NaNoWriMo 2015 Vs. 2014

NaNo 2014 2015

I did this last year and thought it was something cool to look back on. So I decided to do it again this year.

I’m going to compare and contrast this year’s NaNoWriMo to last year’s. I think it’ll be interesting to see the differences.

2014: I wrote a collection of short stories of various genres.
2015: I wrote a young adult religious novel titled Second Chances.

I was in the middle of working on George Florence last year when NaNo started and I was running out of Short Story Sundays. So I thought that if I wrote one short story a day at around 2,000 words each, it would suffice for NaNo.

This year I decided to try my hand at a different genre. The idea came to me last minute before November started. I couldn’t get the idea out of my head so I decided to go with it.

2014: I did not have an outline.
2015: I did not have an outline.

You can’t really outline multiple short stories when you’re looking up prompts through the Internet and in writing books.

Second Chances came to me so last minute that I didn’t have time to write an outline. Plus, I had so many ideas swimming in my head that I didn’t really feel as though I needed one.

2014 Stats:
2014 Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2015 Stats:

2015 Stats

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As you can see, my writing in 2014 was kind of all over the place. My writing this year was consistent… Until I decided to take a week off from writing, but I managed to catch up last minute.

2014: I won on November 26 at 50,067 words.
2015: I won on November 30 at 50,746 words.

Despite what the stats look like, I have no idea how I was able to win a few days early in 2014, but win on the last day in 2015. Oh, well. A win is a win.

How did your NaNo go?

November Wrap-Up

November Wrap Up

Reading:

I read three out of the four books I planned on reading. I updated my Reading List with the books I read this month, so you can get ahead and check those out and read the reviews I wrote.

Even though I didn’t read four books this month like I planned, I reached my goal for my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge! I have read 52 books, one book a week. I skipped a few weeks, but I also read multiple books during other weeks. I somehow managed to hit my goal early.

Writing:

I didn’t edit George Florence at all. My writer’s group meeting got cancelled because of the holidays. We won’t be regrouping until after the new year. I plan on editing that novel once again after the new year.

I did manage to write 2,000 words a day on my NaNo novel, Second Chances. I skipped an entire week, but I plan on hitting 50k later today. So I guess it was successful.

Blogging:

I’ve been brainstorming new ideas for 2016 and have been trying to put them in motion. There will be more information on these ideas at the beginning of January. I promise I won’t disappoint.

Overall:

November was a very successful month and super busy. December is going to be just as–if not more–crazy. So I hope to hit all my goals then as well.

How was your November?

How NaNoWriMo Works For Me

Everyone writes at their own pace.

Some people naturally type fast, others type slow. Some people stop to think about every single scene, others just plow right through them.

The point of NaNoWriMo is this: just write, edit later.

We are actually putting Hemingway’s advice to use:

Hemingway Quote

We’re all hopped up on too much caffeine and leftover Halloween candy that we might as well be drunk as we write.

There are some people who take this advice to heart and this is how they do NaNo. Other people don’t do NaNo for this same reason. Despite how the first draft of everything is crap, they don’t believe in writing until your fingers fall off.

Someone on my writing buddy has already hit 100k and it’s only day 10. In other words, she has been writing 10,000 words a day. I’ve done that before, but only when I have the entire day to myself. I can’t work six and half hours and then babysit for another two to three hours then expect myself to bang out 10k words after dinner.

Good for her, though. I applaud her.

Whether she has a day job or not, I assume she uses NaNo’s Word Sprints.

Word Sprinting is when you try to write as many words as you possibly can in a short period of time. Just keep typing, no editing.

I read the other day on Tumblr that someone wrote 2,000 words in 15 minutes. If I focus hard enough, I can write 2,000 words in 30 minutes.

As stated before, everyone writes at their own pace. However, is it really necessary to try to write at the speed of light just to hit 50k in 30 days?

I say no. I have my own methods to making NaNo work for me and it does not involve making more editing work for me later on.

1. Routine.

I know I talk about this one a lot, but it’s key. Supposedly it takes 21 days to make a habit. If you believe that’s all it takes, you can totally get yourself into a good writing routine.

I wake up earlier than I need to before work. I write for an hour from 5:30am-6:30am and I get my 2,000 words done.

This works because I get over the word count goal putting me a little bit ahead each day. Also, my mind is trained to be creative at that same time every morning. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow I type, I still get the words down.

2. Realistic Word Goal.

The daily goal is 1,667 words. I think that’s realistic, even though some people see that as too much. I personally shoot for 2k because I like even numbers and it puts me ahead. It gives me a small extra dose of accomplishment if I write more than what’s expected each day.

But here’s my point: I don’t say, “I’m going to sprint until I get 20k today!” and then rush my writing. I say, “I’m going to get my 2k done. I’ll write more if I can.” Then I go ahead and try to write the best chapter.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying sprinting is bad. It definitely works for some people and most people love it, but it doesn’t help me.

I try to see how many words I can write in a certain amount of time, but if I see a typo I go back to fix it.

3. Use November 30 as your Deadline.

November 30 is the last day of NaNo. Therefore, you should reach for 50k for that date. If you finish early, great! But I know there are some people that say to themselves, “I’m going to try to write 50k in the first day! I’ll be the very first person to finish on the entire site!”

Um, no.

I have seen people upload their word counts to 50k on day one. They stay up until midnight on October 31 and begin the moment the calendar changes to November 1. Then they write straight for the next 24 hours. I don’t know how people can write that long when staring at a computer screen. I don’t know how their minds are still in tact.

But you need to pace yourself. Pace your story and your characters. If you rush, you’re not going to have any idea what you wrote. You don’t want to burn yourself out too quickly.

I’m sure there will be a few people who will disagree with me, but that’s fine. I’m not saying word sprints are a bad thing and I’m not saying people who hit 50k quickly are writing nonsense just to say they won.

Everyone writes at their own pace.

But I prefer to get into a steady routine with a reasonable daily word count with the whole month to work with my story and give it the attention it deserves.

Because if you really think about it, every month can be a NaNo month if you stick with your routine after November. You can potentially have 12 novels written by the end of the year for only a couple thousand words a day.

November Goals

November 2015 Goals

Reading:

I plan on reading and reviewing four books:

1. Remember Mia by Alexandra Burt
2. Never Never by Brianna R. Shrum
3. Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige
4. A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Of course these books are subject to change throughout the month.

Writing:

1. Continue editing George Florence
2. Write 2,000 words a day for Second Chances for NaNoWriMo

Blogging:

1. Continue to blog every day
2. Keep working on the new ideas and features for 2016

If you have any suggestions for topics or writing prompts for me to do for Short Story Sunday or Inspiration Station or any random day, feel free to let me know in the comments or Contact Me. I’m always looking for new ideas and I would love to hear about what you guys want to read about. Thanks!

Happy November!

NaNoWriMo 2015

I am super excited that another session of NaNoWriMo is coming up soon!

I usually don’t start thinking about it until October, but that’s right around the corner.

I was wondering what I was going to write since I decided that I was going to edit George Florence for the time being.

Last year I wrote a short story a day. Some came out pretty good and some didn’t. However, I missed writing one specific story. So I don’t think I’m going to do that again this year.

Since I decided to post some original novellas on Wattpad, I figured I will work on one of those for NaNo.

I plan on writing those in notebooks first. Then type them up later. That way I can edit as I type it up and that’s one draft down.

So between now and then I’m going to outline one of the stories (I haven’t decided which one I’m going to write yet) and start writing it in a notebook. Since handwriting will take longer than typing, I’m going to start in October or whenever I finish the outline.

I hope to have the story finished by November 1 so I can type it up for NaNo. I know starting early is technically “cheating.” However, if I’m able to handwrite and/or type 50,000 words during November, then I think that’s fine. You guys won’t tell on me, will you?

Have you thought about NaNo yet?

That Time Of Year Again

Another year of NaNoWriMo has come and gone. Did you all win? I hope so. If not, that’s okay. Writing is writing no matter how many words you managed to get down on the page.

Now that the NaNo hype is all done and everyone can finally relax again, we are now into December.

December is probably one of the busiest months of the year. It probably goes by the quickest as well because everyone is always so busy. December is also the last month of the year so people start thinking of New Year’s Resolutions and such.

I have been thinking about 2015 for the past couple of months. Call me strange, but I didn’t want to start anything “new” until the new year because then that would kind of sort of in a weird way make it “official.” Am I the only one who thinks that way?

Anyway, starting in 2015 there’s going to be a few new changes to my blog… posts and layout alike. I’ve been thinking about this for a few months now so I just need to put it all into action. Hopefully you guys will like the new changes. There will be more on that later… as in, the end of the month. All will be revealed/explained New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day. Look forward to it… please.

I will say this, though: part of what I’m going to start doing regularly is working on my Detective Florence series.

I started typing up the second draft of Detective Florence back in October and stopped because NaNo started. I had only 140 pages left so now I’m going to continue that. Here’s my plans:

–Type up the last 140 pages of the second draft of Detective Florence by December 15 (10 pages a day)
–Hand edit the first draft of Detective Florence 2 (December 15-31)
–Type up the second draft of Detective Florence 2
Outline Detective Florence 3
Write Detective Florence 3

The first deadline will definitely hold up. I don’t know if I’ll be able to hand edit in 16 days with the holidays and work, but I’ll certainly give it a try. I would like to start writing the third novel by February at the very latest, though. We’ll see how it goes.

Those are my plans so far. 2015 is going to be the year that the first Detective Florence novel is going to be ready for publication… hopefully. I want it to be completed edited and polished by the end of December 2015.

I typed up ten pages this afternoon, so I’m on par for the first day of my plan. Yay! Now I just need to keep this up.

Fire And Ice

I wrote almost 3,000 words this morning. My NaNo word count is now 45,050. The end is near… it’s so close, but it’s so far away. I only have another 5,000 more words to write and then I’ll finally beat NaNo.

I have to say that NaNo didn’t go as well as I thought it would. My original plan was to write 1,000-word short stories so that come December I could expand and edit each story. In the end, I would have a decent collection of short stories that I thought I may or may not publish.

Some had potential to be decent short stories. Others I couldn’t see going very far. Most of them I’m keeping as back-ups for Short Story Sunday. Some of the short stories, as I’ve stated in other posts, have the potential to be something bigger than a short story.

For example, I am currently on part ten of something I called Fire and Ice. It’s a cliched title with a cliched pairing. However, it seems to be coming along quite nicely.

I don’t understand where the idea came from (or where it’s going to go for that matter), but it’s basically about two best friends who, on their 18th birthday, discover they have fire and ice powers. The girl, Joan, has the power of fire and the boy, Grant, has the power of ice.

There is a prophecy (I didn’t write this part as of yet, but the idea has been in my head since I wrote the first part) that states that both has a potential evil inside them. In order to kill this evil inside them, they must kill the other. In other words, if Grant wants to rid of the evil inside him, he needs to kill Joan or Joan would have to kill Grant. Like I said, they’re best friends so you can only imagine how devastated they are going to be when they hear this prophecy.

In the end, will Grant kill Joan? Will Joan kill Grant? Will they both decide to stay friends and allow the evil to overcome both of them? Wouldn’t that be an interesting sight… the two protagonists become the antagonists and run amok together.

I don’t know too much about this story idea, but I keep developing it in my head as I continue to write the parts for NaNo. It’s definitely an idea worth writing down to try to develop into a novel at a later time.

I am still going to start working on my Detective Florence series again once I hit 50k words and NaNo is over, so if I do work on Fire and Ice it won’t be for a long while. I’m sure I’ll be jotting down notes and ideas here and there, but what do you guys think of the potential new novel idea?

3,001 Words

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I wrote 3,001 words before work this morning. I’m still about 600 words or so behind the NaNo count, but that’s not too bad.

It was nice to wake up this morning and say, “hey, I can go write” instead of, “ugh, I have to do homework.” It makes the morning so much better.

3,001 is my count for today since I’m going out with friends after work. That’s a pretty good word count for an half and a half though.

We’ll see what l can do tomorrow morning.

Homework Complete

Aside from editing my story draft for my Fiction class and editing my Harry Potter essay for my Rowling & Tolkien class (both due in two weeks, so… whatever), I have completed my homework for the week!

One week’s worth of homework for four classes done in two days. I would like to complain and say it was a struggle, but it actually wasn’t. For some reason, I just didn’t get a lot of homework this week. Maybe it’s because next week we have off due to Thanksgiving? Whatever the reason, I’ll be sure to say I’m thankful for the lack of homework this week at the dinner table next week.

I’m busy after work for the rest of this week, but I’ll be sure to write every morning before work. I get up super early so I have an hour and a half/two hours before work. I’m behind on my word count, but if I can stay focused for those few hours for the next three mornings I’ll catch up no problem.

Saturday will be another Barnes & Noble writing date with my sister. I’m sure I’ll get a lot done then, too. Maybe I can even hit 50k by Sunday. Can I write 22k in five days?

If it happens, it happens. I’m not going to make it a goal. As much as I love writing, I want to take advantage of the lack of homework–it’s almost like getting two weeks off from school.

I have video games to play, people!

My priorities are clearly right where they should be…

In all seriousness though, I plan on hitting 50k by Thanksgiving. That gives me eight days to write 22k. It will be nice if I can do it in five, but eight days is my current goal.

Hopefully not everyone else is behind like me!

I Skipped Three Days

It’s in the middle of week two for NaNoWriMo, 12 days into the month. Due to other obligations I ended up skipping three days so far. I skipped Sunday, Monday, and today.

I’m still ahead of the game, but only by about 1,000 words or so. If I skip tomorrow then I’ll be behind, even if it’s only a little bit.

I was hoping to have all my 50,000 words done by yesterday since I had a four day weekend from work. However, homework does tend to get in the way as well as life. Not to mention that I haven’t been feeling well, so that doesn’t help anything.

I have a 10-page essay to write with a five-slide PowerPoint and a three-minute audio presentation to go with it. Yeah.

So I finished just about all my homework for this week except for a few things that don’t open until tomorrow and… the essay. If I can just get that essay written and out of the way then all my troubles will be over.

The sad part is that the essay is on Harry Potter. Who wouldn’t want to write about Harry Potter? Well, if I was able to write about whatever I wanted about Harry Potter then it would be fine, but of course school has to suck the fun out of everything.

I hope everyone else is keep their heads above water when it comes to NaNo… and school!

November So Far

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Meet Nano! I bought him about a week before November started. He is the same kind of goldfish as Mikey (R.I.P.), except he’s a smaller kind. I didn’t see much of a difference until I put Nano in his tank and then I realized that Mikey was really big and fat. Anyway, I named him Nano for his size and also because I decided he could be my mascot for NaNoWriMo.

So, it’s the first day of week two for NaNoWriMo. How are we all doing? I hope everyone is up to par on their word counts. Also, today is Double-Up Day which means you should all be doubling your word count and donating to NaNo.

I wrote 3,000 words today. I was going to write more and then… I stopped.

However, my word count is now 19,031 words. I have Monday and Tuesday off of work this week so I plan on going back and forth between writing and homework. I’m hoping to hit 30k by Tuesday.

As you all know I decided to do a collection of short stories this month. Kris gave me the idea to do each short story in 1,000 words. In other words, write 50 short stories in the month. I decided to do that because it’s easier for me to keep track of. If some ideas grow and spark new ideas, I can always add to them come December. Some stories came out good, some came out decent, and some I don’t even think they would qualify as writing. But hey, words are words.

In fact, I used the prompt “magic” for one of the stories and I am now writing part five for it. I thought of a mini idea which may or may not turn into a novel. In the meantime, I’m going to continue writing it in small parts and see where it takes me. If anything else, I’ll use it as a Short Story Sunday project.

So, that’s where I am writing at the moment. I’ve been getting more and more ideas for Detective Florence, so I’m sure I’ll continue on that series once November is over.

My Spanish class is officially over, so I only have four classes to worry about homework-wise until the middle of December. Except, I have essays in three of those classes and a project in the fourth class. Then the usually work and babysitting on top of it all. Plus I may be coming down with something which is just unacceptable.

Nonetheless, I will keep writing my daily 2,000-plus words and try to figure out that homework situation.

I hope everyone had a good first week of NaNo and that it carries on through the second week.

Anticipating November

I am patiently waiting for November to arrive because…

–I have a lot of days off from work for various reasons. The first week is a four day week, the second week is a three day week, the third week is a full week (that will most likely drag), and the last week is a two and a half day week. Less work means more writing.

–My Spanish class ends the first week of November. For the rest of November (and the beginning of December) I will only have homework for four classes instead of five. Less homework means more writing.

–Thanksgiving. Who doesn’t love food?

–Vacation. My family and I go away for Thanksgiving weekend each year. It will be nice to have nothing to worry about. Of course, I will have my writing supplies with me.

–NaNoWriMo. Writing, writing, and more writing!

November is going to be a busy month. It will go by quick (and it will be the holidays before we know it!).

I can’t wait!

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.

 

Updates

I think it’s about time I’ve gotten myself into a routine, don’t you think? I haven’t been about to blog in a while. I haven’t even had a chance to really write anything in a while. Between school and work, life has been pretty hectic. So here are a few updates about my life. I think if I write them down it’ll help me sort everything out so I can get myself back on track.

Work:
While it’s nice that I’m just a teacher’s aide, it still saps up a lot of time and energy. I only have to be at work when the kids are there (which means I only work from 8 in the morning until 2:30 in the afternoon). I don’t have to do any prepping outside of work and I’m not obligated to go to any staff meetings (I still go, but it’s nice to have the choice). Once 2:30 hits, I’m done. But… I’m in the second lowest class. My kids are still learning how to talk (yes, they’re three- and four-years-old). It takes up a lot of energy and by the time I get home, I’m exhausted. I don’t want to write, I don’t want to do homework, I just want to watch mindless TV or sleep.

School:
I think I could discuss this forever. I think the topic of my school should be its own blog post, but I’ll spare you the boring details. I’m taking five online classes all of which give me a lot of homework. Well… it’s actually not bad and the assignments are “easy”, but a good amount of the them are very time consuming. I have to sit down and split my assignments into five days so I can finish my homework by Friday (even though they’re all due Sunday) so I can have the weekend to myself and also not feel like the homework is never-ending. My psych class virtually gives me no work, which is kind of nice. My Authors class (Tolkien and Rowling) gives me a ton. Most of it is reading, but if you’ve ever read The Lord of the Rings, you know how heavy that book is. Add Harry Potter and other online reading to that plus written assignments and you’ve got a pretty good idea of all the work I have to do for that class. My Place class is a normal amount of work, but I have no motivation to do it. My Spanish class is a decent amount of work. However it’s an accelerated class. So that ends the beginning of November instead of the middle of December like my other classes. This week is Week Five out of 14 and I was bummed. Then I realized for Spanish, I’m already halfway done because that class is only ten weeks long. So school should calm down in a little bit at least. I got a new professor for my Fiction class because my other professor had surgery. The professor is the guy who I had last semester for my Creative Writing class. He’s great, so I’m happy with the change. My homework level might dwindle down with him being in charge, which is a plus.

Sunday School:
Sunday school started up again with me as the director of the program and also one of the teachers. We’ve had two classes so far and I still need to write my lesson plans. So, that’s how that’s going. I’ve been more focused on my homework, so I haven’t really had time to work on Sunday school, but it’s definitely on my to-do list.

Babysitting:
I’m babysitting twice a week immediately after work. Two hours on Monday and three and a half hours on Thursday. Thursday I’m basically in the car the entire time, so that’s wonderful. I try to bring some homework with me to do while the kids do their own homework, but I don’t really get that much done. Then I go home around dinner time and crash.

Blogging:
I’ve started putting together a schedule for myself to make sure I keep up with this blog. I was doing pretty well until school and work started… I have a few ideas and changes for Spilled Ink, but that won’t be coming until 2015. Until then, here’s to trying to post a few times a week!

Writing:
Remember I had that schedule for myself? It was for editing Detective Florence, the first novel and the second one? Then outline the third one and write that for November’s NaNoWriMo? Well, let’s just say I haven’t gotten very far with that at all due to homework. I tried waking up early to write/edit for an hour each day, but I became too exhausted to keep that up. So I need to figure something else out. I’ve slowly been trying to figure out a schedule for myself, so there will be more on that later. (In other words… stay tuned for tomorrow’s post.)

So there you have it. This has been my life lately and I didn’t even include the fact that my house looks like it exploded because we’re painting four rooms and also the last minute things I have to do for my sister’s wedding, which is about three weeks away. Fun stuff going on over here! So, I’m in the middle of trying to figure out a new routine for myself; especially since October is creeping fast and I need to figure out what I’m doing for NaNoWriMo. This will be interesting.