Writing about writing

Posts tagged ‘50K’

Winning!!!!!!

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

So yeah.  I “won” NaNoWriMo this year, 2014!!!  Yahoo!!!!  It really isn’t anything I can honestly brag about though because not a single word is ever going to see the light of day as far as publishing is concerned!  It honestly is a bunch of C.R.A.P.  But I did it.

It’s all about the Words.  It’s all about the Words.  No Struggle!  (See what I did there?  Thanks, Meghan Trainor for such a great song to continue to Parody!  Haha!)

Anyway, I honestly have no idea how I was able to get 50,000 words written in less than thirty days considering how very busy I have been this fall, not just this November.  But here it is, a full three days (or is it four?) before the end of the month and I have them.  Wow.  All I can say is that this writer honestly loves to write.  There is no other way I could have (should have) been able to get 50,000 thousand words in 26 days.

Several years ago, I had a conversation with a close friend about how in the world I was able to read so many books when I was so busy.  She said that she just did not have time to read, and that as a result, it had been years since she had read a whole book.  I, on the other hand, read all the time and have consistently, for many years, read more than 50 books in a any given year.  I have thought an awful lot about that conversation because, to me, it makes absolutely no sense that people just don’t read.

I have come to the realization–the conclusion–that we do what we really want to do.  We will make time for the things we love, regardless of how busy we are.  That goes for anything we might DO as well as for spending time with those we love.  If we want to bad enough, if we really love it–enjoy it with our whole being (as I do when it comes to reading–and writing), then we will find a way to make time for it and we will DO IT.

If you don’t like to read, let alone love it (as I do), you wont’ do it.  If you don’t love to write (as I do), you probably won’t win NaNo.  Or if you do, it will be sheer determination that drives you to succeed.  I don’t care if I ever get published or not.  That is not why I do NaNo every year.  Would I accept a contract with a publishing company if one were to cross my desk?!  You bet your bippy I would!  Of course I would!  But I don’t do it for the fame, fortune, and glory.

I do it because I honestly and truly LOVE TO WRITE.  I would write a lot regardless of whether or not I participate in NaNo.  I would read regardless of whether or not anyone else did.  I would teach to a chair if I had to.  I will spend time with my loved ones regardless of whether or not they want to spend time with me.  (Thankfully, they seem to want to spend time with me, too!  Whew!)

Why?

Because those are things I LOVE doing….with a Passion.  They fill me with JOY deep in my soul.  And that makes all the difference in the world.

The Piano Guys are one of my new favorite groups not just because their music is incredible, but mostly because of the pure JOY on their faces as they are playing.  As I watch John play the piano and Steve play that cello, I am in awe of the smiles spread wide across their faces.  They so obviously LOVE playing.  It makes my enjoyment of their music that much greater. I could listen to and watch those guys play all day long because their enjoyment exudes from them.

It is my sincerest hope and prayer that YOU find what you LOVE with a passion and DO IT.  It doesn’t have to be writing.  It just has to be something you LOVE.

In the long run, it doesn’t matter whether you win at NaNo or not (get to 50,000 words in 30 days).  What matters is that you DO what you LOVE to do!!!!!

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Epiphany

Lovely_Bones_coverI have been wondering why in the world I have been having so much trouble writing my zombie story this NaNoWriMo when it has been something I have been thinking about for more than a year.  Plus I honestly do think that there could be a decent story there.   So what has been my problem?

I have come to the conclusion that I am having so much trouble because I haven’t finished my memoir that I have been working on.  I made a goal, a commitment if you will, to finish it by the end of 2014 and putting it off to work on my zombie story is only giving me Writer’s Block as far as my zombie story is concerned.

It reminds me of when I first read THE LOVELY BONES by Alice Sebold.  I always do a little background research when I begin a book by an author I have never read before.   One thing I read doing that research on Alice was that while she was writing THE LOVELY BONES, she found that her own voice kept creeping in and attempting to speak for Suzie, the main character.   While Suzie’s story differs in many ways from Alice’s, because of the similarity of there being a rape in both stories (yes, Alice was raped while in college), she was having a difficult time telling Suzie’s story instead of her own.   So Alice set aside Suzie’s story while she went back and wrote her amazing memoir,  LUCKY.  Once she finished her own story,  she was able to get book_lucky_bonesback to Suzie’s and let Suzie tell it in her own voice.

In other words,  like Alice,  I am having to get my own story out of my system before I can concentrate on my new story.   There have been times when I have been able to work on more than one writing project at a time with little to no trouble.   But this time,  for various reasons,  I simply cannot move forward until I finish my memoir.

Rather than continuing to fight it, I am going to go ahead and go back to my memoir for now.   When I am able,  I will get back to my zombie story.   I know it will be better for it.

Not doing well with NaNoWriMo this year

So how are you doing with NaNoWriMo this year so far?!  I wish I could say that things are on a roll and that I’m on track to finish, but sadly, I’ve at least 5,000 words behind.  I have been that far behind before and caught up, but at this point in time, I’m not sure I’m even going to be able to.  I decided to do NaNo this year even though I have a lot going on and I honestly don’t have the time for it.  I even went ahead and pre-ordered the NaNo Winner’s t-shirt!  Somehow or another, I am going to have to find a way to get my act together and WRITE.

I’m having a lot of fun going on Pinterest, Tumblr, and other social media to find great words of wisdom regarding writing and NaNo.  There is a LOT of great stuff available and it’s all fun and interesting to read.  Instead of being motivated to write, though, I’m frustrated because I am simply not motivated.

It doesn’t help that I am sharing my computer with my son.  Just when I think that I will get some motivation to write, he needs my computer so he can work on a report for school.  I have to let him do his homework, so I end up moping around as I wait for him to finish.  I try not to lurk because I don’t want to distract him when he needs to stay focused.  The real irony is that as soon as he gives me back my computer, I’m stumped and can’t write a lick!

But any writing is writing and I have to start somewhere.  So I thought I’d write a quick blog and ask you how you’re doing with NaNo, brag a little bit about the fact that the Dallas Cowboys beat the Jaguars today, and then do some serious NaNo-ing!

Good luck to all you NaNoWriMos!!!!

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Happy NaNoWriMo

Happy NaNoWriMo—Post for WordPress Blog (wouldn’t post—couldn’t connect to internet)

November is finally here!  If you’re participating in NaNo, you already know all the joy, fear, excitement, pain and suffering of November 1!!!  I wish you all the best of luck this year!  May the odds be ever in your favor!

I was able to attend a Kick-off Write-In for my region–Hickory, NC–today.  Normally when this group gets together, especially what I’m with them, but I don’t have to be for it to happen, we laugh, talk, and joke around a whole lot more than we write.  Today, I arrived a little late; several others were already there in full writing mode.  I settled down, did a little FB procrastinating, and then got to work.  We chatted every so often, but each of us stay focused and, as far as I know, most of us reached our daily word goal–if not exceeded it!

 im-a-zombie

I have no idea where my story is going or what is going to happen with it, but I have my first 1,667-word-plus-day!  I’m a “pantser,” so I have no earthly idea what is going to happen, but I do plan on writing my story as a parallel to The Walking Dead.  This year, I’m writing about Christian Zombies.  You know.  The Bible says that “the dead in Christ shall rise.”  So after watching every single episode of The Walking Dead, I thought it might be fun to take a look at the Walkers as something other than something to fear–at least as far as their physical, grotesque appearance is concerned.  I’ll see if it even works.  I might run out of ideas before the week is out, but I’m sure going to give it my best shot!!!!

I still don’t have the excitement for NaNo that I usually have, but at least I’m not giving up.

Why I am choosing to do NaNo again this year

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So I’ve decided that I’m going to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month—writing 50K words in 30 days) again this year.  I’ve been involved with NaNo one way or another since about 2004.  I have not won (successfully written 50K words in 30 days) every year, but I have won about five times.  Very few people will ever read the full manuscripts for any of the years I attempted NaNo, whether it be the years I won or otherwise.  They simply are not audience-worthy.

They were fun to write and I did share parts of them with others, but as a whole entity, the manuscripts will stay “hidden” on my laptop.

I have not yet once revised a single manuscript over the years, not even for the novels I really enjoyed writing and feel could possibly one day be publishing-worthy.  My serial-killing-teacher novel from 2012 was more fun to write than I can possibly describe—it’s about a teacher (based loosely on me) who kills (with arsenic, mostly) and buries her students under her desk in her office.

NaNo is a lot of fun for me regardless of whether I have as much fun writing the novel as I did in 2012 simply because I LOVE to write.  When I have something to say, 2k words a day is nothing.

The hardest part about NaNo—beyond Revision and/or preparation for publication—is finding the TIME to do it.  While I try to write every day in my journal, when I am really very busy, my journal, sadly, is the thing that suffers.  I might still write in my journal, but my word count will more than likely be far from my daily quota (750 words).  I just have a LOT going on:

  1. I am a Mom to a 13-year old in 8th grade—Middle School (I don’t think I need to explain!)
  2. I am a wife to a Pastor (21 years!)
  3. I teach English full time at a community college—that’s 6 classes (average) per semester with 125 students (average) per semester—and I’ve had a 7th added that begins in the middle of October—you can do the math when every class writes a 2-3 page essay and I have to grade them. I have two online classes as well as two hybrid classes, both of which bring with them their own challenges.  Plus, I am teaching a class that I have never taught before and even if I had, the State of NC has demanded drastic changes to both our Freshman Composition classes which means a lot of new preps for me.
  4. I am on the board for NC CEI (North Carolina Conference of English Instructors) and we have a conference the last weekend of October (just prior to the start of NaNo). I am presenting.
  5. I am now the Club Advisor for the brand new Dr. Who Club at my community college and we’re planning on meeting every two weeks this semester!
  6. Because I’ve had a lot of health problems, I have various doctors’ appointments every few weeks.

And I hope it goes without saying that there are also all the regular day-to-day activities that must be taken care of as well as attempting at least somewhat of a social life in order to function at any level of intelligibility!

I’ve had many people ask me how I have time to read, let alone half of the other things that I have to do—want to do—need to do.

My answer?

We tend to do whatever it is that we REALLY want to do.

When I don’t REALLY want to do something, I don’t do it—whether that be doing the dishes, grading papers, or just going to imagesschool.  (We all need a “Mental Health Day” every once in a while!)

But when I REALLY do want to do something, I find a way to do it.  I find the TIME to do it.  If my sleep suffers, so be it.  I make it up during my afternoon catnap or with a large soft drink or coffee!

NaNo has not made me a successful, published writer—yet, but I thoroughly enjoy participating in the challenge to write 50K words in one month.  I have yet to do Camp NaNo; once a year is all I can afford at this time.  But I keep signing up for it!  I have no idea if I am going to be able to win NaNo this year or even if I’ll make it to the 50K words, but I am going to give it the old college-try and hope for the best.

I have an idea for a story that I’ve been playing around with almost a year.  I have no idea if it’s going to work or not, but I’m excited to give it a try.  It’s about Christian Zombies.  I do not have a title yet nor do I even have a plot beyond an idea, so this year’s NaNo ought to be one of the most interesting yet!!!

In my heart, in spite of how very busy I am, I feel that this is MY year not only to win, but also to write something that will be worthy of revising and eventually publishing!  How will I know if I don’t at least give it a shot?

Here’s to NaNaWriMo!!!!!

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