Here We Go…

StartingCamp NaNoWriMo starts at midnight tonight. I’m excited!

I won’t be posting a lot on the WordWacker blog, but I’ll have a daily post on the WordWacker Facebook page with a motivational image and daily word count.

Wish me luck!

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Internet: Friend and Foe

00-3%talentI clipped this image years ago, and don’t remember any more where I got it (though it was, of course, somewhere on the Internet). It is so true! But the Internet is more than a distraction.

Don’t get me wrong – it is often a serious distraction. When I sit down at my computer, first I launch a browser and check my email, my Facebook newsfeed, my feed reader, my Twitter feed, and a whole set of web comics. I download a couple of daily puzzle games and solve them. This whole process can take half an hour. Then, while writing, I get the urge to check a feed here, look up a fact there. This can be a serious time suck.

On the other hand, the Internet has been an important source of three things that are very important.

  1. Information. I don’t mean just facts, research needed for the book, though this is important as well. I mean a lot of tips and guidance for the writing process. I have gotten so much from Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, Writer Unboxed, Paving my Author’s Road, and many others. Though I’m a long way from submission, I’m storing up wisdom from Janet Reid’s blog. I would not be ready for this upcoming draft without them.
  2. Motivation. There’s no source like the Internet for inspirational images and quotes (such as the one I highlighted above). One thing I did in preparation for July is assemble a playlist of such images, one for each day of the month. I’ll be posting them daily over on my WordWacker Facebook page, if you want to follow along.
  3. Support. Camp NaNoWriMo has allowed me to link up with ten other folks as I work toward my writing goal next month, in a group they call a cabin. They all happen to be women (Hi! *waves*), and we’ve been chatting for a couple of days now, getting to know each other and and affirming each other’s goals and plans. I’m sure that their encouragement will be crucial in the weeks to come.

So how will I manage these contradictory aspects of the Internet in my NaNo month? I’m going to begin each day with my usual scan of my feeds and updates; I know I won’t be able to skip that. I’ll check in with my NaNo cabin mates for mutual support. I’ll post my daily image on my Facebook page. Then, with this ritual behind me, I’ll shut off my WiFi and start writing. My daily goal, based on 50,000 words in 31 days, is 1,613 words per day, and I’ll allow this in two separate sittings, so a minimum of 800 words before I’m allowed to get back on WiFi. If there’s something I need to look up for what I’m working on, I’ll just make a note of it right in the file and keep going. I can come back to it later.

I’ll be posting short updates, word counts, and, of course, the daily inspiration images on my Facebook page. Here on the blog expect fewer posts, perhaps only one per week. I need to be focused on NaNo.

Wish me luck!

MyNoWriMo Step 10: Logistics

Step10I’m SO ready!

I’ve got a spreadsheet that will automatically count my daily words, my daily word average, and my total words. I’ve made a decision to put the whole 50K draft into a single file, since that’s how I’ll need to submit it to Camp NaNoWriMo for verification. I’ll be using WordPad instead of Word for this file, so it will be smaller and I won’t be spending time on niggly formatting and such. I can tweak those details in Word later if I want to. For now, it’s all about getting the words down!

LATER: My brief flirtation with WordPad has ended – I’ve decided to stick with writing in Word. It’s what I’m most accustomed to, so it will go more smoothly. Also, Word will give me a total word count automatically. Word it is! As for other word processing programs: I have nothing against them. My husband uses OpenOffice all the time, and I once wrote an entire test bank for a college text book in WordPerfect, which I liked a lot. My office, however, standardized on Word years ago, so it’s much simpler to use that one.

Progress so far:

  • 3/1/15: Set the goal (a full 50,000-word draft, or half a novel?) – On time
  • 3/8/15: Develop my one-sentence pitch line – Early
  • 3/22/15: Establish major set pieces/beats – On time
  • 4/12/15: Develop a rough synopsis – On time
  • 5/3/15: Complete a rough outline or scene sketch – On time
  • 5/17/15: Map out each character’s story line – Late 😦
  • 5/31/15: Plan the beginning of the novel, from opening scene to first major turn – Early
  • 6/14/15: Plan the middle of the novel, including all the twists and complications leading to the ending – On time
  • 6/28/15: Plan the ending of the novel, including the climax and the final resolution – Early
  • 6/30/15: Get all my logistics in place (word-count log, file formats, backups, and so on) – Early

I’m READY! And I have to wait four more days to begin.

Hello, Facebook!

FB-f-Logo__blue_1024I’ve had a personal page for a long time now, but I haven’t posted there from this blog (not publicly, anyway).

Until now.

I didn’t want my friends and family to have to see all the posts I put up here for my author’s journey. Some might be interested, but others not, and they’ll just plug up everyone’s news feed and create annoyance. But today I created a new page just for WordWacker. All my blog posts should be showing up there (we’ll see if this one does). It’s also a place where I can post shorter notices and musings that aren’t worth a whole blog post. As I go into Camp NaNo in a few days, I’ll be posting daily on there with word counts and inspirational messages.

Interested? If so, please like my WordWacker Facebook page. I’d love to see you over there!

MyNoWriMo Step 9: Ending

Step 9As expected, this was easier. I always knew where this was going.

I’m still following Janice Hardy’s blog for a plan for preparing for Camp NaNoWriMo in July, in less than a week! I’ve spent a week or so tightening up some details. I also went back and undid some of what I had done in the middle. I was trying to add more twists and complications to stretch out the first half of the middle (the section leading up to the midpoint-reversal); I wrote a post about what I was trying to do, which you can read here if you want. But everything just seemed forced. None of it passed the crucial test: if I took it out, it had no effect on the rest of the story. So, it’s gone! I’ve saved all those ideas (never delete anything for good, that’s my motto), but the actual outline I’ll be following is just short in that area. So sue me. I can go back after the first draft and fill in if need be, but for now I’m sticking with my first vision.

Progress so far:

  • 3/1/15: Set the goal (a full 50,000-word draft, or half a novel?) – On time
  • 3/8/15: Develop my one-sentence pitch line – Early
  • 3/22/15: Establish major set pieces/beats – On time
  • 4/12/15: Develop a rough synopsis – On time
  • 5/3/15: Complete a rough outline or scene sketch – On time
  • 5/17/15: Map out each character’s story line – Late 😦
  • 5/31/15: Plan the beginning of the novel, from opening scene to first major turn – Early
  • 6/14/15: Plan the middle of the novel, including all the twists and complications leading to the ending – On time
  • 6/28/15: Plan the ending of the novel, including the climax and the final resolution – Early
  • 6/30/15: Get all my logistics in place (word-count log, file formats, backups, and so on)

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Quote

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “ROY G. BIV.”

RoyGBivThe photo challenge this week was to post a photo that contains all the colors of the rainbow. Here’s my own ironic contribution.

Of course, a rainbow actually includes all possible colors of visible light, but traditionally they are divided into seven colors (just because seven is a mystical number), and named Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet (Roy G. Biv). So the challenge is to post a photo containing all the colors, or a collage with one photo representing each color. That’s the option I chose.

Why is this image so ironic? I am a terrible gardener. None of these plants are actually mine. There are no live plants in my house, because they would be doomed moments after I bring them home. The landscaping outside is all hardy perennials that survive being ignored: I don’t spray, I don’t lift or replant or even deadhead flowers. I pay someone once a year to come weed the beds, put down mulch, and prune. The rest of the time, they’re on their own.

It used to bother me that I’m so bad at this. Other people talk about how much satisfaction they get from gardening, and their beautiful gardens show it. Why can’t I do that? But I’ve come to accept that it’s just not my gift. I have helped to raise two healthy, happy kids. I help make music that brings joy to others. I can create and deliver awesome college courses. I can post things on this blog. And, if I keep to my plan (I will! I will!), I will create an entire novel that people want to read.

So, from a cheerful flower image to something more important we all should remember. Don’t worry about what you can’t do. Focus on what you can do, and do that. To quote Edward Everett Hale: I am only one, but I am one. I can’t do everything, but I can do something.