NaNo…I did it!

I did it!

I did it!

 

I did it!  I really did it!  Somehow, in November, working like a maniac, tired, in pain, needing sleep, I managed to write over 50,000 words in the 2013 edition of NaNoWriMo!  I must admit, I had my doubts.  When I went 11 days without writing, I pretty much figured it was just about a lost cause.  But then I had a few days of impassioned writing…and slowly watched my word count inch up toward that line.  That line that tells you how many words you should have completed each day of the month.  You know, that line I saw myself so far below for most of the month…yeah, that one.

Then today, when I sat down to write, I needed less than 3000 words to reach that 50,000 word goal.  I knew I only had today and tomorrow to finish it.  The first time I sat down, right after I got home from work, I only wrote about 500 words.  It was then I decided I had to take a nap.  I had to.  After working Thanksgiving then going back in at 5 this morning, I needed sleep.  Driving home from work Wednesday night (I went in at 6 am, worked until 2 pm.  Went home and then came back to work at 7:30 that night, working until midnight to get the money ready for Thursday and then finishing the ad), I was maybe halfway home when I thought to myself I’d just close my eyes until I got to Patterson…whoa!  Yeah, that’s how tired I was.

So I took my nap…about three and a half hours, seriously…then sat down to write…and write…and write…finally surpassing the 50,000 word mark!  How about that?  So, boys and girls, let this be a lesson to you.  If you have a dream, don’t give up on it.  Just keep plugging away.  It sure feels super-duper fantastically exciting to achieve what you set out to achieve!

Write on!

What a difference a day makes…

…well, make that a day and about 12,000 words.  Yesterday’s post was about me not giving up on my quest to finish my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo before the end of November.  When I viewed my stats, I laughed because it said that, at the rate I was going, I would finish on January 10.  Well, shockingly, after writing over 6000 words today, I’ve moved that finish up to December 13.  I’m actually now at a place where I need to write just over 2000 words a day to finish by the end of November.  Two days was all it took, two days!  Can you believe that?  I was giddy with excitement after finishing writing for the day today.

Sharing her giddiness with me.

Sharing her giddiness with me.

 

 

I haven’t given up on NaNo

As this is the 17th of November and I only have a little over 12000 words written, you might be rolling your eyes at that statement.  You might be thinking I should just give it up to write again another day.  Why put myself through the stress and struggle of trying to hit 50,000 words by the end of the month?  And maybe you’re right, but I just can’t find it within myself to give up.

Sad but true...average of 722 words per day.

Sad but true…average of 722 words per day.

I had to chuckle (a little ruefully, I admit) when I saw my stats after updating my word count today.  It said that, at this rate, I would finish my 50,000 words on January 10.  How about that?  But I’m going to write more than my 712 words per day average.  In order to hit 50,000 I’ll have to write a little under 3000 words a day.  Wow!  That’s a lot, I know.  But still very doable.  I just have to force myself to sit down at the computer a few times a day and actually write something.

Today, when I sat down to write (after we had tornadoes sweep through the area and after watching Indiana win another game), I’ll admit it was a struggle to get back into it at first.  But it got easier as I went on.  I’m still going to do another session yet tonight.  And I have tomorrow off work.  With Clara in school, I shouldn’t have to worry about any little intrusions until 5 pm or so.  The plan is to sit down to at least three long writing sessions tomorrow…more if I feel like it and can keep going.  I’m not giving up.

With almost two full weeks left in the month, I believe I can do it.  I believe.

NaNo going slow

Postit

Postit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, yeah, I was super-excited to get this version of NaNoWriMo underway.  And yes, I did get off to a great start.  But…and you knew there was going to be a but, didn’t you?  But now I find myself exhausted, in pain, and brain weary.  I’ve been working a lot, like six days a week and more than 8 hours a day.  That’ll be nice on the old paycheck, but it sure makes it difficult to do much of anything once I get home.  I also have to try to get in enough sleep so I don’t get sick.  I sure don’t want to have to go through that again.

I’ve been coming home, feeding the cats, throwing a load of laundry in, doing the dishes, preparing my lunch for the next day…and that’s pretty much it.  We have been so busy at work that you’d think it was coming up on Christmas or something.  I do have Wednesday off, but it’ll be after closing Tuesday night.  That closing shift really wears me out.  It might not be quite so bad now that we have extra people working.   Guess I’ll have to wait and see how that goes.  Right now, my plans for Wednesday are to get a little extra sleep and to do several writing sessions.

I know I can still hit the 50,000 word mark before the end of the month and possibly the 70,000 goal I set for myself…just have to sit there and write every single day.  No excuses…no giving up.

And they’re off!

How to enjoy a successful NaNoWriMo

How to enjoy a successful NaNoWriMo (Photo credit: nuanc)

That crazy, wild, frenetic dash to finish 50,000 words in one month has begun.  I didn’t get up early like I’d planned to this morning.  Heck, I did well to roll out of bed when the alarm went off at 5:30.  I had to be at work at 7 and had so much to do.  I managed to accomplish most of what was on my list today and I didn’t feel like I was going to have to drag myself up the stairs when I got home, so that’s a good thing, right?

I stopped at Pet Smart and had a nice conversation with a complete stranger in the cat food aisle, caught myself pulling some of their merchandise forward on the shelves (hey, those retail habits are hard to break), then decided to stop at Kroger to pick up a frozen pizza.  Well, I tell you, when I pulled into that completely full parking lot, I decided I didn’t really want pizza enough to fight my way through the hordes of shoppers.  So pulled back onto the road and headed toward home.

Clara had to come over before she went out to trick or treat (it was postponed here because of the severe storms that were moving through the area last night…never heard of that before, but hey….).  I’m not sure what she was supposed to be…a Disney princess wearing Mickey Mouse ears maybe?  Of course, she was cute as a button.  And I was the first person to give her some treats.

Then I decided to sit down and get in my first writing stint.  Wrote just over 1000 words and decided to take a break.  Did dishes and checked out what all was happening with my friends.  Then sat down and wrote about 1700 more words to finish the day with 2713 words.  Now those of you who are familiar with NaNoWriMo might think that’s a pretty good start, but I decided to go all nuts this year and up my goal to 70,000 words instead of 50,000.  So, instead of 1667 words/day, I need 2333.  But I made it!

I have tomorrow off work and I’m aiming for at least 4000 words…whew!  I wish I could say the words just flowed from my fingertips, but it didn’t happen that way today.  Had to force myself to keep going up until just about where I quit.  I was going pretty good about then.  But I’ve figured out something that works for me, not sure if it would work for anyone else or not, but I stop writing in a good place, a place where I’ll be able to pick up the story and keep it moving at a good pace.  At least that’s the theory…I’ll let you know how it works tomorrow.

So how was your writing today?

Post 700…or so

I completely missed it when I posted my 700th blog post the other day.  Today’s post is actually 703.  Wow!  Thanks so much to all of you who have accompanied me on this crazy trip.  It’s been such a pleasure to get to know you, to hear about your lives, to see the pictures you share with us, to have your support, and to share a few laughs along the way.  What a blast this has been.

No, no…don’t look at me like that.  This isn’t the end or anything close to it (I hope.  I guess we never know that for sure, do we?).  I just wanted to take a couple of minutes to let you know how much I appreciate your company.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to continue this journey together for many years to come.

Of course, those of you who are with me daily know I’m going to be a little busy for the month of November (a little thing called NaNoWriMo, in case you somehow missed the excitement), but I’m still going to be checking in every few days.  You know I have to let you know how my writing is progressing, right?  Wish me luck.  Spook and Scout want you to remind me every once in a while to go buy them some more treats.  A kitty’s got to have her treats.

Spook and Scout on their perch...together...

Spook and Scout on their perch…together…

Another cool NaNo perk

Pen and Paper

Pen and Paper (Photo credit: qisur)

Are you sick of hearing about NaNoWriMo yet?  Well, hold on.  I’ve got something interesting here that might make you perk up your ears.  I was perusing the NaNo site this evening (I know, I lead the most exciting life of anyone you know, right?)  and came across the list of things winners (meaning you complete your 50,000 words in 30 days.  Well, complete it and have it verified.) can walk away with.  Of course, the number one thing all winners receive is immense satisfaction in setting and achieving a goal.  And that’s nice…more than nice.  There’s tremendous satisfaction in a job well done.

But what caught my eye tonight was that all winners can have two copies of their completed book published by CreateSpace…free, just pay shipping.  It used to be five copies, but I’d imagine that becomes a tad expensive for the company giving them away, so two copies it is this year.  I still think that’s a pretty nifty reward.  Being able to hold a copy of your published book in your hands would be quite the thrill, don’t you think?

While reading the forums, I came across a question that does make me think I would want to do some research prior to going that route.  Would having your book printed by CreateSpace have any bearing on having it picked up by a publishing house in the future (whew, sounds like I’ve got big plans for this book, doesn’t it?).  Like I said, I would want to look into all of that before choosing to do it that way.  Luckily, they give you until June, 2014 to redeem your offer.  I would think that would be plenty of time for me to find the answers to any questions I have…oh yeah, and maybe do a little editing…that might come in handy too.

So what do you think?  Anybody have any advice for me about the publishing aspect?  Anybody want me to shut up about NaNo?  If you answered “yes” to that last question, my question to you would be, “Do you really know me?  Do you believe it would be possible for me to remain quiet about something I’m so excited about?”  Maybe you’ll just have to ignore me until the end of November.  I won’t hold it against you, I promise.  Or you could join in the fun and frenzy of NaNoWriMo!  Come on!  You know you want to.

Life is complicated

P writing blue

P writing blue (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At least it’s complicated at times, don’t you think?  I haven’t been doing much (anything) with my blog lately.  I’ve been working, then falling into bed when I get home trying to recover from the pain and fatigue.  My house is a wreck, my car needs cleaned, the “garden” is overrun with weeds, and I’ve not devoted much time to writing.  I don’t know what the solution is to everything else, but I’ll be doing plenty of writing next month (yes, next month really is November) when I take part in another NaNoWriMo event.

I really enjoy the NaNo writing frenzy and feel like I accomplish an unbelievable amount of writing during that 30 days.  At the end of November, I’ll likely still be hurting, my house will still be a disaster, my car will still need a trip to the car wash, but at least I’ll have another book well underway.  I’m even upping my word count goal from the 50,000 I’ve done in the past to 65,000 this year.  Am I crazy???

On the health front, I saw the rheumatologist again today.  I feel like we’re not making much progress.  She squeezed my joints (some of them harder than necessary…ouch!) and had me go through some range of motion type movements.  Then wrote out a prescription for a stronger dose of my pain meds…said to call if it gives me any problems.  Then she said she wanted to see me again in February.  It just seems to me this is all stuff my regular doctor could do.  Honestly, I’m starting to feel like I’m getting depressed because I’m not seeing any real improvement, I’m struggling to make it through the days.  I had today off work and was in so much pain that I didn’t do much of anything (why do you think my house is a mess?)

I’m trying to find a positive ray of light in all of this, but it’s pretty dim right now.

South of Normal

Español: Frontera entre Nicaragua y Costa Rica...

Español: Frontera entre Nicaragua y Costa Rica En el Río San Juan. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

First off, don’t you just love the title?  Because, after all, if you’re reading this blog, chances are you, too, are more than a little south of normal.  Unfortunately, I can’t take any credit (not even a little bit) for that title.  That goes to Mr. Norm Schriever, author and adventurer.  This guy gave up his big-bucks job in corporate America (who hasn’t considered doing that?), sold almost everything he had, and made off for little old Costa Rica for a year-long adventure.  He had three goals that he wanted to meet before his fortieth birthday.  Now I’m not going to tell you whether or not he achieved what he set out to achieve, but I will tell you that he had some pretty wild goings-on while living in Central America.  And this book will take you along for the ride.

I happened upon the book while browsing ebooks on Amazon…downloaded it to my kindle and began reading it the same day.  It took me a couple of days to finish it…I could have finished it in one day, but it was one of those books that I didn’t want to end.  I’m sure you’ve come across those types of books where you try not to rush through it because you know you just don’t want the relationship to end.

Speaking of relationships, Norm’s style of writing reminds me of the times when I get together with my old friends from the Little Italy days…we sit around talking and laughing, eating and drinking, and it’s like we’ve never been apart.  I felt that same kind of relationship with Norm while reading his book.

I don’t often recommend books here (if you knew how many books I’ve read, you’d think I’d write about more of them), but this is one book I think so many of you would like.  If you’re a writer, you’ll definitely want to read South of Normal.  If you’ve ever considered chucking it all and moving to the back of nowhere, you’ll be interested in Norm’s story.  If you’ve ever searched (or thought about searching) for the meaning of life, well then, I think you’ll want to see what Norm has to say about that.  Pick it up, come on, do it right now while you’re thinking about it.  Then come back here and let me know what you think.

http://www.amazon.com/South-of-Normal-ebook/dp/B00CFU9FZ4/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1377569527&sr=1-1&keywords=south+of+normal

Now I need to start selling all of my stuff and make my flight plans for somewhere tropical where I can get my book finished and practice my Spanish…

Writing styles

Developing Understanding when Reading

Developing Understanding when Reading (Photo credit: Ken Whytock)

Since I got my Kindle, I’ve been reading a lot of books that are not necessarily best-sellers.  Some of them are firsts for the author, others are from previously published authors.  I always try to pay attention to writing styles when I’m reading.  Of course, we all notice spelling or grammatical errors.  I also notice editing or publishing errors that distract from the joy of reading.

But lately, I’ve really been paying attention to dialogue styles.  It seems that some authors write their dialogue in proper grammatical form (those are probably the folks who paid the most attention in English class!).  My issue with writing (and reading) dialogue written in this manner is that it’s not really how most of us speak in our everyday lives.  I suppose, if we’re highfalutin’,  hoity-toity, upper crust, tea and scones in the afternoon types, then that could be how we actually talk.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know anyone like that in my life…and I sure don’t talk like that.  So I tend to write dialogue as I imagine my characters speak.  In my opinion, that allows the reader to better know and understand the characters.

I have to admit, I get distracted when I’m reading a book and the writing style is such that I get the feeling that English is a second language for the author.  I find myself constantly telling myself it would have been easier to understand had it been written this way, or had they not hesitated to use contractions.  Am I being overly picky?

As I throw my hands in the air in admission that I completely understand that I am by no means the most accomplished writer, and that anyone who has ever written anything at all can either take or leave my criticisms, I must stress that I’ve been an avid reader since I first learned to read.  And I know what I like to read as well as what doesn’t appeal to me at all.  Really, aren’t we all like that?

What distracts you from the joy of reading?

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