Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Thanksgiving Gift of 50,204 Words

Total Word Count on Day 28:  50,204 verified! 

As you can see, I have completed my goal of writing over 50,000 words in a novel in the month of November. True, I didn't write every single day or I would have finished this goal a few days ago, but I still feel like I accomplished something.

Is the novel finished? No. I still have a few things to do to complete the story. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up and a lot of chronological plot points to fix, not to mention, I lost complete track of what chapter I was on and just wrote "Chapter Something Something" to start off and end a section. The lesson in doing this is not to have something written that is "perfect," in the words of Fred Gleeck, "Done is better than perfect." I totally agree. I had to keep writing and keep going and just let the words flow out. To stop and edit, well, that would defeat the purpose and slow me down. Editing is for later. Get the story written down. Whatever you don't like about it, you can cut out and rewrite, or you can change it or if you love it and can't make it fit, then you can keep it, and find a way around it. There is more than one way to write a novel.

Congratulations to everyone this year who met and exceeded their goals, whether you participated in National Novel Writing Month or not. If you even wrote an article, a journal entry, a paragraph, or just a note to your spouse expressing how much you love them and you received a positive response, then you deserve congratulations. Writing is a very solitary and underappreciated undertaking. Most people who are not writers wish they could be, and most of the people who are writers know they can't be anything else.

Thanks to all my family and friends, writers and non-writers who cheered me on and told me to keep going. I appreciate all of your love and support and encouragement. Without that, this would never have happened. I truly appreciate all you have done for me, not just this month but every month this year. 

I hope all of you had a fabulous Thanksgiving holiday and I will be posting soon about the novel and what I plan to do with it, so stay tuned. It's not completely over just yet! :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Skipping to Day 23

NaNoWriMo word count as of Day 23:   45,065

Ok, I know, my updates haven't been as frequent or as timely. My apologies to all of you. I've been a bit busy.

I promise to let you all in on the details later, but for now, rest well in the knowledge I have not given up and I am still writing. :)

Have a great day! And stay warm. :) 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Days 12, 13, & 14

Total word count:   32,675

I was looking at my previous posts and realized that most of them were not matching up with the dates. I am on Day 14 of my National Novel Writing Month novel. I have been writing on and off all weekend, and watching a lot of "Dexter" Season One and Two. Now I'm watching "Stargate: SG-1" on the television, not on Netflix.

We still have snow, but it's not like it was yesterday. It's really wet and heavy and if it warms up tomorrow, a lot of it will melt. The ground isn't even frozen yet. It's been nice to be home just hanging with my son, Alex, and my honey, QH. We had Pappa Murphy's All Meat Pizza with cheesy bread and cinnamon wheel for dinner. That's been the only time I've gone out of the house all weekend.

I have to get back to my writing.

I hope you all have a great week!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 11-Whoohoo! Snow!

Total word count as of Day 11:  30,469

Today is Friday. My day off. I usually have Fridays off, and I love and appreciate that fact, especially today. Why? Well, I take Fridays as my running around day: errands, cash my paycheck, grocery shopping, and usually, I am so tuckered out, the thought of cooking supper (tonight it was chinese from the China Buffet here in Zimmerman) or sitting down to write make me want to just take a shower, put on my jammies and call it a night.

Instead, I got home around 4:00 pm and was happy to still have a few minutes to settle in, get my stuff put away and then order dinner. The love of my life, QH, was home, and my son, who isn't feeling well and called in sick today, we all got to sit down TOGETHER and have a nice dinner. Since I work nights, it's usually rare that we are all home at the same time, let alone home together long enough to sit down and have a meal together that isn't breakfast on the weekend.

I just peeked outside and it is snowing. This is the first snowfall of the season here and I feel that I am not ready for snow yet. As QH pointed out to me, this is November, after all, and ironically, in the novel I am writing for NaNoWriMo, there is an impending snowstorm coming that will work into the plot and may be a background character in this novel. I can't change the weather, so I guess I will have to embrace the snow.

Most everyone wants me to post some of this novel, but I need to polish it up a bit before I can do that. And I want to finish it first. I want to have it all done before I start putting chapters out there for people to read.

In answer to the next logical question, "Are you going to publish it anywhere?" That's a good question. If I can't find someone to publish it in the traditional sense, I am playing with the idea of publishing it myself. Mainly because I have always wanted to learn what that whole process is about, not just by posting it on my blog or anything, but by going through the whole idea-to-book-to-print book form. I can publish it myself as an e-book, but I'm not sure right now what exactly I will do with it. I'm still playing and having a fabulous time doing it.

But more than just the Fun Factor, because I am doing a discipline, an adhered to writing schedule, a ritual, if you will, I can see that the rest of my life is falling into place. I have learned this before in the previous NaNoWriMos I have done in the past, even the ones I didn't win at. When you find something you really love to do, like write, sculpt, knit, play guitar, sing, or shoot targets, it doesn't matter what activity it is, if you can really lose yourself to it and time just flies by for you and you feel renewed by doing it, it is exactly what you need to do more of. Life is short. You may not wake up tomorrow. Will you really say, I'll really miss working today? Most of us don't like the jobs we do. My jobs have always enhanced my writing because I have been able to transfer the skills I have and apply them to my writing and vice versa.

And there is no greater boost to you or your mood when you accomplish a goal you set out to achieve. I was shooting for a minimum of 2,000 words per day. Today, I exceeded my expectations, and I feel fantastic: Whoohoo!

Stay safe, stay warm and go play in the snow tomorrow, if it sticks around long enough to play in or make a snowman or two!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 9 & 10 Past the Halfway Mark

Total word count after Day 9 & 10:    25,358

I was hoping I would get past the halfway mark after today, and I am proud to say I have met my goal. I was feeling a bit under the weather, mostly I think due to the time change. For some reason, it seems to be affecting me more this year than in other years. I don't know why. Maybe because I'm an old woman! :)

Anyway, I did write some words on Day 9, but I wasn't in the mood to write last night and tonight, I just sat down and let it all go and when I couldn't see the keyboard anymore and I kept making mistakes, I decided to see where my word count was, and there it is above.

Now, I'm heading to bed. More writing tomorrow. I want to see if I can finish this before next week. :)

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 8 The Fingers Are Flying!

Total word count as of Day 8:   20,961

I cannot believe I am almost halfway done after one week! I did write a lot today, I had a few plot points I wanted to get into my novel and they did, and my characters are becoming more real and more clear as I am writing this. I know that I'm going to have to edit A LOT if I want to sell this or publish it myself, but I am having so much fun!

I have a lot of respect for people like Stephen King, James Patterson, John Sandford, and Nora Roberts, Janet Evanovich and Patricia Cornwell. I can see how much writing takes and if you have a job, like I do, and a family, the writing has to be scheduled or it won't get done. I feel much better this last week since I started doing National Novel Writing Month than I have in past years during NaNoWriMo and even this last year! I feel almost guilty for enjoying this so much.

Now, it's off to bed. I have a lot more writing and other stuff to do tomorrow. I will keep you all posted, so please check back tomorrow or leave a comment. And thank you for your support.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 6 & 7

Total word count after Day 6 & 7: 15,316

Here I am, ready to fall asleep at the keyboard. I got up at 7:00 am this morning thinking it was still 8:00 am this morning because I forgot to set all my clocks back. Thank goodness my cell phone did it automatically and we were able to get everything synchronized to the correct time. I still feel like it's later than it really is, and I know from past experience that it's going to take me a while to get used to this new time change.

This weekend the weather was beautiful and it was also a bit hectic. We took care of a lot of things around the house and the yard, including washing my windows inside and out. I also had to take a trip to the Humane Society of Coon Rapids because someone dumped six small kittens off at our place. They were about 8 weeks old, all had their eyes open and were mewing and crying and scratching all night to come into my house, then the next day into the garage. We don't like cats, but we were not going to put with them running around mewing and crying and getting run over by one of us or become owl food out here in the great outdoors I call my backyard. I had a hard time sleeping that night because I could hear them crying and scratching and I wanted to let them in, but I knew if I did, that would be it. Saturday we picked them up, they were not afraid of us, put them into a box and I took them to the Humane Society, the same place I had adopted my Eesha girl over 15 years ago.

I brought them in, and told the nice lady what had happened, she checked them all out and filled out the paperwork. They are old enough to be spayed/neutered, and will have the surgery this week, then be micro chipped and finally put up for adoption on Wednesday or Thursday. Maybe sooner, depending on how things go. I can check on them online because they all were assigned a number and there is a website so I will know when they are adopted. How cool is that?

One more thing.

I want to make this clear to everyone.

I don't want any cats.


I'm a dog person and I don't want a dog right now either.

I have a crazy work schedule and a crazy writing schedule and I barely have time to spend with the love of my life, QH, and my son, Alex.

I have no time for pets, and this is not the humane society or the animal shelter. If you have a pet and are not responsible enough to have it fixed and think dumping off the litter someplace out in the woods by some houses is a great idea, you are dead wrong. Take them to the humane society where they can be put up for adoption. Be more intelligent than your animals. You have opposible thumbs for crying out loud. If you haven't had your pet fixed, do it! And don't give me that, "I can't afford it get them fixed." If you can't be responsible and help keep the pet populations down, then you don't need to be a pet owner.

Now, I'm getting off my soapbox and going to bed. Have a good Monday. :)

Friday, November 05, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day 5 Back In The Saddle Again

Total word count as of the end of Day 5: 10,149

I guess that two day break did me a lot of good. Today was my errands day and I spent it also seeing my nephew, Cannon, who is four years old. He is in preschool this year, and he was telling me all about school, and Star Wars, and his new video game and trick-or-treating and all other sorts of stories. I love being around him and I miss him so much. I used to babysit him from the time he was 6 weeks old until this spring, and he brings so much joy and laughter. You miss that sometimes in your day-to-day when you don't have small children around. (I am not going to be birthing any babies. I enjoy other babies so I can spoil them and send them home to their parents! Sorry, Mom.)

I also stopped a my parents house to see my Mom and Dad, but Dad was at the doctor's office. Mom was glad to see me, and we had a nice visit. I'm going back to their house tomorrow so I can see Dad and pick up my jars so I can make jelly.

The funny thing is, I have been just so busy today and I was really tired, but then I said, I have to write my 2,000 words, at least, and then once I got started and got the music cranking in my headphones, I just flew through the words. Amazing. I guess it's like exercise, that you may not feel like doing it, and you whine about it and then once you start doing it, you feel like a million bucks because you didn't wuss out and fall asleep in front of the television, AGAIN, drooling on yourself watching something like "The Men Who Stare At Goats."

I feel much better now, and I'm really tired. More tomorrow. :)

NaNoWriMo: Day 3 & 4

Total word count for the past 2 days: 0 (zero)

Now, let's talk about this. I know I promised I was going to write 2,000 words a day or more. So far, I have met or exceeded that goal. Now I have two days with no words written on my novel. I'm ok with that.

Part of being in this writing challenge is to know when you need a break, not a long one, but a short one. I have a job, a family, a house to clean, laundry to do, and a voice in my head that begins to wear on my nerves when I am not taking care of these things. The voice turns louder and becomes many voices and nags at me until I DO SOMETHING about the situation or the laundry or makes dinner, or in my case, makes cookies. I also had to give myself time to work things out in my plot.

I know, it sounds like I'm copping out or making excuses for procrastinating, but the truth of it is, I usually get a little worn around the edges when I start out with such a lofty goal and hit it really hard right out of the gate. I did need a break. I was pooped. And since I am working a full time job while I'm doing this, I have to make sure nothing is slipping in my performance at work. 

If you are concerned for my mental well being, I appreciate and acknowledge your concern. Thank you. But I am on medication and I'm fine, voices and all. I also have had a long "conversation" with my characters in my novel and they are promising to make things interesting for this novel challenge. This one might be published. Who knows? You never know until you write it. And that's a more important lesson for any writer out there. If you don't write it out, you won't know if it works or not. Even if it doesn't work, you didn't lose anything at all because you learn so much from going through the process of writing.

Now, I'm going to take a shower, relax and go to bed. And then I'm going to wake up to another beautiful day tomorrow (I hope), and will write my butt off.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010: Day 2

I'm now at 6,747 words total.

I'm flying through this novel. I feel like a runner in a marathon, and the high they talk about as they reach a mile marker and know they are well on their way to the next marker.

I never run. Most of you who know me personally, know that even though I should, I never run. Exercise is the "E" word to me, but I can walk. I love to walk. And now that things are starting to settle in my life and in my writing, I feel the urge to walk. Especially this week.

Last week the weather was like walking out in a hurricane. The cold and the wind and the rain and the dark clouds made you just want to climb back into bed and sleep. This week, the sun is shining and the temperatures are cooler, but the sky is that bright brilliant blue that it only gets in the fall, and with the white puffy clouds, it feels like a perfect day. The leaves make noise underneath your feet, and the trees have bared their hands to heaven. Smells like wood burning and a pumpkin pie baking or some banana bread warm and out of the oven, just make you want to bottle days like this and save them.

Writing is my way of recording what I observe, make sense of what I see, taste, smell, hear, and most importantly, feel. I have always been an observer. I've been content to over hear conversations, to look and watch to see what happens. I was blessed to find a partner in life who enjoys "people watching" like I do and we love when we can just sit back and see how people interact in large crowds, in public, with their families, and their kids.

We also like reading the T-shirts.

One of the most important lessons I take from doing an exercise like NaNoWriMo is the fact I can write whatever I want and it can be the worst crap in America.

And that's ok.

For many years, I thought to be a good writer, you had to struggle and you had to perfect every word, every sentence, every paragraph. You don't have to be that rigid. You can just write. Write your ass off. Write because you feel like it. Write because you are happy, sad, confused, hurt, or bored.

One of the best lessons from Mrs. Fliginger was to just write something, anything, until you write something else. If we couldn't think of something to write, then she would say, "Then write 'I don't know what to write' until you think of something better to write."

I have had to do that to get through my articles, to finish my NaNoWriMo novels in the past when I have let the perfection run me right into a writer's block. It's a trick that works so well. It's so simple and so easy. You almost think it has to be more complicated than that to work. Stop complicating it.

Just write. Be happy, and just write.

Monday, November 01, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

I was debating this year if I would participate in National Novel Writing Month and after some thought, I decided I would. I was more anxious to get started this year than in other years, maybe because I've had the plot of the horror/thriller novel I've started writing in my brain for a few months. Just like in past years, I didn't have the whole plot, but just a rough of what I wanted to write and I would just write it, editing later or letting it sit in limbo in my harddrive. But this year, it's been clear to me more than ever before that the reason I was so anxious to begin is because I've been repressing my writing tendencies for the last few months. I've let life get in the way of my writing.

First it was my new job, which has helped me organize my thoughts and the rest of my life and I've been busy there helping them get things together for events that have come up. I'm looking forward to being hired on full-time, but having a process, a discipline if you will, has helped my writing, when I've taken the time to do it, immensely. I've been able to clarify my thoughts, organize my thoughts and to manage my time much more efficiently. I've been able to write in my journal, sporadically, but I have to write at least a few times a week or I get really crabby.

My English teacher, Mrs. Fliginger, always told us that to be a better communicator you must write at least 2 pages per day, that's 2 notebook pages, front and back, wide ruled. I sometimes write more, sometimes I write less, but I shoot for at least 2 pages in my journal, and it's wide ruled. Thanks to her, I can't write in a college ruled notebook. It just seems wrong.

But the one thing this NaNoWriMo does for me, is the equivalent of running a marathon. You push yourself to see how far you can go. You set goals for yourself and with each word you write you come closer to the finish line. It make take me all month to write this novel, it may not. But thank goodness I have the opportunity to see what I can do. I feel so wonderful after I've "won" a NaNoWriMo and last year, I bragged and told everyone I was going to win it in the first week. Instead, I failed miserably, fell flat on my face. I was so embarrassed by my ego and my lack of organization I didn't even finish my novel nor did I post how many words I wrote. Not this year.

This year, I will post my daily word count on my blog here and on the NaNoWriMo website. If you want to check up on me there, go to and look for Laura Crawford.

To my fellow writers and NaNo participants, Good luck and Happy Writing!