Catching November Up

nanowrimo_2016_webbanner_winner_congratsNovember has been a hard month. My life has changed in a lot of ways, and I’ve been incredibly busy. It is my expectation and belief that I will return my weekly posts in December. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Part of what makes November busy is NaNoWriMo. This year I took a different path than what I normally do, or at least have done in the past.

NaNoWriMo 2016 is my third year of participating and also my third win as the above banner states. By far, this year has been the most difficult but not because the work was hard.

Life! Life is hard.

Sometimes I forget the lesson never to give up and need a reminder.

Thank you November for the reminder.

See you in December when life becomes rough in different ways!

How To Gear Up For NaNoWriMo

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National Novel Writing Month begins in just a few weeks and if you haven’t begun to think about participating, it is time.

National Novel Writing Month is a challenge that allows you to stretch yourself and grow and finally reach that dream to write a novel. The challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. If you’ve participated in the past, then this is another chance to take the next step. As writers, we are continually learning and improving our craft, NaNoWriMo is another opportunity for growth while completing a piece of writing.

All that being said, November is not an easy month.

However, you can start right now to prepare for the difficulties that come with fast drafting a novel. Here are a few ideas:

Begin now: I’ve spoken to many writers who don’t cultivate the habit of writing every day. I subscribe to the thought that writing a minimum of words each day will improve your craft indescribably. For NaNoWriMo, the best thing you can do is develop this habit of daily writing before November arrives. Beginning today, write some words, decide on an amount, whether it is 100, 500, or 1000 words each day, and continue into November and after. Writers write. It is that simple and that difficult.

Make a Plan: A debate rages between planners and panthers on the value of planning out your novel. Planners, the extreme ones, prefer to have every chapter and scene outlined. Pantsers prefer to discover their story as they go. If one way or the other works for you, go for it. But if you are a pantser, having an idea and a place to reach won’t hurt you. A simple plan may make November a bit less stressful. For me, I will go somewhere in the middle, having a 7-point structure and some thoughts and ideas written out, means that I can let my characters tell me what is happening.

Find a Community: Writing is difficult, especially since it is done alone. Finding and connecting with a local or online group will create camaraderie and a bit of fun during what can be a challenging time. The NaNoWriMo.org site has a forum if you live out in the boonies as I do, to discover and connect with others who are furiously writing during November. Many regions have NaNo groups and offer events during October and November, it’s a great way to plug into others who share your aspirations.

Writing your novel during National Novel Writing Month is a challenging, and rewarding, endeavor. Whether or not you actually publish this particular piece of writing, you still showed up to the blank page.

And, that is worth celebrating!

Please let us know if you are participating!

What’s Next???

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Where do I go from here?

This is the question I’ve been pondering for the past couple of days?

I’ve just finished my NaNoWriMo 2015 project. While that one is resting, I’m thinking ‘What’s next’?

I could work on Anger Road, my 2014 NaNo project. This was my first novel and is currently in need of revision. Desperately!!! I still like this story and would like to finish it.

Brenna’s story, based on a flash fiction piece I wrote a couple of years ago and can be read here, is in need of planning. Is this my next project?

While I was working on my most recent piece, the ideas came for a sequel to the story. Although this is in the very early stages of planning, this is something I could get into.

Or, I could jump right into revisions for my current, as yet unnamed, novel.

Oh, and then there is a “short” story I wrote during October. I laugh at the word short. My normal “short” is anything under 1000 words and this one sets at about 15,000. It is in the rough draft stage and needs editing.

I’m not sure if you were counting, but that is five projects. What am I thinking?

All I want to do is this:

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I think I am on a mental vacation after being so focused on my novel. It probably isn’t helping that the holidays are here and my family will be arriving soon. There is so much to be done that I’m feeling scattered and am not sure what to focus on.

How do writers, or anyone, choose their next project?

I’m sure that everyone has their own process in choosing their next project. Part of my process is to open a journal and begin by making notes. I have a notebook for each of my larger projects when I am ready. Today is not that day, I think.

What I am not stopping is my daily word count. When I am not working on a novel, that goal is 500 words. This is doable even while things are so busy.

Of course, I still have blog posts to write and flash fiction to write, edit and send out to markets.

Yeah, I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

I think I will begin by printing off both my novel and the short story I wrote in October. That way I will not have any excuses as I move on to my next project.

Which I will decide on after the holidays. I may even set some goals in January instead of waiting until my birthday, as is my normal habit.

I’m excited to find out “What’s Next.”