In discussing films, there might be spoilers. Sorry!

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Pushing On ...

By the end of week three, the beginning of week four, we NaNoWriMo writers are starting to feel the pressure.

Says Brendan Sta, "I am thinking … I should pull my liver out so I can squeeze the coffee out and make room for a fresh assault on it with a new brew. 31K though so health not important, only numbers."

It might be a drastic concept, but when you are still below 40,000 with only eight days left it can be daunting and hard to convince yourself that, "Yes, I can do this."

Katrina Thiessen-Beasse is working hard to catch up. She got hit with an eight day bug that put her behind. Still, she’s determined. "I'm feeling fairly confident that I can do this."

The NaNoWriMo is no easy undertaking, for the first timer, or for the professional who just wants to try something new. For the man who has always wanted to write a book, this is his chance. The NaNo can take the "I'll write the book someday" and turn it into a nice and pretty computer file waiting for editing. It’s an accomplishment that you share with a select group of people. Supportive people ... it is hard to find a group so in helping one another. Whether it’s with word sprint on Facebook, help with a research question you might have, Twitter’s fun challenges or even just “Help, I think I am going under …” and the letters pour in. “You can do it. We have faith.”

You start off with Week One as strangers, all with the same goal, all going in different directions. As soon as Week Two hit the comradery comes with it and “GoGoGo’s” are coming at you. “I want to do a work sprint someone may say. “Who’s up with me?” and fourteen to twenty people are lining up for twenty minute sessions.Is there competition? Yes, some. You do like to see that you are typing a few more words, but it’s a friendly completion, no hard feelings and no one singing insults at you at the end of the day.

The NaNoWriMo excitement builds hope. To take that one thing you always hear people say, “Someday I’m going to write my novel,” and make the dream a reality.

We have left week three now, are halfway through week four. We are tired, maybe doubting ourselves, longing for the burst of energy on Thanksgiving Day where we will sneak away from the family long enough to get our daily goals in.

Or maybe not. Maybe we were one of the lucky ones like Melanie Rio. “I have surpassed the numerical finish line, but my story isn't anywhere near complete yet. I'm excited to keep writing, whether or not this novel ends in the month of November. It's been a great start, at the very least.”

More likely than not, though, we are a tad bit behind and holding cyber hands with Ceci Faurie, “I'm behind on my word count, but I believe in miracles. We can do this!”

And we can!

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoWriMo Quote

"Talent in cheaper than table salt. What separates the talented individual from the successful one is a lot of hard work." ~Stephen King

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo Week Two ...

Why do we do it? Why do we set the goal of 50,000 words in one month? Cassidy is doing it, I'm doing it. I know a dozen people I meet with online and in my living room that all felt the challenge and are facing the numbers every day.

What drives us? What makes us show up every day with sore fingers, sore wrists and eyes that ache?

Laurie Olson needed to light a fire under her to get this project off the back burner. "I've been planning for so long," she says, "that I was kind of stuck in that stage." Claire Walton, a first timer, just wanted to see if she could do it. And with only 14,000 words to go, she is paving the way for the rest of us old timers.

I participate in the NaNo every year as a form of recess to excess, where I get to work on a project that has been waiting in the wings, or start a new one right from scratch instead of one that is due. I clear off teaching assignments for November, guest blogs, anything that might distract me from the book at hand. This year, that book is Snap Shots: good ol’ cops with a good ol’ ghost.

They warn us from NaNo Central about the dreaded Week Two, when the newness of the adventure has worn off and the majority of people, who won't be finishing, decide not to finish. There are still those who are committed. ... or as Brendan Sta says "Insane." These writers have a word count of 20,000 or 40,000. If they can make it to Week Three, chances are they will be making it to the end.

Says Ellie Mack: "I'm doing it to reestablish my daily habit of writing. When you get out of any habit it's hard to restart. This gives me a challenge, a daily goal, and the opportunity to occasionally interact with like minded people."

There is a unity among these people. Online, on Twitter, on Facebook or even in your own region where you are meeting with like minded writers, all striving for the same thing: a 50,000 first draft and a piece of paper we get to print out from our own computer that says "You Did It. You made it to The End.”

Is it worth it? The people I spoke to seemed to think so. Cassidy does too. And me, I will be here next just to see what happens next in whatever story I am working on then.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

November NaNo-Bites by Cassidy McKay

November NaNo-Bites

by Cassidy McKay

What is it about November that brings together thousands of people, all in a frenzy to write 50,000 words in thirty days? NaNoWriMo.

November is National Novel Writing Month, and the creators of http://NaNoWriMo.org invite everyone to try their hand at the fun. You can join in, even if you're not a writer. After all, every published author started out sometime, somewhere, with their first story. Why not let NaNoWriMo be your start?

I have participated in the madness for several years, and hope to actually finish on time this year. That's part of the lure: you have a set amount of time to write a set amount of words. You're just supposed to write. Editing and all that jazz come later. Of course, I can never do that…nor can I stay on just one story. But that's just me. Your mileage may vary.

Are you the next Nora Roberts or Stephen King? The next Stephenie Meyer or J.K. Rowling? Maybe you're the next C.S. Lewis or William Shakespeare, who knows? Unless you put pen to paper, or fingers to computer, nobody will ever have the chance to read what lies hidden inside your head (okay, sometimes that's a good thing!).

Writing can be a lonely profession. We've all heard the stories of the closet writer who never sees the light of day, working on his/her next big hit, only to be found mummified years later. No? Well, it must have happened at one point, right? Or zombies--yeah, that's it. The writer toils alone in his/her in-depth research for a book, finding the one sure thing guaranteed to stop a zombie invasion. If only they could finish the book so it can be published and save the world! But, I digress…

The NaNoWriMo website gives us all a chance to join forces in November and rejoice (or commiserate) with others who share the same passions and challenges. We have the choice to meet other writers at local write-ins (which could be at a library, coffee-shop, book store, etc.), get support online and off, and challenge ourselves and our friends with daily word count quotas.

Having someone to cheer you on daily when you might not feel like writing or life barges in on you is a wonderful thing. It's like a kick in the pants to get off your duff and get your daily word count done. Getting a fresh outlook or opinion on a story idea or character can help navigate roadblocks when your story stalls, and bring a fresh enthusiasm to your writing.

Whichever way works for you on your own journey—whether it be down the road of fiction or non-fiction—I encourage you to check out the fun at http://www.NaNoWriMo.org and see if you can meet the challenge!

Jax and I are doing it. Are you?


Cassidy McKay is an erotic romance writer with a twisted sense of humor, an overactive imagination, and clearly too much time on her hands. Based in Washington, she enjoys the rain forests, beaches, and still hasn't seen even one sparkly vampire or werewolf (but not for lack of trying).

Her most-laughable writing-related story: When her eldest son told friends at school that his mom would creatively annihilate them in one of her books if they pissed him off (no, I didn't, but you've got to laugh at the idea).

You can see what else Cassidy is up to at her websites and blog:

http://www.cassidymckay.com (erotic romances)

http://www.ashlynbarre.com (sweet romances)