Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - it's a wrap!


I wrote my final sentence for 2016 earlier today and that was the end of NaNoWriMo. I updated my word count and then got on with the things I had to do today.

About an hour ago, a friend and fellow-NaNo participant and I were texting about her win, and she mentioned that today's square on my NaNo word count calendar was still red.

Huh! I had updated the words. But the square didn't change. So it seems that I needed more than five words to get the square to change to orange.

I finished my errands and came home. Opened up the laptop, turned it on, waited for everything to get it up and running and programs opened. Wrote a few paragraphs.

And *now* I am officially done with NaNoWriMo 2016. My final word count has been validated at 60,771. This is my biggest NaNo to date and it feels good.

I also have a plan to continue working on this project and I'm excited - with an edge of overwhelm, but the excitement is bigger - to bring it to an edited completion. This will take some time, but I will be working on it.

Goodbye, NaNo 2016.

My new goal was 60k in 30 days. I became a NaNoWriMo winner on 11/21 and decided to increase my goal and keep writing to the end of the project. This will be my highest ever NaNoWordCount.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 29 - New Goal Met

Today, at my weekly Tuesday writing meetup, I passed my second, self-decided NaNoWriMo goal. 

When I passed the 50k mark on November 21st, I knew that if I didn't set a new goal, my writing would most likely fall off. It might not go away, but I would probably lose momentum and wouldn't get much else done.

And there was more to be done.

There is still more to be done.

And just a few minutes ago I passed my updated NaNoWriMo 2016 goal: 60,000 words in 30 days. My current work count is 60,329 and I did validate that on the NaNo website. 

Tomorrow I will write a few more words, because I have written every day this month except for November 9th. That is my only red day on my NaNoCalendar this year and it seems fitting, because of the implications of the election and because that was the day we drove to the coast for the NaNoWriMo writing retreat!

I did it! My longest NaNoWriMo project to date. And there is more to write and I will. This one will continue being the main project I work on. Because this was a rewrite and new pieces for a project I already had in the works.  

Yay for NaNoWriMo! Yay for me!

Friday, November 25, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 25: keeping on

I am still trying to write to 60k before the end of November, since I passed the 50k mark so early.

I think I will actually get there. My writing has slowed, but that seems to make sense. Since we went out of town yesterday to spend it with our complicated and extended family. It was a good day, There was about one third or one half of the whole bunch there, I'd guess. Hard to track the numbers. It was a good day. The drive down, which is normally 90 minutes or a little less, was two and a half hours. There was a lot of traffic, more than anticipated and planned for, and it was raining heavily with standing water on some parts of the freeway.

So yesterday I wrote a very short bit after we got home. But I had to go to bed early (for me) for and early (for me) job out of town.

But circumstances happened and I ended up with some extra time today. Part of that bonus time was spent meeting one of S's _?_ cousin first removed? or something. I'm not good at mapping extended cousins and relatives in that way. But he and his wife came down from Seattle to visit family here in Portland, and had planned to come by here first to go out for lunch with S; and since I was home, I was able to join them, with my phone on because I was on call if the job site needed me to go back.

I enjoyed meeting them and we had great conversation. And agreed to get together, again. More like-minded people in my life is good. And they are planning to move to Maui in a  year or so, which means, boo hoo, that we might *have* to travel to Hawaii to visit them. I've never been there and it hasn't been on my list of places I had to see. But having friends there might make it more appealing.

Back to my writing. I have been able to get some writing on the project done today. I am taking a short break to check in here then will try to get more in before going to bed.
 Right now I am nearing 56k. Another confessed hope I will make public and maybe it will help me get it done: I hope to wrap this up before I go to rehearsal tomorrow night. Meaning that I hope to get another approximately 4400 words written before 5:00 tomorrow.

We'll see. If I can avoid checking in on my people in Facebook for a little while, that will help.

And I'm excited: I signed up for two online writing workshops in January. One is a class I've been wanting to do since it first appeared and now, due to the cancellation of another workshop, I'm able to take it - writing the personal essay; this version of it will be an intensive (every day for 12 days or so, rather than over several weeks). Ariel is also offering another online intensive workshop in writing Noir and Dystopian writing ("Fatalist Fiction" - love that name) I signed up for. These are not genres I have been writing, but I have wanted to explore them, so the timing is perfect and it looks really good.

Once again, doing NaNoWriMo has put writing and creating back at the top of my list - or at least parallel with the income producing work I do.  NaNoWriMo, along with the Corporeal Writing face to face workshops and the online Literary Kitchen workshops is keeping me writing, keeping me exploring, providing inspiration, place, and time for writing. And validation and support.

Look at me! I'm still writing. *grin*

Monday, November 21, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 21 update - I'm a Winner!

I haven't been keeping up with my daily posts about NaNoWriMo this year. I was a little derailed by the election and then other things keeping me busy. But I have been writing every day.

And - tada - I'm happy to announce that I have been officially verified a NaNoWriMo Winner! I uploaded my story, word count checked, and I am at 52,252. That is a happy number.

In years past, when I passed the benchmark early, I usually stopped shortly after. Because (a) the story was done, or (b) there wasn't much more to write before The End so I did and stopped, or (c) I didn't like what I was writing and vowed to never touch it again (two of the years writings will not be revisited - yuck).

So this year, my ninth consecutive year as a NaNoWriMo winner, I have decided that I am going to keep writing. Because I have more to write about for this project and I don't hate it, yet.

Therefore I am announcing that I am setting myself a new goal of 60,000 words before November 30th. I was going to just say, I'll keep writing every day, but I know me. And knowing me means that having a more concrete target is a little more motivating. And telling a few other people keeps it real and keeps me accountable, even though I doubt anyone would really do much if I don't make it.

I'm a winner!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 17 - maintaining my lead

I just hit 1770 words for today. This is good. With the exception of Monday this week, I've been able to keep ahold of the additional words I wrote last week when I had three and a half days dedicated to writing. Which is why I do the dedicated writing times in NaNovember - to either catch up if I've fallen behind or to get ahead on my word count so I have some wiggle room.

My NaNoWriMo stats say that I will finish on November 22nd if I keep up this pace. But that pace includes those dedicated days, where I wrote 23,000 words in those three and a half days, so, no, I will not be maintaining my pace. I don't think I will have any more 5000 to 8000 word days this month. I don't have that much time in my schedule, except for one day at the very end.

Wait! I just figured it out. Actually, if I write the average of 1667 words per day, I will be done on or around November 22nd. Wow! I still don't think it will happen, though it is a possibility. After all, I am going to be in a writing workshop this coming weekend. There will be some writing happening in the workshop, but probably not at the NaNo level, though the content will probably be withing the context of what I'm writing. That or post-election essays I've also been writing a bit of since November 9th. (Yes, I'm doing a combo rebel NaNo this year; I have my novelized book and I have some essays, because some days the story is not flowing but the rage and fear refusal and disgust are running high, so I write it. It's all writing and it's all within November.)

I have extra words and I'm holding on to them. Even if I do pass the 50k early this year, which it surprisingly looks like I will, I am planning to continue writing this stuff through the end of November, and beyond. My plan as of right now is even to continue at the NaNo pace.

And, again, I hope that this commitment to writing continues past November. The commitment being not merely to write, but to keep it a priority and add more writing time into my schedule each week.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 15 - I'm good

Today my total word count is 37,667. The target goal for today if one is writing the average number of words per day to hit 50k on November 30th is 25,000.

I'm good on words for today.

If I could keep up this pace they computations say I will finish on November 20th. That's a big IF that I'm not going to make. But it's nice to know.

Progress on the original story, which is good. I also wrote a short essay today, which may be cleaned up for sending out into the world, or not, I don't know. I was happy to be able to get some words in today because the rest of this week is super busy and writing much of anything, until I get to the writing workshop this weekend! may be difficult. But that's why "I'm good" is actually great for now.

Monday, November 14, 2016

A quote for our current time

"This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal." - Toni Morrison

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 12 - water words

I came over to the coast with another writer on Wednesday night. This is my annual NaNoWriMo writing retreat and, yes, so far, it has always been at the coast. It will probably continue to be at the coast, since the ocean's movement the smells the fresh wash me clean feel on my skin the stepping into nature of it all is good. Watching water between words, listening to the water rock sand as I sleep.

This was the first year is was hard to leave home to come to the coast. It was hard for me to leave S at home; she was invited, could have come with us, but she has clients to see and art to make and a shift at the gallery. We were both fine with me coming over but given the election results it felt like a time to be together.

On the other side of that feeling was a determination for this to not be a time of collapse. To not be a time where fear or disappointment took away my writing. This writing retreat was planned long before the voting and I wasn't going to let my voice be silenced by the results, wasn't going to let my writing be taken away. And S completed a powerful painting these past couple of days, while I've been here. She sent me a photo of it last night and it has a lot of energy and life and movement, so she obviously had some creative work to do in her studio, which is there and not here at the coast.

My current word count is 25,035. This is the goal for November 15th, the halfway point, I'm there now. I am going to push for at least another 5000 words today, knowing that my writing pace may be slower next week, with many things happening in my schedule. I have written over 5k each day here and it's good.

I have been tweeting my word count updates. While keeping an eye on the protests at home. Protests with other groups joining in and trying or actually derailing them into riots. I know people who are in the protest groups and I would probably be there if I was at home.

I read Facebook status updates and articles about what is happening in the internet via data times I allow myself. I am fortunate to have an extended family's condo to stay at over here and for writing retreats it's good that there is no WiFi, it keeps that writing distraction low. But I do allow myself some time to check in now and then, to read how others are doing. To keep connected in this divisive time.

I will have more to say on this situation, as I have been changed by what happened on Tuesday. Some of that change was already in the works, some of the changes had already happened and I am grateful for having those skills and strengths in place before Tuesday. But right now I am here to write this other story. The other story has wandered and had new beginnings and taken unpredictable turns, and it's all okay. This year NaNoWriMo for me is about exploration and writing every day as much as I can and about letting the words flow where they want to go.

This year I had a basic plan coming in to the writing and it has veered from there. I have started down that path a couple of times this month, so far, and written some good sentences and written many words and the writing has led me to several places. I figure that whatever I write is what I need to get out. What I am probably going to end up with this year is several story starts and a bunch of essays. Or essay foundations for rewriting the story that needs to be told; yes, mostly that.

Now, I'm going to post this writing, turn off my WiFi and get back to the business of NaNoWriting.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 9 - a red square day

I knew there would be a few red square days on my NaNoWord Count calendar. Today was it. There may be more and there may not.

If I could make the Wednesday square black, I would. That would fit.

It wasn't that I was in mourning that I didn't write - though I was and am angry, frustrated, disappointed, and more. There are moments of overwhelm and sinking, moments of floating through the waves of not understanding how people could be so ______fill-in-the-blank_____.

I had things to do and a writing retreat to get to.

I considered not coming to the writing retreat today because I left my family at home and it feels so much like an important time to hold and love and breathe our people. Leaving her at home I feel a tug, and that's okay, we had some quality time before I left.

And I wasn't going to let this election take away my writing. Not even this one writing retreat. This is mine and it's important.

You may see some of my writing change, be bolder, be louder. I can't really pinpoint what will change but I have been changed through yesterday's results. This is my voice and I will write and I will share.

I'm at the coast, stocked with TJs groceries, a bottle of wine, decaf coffee, tea and the company of a writing friend. I will write. I will not be silent. I will not collapse in the face of what lies ahead.

A day away from writing to get me to here is fine. I'm coming out of the fog and I have things to say - or at least write.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 8 - writing meet ups work

Despite what is happening right now - or perhaps because of what is happening right now - I am posting that I am still writing. I wrote a pile of words today and they were good words. The word were on track with the story and they flowed.

I was late to the writing session but I got there. I opened the laptop. I had a decaf latte and a Green Goat breakfast bowl and I wrote. I wrote almost the daily average, just a hundred or so words short. And it was good.

My current word count is 11.410. The goal for today was 13,333. Not too far behind. I will have several hours of writing tomorrow. Then Thursday to Saturday are exclusively for writing - I hope to get many words ahead because next week is busy.

So this other thing is happening right now and I am disappointed and pissed off. In a bit of not quite shock but irritation. Oh, and embarrassment.

Yet we will go on. I have been reading posts on breaks. People who are out there in the front lines of my writing circles, for the artists and the misfits and those of us working on our voices and our art, with the people on the ground in the streets and making voices heard.

And fear. There is fear.

I will continue writing. That can't be taken away. As many in my circles are saying, there is work left to do. There would be work to do either way, this is more work.

Part of our work is to not be silenced.

I am writing and will continue to write.

From today's NaNo Pep Talk

NaNoWriMo Day 7 - nanowhat?

Okay. Monday was not a zero writing day. But almost.

Monday I wrote 84 words on my NaNoNovel. Not zero.

Eighty-four words is better than zero words.

Tuesday morning I have my weekly writing meeting and I will write. I don't know that I will get caught up tomorrow morning and that's okay. I hope to get a little more steam going in the writing before I go to work.

To be fair to myself - Monday morning I had to take care of something before a meeting which was before a long work shift. Not excuses, but definitely factors in why I lad less time to write.

And if this weren't NaNovember, the day would have slipped by with no writing. Reason number whatever that part of NaNoWriMo for me is strengthening my writing practice. It works.

Monday, November 7, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 6 - chugging along

I did manage to get some words written today. Crammed in mini writing sessions on my breaks and reached around 1300 words. Not bad at all! I'm at 9.759 words and I should be at 10,000; a 241 word deficit is nothing and I will make it up. Maybe not tomorrow or the next day. But by next weekend I should be ahead. My annual writing retreat is coming up and I hope to bank a bunch of words because the following week is busy.

NaNoWriMo is working its magic. I, so far, am writing every day and today the story flowed through me. Now that I've let go of the idea I went into the month with, the story is coming through. It is not the story I started with or what I thought I was going to write.

I like what I've written these past two days. Don't know where it's going and don't know what I'll do with it all later. I'm not even thinking about that right now because November, for me, is for writing and following the words.

Editing will come later, in its appropriate time. Now is for creating.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 5 - caught up, until tomorrow

I had a job this morning. Then a break. Then a long piece of work.

I knew this going into the day so I took my laptop so I could write during that three hour gap. I managed to get caught up in my NaNoWriMo word count.

I did some thinking on the page.

And I let the character lead the way and just observed, writing as she went, and did not try to force her back into the little bubble I created as a frame for this year's novel. It went much better that way. I thought that this year I had a good idea. No, I had a good idea which was worth trying and I did, but I got a little stuck so I decided to move on and, again, let the characters take the lead.

This is my fun part. It gets messy, sure. But it's fine. I enjoy putting words on the page and/or screen. I love letting the language flow and letting it be whatever it will be and seeing where it goes. So I did. And it moved.

I believe I'm through the little stumbling place and will be back on track.

And I wrote a lot of words today and got caught up with the daily average word count target. Until midnight. Then it starts again and I have another chunk to go.

That, my friends and followers, is NaNoWriMo.

Go, go, go.

My ending word count for Day Five is 8,436.

NaNoWriMo Day 4 - even on show day

I met up with another writer today. And what is amazing about that is the is was Show Day. I interpreted a show in the evening, but we still carved out a bit of time to write. Awesome!

See? This is one of the reasons I do NaNoWriMo. I've learned over the years that I can't fall too far behind because it becomes very hard to catch up. I have, every time, when I've fallen behind. This yer the story has been a bit tough from the first keystrokes, and I'm only on day 4 (actually, it is now day 5 as I type this).

So I know, write some every day, if at all possible. And I made it happen today, even with and interpreted performance in the evening.

I manage to get nearly caught up; just a couple of hundred words short of where I should be at the end of day four. And I'm okay with that.

There has already been a shift in the story and a couple of gems came out in my writing. It seems this story wants to go in another direction and I'm going to let it go and follow in its footsteps. I learned my lesson about five years ago when I tried to insist on too much control of a story's direction.

So, flow story, flow, and I will follow.

Ended the day with a word count of 6505. The target for day four was 6666. Not bad.

Friday, November 4, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 3 - meh

I had another appointment today. Then final rehearsal for the play I'm interpreting tomorrow night.

And not much writing.

It's okay. It's still early in the month. I did write some. And I wrote more past the midnight word count cutoff. But whether looking at my current word count as part of the 3rd or the 3rd and 4th, I'm still behind. A little

Okay. Word count as of the end of my writing time today is 4239 words. Slow. I'm going to call that my end of day 3 word count, so I'm only 761 words behind. Which leaves me, let's see, 761 + 1667 = 2428 words to write on a show day. I can do that. Especially with having a 2-hour writing time scheduled with another NaNoPal tomorrow. I will still have time to go through the script again, shower and get my show clothes ready, meet the friend for writing, get dinner, get to the show and do what we need to do before we begin.

Probably not much writing will happen after the play tomorrow since I have a morning job on Saturday. But that's okay. I will keep my fingers moving at the writing time and get story words written.

I'm stuck in the story. Not sure where it's going and not being able to let go of the foundation I'm drawing from. Hopefully I will break through that soon. But, for now, I'm still writing, even if it isn't great literature and if it feels a little flat.

Isn't that part of why I do NaNo? To move through the debris and garbage and get it cleaned out so I can write. And to recommit and strengthen or revive a writing practice. So even 'meh' words written are still more words written than the pace I've been keeping recently.

Yeah, me. I'm writing! Goal for Friday is 2500 words before I interpret the play tomorrow night.

I can do that.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 2

On the second day of NaNo, I ended with a word count of 3307, just 30 words short of meeting the 1667 words per day average. The story stalled a bit, but I kept writing. It ended up being a busy day and I didn't get started writing until after several things were done - some of which took way longer than anticipated. But I still got in a good word count. I plan to keep writing and writing through this boring bit, before going to bed.

The other things today: acupuncture, another personal appointment, researched and bought a new phone for S (it was almost like buying a car! Final research at home, go to the phone store, where they toss out numbers and terms and it doesn't make sense initially and no matter what they say all it really means it that there is no longer a loyal customer discount and you're going to pay a shitload of money for a new device), went to dinner at the only truly authentic Southwest restaurant in town, then home and the transferring data and setting up the new phone process was painfully long when the store used to do it in a few minutes. Oh well. A good day.

And I wrote. Something. Nothing stellar and it's boring. Truly. Boring. But sometimes that's what it takes to get ahead in the writing, moving through the slow stuff!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo Day 1 (a)

Wrapping it up here at the midnight write-in. I currently have 1750 words written. The first 1558 words came in the first hour and I've been slowly eeking out a few words between conversations and a trip to the bathroom and the snacks table.

I reached the end of a section or a scene. I'm not sure what it is but it feels like there is a period at the end of what I've written so far.

Which means that I am going to write a little bit more. I don't want to end on a "completed" note. I want to stop my writing session tonight (this morning) with something happening and forward motion. It makes it easier to pick up the writing at the next writing session and keep going.

I am satisfied with what I've done at the outset of NaNoWriMo 2016. Off to a good start.

Yay. Me.

Oh. I received a little boost of energy and inspiration on Sunday. A piece of my memoir was accepted for publication in Hippocampus. I feel proud and very excited for this opportunity. Receiving such a sweet and welcoming acceptance email for this piece was just the shot in the writer arm I needed to launch me forward into NaNo.

No, I'm not ready to share what I'm doing in NaNoWriMo this year. In NaNo I am calling it "No. 9" which is for it being my ninth run at a NaNoWin. I do have another working title, but the content and that title are still secret.

This one is not a mystery novel.