I’m going camping…

Camp time

…at Camp NaNoWriMo, that is…in case you hadn’t heard…like, because you’ve been in a cave or something…goodness knows, I’ve mentioned this enough.  I found out  who all  I’ll be sharing a cabin with…several ladies, all around my age, so we shouldn’t be having any late night wild parties…or maybe we will, who knows?  It’s nice to have a built-in support system…not sure who all has participated in past NaNo events, but I did see that there are a couple of published authors in my cabin, so that’s pretty cool!

I’m just ready to get started writing and super-excited about the whole thing…umm…like you didn’t already know that, right?

So, if you don’t hear from me quite as often, you’ll know it’s because I’m sitting around the camp fire, telling spooky stories, roasting marshmallows, and, oh yeah, writing…starting early Friday morning!!  Yes!!

Short short…story

Bedroom

Bedroom (Photo credit: plasticstalker)

It’s dark, middle of the night dark.  No street lights out here in the boondocks, no moon tonight dark. The little girl is startled out of a deep sleep. What is that?  Is somebody in here?  The girl stops breathing in an effort to be quiet enough that whoever is in her bedroom won’t be able to find her. She has her eyes wide open, trying to see who is in the room with her.  Even so, it’s  still too dark to see anything.

She gasps as someone reaches out and grasps her hand.  She struggles to free herself, but can’t get loose.  She whispers, “Daddy, someone has me and I can’t get away.”

Suddenly the light comes on.  Daddy is standing in the doorway, ready to protect his little girl from the intruder.  The girl is almost too afraid to look at whoever is holding her hand, but she finally gets up the nerve to face the monster.

And then she sees…the hand holding her right hand so tightly…is her left hand…

 

Unhappy at work

English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engra...

English: Book and apparatus for writing. Engraving (prints). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m still struggling with the changes that have been made where I work.  I’m trying my best to work through it, to remain positive and continue to do my job.  But oh my goodness, is it ever difficult!  With the changes that have been made to my schedule, I am not given the time to actually do my job.  And that stresses me out, knowing that the things that I’m supposed to be doing, the things in my job description, aren’t getting done…

Thank goodness for my writing!  Honestly, that has become my saving grace.  I work all day (or night, or mid-day…whatever…the schedule is different every day), come home feeling like I haven’t accomplished anything, but am able to sit down at the computer and write away my troubles.  I can get wrapped up in my short stories, my book, or my blog and leave the stress of work behind.  And for that, I am so grateful.  My writing has managed to keep me from falling into a pit of depression, has given me hope that things will get better.

However, writing hasn’t been able to tell me if things are going to get better where I am, or if I’ll have to make a change in order to find some measure of happiness at work again.  At least, my writing hasn’t told me that yet…maybe, if I delve deep enough, I’ll  find even those answers in my writing…who knows?

NaNo questions

Nanowrimo Hell (also computer shot for Chase)

Nanowrimo Hell (also computer shot for Chase) (Photo credit: Ingrid!)

Hmm…are you thinking I may be a tad bit excited about this whole Camp NaNo thing I’m getting ready to dive into?  Well, you’d be right.  I’ve done a bit of preparation today since I had the day off work.  But I do have a few questions for you more experienced NaNo participants, if you wouldn’t mind sharing your knowledge with a first-timer…

Did you set daily goals for yourself, taking into account your work schedule…or did you just write as much as you could every day and hope for the best?

Did you use any kind of writing software?  If so, what did you use and would you use it again?  Pros and cons?

Were you alright knowing that some of what you were writing was, well…crap…and that you’d have to do major revisions to get your work publishable?  Did you just keep writing no matter how it was turning out?

Any words of wisdom you’d care to share?

The more I think about this challenge, the more anxious I am to get it underway…but I’m not actually starting my writing until Friday, because…well…that would be cheating, right?  And no cheating allowed…seriously, what’s the point if you don’t follow the plan? At least that’s how I view the challenge…and isn’t the challenge for me??

I think this is going to be fun, nerve-wracking, enlightening, motivational, and just an all-around awesome experience!!  I’m ready for camp!

 

Am I ready for NaNoWriMo?

nanowrimo

nanowrimo (Photo credit: evilnick)

Ready or not, here it comes!  I signed up for this after one of my blogging buddies (hey, Patti…yes, also named Patti!) completed it the last time around.  I thought it sounded like a pretty cool challenge and a great way to get me writing consistently on my novel.  I’ve been loosely outlining it for the past few days.  Tomorrow I’m going to try to assemble all of the pieces so I can focus on writing starting June 1.

I think the fact that I’ve been thinking about this book for a long, LONG time should help me with the writing.  I’m a little nervous about committing to this challenge.  It consists of a lot of writing in one month, probably more than I’ve ever done in just a month.  But challenges are good for me…there’s just something about challenging myself that motivates me to meet my goals.

I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to post the short stories I’ve been writing during the month of June.  Hopefully, by the end of the month, I’ll have the rough draft of my first novel completed though…and that would be a huge accomplishment.

So…anyone who’s done NaNoWriMo, got any tips or encouragement for me?  Were you able to complete the required writing for the month-long challenge?  Was it…fun?  I don’t know how fun it’s going to be, but I’m definitely looking forward to the challenge.

Outlining your stories

Outline for article

Outline for article (Photo credit: hawkexpress)

Do you?  Outline your stories, that is.  I’ve never really sat down and plotted the beginning, middle, and end of my stories…not really.  I mean I’ve always kind of had an idea of where I was going (okay, honestly…I haven’t always had that idea…there have been times when I just started writing with no planning on my part), but now I’m thinking about trying to write with at least a loose outline.

Sometimes I think I know exactly what my characters are going to do and then they surprise me by taking the story the way they want it to go.  And that direction is usually much better than what I had planned.  It’s possible that I was concerned that an outline would hem me in, but isn’t that a silly thought? Just because I plotted it one way doesn’t mean I can’t turn around and take a different path, does it?

So, that’s going to be my lesson for the next couple of stories I write…we’ll see how this works out.

What’s your writing style?  Do you plan everything out before you start or do you let your story flow freely?

Teaching children

English: Children of migrant cotton field work...

English: Children of migrant cotton field workers from Sweetwater, Oklahoma. Eight children in the family. Note the housing. Near Casa Grande project, Pinal County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, another Sunday come and gone.  It wasn’t like those Sundays in the past, when Joe was still around.  But it was a good day in its own way.  Esther took the children out in the woods where they gathered a basketful of poke weed, pulled some wild onions, and found a good berry patch where lots of the berries were bigger than Esther’s thumb, big and juicy, just right for eatin’ fresh with enough to make a nice cobbler too.  The kids sure did enjoy that.

She showed ‘em the elderberry bushes, not quite ripe yet, but loaded with flowers that would soon become berries.  They’d have to fight the birds for ‘em, but it’d be worth it.  Looks like they’ll be able to get plenty for jelly later on.  They also walked under several persimmon trees.  The tiny fruit on those trees wouldn’t be ripe until fall, but it sure did look like there would be lots of it.  They all had a good laugh when Joey told the younger kids about him eating a green persimmon one time…wooeee, if that don’t make you pucker, nothin’ will.

While they were out in the woods, Esther smelled an old ripe cucumber smell.  She knew what that meant and knew it was up to her to teach her kids what it meant too.  She told ‘em all to stand still, right where they were at.  Then she asked ‘em if they could smell it.  When they all figured they could, she told ‘em what that meant out there in the middle of the woods.  Nothin’ to be too scared of, no need to take off runnin’, just be sure to notice it and keep still.  When ya smell that old cucumber smell out in the woods or fields, it means there’s a copperhead around abouts somewhere.  Usually a copperhead will be more scared of you than you are of him.  Just stay still and give him time to get away from ya and you’ll be okay.

Later that evening, after the kids were in bed, Esther was sitting at the kitchen table remembering the day.  She was thinkin’ about how the children all paid attention to what she’d told ‘em and that now they all knew what to do when a copperhead was around.  Yep, Joe, trying my best to teach our kids what they need to know to get along in this old world.  Sure do wish you was here with me.  Every kid needs a daddy, that’s for sure.  But I’ll do the best I can to be momma and daddy both to these kids.  I sure do miss you, Joe.  Miss sittin’ here talkin’ about the day after all the work is done and the kids are down for the night.  Miss yer quiet laugh when one of the children did somethin’ funny.  Miss sharin’ the work with ya, and the good times too.  Oh Joe, why?  Why’d ya have to go and die on me?  Sometimes I just don’t know if I can do this without ya, but…I know I have to…if you can hear me, Joe, just know I still love ya, we all do.  And I’m doin’ the best I can.

Esther leaned over the table and blew out the candle.  Wiping a tear from her cheek, she slowly made her way to her empty bed.

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