Tuesday, October 30, 2012

To NaNo or Not to NaNo...

...that is the question. (With apologies to the Bard. ; )

All writers have heard of the National Novel Writing Month and either plan to jump in with both feet, grateful for the camaraderie, or shake in a cold sweat at the very idea of attempting to draft 50,000 words in a month.

Me? I'm in the latter group. ; ) But that admission doesn't mean that I don't love to play along on the outside of the "official" NaNo. My beloved Forum provides just such a way to play. Check out the Mini-NaNo thread.

Thinking about attempting even the Mini-NaNo made me think about journeys and what it takes to accomplish one. In the past, our ancestors packed up and moved great distances over rugged terrain in wagons. Planning for a trip, even for a few days, requires planning, so to plan to write for a month does, too. Listing what will be needed for the "trip" is important. Some writers work from extensive outlines. As I'm a bit allergic to formal outlines, I find a list of possible scenes to be enough. But the fact that I list them out, means my brain is already primed to work...at least I hope so. ; )

A ready access to research, paper, pens, and computer is necessary. Some writers even cook ahead and freeze soups, stews, and chilies. Others do a major cleaning before starting so that they don't feel pulled from writing to dust the blinds. (I'm not in that category, but I have gotten the unpacking done from the renovations...or will before Thursday gets here. ; )

What about you? Are you planning on doing NaNo in any form?
What preparations do you make before starting?

Here are some bonus notes from the Surrey  Conference Live:
My thoughts and prayers to all affected by Hurricane Sandy. Have a safe Halloween and get your pens and computers ready.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Just When You Need a Pep Talk...

Just when I think I can't love the Books & Writers Forum any more, something comes along and make it ever better. Last weekend, when a lot of the Forumites were attending (some as presenters) the Surrey International Writers Conference in Canada, Forum member Deniz hosted a Virtual Surrey Conference at good, old B&W. I feel like I got to attend the real thing only I got to sleep in my own bed. ; )

We checked in on Friday and had all sorts of workshops to participate in. If you don't have time to sample all of these, you owe it to yourself to check out Technical Topics with Jo Bourne.

I hope you get time to try them all. By the way, it's easy to join the Forum. We love new writers and readers of all types. ; )

There's a lot more there, but I thought this would be plenty to whet your appetite for all the goodness of the Books & Writer's Forum. And as a bonus, Dee-Ann, the lucky, who got to go to the real thing posted some of her notes. Enjoy!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Musical Chairs

First, it was moving the living room and study furniture into the spare bedroom, dining room, solarium, and back bathroom so the new carpet could be laid. Once that was done, we moved some furniture back in its rightful places and rehung the doors. Then we moved the dining room chairs from the back bathroom and into the spare bedroom where the doors had been stacked. That makes getting to the toilet a bit easier. ; ) Now, we've moved the dining room furniture into the study so that floor can be tiled.

Someday, we'll be done with this wave of renovation, but don't hold your breath. It's going to take awhile yet.

Until then, the analogies of house renovation to writing will just be too easy to ignore.

Think about our musical chairs game with the furniture. It's a lot like rewriting.We shift scenes around to make the story flow and juggle sentences to make a paragraph smooth out. And even continue on down to word and comma level. Getting finished takes a lot of shifting, fitting, cutting, and moving. Then we still worry that we are not done. At least until that glorious day when we decide there's nothing else we can do and we send our 'babies' into the world for others to read.

Come to think about it, it's kind of like hosting an open house to show off a new renovation, isn't it?

Monday, October 8, 2012


After a long drought--some of which is not my fault, but that I've made worse and more prolonged--I've found some truths to motivation that I think will help me get going again.

I’m going to try. It’s the least and the most I can do.

Something is better than nothing.

My journey is my journey. My progress is my progress.

Motivation is one of those nebulous concepts. It's something we know when we see it, but can't quite figure out how to manufacture. One truth that really hits me, is that it can't come from outside. Long lists of what must be done, or looking at others' progress and comparing what you're doing, or thinking you can recreate the wheel and skip over craft lessons can all be causes of decreased creativity. I know them all well.

At least now I have a few truths to turn to and measure the current stoppage against. I can ask, what is it this time, and with the answer, I plan to get going again without doubling down on the doubt.

What blocks you?
What helps you get started writing gain?

Monday, October 1, 2012

When It's All Said And Done...

No, I'm not done with a rough draft, but the study is nearly back together and I'm back at the computer. And it struck me how like writing house renovation is.

We have the first big project completed--new sub flooring, new carpet, and the trim painted--but we aren't done.There's still a door or two to paint, nicks to be touched up, and putting all the clothes and furniture back in place. But you can tell what we aimed to do this go around is done. Not to mention the fact that we want to continue with new flooring in the dining room. Ultimately we want to paint the bedrooms and gut the kitchen.

Writing is a lot like that. Once we have a rough draft completed, we aren't completely done. There's reading for holes in the story, word choice, consistency, and grammar. Then there's the query, synopsis, and more editing to do.

And even then, when we get a contract, there will be even more edits as our agents and editors speak up.

So, I'm celebrating a partial completion today. The study is usable again and that means I'll be able to get back to writing....At least until my hubby calls on me to hold a door, go get a tool, buy supplies, etc., etc., etc.  ; )

What about you? What interim points do you like to celebrate on this journey of writing?

And now a comic that says the same thing--only better.
Check out Writer Unboxed