Two Weeks Until NaNoWriMo: NaNoPrep Gets Real

NaNo-2018-Writer-Facebook-Cover

NaNoWriMo is only two weeks away. If you’re a planner, you’ve probably been hard at work on character sketches and your outline. If you’re more of a pantser, your methods are a bit more of a mystery to me, but I’m sure you’ve been busy preparing as well.

I’m going to keep preparing The Dreams for a huge influx of new words over the next two weeks but during these final weeks my focus shifts to preparing to take care of myself while being incredibly busy.

NaNoWriMo takes place during a busy time of year and adding writing a novel to the equation can throw even an experienced WriMo’s life off balance. Over the last twelve years, I’ve learned that I need to make a plan to make life livable while dedicating more hours each day to writing during November.

Today I thought I’d share some of the ways I prepare during the second half of October to survive NaNoWriMo.

Buy Snacks

Halloween candy goes on sale November 1, but it’s not wise to rely on discount candy to get you through a whole month of writing (not to mention the good candy rarely stays on the shelves past Halloween). Healthy snacks are probably even more important than cheap, fun-sized sweets and I can buy them ahead of time without worrying that I’m missing out on a deal later.

Plan Meals

Making and freezing meals ahead of time is usually recommended for NaNoWriMo. I’d love to do this, but I have very limited freezer space. Instead, I stock up on supplies for crockpot meals and semi-homemade food that I can prepare in 15 minutes or less. I also try to squirrel away some extra money for pizza days when I’m too overwhelmed to bother.

Clean

I’m lucky enough not to host Thanksgiving so if my apartment gets a little grubby during November I don’t have to worry about guests noticing it. I try to get everything tidied up at the end of October so it won’t get too bad if I decide to cut corners in November.

Get Plenty of Rest/Eat Healthy

Getting sick at the start of November is almost certain to derail plans for a NaNoWriMo win. It’s impossible to guarantee I won’t catch a cold around November 1, but I can do my best to keep my immune system in decent shape before the chaos begins. I try not to push myself too hard in the second half of October so I’m well rested for at least a couple days at the start of November.


Do you do anything to prepare for NaNoWriMo outside of planning your novel? I’d love to know so I can add it to my own preparation plans.

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Writing Progress October 8 – 14, 2018

daily writing progress

October 8

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 197,982
  • Today’s word count: 48
  • Thoughts: Ugh. I’m having such a hard time writing these days. I was still exhausted and was dealing with a migraine. I probably should have given up and rested, but I’m stubborn and didn’t get much out of it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Feel better and more rested. Write!

October 9

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 198,173
  • Today’s word count: 191
  • Thoughts: Today was pretty productive. I got a new chapter posted and I wrote some new words. I’m feeling pretty motivated.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. So much more writing, I hope.

October 10

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 198,724
  • Today’s word count: 603
  • Thoughts: Today was pretty productive. I had one really good writing session and two lackluster ones. I can’t really complain because today produced my best word count for the month so far.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Hopefully have another great writing day. I think I might be able to do it!

October 11

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 198,849
  • Today’s word count: 125
  • Thoughts: I struggled to focus today. I don’t know what the problem was exactly, but I could not get into my story like I did yesterday.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: It’ll be Friday, but I’m hoping I’ll still be able to write a decent amount. We’ll see what happens!

October 12

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 198,910
  • Today’s word count: 61

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 46,129
  • Today’s word count: -1

  • Thoughts: My word count says this was a fairly typical Friday, but I think I was pretty productive today. I got a scene of The Dreams up on Patreon for my patrons to read, I wrote a new blog post, and I managed to at least make an effort to write some new words for Inbetween. Not bad, really.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I hope I can get another scene from The Dreams up over on Patreon and if I’m really lucky and have a huge burst of productivity I might manage to wrap up a chapter of Inbetween as well.

October 13

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 199,178
  • Today’s word count: 268
  • Thoughts: Today wasn’t too bad. I sometimes have a hard time finding the time and focus to write on Saturday, but this week I didn’t have that problem and I’m thrilled.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I think I can wrap up a chapter if I sit down and focus.

October 14

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 199,209
  • Today’s word count: 31
  • Thoughts: I don’t know what happened today. I could blame it on my shoulder being sore and limiting the range of motion in my right arm, but I think the real reason was that I just felt like being lazy. Everyone needs lazy days, I think. I just wish I was better at planning or at least anticipating them.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing! I think I can do it. I really want to wrap up this chapter.

Enjoy my content? Want to be one of the first to see the new version of The Dreams? Pledge $1 on Patreon to gain early access to my work, bonus content and our Discord server while helping me survive as a writer. New scenes from The Dreams are going up regularly on Patreon now and there will be many more coming through November!

Want to help others find my work? Vote for The Dreams and Inbetween on Top Web Fiction to help my serials climb the ranks and reach more readers.

I’m Using Anger to Fuel my Writing this Year

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Being angry about the state of the world and feeling powerless to change it is exhausting.

Doing nothing is not an option, but there are only a few things in this world I think I’m genuinely good at doing. At least when I’m writing I can take what I’m feeling and weave it into a fictional world where my characters have the power to change their world. It makes me feel better and I hope it will help others escape to a world capable of real change too.

The Dreams at its core has always been a story about my anxieties and fears. Some of them are more grounded in the reality of my life experience than others, but over the last year or two more and more of the aspects of that story have been real worries for me. I feel less and less safe in this world as attitudes in my backward hometown become more toxic, or rather the people that have always had hurtful attitudes become bolder.

I had planned on writing The Dreams for this year’s NaNoWriMo since the end of last NaNo, but now I need to write this story again.

I’m terrified and angry and so, so tired of feeling powerless.

This is the story I can dump all of these feelings and shape them into something coherent. Writing is always therapeutic, but not every story is made to store certain feelings.

I’m not good at talking about myself or experiences that have made me who I am. I’ve never been comfortable talking about things I experienced that aren’t neutral or positive because, for as long as I can remember, I’ve been told I’m too sensitive or I have an overactive imagination when I try to share what frightens and angers me personally. I can’t remember a time I was comfortable writing about myself or my life experiences on anything but the most superficial level. Writing autobiographies in elementary school left me a sobbing, panicked mess. I remember trying to explain what was wrong by telling my mom that my life was private. What I meant was that even little-me understood that my truth was not considered acceptable as nonfiction. On the other hand, fiction is the perfect place for me to express myself without being shut down for being overly sensitive or exaggerating. For me, The Dreams is a place where I can store the darkest, most painful things I’m feeling about the way this country treats women and actually process them.

Inbetween can’t help me there. It’s just not the right story for those emotions. I have to hold back my anger while working on Inbetween or I’ll end up burning the story with my rage.

It has to be The Dreams when it comes to this kind of anger.

I’ll work through it and I’ll come out the other side a stronger person.

Writing Progress October 1 -7, 2018

daily writing progress

October 1

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 197,065
  • Today’s word count: 262
  • Thoughts: Today was better, but not great. I was still feeling the effects of my bad weekend of writing. I’m confident I’ll recover, but the first day is always hard.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. I think I’ll be getting ready to start revising soon too, but I’m not sure that will happen tomorrow. Mostly, I just want to write!

October 2

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 197,553
  • Today’s word count: 488
  • Thoughts: Today’s word count is almost totally thanks to a surprise burst of writing just as I started to feel like I was too tired to stay awake any longer. Let’s hope some of those words will be useful later.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. Some revising, perhaps? We’ll see how motivated I am!

October 3

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 197,795
  • Today’s word count: 242
  • Thoughts: Today was hard. I’ve been dealing with a migraine. I got it under control at times and really tried to get to work during those times, but I could only accomplish so much. The biggest accomplishment today was getting another scene of draft 3 of The Dreams posted over on Patreon.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Hopefully get over the migraine and get back to work.

October 4

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 197,917
  • Today’s word count: 122
  • Thoughts: Today was another tough day. The migraine did not relent. I struggled. I tried, but didn’t have a ton of success. It’s hard not to push myself on days like this. I want to have great writing days and when my own body doesn’t let that happen I have a tendency to beat myself up about it.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Hopefully feel better. Hopefully write. I have a lot of hope.

October 5 and 6

No writing progress made.

I was so busy! I was barely home these days. This hardly ever happens. I love being home. Being out so much was fun, but so, so exhausting. I got some new books out of my excursions Friday so that was pretty exciting.

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October 7

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 197,934
  • Today’s word count: 17

  • Project: The Dreams
  • Total word count: 46,130
  • Today’s word count: 2

  • Thoughts: I was busy again today but I was home again by mid afternoon and tried to sit down and work on writing. I managed to revise a scene from draft 3 of The Dreams and post it over on Patreon. Then I tried to work on Inbetween and almost immediately started to fall asleep. I guess I just ran out of energy. I did have a busy weekend.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Stay home. Write. Rest. Be productive. I think I can handle that!

Enjoy my content? Want to be one of the first to see the new version of The Dreams? Pledge $1 on Patreon to gain early access to my work and bonus content while helping me survive as a writer. New scenes from The Dreams are going up regularly on Patreon now and there will be many more coming in October and November!

Want to help others find my work? Vote for The Dreams and Inbetween on Top Web Fiction to help my serials climb the ranks and reach more readers.

What I Read in September

I’ve been reading a lot of long books this year. I think I’m going to have to find some short/normal length books to read this fall. As much as I love long books, I think the fact that they’re taking me so long to read is a sign that I need a change of pace.

Books I’m currently reading:

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What books did you read in September? Are there any books you’re looking forward to reading this fall?

Writing Progress September 24 – 30, 2018

daily writing progress

September 24

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 195,647
  • Today’s word count: 466
  • Thoughts: It took me a while to get started, but then the words started flowing. Then it was really late and I decided to call it quits for the night. I wish I could find a great deal of writing motivation at a more sensible hour like noon.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing. Maybe some revising. Maybe a chapter will be posted? We’ll see!

September 25

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 196,338
  • Today’s word count: 691
  • Thoughts: Today was a relatively productive day! I’m happy with the progress I made. I didn’t manage to get a chapter posted, but I have started the revision process and I wrote a ton of words!
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Finish revisions! Post a chapter! Write more words! I’m feeling really motivated (if you can’t tell from exclamation points)!

September 26

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 196,365
  • Today’s word count: 27
  • Thoughts: Today was a strange day. I got a chapter posted relatively early in the day and then my brain tried very hard to switch out of writing mode for the rest of the day. I tried to get it back, but didn’t have much success.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Back to writing. I think I can do it. I have plenty of experience.

September 27

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 196,520
  • Today’s word count: 155
  • Thoughts: Today was a struggle. It wasn’t my writing that was giving me problems. It was the world making it hard for me to focus on my work. I tried to stay away from the news, but the news found me and I’m just so anxious now that I can’t focus on much of anything.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Hopefully more writing. I’m not too confident. It’ll be Friday and the world will still be an awful place. I might just stay in bed.

September 28

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 196,606
  • Today’s word count: 86
  • Thoughts: Well, I obviously managed to get out of bed, but I wouldn’t say I had a good day. Staying positive and focused on my creative work in really a struggle right now. I’m stressed. Everyone around me is stressed. I’ve been here before, though. I know I can get through this. It just might take a little while to recover.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Try to avoid the things that stress me out so I can focus on my writing instead.

September 29

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 196,734
  • Today’s word count: 128
  • Thoughts: I was a little busy today. It wasn’t as bad as last Saturday, but I still had less than a full day to dedicate to my writing and it definitely interfered with my focus.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: Get back to focusing on writing!

September 30

  • Project: Inbetween
  • Total word count: 196,803
  • Today’s word count: 69
  • Thoughts: Writing was hard today. It wasn’t that I didn’t have time or the ability to write, I just found myself daydreaming a lot more than usual. I can’t complain. Daydreaming can make stories even better.
  • Tomorrow’s goal: More writing, I hope. I don’t want to fall into another slump. NaNo prep season will be really kicking off and that’s no time to let me writing muscles atrophy.

Enjoy my content? Want to be one of the first to see the new version of The Dreams? Pledge $1 on Patreon to gain early access to my work and bonus content while helping me survive as a writer. If you’re interested in character Q&As be sure to head over to Patreon and check out the latest questions my characters have been answering over there!

Want to help others find my work? Vote for The Dreams and Inbetween on Top Web Fiction to help my serials climb the ranks and reach more readers.

I’m Rebelling Again This NaNoWriMo

NaNo-2018-Writer-Facebook-Cover

I’m usually a big fan for following rules. I even make up my own rules just so I feel like there’s some order to my life. When they make sense to me, rules are a comfort to me. It’s a way to be sure I’m on the same page as everyone else, which I need since I have a tendency to wander off when I’m preoccupied. Rules keep me grounded and give me a place to return to once I realize I’ve started to stray.

I’ve been breaking one of the basic rules of NaNoWriMo a lot during recent events.

One of the basic rules of NaNoWriMo is that we’re supposed to start a new novel on November 1 and write at least 50,000 words of that new novel during the month of November. This is a great rule in general. Usually, the start of a new novel is full of creative energy which is exactly what a writer needs during a marathon like NaNo.

Starting with something new for November also makes sure everyone is starting at relatively the same point. People might be more or less prepared, depending on when they decided to participate in the even and their place on the planner-pantser spectrum, but no one has started telling their story before the start of the event. Everyone is going through the same stages of writing and discovery together. I think it’s a beautiful thing to experience. There’s a real sense of camaraderie on the forums and at write-ins because everyone is on the journey together.

I haven’t started with a new project for NaNo in years.

It might not sound like a big deal, but it really does change the nature of the event. The experience changes enough that I’ve seriously considered starting something new just to join in that part of the fun again. I miss it.

I can’t justify starting any new projects right now.

Inbetween is a beast. I’m over 80 chapters in at this point and the story is going to end up well over 200,000 words by the time I reach the end. My momentum with this project is so tenuous at times that I’m not sure I’d be able to pick it up again if I allowed myself to start something new before finishing it.

I’m also still working on The Dreams. This story is my baby. It has such a special place in my heart and I really want to shape it into the vision I have in my mind of what it was meant to be. This will probably be the first book I publish and sell.

The Dreams hasn’t gotten nearly enough attention from me since I started writing Inbetween. Either I’m having a great time writing my current novel or I’m struggling to untangle the mess I’ve made to keep my posting schedule something close to consistent. Circumstances simply haven’t left me with a lot of time to dedicate to a major rewrite.

NaNoWriMo is the perfect excuse for me to give my favorite project some TLC.

Writing an already started 3rd draft goes against a lot of the principles of NaNoWriMo, but it’s what I need to do for the sake of my writing this year.

Hopefully, my rebellious streak won’t last too much longer and I’ll be back to writing a brand new first draft for NaNoWriMo in 2019.