National Novel Writing Month: How To Fail

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Do not show up
Do not sign up
Do not write
Speak out against it
Draw circles and flowers instead
Give up before you start
Chew, swallow and digest blank paper

To fail you can not try.
If you try, even if you don’t win, you aren’t a failed or a quitter.

You are a writer.

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National Novel Writing Month 2013

It’s almost that time again, when thousands of writers and hopefuls decide to hunker down for thirty short days and write a 50,000 word novel.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short or NaNo for even shorter, begins at 12:00am on November first every year and continues until 11:59pm November 30th. November is always a crazy month anyway. It’s pre/ Christmas, Thanksgiving is nestled in the end, mid term in some schools and the weather is unpredictable. I also have a birthday in November. And yet I still try (and sometimes succeed) in writing those 50,000 words.

Everyone has their own opinion of NaNoWriMo. My main opinion is: if it gets you writing then just do it. Submit to the flow. Feel the pressure. Write your story.

Have you participated in a writing challenge such as NaNoWriMo?

Things to be Thankful For & Happy Thanksgiving


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Most of my friends on Facebook have been posting daily lists of what they’re grateful for and I love reading those posts every day. I love seeing that people are taking time out of their days to recognize what’s good in their lives. That’s what Things I Love Thursday was about, and that’s what today, Thanksgiving (in America) is about. It stemmed with the pilgrims giving thanks to the Native Americans right down the street from where I live.

And you can be jaded and angry with how the English treated the Native Americans. I don’t blame you.  It’s a shitty thing to do to take over someone’s land, accidentally give them hundreds of diseases and kill most of them.

However, right now in 2011 that’s not what Thanksgiving is about anymore. And it feels a lot better to shift the focus and appreciate what you do have in your life.

Ashley Lorelle said it best when she said, “Remember this as a time to be thankful for what you have, not a time to lust after the things you want.”


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So here’s my list. I’m grateful for:
my family taking the day off today to cook and eat dinner tonight
tissues. they’ve gotten me through the past week
the fact that I have a job and I’m not one of the hundreds unemployed
friends with the same political views as me, because that’s the only time I talk about it (I’m not up for that political debate)
late trips to book stores
trying new Indian food
all the free coupons I have in my e-mail/ mail because of my birthday
finding an exfoliator that actually makes my arms feel normal
pumpkin pies
British accents
that I have the time to write a 50,000 word novel in November
the fact that I have working legs and eyes that see
my parents
I have a means of transportation
the home that I live in
and the opportunities I have


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And lastly, I’m thankful for all of you guys, my readers who clink on my posts through Facebook and Twitter, who have me in your Google feeds and who comment on my posts. You all make me feel like I’m not just talking to myself.

What are you grateful for today?

NaNoWriMo Wednesday: Writing Tips and Advice

Are you in the middle of a marathoning NaNoWriMo writing session? Or just enjoying watching your Facebook friends struggle to meet some sort of almost impossible word goal for the month while you decide to purposefully not write anything in November, not even Tweet? Or maybe you’re just tired of reading about me talking about writing so often (if that’s the case, you’re reading the wrong blog, sweetheart). No matter what your situation is I have some links to share that might get you through your writing slump and back into the marathon.

Why Sara Zarr is inspired by failure
The creative process, and the creative life, is mostly full of moments between the idea and the being done, the spark and the blazing fire, the shimmering magic and the finished piece. We’re always living in the gap between our vision of what could be and what might be, and what is.

Don’t Avoid Painful Writing
We must reveal that part of ourselves that we’d rather hide. But this is the part of you we’re all longing to see.

Learn From The Greats: 7 Writing Habits of Amazing Writers
6. James Joyce. In the pantheon of great writers of the last century, Joyce looms large. And while more prolific writers set themselves a word or page limit, Joyce prided himself in taking his time with each sentence. A famous story has a friend asking Joyce in the street if he’d had a good day writing. Yes, Joyce replied happily. How much had he written? Three sentences, Joyce told him.

How to Flourish in Your Writing
Always have great kindness for yourself. Look over your shoulder: there is no one there. No one cares if you write. It has to come from you, from your effort. There is no hierarchy in writing; you elbow your way into the lineage by your human effort. It is democratic and should be in the declaration of independence—the right to liberty, justice, the pursuit of happiness, and writing. Only human beings write. Clouds don’t, ants don’t.

 

Thirty Days and Nights of Literary Abandon

It’s November again, and in case you aren’t sure what that means, it means the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. It means this is when thousands of writers lock themselves in their offices and bedrooms after their work days and write a novel with the goal of reaching 50,000 words written in the month of November alone. Once again I am attempting this goal, working with a novel in process to make it into a novel that’s finished (at least, the first draft anyway).

This marks my 6th attempt at the 50,000 word goal, one that I only reached as a Sophomore in college in 2004. This year I do plan to win. What do you get when you win, you ask? Well, the satisfaction of knowing you completed it, and a certificate you can print out. And maybe, if you want, you can buy yourself a NaNoWriMo t-shirt that declares you a winner.

Lots of writers have different opinions about NaNo, varying from supporting it to disapproving. Here’s the one thing they everyone must remember if they’re setting out to write a novel in a month: you’re writing a first draft. And it’s going to suck. Sure some parts might be good, but mostly it’s going to be a lot of crap to wade through and stuff you need to edit. That’s how writing works. And you need to forget about editing for November. Just write. Get the gunk out, find some gems, challenge yourself and just write. That’s what’s important this month.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this month? If you want to friend me on the NaNo site, you can click here.


Melanie Kristy

(The fact that it’s November also means that it’s almost my birthday! On the 12th I’ll be another year older. Does anyone have any birthday rituals? Every year for me is different.)

50,000 Words in How Many Days!?

 
Sometimes I make insane decisions. One summer I decided I wasn’t going to eat pizza for three whole months. It was torturous at times because I love pizza so much, but I stuck it out and in the end I… went back to eating a lot of pizza way too often. Surprise, surprise. So yesterday after noting in my earlier post that I was not going to participate in NaNoWrimo, after taking my lunch break and updating the ATM I decided that I am going to participate. It doesn’t matter that Sarii is here for  the rest of the week, that all except for tonight I have plans after work. It matters that I can make this happen, and without trying I’ll have gotten nowhere.
 
So in about two hours I wrote 1500 words. I didn’t know where I was going at first, but I decided to work on a novel I started over the summer. I am not cheating, however! Everything I write is new content. I’m just using the characters, plot and world that I created. All of the scenes are new or rewritten. All of the work will be done during this long Autumn month.
 
What is NaNoWrimo, you might ask? Why it stands for National Novel Writing Month! Which is November! It’s when you take the challange to write 50,000 words in one month. You may write your entire novel, or maybe you’ll just make a tiny dent. Either way, it brings writers all over the world together in one month of words. It is, as the website proclaims, “Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!” Sounds like my idea of fun. No, seriously.
 
I haven’t officially signed up for the site, I’ve been having trouble registerring and also just viewing the site at certain times, but for now that’s okay.
 
If you sign up for NaNoWrimo, you will get emails of encouragement from various participants and some published authors. One year I recall receiving an email from Neil Gaiman, how exciting! So expect updates from me regarding writing and reasons why you should (or maybe why you shouldn’t) participate.
 
If you aren’t a novelist, you can always participate in NaBloPoMo , or National Blog Posting Month, where you challenge yourself to post for thirty days straight. Every month is NaBloPoMo though, so keep that in mind 🙂
 
Are you participating in NaNoWrimo this year? Link me to your user profile! (As soon as I can make one, I’ll do the same!)
<3. Melanie.Kristy

Rabbit Rabbit!

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I remember way back in the day Nickeloden used to designate certain days of the week and claim they were to do certain things like bounce on a pogo stick or scare your sister. The one actual day I remember is that every first day of the month was Rabbit Rabbit day. Those were supposed to be the first words you spoke upon waking.

According to Wikipedia, Rabbit Rabbit is a common British superstition that is spoken in order to set the path for good luck for the rest of the month.

November is a huge month for me. I turn 26 (!!) in eleven days officially, there’s Thanksgiving and the beginning of the Christmas season. I used to participate in NaNoWrimo this month, but for the past few years I’ve either had my best friend visiting, or I’ve been down in South Carolina, so it’s hard enough to write 50,000 words in a month nevermind with one less week!

So here’s to November! You’ll be hearing a lot about the festivities (or just my birthday… or my multiple quarter-life crises.

<3.Melanie.Kristy