Well, NaNoWriMo2017 is well underway and I have been extra busy, hence why this is my first post this month. This is my second attempt at the 50,000 word goal in 30 days. My first attempt in 2015 ended with 22,877 words and a feeling of disappointment on December 1st. But this year I vowed to try it again and this time I was determined to surpass my first word count and complete the 50,000 word mark. So far, so good. I have surpassed my 2015 word count (current count: 27,714). But my momentum is shrinking with the holidays approaching and family obligations weighing down on me. There are a few things I have been doing to counteract the mounting stress:
1) I have read books that are in a different genre than what I am writing. Enjoying a good book can spark ideas for your story line.
2) I write in my journal. I have found this to be extremely helpful. By writing about what is going on in my daily life, goals that I have and tasks that I want to accomplish has freed up some of my mental clutter and whole scenes for my characters have come about, increasing my word count.
3) I attended a poetry reading to get away. Once you start to feel stuck in your writing it is good to be able to get away and focus on something else, enjoy other’s creativity.
4) Soak in a hot bubble bath. Sometimes this can be a cure-all for everything stress related. The hot water relaxes your body while the scent of the bubbles relaxes your mind, allowing you to relax and then the words will come to you.
5) Sleep. Sleep. Sleep. A tired mind cannot write all the words and the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write all of the words in 30 days or less. Get rest even if you have to sneak in a couple of 15 minute cat naps during the day. Get your sleep on so your mind can recharge and process the words you have already written.
NaNoWriMo is fun and we all have to remember this is not life or death but a month-long word sprint. I have discovered new writers whose work I love because they participated in NaNoWriMo. I am discovering that this draft doesn’t have to be perfect – that in fact i can guarantee it won’t be perfect because it is a draft. Meant to be reread and corrected. In the event I discover that maybe novel-writing is not for me that doesn’t mean I can’t write. It means I may be more suited to shorter, more concise stories. I still love the written word and using those words to express myself. Remember why you signed up for this challenge and use that to help guide you in your story.
This month has been crazy. I heard stories of how intense this month is when you accept the challenge of writing 50,000 words in thirty days but… WOW! I have read so many posts on facebook and twitter about writing challenges and writing stumps as well as people who had a running faucet of story line so they completed the challenge within the first two weeks.
I am in awe of them all. A women in the NaNo group on Facebook just started the challenge a week ago and already hit 50,000 words! I’m not upset though. I didn’t reached 50,000 words but I participated in the challenge and wrote more words in thirty days than I thought was possible. I finished with 22,877 words and my record word count for one day is 3,520!
I am not upset at all. I did what I set out to do and that was to participate in the challenge. I am realistic about my home life and that presents many challenges in and of itself but I still found some time to get my ideas on paper. I met some interesting characters on this journey. With this being my first year, I have set my bar high for next year! NaNoWriMo 2016 I’m waiting for you!
“Even if your hands are shaking. And your faith is broken. Even as your eyes are closing. Do it with a heart wide open. Say what you need to say…”
I try. As best as I can and when I believe it counts. Life is about the little moments that take our breathe away and collectively become big moments that wow and inspire. I love the little moments. Many times my hands were shaking. Many times my faith has been broken. But each time my heart has been wide open and I took that leap. When it comes to using that to fuel my characters I stumble because some of those tender moments are mine. Just for me and I feel selfish keeping them to myself but those moments are precious and priceless. I want to share but at the same time I don’t and that is where I am stuck.
How do you keep your characters separate from yourself and still keep them authentic and true?
“Take out every wasted honor. Every little past frustration. Take out every so called problem. Better put ’em in quotations. Say what you need to say…”
“Walking like a one man army. Fighting with the shadows in your head…”
The first week of NaNoWriMo is completed and I hit the 10,000 word mark a couple of days ago. Some writers in the chat groups are toasting their 50,000 word completion and marching onward to 100,000 words. I say congratulations to them! I don’t know how they accomplished it that fast but I am happy for them. Meanwhile my characters are doing the do-si-do in my mind at night while I am trying to sleep. And when I wake up to tend to my two toddlers (one in school and one at home) I am super exhausted.
But in true NaNo fashion (although this is my first one) I am trudging onward. My characters had a drama filled tale to tell and who am I to deny them? Participating in NaNoWriMo has definitely introduced me to a lot of interesting writers. And the fun part is we are all eager to help each other out.
Okay a brief breakdown of what’s going on with my NIP (novel in progress):
“Hey baby. How are you?”
“Paul I’m not your baby and what do you want?”
“I just want to know if you were busy. I want to come see you.”
“I am busy and no you cannot come see me. Why don’t you go see Joanne, Jennifer, Shanta, Ms. Smith, Cindy, Mellie or Rebecca? Take your pick.”
“Don’t be like that. I miss you. I need to see you. Rocky NEEDS to see you.” Rocky is what Paul named his penis when he wanted sex.
“No Paul. Call Jana from Hawaii. Why don’t you call your ex-wife? Oops, my bad – your legally separated wife you lying sack of shit. I told you I am done with you and your games. Go find someone else to play with and I don’t miss Rocky. Who names their dick Rocky anyway?” That last part made Mia burst out laughing.
“Yo, who is that laughing? Don’t make me come over there.”
“I’m about to hang up on you. And FYI: stop mimicking the porno movies you watch. You’re not learning anything.”
“Don’t be cold like that. Let me taste you.”
Marissa and Mia spent the rest of the night laughing at men and their schemes to get laid.
Mia is hilarious but doesn’t really know what she wants to do with her life but is secretly jealous of her best friend, Marissa. Marissa admires Mia’s free spirit and openness to trusting people and situations. There are quite a few twists and turns coming in the next 20,000 words. I just haven’t written them yet. With Marissa’s ex-boyfriend, Paul, she broke up with him for cheating on her and lying to her. What do you think should happen to Paul? Post in the comments below. Thanks!
It is the second day of NaNoWriMo and I am feeling pumped. The panic is in the back of my mind trying to sneak to the front but as long as I keep typing and the story keeps unfolding, I’ll be okay. Yesterday I cranked out 2180 words, today 1521. Not bad. As long as I can keep Marissa’s motivation going then I won’t have a problem.
Romantically, she’s in the single zone. Her friend Mia is in the college girl, I-don’t-care-as-long-as-the-sex-is-good mode. What am I going to do with these two? Marissa has a couple of skeletons rattling doorknobs but she isn’t paying attention and Mia has something to do with one of them. What do you think those skeletons should be? And how intense do you think Mia’s role in the skeletons should be? Let me know in the comments below.
I looked at the calendar this morning and felt fear trying to creep into the recesses of my mind where I try to keep my writing thoughts organized – at least until I can get them on paper before I forget. November 1st is in 2 days and I am afraid I am not ready yet. But I am determined to complete 50,000 words. This is my first attempt at the challenge and my primary goal is to write a complete story of fiction – romantic fiction. See being a poet, I don’t have to conform to word counts and grammar or even spelling rules should I choose not to. It’s the beauty of free form poetry. The raw emotion of it is what I love. But at the same time I want to improve and grow my writing and in order to accomplish that I need to expand my writing horizons.
So, although I am delving into the realm of fiction writing I am staying in the realm of romance and steamy suggestion. Romantic urban fiction. Go figure. I love a good romance and I am currently reading The Cougarette Series with a few other romance books waiting patiently for me on my laptop. I pray I do the
romance urban fiction genre justice.
From time to time I may post a section of what I am working on here so please feel free to make suggestions and leave comments. If you like (or don’t like) what you read anywhere else here leave a comment and let me know. I love feedback!
A new friend, Eliza David (author of the Cougarette series), shared with me how she imagines her character portrayals as film actors/actresses and writes for them accordingly. Well in preparing for NaNoWriMo I borrowed her idea and began thinking of who could portray my main character, Marissa. After jotting down the basics about Marissa I discovered that based on age and height I found my inspiration with Keke Palmer. The images of her that I have seen online are perfect for Marissa!
Now I just have to finish drafting an outline before the challenge begins on November 1st. I am still nervous but I can do this. 50,000 words broken down into 1,667 word increments every day. About 500 – 1000 words an hour. As long as the ideas keep flowing. Okay, now to work on setting descriptions and keeping the plot interesting…
Okay, I accomplished the re-release of my collection of poetry, Entangled Hearts (available on amazon Kindle for $2.99), and signed up for the NaNoWriMo 2015 challenge. To put it mildly, I’m terrified! 50,000 words in thirty days, how do you guys do it?! Is it insanity or is it normal to feel this fearful of writing? I have ideas floating around in my mind but not sure which one will be THE one to write.
How do you guys decide what to write for NaNo? Do you create outlines on your computer/tablet/phone or write them down in a notebook? How do you decide on how many characters go into your story? Character names? Personalities? Quirks? Are you tempted to start writing before hand or do you wait until November 1? Will the story be finished in time? Will there be time to edit or do you wait until NaNo is over to edit? And will it be good? Do you block everything out for thirty days? I will keep you posted on my progress when the challenge starts. Until then…