No NaNoWriMo for me thanks, but don’t let that stop you.

keepcalmandwrite50kThe Fall is one of my favorite times of year. Although the weather is pretty gloomy as I write these words. Most days the air is crisp, and the trees are putting on their annual kaleidoscope show. This year seems to be brighter than most. I might think that every year. Most of all there is the excitement November brings with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month for those of you not in the know), the time of year when all would-be writers strive to write 50,000 words in 30 days–no small task. My social media feeds are alight with inspirational quotes about writing and persevering, #amwriting hashtags, and it seems like the world is existing in pure harmonic word count madness.

Last year I won NaNo. I was incredibly proud of myself, and even put my winning certificate up on my office wall to remind myself that I am a writer.

So why aren’t I doing it this year? Is my novel finished? Am I just a big fat NaNo-hater?

It’s nothing like that. After last year’s NaNo victory I realized that my novel needed to begin much later than I’d written, and all the words I’d written were just backstory. Don’t get me wrong, I’m really glad I have them. They are priceless pieces of information that I needed to get out, but in the end, they aren’t manuscript words.

Truly, as much as I love the community of it, NaNoWriMo’s word count specific goal just doesn’t work for me. It’s too easy for me to fake myself out, throw down a bunch of words to meet a goal, and completely ignore the purpose of getting the novel out of my head. It’s even worse when I’ve gotten stuck on a scene, and can’t find a way through it. NaNo would tell you to move onto something else, where, in my crazy maddening universe, what I really need to do is figure out why I’m being held back. It’s usually something to do with an unresolved plot point that I’d procrastinated on dealing with.

There’s also the problem of restricting myself to just one project. Yes, I do want to be a novelist, and I am focusing specifically on writing my story, but that’s not the only writing I do. When the opportunity to have a play you’ve written chosen for a night of one acts, you can’t just blow it off, even if you don’t have anything written yet; even if you are in the middle of NaNoWriMo. I’m not writing for fame–although a best-seller would be amazing. I’m writing because I have so much to say. I’m writing because I want to add my own unique voice to the literary conversation. I’m writing because this is how I choose to define my career as a creative. I’m writing because I am a writer, and that doesn’t just mean novels.

While I’m not actively counting words with all the NaNos out there plugging away at their brilliance, I am making daily writing a priority. I think that’s the real point of NaNoWriMo anyway. They say it takes thirty days to make a habit, and that’s exactly what I intend to do. So go get those words you amazing NaNos. I am rooting for you! I may not be counting them all, but I am your ally in writing, and am fiercely writing alongside you all month long!

This is my Fight Post. My Get up and Write Post!

awriteris     I never imagined the kind of struggle writing would be. Writing used to be for escape. It was a passion. It was sometimes for assignments in school, but my best writing happened in moments when I couldn’t help but empty my soul into a notebook. Marble composition notebooks were my favorite, but finding an interesting new home for my words has always been an exercise in sheer luxury. Pens are another addiction of mine. It has taken me years to find just the right one to fit my hand, with the perfect black, gel ink that glides effortlessly into any shape I will it to. Of course, they are only sold as promotional items, so I had to order hundreds of them.
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     When I decided that I was going to write as a career, the nature of writing changed altogether. Suddenly it was harder. I always had the ideas swimming about in my head, but getting that down on paper, and then getting that onto the screen was a whole different can of worms.  Unfortunately, even in 2015 technology has not caught up with the pen.  There is no device that accurately captures handwriting, translates it into its digital form, while being comfortable enough for me to write with. I’ve already told you how picky I am about pens. Transcription is a big issue.  Who has time to write things twice? Even Santa has elves.
     For most of my writing career I battled the blinking cursor, and the empty document on my screen. It always felt like each individual  word pulled from my creativity wanted nothing more than to remain in its original place. Writing was no longer fun. It became work. It was a chore. Even so, I’ve been determined to find a way to finally write my novel, but I have never stopped searching for the link between my notebooks, and my laptop.
     I’VE DONE IT! No, I haven’t finished the novel. I have, however, found a way that I will be able to use to effectively download my ideas from  my brain into a digital format. I’m sure you’ve all heard of it before. Dragon Dictation has been around for a long time (no, I’m not getting paid, for writing this…yet). It’s been through several iterations, and updates, and they make it for every operating system. In the past I dabbled with dictation software before. It never seemed to work for me. Mostly because my ideas don’t spring to the tip of my tongue the way they spring to the tip of my pen. In fact, I had never owned an official copy of the software. I’d only ever used the lame knock-off versions–the kind without the comprehensive vocabulary, or commands built in. Over the weekend it went on sale. I’ve been in such a creative rut that I was desperate for something new to inspire some motivation. So I decided to pull the trigger, and bought a download license.
     After spending a little time configuring, and training the software, I decided to test it out on the scene that I’ve been struggling through for the last several days. At first it was halting. I couldn’t figure out how to pull the words from my brain in a way that allowed me to dictate it smoothly to the software, and having to speak the punctuation was hard to do on the fly. Then I had an idea. I sat down with my handy notebook, and trusty pen, and allowed the words to spring forth onto my notebook unbidden. Oh, and spring forth they did. For a straight hour I watched the scene unfold beneath my hand. I wrote until the antsy distracted feeling set in–which was a much longer stretch than I’d ever achieved before. Instead of allowing myself to be distracted, I plunked a headset in my ear, and began to read the scene aloud.
     I’ll admit it has always been part of my process to read what I’ve written out loud. So it shouldn’t have been so surprising to me how easy it was to read from my notebook into my dictation software. It can get a little wonky, and I had a few minor hiccups, but I understand the longer I use the software, the better adjusted it will be to my cadence, and pronunciation. The results  have been magical.  Through the use of a repeating cycle of writing first in my notebook, then reading it aloud to my computer, my word count has skyrocketed – and just in time for NaNoWriMo. (Not that I’m aiming for the traditional 50,000 words in 30 days goal, but I do like to join in the community in November.)
didntquit     It doesn’t hurt that one of my best friends just recently won a pitch contest, which came with the prize of an introduction to an agent.  You can read all about it on her blog, Penning the Wonderlife, by clicking this link. In fact, I think it is a major part of finding my groove. When you’re part of a writing community, and you aren’t moving at the same pace as your community, you can easily find yourself lost in the dust. You can either choose to move at your own pace, or ramp up your commitment. Discovering that this thing we’re doing is more than a blind shot in the dark, as is apparent by Erica’s amazing story, has given me the inspiration to prove to myself that I’m more than a wannabe writer. I’m a working writer, which means I AM WRITING.
     So the fire is lit. The tools are laid out. The only thing that can hold me back is time, and myself. I still believe, now more than ever, then I will finish my first draft by the end of the year. It’s an exciting time! I can’t wait to share my process, and my progress with all of you here.
     I do have some news, but I’m waiting until it’s in a more concrete form before I share it. I can say without a shadow of a doubt, that I am realizing my dream of being a writer. I’ve already proven myself capable of generating income with my craft, now I just have to prove that I can write a story worth reading.

My NaNoWriMo Update– a vent session

NaNoWriMo2014NaNoWriMo is more than halfway through folks, and I’m still plugging away. For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and takes place during the month of November. To win you have to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s really hard.

Normally you’re supposed to start a new project for NaNoWriMo, but I’m veering from the rules this year. Instead, I’m using the motivation, idea: and community of NaNo Le to help motivate me to finish my novel. cheap nba jerseys I’m not sticking to any particular word count (usually it’s 1667 words per day), nor am I paying any attention to those people who seem to have won on the first day.

Last week I reached the 25% milestone I’d set for myself. This week New I’m focusing on getting the middle half plotted and written. It’s really hard.

Learning how to write a novel, while writing a novel isn’t an easy thing. I’ve made my career writing articles, blogs, and reviews which max out around a thousand words. wholesale jerseys I’m literally multiplying it by 50. Novel writing is truly the marathon of writing. More like a triathalon.

Most days I battle myself the way a runner battles his body. My willpower and motivation have to be overcome and focused. Trying to force my creativity into action is a feat in and of itself. graduée Each move towards the finish is simultaneously thrilling, and terrifying. I imagine a mountain wholesale nfl jerseys climber must feel the same way as she reaches the peak, knowing that when she reaches the apex she will stand victoriously close to the heavens. There’s also that underlying dread of the climb back down. it For a writer that’s the knowledge that writing it is only the beginning. Editing. Finding an agent, an editor, a publisher, and then holding your breath for reviews and sales. It’s all so daunting down here only 25% through a first draft.

I keep myself going by reminding myself Plopping that I don’t have a novel. That until I write it, all I have is a collection of words that have gone nowhere. My family helps. Each of them playing their own role in pushing me forward. My husband helps me work out kinks, and create new and interesting objects in the universe of the story. My son lets me read him my chapters, and encourages me to keep going because he just wants to “know what happens next.”

Today the weather sucked, but I pushed through it. Got things done. Words on record. I’m hoping I can keep the momentum going for the week. I’m hoping to keep it moving. Certificates Keep it growing.