#NaNoWriMo 2018: week 3 update

Super short update this week.

Last Sunday, I only managed 1,143 words. Sunday is laundry day and supper-with-Mom day, so there are generally other things to occupy me besides NaNo. Yes, I could ask for help, but Phil already does the cooking, grocery shopping, and he has been cleaning up the kitchen and bathroom. He’s not yet retired, and I don’t feel it’s fair to ask more of him right now.

Also, spending time with my mom is non-negotiable. I’m an only child and my dad died—yes, it was going on eight years ago, but still—so, this is a personal line I choose not to cross. I also spend mornings with Mom on my days off/weekends. There it is. I’ve never not done this during NaNo, so it is possible to achieve 50k in a month, even working and spending time with Mom. I’ve done it.

As I get older, I do have to accept some limitations, though. I’m not able to do as much as I used to. I’m trying to be mindful so that I don’t hurl myself right back into burnout mode.

Monday, which was a day off for me, resulted in 2,118 words. Though Tuesday was a little rough at 705 words, I managed to rack up 1,006 and 1,169 words respectively on Wednesday and Thursday. Friday and Saturday were 2,019- and 2,213-word days. I’m up to 21,648 words as of yesterday.

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So, I’ve broken 20k words, but I’m about 6.5k words behind. I don’t know that I’ll realistically be able to catch up at this point. I’m good with that.

Whatever I accomplish during NaNo, they’re words I wouldn’t have written otherwise, and that’s the real win. I’m pleased with what I’ve written so far, though there are some points of continuity I have to fix (yes, already). I’ve made notes 🙂

Until next weekend, be well, be kind, and stay strong, my friends. The world needs your stories.

Muse-inks

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#NaNoWriMo2018 week 2

It was hard going back to work after five, lit-event-filled days off.

On Sunday, last week, I attended the launch of Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli’s historical fiction, La Brigantessa, which was published by Inanna Publications. It took place at the Caruso Club, Sudbury’s Italian cultural hub. There was as much history lesson as reading, and thanks to the various groups who had supported Rosanna in her journey.

And, of course, there was awesome food 🙂

Since that event took up most of the afternoon, and I also published my next chapter/NaNoWriMo week 1 update, I only managed 931 words that day.

It was back to work, Monday through Thursday, and with supper, dog duty, and other personal and household responsibilities, I wrote 831, 510, 558, and 534 words respectively.

My initial plan had been to write between 3,000 and 3,500 words per day on my days off, leaving me with the reasonable amount of between 250 and 500 words per work day. But I hadn’t accounted for Wordstock Sudbury and the book launch, getting the car serviced, an evening out with a friend (even though I knew they were all things I’d sacrifice NaNo production for).

Sometimes, we’re too blindly hopeful for our own good…

Friday and Saturday, I managed 2,071 and 2,102 words respectively. I haven’t been able to ramp up to my goal number. There’s a possibility I could get there by the end of the month, but, in the meantime, that leaves me short. I’ve broken 10k and as of the end of day yesterday, my work count was at 11,275, but that’s almost 5, 500 words short of where I should be (considering an equal division of 50k words over 30 days, or 1,667 words per day).

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I’m going to try to up my word count during the week and see where that leads, but at this stage, I’m thinking that a NaNo “win” in 2018 is going to be a long shot.

I do have my outline, though, which has meant the world of difference in the drafting. Though I’ve already diverged (I always do—ALWAYS), I’m only about a thousand words behind where I was this time last year, when I had the entire month of November off. Don’t forget, I also had new puppy to contend with and did not manage a NaNo “win” in 2017.

I did manage a NaNo “win” in 2016, while working, so there’s still hope, though it might be slim.

Winter has settled in up here in northeastern Ontario. We had a single day of snow in October, and it melted almost immediately. As of Thursday, there was still green grass on most lawns. The lilac leaves hadn’t fallen (they now have—most are green).

There was a light dusting of snow on Thursday night and the snow continued through the day on Friday. 10-15 centimetres (4-6 inches) fell by Saturday morning and Phil shovelled both Friday night and Saturday morning as he had a team building event to attend. There has been a dusting of snow again Saturday and Sunday (so far), to reinforce the initial fall and the temperatures will not reach much above the melting point for the next week.

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So that’s this week’s NaNo update. I’ll check in with you again, next Sunday.

Until then, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Muse-inks

The next chapter: October 2018 and #NaNoWriMo week 1 update

Sooo…. I didn’t have the time on Wednesday to prepare this post and schedule it. And then NaNoWriMo started. And then Wordstock Sudbury started.

Accordingly, this will be a very brief update and combined with m week 1 NaNoWriMo check in.

My main project for October was to complete the outline for Tamisashki and I’m happy to say that work was completed Wednesday night.

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Because the outline is written in a notebook, I didn’t count the words. Further, I did a more rambling, draft version for each plot line, so it’s over double the word count of the final product. I’m better prepared to finish NaNo this year, though, and better prepared to finish the draft in the months following.

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I wrote 4,528 words on this blog, which is 162% of my 2,800-word goal, and I submitted my DIY MFA column on time at 1,079 words (it’s coming out Tuesday), or 108% of my 1,000-word goal.

While there were no writing-related events in October, Phil and I did attend the 50th birthday celebration for our friend, Mark Kuntsi.

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Timing is everything with NaNo and for the past three years, the Wordstock Sudbury Literary festival has been on the first weekend in November. I do support the event and I make the time to attend, but that means sacrificing NaNo time.

I also signed up for Mary Robinette Kowal’s No-prep NaNoWriMo workshop, which was on Monday night. Though I’ve outlined, I figured having additional tools at my disposal (because I always, ALWAYS diverge from the outline) would be good. I also dig Mary’s strategies. Though I’ve heard many of them before, the reinforcement is always useful.

After the workshop, she stayed online for a group writing session which I didn’t participate in. I’d managed to write 1,758 words already that day and felt good about that progress.

On Friday, I attended Sarah Selecky’s book club about her new novel, Radiant, Shimmering, Light. I’ve been subscribed to her newsletter for years and found the concept—the commodification of self-care and how it affects two women, cousins, who navigate the social media minefield—and bought the book (of course).

Then, I attended a session on telling a good story with Waubgeshik Rice and Lee Maracle, two indigenous writers, moderated by Will Morin.

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I wrote 1,290 words on Friday.

On Saturday, I attended Alternate Realities, a session with Brit Griffin and Elan Mastai, both authors of speculative fiction. the discussion was moderated by CBC‘s Morning North’s host, Marcus Schwabe.

I then personned the Sudbury Writers’ Guild table until 5 pm, helped Dave Wickenden pack up, and went to supper with my dear friend, Kim Fahner, who gifted me with this lovely, lovely, handmade journal.

I managed only 690 words yesterday.

Here’s my book haul…

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Today, I’m off to the launch of Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli’s La Brigantessa, an historical novel set in the aftermath of Italy’s 1861 Unification.

Will update you next week about the launch and my NaNo progress for the week. I’m back to the day job for most of it.

Until then, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 21-27, 2018

Here’s a good selection of articles and posts to get your mental corn popping (making those creative connections).

Fake news and lies: the caravan edition. Jim C. Hines (AKA the voice of reason)

Rachel Monroe profiles the FBI of the National Park Service. Outside

Former CIA chief explains how spies use disguises. Wired

 

Ivan Semeniuk interviews Canada’s newest Nobel Prize winner, Donna Strickland: I just wanted to do something fun. The Globe and Mail

Douglas Fox wants you to meet the endoterrestrials. The Atlantic

Phil Plait shares an awesome video that shows you how big the biggest stars really are. SyFy

Farhad Manjoo: a future where everything becomes a computer is as creepy as you feared. The New York Times

Emily Mullin explains how tuberculosis shaped Victorian fashion. The Smithsonian Magazine

Antonio Regalado relates one family’s race for a gene therapy cure. MIT Technology Review

Diana Kwon reports on the nerve pathway linking the stomach to the brain’s pleasure centers. Scientific American

Alex Williams: maybe your sleep problem isn’t a problem. Me? I’d prefer to sleep until 8 or 9 am and slowly roll into the day. Too bad I can’t actually do that. The New York Times

Sarah DiGuilio explains why some researchers think “brain tingles” could be the next big trend in relaxation. My ASMR aren’t triggered visually or auditorily, but tactilely. I’ve always had a thing for someone running their fingers lightly over my back. I used to bug my best friend to do it when I was a kid. NBC News

Sadie Caron says that nature is a free and easy way to manage anxiety. North Saskatchewan Riverkeeper

Maybe my stoicism and introversion are hard-wired? Laura Studarus explains how the Finnish survive without small talk. BBC

Check out this guilty dogs compilation. Laugh & Grin

 

Be well until the weekend!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 21-27, 2018

This will be the last Tipsday before #NaNoWriMo! Once again, where did the time go?!

Just to be clear, for the month of November, I will be desperately attempting to write 50,000 words of a new novel project. There will be no curation. I have, however, decided to do quick check in posts, once a week, so the blog will not be totally inactive. More on that in this weekend’s next chapter update.

In the meantime, enjoy some informal writerly learnings!

Harrison Demchick stops by Helping Writers Become Authors: four things writers can learn from making a movie.

Kim Bullock wonders, is resurrecting a shelved manuscript a good idea or a waste of time? Writer Unboxed

Barbara O’Neal wants you to identify your core story and values. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Craft shares some thoughts on originality in fiction. Writers in the Storm

Amy Shojai shares seven steps to publishing success from an accidental writer. Writers in the Storm

Joanna Penn interviews Sherrilyn Kenyon: tips for long-term author success. The Creative Penn

Jami Gold helps you take your readers on a journey with storytelling.

Jenna Moreci shares her top ten fantasy tropes.

 

Aliette de Bodard stops by Terribleminds to discuss cannibalizing a draft (or, the art of rewriting).

Gabriela Pereira interviews Melanie Moyer for DIY MFA radio: the imaginary friend as narrator.

Manuela Williams offers five tips for writing a helpful critique. DIY MFA

Chris Winkle shares six ways you can bluff killing your protagonist. Mythcreants

Kristen Lamb: why you (actually) don’t suck and what to do when the abyss stares back.

Sarah Laskow explains how writers map their imaginary worlds. Atlas Obscura

RL Goldberg plots our steps toward creating a trans literary canon. The Paris Review

The new Outlander season 4 trailer—eeeeee!

 

And that was Tipsday. I know, I’ll be in withdrawal, too, but I’ll have enough NaNo to distract me 🙂

Don’t miss out on the final thoughty Thursday until December. I’m going out (just on a break) with a bang!

Until then, be well, my writerly friends.

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 14-20, 2018

As we head into the home stretch for the weekend, take some time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Gloria Galloway reports on the vast region of the Northwest Territories declared an Indigenous protected area. The Globe and Mail

Andi Murphy explains how the Navajo nation is reclaiming its native food culture. Eater

Ephrat Livni: there’s a problem at the heart of #metoo—here’s how we solve it. Quartz

David Freeman: an Antarctic ice shelf is singing, and it sounds like an eerie sci-fi soundtrack. NBC News

Andrew Freedman says, scientists still have hope that climate change can be mitigated. Click through to the UN report if you want to have nightmares, but really, it’s a call to arms. We can still take action to prevent the absolute worst from happening. Axios

SciShow Space reveals how space exploration could be done efficiently through the interplanetary superhighway.

 

Leslie Gonzales shares some lesser-known facts about the Vikings. History 101

Saga Vanacek pulled a 1,500-year-old sword from a lake. The Guardian

Bernhard Warner warns (ha!) of the dangers of building a better bee—frankenbee! The Guardian

The Pet Collective shares some trampoline fun!

 

Bubble time with raccoons. Viral Hog

 

And … that was thoughty Thursday for another week.

Until next Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 14-20, 2018

Another lovely week filled with informal writerly learnings.

K.M. Weiland explores why writers cherish language. Helping Writers Become Authors

Janice Hardy stops by Writers in the Storm: plot backward to move forward with your novel.

Lisa Hall-Wilson offers five tips on writing a trauma backstory. Writers in the Storm

Roz Morris explains how to outline your novel without killing the fun of writing it. Nail Your Novel

Lisa Cron tells you how to nail your first three pages. Writers Helping Writers

Barbara Poelle answers another funny you should ask question: how fast-paced should a thriller be? Writer’s Digest

Janice Hardy tells you what you need to know about internalization. Fiction University

Rachael Stephen: how to write when you don’t want to. #preptober

 

Sara Letourneau helps you let go of perfectionism the DIY MFA way. DIY MFA

Dan Koboldt stops by Jane Friedman’s blog to explain how to research your writing to ensure technical accuracy. Also, check out Dan’s new book: Putting the Science in Fiction. I’m a fan 🙂

Kathleen McCleary: it takes a village. Writer Unboxed

Porter Anderson wonders, but how much are you reading? Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle presents six wordcraft questions writers fight over. Then, Oren Ashkenazi points out seven common problems with speculative fiction technology. Mythcreants

Cold Crash Pictures debunks the four most annoying scientific inaccuracies in film.

 

Jenna Moreci lists her worst sci-fi tropes ever.

 

And Cold Crash Pictures tackles four more sexist tropes.

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something helpful in this curation.

Be well until thoughty Thursday!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 7-13, 2018

Here are a few links to get your mental corn popping.

Steve LeVine shows us the state of current space exploration efforts worldwide: the new global race to space. Axios

SciShow Space News covers the potential discovery of the first exomoon and ice blades on Europa.

 

Diane Selkirk encounters North America’s nearly forgotten language. BBC

John Paul Brammer profiles eight LGBTQ+ and two-spirit Native Americans changing the world. them

Neri Oxman, working in MIT’s material ecology lab, has intrigued the likes of Björk and Brad Pitt. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

Samantha Nutt proposes the lessons women are asking men to learn. The Globe and Mail

SciShow takes a close, terrifying look at toxic shock syndrome.

 

I am mine. This is what Alzheimer’s looks like at 41. Shannon Proudfoot for McLean’s.

Jim C. Hines shares his thoughts on mental health awareness day (another post about depression).

Jenna Moreci does a special YouTube episode on mental illness, too (with bonus Cliff notes!)

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something you can use in your current creative project.

Until next Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 7-13, 2018

I’m back with another batch of informal writerly learnings 🙂

DiAnn Mills helps you find your character’s blind spot. Writer Unboxed

Jeanne Kisacky explores the link between non-verbal communication and backstory. Writer Unboxed

Sarah Callender: knowing when you’ve peaked. Writer Unboxed

Kathryn Magendie considers the tiny former planet. What we can learn about persistence from Pluto. Writer Unboxed

Jenny Hansen contemplates the eternal question: to NaNo, or not to NaNo … ? Writers in the Storm

Orly Konig share how squirrel-brain helped her writing. Writers in the Storm

Sacha Black explains how to redeem your villain with killer twists. Writers Helping Writers

Deborah Dixon explains why representation in literature is important and how to handle it. Writers Helping Writers

Pamela Taylor examines the six key elements of historical narrative. DIY MFA

Gabriela Pereira interviews Jennie Nash for DIY MFA radio: empower yourself and your writing.

Jenn Walton shares five benefits of tough feedback. DIY MFA

Janice Hardy stops by Jami Gold’s blog to show you how to use focused brainstorming to develop your plot.

Literary agent Britt Siess shares five steps to nailing your query letter. Writer’s Digest

Chuck Wendig writes a post for world mental health day: when writer’s block is actually depression.  Later in the week, he recounts his firing from Marvel. It’s a travesty, a triumph of trolls. Chuck’s astute irreverence has inspired me and saved my writerly sanity more times than I can count. Terribleminds

Oren Ashkenazi analyzes stories in which six characters are siloed into separate stories. Mythcreants

And that was Tipsday.

Come back on Thursday for your weekly dose of thoughty.

Until then, be well!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 30-Oct 6, 2018

The thoughy’s focused on psychology and neuroscience this week. What appropriate subject matter for getting your mental corn popping 🙂

Lisa Margonelli enters the jaw-dropping world of termites: a giant, crawling brain. The Guardian

Mark Humphries presents a new prime suspect for depression. The Spike/Medium

Bruce Goldman-Stanford says people with depression have low blood levels of this stuff (but that doesn’t mean you should rush out to buy some). Futurity

Joseph Frankel: hallucinations are everywhere. The Atlantic

Ermin Misirlisoy explains what happens when your body is no longer yours. Medium

Paula Cocozza examines night terrors: what do anxiety dreams mean? The Guardian

Inverse: Your brain on horror with Shannon Odell.

 

Jacqueline Detwiler introduces us to the heroes of science who are unlocking the brain. Popular Mechanics

Ayodeji Awosika explains why it’s dangerous to focus on finding your passion and what you should do instead. Medium

And that was thoughty Thursday.

Until next Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!thoughtythursday2016