Finish Line


It’s the last day of NaNo!!!

So, gang, how’s you do?

Whether you finished or not, I’m totally proud of your efforts–every word you wrote is a word toward victory!

Debriefing is an important part of the process, so why don’t we all share our ups and downs of Nano?

Feel free post your experience in the comments.

Now, one tip I can give you:


I’m not joking. Set that sucker aside. Now. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next month, I’ll focus on topics that’ll help your resist the urge to open your NaNo WIP doc and start revising.

Mental Health Monday–Respite

Hey gang!

I titled this post “Respite” because it’s important to remember to take breaks now and again. The holidays are coming up and there’s much “real life” stuff to do, so I’ll be taking the rest of the week off from blogging.

Be sure to send me your mental health questions (writing related only, please!) and I’ll address them as they come in.

Those of you working on your Nano novel–WOOT WOOT! We’re coming into the home stretch. Don’t forget to stay hydrated (I prefer Dunkin Donuts iced coffee) and fed (M&Ms are awesome!) and rested (sleep is my favorite hobby after writing and reading, yo!).

I hope everyone enjoys their Thanksgiving. This year, the fam is coming to my house (this’ll be the First Annual Thanksgiving At the Fixer Upper Mansion).

If you’re masochistic, then you’re probably heading out on Black Friday. I’m not. Nothing gets me up in the morning…NOTHING. So while I’m sleeping in, I hope y’all get some uber fabulous sales.

Okay. That’s about it. See ya’s all next week! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Thanksgiving Song by Adam Sandler

Flake-Out Friday–How Stephen King Does NaNo

Hi gang! * waves *

Well, 18 days of Nano is down, and there’s 12 to go. How’s everybody’s word counts? I’ve seen some pretty great numbers out there.

Gotta say, though I’m not Nanoing this year, I am having a great time being a cheerleader for you guys and gals!

Anyway, I find it interesting to see how each person approaches a challenge. Here’s how Stephen King does NaNo (he bases his story on life events and, boy, does he make it look easy!):

(This is a cartoon and therefore not true. However, there are some people who will believe anything, so I’m adding this disclaimer.)

Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog–Do You NaNo?

This month, I ask:

If you do NaNoWriMo, why do you do it? If not, why not?

Listen, I had fully intended on doing NaNo (National Novel Writing Month) this year. I signed up. I had my plot 2/3 done. My mind was cooking with great plot twists, conflict, and cliffhangers. I could picture the characters, the setting, even some paranormal tricks.

Then I got sick.

Work got complicated.

“Open” weeknights and weekends got filled.

I got overwhelmed.

It was a tough decision to make, but I have decided NOT to do NaNo this year. Sure, I could use a kick in the pants to get writing again (haven’t worked on a new project since summer). I could even use the challenge to shut off my internal editor.

But I’m not going to.


Well, I’ve done NaNo before (in 2009) and was successful, so I know I can plop down 50,000 words in a couple weeks. Those were my panster days. Super fun, but they left me with uber-long character sketches with little plot to speak of. Scenes turned into rambling concoctions of “this, then that.” “Filler” chapters slogged the middle. It took 100 pages for the story to “get going.”ย I ended up cutting more than I kept.

Two years later, I’m not so much into plopping as I’m into careful consideration and mindful building of a solid structure.

Okay, so this slows me down a LOT, but I end up with a much better quality draft. And I’m more content.

Your turn to dish. Do you NaNo? If yes, then why and if no, then why not?

Check out Lydia’s response next week!


Go NaNoers!!!!


Just stopping by on a Tuesday to wish all NaNoWriMo participants a happy opening day!

I’ll be cheering you guys and gals on throughout the month. Be sure to stop by and share your word counts and pick up a refreshment (in the form of Flake-out Friday) and some tips (on Mental Health Monday)!

Happy Halloween and Happy NaNo Eve!!!!

While kids are trick or treating, writers are cracking knuckles and stretching fingers in preparation for the kick off of NaNoWriMo at midnight.

Best of luck writers!

Feel free to check in here with your progress throughout the month. I wanna see how all y’all are doing along the way.

Also, check out Elizabeth Mueller’s Spookfesta for the release of her novel, DARKSPELL!!!!

Whipping Out The Words

Participating in NaNo forces us to channel Speeedy Gonzales, the Tazmanian Devil, and the Road Runner at the same time so we can burn up the keyboard with word counts.

But dear LORD, how do we do it?!?!?!

Here are some tips on how to put your nose to the ACME anvil and grind out the pages:

  • Practice with Write or Die. This website sets up a timed session. If you don’t reach a certain word count in a certain amount of time, your words will be DELETED! (I’ve never been brave enough to try this myself, but lots of writers LOVE it!)
  • Make your Word document window 1-2 lines long and use a large font. You’ll only be able to see a couple of sentences so you can’t go back and re-read and re-read and re-read and…well, you get the point. (My dear friend, Mary Lindsey, came up with that one. Her book SHATTERED SOULS comes out SOON!!!!!! I can’t WAIT to read it.)
  • Connect with some writer buds and do a write-off. Pick a chat room, keep tabs via Twitter, use direct messaging, anything that’ll keep you in real time communication with others so you can all sit down together and challenge one another to pound out some words. (Lynn Rush, Rachel Firasek, Ciara Knight, and Kendall Grey like this route.)
  • Join a group on the NaNo website. (You’ll see a lot of familiar faces–er, avatars–there. Capitalize on it!)
  • Don’t think of all 50,000 words in one chunk. It’s like staring Mt. Everest in the face and thinking you’ll reach the summit in one step. Yeah, not gonna happen. Instead, remember that you only need 1667 words a day. That’s a doable number. A few pages. Half a chapter. A couple of scenes.
  • Now is NOT the time to edit. Don’t worry about nailing description, smoothing dialogue, or capturing an action scene in cinematic detail. Get the essence down and MOVE ON.

What tips do you have to keep the words flowing?

Check out Sarah’s response to whether or not a pet/person/plant inspires her writing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Mental Health Monday–To NaNo or Not To NaNo, That Is the Question

Okay, so last week I reviewed some NaNoWriMo prep tips because it’s important to be mentally prepared to tackle writing 50,000 words in 30 days.

This week, I wanted to check in with you guys regarding whether or not NaNo is for you.

Come on, admit it, if you haven’t done NaNo (and if you have), I’m sure you’ve had some fluctuating thoughts and feelings toward it.

(Talking about thoughts and feelings = Mental Health, just in case you were looking for the Mental Health Monday connection. ๐Ÿ˜‰ )

It’s a BIG decision.

Here’s some reasons to DO NaNo:

  • You’re looking for a new writing challenge.
  • You’ve got an idea for a novel and wanna crank out that rough draft like nobody’s business.
  • You’re focusing on word counts and quantity rather than quality (I’m not dissing quality; quality can be developed during revising).
  • You need a reason to commit to putting down a certain number of words a day for a certain length of time.
  • You need the structure.
  • You thrive on that sense of accomplishment that NaNo gives.
  • Your friends have coerced you to…oh, wait, maybe that’s not a great reason.
  • You made a bet. ย ย (You didn’t see that one, okay?)

Here’s some reasons to sit out and cheer on your NaNo’ing friends:

  • You’ve done NaNo before.
  • You know you can plop a bunch of words down on the page.
  • You want to work on quality rather than quantity.
  • You struggle with massive word counts and might get frustrated with the process to the point where it’s no longer enjoyable to write.
  • You hate revising and know that a NaNo project will need a couple years of smoothing…if it’s smoothable at all.
  • You’ve got a HECK of a lot of other things happening in November.
  • You’ve got a life. (Just kidding. NaNoers have lives, hehehe.)

What are some other reasons to NaNo or not to NaNo?

Bottom line: Listen to yourself. If you’re ready, you’ll know. If you’re not ready, you don’t have to push yourself to do it. Another November will come around next year. Just sayin’.

Check out Lydia’s Medical Monday post and Sarah Fine’s blog, The Strangest Situation!