November Notions

Welcome to November everyone! Its been a long time coming, and we’re already a week into the month. I’m hoping that everyone is doing well with their word counts, as we’ve only got three weeks remaining to reach 50,000 words!

With all of the distractions that arise during the month, its easy to fall behind on your work. Take a few minutes each day to look at your schedule and see where your writing is going to fit into your day. The bet thing to do is to set a particular time each day, and sit down to work. Set up your work space to best suit your writing needs.

I make sure to let my husband, my friends, and my co-workers know that I will be busy at that time of the day, and only to interrupt me during that time if the sun is exploding! My writing space is well stocked with gum and snack foods, and I make sure to have a full travel mug of coffee or tea ready and waiting when I begin (my travel mugs are rather large, so they should last through my entire word count goal for the session). I even have particular finger-less gloves that I wear, since my hands freeze while I’m typing (and since we’re in the wonderful state of Michigan, it’ll be getting frigid really quickly) that live in my writing space. As long as everything is right at hand, there is no reason that I should have to leave my computer until I reach my goal (or surpass it, in my husband’s eyes.)

1667 words may seem like a lot, but if you put your mind to it, you can easily achieve that total and more. My husband is a gamer, and he made a point of telling me “If Link went into a pot store and only broke 1667 of the pots inside, Princess Zelda will know something’s wrong with him. Break them all!” If I don’t at least reach, if not exceed my word count, he cheers me on, coaxing me to keep going. Support systems are key to my success every year, even if its just the support of my friends on the forums.

Set your goals, find yourself a cheering section (even if it’s just your pets), and get to writing! You’ve got a whole month ahead of you!

I smell marshmellows!

Camp is right around the corner – just a few weeks away now. I will admit, this session snuck up on me – I’m not prepared in the least to hunker down and write next month. I know that writing 50,000 words in a month is a huge commitment, and committing to this several months out of the year is daunting.

I also know that I will still find myself at the keyboard come April 1st. As much as it pains me to begin a novel and not see it through to its conclusion, I know that if I don’t start writing, the novel will never be completed. I can’t let that happen – there are far too many worlds and far too many characters in my mind, and there are far too many shenanigans to be had in the pages of the novels I will have occasion to write.

For the next few weeks, I’m dedicating my time to cleaning out my computer. I booted my laptop the other day and began to look into my work in the past, and  my jaw dropped. There are dozens of half finished novels hidden in the memory banks of my computer, and probably hundreds of ideas what to write next. I saved everything that I might want to use, everything that I wrote (including multiple copies of some of my projects), and everything that I though my inspire me to keep writing. It’s time to simplify things in my writing cave, so that I can actually be productive this year.

First thing on the agenda: disorganize everything!

I know, it sounds really counterproductive, but hear me out. I’m looking at probably 50-100 folders on my computer that I honestly can’t remember what is inside of them. Its time to pull EVERYTHING out of storage and drop it into one huge folder on my desktop. All of the sub folders that I have created for my writing files are to be deleted. There will be nowhere for my ideas to hide.

Second: Open everything and read the first fifteen lines

I judge the novels I read by the first chapter. If I can’t find myself hooked into the story, or seriously confused enough to keep reading past that point, I pass on the book. I know, I make snap judgements, but that keeps my time devoted to the books that really call out to me. My writing should have the same influence on my audience as I ask others’ writing to have on myself. If I can read through the first few paragraphs of my own writing and still be intrigued to continue writing, then that file is safe. If I can’t get through that first fifteen lines without wanting to close out of the file, it’s time to say goodbye. (I use this method for all of my ML files as well – old punch cards, games, agendas for events, etc. are all thrown out if I’m not totally in love with the contents. There is no reason to keep these things lying around in my computer if I don’t plan on using them in the future.)

Third: Create a new system to organize the remaining files

Once the dead plots are buried in the trash, its time to make new homes for what remains. I am planning on keeping everything simple this year:

  1. ML Documents
    1. Pep Talks
    2. Event documents
    3. Flyers and Printables
    4. Library Connection
    5. Pictures
  2. Projects
    1. Novels
    2. Word Count Trackers
    3. Poetry
    4. Scripts

Fourth: Use the system and WRITE

Anything that I want to save from this point in regards to writing or NaNo needs to fall into the above categories. If I can’t find a place for the item, it doesn’t get saved. This will help keep from being overwhelmed while looking for information and hopefully keep me on track for the coming year.

Fifth: Clean!

It helps when the place you’re going to call your writer’s cave is actually a pleasant place to write. Currently my office has been turned into the storage room of the house, and there is just barely a path to my desk. I want to feel at home when I walk into the room, and want to stay in there more than a few minutes, so it’s time to apply the same principles to the room that I do to my computer files!

 

What are your plans to prepare for the coming month of writing? What goals are you setting for yourself before April gets here, to help you through the month?

Anticipation and Events

National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner. This year, we have a full roster of events in the works for the region, and we hope that we will see you guys there!

The month of September will be dedicated to planning for the month of November, as well as getting acquainted with the general practices of the coming events as well as general writing tips. We will be creating a writer’s inspirational notebook to be used through the months of October and November (you will be able to find more information at the September events as well as on our regional Facebook page.)

The month of October will be completely focused on novel planning. We will be working on character development, plot outlining, and focused writing improvement exercises. November is right around the corner, so October is the best time for any concerns about the coming month’s events or the region in general.

This year, our region’s theme is “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” which will begin to seep into the events as early as mid-September. We may have a few craft projects through the months before November to help inspire or motivate our writers – as well as to have a little fun before the insanity sets in!

Each Campfire Lights Anew

(Over the past two months, I’ve been fighting to resurrect my laptop from the ashed of its latest crash, only to find that nothing can be done short of a hard drive wipe to fix the issues. It has been difficult to keep with with things through my husband’s smartphone, but we are working on a new fix for the issue. I appreciate your patience with the transition.)

Sweep out the mess hall and caulk the canoes – Camp NaNoWriMo 2015 is about to begin!

I know that many of you think that the campers are crazy – one month out of the year is bad enough, but now we’re heading into a second round of punishment? I find camp to be a relaxing venture into the depth of my novels, rather than the insanity that November brings. I love sitting through the extra months of writing, and love the extra support from others doing what we love to do – write!

Camp NaNoWriMo is what you make of it. Camp is about a small circle of writers, or no circle at all. It is about doing what you love at the pace that you set to reach the goals that you set. The biggest goal of Camp, just like NaNoWriMo in November, is to get the words written – but however many words you want to write (or how few) is completely up to you.

Our region hosts several events through the summer months, both indoors and outside. I host a write-in weekly at the Spring Arbor McDonalds on Fridays, as well as a write-in Wednesday afternoons, weather permitting, in Harmony Park (behind the Spring Arbor McDonalds). We also have our chat room, which is available 24/7/365, for whoever wants to join us. Hopefully we will see you there!

2014 – A year of updates

Nano is officially over for the year. Now that we all have had a while to relax, let us look back on November’s insanity.

This year, the jaxnano twitter feed received a major overhaul. I have added several weekly updates, as well as quotes and challenges to help writers through the month.  This has been a huge success, and I am happy to say that we will keep this format throughout the life of our twitter feed.

I spent patt of the year working on our blog, and have had several issues with the host sites. I am happy to inform you all that we have returned to WordPress, and will remain here until further notice. All old blog posts have been deleted, and we will start fresh with the coming year.

November 2014 brought us a higher attendance record than any other year when it came to write-ins. A big thank you to everyone who came to an event this year. For those of you who find that writing is a year round joy, we will be working to host events throughout the year of 2015, and will be active through both sessions of camp nanowrimo.

We have a permanent location for our event in the coming year – the coffee house located in spring arbor.

Hopefully the coming year finds you happy, healthy, and filled with ideas. Keep an eye on the forums throughout the year for updates as well as events!