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November 4, 2013

nanoMost of you probably know what NaNoWriMo is, but for those who don’t, it stands for National Novel Writing Month.  The idea is to start a novel on the 1st of November and write everyday.  The end goal is to have 50,000 words and a finished novel.  I participated last year and “won” for the first time in my three attempts.  I totaled out at around 51,000 words on the 28th of November.  I also wrote all of that on my iPad, because I was between computers at the time.  That was… interesting.
We had a NaNo write-in today at the book store.  I was working, so I wasn’t able to participate, but I did try to get a little bit written in between customers.  My trip to Disneyworld put me a little bit behind, but that’s ok.  I’m working on a novel with a partner this year, so I’m not as worried about wordcount.  I just want to make sure I write some every day.  Last year’s novel is still in progress.  It needs a great deal of work.  However, in the meantime, the boy-nugget and I have written a novel together (he is the aforementioned writing partner for my NaNo project).
In case anyone is curious, last year’s project is a zombie novel.  I love zombies.  This year’s book is a sequel to the novel the boy-nugget and I wrote, which is pure space opera.  Think Firefly meets Farscape.  We’re pretty pleased with Book One and excited to get to work on Book Two.  I think NaNo is incredibly valuable.  I am a writer.  I’m not published (hopefully, there’s a ‘yet’ on that), but that isn’t really important right now.  I want to write even if it’s only ever for me.  I have stories to tell and I’m going to tell them.  Maybe, if I’m lucky, someone will pay me for them someday.  But, it’s so easy to get tangled up in my own head and get too frustrated to let the stories out.  The word count goal with NaNo makes you just sit down and write.  There isn’t time to worry about every sentence, you just have to write.  That can get the bones of your story down on paper, or on the screen depending on your preference.  You can always edit material that you’ve gotten down, but you can’t do anything with the words that are still locked up in your head.
Here are the things I find essential to writing:
a beverage of some sort, usually hot tea (vanilla chai with honey or Lady Grey with milk for preference)
some sort of background noise – sometimes it’s music, but sometimes I’ll even put in an audiobook that I’m super familiar with and just let it run
an electronic writing device – either my laptop if I’m home or the iPad and my keyboard if I’m out and about.  Strangely, I found Whole Foods an great place to write last year.

And here's a random picture of me with a Troll from Epcot

And here’s a random picture of me with a Troll from Epcot

And that’s pretty much it.  I’m competitive too, so I like having NaNo friends that I can compete against.  Last year I was pitting myself against everyone in the Birmingham group, Tom Merritt, and Veronica Belmont.   Of course, none of them were competing against me.  It’s sort of like John Scalzi is Brandon Sanderson’s nemesis, but Sanderson isn’t Scalzi’s… It’s a thing.

Here are some resources I have found useful or inspiring during my NaNo journeys:
Writing  Excuses podcast
Mary Robinette Kowal’s blog
John Scalzi’s blog

Note:  those last two can also become dangerous distractions, but you probably knew that already.
Are any of you writers?  What do you write?  Do you blog, write novels, non-fiction, poetry, plays?  Do you journal?  I’m curious.

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