A November to Remember. On Losing Graciously, yet Victoriously, in NANOWRIMO. #amwriting

snapshot_20160528_2 My NANOWRIMO bio photo.  I think it reflects a serious writing face, and it appropriately features my favorite coffee cup. 🙂

As the goal of NANOWRIMO is to write a 50,000 word novel, I’ve done a little writing this month.  🙂  I also have:  worked full-time, encountered two car accidents in my family, one of which has me now driving my son to work at the other end of town, but let me say I’m thankful, since no one is hurt.    I made a visit to southern Florida to spend a short weekend with a high school friend, attended church, attended yoga (though not enough, it helps undo the tension from typing and laptop use), I blogged more than I should have while trying to write a book, but I love the friendly community of blogging and I couldn’t stop. I voted and watched the world unravel over the election’s results, I processed the election results, spent a little time with my boyfriend, hung out with his family and my son for Thanksgiving, I walked my dog countless times and got sudden glimpses of inspirations, and….that’s about it. Unless I forgot something.   Yes, that’s one heck of a run-on, but in November, you don’t edit!  Never mind that it’s December now. 🙂 I’ll edit in January!

So, considering all that is my life, I feel victorious when I say I wrote 45,000 words in November!  I’ve been in forums to get support and also heard the naysayers, “Quality means more than quantity.” But I truly think the beauty of NANOWRIMO is the deadline, and perhaps, the competition.  You know others are doing it, you know many of them will succeed, so, why not you?  I gave it my best effort.  I decided halfway in that I was only competing with myself.  Last year, I wrote 30,000 words of a novel.  It was finished in January.  This year, I wrote 45,000.  I think I’ve won.  After all, you only have yourself to compete with, right?  Still, when you know so many of your peers in the writing world are doing it, you want to join.   In the words of my NANOWRIMO bio,  “I might as well write as much as I can, while I still have the mental faculties and stamina.   Victorious, I march on with my pen!”

wp-1480592931919.pngWorking title.

So, let me end with some of my survival strategies for this November, that, if employed correctly, will have me at 50K for the next NANOWRIMO:

  1.  Notepad and pen handy when traveling in the car
  2. Dog walks are short as that’s when inspiration hits, especially at night
  3. Read Chris Baty’s “No Plot, No Problem.”  Next year, I’ll read all of it. 🙂
  4. Limit reading to very short books, like the one I finished while getting a pedicure.
  5. Get at least one massage during the month
  6. Make a book outline.  I’ll be more detailed with my next outline.  DO this BEFORE November.
  7. Don’t stare at the laptop/typewriter.  Get a notebook and map out your setting or make a timeline of events.
  8. Pop in to forums to get inspiration.  A helpful post I saw recommended deciding your character’s Zodiac sign and reading up on it.
  9. Next year I’ll try pure dialogue sprints between characters and see what is revealed.
  10. NANOWRIMO sprints.  They’re on Twitter.  I participated in just one. It seems I didn’t really get the concept and got up to pee then got distracted during the twenty minutes.  It’s okay, I am new to NANOWRIMO.  I’ll give them a better try next time!
  11. The Night of Writing Dangerously.  I was so tired lately, I didn’t consider this, but it is a grand idea!  An all-nighter, when people all around the globe are having a writing marathon?  Call in sick the next day! Yes, It does sound interesting.  I may try it in the future!  Stress just got me this year, and bedtime was always so inviting.
  12. I didn’t try this, but I hope to next time:  A local write-in!  How I’d love to meet with local writers.  If you tried this, how did it go?

undertow-sea-710297_960_720Photo from Pixabay.

Well, as I said, I love blogging, so here I am processing the month of November, while my main character is still treading water.  I will have to leave her that way until my two weeks off at Christmas time.  Right now, I need a much-deserved break!

#weekendcoffeeshare Preoccupied!

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Happy Saturday morning to all! I started out this day sleeping relatively late, which I so needed! I had breakfast at my boyfriend’s house, dog in tow. (He really loves Kenny; they are like kindred souls). We got to hear a rooster crow while eating. I love his crazy neighborhood almost as much as mine, though mine is not so crazy but rather, peaceful and relaxing.  So is his, until the rooster crows!  I love #weekendcoffeeshare, because I can process, in words, my week and my state of mind while sharing my journey in writing and overall personhood.  I originally discovered #weekendcoffeeshare at parttimemonsterblog.com.  You should check out the link there after reading this!  Of course, you should share your coffee share and let me know about your week so I don’t feel so one-sided in the conversation!   Now, let me do this coffee share right, my friend. If we were having coffee, I’d tell you:
Life is hectic right now, but that’s not bad. My son’s car was totaled, and he’s waiting on paperwork and payment. Thank God he’s okay. I have to get an estimate on my car today, and work is as busy as ever! I’m so thankful for the upcoming holiday! I wrote on the subject of car accidents last week, too. I tell you, they are a long, drawn out hassle. Be careful out there!
Goals- Another reason my life is hectic. There’s so much I want to do with my life! I am not up to par with NANOWRIMO, but I have reached 25,000 words! I’ve decided I’ll just write all that I can, and see what I have at November’s end. It will be more than I’ve ever done in a month before. I went into this promising I was only competing with myself. Sometimes I even write for 1/2 hour as I drink my coffee before work, then force myself to clean up and get presentable. Well, one morning this week I couldn’t find my car keys for 20 minutes, until my mom asked, “Did you check the coat you wore to walk the dog last night?” What do you know, there they were!
Needless to say, I’m a little preoccupied, living in my main character’s head, her space and time. Then, I have to switch to work mode. The election last week was such a distraction as well, but I am ignoring every single political post this week.  There are other things in life.  Last night, it was such a treat just to sit back and watch Big Bang Theory and Seinfeld. I  nodded off not long after. 🙂
I likely won’t get much writing done today. There is so much to do, but I am also going to just spend some time with my boyfriend, my son, my dog and my mom. Life is good.

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Bixby, Kenny, and Kenny’s wonderful art in the background.

coffee-66507_640 My #weekendcoffeeshare

This is the cafe where you and I can imagine sitting and sharing the details of our week.  It’s been so busy, I haven’t had much time to just chat with another person and be normal.  Thanks for listening, my friend.  -Pamela

#weekendcoffeeshare. Of writing, distractions, and the need to socialize

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*Image courtesy of pixabay.com.  I discovered this Coffee share idea through parttimemonsterblog.com which is why I love this blogging community!  The opportunities for networking are tremendous!  I hope to do this every Saturday.  Seriously, I really needed some socializing today.  Coffee share works like this:

If we were having coffee, I would share with you that it has been a great morning so far!  I’m so glad to sit and share with someone, for I haven’t been very sociable lately.  I signed up for NANOWRIMO and I have been writing my brains out; I am now around 17,000 words and feeling like I can’t do this!  Actually, I am pretty sure I will finish, just not so sure about finishing 50,000 words in the month of November.  If interested, see my blog post earlier today called #NANOWRIMO #characterinspiration. Sometimes, I need a break from writing and I’m looking at other people’s ideas.  My #characterinspiration came from another writer’s idea to explore your character’s zodiac sign.  Awesome, right?

I am so distracted lately, though, by politics, the election, our country’s reaction to the election, and the division still apparent in our country.  I am determined to make everyone I know feel welcome and accepted.  I have had two friends sign off or delete their Facebook accounts this week.  Yes, it is that serious.  So many times, I want to say, “Can we just stop talking politics and just be people now?”  Yet, I do not want to silence anyone.  Obviously, any who are upset are valid in feeling that way.  I want to be upset, but I am not one of the marginalized.  All I can do is stand up for them.  In time I will figure out how.  However, I will tell you, my mother and I can not talk politics in the presence of one another.  Sad, I know.  But it is more important that we love each other, and stubbornness runs in the family, so neither of us is going to sway the other.  We know better than to try.

Another distraction is having to help my son get places.  He had a car accident and will need to look for a new car when things are settled with insurance.  This afternoon I had to take him to the bank and then to pay a bill.  It was not a small trip, and after being sideswiped last week myself, I feel some anxiety when a driver gets too close or I’m going over a winding overpass. Yes, I kind of resent having to drive so far, but I tried not to be too negative.  He is learning a lot of lessons right now.  I am glad to help him pay his bills, as it is a part of growing up. I did mention he could mail it in ahead of time next month. 🙂

But as I said, it was a great morning!  I am a glass half-full sort of gal.  I gave my dog a long walk.  Yesterday, I felt bad because it was his two year anniversary with us and I celebrated with him by, um, letting him snooze on my bed as I wrote, and letting him warm my feet on the bed last night.  Not good enough, I know.  So we had a long walk this morning, and what do you know, it benefitted me as well!  This is part of my issue with NANOWRIMO.  I am not reading a book, and it feels wrong.  Exercise is a must so that I am not as stiff every morning.  And not that I ever clean much, but I had a day off yesterday and didn’t do anything to improve my house because I just wrote and researched.  It’s hard at times.  At November’s close, if I have written more than I did this time last year, I will be satisfied.  I have so many other small ideas that can pack a punch.  I seem to be cut out for serializing; the tone changes, characters have grown, etc. etc.  We shall see when I am done with this current novel.  Honestly, I can’t wait to write a short story again!

Thanks for sitting down for a brief chat.  Was it as one-sided as it seems?  I must be a little jazzed on the caffeine.  There is SO much going on!  Please do share about your goals, dreams, frustrations, concerns, or even your favorite coffee drink today!

Please visit Parttime Monster Blog and add your own coffee share link.  I’d also love to hear your comments below!

Link up at https://parttimemonsterblog.com/weekendcoffeeshare/

The link opens Saturdays at 8 a.m.

Character Inspiration #Nanowrimo #amwriting

*Image courtesy of pixabay.com. Herein lies inspiration for my character, Tabatha Hansen, a.k.a, Pinky, born on 3/28/1967, who in my book inhabits the world of 1997 to 2000, with occasional visits to the year 2047.  I’ll admit it, I am up to 17,238 words in this novel and I need inspiration.  I need to be in the shoes of my character for at least 33,000 more words.  I may or may not get it all done in November.  That’s okay; it will get done!woman-1774020_1920

This is a source idea I read about online somewhere, for my NANOWRIMO inspiration for Tabatha, a character in two of my time travel books.  Tabatha, a.k.a Pinky, is in her early thirties.  Wait, now I’m writing book two, and she no longer likes to be called Pinky.  She says it’s too childish.  Her hair: not exactly blonde, not exactly dark.  Some call it dirty blonde, while others call it “touched with honey.”  Her body stature: small. She is a picky eater.  Height: 5’6.  She is built like a dancer.  Eyes:  hazel, sometimes brownish.  Maybe amber.  I don’t know; I’m going on the word of her best friend and partner, Milt.  Let’s be glad he remembered her birthday (3/28/1967).  Skin: beautiful.  Tans easily, with dark eyebrows.  Reminds me a little of Ashley Judd.  Just lovely.  Long, skinny fingers on her hands, and toes to match.  Long, thin arms.  Loves to dance.  She actually went to dance school for a while, but also loves art.  She draws, paints, dreams.  In her early thirties, she works in an art gallery because it brings more money than trying to sell her own art.  Prone to moodiness and flights of fancy, yet, set in her ways.  Parents are deceased.  Has one brother, two years younger, who is a little, let’s just say, wayward.  Has his own issues and struggles.  Family is so important to her, and she is also a loyal friend.  Just don’t get on her bad side.   While she loved the Flashdance fashions from the eighties, her go-to wardrobe in the nineties consists of jeans, Doc Martens or Chucks, and rock-n-roll or progressive band t-shirts.  But watch out, she can also rock a little black dress and will dress up for the art gallery when it is called for.

Listens to: Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Elvis Costello, U2, Sting, The Police, The Who, The Cowboy Junkies, Smashing Pumpkins, and a lot of music from that alternative/progressive station.

Particularly true for my character are numbers 1, 3, 6,7, 10, 12, 13, some of which almost made me consider making her a Gemini, but that didn’t set well with her. 🙂

Excerpt from http://www.yourtango.com/2015261912/13-brutal-truths-about-loving-aries-as-written-by-aries   (This is the zodiac description of my main character.)

     “The good, the bad, and the Aries.

     1. We’re fiery. We are a fire sign, so this should come as no surprise. I’ve been described as “fiery” my whole life, which after many years of introspection, I’ve come to realize is both a compliment and an insult. (I choose the former.) On the pro side, this means when we walk into a room, we bring a LOT of energy. Mostly good energy. Some bad, depending on our mood. We are the people you want to invite to your party if you want that party to be way more fun. On the con side, we have a lightning-quick temper.

     2. We have an ego. The intro of this piece should’ve alerted you to this fact but I will restate it for your convenience: Aries women need people who both stroke our egos when we need them to (which, admittedly, is a lot) but also can keep us humble. Have fun with that balancing act!

     3. We’re adventurous. We’ll try almost anything once. But if we don’t like it (or we aren’t that good at it) the first time around, we probably won’t want to do it again.

     4. We get bored easily. If you’re not engaging us or keeping up with us or having great sex with us or having a conversation that we think is interesting, NEXT. We’ll be polite about it (we do have manners, mostly), but we’re quick to move on if you can’t hold our attention.

     5. We’re big-picture people. Small details don’t interest us. We think broadly about projects, ideas, and goals and what it will take to get the job done. Minor details are less interesting to us. We’ll take care of ’em if we have to — after all, we value accountability — but we’ll probably do so begrudgingly.

     6. We’re aggressive. At getting what we want, when we want, and how we want it. Please step aside and get out of our way. Best not to compete with us because you’ll probably lose.

     7. We love hard. We fall quickly and enthusiastically and we love with a deep passion. We love love. When we’re in love with you, you will know it and feel it in the depths of your soul.

     8. We’re excited about life. Honestly, we’re excited about everything: travel, literature, theatre, interesting people, the world, you. Most everything excites us and we want to jump-in full-force. That’s why we’re big-picture people (#5) – if we concern ourselves with trivialities, we won’t have time to experience life at its fullest.

     9. We’re loyal – to a fault….. We can hold grudges for YEARS, people. YEARS. And what we lack in physical strength, we make up for in words — we will slay you with our tongue. The enemies of my friends are also my enemies; be forewarned.

     10. We’re assertive. That’s just a nice way of saying that we say almost anything we want to, especially around people who know us extremely well. We might lock it up around your parents or your boss because apparently “restraint” is a societal norm (who knew?) but understand that it’s so freaking difficult for us to not say how we feel. Best to step in and save us when we’re about to explode from polite-ness.

     11. We work really… hard. Hire an Aries, give them something they’re passionate about, and they will work harder for you than anyone else in the room. Caveat: This only works if an Aries is doing work that fulfills and stimulates him/her. Otherwise, all bets are off.

     12. We have no patience. Literally none. We want everything done yesterday and if we can bother to show up to a restaurant/movie/meeting on time (probably early) why can’t you? Do not even get us started on the rage we feel sitting in traffic or in a grocery store line. It’s a physical ailment that has no treatment except cowbell and NOT MAKING US WAIT.

     13. We need our space. We’re fiercely independent, which means you must, must, MUST have your own life. If we feel like a caged animal, we will flee the moment you crack open the door even a smidge. …

Thanks to yourtango.com for these brutal truths about our Aries friends.”

Thank you all for reading!  I thought this was a good strategy that someone else could use, or, perhaps I just entertained and distracted you for a few minutes.  I am on a journey, a journey of the mind, and while I have many distractions like fender benders, my son’s transportation problem, and world/national events (not to mention working full-time), I may not be able to define this journey in numbers per day.  I can only define it by reaching the finish line.  I still have NANOWRIMO to thank for pushing me to go further in my writing life.