NaNoWriMo 2016: Week Three Recap

Week three was the winning point for me!

NaNoWriMo 2016 Week Three Recap

Word count

16. 2,053
17. 466
18. 874
19. 2,345
20. 2,186
21. 37
Week Three Total: 7,961
Overall Total: 52,231

I reached 50,000 words on November 19th! I was so proud of myself.

I had planned on reaching it on the 18th, but I didn’t continue my 2,000 words a day streak. That weekend was pretty busy and I was tired, but whatever. I did it and that’s all there is to it.

I want to continue writing each day though, even if it’s just a little bit… So don’t make fun of yesterday’s word count. Of course, it would be nice if I could write at least 100 words a day.

Short stories

I have six more short stories to write for Short Story Sunday next year. I’m not entirely sure if I’ll finish them by the end of the month, I hope to get most of them done.

Week three

For the final stretch of NaNo, I hope to finish all 52 stories and keep updating my word count every single day, even if it’s just a little bit.

How is NaNoWriMo treating you? Have you crossed the finish line yet? Let me know in the comments! 

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My First NaNoWriMo

I joined NaNoWriMo in October 2008 because that’s when Kris discovered it and told me all about it. I skipped that year, though.

I didn’t feel as though I’d prepared enough to write a novel when I had only just found out about the challenge a week before it started. So, I hung around on the website all month long lurking in the forums and getting to know the community.

It wasn’t until November 2009 that I decided to give NaNo a real shot.

My First NaNoWriMo

I wrote a novel called The Others. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken of this story on my blog since I started blogging in May 2012 and by that time The Others was already a memory.

I remember planning as best as I could the October before. However, at this point, I had never actually completed a first draft of a novel before. I didn’t even know how outlining worked best for me, so I didn’t have my system all worked out just yet.

But I did it! I wrote 50,000 words that November on The Others. The only downside to it was that I had no idea you needed to validate your word count.

So, when November 30th came and went, I was disappointed to see that I had no certificate. Kris asked if I validated my novel and I believe I responded with, “What does that mean?”

Yep.

I won, but it’s just not official. You have to take my word for it. I wrote 50,000 words, but I never completed the novel. There was a lot more to it.

The Others was an interesting story, from what I can remember about it. There have been novels about Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), or Multiple Personality Disorder, and I thought I would write one with a twist.

Those kinds of stories are always told from someone else or the main personality as they try to figure out what’s going on. The Others was told by the various personalities inside the protagonist’s mind.

I promise is sounded much better than how I’m explaining it right now. I remember the basic gist of the story, but I can’t remember too much else about it. Other than the fact that the main character’s name was November… very original.

I don’t have the novel anymore. This was a time when my desk was in the basement of my house and I only saved my stories onto my flash drive.

In January 2012 (I think) my flash drive died. I lost a lot of novels and I was devastated.

Though, now that I think about it, the flash drive might have died in January 2013 because I vaguely remember talking about it on the blog… I don’t know.

Either way, that’s why I have Google Drive, Dropbox, and my flash drive now (except now my USB ports on my laptop don’t work anymore, so my novels are kind of stuck in my flash drive until I get a new laptop).

Maybe I’ll go back and try to write The Others again, maybe I won’t. It was a fun idea to explore and maybe someday I’ll expand on it. But it won’t be anytime soon.

What did you write for your first NaNoWriMo? Do you still have it or did you stop working on it after NaNo? Let me know in the comments! 

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Week Two Recap

So, the second week of NaNo is over. That was a thing and it happened.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Week Two Recap

Word count

8. 2,402
9. 2,026
10. 10,095
11. 2,066
12. 4,584
13. 2,097
14. 2,110
15. 2,120
Week Two Total: 27,500
Overall Total: 44,268 (19,268 words ahead of schedule)

I kept up my streak of writing 2,000 words a day. Week two is usually the toughest because of the “slump,” but I was lucky and actually had three days off from work. I was able to get in a little extra writing done on each day.

On the 10th, I had the house to myself and no work so I challenged myself to write 10k that day. And I met my goal! That extra boost of words have helped because I’ll reach 50k a lot sooner than I originally thought.

Short stories

 

I have 14 short stories left to write, which mean I’ve written 38. When I first started this I thought each story would be about 1,000 words so I would end up writing 52,000 words during the month. A handful of stories turned out to be about 2,000 words long while others were about 500 words.

This isn’t a big deal, but if I stuck with my 1,000-word rule, I’d have about 8 stories left to write as opposed to 14. In other words, my Short Story Sundays for next year will be well over 52,000 words. I wonder how much of it I’ll get done by the end of the month?

 

The process

 

I think I’m starting to slow down a bit… Especially after that 10k day I think my mind is screaming at me. But I’ve been staying strong! Writing has continued to go pretty smoothly.

Week three

I would like to finish all 52 stories by the end of the month if I can. However, keeping up the 2k a day, I’ll reach 50,000 words on this Friday, the 18th. I still want to write a little bit every day for the rest of the month, but I’m not going to force myself to write 2,000 words every day if I don’t have the time or just don’t feel like it.

I want to keep the routine and hopefully finish the 52 stories, but it won’t be as big of a priority. I’m usually pretty good at balancing NaNo and life, but this month has been so crazy compared to past Novembers. I’ve had a lot of family events happen so balancing that with NaNo and then everything else. (Like blogging… I’ve neglected all my fellow bloggers and totally ignored everyone’s posts this month… sorry, guys!)

How is NaNoWriMo treating you? Are you enjoying your writing project so far? Let me know in the comments! 

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Why I’m Writing Short Stories for NaNoWriMo

I’m sure most of you know by now that I’m writing short stories for NaNoWriMo this year.

I tend to write whatever I want during the Camp months because they’re more flexible, but I like to stick to the “rules” of writing 50,000 words of a brand new novel in November.

I tried to write short stories last year for November and it didn’t go over that well. I can’t remember if I won or not, but I don’t think I did. It was hard and I said, “Well, I tried something different. Next year I’ll stick to my novels.”

So why did I change my mind?

It’s not that I changed my mind, I just had completely forgotten I told myself to stick to novels during November until just the other day.

I decided to write short stories this year for a number of reasons…

1. Short stories are “easier”

Short stories are not easy to write, but I think writing a novel is harder. Some people may agree or disagree with me and that’s fine. But short stories are smaller in the word count and there’s not as much planning as a novel. Sure, it’s difficult to wrap up a conflict in a short amount of pages, but overall I think it’s “easier” than writing a novel.

2. To get ahead for 2017

I’ve been trying to plan ahead for my blogs for 2017. There’s a lot that I want to do and the only way I’m going to get it all done is if I can get some things done right now. If I don’t have to worry about taking the time to sit and write a few thousand words every so often, that would be a huge weight off my shoulders. Any writing time can be spent working on my novels next year.

3. New novel ideas

The short stories I’ve written so far (I have January through May completely done and the other months are half done) vary in genre. I’ve written mystery, mainstream, memoir, poetry, and fantasy. I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with the different genres. It’s great practice and the best part is I think I’ll be turning some of those short stories into novels someday. One story in particular (I think it’s a July short) I already have mostly planned out for a novel.

4. To submit to contests and magazines

I’ve been getting serious with submitting my work lately. I’ve submitted to magazines and a few contests at least once a month since August. I currently have two short stories out in the world that I’m waiting to hear back. I hope to keep that trend up and hope that something comes from it. I’ve written a few shorts so far that I think will be worthy of magazines some day in the near future.

Here’s a reason as to why I love writing short stories for NaNo: I don’t get burned out as easily.

Last Thursday I attempted to write 10,000 words and I ended up with 10,095 (I was pretty tired afterwards). I don’t remember how many shorts I wrote (most are about 1,000 words, but some are as long as 2,000 and as short as 500), but after every break I went back to writing something completely brand new.

There was no thinking, “Where do I go from here?” or, “What should my characters do next?” I just grabbed a prompt and went with it.

My word count is currently at 40,000 words. I have 10,000 more to go. I wanted to finish by Thanksgiving, but if I keep my 2,000 words a day trend up, I’ll reach 50,000 words on Friday the 18th.

And let me tell you, it’s been a wonderful thing.

Have you ever tried to write something else other than a novel during NaNo? How did it go? How is NaNo going for you this year? Let me know in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo: A 10k Kind of Day

I can’t stress enough that November has always been a busy month. I’ve had a lot of family events going on which makes this year tougher than the previous years.

Despite this, I’ve been making great progress on my NaNo project.

I got lucky with a few days off from work. I had the day of the election off, I have Veteran’s Day off, then there’s Thanksgiving.

Today is a normal day, but it’s professional development for the teachers. Since I’m an aide, that means I have the day off.

Everyone in my family still has work and school so it’ll just be me and the animals. I have no obligations, no deadlines, nothing.

So, I’ve decided, I’m going to challenge myself to write 10,000 words today, Thursday, November 10.

(I just realized that I’ll be writing 10k on the 10th. I hope that’s a good sign!)

Of course, I won’t be sitting at my computer for five hours straight writing. I’m going to take breaks here and there.

My daily goal is 2,000 words. In between every 2,000 words, I’ll take an hour break. I can write 2,000 words in one hour if I focus hard enough so maybe tomorrow I’ll end up writing every other hour. We’ll see if Chip and Chase allow me to write for that long!

I’ve attempted to write 10k in one day twice before. The first time I tried it, I quit after a few thousand. I think I made it to at least 5,000 though. The second time I did it, I got 10k. I think I wrote every other hour and that’s what helped me stay on task.

I don’t know if I’ll have enough juice in me to write 10k today, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway!

I’ll be updating my progress on Twitter, so be sure to follow along.

Also, if you have no other obligations today, feel free to join me! The more, the merrier!

Have you ever attempted 10k in a day before? Did you reach your goal? Let me know in the comments!

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Finding the Time to Write

November is usually a busy month. Aside from NaNoWriMo, there are family events, the holidays, and other happenings going on. For some reason, though, this year November has been the busiest.

My weekends have been booked with family events. My nephew was Baptized, my sister is hosting a party at my house, I have two events going on at my church that I have to be a part of and help prepare for, and there’s Thanksgiving at the end of the month. There’s also work, babysitting, and trying to find time to hang out with friends and relaxing.

I’m expected to write 50,000 words on top of that? Well, then.

Finding the Time to Write

How do you find the time to get your writing done each and every day?

For me, I know that I work best in the morning. I leave for work at 7:40, though. If I have to get ready for work, eat breakfast, and try to do some other things, I can’t wake up at 6:45 and expect myself to be ready to go in an hour like some people do.

I get up at 5:30 in the morning. I get dressed, get my coffee, and then I sit at my computer and write from 5:45 to 6:45/7:00. Then I get everything else done I need to get done in the half hour before I need to go to work.

I can write about 2,000 words in an hour, if I focus hard enough. So, most mornings I’m able to reach my daily word count before going to work. As long as I can reach 1,667 words, I’m good for the rest of the day.

It makes me feel good because I know I don’t have to worry about writing for the rest of the day. There are days when I do write when I get home in the evening, but I don’t have to if I don’t feel like it.

What makes this November different from all the other NaNo sessions is that I’ve really been sticking to this. I always write in the morning before work, but there have been a couple of mornings where I’ve thought to just do it later. Maybe it was because I was too tired or I just wasn’t feeling any of the prompts I set up for myself.

When that happens, I make myself write anyway.

It may take me a little longer to reach my word count, I may end up making a ton of typos, the story may not come out as well as it could have been, but I get the writing done.

I don’t wait for the inspiration, I just do it.

The weekends are harder. You would think they’d be easier since I don’t have work, but I’m out of my routine. So it’s harder.

Saturdays aren’t too bad because Kris and I go to our local bookstore to write. So I have about three to four hours to get my daily word count in and I usually end up with more words than usual.

Sundays are difficult because I have church in the morning. I go early because I teach Sunday school and when I get home I end up relaxing and not doing much of anything.

This past Sunday, when my nephew was Baptized, I wrote before going to church. I forced myself to get it done because I knew I wasn’t going to have any time to do it later.

A lot people give advice to not wait for inspiration and just write something, anything, on your paper. Judging by the way this month has been going so far, I can tell you that advice is sound and very true.

How do you find the time to get your writing done? Let me know in the comments!

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NaNoWriMo 2016: Week One Recap

A week has already come and gone for NaNoWriMo. Can you believe it?

I can’t.

NaNoWriMo 2016 Week One Recap

Word count

1. 2,309
2. 2,073
3. 2,067
4. 2,198
5. 4,035
6. 2,031
7. 2,055
Total: 16,768 (5,101 words ahead of schedule)

My daily goal is to write at least 2,000 words. I’ve been pretty consistent sticking to that. Day 5 was Saturday and Double-Up Day. I double my daily goal and reached 4,000 words within three hours. It was a very productive day!

Short stories

I didn’t keep track of how many stories I wrote each day, but I’ve written a total of 14 short stories out of 52.

I’ve been aiming for each story to be about 1,000 words long. Most of them are, but there are three or four stories that are 2,000 words long. There’s also two or three that are less than 1,000 words. One is actually a poem instead of a short story that one reached just shy of 200 words.

I figured out all my prompts before NaNo started so I’ve been jumping around and writing these stories out of order. I have Short Story Sunday written for all of January and February. March is almost done and then I have a story or two for some of the other months.

The process

Writing has been going smoothly. Like I said, I have all the prompts assigned to a date. I’ve been jumping around and writing the prompts that I feel like writing first instead of going in order of the dates. I think that’s been helping me keep up the momentum of writing every day.

A couple of the short stories I absolutely love and I think they may even be novel ideas someday.

Week two

This first week went so well. I have a few days off of work in week two, so I think I’ll be able to write more this week than I did last week, even though week two is considered “the slump” week.

How is NaNoWriMo treating you? Are you enjoying your writing project so far? Let me know in the comments! 

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8 Tips for a Wonderful NaNoWriMo

Writing is hard. Participating in NaNoWriMo is harder.

Yet, there are many things you can do to control whether or not you reach your goal.

8 Tips for a Wonderful NaNoWriMo

1. Write what you think is right for you

Camp NaNoWriMo is way more flexible than NaNoWriMo in November. During November you have to write 50,000 words of a brand new novel. Of course, not everyone does that and neither should you. Are you in the middle of writing a novel? Then keep going. Add 50,000 more words to it. Are novels not your thing? Write 50,000 words of poetry or short stories. Write something that you want to write, something that you’ll be in love with all month long. Otherwise, you’ll lose momentum and that 50,000-word goal will slip from your grasp.

2. Find your time

Are you a morning person? Write as soon as you get up. If you have work, wake up a little earlier to get some writing done. That’s what I do. If you work better in the afternoon or at night, then set aside a certain time to get your writing done. I write from 5:45-6:45/7 in the morning every weekday. I write 2,000 words in that time and then I’m done for the day (unless I feel like writing/have the time to write later on). Having the same time of day every day helps your brain get into that creative mode.

3. Embrace the mistakes

Can’t figure out how to spell a word? Don’t worry about it, that red line will remind you to fix it later. Need to research something? Put it in bold and make a note to look it up later. All first drafts are terrible. As long as you get your ideas down on paper, that’s all that matters.

4. Use prompts

Feeling stuck on what to do next? Are your characters tired and coming to a halt in action? Look up some writing prompts and include them in your novel. You may or may not like them, but it will keep you writing and you can edit it out later.

5. Accept encouragement and give support

The world of writing has the best community ever. Meet some writer friends through NaNo and cheer each other. Find some writer friends in real life and relate with one another whether they do NaNo or not. Don’t do NaNo alone and don’t let others do it alone.

6. Reward yourself

Did you meet your daily word count? Did you reach 25,000 words? 50,000? 50,000 in two weeks? Reward yourself! Give yourself small rewards for reaching your daily goal and give yourself something big when you reach the end and win. I always buy myself a new video game if I reach 50,000 words. Video games are expensive, they’re something I love, and something I don’t buy myself often. I think it’s a great reward for NaNo.

7. Take breaks

Making a lot of typos? Falling asleep at the computer? Are you starting to feel a bit dizzy or maybe your eyes are crossing from the bright screen? Walk away from the computer and take a break. Your body and mind needs to rest, no matter what your word count is.

8. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished

Whether you wrote 50,000 words in 30 days or 500 words in 30 days, be proud. You took on a tough challenge, you met new people, came up with new ideas, and wrote something. Whatever you write is more than what you would have had if you didn’t participate in NaNo. Don’t feel like a failure if you don’t reach 50,000, be happy that you tried and you did your best. Remember, November is a busy month. Holidays, family, friends, sicknesses, and life in general, get in the way.

What tips do you have for writers participating in NaNoWriMo?

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November 2016 Goals

Reading

As always, with four Saturdays this month, I plan on reading four books. Here are the books I plan to read, in no particular order:

1. Jack Gregson and the Forgotten Portal by Peter Wilson
2. Graven Idols by Jessica Dall
3. Joy School by Elizabeth Berg
4. Corrupted by Lisa Scottoline

Writing

It’s NaNoWriMo time! I’ve decided to write short stories this year so I can focus on editing as well as get a head start on content for the blog for 2017. So, this is what I hope to accomplish in November:

1. Write 50,000-words worth of short stories (hopefully write 52 shorts total)
2. Edit Side Effect (Kris’s novel. She’ll be editing The Lost Girl for me in the meantime)
3. Plan George Florence series (I’m still slowly figuring this one out)

Blogging

I’ve written all my November posts (the ones that can be written in advance, I mean). So anything I work on for the blog will be for December or in prep for 2017.

1. Finish last minute November posts
2. Start on December and January posts
3. Finish the first part of a monthly feature that will begin on November 15 (this has been a slow-going thing as well… I can’t wait for it to be finished)

Overall

Between NaNo, work, the holidays, having a social life with friends and family, and other things, this is going to be an interesting month. A good month, but certainly interesting.

What are your goals for November? Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Let me know in the comments!

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