NaNo Recap, 2017 Goals

Hello Internet,

I did it. I won NaNoWriMo with just over 52,000 words written this past November. Under typical circumstances I would be so enthusiastic that I would make an announcement the moment my finger hits the “validate” button, but I honestly didn’t feel good about my “accomplishment” when I reached my goal, and I still don’t feel any better looking back at things now. It was hardly my best work. I largely recycled my ideas from last year and completely butchered the rest because my thoughts were garbage. I thought I would find my way to motivation station somewhere along the way, but it turns out I was on the wrong train the whole time; I think I knew from the beginning I was on the wrong train, but I went along for the ride because I hoped it would change course. It never happened. Things just kept heading toward destination disappointment.

For some context, 2016 has been personally one of the worst years of my adult life. I let some unfortunate circumstances get in the way of my own happiness, and my writing and other creative projects suffered the consequences. Then, when I finally got myself out of that rut, it was already time for NaNoWriMo again, and NaNo was supposed to be just the thing I needed to get back on track. After having previously survived the challenge in 2015, I thought I had learned about all of the struggles I could possibly face throughout the month of November. The month started with getting sick at the exact time I had scheduled time away from work to write for five days straight. That was a huge blow to my confidence because I knew how much I struggled before, and this was supposed to be the chance I had to get ahead and relieve some pressure. Then just days after all of that nonsense, the results of the US election presented a new obstacle; he-who-must-not-be-named was elected president.

It’s not about “my side” losing. I could handle that if I didn’t already know that nearly everything his administration represents threatens the well-being of many of my friends and family. But the thing is, I do know, and I have a permanent knot in my stomach because of how sickening it is to see people being treated as less than human. Everything people worried about with this new administration is already happening, and I am doing what I can to fight for a better tomorrow.

These last couple of months have been difficult for many, and ultimately, I’ve felt like my novel has needed to take a backseat to everything else going on. It hasn’t felt as important. So instead of working on my writing projects, I have been immersing myself politics so I can better understand and help solve the issues America faces. I can’t sit back and be silent.

Even with all the chaos and uncertainty surrounding these new executive orders and how they will affect us all, there is still the matter of self-care. It is important for me to set aside some alone time to recharge because my introverted brain can’t handle all of the deep political conversations I’ve been having lately. Sometimes I have to deal with people that think problems don’t exist simply because it either doesn’t affect them directly or the suffering people must have “deserved it” somehow. It’s exhausting to interact with people like that because they aren’t willing to reason; they just want other people to shut up so they can go back to not caring about politics or other people. I used to despise politics but I realized at some point how awful that was to have the privilege of not getting involved. My eyes have been opened and I can’t live with myself if I know I haven’t done everything in my power to stand up for those that can’t stand up for themselves.

So, what do I do to take care of myself when I need time away from the world? Well, mostly I’ve been reading tons and sneaking occasional naps on my days off of work. That’s what works for me and I’m sticking to it, but after two months of not writing, it’s definitely time for me to be okay with getting back to my novel. I spent too much time away from my work after NaNo 2015. As much as I’d love to be a full-time peaceful protestor, I can’t ignore my own needs. And who knows? Maybe my novel is my key to changing the world. So consider that my New Year’s resolution. I am giving myself until the end of the year to finish a full draft of my novel. Now that I’ve said it, I have to do it.

U.S. Election and NaNoWriMo

Today, I am compelled to speak briefly about the presidential election here in the United States of America. I know many people are disappointed with this year’s choices (some of us are still salty over Bernie losing), but if you are eligible and able to do so, then please get out there and vote! I won’t tell you who to vote for; I just ask that you look at the facts and vote your conscience.


Alright, I promised an update on my progress with NaNoWriMo. Due to the beginning of the month starting on a weekday, I had already known that I was in for a rough start. I only wrote 1,200 of my 2,000 words goal on the first day. On the second day, I managed to write a measly 200 words, then nothing more for the following three days. I wasn’t so concerned at this point because I knew that I would have five whole days dedicated entirely for purpose of working on my story. However, sometimes plans get interrupted. Late last week I was gifted with a cold, so my head has been cloudy in these past few days. I am already a chronic daydreamer and get easily distracted from my writing, so my natural shortcomings and the challenge of managing a cold left me with the inability to focus on any task for more than a few minutes. By the end of Saturday, I had only written about 2,000 words.

Coming into Sunday morning, I was starting to lose my drive. I mean, I had spent my ENTIRE Saturday sitting in bed, staring at my laptop screen, with only 600 words to show for it. I was desperate to pump out more words, but I didn’t want to spit out a bunch of meaningless drivel. So, I went to the NaNoWriMo website and tried a couple of word sprints. I hadn’t tried them before, as I was afraid that they would take me too far away from the path that I thought I was on. I was completely wrong about word sprints. I am now a firm believer in them, as I had managed to write over 6,000 words that day AND improved my plot.

After so much productivity on Sunday, I gave myself a little bit of a break yesterday. I still wrote 1,400 words, but I took a lot of breaks. I also took a lot of time to listen to what my characters have been trying to tell me, rather than force them into a particular direction. Part of my problem was that a couple of my characters have been terribly weak, so my story has been stagnant. Now that I’m finally figuring this out, I’m starting to find my rhythm and what works for me.

I’m currently sitting at 9,466 words. I still have a long way to go, and I may not meet the overall goal of 50,000 words by the end of November, but I am more confident that I have a better story than when I started this journey.

How about any of you? How has your NaNoventure been so far?

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NaNoWriMo Eve

For some wrimos across the world, the clock has struck midnight. Writers have heard the call to action, and their fingers click feverishly across their keyboards as they begin the race toward the 50,000 words finish line. Where I’m located, it’s still October 31st, the magical night of Halloween, but in just a few short hours, writers in my area will be joining forces with the rest of the world for NaNoWriMo. Unfortunately for myself, I will have to wait until after I get home from work tomorrow before I can participate. As anxious as I am to start working on my novel, I definitely need my sleep.

Last night, I opened up a new Scrivener document and tinkered around with character and setting ideas, but didn’t really add anything new. Aside from that and my endless daydreaming, the only other thing I’ve done to prepare was skim through the first 5 chapters of my NaNo project from last year. I can’t help but feel nervous about how little it seems I’ve prepared, but I have also learned over the years that my brain is sharper and more focused under pressure, so blindly into the madness I’ll go.

If you have any writer friends or family members participating in NaNoWriMo, please be especially patient and supportive this month. This is a huge endeavor, and speaking from my own experience, the hardest thing for a writer is in fact writing.

I have some dedicated time off of work next week to work on my novel, and I’m going to carve out a section of time to post a more detailed update here about how NaNoWriMo is going.

Happy Halloween, and good luck fellow writers!

NaNoWriMo Prep 2016

National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us! For the entire month of November, I will be participating alongside thousands of writers across the country (it’s actually intercontinental now) to write a 50,000 words novel. This challenge is for aspiring writers of all ages, so go to to sign up if you’re interested.

I jumped in headfirst last year with an idea I’d been brewing for over year, and I somehow managed to make my word count goal; I wrote 50,785 words in 30 days. That was a huge milestone for me. I committed to writing nearly every single day. Only a few of those days were easy; most days I came home from work and spent hours trying just to get my brain to focus. I am not a quick writer, and my perfectionism prevents me from getting words on a page until I have tired myself out from trying so hard and desperation kicks in. The few words I end up with are often ones I am not proud of, but  I keep telling myself that’s what editing is for. Editing is a necessary part of the process, and it’s totally okay if my first draft is terrible. I can always fix it later.

This year, I am doing a rewrite of last year’s novel. In preparation for November, I am reading through my story and all of my notes. The reason I am doing a rewrite is because I need to make a lot of changes and polish it up so I can prepare for the publishing process. That’s my goal, anyway.

If you don’t want to participate, but would like to support NaNoWriMo, check out their donation and merchandise page. They have a new scarf in their store (pictured below) and some other awesome things like notebooks, coffee mugs, t-shirts and more.

Good luck to my fellow wrimos out there, and happy writing!