November is NaNo!

To steal liberally from the website, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, a.k.a., NaNo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel by 11:59:59 p.m. on November 30.”  (And it’s not like there are penalties if you go for 95k…)

I’ve done it for two years now, and find it amazingly useful.  I know people who use it to focus in on their work in progress (WIP)/current manuscript, and others who start from scratch and create an entirely new concept for starting with on Nov. 1. The goal is to get words on the page every day for thirty days. The cool part? They have graphics embedded, so when you put in your daily word count, you get a chart that shows you how you’re doing, and how much more you need to do.

I can’t say it’s easy. I will say it’s simple. You can do it in whatever way works for you—long hand, Scrivener, Word…as long as you get words on the page. It is incredibly motivating for your creativity. And the website provides  encouragement from published authors and NaNo participants. If you’re a group person, there are links to find local gatherings (at bookstores, coffee shops, wherever). If you’re an online person, there are forums and loops. If you’re a loner, you can pick and chose what works for you, and still have a place to post your successes (and electronic celebrations of them, too, so you don’t feel quite so lonely!).

I find the deadlines work for me, even though they are mostly self-imposed. I get stuff DONE during November.  So I highly recommend it.  Check out NaNoWriMo online (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/about) and/or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/nanowrimo).

There’s no downside—are you going to complain you only got 20,000 words of your book started if you don’t finish? No. You’ll have written 20k words!!! But, I’ll bet that as you watch those numbers climb, you’re going to want to hit the 50K goal.

I hope you’ll join me in NaNo in 24 hours. It’s a challenge, but it’s worth it!!

 

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Congratulations to Mary Strand!!

Wanted to give a quick shout out to WRW chapter member Mary Strand to congratulate her on her first sale—Bell Bridge Books bought her Golden Heart winner, COOPER’S FOLLY.  Major congrats—I’m sure this is the start of something big!

She’s actually having quite the week—she also just found out she’s a TRIPLE finalist in the Golden Gateway contest run by the online From the Heart Romance Writers chapter of RWA.

She writes women’s fiction and young adult books. Check her out at:  http://www.marystrand.com/Home_Page.html

Why I Don’t Tweet Much—Yet

I’ve discovered I am not a succinct person. There’s a phrase out there that goes something like, “If you can say something in twenty words, it will be better in ten, and best in five.” Yeah…I usually just make a rude noise when I see that quote.

Tweets are 140 characters, and may be the death of me. I’m old school. I still automatically put two spaces after the period. That eats character-count. I happen to like emotion—*wince*; *sigh*; *ack!!*; *HUH!??!!??* Even the ever popular :  ). Not so Twitter friendly, I’ve discovered. I am also an editor by profession, so things like ‘C U L8R’ tend to make me want to go hunt down and beat the poster to death with a red pen. I go to write a quick blog post, and have to break it into THREE posts. (*ahem*) Let’s just say there’s a reason I’m not focusing on writing short stories.

I am also, shall we say, technology-challenged in certain areas and have yet to find how to do the single-character emoticons used in Twitter. I only recently found (okay, with help) those sites that shorten URLs to Twitter-length for web links. It doesn’t help when I go to reTweet something and the message is somehow suddenly too long to send.

Despite all of the above, I’m fascinated by the new social media trends. I’m willing to learn. And, occasionally, compromise. Twitter is now successfully loaded on my phone and I’ve posted while out and about. ReTweeting is working better. Currently, I’m prepping some Twitter stuff in advance—it saves time and frustration. I wouldn’t yet say Twitter is my natural method of communicating, but I’m adapting.

Washington Loves Romance

My writers group is sponsoring an online book club! From the site:

“Washington Loves Romance (WLR) is an online book club for the many readers of romance fiction in all its forms. Each month a well-established author is paired with an up-and-coming author for a read-along of one of each of their books via a Facebook page book club.

Mandi Schreiner with Smexy Books has agreed to act as our WLR Facebook book club moderator. Once a quarter, WLR will hold a get-together with the authors who participated in the online book club that quarter, the book club members, and the general public to discuss their books and all things romance. WLR will give away a swag bag from each author every month and have a big WRW member swag bag given away during the in-person meeting held each quarter.”

Washington Romance Writers (WRW) has a fantastic membership base, with loads of authors in every genre.  I’m really looking forward to seeing the monthly books as well as the monthly author pairings!  And the in-person gatherings are going to be a nice mix of local readers and authors.

If you like to read romance, check out Washington Loves Romance on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WashingtonLovesRomance?ref=ts&fref=ts

Hope to see you online later this month!!

Teetering on the Verge

No one ever mentioned how teetering on the verge of something wonderful feels an awful lot like teetering on the verge of disaster. You’d think those two events would have completely different feelings involved…not the same soul-freezing dread, pit in your stomach, and paralyzing ice moving up and down your limbs, doing a darn good job of impersonating a heart attack.

It’s a grammar thing, I suppose. Parallel sentence structure: “Teetering on the verge…” could just as easily be filled in with “…of disaster” as “…of amazingly wonderful chunks of goodness”.

I saw an inspiring online quote the other day that said, “When we walk to the edge of all the light we have and take the step into the darkness of the unknown, we must believe one of two things will happen—there will be something solid for us to stand on, or we will be taught to fly.” (Patrick Overton) I guess I’m fighting my cynical side—I’m thinking there’s a third option. Guess that’s why he says we must believe.

Some days more than others, it’s hard to stay positive, stay hopeful, and beat the paranoia back.

Trying very hard to believe.