The Final Stretch

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As I get closer to leaving October behind I am finalizing preparations for NaNoWriMo. I still have a few last minute tweaks to do between now and Thursday morning, but the amount of work I have done so far has me feeling pretty good about it all.

I said last week I needed to update my rough outline with a lot more details, and for the most part that’s done (chapters eight and nine need some work still, but they are on track). I have to say that all of this outlining and planning has told me something interesting about myself; I have always considered myself a bit of a pantser (operating by the seat of my pants) but I feel like I have tapped into my inner plotter and it feels pretty good. Not that I have painted myself into a corner with any of my outline; I still have the ability to wing it in areas based on how I feel the characters are acting, just now I have a pretty clear idea on where I am going and how to get there. Feels more like having a good map as I prepare for a long road trip, I know I won’t get lost but I can still stop and see all the sites along the way (including the world’s largest ball of string).

I am looking forward to Thursday night when I get home from work and I start to put all my efforts together into story form – see what my outline starts to look like as I have my characters perform the actions I’ve assigned them. I would be lying if I didn’t also admit that I am nervous about Thursday too. This is going to be the moment of truth, can I actually do it? The tiny seed of self doubt that keeps creeping in is harder to stop than I expected, and right now the only way to overcome that is to just do it, just write the story.

If you already have your NaNo account feel free to look me up and add me to your buddy list (username: HLSellers), and if you haven’t signed up yet but are interested head on over to NaNoWriMo.org and get started. This is one area where there can’t be too many cooks in the kitchen – the more the merrier!

I’ll be sure to let you know all about the first few days on NaNo in next week’s post, in the meantime I’d love to hear about your experience with NaNoWriMo prepping. Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com

 

 

Let the Prepping Begin

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As October – fondly called “Inktober” by the visual artists – comes to a close, those of us wordy fellows are preparing ourselves for a massive push to write a novel in 30 days. National Novel Writing Month – referred to by the name NaNoWriMo – is looming and anyone who hasn’t made a plan (or finalized said plan) may be entering panic mode. I might be one of those people.

This is my first year venturing into the NaNo adventure, and I’m hoping for some beginner’s luck to help me see this through to the “winners circle” because I am not sure I prepared nearly as much as I should have. It might be better to just outline what I have done so far – that list is certainly easier than the one that details what I should have done.

I started by logging into my NaNoWriMo account (which I created ohhh two years ago) and “announcing” my novel. What this consisted of was my creating a title and a genre for the work I plan to do during this year’s event. I’m already hemming and hawing over the title, but I keep reminding myself that the title isn’t what’s important right now and to stay focused.

Next steps, I had to identify writing days because I am very much aware that life can get in the way and I need to make sure I protect my writing times during November. The average number of words a NaNo participant needs to write per day is 1,667 words a day to stay on track and I already know that there are two days a week I can’t write, which means that the remaining five days a week I have to maintain at least 2,272 words a day in order to make the goal. That’s a pretty steep curve I have – when I was trying to maintain my word counts for meeting my deadline for the short story contest I was only aiming for 300 words per day over the course of  two weeks, and found that I had a hard time keeping up with that low goal.

I had a minor panic when I considered how many words a day I needed to write and after breathing rapidly into my imaginary paper bag I sat down and drafted a rough outline for my novel. Ultimately I don’t want to stress more than I have to when it’s time to start editing so I came up with a way to keep my novel bite sized and manageable for editing. I had a much easier time editing my short story than I had expected, so I planned out eleven chapters that will sit around 4,000 words each. Each chapter has a specific function for the story (Chapter one, introduce the characters and the world, chapter three is where I plan to introduce the antagonist and the related tension, and so on).

So now I have my novel announced, my story idea is defined, and I have a rough outline to work with. In theory this is a pretty good place to be, but today I looked at my outline and realized it’s a shell, and I need a whole lot of meat to fill in the blanks and I have ten days to get that done.

So with a deep breath, and some determination I am going to just put one foot in front of the other and see how it goes. I’ll be sure to keep you all updated on how each week goes.

In the meantime I’d love to hear about your experience with NaNoWriMo prepping? Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com

When Life Gets in the Way

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Some weeks are easy, we have all the time in the world and things line up perfectly. We don’t struggle with goals, and there are no obstacles that keep us from moving forward. But what about the weeks that things don’t go quite as smoothly? What do we do when life gets in the way?

Life doesn’t wait for us to be ready, and sometimes it is easy to let things get set on the back burner while we deal with the world around us. Sometimes the priority has to be the greater world that we belong to. When that happens you have to know that it’s okay. The back burner will still be there when you come back, whenever that may be.

Sometimes we worry that we will be gone too long dealing with important things that maybe the time has passed. That maybe we missed that opportunity. That isn’t the case – you can always go back to your work. It may have changed a bit while you were away. Maybe you were working on a lighthearted comedy, but now you find that your characters can’t quite laugh like they used to. Don’t be afraid to let things change, keep going with it. That’s the story your brain needs to tell now.

When life gets in the way go with it, let it take you on its winding path, breathe in the moment, and don’t worry about what waits for you when you come back.

I am speaking from experience a bit, this week I’m riding the life train – next week I hope to have some podcast news updates. We’ll play this by ear, because I don’t know if life will be quite done with me by then.

In the meantime I’d love to hear about projects that took a different turn after your own journey with life – did it get better with a new perspective, or do you feel like it changed so much you didn’t recognize the original work? Let me know, either in the comments or feel free to contact me directly through the contact page or via email: hsellers@heather-sellers.com