Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Transcription ROCKS! Over 1100 Words in Under 9 Minutes – NaNo Day 7

Wow! I did some transcription today because I had an assignment in a class I’m taking and I was feeling way too lazy to type. I was kind of disappointed that the 4-ish minutes per assignment seemed to take forever for me to get my thoughts out and I was expecting the word count to be minimal.

But between the two recordings, less than nine minutes altogether, I got just over 1100 words down!! I almost never get that much IN AN HOUR of typing when I’m writing fiction!! Transcription is AMAZING!!

Transcription is Twice as Fast as Typing – NaNo Day 3

In today’s video blog, I tell you about my transcription experience from Day 1 and whine about losing all the italics in the print version of Love at the Fluff and Fold. Yes, it’s been an up and down kind of day. :-/

First Ever Video Blog – NaNo Day 1

Hello, my friends! I’ve never done a video blog before, but today it just seemed like the perfect thing to do. 😀

I’ll try to capture as much of NaNoWriMo and other interesting things here in video form. You just have to tell me if you like these or not. Today, I’m talking about entering the RITA awards for the first time, learning to dictate a book this month, and starting a new podcast.


Gazelle Intensity

I almost can’t believe it, but I met four deadlines last month! I don’t think I’ve ever done that in my writing life. Maybe the only time I’ve accomplished so much in such a short space of time is for school/college. But the point is – I did it.

What I learned from that experience is that I can do more than I think I can. Past experience may tell me that I can’t – until I make an experience that tells me I can. What I have to be careful of is thinking I can always get this much work done. It would be foolish of me to think I can work 10-16 hours a day, six days a week, for an infinite amount of time. For one thing, there is no time for friends or family, little time for exercise or healthy habits, and almost no time for fun.

However, last month I reminded myself that I can work very intensely and accomplish a lot in short bursts. Life is a marathon, and the writing life is a marathon, but sprints are useful and appropriate. (In my half marathon training, I use short sprints in training.)

John and I are participating in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, a money management course designed to get you out of debt and keep you out forever. In one of the lessons, Dave shows a video of a leopard chasing a gazelle. Even though the leopard can run faster than the gazelle, the gazelle got away! Why? Because the gazelle could make quick leaps out of the leopard’s path faster than he could move to intercept. The gazelle only has to keep this up for a short intense period until the leopard gives up and looks for easier prey.

Dave suggests we use this method to get out of debt. A short, intense burst of effort to pay off everything from credit cards to student loans to the balance on your mortgage. I listen to his radio podcast and people call in saying they’ve just paid off their last debt. Dave asks them how much they paid off and how long it took, then they give their debt free scream. It’s very inspiring! People are getting out of debt to the tune of $20,000 to $158,000 (that I’ve heard) in 12-48 months. John and I will be right in that range, and it’s exciting to know it can be done.

That’s what I learned last month with my writing deadlines. I focused like I have rarely focused before on one project, then another, then another, then another. And I got them all done, on time. I had hoped that on November 2, I would be able to sleep in, read a little, take a deep breath, and go back to a more relaxed lifestyle. But I still have four more time-sensitive projects to finish. At first, that made me feel super tired just thinking about it. Then I remembered the gazelle intensity speech.

I can’t keep up this pace forever, but I can do it for four more weeks. As one friend reminded me on November 2 when I was trying to figure out if I could do all this, I can’t “catch up” on everything that didn’t get done over the last year. But I can pick the most important things to finish now, and re-schedule my other goals for 2013.

National Novel Writing Month is about gazelle intensity. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world are finding it can work for their writing life. But it works in every area of life. What do you really need to get done? Not just urgent things, but important things. Piles of paperwork? Haphazard, overcrowded home? Behind in something you could finish if you just really applied yourself for a few weeks?

Think about it and decide what you’re going to do about it. In the end, you’ll not only have accomplished something wonderful, and maybe done something about those monkeys on your back, but you’ll find pleasure in your own personal growth as self-discipline blooms in your life.

I’m nervous about failure, about exhaustion, about missing out on fun things other people are doing, but last month I proved that it can be done! So I’m going to keep it up for another month. See you at the finish line!

[Note: If you want more encouragement and direction in planning your goals for 2013, join me for my online class Going the Distance: Goal Setting and Time Management for the Writer. Here’s to a fabulous and productive new year!]

Writer Girl, Interrupted

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

Eight days ago, National Novel Writing Month started and I was feeling quite good about my first day’s progress. Six days ago, John got a text message saying the job he expected to get wasn’t going to come through. Suddenly we were looking at a calendar and seeing we had three weeks to get out of Australia before our visas expired! (They are good until 2015, unless John isn’t working at a sponsoring company.)

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten any more writing done! These are the kinds of things that can really derail your momentum. I had just gotten started with my self-publishing business and I’m still in the middle of bringing Little Miss Lovesick to print before Christmas. But now my days are so full of packing that I didn’t even have time to get this blog posted on time.

Still, what can you take from unexpected roadblocks? You can get upset, of course. But that’s an easy way out. The more difficult but, I believe, better path is to find a way to use the roadblocks. The other day when I was really freaking out, I was trying to think of a way to calm down…so I gave my feelings to the character of the short story I’m writing for an anthology. That poor girl is really having some terrible days in my head, but I’m feeling much better!

If NaNo (or any of your writing) started out well for you but has already hit some bumps, look for ways to use the bumps to make a more interesting story. And remember all the other times that you had roadblocks and you got through them. You’ll get through these as well. We both will. (On the hard days, I remember – I’ll be home for Thanksgiving!!)

Meanwhile, I’ve got to go pack. And I think my character is going to have some packing/moving issues in her story.

NaNo Day 1 – A Start

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

Yesterday I was so relieved to start a day without file taxes, fill out Medicare levy exemption paperwork, or compile medical reimbursement for insurance on my To Do list. All done. Yay! The day only became sweeter when I found/took the time to sit down and write for a while. Ahhh, joy.

I had a plan – I really did – to work on my short story first since it has the earliest deadline. I have some notes, but it’s still weak in the area of plot. Because I needed to fill out the applications to be considered to teach some writing workshops at the RWA National Conference next year, I had business-y stuff on my brain. Turns out, I made about 500 words each of headway on the two business ebooks I want to write.

By the end of the day, I had 974 words to put in the NaNo word counter. Yay! I haven’t done any today, but I’d already planned for today to be a pretend sick day. Yesterday John and I went to the wrap party for Happy Feet 2. It was a blast! We had soooooo much fun!! LOL!! We drank and danced and toasted the film and talked and laughed and talked and drank and danced and laughed. I think that covers everything. So I knew I was going to be out of my mind with exhaustion today. Just that many more words to write tomorrow.

How are the first few days going for you? I’d like to offer a suggestion. Enjoy it.

Enjoy the writing, the not-writing (there’s a good chance John and I are going to the Grand Opening of a new IKEA tomorrow), the thinking, the daydreaming, the wondering what in the world you could possibly put on paper, enjoy it all. I think that is one of the great keys to creativity.

Enjoy!  🙂

What I’m Writing for NaNo 2011

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

I’ve decided!! Woo-hooo!! I’m so excited – and relieved – that I finally know what I’m going to do starting next Tuesday!

For maybe a year or more, my writing friend Betsy and I have been having these great Monday meetings to decide on our goals for the week. At the last several, we’ve talked about – among other things – whether we were going to participate in NaNoWriMo this year and, if so, what we would work on.

I think this week, with great trepidation, we’ve decided! Betsy is going to work on a project she’s been excited about and thinking about for a few years. She’s nervous because it’s going to take a fair amount of research, but it may be the easiest of her choices to keep up the 1667 words needed every day.

I don’t like writing every day, particularly because the weekends are when John and I spend the bulk of our time together. So I divide the 50,000 words into 21 days – no weekends, and no Thanksgiving writing. That means I have to write an average of 2381 words per day.

I had three projects I was thinking of – the second draft of the next romantic comedy I’m going to self-publish, a short story that will be out in an anthology next year, and an ebook on the business of writing. None of them need 50,000 words written. Then Betsy suggested I do more than one project.

I remembered Shonna did this last year or the year before. She finished her children’s book by the middle of the month, and decided to write another one. (Shonna, isn’t that the year you “won” NaNo?) I’d thought then what a great idea it was when Shonna did it, and now I’m excited to try it myself.

So then Betsy helped me decide what order to do everything. The short story can be 5000-20,000 words and has an absolute deadline, so I’m going to work on that one first. (And I finally figured out part of the plot! That’s been worrying me for weeks!)

Then I’m going to break my how-to books into two separate ebooks – one on the business of writing, one on the specifics of self-publishing. I’ll keep working on them until either NaNo ends, or I get to 50,000 words or – if my fingers are flying and I’m not packing to move – I’ll start working on the second draft of that romantic comedy.

Whew! That took a lot of wrestling to figure out! It’s not usually that hard for me because I never used to work on more than one project at a time. But the 18 months of grad school made juggling projects a necessity, and now I can use that new skill in my career.

I’m happy because the planner has a plan! Woo-hooo! I think I’m going to get that cute word counter going again this year – if I can just remember to keep updating it.

What about you? Have you decided if you’re going to participate this year, and what you’ll work on? Or are you going to wait until the last minute? Either way, let’s have fun!

Choosing the Next Project

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

I’m in good company here – the land of What Are We Going to Write Next Month? I met with my friend Betsy again this week to discuss it. She and I both have a fiction idea and a nonfiction idea. There are pros and cons to pursuing either one. One the one hand, I need to get my next novel finished and up for sale to keep growing my audience. On the other hand, NaNo is always a good time to work hard on something you often don’t have/take the time for.

One way to decide is to consider where my mind has been lately, and where it chooses to go without conscious direction. I’ve had a lot of “business” stuff on my mind for the last six months or so. I knew I needed to get my writing business up and running again as quickly as possible once I finished grad school. Some people say they keep their deadlines because they need to pay the rent. I’m rushing to build my business because my student loan is going to come due soon!

Another way to decide which project to work on is to consider what else is going to be happening during November, especially in comparison to other months. For me, November may be a time of packing and moving. (Though it may not; we haven’t heard for sure yet.) I would find it very difficult to focus on a new story during a time of upheaval. On the other hand, I’ve already written the first draft of the next book, so I’d be in editing mode. It’s often easier to edit something than to come with something brand new, especially if you’re already a bit spacey. Given a choice, I’d rather work on nonfiction when I have a challenging schedule. I can do bits and pieces of research any time, for any amount of time, and cut and paste everything into one big Scrivener document. And the novel is going to be finished one way or another because it’s definitely part of my career plan.

That being said, the other argument for the novel is a) NaNo is National Novel Writing Month not National Put Words on the Page Month, and b) it’s always been a time that you spent working on the novel you haven’t had time for until now. I will make time for it over the next few months, but maybe “now” is a good time to start.

I could also look at it from a strictly business perspective: which product is likely to earn me more money faster, the ebook about the business aspects of a writing career, or the book about a girl trying to get the attention of the boy she’s always loved? 🙂 Probably the business book. But you never know!

I’m leaning toward the business book. The business aspects of a writing career – record keeping, taxes, expenses, opportunity cost, business planning, goal setting, time management – comprise the overwhelming majority of my thoughts lately. I’m also giving two short talks on the topic in the next few weeks, and I’m preparing a workshop proposal for the RWA conference next year. Seems like maybe now is the time to go with the flow. What do you think?

Have you decided what you’re going to write yet? We have a week and a half left to make notes and prepare an outline. Oh sorry, that’s me. You pantsters have a week and a half to let your mind wander. 😉 Let me know what you’re doing. Maybe it will help me decide.

What Should I Work On Next?

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

This time of year I’m always thinking about what I’m going to work on next. Will I sign up for NaNoWriMo? Will I write something new or edit something I need to finish? If you’re like my friend Betsy, you might be wondering if you should work on a new novel (she’s nearly finished with the latest one) or should she work on a nonfiction book idea she’s had for years?

As soon as she said “nonfiction,” I was all but jumping around in my chair. I self-published my first novel and will self-publish more over the next few months. But I’ve also got a few nonfiction book ideas that I can’t wait to write and self-publish as ebooks. If you didn’t know it already, word on the ‘Net is that you can make more money with nonfiction books right now than with fiction. You can not only sell more copies, you can set a higher price point.

One of the books I want to write is how to properly run your writing business. And from a business standpoint, it would be a good idea for me to intersperse nonfiction books in among the fiction books in my product line. So taking my own advice, I should be thinking long and hard about writing the business book during NaNo.

Yes, it’s National Novel Writing Month. But wasn’t the point to set aside time to do something we never take time to do? Something we want to do and believe we might be good at? Something we think we’d really enjoy?

Betsy hasn’t done NaNo before and she asked me how I make up my mind when deciding which project to work on. I told her about how much fun it is to get inspiring emails from famous authors every week, how much I love competing with my friends when I see they’ve only written a few hundred words more than me, and watching the little graph grow as I write more. The encouragement, and the worldwide energy, those are the reasons I love signing up for NaNo.

So I told Betsy that she should write the book that she needs the most encouragement on. Work on the book that you most need that extra energy to get you through the first draft.

Remember my am-I-or-aren’t-I-going-to-move predicament? If you have something like that in your life, another way to decide which book to work on is to ask yourself which one will be less stressful for you. I don’t know how much I’ll get done in November if I have to move across the ocean. But one way or another, I have to keep doing all the business “stuff” that small business owners have to do. Plus I’m teaching my goal setting and time management class for writers again in January, and I’m adding in information on running your small business. So making notes and writing about what I’m doing and what experts suggest will actually help keep me focused. It will help me to pull several similar strands together so that when I’m working on one thing, I’m actually getting several things done.

If I have enough time, I might just work on both books! I’ll write on my novel in the morning, and the business book in the afternoon. After all, small business owners learn how to multi-task in ways that work for their personalities as well as their businesses. Yup, the more I think about it, the more I’m considering that last option. I guess I’ll decide for sure when I know if I have to make time for packing, too! 🙂

To NaNo or Not

On Wednesdays, I’ll cross-post my blog from Routines for Writers here…

It’s only five days into October and I’ve already gotten emails from two NaNo groups I’m part of, telling me it’s time to get ready again. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) happens every November, I know, but wasn’t it just a few months ago? Time flies!

So what am I going to do this year? Participate and work hard to write 50,000 words in 30 days? Sign up just to be hanging out online with my writing friends and do however much writing (or editing, or whatever) I feel like or have time to do? Or skip this year because of other commitments and make up my own writing schedule like I do the other eleven months of the year?

I haven’t decided yet. A huge factor in my decision will be whether we are staying here in Sydney for a while longer or if we end up moving back to the States in November. I’m pretty sure that no matter how organized I am, I can’t write 50,000 words and make an intercontinental move in the same 30-day period.  🙂

But if I don’t decide to reach for the traditional NaNo goal, I’m still going to put together some kind of goal for November. I find that having a schedule and a plan and a goal help me to accomplish more. (For instance, my plan for tomorrow is to not check email before I start working. I’ve gotten sidetracked the last few days and I need to put an end to it.)

My plan for October is to finish uploading the ebook version of Little Miss Lovesick to the various online retailers I’ve targeted (it’s available at AmazonBarnes & Noble, the Apple iTunes/iBookstore, and Smashwords, more coming soon), then to finish setting up the print version so it can be ready for orders in November. (Woo-hoo!) I also have a boatload of marketing and promotion tasks to do including blog tours (check out my guest post at Writers In The Storm on Friday this week), updating my web site, and creating an Author presence at places like Amazon and Goodreads.

In little bits of time I’ve squirreled away in the last week, I’ve also printed out all of my notes and the first draft of the next book I’ll publish, Love at the Fluff N Fold. (The first chapter is at the end of Little Miss Lovesick.) So I’ll actually be working on editing in November anyway. (Good thing we had this conversation! Now I’ve narrowed down the three options above to two.)

So there’s the general outline of my NaNo plans. What about you? Have you thought about what you’re going to do yet?