Team Holly and NaNoWriMo

I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo–National Novel Writing Month–which begins November First. And Holly Lisle–of Holly’s Writing Classes–is sponsoring a team for the event. That makes this the first time that I’m doing Nano as a member of a team. Look at me! I’m a joiner. See? I have a banner and a team-name to prove it.

So, here I am being a team player.

The goal for Nano–the individual, ONE person goal, that is–is 50,000 new words in a month. And that used to seem impossible. Until I did it. And then, it just seemed difficult. Until I decided to make my writing goal 1,000 words a day. And then, it just seemed slightly hectic.

This year hasn’t been great. Life happened, and I got out of routines that worked for me, and into treading water. I’m hoping to get back into routines, and make some effort toward nicer, cleaner drafts that will revise like a dream.

Right now, that cleaner draft thing seems impossible to me. We’ll see.

The idea that pops into my head is that I should be taking ONE piece of paper instead of a notebook. So I have to focus, and make use of ONE sheet instead of starting over and starting over.

The thing that I don’t want to to quit doing over nano is the blog. Which is a new habit, and a new routine. I think this works fairly well for me. At any rate, it’s not dangerous.

With a little bit of peer pressure and a lot of force to keep me in line, I might get some real work done over Nano. We’ll see.

NaNoWriMo Home Regions and Immigration

The first letters from our municipal liaisons are arriving, today, and I got back to my home region for the first time this year. Nebraska::Other. A rip-roaring writing community of eight people. Twenty-five percent of them are Municipal Liaisons, if you’re doing the math. Which I am.

As always, I’m seeking out new writers and new writers’ groups. And…

Somebody suggested a Google Hangout, since we’re spread out across the entire state.

And I’m vaguely thinking of defecting to Lincoln or Omaha. After all, that’s a fairly short drive, and there are more people in either one…

And yet… there’s a part of me that’s incredibly loyal to the small-town, stuck alone in the middle of nowhere writers and intellectuals. I connect with that. I am that. Have been for much, much too long. And I can’t imagine growing up, that way, or trying to get feedback on a first novel that way.

There’s also a non-nano writers’ group starting up. I might actually do that, if I have time and energy.

I still have to do my annual search for real live, local, in my own town writers. Last year’s wasn’t wildly productive. I located my next door neighbor. And her abandoned manuscript. And I still haven’t found a good way of bringing up the fact that I recognize someone from on the internet.

And I don’t have an actual idea, yet. I’m still hoping that one will turn up sometime soon, and I can pretend to plot a little bit.

Are you doing Nano this year? I’d love to hear about the novel you have planned (or not planned) and be sure to look me up over on the Nano forums.

Nanowrimo, Side Projects, and Momentum

The thing I really need to work on–not just this year, but always, no matter what–is organization. I need to write more linearly. I don’t know how to do that, right now, but I got some good suggestions the last time I brought it up.

Right now, I’m working on a story–and that’s using the word “working” pretty loosely–about a ship sent out into space to start a colony. I have a main character, and a secondary character, and maybe a thousand words. I had to think to remember what it was about so I could mention it here.

I really did intend to write, when I got started, but old projects and other commitments keep pulling me in. Maybe it needs to marinate a little longer before I have real thoughts on the subject. Or maybe that’s the problem. Maybe it’s not marinating; it could just be rotting at the back of the refrigerator.

Ordinarily, I’d just walk away from the idea–after all, if it can’t even hold my attention, how can I expect it to hold anybody else’s? But right now, I don’t really have a lot of focus, and my attention span is… hey, look! a duck!

I’m only a couple thousand words into it. If it doesn’t perk up, soon, somebody’s going to be torn apart and eaten, just to kick things off.

Momentum is one of the big things I get out of Nanowrimo. It helps to have a goal and a deadline, and four billion of your closest friends all waiting to be horribly disappointed.

I am going to need another project for that (since this one’s already started.)

I’m also coming up on the October edition of the scifi-fantasy-specfic blog hop I participate in. I’m supposed to have a story. I don’t have a story. Not even a small one. I have to glue myself to a chair and just do it. And later on, there’s the literary advent calendar (same deal.)

And a couple of other commitments that need time.

Plus, I may wind up having to squeeze in a Transcontinental Airway System beacons and arrows road trip later on. I can’t decide whether that sounds like fun, or not. But if everybody else is doing it… well, I don’t have a choice.

September Goals

I keep seeing goals posts coming in on my reader. It seemed like a good idea, so I stole it. Not like I’m not planning ahead, anyway. Might as well make it public.

Writing Goals

  1.  I need a new project to work on RIGHT NOW. Something to get me out of treading water with the projects I already have. I’m declaring them finished, except for scenes that are objectively missing.
  2. I am going to focus on writing at least one short story a week. I haven’t decided what I’m going to do with the stories, yet.
  3. And I need to start thinking about what my NaNoWriMo project will be.

Revision Goals

  1. I need to get the Lepterian story into something resembling chronological order
  2. Begin revision on that with the intent of getting it finished by the end of the year. Because it’s just dragging out too long.

Blogging Goals:

  1. I need to get ahead of the calendar a little bit, so that I have wiggle room for busy days or days when the unexpected comes up. I already have a couple of posts scheduled for days I know will be hectic, but I think scheduled posts are the only way I’ll be able to weave blogging goals and writing goals together.
  2. Get into the habit of reaching out to other bloggers. Comment on at least three blogs daily. (Which, by the way, is also a stolen goal.)
  3. Figure out something to do about the novel I’m blogging. I want to pull it back into some kind of privacy, but I’m not exactly sure of steps on that, yet.


NaNoWriMo and Me

I got the reminder that the official NaNoWriMo prep period starts in September. I’m not much of a preparation type, but I’ve definitely started thinking about what this year’s novel is going to be about, and about all the novels I’ve worked on in the past.

NaNoWriMo–for the handful of non-writers here–is National Novel Writing Month, and writers from all over the world get together online and try to write a novel (50,000 words) during the month of November. And there have been some commercial success stories and a whole lot of personal success stories. (NaNoWriMo was the first time I finished a novel!)

After that, I got weighted down with editing, and the near-impossible task of making my first-ever novel, which I wrote in 30 days presentable. And there were a few Nanos where I started novels, just to be distracted by the ever-present editing job.

How long do you have to let a novel cool before you edit it? I’ve heard six months, or a year, or at least a month, but I think the real answer is this: Let it cool until you’ve written the first draft of your next novel. That’s the only thing that’s going to fully occupy your mind, and let you approach editing with a fresh eye.

Well, anyway, eventually, I did wind up writing more novels.

I don’t really remember how, but for a while, I fell off the NaNoWriMo band wagon, and wrote entirely on my own schedule. The next novel wasn’t a NanoNovel. I know that.

Somewhere in there, I got help revising my novel.  And somehow, I managed to turn that very first finished disaster into something people were capable of reading.

And then, through peer pressure and nostalgia, I wound up back at Nano. I think I’ve gotten my 50k in three or four times, over all.

But that’s not my goal, anymore.

My goal is to revitalize my goals. Make new friends. Make good habits.

Year around, my writing goal is about 1000 words a day. And that’s less than you need to win Nano. It adds up, though, to 365,000 words a year. (Not including forum posts, or blog posts, if I want to be a purist.) About 7 Nano-novels worth of text. Easily 4 or 5 proper, full-length novels.

The habit is easier to get into when there are other people around you to support you, and that’s what Nano really does well. A month is a good length of time to get into a habit. (I got into the blogging every day thing with the A-to-Z Challenge, this year).

I’ve been slipping on my 1000 words of fiction a day, and I want to build the habit back up before I hit the new year. (I don’t believe in resolutions, but I do start my count over on Jan. 1.)

If you’re looking to start some year-round habits, or even just to write that first novel, Nano’s a great way to go. Drop by my profile, and say hello, or just leave me your user name in a comment, and I’ll add you to my buddy list.

I still don’t know what I’ll be writing about, but I’m sure I’ll figure it out by November.

The IWSG Theme I Missed

The Insecure Writers’ Support Group decided it needed to have an (optional) theme for its posts, and somehow–busy life, no time–I managed to miss it, entirely.

This month’s theme was What is the nicest thing anyone’s ever said about your writing?

That’s a good one. Good, enough, in fact that I’m going back to catch up, today. I’ve gotten some nice compliments on my writing, and a whole lot of encouragement, even from people who aren’t all that complimentary.

There are people who have stuck by me–as friends and fellow writers for years while I improve, and people who have delivered just the right advice at the right moment.

But I think I’ll share a picture of a compliment, today. That sounds rare and exotic, and nearly fantastical, but I do happen to have a picture.

Photograph of a Real Compliment

Photograph of a Real Compliment

That’s a screenshot from my stats page. Now, you’ll note that I’m not a high-traffic blog. Just a few stories between friends. But that’s the list of views from a day when somebody found the novel I’m blogging, and started reading, and kept on reading.

I can’t recall if that person left a comment. Some of them do, and some of them don’t.

But they gave me their afternoon, and their time and their attention–because they decided my work was worth reading– and here’s the proof.