Hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween! This is one of the times of the year that I absolutely love my neighborhood – it is ideal for Trick-or-Treating. There are lots of houses with lots of kids and many of them go all out in decorating. There is definitely a festive atmosphere in the air. My daughter and I were joined by my mom, my stepson and his mom, and two friends. The hubby stayed home to man the candy basket. The kids brought home way more candy than should be allowed, but what can you do? We are entering that time of year – first Halloween candy, then Thanksgiving leftovers, then all the goodies that come with Christmas. No use fighting it.
It was also funny this year that my daughter, who has usually gone the pretty or silly route for Halloween costumes, decided that she wanted to be a scary zombie. It’s not an easy feat to make such a pretty girl into a terror, but I think we did a good job. The giggling lost some of the effect.
She’s coming for you! Giggling all the way!
In other news, NaNoWriMo has officially started! So far I am doing quite well, although I almost always do pretty good the first week. It’s later in the month when things start to go downhill. Keeping my fingers crossed that I can keep going, but I am happy that I’ve already hit my word count target for today, and it isn’t even 8 o’clock yet! Not too shabby! If you are also doing NaNo and want to be writing buddies, you can find me here.
No “Stacking the Shelves” this week. Instead of buying new books, I went out and spent a goodly amount of money on fall/winter clothes for my kiddo. She grows like a weed, that one. Hardly any warm clothes from last year fit. Luckily she should be set for a while and I can get back to buying books next week. 🙂
I wanted to talk about my writing challenge a little bit. I’ve always loved the spirit of NaNoWriMo, even if I’ve never completed that challenge. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is really hard! I’m trying to write 30,000 words in six weeks and that has been giving me fits. There is one thing that has really helped me, and that’s my writing group. I know that I have to keep writing because they keep me accountable. They won’t let me give up, and if I even try to give up, they are there to give me a good swift kick of inspiration.
So here’s my little, tiny bit of writing advice (keeping in mind that this advice is coming from someone who has never been published, or even ever finished a writing project). Not only should you write every day (or at least try, because sometimes life gets in the way), but try to find someone to keep you accountable. Whether it’s a writing website, like NaNo, or a friend or family member who will keep on you to keep at it. Sometimes all you need is just a little push. I’ve been writing like mad over the past few weeks and that’s because I don’t want to disappoint the writing group. I knew that if I didn’t write, other people would know. And I didn’t want to let them down.
I now have over 64,000 words completed in my current writing project. That is amazing to me, since the most I have ever done in the past was around 25,000. Without my fellow writers in the Triad Genre Writers Group, I would never have made it this far.
I’m on course to complete my challenge as well, which feels awesome.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I love my writing group! Things have been getting slow lately, especially trying to recover from the summer, but starting October 20th we are starting a challenge. Inspired by NaNoWriMo, we will all set writing goals. Instead of working over just the month of November, we will have six weeks to accomplish a writing goal. It doesn’t have to be 50,000 words, but it needs to be something challenging.
Oh, have you never heard of NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month happens every November. Writers from all over the world try to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It’s a crazy goal, one that I have to admit, I’ve never been able to achieve. Even when I don’t participate, November always seems to be filled with creative energy as I think about all the people around the world writing like mad. The few times I have participated have been fun, although I usually only made it to around 25,000 words.
Here’s the main reason why our writing challenge excites me: there is a good chance that if I set a goal ambitious enough, I will finish the rough draft of my novel by December 1st. I will keep everyone informed of my progress, both here and on Twitter. This is the first time that I’ve ever been close to finishing a writing project. The idea of actually going through and revising this thing is both exciting and terrifying – I’ve never had anything to revise before! But I have the support of my writing group, and lots of notes from where they’ve critiqued my work, not to mention family and friends who are willing to give me a good swift kick if I start slowing down and doubting myself.
I will spend the time between now and the 20th trying to plan out the rest of the story. I know where it’s going, but need to list out the individual scenes. I’m not a big outliner – I never have had the entire thing planned out from beginning to end. Since finding John Truby’s The Anatomy of Story, I have a much better procedure for writing, but I have found that outlining a bit, then writing that bit, then outlining a bit more works better than trying to outline the entire thing.
So now all I have to do is prepare for October 20th. I can’t wait!