How I am Prepping My Life For Nanowrimo

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There is more to Nano prep then just writing outlines and character sketches. Right now I am doing the most important Nano prep I can do: sorting out life in general. If I can do that, then I will set myself up for a good chance at success.

Cleaning House: There isn’t much time in November to take care of the house like you’d usually do. I know if I sit down on November 1st and my house isn’t sorted out it will be a major distraction. I will want to finish cleaning and organizing which is wasted time. This week I started my fall cleaning: the upstairs bedrooms are freshened up, swept and mopped. Most of the downstairs is sorted. For me, as long as my kitchen and bathroom are clean I’m a happy camper. Having any big cleaning done for November helps prevent junk, dishes and laundry from piling up. Nobody wants to deal with that come December.

My office: Not only will a messy house distract me but so will a messy office. I did that room first. My desk is tidy and I can keep notes, snacks and drinks near me. I have a big comfy blanket on the floor so Foxy, our greyhound, can come in and keep me company while I write. Whatever writing space you are using, make sure it is tidy and organized.

Writing Fuel: With Halloween coming I’ll be picking up some extra goodies, especially if they are on sale. You can’t sit and write a novel without chocolate or another form of fuel. If you vise is coffee, pick up some of your fave flavors before November.

Food prep: This one will be easy for me since hubby is leaving for work. Since I will be only cooking for one, leftovers and easy meals will be my best friend in November. I do plan to make a few bigger meals so I can have leftovers for a few days. The last thing I want to do when I come home after work is spending a lot of time cooking and on clean up. I will want to get to my laptop ASAP.

Warning Friends it’s Nano time: Not that I have a super busy social life, but come November I will be posting on FB that it’s Nano, which means hibernation mode. Partly, at least. Pen pal letters will have to wait until December, some coffee dates will have to wait. People who care about you and support you don’t mind waiting a little while for your time.

So, how do you prep for Nano? What other non-writing ways is there to get ready?

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Get Crackin: Preptober

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It dawned on me today that I have yet to even start getting ready for Nanowrimo next month. I had a slight panic attack but seeing as how it’s still early in the month, I relaxed a little.

Everyone has their own way of getting ready. Some are old school like me and write up notes and index cards, while others use programs like Scrivener. (I will get that eventually…she said for the umpteenth time).

Some writers have a full blown manuscript on just their prep alone, with pages of character sketches, maps, plot points, scene break down, etc… While others have little to no idea the day Nano starts. (You people are my heroes…I know people who have had success doing this.  I am not one of those people.)

If you don”t know what your method is, just find what works for you. All writers are different. What works for me might not work for you.

This is what I need to prep this year:

Characters: I am writing in the same universe as my Blood Bonds so I know my charcters well, but there are a couple of new faces. One has introduced himself to me, the other two are being coy and won’t come out of the shadows…yet. Hopefully they will by November 1st.

Setting: Again, same universe so I know the setting well. I will be getting to know it a tad more, but nothing too major.

Plot: Ok, so this is where is gets tricky. Basically I know I want two things in particular to happen…in my head one is a plot and the other is a subplot, but things may go a bit differently. I need to think on my story more. I plan to write some scenes I know I want to happen. I will bring out the index cards and use that method. It’s one of my faves. This will help me figure out plot and give me something to work with come November.

Rewards: Yeah, this is totally on my prep list. I need some sort of treat to fuel me to get a few extra words in. If I hit 25k ahead of schedule, I am having a day off and a Big Mac. I used to use Halloween candy. Like, have a piece after five hundred words or so. But let’s face it, I can’t refrain myself from dippin in the treat bowl. 😉

So, what are you doing to prep for Nano? Do you know what your project is for this year?

 

Preptober: NaNo is Coming

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Hello all! And happy turkey weekend!

I am pretty happy as we are now in my favorite month of the year! Cooler weather means my brain now functions better too! Sweet! 😉 I love summer but there is something about that heat and humidity that throws me for a loop.

October is time for good food, fall splendor, Halloween and Preptober…time to get ready for November and the writing madness!

Up until a few weeks ago, I wasn’t sure if I was going to do NaNoWriMo this year. But then I decided, why not, let’s do this!

With my release of my ebook this month, I decided to stay in the same world as those characters. I have a couple of Lily and Quinn novel attempts, but I *think* I have something more solid now for this project.

Blood Bonds

During the rest of this month I hope to pop in with some writing prep updates, maybe some tips and I want to hear from you! Are you taking part? And what is your Nano prep?

I will also be introducing some of my characters from Blood Bonds. In the meantime if you would like to meet them for yourself you can get the ebook at:

Amazon.ca , 

Amazon.com

Kobo

Barnes & Noble

Why Every Writer Needs A Writers Group

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No matter if it is an online group or an in-person meeting, being in a writers group can help you out a lot. Joining my group was one of the best things I have ever done. I joined The Story Forge about fifteen years ago.

My group is laid back. We get that life happens and you can’t make it to every meeting or that you can’t get so many chapters written. There are also groups out there with more structure.

A Mixed Bag.  Our group has everyone from those who write for fun and for themselves, as well as published authors who are busy in the writing community. (Writers in schools programs, signings, readings etc…) We bounce around ideas and talk about various topics. We all also have different genres that interest us, from poetry to sci-fi and mainstream. Everyone has something to offer.

Support and Encouragement. I have left more than one meeting feeling inspired and ready to concur my current writing project. And on days I have felt like I want to give up, my friends help me realize that I am being crazy. If one of us is in the middle of something big or crazy, like NaNoWrimo, we encourage each other to keep going. Not every one in our daily life understands what a writer is feeling, but your writing friends always do and are there to back you up or give you a kick in the pants if needed.

You Learn A lot. My writing and editing skills have improved immensely since I started going to The Story Forge.  I also feel more confident when I critique someones work. While I am far from perfect, I enjoy helping others and feel I can help.

Brainstorming. Stuck with a plot? Need advice on a topic? Or maybe you are unsure if killing a character will help or hinder your story? Ask your writing buddies. They will give you feedback that you can mull over and help you figure out where to go next. Sometimes more brains are better than one.

Feedback. Finished a piece and need a second pair of eyes? Odds are someone will offer to read your work for you. The great thing about this is that they may see something you missed. When you read your own work umpteen times, you are going to miss the little things, or a problem you didn’t realized you had.

A Night Out. Writers tend to be solitary. Not always, but I am one of them. When I am not at work or out with friends, my favorite night in is curled up with hubby watching tv or with a book. It’s good to get out and talk with people who share your interests.

 

Where to find a group: Check your local library and ask a librarian. That’s how I learned about The Story Forge. You can also find them online like on Facebook. I belong to online groups as well, but meeting up in person gets you out of the house for an evening out, and you can make real life friends you can meet up with in between times. One of my friends is coming over tomorrow, for a coffee and a mini writing session. When all else fails, start your own! Put up a flyer at a local library or start your own online group.

How I have changed and benefited since joining my group: I have been published four times. (Soon to be a fifth…our group is putting an anthology together and the money made will go to our local library.) I have learned a lot about writing and improved so much. I have made some great friends; one of which was my matron of honor. I have become more confident and learned how to turn my inner critic off.

That’s just my take on it. I love my group so much and think every writer can benefit from having one.

Do you belong to a group? What is your favorite thing about it?

 

Nanowrimo Wrap Up

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Hello fellow writers and wrimos!

I had good intentions-as usual- to write a post before Nanowrimo started, and to update during the month.

However, life was a little hectic in October. Mr. C was prepping to go away for work, so we were spending time together, mentally prepping and doing laundry…so much laundry. (We had no clue what he should pack or how much for his six month stint away).

After he left, I jumped right into Nanowrimo mode and was writing and focusing on it as much as I could.

I was a Nano Rebel this year. I decided to write short stories instead of a novel. I haven’t decided yet if that was a good idea or bad, haha.

I failed to hit 50k. However, instead of hating myself for “failing”, I am looking at the positives.

I wrote more in November then I would have if it wasn’t for Nanowrimo. I also have three…maybe four…short stories in progress. One is mostly done. (Although I realized the other day I need to change a lot at the beginning but it is for the best).

I attempted Nano and in my own way, I won. If you didn’t get to 50k, don’t beat yourself up about it. You didn’t fail. You started something, and now have something to work with in the coming months.

It also helped me get back to my writer brain. I have ideas for other stories, plus I want to get back to unfinished works and edit first drafts. I have also been reading articles and tips to write better fiction.

I lost my writing mojo for awhile. I think I might have found it again.

How did you do in November? Did you crack that magic number or fall short of your goal?

Making A Plan And Making Writing A Priority

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It is really easy to put things off. I am the Queen of Procrastination. It isn’t that I don’t want to do certain things, but the phrases “I am going to start this soon” or “I will get on that tomorrow”, become easier to say. And tomorrow turns into the next day and so on.

I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about my writing. I am kicking myself for wasted days and being lazy. I’m not as prolific as I used to be. I’m not happy with that, so it is time for a REAL change.

I’m not the type of person to write every day. Some writers are. Even during NaNoWriMo there are days I don’t write. Either because life is simply too hectic that day, or I need to give my brain a little bit of recharge time. (Although I only do that if I am at least a day or two ahead of schedule.)

While I am not a person to write every day, all week, all year, I know I can write some of the week. So I am making myself a schedule of sorts.

I am vowing to write four days a week. If more, bonus! But unless life takes some major curve ball, I know I can write (or edit) even a page or two that much during the week. I have no real excuse right now not to do that.

I have last year’s Nano to work on, plus a new project I have been dying to get at. So I have a great starting point for my work.

Instead of just thinking about writing, I need to get off my ass and start DOING.

Have you made any new changes or goals for your writing? If so, what have you decided to do?

 

50k…so now what?

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A few days ago while at our Nano write in, I broke the big 50k!!! And not only that, I actually got to write ‘The End.’ Yay!

So, now what? My brain feels melted and empty of words but that’s ok. I have a finished first draft of a novel, so the work, endless computer time and brain drain were so worth it.

Every writer has their own plan for what to do after they finish a project. For me, usually I take a two week break and go back to it. But being the time of year it is, I plan to take a longer break from it.

I will do a tweak to it. We started something new at my writers group where we pick a random card and we have our goal for the next meeting. I picked ‘Edit/polish a short story or novel chapter.’ So, I will do that since I already know how I want to edit chapter one. But after that I won’t touch it again until the new year.

That’s if I don’t start a new novel project that has been burning in the back of my brain for a little while now.

So, how did you survive Nano? Are you almost at the finish line or are you way behind? What will you do when the month is over?