Have Pen, Will Travel


NaNoWriMo Word Sprints -It Might Work For YOU!

Yesterday I set a goal to get more writing done on my NaNoWriMo project. I’m still not at my ideal word count, but I did have some great writing moments.

On the NaNoWriMo site, I saw that on Twitter, there was the official NaNoWriMo handle,  a coach for the week, and NaNoWordSprints. I was curious about the word sprints. I decided to try it out. I figured if it wasn’t working for me I could always stop and go write on my own. In other words I had low expectations.

Well let me tell you, writing with word sprints was a good choice. It reminded me of some of the exercises I had done in writing  class at Story Studio. For some reason, these little exercises do something to my writing. It is like taking a class at the gym. You end up feeling sore the next day because you were using other muscles that you don’t typically work. I love that feeling – both in exercise and writing. In my writing, it opens me up to other ways of approaching the story..

Different people host for various times over at NaNoWordSprints. I encourage you to check it out if you have time. It sounds as though you can drop in anytime (free) and just write. Sometimes there are prompts and other times not. It is timed writing and they urge you to set a word count goal.

The prompt that made me take off like a horse spooked wagon was a song prompt: “I Will Wait for You”, by Mumford and Sons. At first I thought, This will never work. My story is set in the past. I had to think about it for a few minutes. At first I  worried about how this was affecting my word count. Then I had an a-ha moment and almost ripped holes in my paper I was writing so fast. The more I wrote, the more the idea shaped itself in my head. I think I might have the idea for my opening and first chapter.

If you are looking for a writing challenge, try some word sprints. I hope they will be as beneficial for you as they were for me.

Tools to Help During NaNoWriMo

I didn’t get a chance to blog about my writing and word count the last few days. I thought yesterday (Monday) would be a great day to catch up on my lagging word count. I did other things instead. Many of them were writing related and character related, so that is good for the overall story, but bad for increasing the word count. I also came across a helpful tool, from a blog called davidseah.com. In his October 17th post, he has created a NaNo calendar that will keep me aware of my numbers. I liked it right away because it works with my old school writing style of writing in a notebook. I had to PRINT a copy on a piece of paper. Now it lives in a pocket in my notebook. If you are an old school writer, this might be helpful to you in your NaNo writing, or if you want to keep track of your daily word count (which some writers do.) According to the blog post, there will be more of these monthly calendars available for regular writing in the future. I know I will stay tuned.

Well, as you can see from my graphics, as of the end of day four, I am very behind in my word count. (Actually it is 2045, but this was the closest graphic I could find.)I am off to fill the lined pages of my notebook. I will blog more this week about what I discovered about characters. Don’t forget to check back.

Trying on Different Voices for Voice Week 2013

I came across this through one of the blogs I subscribe to The Muse Unleashed. The idea sounded interesting, but then I thought I can’t do extra writing during NaNo. Then I read through a few FAQ’s listed on the site and came up with a way to make this exercise in writing worthwhile to my NaNo writing. If you would like to take part, click on the link  to the website at  BeKindReWrite you can choose from a list of prompts or create your own. I chose the easy route and selected a prompt listed. It is perfect for my story (I think.)


If I inhale deeply, I can smell sweat, sadness, pity, and gratefulness. If I look at a full, ripe sycamore in the distance that provides shade for everyone except the child who didn’t make it, then I think I can dull the sounds of sobs, sniffles,  sighs and the sorrow that surround me.  If I clench my fist, I can keep from touching him one last time. If I bite my lip, I’ll taste his death one last time. If I think of nothing, then maybe I can still the urge to scream. Don’t put my baby in the ground.

NaNoWriMo, Wait for Me……! I Signed Up to Write a Novel

Today is the first day of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) For those of you who just woke up and have some spare time to read, click on the link. For those who don’t, here is a brief explanation. NaNoWriMo  is writing a novel in one month. To go off on a tangent with me start reading the purple text. To prevent yourself from losing interest, skip over the purple text and look for black type. My tangent: The month of November to be exact. Why would anyone pick this month? It is the month of Thanksgiving, which does not last more than one day in my family. It usually involves travel to visit family, not sit around and write. Plus the month of November means several days off from school for my kids, which equals little or no writing gets done. Oh, and all of those weekends too.The word count minimum is 50,000 words. As usual I waited until almost the very last-minute to sign up. And as usual, I am already behind.

Do you want to hear my excuse? It’s a good one. My kids had their first of many November days off from school. And last night was Halloween. Add it up and it means no schedule for the day. I spent the morning washing out black spray hair color and makeup from the mini Frida Kahlo running around the house. Then I had to scrub the bathtub, because it was an artificial shade of gray due to the hair color. Then I dropped  off mini Frida to a birthday party, threw in a load of laundry and took the other child out to lunch. I won’t bore you with the rest of the details, but if you can imagine what it is like with no routine, then you’ll understand when I say that the only writing that occurred today had nothing to do with  NaNoWriMo. It was the note I wrote to myself to check the furnace filters, which I failed to do.

Does it count that I tried to flesh out some NaNoWriMo ideas in the shower? At least I put forth .002% effort toward my (cough) novel.

I wanted to take a pass on NaNoWriMo this year. I have read it is a grueling experience to undergo this 30 day marathon. But then I asked myself, “What do you have to lose?” My answer of “Nothing” wasn’t significant enough to cause me to change my mind. Wish me luck! Every day. I mean it. I’m going to need it. Maybe I’ll let you help me write my 50K since I am already behind the expected 1,667 words per day required to achieve this goal.