Off to Camp – Camp NaNoWriMo, That Is

Way back in the early 2000s, I attempted NaNoWriMo a couple times. I didn’t get far. November is sort of a sucky month for teachers to attempt a 50k word draft.

Then in 2012, I decided to try tacking JulNoWriMo. The result was the first three-quarters of the manuscript that, eventually, became my upcoming chick lit romance, BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE (which should be out this September if all goes as scheduled – more about that in the coming weeks). I gave the July version of this writing challenge another go in 2013, which resulted in the first half of a post-Civil War historical romance that, hopefully, will see the light of day now that I’ve pulled it out of First Draft Limbo.

Anyhoo, a few years ago the folks who run NaNoWriMo started holding these Camp NaNoWriMo events in April and July. Given that I have 3 more books planned to follow BETTER THAN CHOCOLATE, I thought it might be a good idea to try drafting the next installment this July.

It’ll be messy, but it’ll be a starting point.

So tomorrow I’m off to Camp!

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My November Goal

Once again, I’ve opted out of participating in NaNoWriMo. Not that I won’t be chipping away at a writing goal this month. It just won’t be the creation of a 50k manuscript in 30 days.  I’m hoping to finish the historical romance by Thanksgiving. I have about 15k to go.

I’m going to set a fitness goal for myself. I was doing pretty good with working out this summer, but once school started I got out of my routine. Initially I thought the new, earlier school schedule would be particularly conducive to staying on the work-out-wagon, because I would be home an hour earlier (thus working out an hour earlier, which would allow me to cook dinner an hour earlier, which in turn would allow me another whole hour before bed, even given the need to go to bed an hour earlier, with which to snuggle with the hubs or write or watch The Big Bang Theory or my new favorite show ever, Sleepy Hollow). But alas, thanks to a slew of things, Common Core ELA and math modules notwithstanding, I have yet to find that balance in my schedule.

But we’ve rounded the corner of Halloween, and now I’m faced with holiday eating time. Thanksgiving is a month away. Christmas isn’t far behind. There will be pies and cookies and other yummy things, and I admit that I have been naughty in the nutrition department.

My hope is that I’ll really be in a workable routine by the end of December, if not sooner, because it is starting to come together. In the meantime, I decided I’m going to use November to do Raw Rebecca’s 30 Day Plank and Squat Challenge.  I’m already pretty good at squats since the workout programs I’ve been doing for the past three years utilize them heavily in the strength training videos. Planks I’m not so good at. But the point of the challenge is that you start small and build up. I also figure these are exercises I can do in relatively short amounts of time. As far as cardio – well, I’d like to be able to get TurboFire playing again, or start another round of Les Mills Combat. But in the meantime, I’m on my feet pretty much nonstop from 7:45 to 1:45, and that’s not counting and average of three trips up and down the halls to the main office and faculty room. (Seriously, the main office on the complete opposite end of the building from my classroom. It’s a haul to get my mail.)

So that’s my November goal. What’s yours?

Lessons Learned from NaNoWriMo (vlog)

Did you survive NaNoWriMo?  Learn anything while you were at it?

July National Novel Writing Month

Happy July!  I am currently thrilled for the following reasons:

  1. I am officially done with everything school related until August 16th (other than going in to check my mail and water my plants). 
  2. A friend of mine from high school has asked me to make pies and Italian cookies for her wedding in August, which is going to keep me rather busy (but I have a plan!).
  3. Last night I finished revising and editing the first half of my manuscript, thus completing a draft of what must be the first book (of two).  More on that another time.
  4. At the end of the month, the hubs and I will be heading to Gettysburg to do some serious feeding of my inner history geek.
  5. Did I mention I’m on summer vacation?
Well, turns out I have another reason to be excited, especially now that I’ve finished that huge chunk of R&E and can take a smallish break from my “darling”.
You’ve all heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), right?  You should have – I posted about it in November.  You know, it’s the month when you go crazy and try to hammer out a 50k novel in 30 days?  Yeah, that’s NaNoWriMo.
Well, did you know there’s a July version of it?  JulNoWriMo!
Yes, July Novel Writing Month is upon us.  The “contest” identifies itself as being “just like NaNoWriMo – only hotter.”  Because it’s July.  And in the northern hemisphere at least, that’s summer.  Which is usually hotter than November.
Unless you live in the tropics.
There are a few small differences.  First of all, you get 31 days to write instead of only 30.  Hey, that one day could make or break someone’s word count!  Second, the website is little more than its forums.  There are some resource pages, but overall, it’s a community website, and other than the spot in your profile to update your word count (and you’re on the honor system, by the way) and story summary, there isn’t a place to “share” anything about your book (at least not that I’ve seen yet).  For NaNo, you can give a lot more info about your book, including an excerpt, and the whole website is, well, more than its forums.
The biggest difference is that NaNoWriMo (the November WriMo) specifically states in its “rules” that you cannot write one word of narrative before November 1st.  You can outline, you can plot, you can draw pictures of your characters screaming in terror at the prospect of literary mayhem without your inner editor to hold the reins.  But for the July WriMo, the rules are a little relaxed on that score.  I quote from the “About” page:
Does [my novel] have to be a new novel, or can I continue my other novel? – As far as we’re concerned, this shouldn’t matter. If you want to finish a novel you’re already working on, great! Just write 50,000 more words.”
Now I personally think it would still be cheating if you pulled out a novel-in-progress that’s already at the 45k word mark and declare after a week, “I’m done!”  That defeats the purpose.  But if you have, say, only 2k words written, I guess you could theoretically start with that and not be breaking the rules.  Especially if you do some revising of that first two thousand words.
As with NaNo, JulNoWriMo has no prizes for completing your novel, other than the self-satisfaction of, well completing your novel.  But here’s why I’m particularly excited about this.
See, I’ve had this story idea brewing since, oh, 2005, and other than a hastily scribbled chapter in a notebook, done on vacation that summer, I’ve never done anything with it.  A couple weeks ago, I resurrected the chapter and played around a bit.  Since this little work in progress is still nascent, I could be persuaded that I am breaking no rules by using this story.
Here’s my plan, people.
I’m going to use JulNoWriMo to hammer out this new little darling.  Thanks to my handy-dandy writing software, which allows me to project a desired word count and then figures daily averages and whatnot, I need to write approximately 1500 words a day to finish by July 31st.  Then – watch out, novel contests and agents and small publishers!  I might just send that baby your way!
Can I do it?  No idea.  But it will give me a break from my “big baby” for a while.

NaNoWriMo Begins Today!

For those of you not in the “know”, today is November 1st, which is the official beginning of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo).

I first discovered NaNoWriMo when I was in college but never got around to participating until 2005.  I got a whopping 15,000 words (approximately) written during that month.  A very modest undertaking.  But November is a tough month. Which is probably why it’s NaNoWriMo.

I haven’t participated since then, and had I finished my novel rewrite by now I might have made an attempt. It would be ridiculous to even try now.  November is one of the worst months for a teacher to do anything not related to school (between report cards and conferences) and writing in November as it is always gets tricky due to the onset of the holiday season and Thanksgiving festivities.

I will be devoting November to finishing my rewrite.  Any spare minute goes into my manuscript.  I WILL be done by November 30th!

Maybe next year, I can attempt NaNoWriMo again.