Monthly Archives: November 2012

NaNoWriMo take away

We’re here! Today’s the final day of National Novel Writing Month! For some of you, this may be a celebrated occasion or you may still be burried in your keyboard pounding out those final words. No matter how many words you’ve written this month you are a winner.

You made the commitment to write and acknowledged that you are a writer. This year I didn’t partake in the fun because I was already in the middle of a manuscript. I applaud all that participated and hope that any time saving tips or advice that I shared in previous posts, this month was of some help.

Now that you’ve written until your fingers feel like they may fall off, what did you love most about NaNoWriMo? Will you participate again?

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Thanksgiving- A Day for Family

November is always a big month for serious writers as NaNoWriMo unfolds. As we approach its end it’s normal to feel a sense of pressure to finish your novel goals and become what writers know so well, a recluse.

However tempting it might be to stay hidden in your pages, I beg you to look up and get out of your writing hole and spend the holiday with your family and friends. Of all the “thanks” post I’ve been reading I have yet to see someone’s number one mention be related to their computer of work. It’s always about family and though you want to finish that word count goal, don’t forget what this holiday is about.

Take a break, breath, eat great food and laugh with those you love. Don’t lose sight of the people that support your writing.

Plus, a small break before the final NaNo push may be just what you need. Take this time to step away from your manuscript. I find that stepping away gives me a fresh set of eyes when I return. Enjoy a break before the final push and you’ll find yourself more relaxed and sharper in your work.

What are your non-writing plans for the holiday?

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Benefits of the quick draft

When I was on the plane moving to Saudi Arabia I started writing a new fiction novel. The idea had come to me a few weeks prior and I had taken some notes on it. Now a month later, I am almost done with the book. I would have finished it in a month had I not taken some time off for our move. Many of you are participating in NaNoWriMo this month and writing an entire book in one month. There are many benefits to writing a quick draft if you do it right.

Ideas come to me all the time and when one simply won’t leave me alone, I know that it’s the right one to work on. The problem is that I’m the world’s worst at second guessing myself. I typically get a little over halfway through a story and then I decide it’s no good. A quick draft can prevent such second guessing. When you dive into the story and allow it to flow quickly it fosters more creativity and prevents negativity.

But how can you be creative and still outline?

It’s easy and time efficient. I always outline at least 10 points ahead. In addition I always have the final two points of my novel outlined so I always know where things are headed. By only outlining 10 steps ahead I maintain a flow and I’m not just rambling on my pages. However, it allows my characters to maintain some creative flow. In my current manuscript I switch villains. Well not technically but the villain I began with outlived (literary) her purpose in developing my hero and heroine. So I made this bad girl a hurtle to the BIG CHALLENGE. By allowing more creativity over strict outlining, I give my true creativeness a playground to develop something truly great and organic.

Through my writing journey, I’m finding this process easiest in the quick draft. It gives me less time to second guess my initial instincts and allows me to really enjoy writing as a passion rather than a job.

Many of you are experiencing the art of the quick draft this month with NaNoWriMo. Do you like writing a quick draft? How has this helped your writing?

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So much time, so little to do

No, this title isn’t a proofreading error. It comes from one of my favorite ‘Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory’ (the original, sorry Johnny) quotes. The entire quote is, “So much time and so little to do. Wait, strike that and reverse it!”

We all stay busy but there are simple things we can do to make the most of the writing/creative time we get. Many of us are participating in NaNoWriMo this month and these tips are great for getting a good start to a big writing month.

1. Wake up an hour early. You can do it!
2. Consider a thirty-minute, easy workout part of the above-mentioned hour. Getting some exercise will really jump those creative juices in gear!
3. Read over your work at the end of each day. This will refresh your memory on what you’ve done and you actually like it. Also it will get you thinking about the next day’s goals. Maybe you’ll dream about the next day’s scenes in your sleep!

There are easy things you can do to jump-start that writing career you’ve been talking about. Just stop, think, and plan. Test out the plan and see what works best for you.

What tip helped you find the routine that’s working for you?

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The productiveness of a writing flow

Having a writing flow or work flow is essential to being productive and happy with your work. Lately thanks to our fabulous new nanny, I’ve been able to really enjoy a new flow that is proving productive to me. However, I haven’t always had a nanny or the luxury of time to effectively maintain a lengthy writing flow but there are ways to accomplish similar success when in time constraints.

First of all, we are all busy. Everyone has something be it a toddler, an elderly parent, an actual steady paying job, etc. If you want to write you can find a way to do it. Something that has helped me in times where I can’t write for a long period of time is how I take notes. When my daughter needs me, I quickly jot down on an easily accessible tablet a few words telling me what scene I was writing and where it was going.

This way when I do sit back down to resume the flow I don’t have to spend time reading back and remembering what I was doing. It takes just a second to write down a note and I’ve found that it saves me so much time. Believe me, it’s worth taking the time.

Another thing I do is schedule monthly writing retreats. Now, yes most writing retreats can get expensive especially depending on where you travel. This is why I schedule my writing retreats right at home. All you have to do is inform your family that on (insert day and times) you will be working. Schedule it around family time and activities. This is a great way to involve your family in your work.

What tips have you learned when trying to get and maintain a writing flow? Share them in a comment below!

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Irons in the fire

I always have several irons in the fire. I like to stay busy and with multiple projects. This way, I never get bored and have many things to work on if I need to shift gears.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; there is no such thing as writer’s block! I do get stuck on scenes and when I do I simply shift gears to another project.

Now you don’t have to have multiple projects to agree with me. Just divide up what you do. For example, if you write fiction, divide up your work.

1. Writing
2. Editing
3. Research
4. Promotion

These are four tasks that every writer does whether you have one project or five. If you are writing and find yourself stuck on a scene, simply switch gears. Take some time to edit your last chapter, do some research for an upcoming scene or write a blog post that will benefit your promotion.

Take a moment away from your work to switch gears to another task. Don’t get too caught up in whatever you switched to. Just edit a scene and then return to whatever was giving you some trouble. Just the act of “walking away” and doing something else is enough to return to your work with clear and open mind.

If you just need to get away from writing work all together you can also take a break to fold clothes, do the dishes- I know fun stuff, right? Just do something other than staring at your pages.

By taking time away from a troublesome scene you will see a huge difference in your productivity and you can say farewell to writer’s block!

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Making the most of a flood

Today’s blog has even more meaning to it than when I originally wrote it. Several weeks ago our dog Oscar woke up at 3AM with the sudden need to go outside and tend to some business. My husband took him downstairs and they were greeted by ankle deep water that covered the entire downstairs. It didn’t take my husband long to find the problem. A pipe under out kitchen sink was still pouring water out into our new home in Saudi Arabia.

I do want to compliment the maintenance workers. We rent our home from the company, which my husband works for. We called maintenance and they were at our house within 15 minutes of our call, even in the middle of the night.

After a lot of work, our house cleaned up and is just fine. With exception of two new rugs, an Xbox gaming system and some of Baby Markey’s dolls, there was little damage. Had our main shipment arrived, the damage would have been much worse.

So other than the importance of making sure your electronics are off the floor (even when you’re unpacking) what did I learn from this experience? NEVER PUT ANYTHING OFF TIL THE NEXT DAY!

As a writer, I get the luxury of setting my own schedule. This is a great thing but it also makes it very easy to put projects off until the last minute. Luckily I was in a good place writing wise and could take a couple of days off for flood cleaning without falling too behind. But I did see how such an event could be devastating if I was up against a hard deadline.

All writers, whether you have an actual deadline or not should make personal deadlines and work ahead of them so your stress can be manageable when a “flood” occurs.

Many American’s were affected by the super-storm Hurricane Sandy. My family left for a mini-vacation to Bahrain and returned to find Sandy dominating the news. We were gone for three days and the news completely shifted from election coverage to Hurricane coverage in that small time.

Life can throw us curve balls out of left field. We may think we have plenty of time to make that deadline or goal but are we really allowing enough time? If a “flood” strikes how will it affect your writing schedule?

Work ahead and always stay ahead of what life will throw at you.

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Hello NaNoWriMo, Hello Community

If you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, you may or may not be reading this post but if you’re needing a writing break or NaNoWriMo wasn’t your plan this year, then welcome. I believe that NaNoWriMo isn’t just about cranking out as many words as you can in a short amount of time. It’s also about community.

The writing community is a very friendly one and being part of this community is important for motivation. Writing is a very tiring and thankless job. Meeting and interacting with other writers is important when in this position. All writers experience the same emotional highs and lows. Being part of such a community can help writers no matter what stage they are in.

So this month, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo take a writing break and make some new friends. Support one another and know that wherever you are with your writing there is someone else out there just like you.

It’s been a struggle since “the move” to get my writing routine back so I haven’t been reading or praising many blogs lately. It’s sad, really there is so much information out there just waiting to be absorbed. A post yesterday did get my attention and I agree with everything that author Jenny Hansen says. I know NaNoWriMo is underway and you must crank out that daily word count but take a moment to read, Staying motivated through the time-suck of “greatness.”

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