NaNo Camp July, Friday 21st (2017)

NaNoWriMo

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: be kind to yourself, especially during something like NaNoWriMo. Did you remember to drink water? No? Take a few swallows. I need to do that right now myself. Did you rest well? If you’re caught up on your words, take a breather– you don’t have to sleep, but taking five or ten minutes away from the computer or journal you’re working with can do loads of wonders.

Not completing NaNo isn’t the end of the world. And NaNo isn’t over yet, anyway. Pace yourself, but don’t burn yourself out. Procrastinate when you have to. Take breathers. Remember to give your eyes a rest– reading, and by proxy writing, stresses the eyes.

And don’t forget: Every word you have written is a victory on its own, one word you didn’t have before.

–Natasha

NaNoGoal: 17,753/20,000

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NaNo Camp July, Friday 14th (2017)

NaNoWriMo

I went to a private school as a girl. It wasn’t a large school, only a couple of students, but it was legalized and I have a copy of the Board of Education’s recognition of it as such.

But despite not being a large school, it had all the trimmings. We had a School Mascot (the Mustang), we had school colors (black, maroon, navy), a school flower (the magnolia). We had regular classes, or what I assume is regular because it was normal for us. We had our subjects and the tests for those, book reports and writing classes, schedules for tutoring, though we didn’t call it tutoring, of course..

We had very few sick days because there were so few of us, so it wasn’t like the flu came in waves or anything. We never had to deal with a lice scare, and we had both inside lessons and outdoor lessons. I learned how to balance a checkbook, how to build an animal pen, how to make a quilt; complex mathematics, base sciences, human history. When we were done with class for the day, we were cut loose and left to our own devices. We had our field trips– one time, we went to an auction in another state. I saw a zebra in real life.

During the summer, the local public school had a type of summer schooling, which any child that lived in the area could attend. I only went one year due to the difficulties caused by it, but it provided me with more than enough social interaction for several lifetimes. Those of my school were outliers  to those of public school; they did not take kindly of us, and we fit in none of their pre-established dynamics.

Our school didn’t have dances. I went to one at the public school, invited by a young ma’am who attended, and I had one dance with a young man who also had no date. I bristled at a lot of people. It was strange. Not really a dance, not really a party, just… a bunch of awkward not-yet-teenagers. Three teachers tried to get me to change schools, further making it more awkward.

When I graduated, I spent the next year or so trying to figure out how to test for the GED. Some businesses counted my diploma as sufficient schooling, but a lot of them called private schools as fake, accepting only diplomas from the local public schools. No college in the area would accept it at all, since my school hadn’t been required to do standardized testing and we didn’t have GPAs. The Adult Education Center gave me the run-around on GED testing, asking “why was my primary schooling not sufficient?”

We never got Letterman jackets (a fact which I hope to rectify, eventually) and we never got high-school rings.

I remember all of these things when I write a character. The character’s history matters. From where they were born to where they went to school to the school colors and school pride they carry. Sometimes it’s just a token, a throw-back to way back when, but the little details are important too. Even if we never use them in story, it’s nice to know a little extra color about your cast.

–Natasha

NaNoGoal: 13,706/30,000

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NaNo Camp July, Friday 7th (2017)

NaNoWriMo

One of the most important things to do in Camp NaNoWriMo is set a reasonable goal for yourself.

I, uh, may not have done that this July.

In my defense, I told someone I’d do Camp July back in the beginning of June, and I decided way back then that I’d do a 30k count, completely ignoring how tight the month in question was going to be, between three jobs and trying to balance the rest of real life. One of those jobs, the full-time non-negotiable one which shall not be named, is having a bit of a do and thus requires me to work extra time than I normally would this month.

I do kind of need the money… but it means less time writing, and more time tired. It’s also the middle of summer, and I do want to enjoy the summer. Plus I have the summer harvest (raspberries and blackberries are both a thing right now) and a whole mess of kittens. Some of them need more TLC than I’ve been able to give them while being away at work, so my free days are often spent doing that.

That’s a bit working against me. Both my other paid jobs are more flexible, since I’m a subcontractor and I take the work I want to, but I really can’t neglect them even though they only truly make me pocket change. I could put them down for a bit if I wanted to, but then I have a bad habit of not picking them up again for a while.

I swear I did consider dropping my count to a measly 15k throughout the month of June. I just couldn’t get myself talked into it, though. Go figure. So here I am, in July, crawling my way to 30k. I don’t know if I’ll try to stretch beyond it. That’s a thing to cross when I get to that bridge.

Set yourself a reasonable goal. Be stubborn about it. When you break through it, set yourself another.

I believe in you.

–Natasha

NaNo Goals: 7,109/30,000

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 18th (2016)

NaNoWriMo

Here is something I will never be able to stress enough:

Reward yourself.

We are writers, of course, and so we write and writing is, therefor, in its own way, the reward we all strive for. There is nothing quite as satisfying as just the right turn of phrase, laying the scene exactly how you want it, the character coming up with that perfect quote you will never, ever forget. I know that. You know that. We are writers. It’s what we live for.

But, it turns out, sometimes writing is not enough. Sometimes we need.. something more.

Needing that something more isn’t bad, especially during NaNo when writing is all you’re doing, pouring in every spare moment until you manage to hit your goal. We’re writers, so we love writing, but NaNo can get… a little intense. Just a little! Maybe… more than a little. Maybe more than that little more? Okay, maybe a whole lot. A lot of people put down NaNo part-way through because they’re burnt out, and if you’ve had to put it down and walk away, there is nothing wrong with that either.

If you’ve survived NaNo this long, good job. I don’t care if you’re behind count, if you’re ahead of count, if you’ve finished, if you’ve had to lock it up for your sanity. Good job. Give yourself a pat on the back, take a deep breath, walk away from the computer for a minute and look at the sky.

Unless you’re like, writing on a laptop or tablet outside. In which case, take that with you. You never know what some people are up to, and machines are expensive. But take a breather. It’s your reward for pulling this off. You’ve earned it. NaNo’s not over yet, but you’ve made it three Fridays, and I’ve got faith in you.

But, rewards.

Rewards get me through NaNoWriMo a lot. I’ve had practice with the reward system. Every 10k, I wander off to watch a movie more or less themed in what kind of scene I’m writing when I break. Every 5k I take a few minutes and do some exercises, get my blood flowing and my heart moving again; it’s hard to sit down for that many words, doing nothing but writing.

For 50k, I buy myself the winner’s tee.

I also have practice on visually motivating word counts. I keep a wall calendar next to me all year, but I’m hardly ever without it during November. It has the daily on it. Day one, pass 1667; day two, pass 3,333. And so on and so forth. When I pass the number of a given day, I mark a check-mark on it, even if that day hasn’t yet come to pass. Every night when I’m done writing, I go to the day I’m on and write down where I’m at. I tell myself, this is what I wrote. This is where I am. This is how many more words I have on this project than I would have had if I weren’t writing.

As far as rewards go, the visual word counts don’t seem like much. But it works for me. Compounded with my other rewards for myself, this is charging and magnificent and exactly what I need. This is my reward.

My project’s almost finished. I think I can do it this year. All I need is a little more…

–Natasha

NaNo Goal: 33,702/50,000

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 11th (2016)

NaNoWriMo

Some people say kill your darlings, and some people say don’t. Now, I’m not going to say one way or the other about it. The reason for this is because, one way or the other, I’m going to be a hypocrite.

I kill a lot of my characters. I save a lot of others from the neck of death.

But one thing I’ve noticed is that, when I hit a road-block in my path, an excellent way to jar the story and myself is to kill someone. Or, at the very least, trip over a dead body. Corpses are excellent motivators for characters to find themselves. Even if you decide to rewrite the scene without a death– not erase! Remember, there’s no erasing during NaNoWriMo– it works wonders for getting you moving and ramping up your word count.

Now, you may be asking why. I think I’ve covered that, but if you need another reason, well, consider it a personal challenge inside NaNo.

How could you kill them? Well, I understand that the Traveling Shovel of Death (TM) is a staple of the NaNoWriMo faculty, and many writers I know. Barring that, a good ol’ fashioned murder is always on the card table– and bonus points if it’s on or over a card table. Lots of deaths occur in games of chance.

When? Why not right now? Go ahead, you can do it. If your character is outside, they trip over a body– or witness a murder. If your character is inside, hey, why not? If there’s on one around, maybe they hear about it on the radio, or read about it in the news. Maybe it’s a shock and maybe it’s not. Who knows? Who can say?

Where? Not in real life, please. Do not go out and kill people with a shovel.

*

But inside the covers of your book, on the pages you and only you know how to craft, by all means. Kill as many people with shovels as you’d like. Make a sentient murder-shovel, watering the ground of graveyards with the blood of its victims. Make a serial axe-murderer, but instead of an axe, give him a shovel. The possibilities are endless.

No shovels in your world? That’s okay. Everybody knows a pointy rock will do in a pinch; after all, we’ve been killing people that way since prehistory.

–Natasha

*Image sourced on Google.

NaNoGoals: 24,132/50,000

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NaNoWriMo, Friday 4th (2016)

NaNoWriMo

Sometimes NaNoWriMo starts on a Friday… and sometimes it doesn’t. And just like NaNo, some people have started already and some people haven’t. There is nothing wrong with that. Some of us will still be clawing and scraping for our 50k at the end of the month, and some lucky few will rattle it out in the first twenty four hours.

But however we start NaNo, whether we’re lagging behind at the starting line or we’re racing off to our goal and beyond, the most important thing to remember is that it’s never too late. Never to late to get started, never too late to catch up, never too late to pass your goals.

Here’s the thing about NaNoWriMo, and I’m sure I’ve said it before: This is the month when writers around the world, millions of writers across the globe, are writing with you. They share your struggles, just as I do; they share your glories, the troubles on your page, every instance of writer’s block and every time you overcome it, climb over or break through it.

Writing doesn’t happen in a vacuum, and we don’t live in a vacuum. NaNo is one of the wildest roller coasters of my life, and me and so many others are here to share it with you.

Don’t give up. I have faith in you.

–Natasha

NaNoGoal: 8,379/50,000

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News Update: October 5th

Today, I am twenty five, and tonight I will be twenty six.

Also I think I have a cold. Moving on.

As some of you may have noticed, my posting has slackened a bit. In my defense, winter is coming, and with winter comes a great number of winter holidays, winter jobs, winter sicknesses and the great desire to never see snow again. Also stress. So much stress.

Of course, I do hope to keep my once a week posting going, but I cannot promise it, just like I cannot truly promise that the sun will rise tomorrow. Catastrophe could happen, you know? What I can say is that I am fairly sure the sun will rise tomorrow, and that I think I can do once a week posting. I’m not nearly as prolific at it as some other writers I know, so we’ll see.

In the meantime, it’s the first week of October, which means NaNoWriMo– er, November– is right around the corner.

Now, I don’t know how many of my followers are doing it (I am still in awe that I have followers) or how many are doing other artsy-related things for November like Sketchvember, or how many people are doing things this month, like Plotober or Inktober or the like. I do know that whatever you plan to do, even if it’s just take the month off and relax, I wish you the best in it.

However, I am planning to do NaNoWriMo. I am slowly ticking through the last part of my book, and hope to have it finished when NaNo concludes. Cross my fingers, right? Right.

During NaNo proper, as I did for Camp NaNo, I will post once a week on Fridays with my weekly update slash cheer slash attempt to keep myself and others motivated. But as others who know me are likely aware, I will mostly become a hermit. Yeah, that happens. So if you don’t hear from me much during the winter, it’s because of that.

–Natasha

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