Making the Most of NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2019

 

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! Which means it’s time to create–worlds, plots and subplots, characters, conflict, music lists, and a space in which you love to spend time. Because if you’re participating in National Novel Writing Month, you will be spending a LOT of time in that space. And with your characters.

Over the years, I’ve come up with a list of must-haves for a successful NaNo experience. That list changes from year to year, but a few of the things that are on that list every year, without fail, are:

Music. Pandora is my choice every year. Instead of spending time putting together playlists, I can select a radio station to match the scene I’m writing at the moment. It’s convenient, effective and for a small fee you can avoid typical radio station commercials.

Pen. Pencil. Notebook. Yep, all three. And not just any old ones. I take care in finding favorites. Even though I use my computer for writing my story, I love good smooth-writing pens (gel and glitter, and in several colors) and a good mechanical pencil for taking notes. And a fun notebook to carry around with me. Always. You never know when you’re going to come across that gem of an idea to add to your story, that perfect conversation you hear on the bus or in the grocery store that you just have to add between your characters, or those spare minutes that when added up, also significantly add up your word count. And during NaNo, word count–and fun–is what it’s all about.

Internet Blocker. For productivity and focus. There are several good ones–Freedom, StayFocused, Limit, WasteNoTime, Forest, LeechBlock, Pause…Personally, I use Freedom. It’s easy-to-use and inexpensive. If you want to try it, you can get seven sessions free. After that it can be yours for as little as $2.42 per month. Freedom also allows you to keep some websites available during a blocked session in case you just simply cannot do without one.

Scrivener. I was a Microsoft Word girl for the longest time. Until I met and fell in love with Scrivener. While there’s a learning curve, I’ve taken the pressure off of myself by realizing that I can learn as I go. I still don’t use it to it’s full potential, but I couldn’t do without it anymore. If you want to try before you buy, you can get a 30-day free trial. After that it’s $45 for a standard license for Windows and $49 for Mac. And to sweeten the deal, if you participate in NaNoWriMo, you get a discount. There are a ton of YouTube tutorials available.

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo. It’s chock full of motivational tips and tricks, suggestions, ideas, and so much more. Every year in October I read it, highlighting and underlining more than the year before. I swear more is added every time I read it!

Snacks. Preferably those that you don’t allow yourself on a regular basis. And those that aren’t sticky or crumbly so you don’t spend your writing time wiping off your keyboard or washing your hands. Procrastination is a big enough beast without adding yet another thing to do during your writing time. And don’t forget special drinks. Though you might want to save those of the alcohol variety until after your writing session. ūüôā

Support. Having that one person to support your endeavor is fabulous. But NaNo provides an entire community of people from all over the world. There are chat rooms, word sprints, pep talks from famous authors, write-ins, and forums with active conversations on every topic you could possibly imagine. Writing is often a solitary act. But during NaNo, you’re part of a tribe to cheer you on to the finish line and celebrating with you when you do.

Imagination! During NaNo, anything goes. It’s a time to let loose and have fun. Have your characters do and say outrageous things. Write in a genre you’d never thought you’d write. Create a world in which you’ve always wanted to live. Just write. Anything. And everything.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this November, what are some tools that lead to your success? Those things that you just couldn’t do without.

Rhonda Blackhurst

There’s an old folk saying that goes: whenever you delete a sentence from your NaNoWriMo novel, a NaNoWriMo angel loses its wings and plummets, screaming, to the ground. Where it will likely require medical attention. ¬† ‚Äē Chris Baty

 

 

 

 

T.G.I.F. – Gratitude Friday

Denali National Park in autumn, Alaska, USA, North America

The top three things I’m especially grateful for this week are:

3.  The songs Need You Now by Plumb and Oceans by Hillsong UNITED playing back to back Thursday morning on Pandora at the precise moment I needed to hear them, proving the Hand of God in my life. A blessing indeed!

2.  The proof of my novel, The Inheritance, arriving on my doorstep in the midst of a most difficult week, bringing a glimmer, that spark, that I needed.

1.¬†¬† My sweet, precious nephew, a true lover and servant of the Lord, overcoming serious brain surgery this past week, and on the mend from a setback last night. And the lesson in obedience he taught¬†this humbled¬†auntie when he asked¬†not for a miracle but for God’s will to be done.¬†(I will post about him in the very near future, as his story of survival, hope, and love is one that¬†deserves¬†telling.)

May peace and grace¬†be yours–and with yours–today. ūüôā

 

 

 

Why I Write

photo (15)

Last week I received an email from the author of a blog I follow,¬† The Creative Penn, and the author asked her readers to think about why we write.¬† And that did, indeed, get me thinking…

I write because when I do, I:

*     Feel freedom and the ability to express myself in a way that nothing else can match.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Feel joy, ¬†peace, and pure contentment.¬† Even if I’m working on a piece that doesn’t come easy, I’m in my element in the quiet¬†¬†¬†¬† of¬†my office with pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, mood music playing softly on Pandora, and my mind creating whatever it happens to be creating at that moment.

Create.

 

 

 

 

 

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Get more connected with God by making my thoughts concrete on the page, where oftentimes it’s then I can see where God is working in my life, or where I’m not, showing me I need to make myself available for more of God.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Am able to live vicariously through my characters–where else can one live so many different lives and have so many fun, funny, loyal, and even quirky friends? ūüôā

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Have the ability to reach and connect with other people that I wouldn’t have been able to without the magic of written words.¬† I’m able to connect with my sponsor kids through Compassion International, making a difference in lives in another country.¬† How blessed am I! I’m able to connect with readers on this blog, every one of which I am so grateful for. ¬†It’s a magical connection that other writer’s at heart can likely understand.

*     Can turn a bad day to better from being able to escape to another world, whichever I happen to create, or by simply writing my feelings on paper, making me aware of them and then being able to let them go.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Spent a number of years getting too busy with life, which resulted in not writing, and I’m a much happier person when I write.

Writing journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Cannot imagine my life without words and story, whether handwritten or from the keyboard.¬† The vehicle which produces those words doesn’t matter, only the fact that I’m able to do it.

‚ÄúThere is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†¬†¬†¬† Maya Angelou

All is Grace.