Daily Archives: October 31, 2011


Hello Friends.

Right now I am handing out candy all by myself. The baby is asleep and my husband and kids are out trick or treating and there are about five thousand kids walking our streets. I’m usually the one left behind and in the past it hasn’t been an issue but for some reason I feel a little scared.

If you don’t hear from me in the future, you’ll know what happened to me.

And now, for some nano discussion.

It starts tomorrow/today. Are you ready? Are you doing it? Here are some last minute tips

a. realize your house is going to get messier than usual, your kids are going to eat more corn dogs than usual, your exercise time may go down (because you all are avid exercisers, I know it). Make a conscious goal not to care. This is your month to write an ENTIRE NOVEL. Some things will have to take a backseat. But only for a bit. Don’t worry. You’ll have plenty of time to clean in December (ahahahahahhahahahahahahha)

b. have a plan (as carol discussed). I wrote about this a bit with the Susan Campbell Bartoletti post (and promised more from her discussion–I haven’t forgotten. It will come soon). Every day, when you finish with your 1600 or 2000+ words (depending on weekends on or off), make a few notes for the next day. What are your ideas for the short term trajectory of the story? Long term? What is working? What is not working? What characters do you want to explore more? Etc.

c. don’t be afraid to write out of order.If you get stuck or frustrated,  just write whatever you want. Play around. Play play play. For example. Let’s say your MC is bugging you–the dialogue is coming out wooden, you aren’t sure what should come next, your plot/plan is feeling too plotty or planny. What should you do? Take a break from your plan. Write the climax. Write the ending. Make someone punch your MC in the face and she what he/she does. Sometimes when you lose steam, you just have to get to know your MC better. Or the other characters better. This is never time wasted. Ever. So even if you’re scared that things are getting out of order, your character’s choices will make more sense and guide you in the way you need to go. If you get really worried, just make some notes to yourself to help you get back on track.

d. you can write a bad draft. don’t get hung up in the details. Let yourself really write. I have a problem with this. I tend to  rewrite sentence after sentence rather than moving forward. This can be pretty stifling.  Give yourself permission to write a bad draft if that’s what you need to do. If you prefer to do it the other way, then realize it’s going to take more time.

e. know your own body. I’m serious about this. The past few months I’ve been trying to write late at night. Fail. I tried getting up in the morning. Fail. So then I tried sitting around eating chocolate. YAY! Not really. What I realized was none of it will work if I don’t get enough sleep (I calculated Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s hours of sleep–she gets six. I need more than six) so the past week I tried going to bed RIGHT after my kids did. Eight o’ clock. This was a sacrifice for me but it allowed me to get up around two, feed the baby and then write for a few hours in the middle of the night and then go back to sleep. This is a little crazy but I felt so good and refreshed in the morning and I had already written! I’m not sure how long I could maintain this type of schedule but maybe for nanowrimo? What is best for you? Can you get up earlier? Can you stay up later? Can you turn down book club this month? Tivo your favorite shows and save them for December? How can you make it work for you?

f. eat good food. You need energy.

g. write with friends. I can’t tell you how good this is for momentum. It’s one thing to have a writer’s group (you should have a writer’s group, P.S.), it’s another to sit and write with someone. Writing can be lonely and easy to avoid. Like exercise, if you do it with a friend, you’re apt to do it longer, harder, and more consistently. You don’t want to stop because they aren’t stopping. You can make goals together. You can have rewards together. You can talk about celebrities together. It’s fun.

h. don’t be sad if you miss a day. just make it up the next or spread it around.

i. have fun. this is supposed to be fun.

AND ONE MORE: J. if you can’t do 2000 words a day, try fifty. Or five hundred. Make November a recommitment to writing month if a novel is out of reach. Try revising ten pages a day. Or sitting down to write thirty minutes a day. Whatever you can do.

I have more but this is long and I keep getting interrupted and I’m a little disturbed by the costumes this year. A lot of slashers.

any more tips from veterans?

can’t wait to hear how it goes for everyone. xo


Filed under Ann Dee

Take a Deep Breath

So last night I had all these dreams and I was gonna wake up and tell them to you but I can’t remember even one.
I can remember night before last’s and it including two dogs who had no hair but skin that looked like a mummy’s. The dogs were headed toward the car I was in.
Are these my pups made into zombies?
Phht. I still hate ’em.

Oh wait.
Last night.
I was in this way old house that was my neighbor’s. A Southern house from the ’30’s, maybe, and the floors were falling apart and riding up and down and there was a claw foot tub and I remember the halls were super-wide. The best part? I had so much money I was rebuilding her a home and mine, too (on the huge lot next door).
I must be worried about my own home.

Making Time to Write

Long before I was pubbed I lived in Florida and worked at the Borden’s ice cream plant where I got to eat all the ice cream I wanted. Plus drink milk. Chocolate.
By this time in my life (16), I knew I wanted to be a writer.
Being a writer meant a lot to me.
I didn’t know it, but all the reading I did and all the writing I did was training me to be a professional.

I wrote anytime an idea struck, including when I was at work and could only put one word down at a time, on a cardboard ice cream box I kept on a work table beside me, while I sealed boxes of ice cream sandwiches (24 per box, marked for individual sale, probably for Disney or another theme park).

Idea strikes.
Pull out pen.
Write for three seconds.
Fold box tops down
tuck lid in
slap on tape
throw container on conveyor belt
write a few more words
fold box tops down
tuck lid in
slap on tape
throw container on conveyor belt
write a few more words
fold box tops down
tuck lid in

You get the picture.
I wanted it.
I wanted to succeed.

I had no idea then that those stories I worked on in the Borden’s Ice Cream Plant, Orlando, Florida, would wind up in my first novel, Kelly and Me a million years later. While I had a goal to publish, I didn’t believe it was possible. I had no idea how to go about it. I never thought it would happen to me.

So tomorrow–that’s day one of NaNoWriMo.
And here’s the deal for me.
I am going to write the BEST I can during this next month because I want to sell this book when we’re through with the competition.
It’s possible.
I know how I write, I know what a books needs, I’ve been thinking (sort of) of this story for a long time, and I want to succeed.
I also know my weaknesses as a writer, that I think 1000 words is a good day and that I have to triple that, that I’m not exactly sure how this novel will end–or even what the climax will be.
I have some of the answers.
But still lots of problems that I’ll try and decide solutions to today or discover as I write along.

Here’s the second deal for me.
If I can’t do it the first few days, well, I may jump overboard because I don’t want this time wasted.
Still–if I can write short stories on a brown cardboard box, why can’t I do this next month?

The truth is we look for excuses to fail (see above paragraph).
You succeed when you set your mind to something.
When you do it.
And if you love what you do, well, that will help you that much more in your success rates.
Want it bad enough.
Go after it.
2300 words per day.
We’re going together.

So I’m taking a deep breath.

Tomorrow we begin!


Filed under CLW