January first. Another new year. In some ways, 2021 seemed to last forever. Maybe it just seems that way because the days of 2020 and 2021 blurred together in seemingly endless restrictions and social distancing.
Then again, it seems like we just celebrated the 2021 new year, hoping for better days. In some ways, that did happen. In some ways, 2021 was more of the same. Regardless, while the days may have dragged, the months seemed to fly by as the weeks were marked off. And now here we are on the cusp of a new year.
For me, the first day of the new year means making plans for the new year as well as taking time to reflect back on the prior year.
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know that I participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) every November. Every year since 2008 (14 years)! I wrote about it here in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.
And holy fish nuggets, I’m wondering where the heck this year has gone, much less this month. Here we are (nearly) halfway through November. And I haven’t written one blog post about NaNoWriMo 2021!
w00t! I am dancing up a storm on this cloudy Sunday afternoon because
I won NaNoWriMo!
That’s right. I wrote 50,000 words in 22 days.
FIFTY THOUSAND words in TWENTY-TWO days.
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo every year for the last 12 years. And this is only my 3rd win.
So I’m celebrating!
I swear it was just November 1 and I was just starting my NaNoWriMo 2020 writing journey. And now here it is November 22 and my word count total stands at 50,536.
How frickin’ awesome is that?
I will admit this has been a rather strange writing journey. As I previously wrote, I only had a vague idea of what I would start writing on November 1. As the first days passed, I found the story pouring out of me. I was hitting over 2,000 words each writing session and I was on target to hit 50,000 words on November 19.
But then this past week got a bit tough. Not only did I travel for work, which got me out of my writing routine, I also hit a wall writing-wise.
I hit the creative wall because the story didn’t go where I thought it would. But I was so close to the goal. So I plugged away and kept writing. I do feel the story has gotten a bit off track.
But that’s not important at this moment because
Well, the story doesn’t have an ending yet. So I will keep writing and I’ll keep updating my word count.
At this stage, this is raw writing. Just getting the words on the page. After I get to the ending, then I will spend some time outlining. Yes, I know that’s funny since I’m a pantser (writes by the seat of my pants with no plan at all), but I find it easier to outline once I know where the story is going.
Once I finish the outline, then I will go back and begin the basic editing process. I will start with rewriting those parts that don’t quite fit or I don’t quite like. Then at some point I have to put the story together in a sequence that fits.
When I write, I write whatever comes to me. Right now, I have about 28 sections or chapters. But these are not really in any kind of order. That will be part of my outlining process—to figure out a sequence.
And then if I decide I still like the story, I may even do a second round of editing. Maybe I even ask some people to be beta readers. Who knows?
At this point, I’m just happy to be a NaNoWriMo 2020 Winner!
October whizzed by and now it’s nearly mid-November. And I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a month.
Where has the fall gone?
I spent October tied up in reading challenges. I participated in a record number of reading challenges and readathons across three platforms—Litsy, Instagram, and Facebook (although I post the majority of my bookish stuff on Litsy).
In October, I finished 45 books! And I blew past my Goodreads annual goal of 182 books. Here’s the breakdown of the 45:
1 one-star that was also a DNF
Yes, 80% of the 45 were audiobooks. Basically, I listened to audiobooks at all times except for when I was at work. I’ve found audiobooks are great because I can do other things, like crafts or puzzles while listening to an audiobook.
The two 5-star reads were The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury, a fun romp through time and space to discover the origins of Halloween, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, a middle grade novel about a boy raised in a graveyard. And my favorite thing about Neil Gaiman audiobooks is that Neil himself narrates them. So even though I have physical copies of most of his books, I still love the audiobooks.
In October, I was also organizing and managing a Halloween-themed book swap as well as participating in two other Halloween-themed book swaps. For one of my swaps, I completed this awesome witch-themed cross-stitch and I also made a sign that says “Own your magic,” but of course I forgot to take a photo of it before I mailed it.
I also spent October finally organizing some. I got a new bookcase, which I desperately needed. With the addition of my new bookcase, I finally organized my books and bookish knick-knacks.
The coolest thing about this book case is that the smaller front row of shelves slides. And those small shelves are perfect for knick-knacks.
I love it so much I *might* just have to get another one so I have a matching pair.
So reading, crafting, and organizing took up all of October. And now it’s November. Nearly mid-November. And I haven’t written a blog post in nearly a month. October blew by and now November is whizzing by. Why? Because I’m in the middle of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short).
As I mentioned a few posts ago, I have participated in NaNoWriMo every year since 2008. This is my 12th year. And once again, I have fallen firmly in the pantser category despite my good intentions to do some planning. (Pantser, for those not familiar with NaNoWriMo terms, is someone who just starts writing on November 1 with maybe only the vaguest idea. In other words, pantsers write by the seat of their pants.)
I did have good intentions to do some planning in October. I thought I would not only jot some ideas down, but maybe do a tentative outline. But I admit that I did not spend October planning for NaNoWriMo in any way. Seriously, with upteen reading challenges, when would I have had the time anyway?
I did have a sort of story idea back in September. But I went with the new story idea that started nagging me for about a week in mid-October and I’m so glad I did. Of course, I didn’t write the original idea down and now that idea is gone. I hope whomever catches that idea does better with it than I did.
Despite my lack of planning, I did block out 7 pm to 9 pm Monday though Friday and 8 am to 10 am on the weekends to write. By scheduling writing time, I’ve not only made writing a priority, I’ve made it a routine. And my 2020 story, which is tentatively called Ghost Dog, has been flowing out of me as fast as I can write it.
After day 1 went so well, I decided to set a daily word count goal of 2,000 words, which is above the NaNoWriMo daily goal of 1,667 words. So far, I have hit my target 2,000 word count goal within 90 minutes or less. That has averaged out to about 2 chapters a night. Once I hit my target goal and reach a good stopping point (which has been more than 2,000 words), I allow myself to stop early. Like a reward system.
To further motivate me, I keep track of my daily word count. And this year, I have set some personal bests.
In 2017, it took me until November 15 to hit 25,000 words and until November 28 to reach 50,000 words. (See my posted 2017 daily word count here). Although I can’t find my word count by day for 2013 (the other year I “won” NaNoWriMo), I know it took me until the end of the month to hit 50,000 words.
This year, I hit 25,000 words yesterday, November 10. FIVE days before my 2017 record and five days before NaNoWriMo progress chart. (If I was writing 1,667 words per day, I’d be at 18,337 on November 10).
I contribute my success so far to primarily being in a good mental place—I live on a sub-tropical island, which I love; I watch the ocean daily, which is relaxing; I love my job and have a fantastic boss, which is all-around good—and so, despite the challenges of this year, I have relatively low stress levels right now.
And so I’m on track to hit 50,000 words on November 19. I may or may not make that goal, but I will write 50,000 words by the end of the month. And having such a nice word count cushion further eases the stress of writing.
I’m having a great NaNoWriMo season so far.
So make sure to check back at the end of the month for my NaNoWriMo 2020 wrap-up post. I may even share a bit of my rough draft. In the meantime, I’ll update my daily word count on my new NaNoWriMo 2020 word count page.
Remember a few days ago I posted about my flash of inspiration? And how I went from opting not to do NaNoWriMo this year to being geared up for it? (If not, then read this.)
Yeah, well welcome to my mega-fail moment.
Somehow the inspired first sentence, the one I sped walked home repeating to myself over and over again so I could get it down, has disappeared.
That’s right. Gone. Missing. MIA. No more.
I’ve searched every folder on my computer the past two days and nada.
It’s just gone. Vanished. *poof*
There are those of you who might tell me to put on my big girl pants and just write anyway. Trust me. I’ve tried. While I remember the gist of the sentence, I can’t remember exactly what I wrote. And nothing I’ve tried to come up with since has the same feel as the original inspired sentence.
Let me put it another way.
I’ve tried to write another first sentence, but that’s as far as I get. The rest is just blank. When I came up with the missing sentence, I saw the characters, the story line, the action.
See the difference?
(This might make more sense if you could see inside my head. Then again, that might be too scary of a place for you non-introverts.)
And so I’m back to where I was pre-inspiration. le sigh
So lesson learned kiddos. Always make a back-up. And in my case, in the future, I’ll be making a back-up of my back-up.
For those keeping track, I’m now 5,001 words behind schedule. (Or 4,678 if I count this blog post.) So far, 2019 is not shaping up to be the best NaNoWriMo year.
If you happen to have some spare inspiration, send it my way. Or better yet, if you’re a computer genius, help me find my missing file. In the meantime, I’ll be sitting over in the corner grumpy and despondent.
We are days away from November 1. You know what that means . . . it’s (almost) time for
Since 2008, I have annually participated in National Novel Writing Month. Every year I make a valiant effort and usually get a few good blog posts out of the process even though I don’t always “win” (i.e., write 50,000 words). Check out a few of my previous NaNoWriMo posts here, here, and here.
But this year I (almost) decided not to participate.
It’s that time of year again! No, I’m not referring to PSL season (or really, pumpkin spice anything and everything season. It’s actually gotten a bit out of control IMO). And no, I’m not referring to the pre-pre-Christmas nonsense (why am I already seeing Christmas things in the stores?).
Tis the NaNoWriMo Prep Season! It’s the season to get ready to write like mad!
Wow. Has this year flown by or what?! Here we are already a week into December and since I was writing furiously last month, I’ve been lax on posting. So let’s catch up on what’s been happening. Continue reading “Post-November Updates”