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NaNo: Day the Twenty-Ninth

I did it. I'm done. I wrote 50,206 original words in twenty-nine days for National Novel Writing Month. Whew! When I began this journey I really wasn't sure I could do it - not with everything going on in November. And this last week? I was about ready to let my 44k stand and be done with it. But here I am. I pushed myself to 50k and I've learned a lot about myself as a person and a writer.

So what now? I guess there's a small chance I'll add to my 50k total by tomorrow night, but it's a pretty slim chance with it being the weekend and all. I'm feeling creatively spent at the moment. December is probably going to be a pretty low-key month for me too. I'm roughly four weeks shy of having this baby and generally just exhausted. I definitely plan to keep writing and doing Wednesday's Words. I don't want to lose the awesome drive that I discovered doing NaNo, but I'm not planning on challenging myself with large word count goals or anything of that sort.

I know I've said it before, but I hope everyone who took part in NaNo was able to draw something positive from it, and if you're still racing to that 50k finish line tomorrow, I wish you speedy fingers and the best of luck!

Twilight - The Movie

I probably should be writing the last 2900 words of my 50k (so close!) but I just can't help myself. I finally saw Twilight on Wednesday night (dragged my Other with me too) and wanted to post my initial impressions...

Negatives...

  • The way the movie was filmed, it came across like a TV series. I knew it had a low budget but I wasn't really expecting something so TV-esque.
  • Jasper was easily the most disappointing character, in my opinion. Can we say Edward Scissorhands? Seriously.
  • The special effects weren't that special. The Edward sparkle scene was extremely underwhelming and his whining about it made me cringe. The spider-monkey-in-the-tree scenes, likewise, weren't that great.
  • I suppose there really wasn't a way around it, but Bella and Edward falling in love felt extremely rushed and false in the movie. It's much more natural in the books.
  • The restaurant scene was disappointing. I also spaced and missed seeing Stephanie Meyer.
  • Edward's room didn't feel realistic. Wouldn't someone who has lived as long as he has have some old-world memorabilia? His room just looked like any teen boy's room, minus a bed. (I know, I know - total nitpick.)
  • I didn't think the girl who played Alice was a particularly good actress and Carlisle was almost too white.
  • They altered and/or brushed over two of my favorite scenes in the book and completely left out another scene I thought would be in the movie. Totally broke my heart.
Positives...

  • Robert Pattinson as Edward - pretty darn hot. His American accent was a little wanting but overall very good. His acting was admirable, although I resisted the urge to laugh at him a few times.
  • Kristen Stewart seemed very in-character and did really well, even if she does blink a lot.
  • I thought the movie added some extra tension between Edward and Bella. I was skeptical at first, but after I got used to it I thought it was pretty cool.
  • Except for Jasper, and a few of the minor characters, it was casted for really well.
  • There were a few artistic moments in the movie that I really dug.
  • The kiss scene gets a thumbs up, as does the final prom scene (except for the other couples just randomly leaving mid-song.)
  • Alice snapping James' neck at the end? Nice touch.
  • The movie followed the book surprisingly well.
Overall, I found a lot more to be disappointed in than I thought I would but I still really enjoyed the film. I typically don't get my panties in a twist when a book gets turned into a movie and isn't that great or doesn't follow it well. I know it's not an easy feat, especially with something written in first person, so I try to view them as seperate as I possibly can. I'll definitely be seeing the rest of the movies and will probably even buy them. I'm really curious to see what they will do with a larger budget and whether or not they will stick with the TV-esque feel that this first one has. Maybe they were going for that, who knows.

If you've seen the movie, what are your thoughts? What do you agree and/or disagree with from my lists?

Thankful Thursday & Happy Thanksgiving


Happy Thanksgiving everyone! There is a lot to be thankful for. What's at the top of my list?

  • My loving, supportive fiance, Jesse.
  • My darling two-year-old, Berlin.
  • Another healthy pregnancy and our son who is due December 30th (soon! ack!)
  • My awesome family.
  • My two life-long best friends, my other good acquaintances, and all of my online friends (yes, you!)
  • My freedom and constitutional rights.
  • The comfort of my home and job situation.
  • Books, their authors, and everything they provide us.
  • My love and desire to write.
  • My dogs, Trever and Max (even though the hound dog wrecked the kitchen last night.)
  • Coffee and good food.
  • My laptop and wireless internet, i.e. today's technology.
  • And SO much more.
The list could go on and on. I hope everyone takes a moment (preferably a whole lot of them) to pause and think about what they have to be thankful for. It's easy to dwell on what we don't have through most of the year, so make an extra effort, today at least, to dwell on what you do have.

Happy Turkey Day - Enjoy the good food!

Wednesday's Word Count

It's Wednesday again and the last week of NaNoWriMo. The heat is on - how much can we write these last five days?

Prior Goal:
11,669 words.

Achieved: 10,758 (11/19 - 11/25)

Goal for new week:
6,000 words at least.

Excuses / comments:
I came pretty close to my goal this week, thanks to my 40k-by-Friday night goal last week and some good writing time yesterday. If I had written more over the weekend (again) I would have gone over, but I've come to realize that weekends just aren't good for me. The really cool thing? I've been able to get as far as I have even with puny-word-count weekends. Who knew I could achieve so much during the week?

I have just under 6,000 words left! Ideally, I'd like to be at 50k by Friday night but with Thanksgiving happening tomorrow (it's not likely I'll write) I might have to finish on Saturday or even Sunday. I really hope I don't have to cut it that close though!

Well Wednesdayers, what have you accomplished this week? What goal are you carrying to the end of November and beyond? I can't beleive we'll be in December by the next Wednesday's Words. Wow!

Must Reads on the Blog Front

I just lost a chunk of writing time to this article and this article (found via the blogs of The Swivet and Janet Reid respectively,) but it was well worth it. Give them a once or twice-over, writers. Good stuff.

NaNo? Er... not going so hot right now. I've been putting off updating my word count on purpose. I keep hoping I can get it higher before I do, you see. No? You probably don't see since I'm, well, hiding it from you. Big writing plans for tomorrow though, and hopefully a better update along with Wednesday's Words.

Cheers!

NaNo: Day the Twenty-First

I just hit my 40k-by-Friday-night goal! Only 10,000 more words with nine days left to do it. I don't feel like I have anything left in me for this story, but I'm going to write those last 10k one way or another. I'm so close!

My weekend goal will be to make myself write each day, even if it's just a little. I'll tell ya though, getting just 200 words down on the page has never seemed so trying (well, except that nasty writer's block episode earlier in the year, maybe.) I'm so glad I made my goal tonight, but I feel like I've been fighting myself tooth and nail the last three days to do it. I'm mentally exhausted.

*BIG SIGH*

I'm also beginning to worry that I'll be so done when this is over that I won't write for an indeterminable amount of time. It's not too concerning though - I always come back. Writing is my calling and I know that. And whether or not that happens, I'm definitely coming away from this experience with new knowledge about myself as a writer and I plan on making NaNoWriMo a yearly tradition.

I hope everyone else doing NaNo is finding knowledge and satisfaction in their progress. Feel free to rant, rave, and/or comment about your progress. Also, is anyone else fearing a brief burnout?

Wednesday's Word Count

It's Wednesday once again, writers. You know what that means - Wednesday's Words!

Prior Goal:
11,669 words.

Achieved: 9615, I beleive. (11/12 - 11/18)

Goal for new week:
11669 words.

Excuses / comments:
I would have made my goal if I'd have kept up the required daily word count through the weekend, but I didn't, so I'm a bit shy. However, I'm still ahead on NaNo from rocking the prior two weeks, so I'm not kicking myself just yet. Hopefully this week and weekend will go better for me. I'm also still trying for my 40k-by-Friday-night goal! If I reach that, it will cover about half my weeks' goal.

Clock in your word count and revision goals everyone! How are you doing?

Writing and/or Publishing Magazines?

NaNo is going fine so far this week. I have to write roughly 2,000 words for the next three days to hit my 40k-by-Friday-night goal. That's not too bad!

Since I don't have much else to add towards my NaNo progress, I wanted to pose a question I've been meaning to ask.

Do you subscribe to any writing and/or publishing magazines? Physical print or e-zines. And if you do, what are they?

I'm interested in subscribing to both a writing and publishing magazine (like I don't already have enough to read), but I'm really not sure what's out there besides Writer's Digest. I'd prefer something in print since I already spend so much time reading this kind of stuff online.

Heck, I'm even thinking this would be a great Christmas idea to pass on to my family. You know, shake things up a bit, and ask for something other than books and gift cards. : p

So, please, if you have any comments or recommendations on this, speak up!

NaNo: Day the Seventeenth

Confession No. One: I'm really beginning to struggle.

I flew through the scenes that I had actually outlined and planned to write and now I've already reached the end of the story. The problem being, of course, that it's only 30k words and it has a ton of holes. So, basically, I've lost the momentum I had because I'm now bogged down with trying to come up with all the filler scenes it's missing. It's much more time-consuming, so the writing is slower-going. This is not good for someone with my sort of issues.

Confession No. Two: The weekends suck the writing life out of me.

I don't know what it is, but when the weekend rolls around I do awful at NaNo. Maybe it's because the Other is home or maybe some strange lethargy overtakes me from Saturday morning to Monday morning, but I just can't seem to get my butt in gear on the weekends. All I'm going to add is that my word count totally blew for the last three days and I'm glad I was far enough ahead to absorb the blow.

Confession No. Three: I REALLY want to start something new. *Whine, whine, whine*

It's been incredibly hard to keep working through my NaNo novel and it's becoming increasingly harder. I'm VERY tempted to make a hard line, page down, and start a completely new story in the same document that I've been working in. Technically it wouldn't be wrong, er, exactly, since it would still all be writing I have done in November, but I fear I'd just be cheating myself by not sticking with my current project. After all, part of the reason I wanted to do this was to push myself to complete something since it's been so long. I'm stuck in a rut. For now, I'm prevailing but it's certainly getting harder...

Well, in conclusion, I'm not sure how my word count will pan out for the Wednesday check-in, but I'm setting a new goal of being at 40k by Friday night. It feels like a realistic, enticing goal and I know once I'm there it will give me the drive I need to hit 50k.

Here's hoping at least! How goes the NaNo war for you other brave participants?

NaNo: Day the Fourteenth

I'm a... cheater? What?!?

I just finished reading the author pep talk by Meg Cabot. Wow. It was incredibly timely and might as well have been written for me. Can we say... guilty as charged?

If you aren't doing NaNo and have no idea what I'm talking about, here's the gist of it, and the part that describes my nasty habit to a T:


"Cheating on your current work-in-progress with a new one is the oldest trick in the book! I have a plastic milk crate crammed full of stories I started and never finished because I cheated on them, then got so enamored of my new story, I never went back to the old one. Over and over and over again.

And that, my friends, is how you never finish a book. Take it from someone who has hundreds (maybe even a few thousand) of unfinished stories because of this phenomenon."


Just yesterday I was telling my Other that I view my NaNo novel as "practice." Like so many before it, I was really excited when I began it, and then it became another story-that-I-don't-see-myself-wanting-to-publish... ever. Heh. Heh. Well... unfortunately, they ALL become this.

I have loads and loads of unfinished manuscripts and ill-plotted ideas, but rather than milk crates, mine are stacked in folders as .doc files. Of course, there you have it, the physical state of the manuscripts doesn't matter - same-diff. And when it comes down to it, I'm still heading straight towards the unfabulous goal of never finishing a book. Or should we say another book, since I did manage to finish one - it's just awful.

Anyways, thanks to Meg Cabot, I'll be mentally kicking myself for quite awhile over this. I'm already having the silent battle in my head in which I'm trying to justify starting something new after NaNo... because really, I don't see myself wanting to publish what I'm presently writing....

But... well.... gee. Will I ever learn?

I suppose the good news is - I now know this is a wide-spread writer phenomenon. So there is hope for me, right?

Anyone else struggle with this? If you're doing NaNo, how did you like the author pep talk by Meg Cabot?

Re: Career Plan for Writers

After our brief discussion about career plans for writers in this post, I decided to do some research for a followup post. I know I definitely need direction where this is concerned, so I thought some of my readers might too.

I realized, however, that it's highly doubtful I could put together and write a post that would be better presented than the material I found, so I've decided to leave you with some fabulous links that you can peruse at your leisure...

Now, I know I've mentioned Holly Lisle's website at least once before, but it really is fabulous and chock-full of great advice. I started my search there, quite certain she would have something on developing a career plan, and lo and behold, she did. You can find the article and others: here. Her thoughts on "Modeling Success" were particularly interesting to me. I've done this a bit already, but not to the extent Ms. Lisle proposes.

Next I did a general Google search. I knew there had to be other writers out there researching and creating career plans for themselves and while the results weren't plentiful, I did find a few.

This article is informative, extensive, and fairly straightforward. Quite a bit of it is advice you've already heard again and again, no doubt, if you've been doing your research on the business, but it certainly has a lot to offer. I thought the suggestion of "learn how to critique others' writing" was a good one (something I'm not good at) and the author even has an article called "How to Critique Fiction," which I'll be reading as soon as I have time.

I also found this essay, written by Jenny Cruise, on finding an agent. I decided to post it, though, because it isn't just your typical finding-an-agent advice. It also offers some great questions that you should ask yourself before or during your agent-seeking, which could be incorporated into a career plan.

This writer, Rhonda Stapleton, went so far as to "pay if forward" by putting her career plan template on her blog. It looks like a great starter template and I think I'll start my own plan using her template as a model. Check it out!

Finally, I wanted to bring attention to Shelli and her blog Market My Words, (Shelli stopped by my blog yesterday - don't you just love making new friends?) because she has some GREAT marketing advice gracing her blog. For those of you that are working on marketing yourselves, and for those like me, who pay attention to it as a scary spot on the horizon, it could be very beneficial. (Thanks for stopping by and allowing me to discover your blog Shelli!)

Before concluding this, I want to point out that making a career plan is an ongoing, ever-changing process. You may even find yourself moving forward and then backwards again in order to re-assess steps that faltered under the weight of heftier future steps you *thought* you were ready for. It can happen to the best of us. So, develop the steps you need to reach your goals, but prepare yourself to be multi-directional with them - backwards is not necessarily a bad thing!

Let me know if any of these links help you, and feel free to post any other helpful links you may have on the subject!

(I'm going to get back to my NaNo novel now.)

Cheers!

Wednesday's Word Count

Until a moment ago, I forgot it was Wednesday! Just shows how sucked into NaNo and home life I am right now (and how much I don't look at the calender, heh.)

Okay, here we go:

Prior Goal:
11,669 words.

Achieved: 15,172 words, I beleive. (11/5 - 11/11)

Goal for new week:
11669 words.

Excuses / comments:
None! I'm satisfied with my progress. I have trouble even believing I wrote that much in a week, or that I've written 27,490 words total in twelve days! What a great feeling!

How is everyone else doing on their goals and word counts?

NaNo: Day the Twelfth

Party at my blog! I've passed the halfway mark!

It hasn't been easy this week though.

Yesterday killed me. By the end of the day I only needed about 500 words to hit 25k but I had lost all direction in my story. For some reason the chapter I was working on made me realize that one of my characters had been acting completely wrong through the entire book so far and another one of my characters needed to come into the story much sooner than he had. It took every ounce of self-restraint I had not to go back and fix, but I knew I needed to trudge on and managed to keep my inner editor at bay. Unfortunately, I was also suddenly lost as to where I was going and I couldn't manage to vomit out those last 500 words. Quite depressing, being so close and yet so far.

So... instead, I spent my evening and this morning figuring out where the story was going again. It apparently worked because today I've managed to write 3,000 words! Woot!

The manuscript is, quite plainly, a disaster at the moment though. I've continued writing as though the changes are in place already, but I think what matters the most is that I'm moving forward again.

So, my NaNo friends, if you get stuck like I did, you CAN get through it. Just figure out what you have to do to move forward and make yourself do it. It's not easy. When I first sat down to write this morning I kept clicking off my document and going back to surf the internet and read blogs. I couldn't focus for the life of me, but I finally closed everything else down and just made myself write. I'm so glad I did.

Anyone else going to make the halfway mark by November 15th?

NaNo: Day the Tenth

Not much going on today. I wrote nice and early and may write more later. I'm getting closer and closer to that halfway point (43%!), which is very exciting.

If you're looking for some writerly encouragement and advice on goals, make sure you stop by First Edition. Kelly Krystal is going to be hitting her 50k today! That's 50k in ten days people! Wowsa.

Also up for your consideration is an article called "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Authors." The article offers some great advice, some of which can be used towards NaNo (see habits one and two,) but it's really geared towards developing a successful writing career in general, and seeing how NaNo does end (tell me it really does) focusing on the larger picture is always better.

The fifth habit, "Have a Plan," was a particular eye-blinker for me, one of those oh yea! moments. While I don't have an agent, publisher, or personal publicist yet, ahem, I'm largely lacking in the career-plan department. So, how does one do this, this "plan" thing? What does it entail?

I. Have. No. Idea.

Though I think it boils down to having goals and sticking with them. I do have goals, er, a few.

So tell me, do you have a career plan for your writing career? What does that entail (if you don't mind sharing.) Maybe we should put our heads together and come up with some general ideas for a writer-specific career plan.

Spreading Some Bloggity Love

Setting NaNo aside, I'd like to whip out my handy dandy "I Love Your Blog" award (given to me by the lovely ladies over at First Edition: A Place For Originals) to pass on to other deserving bloggers. There are certainly many of you out there, including a large number of agents, editors, and publishers that should have one of these for nearly every post they make, but hey, I figure they have fans enough and my writer friends will certainly appreciate the award more.

So, first of all, the rules:

1) Add the logo of the award to your blog
2) Add a link to the person who awarded it to you
3) Nominate at least 7 other blogs
4) Add links to those blogs on your blog
5) Leave a message for your nominees on their blogs

And now, in no particular order of favoritism, seven blogs on which I'm bestowing the bloggity love award. (Note to those awarded: Don't feel obligated to pass the award on if you're not into these things, I'm sure there are plenty of love awards swimming around Blogger!)

The Bookshelf Muse: Pioneered by Angela and Becca, this blog is an invaluable resource for writers. Don't beleive me? Check it out! Make sure to take a good, close look at their "Emotion Thesaurus" and "Setting Thesaurus" - extremely helpful when you're needing some direction on either account. Are you checking their blog out yet? Seriously, get over there, I can't rave enough!

From the Desk of...Heather: YA author and gecko huntress, Heather keeps readers continually amused and entertained with stories of life in Okinawa, Japan, writing YA fiction, and keeping up with her two hilarious, adorable kids. Make sure you dig into her archives for some funny tales and the complete gecko saga.

Suzanne Young: Need a good YA fix for free?!? YA author Suzanne Young writes so much she's even writing a story on her blog. Check her archives to find the beginning of "Going Green," her awesome blog story, and settle in for some juicy teen romance. ETA: I forgot to mention Suzanne is another up-and-coming debut author. We can look forward to seeing her debut YA novel Smitten Kittens in 2010! Can't wait!

Roots in Myth: P.J. Hoover, debut author of the children's novel The Emerald Tablet, keeps a fun, active blog where a writer can find insight into the journey of becoming published and a lot of positive attitude to boot. P.J. keeps her blog active with interviews, reviews, book suggestions, events, daily life, and all sorts of other great things. Make sure you stop by!

Diary of a Children's Book Writer: Sheri is a children's writer who keeps a charming blog on her life as a writer. She founded her local writer's group, The Hunterdon County Children's Writer's Group, and was a tutor for 16 years, so naturally she's a valuable resource to the writing community. Another thing I love about Sheri's blog? The beautiful pictures. Check out her archives from this past summer for some visual treats.

First Edition: A Place for Originals: I know, I know. They are the ones who awarded me the award in the first place, so naturally they don't need to pass it on again, but really, Mary, Stephanie, and Kelly keep an awesome blog. I can't even begin to enumerate or explain all the fabulous posts I've read since I discovered their blog earlier this year. They deserve the double mention! Make sure you stop by and read a few posts! Feel free to put the award up on your personal blogs if you'd like girls!

Lindsey Leavitt: I have left a very rare comment or two on Lindsey's blog, but lurker or otherwise, I'm an avid reader. Lindsey's posts are always worth the time spent reading them. She's made the long journey from hobby-writer to writer-with-a-three-book-deal and it's been fabulous to follow the latter half of that journey. While I look forward to the release of Princess for Hire in 2010, I'll continue to be entertained by her amusing, witty, and inspirational posts.

There you have it, seven blogs I love. Who have I missed? Have any great blog suggestions for me and my ever-hungry blog roll? Please post them in the comments!

NaNo: Day the Ninth

First of all, as you probably noticed on arrival, my blog has a new look! While I'm loving the change, I was quite chagrined to lose all my widgets in the process (including my extensive blog rolls !!!) So, if I'm missing your blog or website on the side column now (or hey, even if I never had you and you'd like to be added) please let me know. I'm trying to rebuild everything I had, and I know I'm still missing a few blogs and websites.

Now for my NaNo update:

It's definitely been harder for me to write this weekend than it was during the week, but I've managed! I'm just under 20k now, supposedly 38% done, and I'm really looking forward to hitting the halfway point. Halfway is so close. I think that's really going to help keep me motivated come tomorrow and Tuesday and, well, however long it takes me to get the next 6,000 words out. Unfortunately, there is some love being lost between the NaNo novel and myself lately, but I keep trying to remind myself that middles will almost always make me feel that way. I must prevail!

Welcome to NaNoWriMo week two everyone! : p

NaNo: Day the Eighth

Our first week doing NaNoWriMo is just about over. How does this make you feel?

Personally, I'm feeling really good about it. I've written more in this one week than I've written in a single week in ages. Even if the next three weeks don't go as well as this one has, and even if I don't reach 50k by November 30th, I know I can write nearly 17,000 words in a week without too much struggle. All it took was motivation, dedication, and making writing a daily priority.

That alone has made this journey worth it and I still have three weeks of personal discovery left.

No matter the outcome, I hope all my friends doing NaNo come out of this with something gained.

NaNo: Day the Seventh

Our first week is coming to a close (well, tomorrow...) - can you beleive it?

I'm still plugging away over here. I wrote later today than I normally do and had a harder time getting going, but I still made good progress.

I'm starting to beleive I can actually do this. It's getting easier and easier to make myself sit down and focus on getting content onto the page. I still don't know if this is the best way to write, given all the massive editing the novel will need later, but it's certainly worth a shot. I have a nasty habit of moving onto new novel ideas before finishing the old ones, so I'm hoping this will help me learn how to get through that rough middle spot that causes me to lose focus so often.

I'm working on my positive thinking over here! I hope everyone doing NaNo is keeping up well enough.

Happy writing!

NaNo: Day the Sixth

It's hard to beleive we're already six days into November (and NaNo) but even harder to beleive we have to do this for twenty-four more days! Haha.

Did anyone else find the e-mail pep talk by Jonathan Stroud really timely yesterday? I really did. I had planned on making a post today begging you all to remind me it's about quantity and not quality (because I fear my story is lacking more and more of the latter) but Stroud's e-mail pretty much covered it and just in time. It was a great pep talk and if you haven't taken the time to read it, you really should.

As for progress? I'm still ahead. I have to admit though, I pretty much wrote squat yesterday and used up a bit of my padding to take the day off. Why? Loss of focus. I woke up yesterday morning and for whatever reason I thought up a new beginning to a story I started back in January. I know exactly how it needs to start now and I was/am really excited about it. Unfortunately it got me so distracted from my NaNo novel, I couldn't get anything down on the page for it. I ended up summarizing my ideas for the other novel so I won't forget and then laid writing to rest for the day. I just didn't want to risk screwing up my progress by starting the other story.

So, day five was my first slip-up day but I was fortunate enough to have that buffer. Today I'm back on track. I've already met the required word count and then some. I have a 1500 word buffer still but I'd like to up it if I can. Ideally I'd like to stay two days ahead if I can. I know there are at least two days this month I'm not going to be able to write. I better get crackin and write more if I want to accomplish that!

How is everyone else doing on keeping up and/or catching up?

P.S. Anyone else really looking forward to the pep talk by Philip Pullman?!?!

Wednesday's Word Count

NaNo style!

But even if you aren't doing NaNo this year, please feel free to participate. Wednesday's Words provides writers a place to commit to a writing goal, any writing goal, and face up to it in the company of others the week following. It is my hope that making public, doable week-to-week goals will help writers stay motivated to succeed and exceed their desired progress.

Prior Goal:
Finish outlining for NaNo and keep up the required word count totaling 6668 words for Nov. 1st -4th.

Achieved: Finished outlining and wrote 9261 words.

Goal for new week:
11669 words.

Excuses / comments:
Many of our weekly word counts have been painstakingly raised by NaNo this week and will continue to be so for the next near-month. So far I'm exceeding the daily requirement (1667 words) but it's already getting harder and I know there will be days short coming that will eat up the extra padding I've developed. Let's band together and keep motivated NaNoers!

As always, please post your goals in the comments. I'm hoping for a good weekly turn out during NaNo. We can all use the support now more than ever. Please participate!

P.S. "Remember, remember the Fifth of November," - it's Nov. 5th again already! It's not really a big thing in the U.S., but does anyone else recognize this day yearly in some way?

NaNo: Day the Fourth - Staying Motivated

Today I thought I'd blog about motivation. If you're doing NaNoWriMo, you already know that a huge part of succeeding is self-motivation. The support network is available and huge, but when it comes down to making those words appear on the page it's all you - the writer - and what you do to get to the finish line.

So what can we do to keep ourselves motivated writers?

Here's my list:

Networking: Even if you can't get out to the parties and write-ins, it's a great motivational drive to have a friend or two, even on the internet, writing with you and cheering you on. That's why I love that so many of my friends are doing NaNo alongside me. We can commiserate with each other. We can support each other. And we can succeed together.

Music: Not all of us are blessed with the ability to write with music playing in the background, but for those of us who can, it can be really motivating. I've been working on a large play list of songs that relate to various scenes, characters, and emotions in my novel (and/or ones expected to be) Finding a song that fits one of my characters just right is almost as good as finding a song that suits my own mood perfectly. It thrills me and makes me want to get more of that character down on the page.

Reading: Don't forget the age-old trick of picking up a favorite book and snuggling up to it for a chapter or two (or more!) Time is limited during NaNo, but if you find yourself staring at the screen and not writing, it might be worth the time to get re-inspired by your favorite writing heroes.

Staying Positive: Focus on succeeding, not failing. It's far too easy to let the anxiety of failing get to us, especially if our word count starts to drop behind. Letting negativity get the best of you is setting yourself up for failure. You'll start to get used to the idea of not making it and before you know it, you'll expect and let that very thing happen. Stay positive Nanoers! You CAN do it!

Staying Focused: Losing focus is a huge motivation killer and it happens to the best of us. If you find yourself losing focus on your manuscript or writing in general, take a day to regroup. Pull that outline back out for tweaking (or make one if you didn't to begin with.) Do whatever you can to find your focus again, even if it means implementing some new scenes into your WIP to get you excited again.

Mixing It Up: I'll be preaching to myself here, but I think mixing things up can really help keep a writer motivated. If you always write at home, try heading out to a coffee shop. If you normally write at night, try getting up early in the morning and punching out some words. If you never let anyone read your writing, let someone read some snippets and get some feedback, etc. It's amazing how routines and insecurities can bog us down, so if you feel a writer funk coming on, try whatever you can to mix things up, and remember, stay positive!

So what am I missing fellow writers and NaNoers? How do you stay motivated or plan on staying motivated? Let's see if we can grow this list of motivationals so we can refer back to it when our motivation starts to wane.

P.S. Don't forget to vote! Exercise your political freedom and right to be heard!

NaNo: Day the Third

Courtesy of the First Edition gals, I've been awarded the "I Love Your Blog" award. This comes as a total surprise seeing as I've always thought of myself as an awful blogger and I'm really still trying to get my blog going (suggestions are always appreciated.) So I'm feeling extremely complimented and loved at the moment, which is great for the writer's soul (especially during NaNo.) Thanks girls! I promise I'll be passing the award on soon. I just have to stew over my options first - there are so many great blogs!

In other news, it's day three in NaNo-land and I'm still keeping up my word count (check it!) It feels great! I think NaNoWriMo is going to be really good for me, which is the point, I know, but I was/am definitely skeptical. It IS only day three, however, so we'll see how I'm feeling about it next week, and the week after, and well, on November 30th! Yikes!

Also, thanks to Stephanie, I now have an official NaNo word-count widget next to the other one I added yesterday. It only seems to be working intermittently though, so I'm leaving the back up there for now as well. You can find the widgets on the NaNo site under "Fun Stuff" - just add your user number (found at the end of the url of your user page) and you can have one too!

I've had much better luck with the site today by the way. I was able to update my word count and grab the widget, so hopefully things will be speeding up over there for everyone soon.

It's awesome to see how many of my Blogger/writer friends are NaNoing this year. Let's keep encouraging each other as much as possible. It's going to get tougher as the initial excitement wears off. I think we're really going to need each other and that writerly comradery in a week or two!

Keep up the word counts everyone!

NaNo: Day the Second

It's still early in the day, but I figured I would do my check-in since I'm taking a break from writing at the moment.

This morning I woke up bright and cheery quite early (thank you daylight saving time,) so I decided to get a jump start on my NaNo word count for the day before the toddler was up and the day in full swing. *Sigh* I forgot how nice it is to have uninterrupted writing time. I think I'll be doing it more often.

So far I think I'm doing awesome. I'm staying ahead of the daily required word count, which is great, and I'm sure that will come in handy on upcoming struggle days (which are sure to happen.) The story itself is probably wanting, but then, I wasn't expecting to write something fabulous under these conditions anyways.

On the right of my blog, you will now find a word counter where I'm clocking my NaNo word count. The NaNo site is still running very slow and timing out, so I haven't even attempted to log my count there. I assume everyone else is having this problem too? Hopefully it will be running better soon.

That's it for today. Hope everyone else is doing great too!

NaNo Begins and Check-Ins

And we're off! NaNo begins. First thoughts?

- This isn't going to be easy.
- Why the heck am I not writing in third person? I write much faster in third.
- My two year old is plotting to ensure I don't succeed. I'm convinced.
- I'm so happy Jesse is supporting me in this.
- I should be writing my novel instead of blogging right now.

Anywho, this is my check-in for day one. I'll probably be doing this fairly regularly. I'm still going to be doing Wednesday's Words each week, however, and I would love it if other NaNo participants clocked in their NaNo word counts with me. In fact, should we move it to Saturday just for November so we're actually following NaNo week to week? Thoughts?

Talk to you soon NaNoers. If you want to add me as a friend, you can find me here.

P.S. Does anyone know if you can search for a user by user name somewhere on the NaNoWriMo site?