this session, as well. She had never heard of NaNo before this. So hopefully I had a good idea in asking her to join in on the fun!

I hope everyone else is doing just as well in NaNo so far–remember, keep writing every day even if you’re ahead. The more words, the better.