October 11 2013

NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

If you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo then check out the website, but in essence for over a decade now November has been the NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth. People from all over participate. All you have to do to win is write 50,000 words in a month. And here are some tips for how to win.


Note: These tips are not in any specific order….

  • Pick a genre. A working title. Write a synopsis (basically a sentence that sums up what your novel is going to be about).
  • If you’re a plotter then write at least a basic outline. Note: If you’re a pantser and you’re like me, you might want to at least write down a few key ideas about where you want your story to go, what’s going on with the character, and at least a few details that are important to the story. Or you can just wing it completely (but I tried that and I got stuck at the midpoint and was floundering around like a fish on land).
  • Find a place you can write. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a corner, in your very own writing room, at Starbuck’s, at the library, on your bed, or outside. Just somewhere that is your very own writing niche.
  • You’re going to at least need a pen or pencil and some paper. If you’re writing old school style then you’re good, but if you’re like me and you’re going to need a laptop, a desktop, or at least a typewriter or word processor (hey, there are writer’s who still write using a typewriter).  Note: if you have a Mac or Windows, I suggest you use Scrivener. It’s awesome and amazing, and perfect for writing whether you’re writing a thesis, a blog, a book, a script, etc. And they have a special for NaNoWriMo (a discount) and there’s a free trial version just for NaNoWriMo. Check them out.
  • Get yourself some rewards for short term goals and long term goals. For example, if you make your word count goal for the day allow yourself a piece of chocolate…If you WIN NaNoWriMo reward yourself with something you’ve been wanting (for me it was purchasing Scrivener, for another writer I know it was buying a new book). Each Friday if I’ve made my word count goal for the week I’ll be getting myself a White Chocolate Mocha venti from Starbucks with whipped cream. Haven’t decided on the big goal yet.
  • You’ll also want to stock up on coffee, or whatever other type of drink(s) you like. I’ll be getting extra coffee, half & half, and Splenda, as well as chocolate, water bottles, Dr. Pepper, popcorn, Twizzler’s, baby carrots, and a few other goodies.
  • You’ll also want to make sure that you get up from that chair, move around. Go outside and check the mail. Take a walk. You need to keep your blood flowing, it’s better for the brain and for you circulation.
  • Make sure you get plenty of rest. It seems like a good idea to pull all nighters when you’re on a roll, but you need your sleep. Besides, I often dream about my characters and that helps with ideas.
  • Write every day! If you write 1667 words a day you’ll make the 50K goal in 30 days, but please remember that Thanksgiving Day is in November and if you want to take a break on that day you’ll need write a little extra on some days.
  • Put your inner editor away. Do NOT edit during November. You can edit once NaNoWriMo is over.
  • Many people use the sprints and it works well for them. I don’t like them, but a lot of people do. There are word sprints on twitter, check them out.
  • Do your research before November. Don’t spend time during November doing research.
  • Save your novel in multiple ways, in multiple versions. I save mine as an attachment in my email, on a thumb drive, and on my hard-drive. You’ll be happy you saved it if something happens to your computer, and believe me you hear about it happening to at least a few people each NaNo.
  • Remember that pen and notebook…Well once you’ve completed your 1667 word count for the day go places, get out, have fun. Listen to conversations between strangers, people watch…Have FUN and take notes.
  • If you have a certain pair of pants, a favorite t-shirt or sweat shirt, hat, bedroom shoes, etc… Then wear it.
  • Tell your family and friends that you’re doing NaNoWriMo. 1. It makes you accountable, 2. Hopefully they’ll support you (I know husband did while I was working on my novel during April’s Camp NaNo.
October 10 2013

Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2013 Offers

Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2013 Offers.


If you’re a writer, regardless of what type of writer you are, Scrivener is the way to go, especially if you’re interested in participating in NaNoWriMo.


Category: Scrivener, Writing | Comments Off on Scrivener NaNoWriMo 2013 Offers
October 10 2013

In need of coffee


So I’m writing my outline for NaNoWriMo. It’s almost there, finally. I’m at the midpoint, and rounding towards the 3rd Act, and I’m still not sure that this whole outlining thing is for me but I’m trying. I’m not a big fan of outlining, never have been, even when writing research papers or essays for college. I’d make a basic 5 point outline…Intro, 3 major points, then the conclusion, and that was that. Now that I’m trying to write a novel I find that’s what I’d prefer to do. But writing a novel is different.

Maybe that’s why I like the 3 Act Structure. I can divide my novel into the basics: a Beginning, a Middle, an End. I wrote the synopsis, the basic idea for the ending, a summary of what my novel is about, and then the basic ideas for each Act. And right now, I need MORE COFFEE.

I wonder if other pantsers out there have trouble at the midpoint of their novel. That’s the whole reason I’m working so hard on an outline this go round. Ah well. I’ll be checking out the forums of NaNo soon enough, as well as reading other blogs related to pantsers and plotters. Hopefully this whole outline thing will get easier as I go.

Category: Outlining, Writing | Comments Off on In need of coffee
October 2 2013

Writing: What, Where, How, When, and Why

I spent most of my life “wishing” I could write a book. When my husband said, “Do it.” I thought, “Why not?” I decided I’d participate in April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, and I won. YAY ME!!! Then I tried July’s but lost because family stuff intruded (my grandson’s first birthday, my birthday, and I got so into my book that the dead line came and went and I didn’t even notice even though I had made my goal, so I won but didn’t win, if you know what I mean?).

3 simple rules in life

Over the past six months I’ve read articles, books, ebooks, blogs…about writing, advice on writing, and I even bought Scrivener, which is the next best thing since coffee was invented. Though I really wish they’d put all the stuff in the Windows version that they have in the Mac version (I’d really love to have the icons). I’m actually outlining my novel for November’s NaNoWriMo and excited about it. I’m using a template that I found thanks to the Belinda Crawford’s post about how to open a Scrivener template (all of them aren’t accessible for some reason, no matter which way I tried) and Carolina Norrington’s Outline template.  Needless to say, I’m a BIG FAN of SCRIVENER!!!!

Snoopy There he is writing again

One of the first suggestions in most of the articles and books I’ve read was that you need a comfortable place to write. Your own little writing niche/corner/room (if you’re lucky)… for some of us it’s in a corner somewhere sitting at our desk, or on our bed with our laptop, or in our very own writing room (Come December 30th I’ll have our spare bedroom back because my son will be off to bootcamp for the Army and I’ll be moving my desk, computer, bookcases, etc out of various rooms in the house and into my own writing space. I’m going to paint the walls first, and buy myself a much needed new bookcase (you can never have enough bookcases).

Writing is magic stephen king

Stephen King stated in his book On Writing, that he writes every day. Writer’s write. It’s that simple.


Another thing writer’s should do, especially new writers, aspiring writers…We should market ourselves, brand ourselves, which means twitter, FB, blogs, etc. So I got a blog, a FB page, and now a twitter account (only I am not sure of what hash tags really are, such a newbie at this it makes me literally laugh-out-loud.) I’m guessing I’ll need to link my blog to twitter soon (somehow or other). I’ll google that soon enough.

stephen king quote

Now, WHAT do I use to write with? A desktop computer. A PC. An HP to be exact. Or I use a good old fashioned notebook, usually one of those black and white composition notebooks, although I do have a fancy journal, and a black gel pen. Once I’m to the editing stage I have a red pen for corrections, a blue pen for notations, and various colored highlighters. And SCRIVENER.


WHERE do I write? At my desk that sits in the corner of my bedroom, for now. LIke I said, after December 30th I’ll have my own study/writing room. YAY!  Or I write outside with my pen and notebook, or on the couch while my husband watches football, or whenever I’m somewhere other than home.


HOW do I write? One word at a time. (Insert smile here.) I use Scrivener. I also am more of a pantser than an outliner, but I’m working really hard on trying to change that. Right now I’m what I like to think of as a plotster…A hybrid of sorts.

I'm out of bed and I made it to the keyboard

WHEN do I write? Usually during the day or late at night, which means when I’m alone, or when my husband is asleep.

snoopy inspiration

WHY do I write? Silly question, but it’s one of those things that people ask. I love writing, my soul beckons me to write, the voices telling me to write will not quiet…the summons to write stirs within my being and has to be answered. BECAUSE I HAVE TO, BECAUSE I NEED TO, BECAUSE I WANT TO.

I write because there is a voice

Now I’m off to write some more of my outline for November’s NaNoWriMo, and  then try to finish chapter 1 of the book I’m currently working on, I put the other book aside for now because I was stuck. The main character decided she had different plans and wanted to be in a completely different novel with a completely different name.

Category: Outlining, Scrivener, Uncategorized, Writing | Comments Off on Writing: What, Where, How, When, and Why
September 12 2013

Yesterday was a bust

My daughter needed a babysitter ASAP for my 13 mth old grandson so I spent yesterday with the little man and only got to write while he was napping. Just as I hit that part where the character was really speaking to me the little man woke up. Now usually my day is filled with research, checking FB and email, checking blogs, and reading for a couple of hours. I start my day with coffee and catching up, then I research for an hour, then I write for about 4-5 hours (more coffee), then I check email and FB again, and then it is time to straighten up around the house, do dishes, cook dinner, spend time with the husband, then bed. Yesterday (and today) my schedule went out the window because the little man requires all of my attention.

I can feel where I want this next chapter to go but won’t be able to write much today. My daughter won’t be picking him up until around 3:30 or 4 today, and by then it will be time for me to cook dinner and clean up the mess that the little hurricane I call my grandson has made. So I probably won’t get much writing done today either, which sucks because I was on a roll. Now I’m worried I won’t get the momentum back immediately, thus writer’s block even if it is only temporary. Maybe I’m just psyching myself out over it and it won’t be like that at all.

I’d research how others manage to write with children around but that would take time and I’d rather use the limited time I do have writing right now. Time for another cup of coffee so I can sink my mind into the next chapter.


Category: Writing | Comments Off on Yesterday was a bust
September 10 2013

Finding my way through the outline

I’ve been trying to write an outline for my WIP and I’m having problems with that part of it. I’m more of a pantser, yet I’ve found that pantsing my way through a novel doesn’t work because I find myself stuck in regard to where I want to go with the book because the characters tend to take over. I’m trying to find my way to being somewhere in the middle of being a pantser and a plotter. At least a partial outline so that then I can pants my way through the rest. Still working on that part. Soon I’ll be reviewing some of the books I’ve found about writing. What books have been the most helpful to me, what books haven’t been helpful at all. I’m in the process of reading two different books about structuring a novel right now.

First and foremost, Stephen King’s “On Writing,” happens to be one of my favorites.

Category: Outlining, Writing | Comments Off on Finding my way through the outline
September 10 2013

Karen Woodward: 10 Tips On How To Write A Book

Writing a book is hard work. Good writing is even harder. But one of the things I’ve realized is that anything worth doing is worth putting work into. I have at least one good book inside me, maybe not an exceptional book worthy of a Pulitzer Prize or anything, but at least one good book.

Here’s some great advice on writing a book:

Karen Woodward: 10 Tips On How To Write A Book.

Category: Uncategorized, Writing | Comments Off on Karen Woodward: 10 Tips On How To Write A Book
August 14 2013

Still trying to figure out a few things

I’ve created a FB page as an author, though no one likes it except me, of course, and I’m still trying to figure out how to share it when I write a post, as well as how to get the darn widget to actually show up and not be invisible on the damn blog. OH WELL!!! Breathe Burgess. It’ll be alright. You’ll figure it out! 

I’ve wasted over 3 hours doing all of this “branding” crap when I should have spent that time writing the 2000 words that are my goal for today. I’m still trying to work out the kinks. The month of August is a rough one for me anyway since I’m watching my 1 yr old grandson while my daughter works. I love spending the time with him, and it’s a joy watching him learn new things, but he’s busy! and it’s like having a miniature hurricane in residence. I had forgotten how busy they are at that age. Hell, it’s been 21 years since I had a little one around like this.

So now I’m finally off to write my 2K words for today. I’ll post more about outlining, structure, etc. later when I have some free time. It’s been a blast figuring what works for me, maybe sharing that will help someone.

Category: Writing | Comments Off on Still trying to figure out a few things
August 13 2013

Interview with Jim Butcher, author of The Dresden Files

Love Jim Butcher, and his advice is great 😀

August 12 2013

Writing Goals

I’ve been working on my outline, my 3 act structure outline, and so far it’s going. I’m still a pantser at heart, because I’m already writing chapter 4 and I haven’t even finished the damn outline. LOL! I’ve realized I’m never going to be one of those people who has a full outline done before I start the actual writing process. In the midst of researching the 3-act structure outline and related information I found a very helpful book. The Story Template: Conquering Writer’s Block using the Universal Structure of  a Story. I really like it so far. It’s been quite helpful, plus it has examples from various books and movies that help you visual what the writer is talking about. (Well, for me it’s visual because I imagine the scene from the book or movie…)

I’ve also been suffering from a sinus infection so between doses of severe allergy and sinus medication, drinking a lot of fluids, and watching my 1 year grandson while my daughter works, what writing I’ve been able to accomplish has been for my book so I haven’t really been able to blog the past few days. What kind of $h#t is that? Make a blog and post once and then days go by before you post again…WTH!!! I know, but I’m working on all of this one thing at a time, one day at a time. Right now the 1 yr old grandson and writing my book take priority over the blog, etc. He’ll be in daycare during the week in a couple of weeks so my weekdays will be mine again then. YAY! (I’ll say this, I had a hell of a lot more energy back when my children were young and I was in my early and mid-20’s than I do now at 46). Gotta go, it’s time for his snack 😀 (and mine too!)

Category: Writing | Comments Off on Writing Goals