Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed . ~ 2 Timothy 2:15

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Countdown NaNo

Only two more days until NaNoWriMo starts!

I'm getting ready to crank out 50K words in 30 days by reading all the writing blogs and articles I feel will motivate me as I face this seemingly overwhelming challenge.

I can do this. I can do this. (Do I sound like "the little engine who could"?)

I did the math. Writing 6 days a week (taking Sundays off), to meet the goal of 50K words for the month, I have to write just 2,000 words a day. (2,000 words x 26 days = 52,000 words)

I can do this. I can write 2,000 words a day. Why, that's not even a chapter! I can do this!

I wrote around 1,600 words a day in my travel journal on our 2-week vacation last month. And it didn't take me more than an hour. Honest.

I just wrote.

I didn't plan. I didn't think. I didn't edit myself (too much).

I just wrote.

And that's what I plan to do during NaNo.

Just write.

I will lock up the internal editor. Better yet, I will bind her with duct tape first.

I will free the muse.

I can do this.

NOTE: Books & Such agent Rachelle Gardner gives some great advice in her blog, "Writing a First Draft." Also check out "5 Habits of Motivated Novelists" for more ways to crank out words.


1. Set time to write every day. (9 a.m. - 12 p.m., then 1 - 3 p.m., or whenever word count for the day is met.)

2. Keep writing time sacred:

  • STAY OFF Internet. That includes Facebook and other social networking sites. Research after word count is met. Only when daily word count is met post progress on blog, NaNoWriMo site, and FB.
  • Do not check email. 
  • Do not use phone. Let the answering machine or voice mail take incoming calls. 
  •  Do not schedule anything during writing time.

3. Write 2,000 words a day, Monday-Saturday. No excuses. 

4. Push forward.

5. Don't think.

6. Just write. 

I'm fortunate in that I don't work outside the home, I live in the middle of nowhere, the nest is empty, and my husband works 11-hour days (is gone 12 hours M-F), and is content with simple suppers.

How about you? What are you doing to get ready for NaNo?

Keep writing,

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wisdom for writers

What advice do you wish you'd been given when you first began writing?

That's the question editor and writer Nick Harrison addressed in his blog today, "Advice I Wish I'd Been Given," an excellent piece for writers at every stage. I identified with all of his points, but especially with "cultivate patience," to which I add "persistence and perseverance." Which piece of advice do you most relate to?

Another good post is today's "Wednesday's Writing on Writing" blog by Jerry B. Jenkins, who reminds us it's never too late to become what you dream to be.

Do check out the list of blogs for writers ("BLOG TO HONE YOUR WRITING SKILLS") on the right of this page. I admit I don't read them all as soon new posts are published, but I do scan the titles and pick the ones I think will help me where I am right now in my writing.

As I fuel up for NaNoWriMo, I've been reading more blogs for writers, especially those that deal with fiction technique and motivation.

What about you? How are you fueling up for NaNo?

Keep writing!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Getting ready for NaNoWriMo

Getaway Mountain, my current novel-in-progress, was flowing along great when it came to a skidding halt in mid-July. Life happens, you know? And I haven't been able to get back to it since.

Most of the summer was spent getting ready for our fortieth wedding anniversary trip, a two-week camping trip in mid-September through the Finger Lakes region of New York, on to Fort Ticonderoga, through Vermont and New Hampshire, and up the coast of Maine to Mount Desert Island, where we spent a week exploring the island and Acadia National Park.

The week after we returned home was mop-up-after-vacation and get-caught-up week. The second week was get-ready-for-the-conference week. I'm the assistant director for the Punxsutawney Christian Women's Conference.

So here we are, the third week back from vacation, and I still can't find the energy to plunge back into writing.

I did, however, complete and submit this month's assignment for my Christian Writers Guild Craftsman course. And today I had my Skype appointment with my mentor, Sandra Byrd.

"I just don't have the passion for this novel that I had for the first and second ones I wrote," I told her ("whined" is more like it).

"You're tired," she said. "It's like a cell phone battery. You have to recharge it all the way. If you unplug it when it's only at 20 percent, it's going to die out faster than if you fully recharged it."

Makes sense. And she's spot-on.

My friend, conference speaker and author Virelle Kidder writes in her book, Meet Me at the Well, "Body, mind, and spirit are one complete package. When one part suffers, the whole person suffers."

When one part is exhausted, so are the other two.

I've been running on all cylinders for months, and I'm plumb tuckered out. In body, mind, and spirit.

Writing requires energy. "Creativity" sounds nice, but while we writers feed on it, in reality it burns a great deal of energy - uses up the charged battery.

What does this have to do with NaNoWriMo?

Everything. If I'm to have the energy to write 50,000 words in the month of November and get my WIP going again, I need to start recharging that creative battery now.


  • Plug in to power sources that feed my writing: For me that's reading, especially fiction and authors I enjoy reading. And how-to's (books, articles, blogs) on the craft, especially anything by James Scott Bell.
  •  Rest: About recharging batteries - I've noticed when I'm recharging my Kindle Fire and using it at the same time, it takes longer to recharge. It doesn't take the valedictorian of MIT to see that giving it a rest while it's recharging will speed up the process. 
  • Play with the plot. A rough outline will provide a map when I run into "What's next?"  during NaNoWriMo. While we were on vacation, I journaled nearly every day about the trip. I didn't plot and plan. I just wrote - and discovered I can easily write 1,500 words a day and not take all day or several hours to do it. That's what I plan to do during NaNoWriMo -- just write!
I'm getting ready for NaNoWriMo. What about you?

(NOTE: Those of you who sign up for NaNoWriMo, let me know! We can be NaNoWriMo writing buddies!)