Monday, November 24, 2014

NaNoWriMo Homestretch!

It’s getting gritty ‘round here at Revision Warriors. For the first time ever, we have FIVE NaNoWriMo participants. This means lots of early alarms, buckets of coffee, and loads of Facebook pep-talks. And because of ALL that, this post will be brief. 

Unless I can use this post toward my word count.  Hmm. 

My own crazy:  NaNo Critter Mascot accepts NO excuses. 
As we near the end of this intense writerly marathon, I’ve paraphrased some of our own RW pep-talks and tips we've given each other these last weeks.

It’s a FIRST DRAFT. Let it be messy. Like, plotlines-don’t-add-up kind of messy. By now, you’ve no doubt told your inner editor to pipe down a few times. But at this stage, even if it’s a BIG oops, like an errant plotline or you realize one of your heroes should play for the other team, well, good catch. Write your thoughts down somewhere you won’t lose them and move forward. From that point on in your ms, write the story with your new twist. Adjust your previous chapters in revision. Later. After you’ve hit your 50K.

WRITE CHAPTER INTRO PARAGRAPHS. If you’re feeling lost or unsure (or stuck in the murky middle of your ms), try writing the opening paragraphs for your remaining chapters to help plot the way.

KEEP MAKING WORDS. Even if you need a prompt. Here are a few ideas: 
   -    Your protagonist now has a cold. Or a stomach bug (I think everyone at RW had an illness during November).
   -  How would it affect your story if there were an ice or tropical storm moving in?
   -  What if your antagonist does something good in front of your protagonist?
   -  One of your characters randomly receives a letter about claiming an inheritance. 

ALMOST THERE! Only one more week of these early wake-up, late nights, and writing while bobbling your sandwich and a plate on your lap. Let’s bribe our friends/family/children with promises of quality time and coffee dates in December, but for now, keep going!

It is worth it. You have LOTS of new words!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Pity Party

We've been taught since we were infants to reach for the stars and work our butts off until we succeed. Knowing this, I've set many short and long-term writing goals for myself.

Now that I've hit the murky middle in my WIP, I've been feeling, well, a bit sorry for myself for not achieving more at this stage of my writing career. I question if I have any business writing a book. I studied Music Education in school. Am I kidding myself? This is my third novel. I really hoped my last MS would be The One. But despite the partial and full requests, it now lies restlessly inside a jump drive collecting dust while I lounge in a sea of self pity.  *cue Debbie Downer tones Womp Womp*.

When I'm feeling down like this, it's difficult for me to stay focused. (Think Doug the dog in the movie UP.) So last week when I sat down to write and instead found myself surfing the Internet, I swam across a life preserver. Yes, in the black hole of wasted time, there was a giant plastic doughnut in the form of a blog post I swear was written just for me! The post reminded me that I'm not alone and that every single writer--both pre-published and published--have felt the same anxiety. 

So readers I share this wonderful post with you if you haven't already read it. It's written by amazing author Dahlia Adler. Thank you Dahlia for reminding me that I'm not alone.


photo credit: Peter L Barker via photopin cc

Monday, November 10, 2014

Finding balance during NaNoWriMo

Ode to Jack Kerouac by Oliver Hammond via Flickr

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, you might have changed your schedule for the month, or are trying to squeeze writing in whenever you can. Whether you're a planner and have organized a spread sheet for everyone around you so that they're aware of your writing time, or you wake up early or go to bed late, you're noticing that NaNo isn't easy.

I came into NaNo with a plan that provides balance to my busy life as a wife and mother to 3 kids under 10, and setting enough time aside to get my 50K novel done in 30 days.

Four days a week, I set aside the daytime to spend it with family and friends and do most of my writing at night after everyone goes to bed. The other three days, I take my 4-year-old to Mother's Day Out for a couple hours and come home to write, write, write, and do laundry, clean, go grocery shopping, etc.

The reason I came up with this plan is because I wanted something I knew I could stick to. I didn't want to get halfway into Novemeber and quit because everyone around me was complaining that I'm ignoring them. This plan gives me time to write and time to spend with people so I don't get crazy. ;)

It was important to me to make time to do things I enjoy like eating lunch with a friend, watch a movie, or to veg on the couch with my hubs to watch the latest and greatest The Walking Dead after the kids go to bed. Without this time planned out, my relationships and mental attitude would suffer.

So, while we're writing and trying our darnedest to meet our word count for the day, let's also think of ways to find balance, even if that means playing catch up later. Spend some time with people you love most or take a day off to refill the creativity tank. :)

Best of luck to all the people NaNoing this month!! We can do this!! You can find me on NaNo as DiDiBo and on Twitter here.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Do You have Creative Outlets Other Than Writing?

I’ve always felt like I have a creative brain. For me, that means there’s about a million things I want to do or want to learn how to do, and all these things compete for my attention. And while I think it’s great that I have all these interests and ambitions, it’s also frustrating.

Fact: There will never be enough time to do it all. *sad face*

So that means I've had to (for now) limit my non-writing activities. So when I'm not writing, I run an indie nail polish shop on Etsy called Wikid Nails, where I sell my handcrafted nail polish. If you follow on me on Twitter you may have seen one or two a lot of my manicure tweets. (Guys, I have a serious glitter addiction. Just sayin'.) And during the fall, I hawk my wares at some of the local craft fairs as well. 

I also love to knit and crochet. Mostly I make fingerless gloves, yoga socks, and slouchy hats that I sometimes sell, but mostly give as gifts to friends and family.

There’s magic in producing something that simply did not exist before I felt compelled to create it.

Take knitting. Even though I know how to fashion the stitches, I’m still boggled every time I finish a pattern and have a completed project. I think, how the heck did I turn a ball of yarn into a pair of fingerless mittens?

Answer: magic. Duh!

Unfortunately, there’s no pattern for writing a book. (though if someone could get on that, that’d be awesome.)

The principal is sort of the same though, if you liken words to stitches. You have to string them together, over and over, twisting them and turning them until they become more than the sum of their parts. It takes time and practice, and little bit of magic, and in the end, something new exists in the world that hadn’t before. And you made it happen. Ah-maze-ing!!

I'd love to hear about YOUR creative endeavors outside of writing. Bonus points if you're an Etsy seller, too. And if you are, leave a link in the comments. I'd love to check out your shop!