You guys, I have problems.

Also, do not make a milk carton skeleton. It isn’t as easy as it seems.

Also also, I am excited for everyone who does nanowrimo. I wish wish wish I could do it too. However, as optimistic as Carol is about my novel, I would be very surprised (BUT ECSTATIC) if my novel was finished by then. Do you think I could do it? Maybe? Maybe not?

I do think planning is key. On Thursday, Susan Campbell Bartoletti came to speak at BYU. Afterwards she came to our creative writing class and answered some questions. She is a wonderful speaker and I learned a lot but here are two big things that made me stop and re-evaluate my writing life: (BTW, if you were there, correct me or add to anything I say here).

1. You make time for the things that are important to you. Susan writes from 4 am to 7 am every morning. I’ll write that a different way, Susan writes from FOUR IN THE MORNING TO SEVEN IN THE MORNING. She always has and she always will. Even on vacation. She even told me when she was in grad school and writing and teaching, she would go to bed at eight and get up at TWO IN THE MORNING and then write and study until seven. The woman is dedicated and committed and it shows. I don’t think that means we all have to get up that early but I do think it shows that if you want it, you’ll make it work.

2. She also talked about her writing process and planning was a big part of it. She said  all day she’d write notes and outlines to herself on bits of paper around the house when ideas came to her. By the end of the day, she’d have a plan for what she was going to write in the morning. That way when she got up at FOUR she’d be prepared to get right into it–no worrying about where to start, etc. I think this is great advice for daily writing and, as Carol posted, a great thing to do for the big month of November.

There was more. So much more. You should check out her books. She’s written picture books, novels and she received a newberry honor for  her non-fiction book Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler’s Shadow. 

I want to do  nanowrimo. I think it would be so fun to start something new and just go for it all the way. Maybe I will finish this novel sort of by then. Olive Garden!

And I do have big plans for the project writeway in December. We have an AWESOME grand prize. I think you’ll be excited.

Also also also, I love to dance. Just like Sarah Jessica Parker in what movie? What movie?

xoxo, the end.

P.S. This happened.  Any thoughts?


Filed under Ann Dee

16 responses to “Planning

  1. Do it Ann Dee, do it! I am going to do nanowrimo for the first time and am WAY excited about it. I’m one of them outlining types, so I have my book all charted out, but there is lotsa room for discovering as I go.

    I LOVE the writing notes all day and having a plan for the next morning idea, I am so going to try that…just not at 4 in the morning.

    And as to the Shine fiasco, I think it’s kinda lame that the NBF didn’t just take her off as soon as they realized the mistake and admit that they made a mistake. Instead they make the poor woman withdraw herself, as though she did something wrong. It looks like she has a lot of support from the writing community however, and it will hopefully benefit her (and the book) in the long run.

  2. Juliette

    I love Ms. Bartoletti’s advice. It makes me think maybe I could try a little harder. Also, I really, really, really want to do nanowrimo. I’m definitely thinking of doing it. Never done it before but it sounds like a wonderful (and crazy) challenge.

  3. First of all, Ann Dee, we all have our 4 am’s. Perhaps yours is writing while nursing. I don’t know the number of novels I wrote while I was holding a baby, nursing a baby or letting one of my girls crawl all over me. YOU do things Susan would think, “I could NEVER do that.” Like rewriting the same novel, from scratch over and over and over.

    YES! You could be ready. You have PLENTY of time. And Cait and I will help with the boys so you can start NaNoWriMo with us. PLEEEEZE. You know I can’t do it without you.

    Finally, who is on the committee this year? They should have let that go. So WHAT?! There have been plenty of times when books won awards that I was like, “Are you kidding?” And I mean the for Newbery and Printz, too. Lauren connects with her readers and they love her and I did a signing with her once and thought this is NEATO and then I said to her, “My daughter wants you to know she LOVES your books,” because that daughter did and Lauren was so pleased.

    So there.

  4. Andrea

    I think I’m going to do it. It might be crazy, but I want to try. (Nanowrimo, not the milk carton skeleton. Although maybe I should try that too.)

    Thanks for the advice in your post today–I’m inspired to make some changes to my writing routine. Also, I loved Carol’s advice yesterday about planning ahead for the writing challenge. I’m getting excited.

    • I’m excited too. And in hindsight, the skeleton does look pretty cool on the front porch. Maybe it’s like writing, in the middle of the thing I was like uh, what the heck am I doing? Then once it was done and hanging, I thought that wasn’t so bad. Make a milk carton skeleton everyone!!

  5. Lauren Call

    I’m doing NANOWRIMO this year. I swear it on a stack of cake mix boxes! When I’m done with my manuscript I’m going to make those cake mix boxes into cakes as a reward.

  6. You’ve convinced me. I will never make a milk carton skeleton. But I will do NaNo. What’s the big deal anyway? Fifty thousand words? They don’t have to be good words, right? Although I will make sure, for Carol’s sake, that mine doesn’t have any adverbs. That might make it a bit harder to reach the fifty thousand mark…but I’m willing to give it a try.

    Write first, ask questions later.

  7. i want to do nanowrimo. but i don’t think my family handle it right now. or me. did i tell you i don’t get to be done working like i thought/hoped? yeah, that made me sad and more than a little depressed. but we must eat/payrent/drivecarssometimes.

    but this post is inspiring to me and i think i need to get myself to bed earlier so that i can get up early in the morning and do SOMETHING. my question is this: with limited time, how do you get writing AND exercise time in? how? i feel like both are necessary for sanity in my life, but right now work trumps them both. so i’m chubby and not writing. this is not acceptable.

    now i want to read SHINE. and how did they not tell the author’s name with the title? i don’t understand this mistake at all.

    my guess: girls just wanna have fun.

    please tell me you’ve booked a trip to the beach soon.
    oh! i might be convinced to do nanowrimo if the reward for you and carol doing it is a trip out to CA. i’ll kick my girls out of their room so you can both stay in there. 🙂 (and milo too). carol: beach therapy? yes yes yes.

    • I WISH!!!!! I so wish. I need the beach. My sister has been posting pictures of her mediterranean cruise. Blah.

      if nano is too big (and it IS big) maybe just say a paragraph a day.

      Chris and I were discussing the exercise/write dilemma the other day. Truth? I have not exercised for a month and it makes me sad.

      • a paragraph a day sounds doable. it really does. thanks, ann dee. and now i have to figure out how to get you to the beach. hmm. creative solutions. i’ll come up with something. 🙂


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