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Monday, November 14, 2011

My Cheatin' Heart

My poor neglected blog! I have spent the last 14 days pouring my heart and my soul into my current work in progress for NaNoWriMo.
Just 14 days ago I was so full of myself as far as how simple it would be to start a new story. I researched my plot, and where I wanted the story to go, plotted my characters creating their flaws and the shining qualities they would have as well. I had the time line and the development of the story all ready to go…and then November 1 came and I assumed it would be simple to just pick up a story and run with it. And for the most part it has been, but I also felt a little torn. I have been working on the third book in my series, and I felt as if I were cheating on my characters by starting something else, and doing it without asking their permission. (Gasp!)

For the first week I toiled away at the new story, and I like where it has gone, NaNo has been a blast. But in the back of my head my first characters are saying
“Um, excuse me, you haven’t finished our story yet? Don’t you think that’s rude to start something when you haven’t finished the first series?”
Which I replied back, “No.”
(Heavy sighs from my characters)
With the characters from the first series nagging my thoughts I decided to do a little extra, and while I am writing the NaNo Novel, I am also continuing the third and final installment to my first series. And two weeks into NaNo this is what I have learned so far:
1.      Make time to write every day
2.      Don’t re-read what was written the night before, just pick up from the last sentence and carry on.
3.      Edit later, not now.
4.      Make writing a priority, and keep writing.
5.      Push out the words, having music helps (It helps me anyway.).
6.      The more you write, the better your writing becomes.
7.      Twitter, Facebook and Tribbr can wait for now.
8.      (For me) It’s ok to work on two projects at the same time. NaNo first, and then the other book. (But they are all equally important!)
9.      Keep Writing
10.  2000 words a day is a realistic goal (For me, 2000 words per book is my goal.)

This is what I have learned on my first attempt doing NaNo. It is more difficult than I anticipated, but like many writers, I really enjoy physically abusing myself and pushing my limits as far as I can.
Thinking about the end result helps me, not that I want to release two books at the same time, but at least I will have several works going on to work.
This is just the beginning, like I’ve said before, this is a marathon, and I am in it for the long haul!

And now I have to go finish my writing goal for the day. For all of you who are doing NaNo good luck, and when someone asks you if your ready to give up just think about the character from Home Alone II (Marv) when Kevin asks him if he's ready to give up when he is covered in paint, and he says Never! Never give up on yourself or your dreams!

Thursday, October 27, 2011


The ideas for my new work in progress (well, the beginning of it anyways) are flowing through me like a crazy electrical current. The characters are demanding to have me tell their side of the story, through their words.  I want to start writing now, but no, I am refraining. Why you ask? Because I am keeping my characters bottled up for November 1, the start of NaNoWriMo! (National Novel Writing Month)

NaNoWriMo began in 1999 with just over 20 participants. By 2010 over 200,000 people participated in the month long write fest. And the whole goal of this is just to get people writing. Think of that, and think of how many words they collectively wrote in 30 days...

This past week has been very challenging for me, I have made it a point not to write. Believe me, I want to, I adore writing, it is my passion, and one of my favorite hobbies. But over the last several months I have completed three books, well 2 ½ actually, I have put the final book in my first series on hold for now as I gear up for NaNo. The third book in my first series is the conclusion to the story, and I don’t want to rush it. The first draft is just about done, but I don’t want to leave anything out, and I want to make sure it shines!

So, I have dedicated the last few days of this month to getting ready for the big November 1 day, the beginning of NaNo. I have been reading blogs, and filling my mind with every writing tool I can think of, all the while not writing a word, which honestly is killing me.
I love to write. While I am at work, I write a lot for my job, which does help me when I get home and can write creatively. I guess I am pretty lucky to be able to convey ideas through words as a part of my job, and what makes it even more fun is as a nurse, I get to put together great words to create the overall picture of the disgusting situation I am trying to describe. (Yes, I am a little twisted!)

I digress…back to NaNoWriMo…what is it you ask? NaNoWriMo is a contest in a way. You sign up on the website, and you aim to reach a goal. The goal is 50,000 words in one month. And when you look at it like that, it might seem a daunting task. However, if you look at it on a smaller base, only 2000 words a day. And that is if you only do the minimum of 2,000 words a 50,000 words is completely attainable. That isn’t that bad is it? I don’t think so!
I’m sure there are many who write more than I do daily, but when I get home from work I can still get out at least 2000 words, more if I have a plotline running through my head. Which, seems to happen a lot, especially when I haven’t put the words to paper! Those 2000 words each day will add up fast, in one week, 14,000 words. In two weeks, 28,000 words, and so on, and so on.
Along with making this something fun, NaNoWriMo gives everyone an opportunity to be a winner. If you hit 50,000 words by November 30, you win. If you go over that, you still win. And if you don’t hit it, there is always next year! And you have a good start on a novel to boot!
I know I can do it, I wrote my second novel in about 6 weeks (87,000 words) So for me NaNo is not only about writing, it’s about making an attainable goal and reaching it. There is something to be said for making a goal and being able to achieve it. It can give you the motivation to continue, and achieve new and even loftier goals.
 This will be my first year doing NaNo and I am so excited! I want to see how far I can get in 1 month. I have a habit of pushing myself to see if I can do it, and when I do, I feel like I accomplished something. Which in turn motivates me to do even more, and more, and more!
And yes, I would love to be able to say I wrote a bestselling novel that sold millions of copies, but even if that doesn’t happen at the end of it all I will have created something I am proud of.
So what are you waiting for? You still have a couple of days to come up with that new idea, and go to NaNoWriMo and get registered…what do you think? Are you up for the challenge? I look forward to seeing YOU there!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Forever in our hearts

Ben Campbell was just 17 years old. On October 11, 2011, he posted on his Facebook “Today is the best day of my life.” And then a short time after that posting, he was killed when the car he was riding in was hit by another car.
He wasn’t my child, but was a child of our community. And today is now Saturday, October 15, 2011 and today our community is saying goodbye to a boy who was stolen away just as his life was about to begin. As I sit here and write this, I think about all of the experiences that he will never have, because he is gone. I think about all of the kids that have been effected by his death. I think about his family, and what they must be going through. And I think about the boy who was driving the car, and my prayers are with him, as the 16 year old girl who was in the back seat. I don’t even know if she realizes Ben is gone, because she is still in the hospital.
And as I think about all of the sadness, and what a horrible experience to have for everyone, I remember something Ben’s mother said. “Parents hug your kids every time you get the chance.”

I try to shift the sadness to the back of my thoughts, and try to focus on more positive things. I need to remind myself all the time that my loved ones are a gift, and every moment I have with them is precious, never take it for granted. Look at every mealtime as an honor that I am able to share it with my kids and my husband.
Don’t dwell on what could happen, rather embrace the time we have to share with others, and try to make a difference for someone else. Be thankful and grateful for the moments I have had. Especially the simple ones like seeing my silly 17 year old son come walking up the stairs with his Elmer Fudd hat on as he is dancing to one of his favorite songs. Those moments are priceless, and I have been lucky enough to experience it. For those moments I am eternally grateful.
I vow not only to make sure my children and my husband know how much I love them, but also to never take for granted the time I have with them, and to make every moment count. I don’t want something horrible to happen and be filled with regret for not spending enough time with them all.
I vow to live every day to the fullest, and experience life and do everything I have ever dreamed to do, and pass that along to my children. Make time to laugh and cry. Do the silly things that we will always have to look back on.
I vow to make every day count, and do what I can for others by making a difference in their lives as well. We all have the power to make a difference, even if it seems small to us, it can have a profound effect on others. 
So Ben Campbell, where ever you are now, I want you to know that you are loved, and you have made a difference for me, and because of you, I hope to make a difference too. Because of you, I will live every day to the fullest and make certain I have no regrets. We were all so lucky to have known you for the time you were here with us. You will forever be in our hearts.