Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Weekends

Why do weekends always go by so fast? I swear, Douglas Adams was right; time really is an illusion. It was bad enough when my weekend came in the middle of the week but now that I have the same weekend as everyone else I swear I blink and it’s over before it’s begun – and long before I’ve had enough time to do all the things I wanted to do.

Fortunately, this is going to be a short week for me. I work today and tomorrow, then Wednesday is just a half day and no school on Thursday and Friday, so maybe I can actually finally get caught up on stuff.

Of course, one of those days I have to take my car to the garage. On the way to Michael’s on Saturday it started sounding like it was going to drop the muffler at any time. (Actually, it sounded like the entire back end of the car was going to fall off, but the logical part of my mind knows it’s the muffler.)

Aside from the car it was a pretty uneventful weekend. I did a lot of errand-running on Saturday (and got thoroughly peopled out) and on Sunday I got a lot of stuff done around the house. (Not all that I’d planned, but, well, time went into hyper space and came out near bedtime.)

I’m doing pretty good at keeping up with my Habitica goals, although I do find myself changing the “due date” on some of the stuff on my To Do list because I always over-schedule myself.

I haven’t worked with WordKeeperAlpha much yet (and probably won’t until December or January) but I am getting a handle on Asana and have a goal to add a project a day to it until all of my WiPs and starts and ideas are entered. Anyone want to start a pool on when that will be done? (And can I keep ahead of the plot bunnies?)

My outline for November is coming along slowly. At this point it’s probably more notes to myself than actual outline, but it’s coming along. I hope to have the first draft of it done by the end of the week. (Yes, I do drafts of outlines. Doesn’t everyone?)

And the space battle scene in Onyx Sun is starting to pick up momentum. I’m even doing more than the one sentence that I promised myself I’d do every day. (Hmm. Maybe that can get wrapped up on my days off this week too.)

So that’s the latest. I have a four (and a half) day weekend coming up that I’m really looking forward to and my writing mojo seems to be on an upswing. Can’t wait to see what the week holds…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Goal Tracking App Update

On Monday I talked about a couple apps I was going to try out to help with productivity: Habitica and Asana  . Since then I’ve come across another one (WordKeeperAlpha which I found via Rachel Poli’s blog (and she found it via Skye Hegyes’ blog).

Anyhow, I promised you an update on what I thought of them.

Mostly I’ve played with Habitica because it’s fun and addictive. Is it the time sink I feared it would be? Not quite. Yes, I spend time there that I probably shouldn’t, but it is productive time. I’m already up to level 4 and halfway to level 5 and it’s keeping me on task for habits, daily (also weekly) goals, and to do lists. However, I find that I’m using it more for mundane things than for writing. That’s not necessarily a bad thing and I really enjoy using it so I’m going to keep on using it, and maybe find a way to revamp my writing goals to put into it. (Right now the only writing things it has are daily goals to work on Onyx Sun and The Academy of the Accord (which currently means my outline for November) and I’m not sure exactly what (if anything) I should change for it. I think I’ll let it go as is at least for now and rethink the writing aspect of it after NaNoWriMo.

(Fun notes: you can get “pets” in the game. The first one I hatched is a red wolf. Red Wolf Inn plays a key role in some of the Academy of the Accord novels. The second one is a purple tiger. Purple Tiger is one of the things that “P.T.” is rumored to stand for.)

I haven’t fooled with Asana much but hope to do more with it over the weekend. Right now it looks most useful for tracking progress on several different WiPs. With Asana you create a project and then set tasks under it.

For instance, Onyx Sun is a project. Tasks under it include:
Finish Space Battle Scene
Add scene where Soraine “pays back” her rescue
Change “More Araxians” scene to passengers
Put additional scenes into main manuscript
Print for paper edits and revisions
etc

Academy of the Accord hasn’t been entered into it yet because I’m not sure if I should make it one project or make each book of the series a project.

But what I really want to do with Asana is create a project for each Work in Progress, even if it’s just a “story start” (sort of an advanced plot bunny), that takes it from outlining through writing and editing and into publication. This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a while now but wasn’t sure how, and Asana looks like it might be the solution I need. Hopefully I’ll have time to play with it more this weekend.

Then there’s the newest discovery, WordKeeperAlpha. I just registered on the site so I don’t have much in the way of first hand feedback for you yet, but I love the fact that it has graphs to track your progress and if you set goals it will tell you how many words you need per day to reach it. (Yeah, some of the stuff I miss having in non-NaNoWriMo months.) And it lets you post your progress directly to FB if you want.

I’m still trying to find my way around the site (it seems to have eaten the project I entered to test it out for this post) but it’s kind of cool and I see it becoming really useful in the future – probably in December.

So there you have it. All three are pretty cool and have (at least in my mind) different uses, all of which are things that I’m finding helpful.

Now, if I just knew how to code I’d create a website that combines all three.

 

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Revising Goals

On Monday, I wrote “I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.”

And so far I’ve done a pretty good job at that, despite having spent most of the week battling the cold from hell.

Unfortunately, all of it has been for the prequel to The Academy of the Accord (current working title: Creating Accord) and it’s been nothing more than a few notes jotted down in the traveler’s notebook that I carry with me at work. Some of the notes are things to check (or possibly change) in the other books and some are notes for this one.

So, it’s been some progress, but not much. (The lack of productivity is mostly courtesy of the cold from hell and the evil day job, but mostly the cold from hell.)

Since the cold seems to be breaking up and I’m starting to get some energy back, I think I’m going to have to revamp my goals a little bit, by changing just one little word.

No more “or.”

“Or” is now “and.”

I need to do one small thing daily for both The Academy of the Accord (either the series or the prequel – probably the prequel this month since it’s looking like it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo project) and Onyx Sun.

Otherwise, Onyx Sun will continue to be ignored, and I’ve already missed several “I want to release this by” dates, which is only adding to the frustration with it and the feeling that it will never be done.

Will this work any better?

I have no idea.  Monday will be too soon to tell so I’ll give it until next Friday to see how it’s working.

 

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Goals for October 2017

We’re in October already, which means that November and NaNoWriMo are just around the corner, so it’s time to set up my goals for the month.

The main one, of course, will be to decide on a project for NaNoWriMo and get it outlined.

The other main one is to get the additional scenes for Onyx Sun written and inserted into the manuscript, then get it printed so I can do another round of paper edits on it. At this point I’m relatively certain that it is not going to be published this year.

I’m really balking at working on it, finding a million other things to do instead.

Why?

I’m not sure, but for some reason it just feels like my heart isn’t in it right now. The Academy of the Accord is calling. It’s been on my mind more and more lately. I really want to get back to it. I miss it, miss the characters, and I want to get back to it.

But Onyx Sun is my current project and I’d really like to finish it and get it published but…

But my heart’s not really in it.

My heart is with The Academy of the Accord and I’m starting to resent Onyx Sun for keeping me from it.

So, remember Friday, and that novel (prequel to The Academy of the Accord) that I’m not outlining? Yeah? Well, that non-outline now has an epilogue and the whole thing is looking like a good candidate for November.

It doesn’t have nearly enough plot points yet, and the main characters are still lacking some important things, like… oh… descriptions.

And names.

Definitely need names. (Actually, I need to check the current series and see if I ever named either of them. I think the wizard might have been named in passing, but it’s more likely that there is a note to myself to name him.)

Anyhow, writing down what the epilogue was going to be made me have to write notes to check and change things in the series.

Then I started making more notes that may end up changing other things in the series – mostly in the later books. (Book Seven, especially, and Book Twelve.)

I also wrote myself a note “Is this prequel going to delay the series?”

Then I wrote some more notes about things I will need to edit based on the epilogue, and then another note to myself: “Yep! Series may be delayed.”

(I hope not! I sincerely hope not. 2020 is a good release date.)

So, I think I may switch to daily goals. Every day I have to do something related to either Onyx Sun or The Academy of the Accord, even if it’s only writing one line or adding one plot point to the prequel’s outline.

So yesterday I typed up what I have of the outline so far and today I wrote down another idea to include in it. It’s a rather vague idea and I’m not sure how (or if) it’s going to work, but it’s written down. (It kind of doesn’t fit the universe but I think I can make it work.)

 

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It Happened on Wednesday

I was at work, minding my own business, keeping an eye on the kid I’m there for, and out of nowhere came a wandering plot bunny.

And not just any wandering plot bunny.  Oh, no. Not this plot bunny.  This plot bunny is one that I really did not want to see.

It’s a prequel to the Academy of the Accord series. You know, the stand alone novel that is now a 13 book series that is making me tear my hair out.  Yeah.

This one is set way in the past, though, so won’t involve any of the current characters.  It follows the first wizard and Warder pair – starting out from the Fortress after the Wizard Wars ended.

Or maybe they left the Fortress to go to Barize to end the Wizard Wars. I’ll have to double check the history on that, to see exactly when the wizards were imprisoned in the tower at the Fortress. (Because, you know, I don’t have enough stuff to check for continuity and canon.)

Anyhow, I am not outlining that Academy of the Accord prequel. Just because I’m writing down some notes and trying to come up with names doesn’t mean I’m outlining it or planning to ever actually write it. Right?

Yeah, who am I kidding?

Certainly not me.

Or the plot bunny.

In fact, those two scenarios up there? Yeah, they’ve been blown out of the water by another one, and my notes are starting to look suspiciously like one of my outlines.

And, you know, it’s just over a month until NaNoWriMo.

 

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Reasons, Excuses, and Other Dodges

So I was laying in bed this morning trying to make myself get up and get my day started and thinking that it was too hot to move. (For those don’t know me, I hate the heat and it was already about 80F and the fan wasn’t helping much.)

And then I was thinking about how much the heat drains me and how I don’t feel like doing much of anything, including writing, and then I wondered if that was a reason or an excuse.

I decided that it was an excuse and that excuses were a good topic for a blog post.

(Hey, it’s better than my original thought of comparing writing a novel to gardening – I’m saving that gem for another day.)

So then I started thinking about a form I have somewhere about excuses and believe it or not I found it on my computer.

It’s from my days as a Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo and it’s called “Resistance vs. Life Happens: How to Tell the Difference.”  I don’t know who created it (and the URL given at the bottom apparently doesn’t work anymore) but it was passed freely so I’m going to try to share it in the blog post.

And then I’m going to use it.

Of course, first I’m going to have to set up scheduled writing times because it’s based on “Broken Writing Dates” and forces you to look at why you stood yourself up.  Then it asks you to identify themes and form a plan of correction and start the process all over.

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Resistance vs. Life Happens: How to Tell the Difference

Fill in the following information over the course of several weeks to a few months depending on the frequency of how often you miss your scheduled writing time. (Make additional copies as necessary.) Identify any themes that become obvious. Address those specifically and aggressively. Are you allowing any distraction to come between you and your work or are there specific problems that can be easily remedied? For example, turning the phone off, finding childcare etc. If you find that every time is a different reason, then you will need to be more proactive in protecting your writing time and space by asking for and receiving help from family and friends. Answer the questions at the end and develop an action plan.

Broken Writing Date

Date scheduled:
Time scheduled:
Location:
Did instead:
Other people present:
What else was going on at the time?
Thoughts that were going through my head at the time:
Emotions felt immediately before scheduled writing time:
Emotions felt immediately after missing scheduled writing time:
Identification of themes:  ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

Action plan to address missed appointments:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Action-oriented replacement thoughts to deal with emotional aspects if present:

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

After implementation of the action plan, have you missed fewer writing appointments?

_____ YES _____ NO

If not, have the themes changed?

_____ YES _____ NO

If so, what is your new action plan?

________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

______________________________________________________________________________

 

Based on questions developed for a critique group at A Ream of Writers (http://areamofwriters.freeforums.org/index.php). These questions were inspired by Chapter 14 in Kelly L. Stone’s book Time to Write © 2008.

 

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If anyone knows the originator of the above, please let me know so I can ask permission to post it here.  I know it was made available to MLs to share with their regions, so I’m hoping it’s all right to share here.

 

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A Long Way

Can you believe that Camp is open for registration already?

I set up the cabin and declared a project “to be determined” since I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to be doing for my July project. (I’m outlining for November, but for July? Um, yeah. No idea.)

My goal for Camp is 31K, but I’m not sure if that’s going to be on the Elven Bard novel or something else.  I can’t really decide on that until I see how this month goes. If I finish the scene I started working on for Onyx Sun I’ll work on the Elven Bard novel, if not, I’ll finish it and then get back to work on the new novel.

Meanwhile, I think I might change my modus operandi, mostly because I’ve been an idiot.

You know those goals I set for myself each month and then fail miserably at meeting?  Well yesterday, Curiouser Editing, LLC, posted something on Face Book that made me stop and think.

I know better, I do. One of my mantras is “Look at what you did, not at what you didn’t do.”  The trouble is, I only seem to apply it to things like house work and decluttering, which is why I said I’ve been an idiot. Of course I should apply it to other things too – like my writing.

So, (as of yesterday) I’ve started keeping a journal listing the things I do do regarding writing, not just the things I want to do. Yesterday I managed to schedule my Wednesday Words, Rainbow Snippet, and Sunday Snippet posts for the month. And I set up a “holding” project for Camp and got the cabin opened and named. (In case you’re curious, it’s YaGottaWanna)

I still need to keep the overall goals in mind, but I think that shifting the focus to what I am doing instead of everything that I need to do is going to help.

With luck, at the end of the month I’ll be able to look back and say, “Wow, I’ve come a long way!” instead of “I have a long way to go.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Evolution of a Novel #1

So, on Friday I mentioned that I’d started outlining my project for November.  It’s a science fiction novel that’s been kicking around in my head for a lot of years (long before I’d even heard of NaNoWriMo).

It still doesn’t have a name but for now we’ll call it The Desert Planet. (The Word doc name is my usual ever-(not)-helpful “NaNoWriMo 2017 Outline.”)

Anyhow, I thought it might be fun to explore where the idea came from and trace it from that one bit of inspiration through to the final project.

This novel started as a single scene that hit me as I walked out of an air conditioned building in downtown Pittsburgh and into a wall of city heat.

And that’s all the scene was – the main character walking out of an air conditioned building and into a wall of heat.

Then a second character came up to him. Said second character was supposed to be his guide on a rescue mission.

And for a long time that’s where the whole thing sat.

Throughout the years a couple more scenes got added inside my head, but nothing major was happening, just two characters traveling through the desert.

Then last Wednesday, years after the initial idea, it suddenly had a prologue, some background, and a plot twist. (What brought it to the forefront after all that time? Unseasonably hot weather that hit me when I stepped out of my much cooler house.)

So, I started outlining.

So far I have the prologue outlined, and the first two scenes.

Scene two used to be scene one, until I decided that there was too much telling (it was MMC1 reflecting on the mission briefing he’d just left) so I made the briefing scene one so I could show it instead.

Scene two is MMC1 meeting his guide for the mission – one of the planet’s natives.

It still doesn’t have a title, and none of the main characters have a name. One minor character does, but the main characters are MMC1, MMC2, and FMC. I also need names for the planet, the city, the natives, their tribes, and the enemy.

But, hey! I have over five months to name everything, right?

 

 

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Progress?

It was an odd two days off.  Aside from being unseasonably hot (near 90F in May is not normal for my area) it was also kind of productive.

Well, not very productive. It was too hot to do much of anything.

But I did do some writing.

I wrote about 500 words. (532 to be precise.)

It’s not much, but progress is progress, right?

It wasn’t toward any of my stated goals for the month, though; it was for a scene to be added to Onyx Sun.

As for my goals for the month. *sigh*

I think I’m not going to be submitting to the anthology after all. I have two ideas for it but neither one seems to want to write itself – or tell me to write it.  There’s still time, I suppose. We’ll see.

And I haven’t even opened the Elven Bard novel.

But I started outlining another novel, one that’s been kicking around in my head for years. It’s science fiction and it’s going to be my NaNoWriMo novel this November.  (Hey! Only five and a half months to go! Of course I’m outlining!)

So at least I’m doing something, even if it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing.

 

 

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50,074

I did it.

I hit 50K and I won NaNoWriMo again.  It wasn’t a pretty win, and not one I’m proud of, but it was a win.

And for the first time ever I’m glad it’s over.

November was a rough month all around and I’m beyond exhausted on all levels: physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.

I don’t think I’m going to set any goals for December. I need a break.

I’ll still be doing some work (I need to type up my handwritten notes for one thing) but I’m not giving myself a minimum word count or anything like that.  I’m gonna kick back and relax and do a little of this and a little of that.

And tackle some stuff around the house that has been let slide.

I’ll also be working on setting up my goals for next year.

Then in January I’ll tackle stuff full on again.

Of course, that’s what I say now.  But while I was making lunch a while ago I was thinking about diving into the first round of edits of Book 6 of The Academy of the Accord series, and getting the changes of the first round of Book 5 entered into the computer, and finishing this round of revisions to Onyx Sun and…

Yeah.  So much for taking a break.  Apparently my idea of taking a break from writing is to edit.

 

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