Monday, October 31, 2011

Forseeable Obstacles

I've been mentally preparing myself for NaNo and today I made a list of things I can see coming and plan for them so that I can jump those hurdles like a champ.

Obstacle #1 - Netflix
I am addicted to watching TV shows on Netflix. I've been doing a decent job of tempering that recently (okay, decent might be an overstatement) but it is incredibly easy for me to waste an entire night of my life watching episodes of Merlin or Dead Zone or whatever. And let's face it. Zoning out in a world that has already been created and produced for you is a lot easier than building your own, brick by brick.

Obstacle #2 - The internet in general
Memebase? Facebook? Woot? Amazon? Craigslist? Only a few of the time-wasting sites that can suck out my brain any given day. The worst part is that these sites only provide the lowest level of entertainment. They're just serious time sucks.

Clearly both of these are things I should work on in the off-season as well but why not start in November?

So. I'm cancelling both cable and my internet service. To be fair, I'm planning on moving soon, and will probably start at least the internet back up when I do. But until then, there's no reason I can't just use my phone for the basics. BAM. Distraction taken care of.

Obstacle #3 - Life
This might be the busiest November I've had since I started NaNo. I've got Tarot class going on, a reunion with my high school besties, a road trip to Indiana (of all places!) and of course, Thanksgiving. I really pretty heavily on weekends. Not this year!

Obstacle #4 - My job
I was unemployed for my first NaNo. In subsequent years, I had a job that offered a lot of downtime. This year I have a job that is not only heavy on the "no writing novels at work" policies and also heavy on the overtime.

I'm hoping that ridding myself of #1 & #2 will help with #3 and #4. The only other thing I can think of to beat these to is focus. Plan and focus. Two of my lesser skills. I'm going into this November more prepared both with my story and with my mental game than ever. And I'm a couple of months into a Major Life Change. It's the perfect scenario to help me get my act together. It's pretty exciting when you think about it.

See? NaNoWriMo will not only help me produce another novel, it will help make me a better person! And that will benefit everyone. Trust me. ;-)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011

Tuesday marks the beginning of the fourth National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I've participated in. I have completed the challenge twice. This year will be my third victory.

If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, check out the website at You'll find tons of information there about the sponsoring organization, the Office of Letters and Light as well as all kinds of tools and advice for aspiring and veteran novelists alike.

So I don't need to tell you about all of that.

What I would like to talk about is what NaNo means to me.

I've always loved reading and writing. But focus and attention span are not exactly strong suits of mine, which makes writing a full length novel a bit of a trick. For me, NaNo was like a magnifying glass, gathering up the ideas floating around in my head and focusing them in a month long streak of productivity. I had never experienced anything like it. And I will never forget the moment that I crossed that 50,000 word threshold. In Holden Beach, North Carolina. I hadn't felt so much pride since I stood on the stage at Carnegie Hall with my high school choir. I'd created something. With my own brain and my own hands. It's a pretty awesome feeling.

It was the moment I started to believe that I could truly claim that I was a writer.

Things aren't perfect, of course. I've written two novels now, both of which have the potential to be quite good, neither of which I've come close to actually finishing. But I, like my stories, am a work in progress and I don't have any intention of giving up.

If you would like to donate to the Office of Letters and Light to help support NaNoWriMo and their other awesome programs, please do so through my sponsorship page at I will be using this blog to share my progress, excerpts, lessons and roadblocks with all of you so that you can be sure I'm keeping up my end of the bargain. Many thanks to all who support OLL, NaNo and me in whatever way you choose.