Annnnndddddd DONE!

NaNoWriMo is finished for another year! And yes, I DID end up barely making it to 50,000 words! It took a lot of effort and hand-wringing and hemming and hawing…and coffee! So much coffee! ALL THE LATTES!

When things got tough, I resorted to writing for a variety of stories instead of sticking to one novel (as is recommended). I’ve always been a bit of rebel in that fashion, but this year it was the only way I would be able to get some words on the page and somehow finish by the 30th.

To all those who just wrote 50,000 words in 30 days: GO TAKE A NAP! You’ve earned it!

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Fall is in the air…

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Halloween Starcrack

…well not really. It was 102 degrees on Monday. But hopefully by the time NaNoWriMo starts, it’ll actually feel like Fall!

I’ll finally be able to drink a damn PSL. Maybe.

Yes, I’m attempting the whole NaNoWriMo thing again. Maybe this year I can ignore the world ending and actually finish the 50,000 word-count. And since we’re staring a dystopian future and/or the singularity right in the face, my new novel will fittingly be set in the future. Far enough into the future that the world has attempted to right itself again.

We’ll see how that pans out. Save the cheerleader, save the world.

Or something like that.

Writing and Beyond…

After NaNoWriMo ends, I find myself both exhilarated and exhausted. I’m torn between writing more or dealing with regular daily life crap that I’ve been putting off. And then the holiday vibe takes over and writing gets shoved to the side.

Well… the physical aspect of putting words on screen anyway. I still have scenes randomly swirling in my head. I jot them down so I won’t lose them, but they still haunt me. Especially this one particular scene which has absolutely nothing to do with any of the projects I’ve been working on.

I guess another character is knocking at my door. But I’m deferring till January. It needs to wait till then.

In the meantime, I’m still looking at writing-related sites and tips for moving forward post-NaNo. The next few months will include a lot of additional writing, editing, rewriting and hair-pulling as well as organizing and putting together a full handbook for my world-building details. It’s going to be a lot of work, but I’m excited about that as well (except for maybe the hair-pulling part… might resort to bourbon instead).

To get started, I will be perusing some of the 120 Most Helpful Websites for Writers in 2015. This collection of links seems like a good way to get inspired.

May the post-NaNo force be with you.

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Surviving NaNoWriMo: Tips for Getting Through the Month

NaNoWriMo can be exhilarating and exciting, but it can also be quite the daunting task. It’s a challenge that requires effort and stamina. I’ve completed it several times, but I’ve also had real life take over and thwart all of my efforts. It’s totally understandable that sometimes it’s just not your year to complete it. However, if you start off thinking that way, then mostly likely by the 16th you’ll have already given up on trying.

Tip #1 for getting through NaNoWriMo is to really TRULY commit to finishing 50,000 words in 30 days. You can do it! Seriously! It’s not that hard. It just sounds hard. If you write 1,667 words daily, you can stay on track and keep up with the pace. And even if you slack for a day or two, you can easily catch up. If you have this mindset, you’re already winning.

Tip #2: Schedule your writing time. If you already commit to it, then you work the rest of your life around that half hour, hour, or whatever block of time that works for you. It’s important to make it a priority. You’re not messing around! This is your writing time.

Tip #3: Have a community of cheerleaders. Everyone needs encouragement, especially when your story is going haywire or you’ve turned your character into an amnesiac and you c5816769_origan’t seem to get out of the pit of despair (seriously). It doesn’t have to be a fellow Wrimo, but it definitely helps if they can feel your “pain” by going through the process with you. I’ve found a lot of great virtual buddies who are also working on NaNoWriMo this year. Social media often fosters an outpouring of camaraderie and support throughout November. Twitter and Facebook are both great for meeting other Wrimos who are going through the same thing.

Tip #4: Silence your inner editor. This is challenging and most people have problems with this. It’s difficult to write without editing the work that you’ve just written. Sometimes we’re so hung up on the way a sentence comes out on the page that we never finish the paragraph. It’s important to give yourself a pass for this during the month of November. Anything goes and you can always spell-check in December! Trust me. It will free you and let your ideas flow.

Tip #5: Have favorite creative space(s). It’s important to feel comfortable when you’re making stuff up! Make sure to have at least one or two favorite places that you can escape to and get some real work done. Those places can be your designated “writing only” places.

Tip #6: Caffeine and also… chocolate. This is the time to bust out the good stuff. If you enjoy coffee, make sure it’s always on hand. Same for the tea drinkers. Have a stash of your favorxTgozbBBc ite tea with you for when you’re on the go. For those of you who don’t drink either, hot chocolate can be just as effective! There’s a sugar and caffeine buzz in that too! Chocolate in general is good to have around. It’s been shown that not only does chocolate stimulate your endorphins (aka happy brain chemicals), but it also helps fire up those neurons that help you think faster and more efficiently. Perfect for writing many words and figuring out those plot twists!

Tip #7: Move. Make sure to get up often. Stretch and walk around for a bit in order to keep the blood flowing and give your eyes a break for a moment. Sometimes a few minutes of that can reinvigorate you and you’ll be ready to get your butt back in that chair and write away.

Tip #8: Rewards. Make sure to treat yourself along the way. Every time you meet a word-count challenge or even a daily goal, give yourself a reward. They can be anything from small things like a special yummy latte to perhaps a new purchase such as a new book from your favorite author. Noveling is hard, so why not make it more pleasant with a reward?

Tip #9: Update your word count. Nothing feels as good as seeing that number going up and getting closer and closer to 50,000. Shout it from the virtual rooftops by tweeting it or sharing it on Facebook. Believe me, the more you talk about it, the more likely you’ll finish it! You can also use your own word count widgets to post (here’s a link for a few simple ones) or use the ones provided by the NaNoWriMo site.

And most importantly….

Tip #10: A little self-respect, self-love and never saying “You can’t”:  Having a cheerleader can make a difference, but the real cheerleader ultimately has to be YOU. You need to believe that you can do it. No one can win NaNo for you, so you’ve got to put that pen to paper or fingers to keys and keep on writing! You can do it!

HAPPY NANO-ING!