The Return of Me and NaNoWriMo

treeswing
A quiet spot for reading, napping or watching the sunset on the fictional Guardian Grove Winery, Stables and Ranch that is the setting for my new novel, “Take A Chance”.

Well, I know it’s been a while since you’ve seen me around the blogosphere. Having to unexpectedly say goodbye to my beloved 20-year-old kitty in June really threw me off the rails, and I still haven’t quite yet gotten back to normal. That’s why July Camp fizzled miserably, and my finished proof- and copy-edited novel is still in the crate it traveled in to our writers retreat awaiting its edits to be transcribed. But the calendar has flipped to November once again and that means it’s time for that annual event they call NaNoWriMo.

Thanks to my sister-of-the-heart BFF, who has lovingly pestered and cajoled and hounded me for the last month, I completed quite a lot of NaNoPrep in October. Fortunately, I had a project that has been bugging me for a while now, so I decided to see what could come of that idea. A month later, I’ve got a Trello board jam-packed full of cards detailing characters, plot questions to resolve, background notes, miscellaneous to-dos, and even a full set of the series’ book covers I created in Canva. With cards that link to outlines, character profiles and draft documents in my OneDrive cloud storage, everything I will ever need to work on this series is all in one place. I even found time to add the series pages to my blog’s “nik’s novels” section, although I still have half of them to go.

So here’s hoping that writing 50,000 words this month will kick start the rest of my life and some normalcy returns. I know that sounds counter-intuitive or ironic or some other term, but if I believe it, that’s really all that matters.


P.S. — If you’ve never heard of Trello, you can find out more here. I found it by way of my friend Kelly L, who’s a fellow NaNoer and time management/organization geek like me. I’ve just started experimenting with their power-ups like my main to-do board’s calendar, an automated service that sends certain tagged items in my Gmail to Trello, and linking to my OneDrive files. Here’s a look at the board I created for the new series:

click to view full size image (in same window)

That second card under the book cover titled First Draft links to that file so I can pick up where I left off from the board. Neat, huh?

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NaNoWriMo Day 13: Checking In

Hello everyone! I know it’s been a few days since I’ve checked in, and I thought the start of a new week, and the Monday after a long holiday weekend, would be a good time for it. Well, I’ve just finished writing for the day, and although I didn’t quite make the NaNo recommended minimum, I’m still a little ahead of the game. I’d like to have a bigger word count cushion, and more days like I did on the 10th when I cranked out 3,500 words in three hours.

Perhaps I need the delicious scent of chili bubbling away in a crock pot to inspire me. Who knows. Thing is, I’m not quite sure if it’s the characters giving me a hard time, or the scenarios I’m putting them in, or some other outside unseen factor. I know that yesterday during the first library writing session I’d scheduled with M, I had a hell of a time writing the first scene where my guy and girl meet. I knew they weren’t going to get along at first–you know, fine line between hate and love and all that–but I really had a problem with the confrontation.

I eventually got past it, but I have to tell you, this thing isn’t moving as quickly onto the page as I’d hoped. Maybe it’s because I’m starting something new instead of sticking with the familiar. Maybe I’m hearing the voices of Novels Unfinished calling to me and I’m having trouble tuning them out. Maybe this romance isn’t as “simple” as I thought it would be. Whichever of these is the answer, I’m hoping it’ll all work itself out.

I can tell you that once again I will be nowhere near finished with this novel by the time I hit that 50,000 mark at the end of the month. But every word written today is more than I had yesterday, right?

NaNoWriMo Day 2: I Didn’t Give In

Well, I hope that you guys had a better writing day than I did. I found myself battling one nasty headache for most of the day. You know the kind I mean–the one that feel like someone’s standing behind you tightening a vise on your head, and it throbs so badly that you can barely think?

It wasn’t until that second dose of ibuprofen about 4:00 that it started to let up a little. While I waited to see if it was a momentary reprieve or if it was going to return, I checked my word count from yesterday. Turns out because I did pretty well yesterday, I only needed 370 words in order to meet the minimum Day 2 total.

Thank the gods for small miracles.

So I got myself a diet soda and my favorite chips from the vending machine and got to work. Or tried to. I think the first ten minutes was me staring at the blank page underneath the words “Chapter Three” trying to figure out how exactly I was supposed to start.

Throwback Thursday: a Southwest Airlines flight attendant from 1972 – I really want those boots…

Yeah, sure, I have an outline, but the transition to this chapter also meant a location change. I’d already had to tweak the beginning of Chapter Two because it started exactly the same way as its predecessor, and I wasn’t about to go for three.

That’s when the memory of one of the humorous arrival announcements I’d heard on a Southwest Airlines flight home years ago popped in my head.

I took the hint, and after a teeny bit of research, I had my start. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. It got me going and it’s a decent lead-in to where I’m going. Sure, it’s only half the count of what I wrote in my first writing session yesterday. The important thing is I didn’t give up or give in and say, “Nah, I’ll just make it up tomorrow.”

Score one for the stubborn.

That said, I am going to give in to this headache and go home so that I can write like a crazy person tomorrow at our first official work writer buddies write-in at lunch. Hope you guys hit your goals, no matter how large or small, and I’ll see ya tomorrow.

Camp NaNoWriMo Results

Okay so I realize it’s been over a week since I’ve checked in with you guys, and there’s a perfectly logical explanation for that. You see, after hitting my word count goal of 15,000 at lunch on Friday, April 21st–yay me!–I was all ready to tell you guys about it. But Meagan and I had another writing session scheduled for Tuesday, so I thought I’d wait until then to see what my final final word count would be.

Unfortunately, pain in the form of migraines and back aches had me feeling awful so I had to cancel my meetup with my BFF, and no blogging occurred. Fortunately, I’m feeling a lot better now. In fact, I have officially validated my word count and I am excited to share this with you:

CampWinnerBadge

That is the official winner badge for Camp NaNoWriMo 2017, and I’m very proud of it. Especially since I’ve participated in Camp before but never reached my goal, it’s a nifty little keepsake. I’ll be checking out the store to see what other goodies I can get to celebrate; you know me, gotta have the swag. *grin*

Since it’s still frelling early on Sunday morning (my cat decided I was not about to sleep past 6:55 AM this morning), I’m going to continue to celebrate by binging some more Chuck (I’m on Season 2, disc 4) and just enjoying the rest of my weekend. Stay tuned, however. I’ll be keeping you guys in the know on my upcoming retreat with Meagan and on any further writing adventures between now and then.

Happy writing to you all, and congratulations to everyone who also reached their goals for Camp NaNoWriMo 2017!

A Successful Day at Camp NaNoWriMo

Hello, Campers! It’s almost the weekend, and I can tell you it’s been a busy week! As I mentioned in my last post, I did pretty well on Tuesday at my writing session with M. Last night I did attempt to write, but I was in my comfy place and the distractions around me proved too hard to resist. So after a measly 148 words, I called it a night and spent the evening streaming Netflix after discovering the wonders of wifi that reaches to all corners of your cabin instead of stopping at the doorway to your bedroom.

Now today was much more satisfying on the writing front. As I didn’t have plans to meet up with friends at lunch, I took the opportunity to write and came in with a respectable 605 words, which is one day’s worth and a little bit. I also decided to avoid the hassle of the traffic crawling by outside my workroom window and stayed at my desk to see if I couldn’t build on my earlier progress. With the help of my novel’s playlist soothing me through my earbuds, I ended with a nice daily total of 2,000+ words. Woo hoo!

For a moment there I thought my word count was a bit higher, but apparently there’s a discrepancy between OneDrive’s Word app word count and Scrivener’s. (Interestingly, the Word app on my laptop matched Scrivener to a word.) I guess I’ll go back to just using my laptop full time rather than fooling around copying things back and forth. Alas, since the latter is the application of record, I took the hit and the lower count. Still, I managed four day’s worth of words in one sitting, and if I keep this up, I”ll surpass my target in no time. =]

I’ve got another work session with M on Saturday, but I also have the chance to write tomorrow as well so stay tuned!

( P.S. M and I have officially booked a cottage for our very own summer writer retreat. I created that nifty milestone countdown you see beneath the Camp one to keep me motivated and to keep you in the know. More to come, I promise! )

Camp Stats

Days written: 4
Daily word count/goal: 2,095/500
Word count to date/target: 4,760/15,000

Just Another Day at Camp

SnoopyWoodstockCampingHello again, my friends. I’ve emerged from my cabin for another day of writing after having hidden myself away for a couple of days. Sunday was a little more traumatic than expected as I ended up spending time hiding under my bunk bed during the the tornado warning and thread of damaging winds that blew through Austin that morning. Once the threat had passed, I decided an afternoon binge marathon was in order and immersed myself in catching up with the episodes of “The Flash” including the awesome “Duet” that I’ve seen at least four times now since it aired.

Monday was a work day, and a busy one. It ended with the last of my birthday dinners at Maggiano’s (mmm, calamari) and sorting all the lovely new Prismacolor colored pencils I’d gotten as a gift from the parents. My new owl Oliver kept me company, as did Molly.

Fortunately, I’d already planned to meet up with my BFF for a camp writing work session tonight, and I wrote much better than I did on Saturday. I even managed to play catch up and get ahead of the game. You know, it’s so much easier to have a word count goal of 500 words a day instead of the 1,667 in November. It’s also so easy to get ahead that I’ll have to be careful that I don’t slack of in the interim.

Here’s hoping I’ll keep my momentum going into tomorrow, even if I’m likely to get distracted for the rest of the evening with my pretty new colored pencils. ;]

Camp Stats

Days written: 2
Daily word count goal: 500
Word count to date: 2, 575/15,000

April Camping I Will Go, NaNo-style

KALOTS
Charlie Hunnam as Arthur in the upcoming movie “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword”

Well hello there, old friends! I would love to tell you I’ve been so busy writing that I just haven’t had the time to blog, but alas ’tis not the case. After November, I took a short break as is my norm, and then things went KABOOM. My long-time boss retired, the annual year end processing project seemed to develop quirk after quirk thus driving all of us to the edge of insanity, and to top it off my best friend left the company, leaving a huge hole in my world. Not to mention a hellish allergy season, worrying about my cat (she’s got kidney disease) and a wicked bout of winter blues. So things have been off for a while and I just couldn’t find the motivation to write.

Then I saw the email that NaNoWriMo sends out at the beginning of March announcing Camp once again. My first thought was (and yes, it was John Hurt’s voice I heard in my head from that scene in Spaceballs), “Oh no, not again!” Yet the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me. I’ve been thinking a lot about my book–I always do in the off-season–and even more so after seeing the trailer for the new King Arthur movie that’s coming soon. It’s as if the universe is saying, “Hey, Nik – pay attention! There’s a reason they call it a legend. People are still interested. So finish your freaking novel!”

I took the hint.

My current Camp NaNoWriMo bullet journal page (click to enlarge); banner courtesy of NaNoWriMo and bookshelf courtesy of Boho Berry aka Kara Benz.

I pinged my bestie M on Facebook and asked her if we were going to Camp, and she (a little too readily for my waffling heart) agreed. I really like her flash fiction plan, and of course I’m returning to Reese’s world. So between now and April 1, I’ve got lots to do:

  • finish up my bullet journal Camp page(s)–as you see from the snapshot, I’ve already added the official Camp plot bunny banner (so awesome) and Kara’s bookshelf that I’ll use to track my word count (1,000 words/book). I still have a couple of things to add like title banners, additional tasks and the like.
  • review where I left off in the story;
  • find November’s outline so I know where I’m going;
  • make any necessary edits in Scrivener; and
  • celebrate my birthday!

I do hope to keep you guys up to date with letters home from camp this April, which I neglected to do last summer, so stay tuned. I’ve also tweaked the Curse of Camlann synopsis page, and here’s hoping last year’s COC playlist remains inspiring as it has in the past. I thought you might be curious about the story, so I’ve created a new COC excerpt page and shared a scene written at the end of NaNo.

Happy reading and writing, everyone!