My Thoughts on Week 1 of NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month.  Day 6.  I wanted to write down a few things that have really helped me make progress on my book.


The last time I attempted NaNoWriMo, I followed the “pantser” method (a.k.a. wrote by the seat of my pants).  This is the reason I wrote with enthusiasm for 12 days and then struggled.  The story took aimless turns and I ended up with 50,000 words of rambling garbage that will never see the light of day.

This is the point of NaNoWriMo.  To release your inhibitions and just hit the word count.  But this time, I’m using this challenge as a springboard for my series.

Back in August, I outlined my NaNoWriMo story.  It’s bare bones, but wow!  My writing is way better this time around.


Character is king.  I’ve heard this mantra for years, but kind of ignored it.  My focus has always been on the story.

But what is story without character?

A few weeks ago, I sat down and described each major character.  It forced me to really think about the stakes.  What does each character want?  Why is it important?  What is the theme in each scene?  I’m amazed at the sub-plots that have emerged from this exercise.  There’s a new layer of intrigue that I can add to the story.


Duh.  I’m writing a  fantasy novel, so you’d think this would be obvious.  But I’ve never actually sat down to think about the details of the world.  What is the political system?  How does the economy work?  What is the currency?  How do the beings sustain themselves?  What is the topography of the land and how does it drive this story?

Questions, questions, and even more questions.  Because the magical world definitely influences the story.  I’m kicking myself for not sitting down and doing this homework before.


I’ve written before about the evils of perfectionism.  It is my greatest nemesis.  I still want to write down and have perfect prose flow from my finger tips.  Perfect description.  Perfect dialogue.  Perfect cliff hangers.  Perfect tension.

Yeah, that hasn’t happened, so I stopped and tried something different.

I’m describing one scene at a time instead of writing it out like a book.  Yeah, I know that goes against what the experts tell you.  “Show, Don’t Tell.”  Blah, blah, blah.

Well, guess what?  I can’t SHOW anything, if I don’t HAVE anything.  And right now, TELLING my story is working.  So, I’m sticking with it.

BOTTOM LINE TO MYSELF:  Don’t take shortcuts.  Do your homework.  And do what works for you. 




Giddyup, pardners…. It’s National Novel Writing Month. Let’s Go.

November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).  That’s tomorrow.


NaNoWriMo participants have 30 days to write 50,000 words.  That’s roughly 1,667 words per day.  I actually achieved this goal a few years ago, but will not attempt it this year.

HOWEVER, I will commit to writing 500 words a day until the end of this year.  Or rather, 500 words a day for 60 days.  That will take me to 30,000 words in 2 months.

It’s better than nothing.

For the past month, I’ve been outlining the backstory to my “real” story and it has evolved into a story on its own.  I’m not sure if this should be my first novel, so I want to write it out and see where it goes.

It is based on Indian mythology, so I’m struggling with how much artistic liberty I can take with the story.  For this purpose, I think I will let my creative monsters fly.  (Or in my case, demons fly.)

So, for anyone else who is attempting this challenge, I wish you good luck!  Let the writing challenge begin!


DAY #1: A Modified “NaNoWriMo” Challenge (Write 15 Minutes of Garbage Every Day)

Writer’s block.  No time.  Procrastination.  Fatigue.  Whatever.  I have plenty of excuses for not writing.  I even wrote an entire post about them.  They’ve served me well.  I’ve had this story in my head for at least a decade and still have nothing to show for it.

I’ve finally accepted what my problem is.  At a very basic level, it’s fear.  I’m afraid to write garbage.  I keep thinking that when my writing improves, then I’ll do my story justice.  But no one can improve his or her writing without, well, writing.

So, what’s the best way to get over this fear?  In the past, public accountability has spurred me into action.  A few years ago, I successfully completed the NaNoWriMo challenge.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with this term, November is National Novel Writing Month.  Na(tional) No(vel) Wri(ting) Mo(nth).  During the month of November, authors from around the world gather to participate in a writing challenge.  The goal is to write 50,000 words during the 30 days of November.  There’s a website ( where you can sign up and participate in the challenge.

I didn’t sign up for the official challenge, but a friend and I decided to write 50,000 words in one month.  I picked a simple story idea and allowed myself to write garbage.  I completed this challenge by posting my daily totals on Facebook.  So, even though I had a baby, I still found time to write 1,667 words a day.  Because I didn’t want to fail in front of my friends.

As a writer, there is nothing more empowering then completing an entire manuscript.  I loved watching my word counts grow each day.  Because I’m a nerd, I created a spreadsheet to track my progress.  It was an amazing experience that I would definitely recommend to any aspiring author.

I don’t think I’ll be able to complete that challenge this year.  But, I’d like to complete a variation of it.  So, I’m going to publicly commit to writing for 15 minutes a day for the next 30 days.  It starts today (September 25th).

Here are my “Rules:”

I must post something on this blog every day, starting today, September 25, 2015.  (You guys have to keep me accountable!)

I must write at least 100 words.  (NOTE:  I’ll aim for more, but wanted a low minimum in case I try to write poetry.)

I must write for a MINIMUM of 15 minutes.  More time is obviously better.  

Any topic is fair game.  The more ridiculous the topic, the better.

Each post can be about a different topic.  My goal is NOT a manuscript this time. 

That’s it!  I’m hoping that if I completely free myself from any of my self-imposed constraints, my creative juices will flow.  So, please wish me luck!  Thank you!

TO ANYONE READING:  Does anyone want to join me in this challenge?  It doesn’t have to follow the same “rules,” but maybe your own 30-day writing challenge?  Please let me know!  I’d love it if we could help each other meet our writing goals.