Signs, signs, everywhere there’re signs

November 9, 2007 at 8:55 am | Posted in Kristan Higgins, Meg, motivation, NaNoWriMo | 3 Comments

October 29- The spacebar on my keyboard begins to stick and the left side of my neck and shoulder blade ache (a sign I’ve been spending too much time at the computer)

October 30- The four books I’ve been wanting for months arrive at the library

October 31- I slice the tip of my index finger and the band-aid is not conducive to typing

November 1- I realize I have no conflict or climax for my story and go over my calendar for the month to discover this is the worst month for me to find free time (I will literally have only two hours of nonwork, nonfamily time the whole month)

November 2- I papercut my middle finger, and again, the band-aid interferes

November 2- THE PIECE DE RESISTANCE…I ACCIDENTALLY DELETE MY ENTIRE STORY!

November 3- I try to piece together my story but I had erased the notes as well.

Now I’m not sure if I’d call myself a spiritual person, but I do believe we are all on this earth to follow a certain path. When we are on the correct path, the stars are aligned and all is right with our world. If we veer off in a different direction, forces collide to push us back. So looking at the last week, I’d have to say, I don’t think I’m meant to be working on this story and/or doing NaNoWriMo right now.

Call me superstitious, call me crazy, but it’s a gut feeling. I have no idea why. Maybe this isn’t the right time to write the YA, maybe I’m supposed to refocus on my edits. Or maybe, as my husband said this morning, I need to take a break from writing and do something else to recharge.

I don’t know. All I know is I do want to write this story and I don’t have another one in me itching to get out. At least not now. Lana’s friends have their stories as well, but they haven’t pushed to the forefront enough to take over my thoughts. Yet.

And I feel terrible about it. I have two friends doing NaNoWriMo with me and I’m afraid I’ll let them down if I quit. So on Saturday night, I shelve writing and pull out one of the books (Catch of the Day by Kristan Higgins which I highly recommend) and I have an epiphany (as well as a late night as I stay up reading until 2am).

Why not try something different? I’m sneaking out of my comfort zone to write YA so why not go all the way into first person narrative? On Sunday, I sit at my computer and a thousand words flow out my fingertips. I’m having fun and loving the process. I’m back in the game!

-Meg

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Early bird writes for NaNoWriMo

November 2, 2007 at 8:58 am | Posted in Meg, NaNoWriMo, writing | 1 Comment

By the time I post this entry, I will be two days into NaNoWriMo and hopefully still sane. Or at least as sane as I write this on October 30. My sanity is debatable, but that’s for another time.

Why am I writing this early? Because I’m an idiot? Pessimistic? Determined not to let my fellow heartlettes down? Proactive? Had a few minutes to myself? I prefer to be positive in this circumstance so I’ll take any of the last three answers, or maybe even throw in one more: I’m hoping I’ll be so busy writing the story in my head when I start NaNoWriMo that I won’t want to lose one moment writing something else.

Ever feel like that? That you have a story stuck inside of you, taking over your waking moments that it even seeps into your dreams? I love when it happens. When every cell of your body yearns to sit and type so the scenes inside your head become real entities that others can enjoy. When you beg, borrow and steal for time to write. When nothing else matters, but the words flowing from your fingertips.

I’ve missed that as I’ve been stuck inside revision hell. I’ve lost the steam to visit my characters and create their worlds. Everything I rewrite feels wrong or doesn’t fit. The scenes are not flowing and I don’t eat, sleep or breathe Sadie or Derry. Not once in the last few weeks have I missed an exit or gotten lost as I plot in my head. My inspiration for my ms has disappeared.

So that’s why this blog entry is written the day before Halloween since the day after this crazy holiday I enter a new world, appropriately centered on spells and witches, and I cannot wait. My new heroine, Lana, is begging to come to life and her story is haunting me. She longs to kiss her crush, once I figure out his name, of course.

Stay tuned next week and I’ll let you know how it’s going. And chime in if you’re doing NaNoWriMo to let us know how you’re doing.  Next week’s topic is motivation and we may all need it on week two of this adventure. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, this eccentric word of multiple capitals, please visit Jessica’s blog this week. It’ll explain everything.

Happy writing,
Meg

NaNoWriMo

October 29, 2007 at 8:54 am | Posted in Fast Draft, Jessica, NaNoWriMo, writing | 6 Comments

How’s your inner critic? If she’s as active and well-honed as my own, I am guessing you may struggle with how to be productive without her launching those destructive grenades from atop your left shoulder.

One way to fight back against that critic is to blindly write with reckless abandon . . . with little care for style or form, wit or grace . . . then worry about those much-needed edits once the words are down on paper.

Bria often talks about the Fast Drafting workshops she takes with Candace Havens. Another blitzkreig writing alternative comes around every November . . . the annual juggernaut otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month.

Affectionately called NaNoWriMo, the test is to write a 50,000 word novel throughout the month of November. What started out as a challenge between 20 friends in the Bay Area has turned into a phenomenon that attracts over 60,000 people worldwide. (Update: This year there are over 90,000!)

This writing marathon-sprint was started by Chris Baty, author of the book, No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.

Participants ‘win’ when they reach the 50,000 word goal by November 30. I did NaNo last year, and although I didn’t ‘win’ I did make some significant progress on my book that I otherwise wouldn’t have achieved. The month-long experience is a tiring, fast-paced race but well worth the exercise for having gone through it.

There is an Excel spreadsheet, created by NaNo participant Erik Benson, that is an amazing tool to help you track your progress throughout the month. If you choose to participate in any writer’s challenge, I highly recommend using this tool. (If you have difficulty linking to this web site, please post a comment here and I will send the file to you as an attachment.)

For more information on NaNo madness, read this interview with Chris or hop on his blog for a while . . . or check out this other blog post that shares insight on the Five Must Have Resources for NaNoWriMo.  This How to Participate in NaNoWriMo wiki is also a good resource.

If you’ve ever struggled with getting your wip off the ground, I recommend giving NaNo a try at least once. It’s crazy, it’s demanding, but it’s a lot of fun.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, starts in three days. Happy NaNo-ing!

-Jessica

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