Where has the time flown? The eight month of 2011 is here. August is the waning of Winter in my Southern Hemisphere and the waning of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere. I don’t know about you but August and April tend to be times of planning for me. Perhaps it is because they are both “in-between” months – neither are quite Summer or Winter. But this year I have decided that August is going to be my Attitude Month.
What does this mean? An Attitude Month?
An Attitude Month is a month where no excuses or procrastination is allowed to rear their heads. An Attitude Month is a month when I get real with my writing. If self-doubt, perfectionism or procrastination come looking I am going to rebel with Attitude.
So for August I have decided to submit the current WIP that has been holding me ransom these last few months. Then the plan is to start on Book 2 of the series. I have given myself deadlines until December 2011.
Deadlines are only effective if they are met and if someone holds you accountable.
So over the next few months I will be working on and finishing:
The Black Prince (15/09) – Book 2 in the Raven Chronicles (Supernatural Horror)
The Ring of Fire (15/10) – YA Dystopian
The Gemini – Mythological Fantasy (15/11)
The Dream Catcher – Fantasy (15/12)
At the same time I am going to be forging ahead with Shadows, my suspense thriller with an end date of 01/12.
First task at hand is to finish polishing The Raven’s Court (Book 1 in The Raven’s Chronicles) and submit by 18/08. My betas are chomping at the bit to get their claws on Raven’s Court so I dare not leave them waiting.
How will I be attaining these goals? Word Count! Word Count! Word Count! I am going to aim for 6 days writing per week with a minimum goal of 4000 words per writing day. Another way that I am going to forge ahead is by taking up my Morning Pages again. I have been very lax this year with Morning Pages and after the very strange dreams I have been having lately I realised that I really need to get into that daily habit again of “stream-of-consciousness” writing. But this month I am going to be doing it longhand with the old fashioned pen and moleskin method. Tried, tested and true. There is something magical that happens when your pen scratches away on a blank page.
As for procrastination I am going to employ Anti-Social. This is a nifty little download (unfortunately only available to Mac users at the moment) that shuts off Twitter and Facebook for a solid 8 hours. Four of my projects require intensive research so I will be leaving the internet on but will not be able to access the social networks for at least 8 hours every day. During which time I will be working on my writing goals.
Then on the third weekend of the month I will be attending my second writers’ conference. I am looking forward to this year’s conference because of the focus it has. Both the three authors attending and all the workshops are geared towards suspense writing, fantasy, paranormal and YA dystopian fiction. I am also looking forward to this year’s conference because I am not the newbie. I know what to expect and I know what to look forward to. On top of that I get to attend with one of my favourite people and dear friend. Conferences are so much more fun when you get to share the experience.
So that is what my August looks like so far.
We all have the same 44,640 minutes this month. We can choose to waste away or procrastinate the time away. Or we can choose to use the best of that time to run for our goals, achieve our dreams and form our own path to success.
What are your goals for August?
What are you going to do with your 44,640 minutes?
What is your August Attitude?
Today’s thought ~
Attitude sealed with concrete determination is the brick that lies in the foundations of success.
Time Saving Steps for your WIP (kimkoning.wordpress.com)
Forgiveness and Procrastination (colleensharen.wordpress.com)
Common causes of unhappiness and smart ways to cure them #4 (dialoguewithyou.wordpress.com)
Three Ways to Overcome Procrastination (divamm.wordpress.com)
Creating Bite-sized Life Goals (marcia-richards.com)
July Writing Goals: End of July (shannagermain2.wordpress.com)
Note to Self: Get Serious About Your Writing (donweston.wordpress.com)
Picking up the Pace (ericswett.wordpress.com)
New Attitudes; New Altitudes! (montagprint.wordpress.com)
The Challenge (anotherpieceofpie.wordpress.com)
August Theme for NaBloPoMo and a Writing Contest (blogher.com)
Why I’m Dragging My Feet (kimberlyabettes.wordpress.com)
The Power Of Writing And Why I Write At Least 750 Words Every Morning (healthmoneysuccess.com)
When Willpower is Trumped by Bad Habits (zenhabits.net)
I have taken a short hiatus from writing, hence no blogs from me this last week. Having just returned to work, I have been in the thick of getting back into the swing of life post-nano.
This experience has been one of the most valuable writing experiences for me. Through doing and completing NaNoWriMo I have found a new confidence in my ability to treat writing as my occupation and sit down for sustained periods devoted to writing. I have gained knowledge from the vast experience bank of my fellow wrimos and my Wonderful group I belong to called NaNoWriMo Warriors. I have formed writing friendships with people who have cheered me on and supported me. I have learned how to put aside my inner editor and just let the writing flow. I have learned to trust my writing. I have learned that anything is possible if I can write 50 000 words in 12 days: I finished NaNoWriMo on the 12th of November after starting at midnight on the 1st.
As a writer, it has been wonderful to be part of a global group of people who understand my motivation and drive to be a full-time writer. What is usually an individual pursuit has become a group pursuit. One of the best parts of every day of the 12 days was downloading my word count. Not only did I watch as the green bar became longer but I felt proud as my fellow NaNoWriMo Warriors, friends and family cheered me on from both the writing battlefield and the sidelines.
I have also realised that I am a writer that enjoys writing to timelines. I enjoy the structure of seeing a goal post of time or word count ahead of me. In many ways Wrimos are a bit like racing greyhounds constantly chasing that rabbit that sits just a little way ahead of us.
Today I feel like a winner and more importantly I know without a doubt that I am a Writer. Nobody can take that away from me. Many people have asked me why I have entered a competition where there seems to be no “prize”. This is why I entered. I entered to prove to myself I could do this in a set time period. I entered to increase my self-confidence in my writing. I entered it to meet fellow writers who have similar dreams to me. So to those people who believe that there always has to be a monetary prize, I say that you are limiting yourself and your own potential. The “winning” in this challenge is that you take the risk to follow a dream that many think illogical or unfeasible. Some wrimos might not get to 50 000 words by 30/11. Does this mean they have lost? No. I believe anyone who has taken up this challenge has won. It takes courage to chase a dream others believe to be a mere pipe-dream. So to all those wrimos who do not think they will make it to 50k, I say this to you. Firstly it is not over. You still have some days to go before the 30th of November. Secondly, even though you may not reach 50k, you have still tried and for that you are a NaNoWriMo winner.
To my fellow NaNoWriMo Warriors I say Thank You and Well Done for being the most supportive group of people I know. I am proud to be a NaNoWriMo Warrior and I am even more proud to call many of you friends now. Though oceans may separate me from my Writing Warriors, this challenge has bridged those oceans and the many time zones. Thank you for the cheering and the support. Thank you for the word wars. Thank you that someone was always there on the Facebook site to talk to in the lonely hours of the night when I am tapping away on the keyboard.
This has been a phenomenal experience for me. Will I be taking part in NaNoWriMo 2011. Definitely!
Lastly a huge and hearty Congratulations to all my fellow wrimos who are winners and have reached 50k words. To the wrimos who are still writing and still racing, Good Luck and may the Muses never stray from you in these last days.
Signing off from NaNoWriMo 2010,
Good Luck with the upcoming editing Wrimos – this will be the next challenge for us all.
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.
These were my goals for NaNoWriMo 2010:
- To register and sign up for my first InterNational Novel Writing Month
- To aim for a minimum of 3000 words per day.
- To switch my internal editor to Mute (tried to send her on vacation, she did not take the hint – told me all the flights were booked already with internal editors)
- To write consistently every day.
- To plot a novel before writing it.
- To create at least 3 strong characters.
- To finally finish a complete novel.
- To get to 50,000 words by end of day 15.
- To stretch my writing challenge and write in a genre/style I had not tried before.
- To gain a larger network of writer friends.
- To have fun.
- To do what I most love to do in the world.
I can happily say that I have fulfilled 11 of these goals. I am still working on goal # 7. At the end of Day 12, I reached a word count of 50,029. Considering that I took two breather days after reaching the 30,000 mark, I am very pleased with my first NaNoWriMo attempt and now success. Prior to NaNoWriMo I was writing about 2000 words a day. Since starting the adventure that is NaNoWriMo, I am writing on average 5000 words a day.
My initial thoughts with this challenge were whether I would find enough to write consistently each day. On top of that, I had to turn off my internal editor. As stated above, I did try to book an island getaway for her but either the islands were sealed off for the purposes of NaNoWriMo or the flights were overbooked and there were no seats left. So I have let her hang around but have remote-controlled her: I muted her. She may not be happy but I am getting the words down on the paper every day with or without her help.
Another way to have a win with NaNoWriMo is to give yourself a breather day. This is a day when you try (I know you don’t always) to not think about the novel you are writing and delve into complete non-writerly pursuits. The outdoors are perfect for such a day. There is nothing quite like taking a walk. It does not have to be a long walk either. Just get yourself out of the house and stretch those legs out. If you live near a large expanse of water; Ocean, River, Waterfall, lake, even better. Flowing water works like magic on tired mental muscles. The movement of water seems to be a synergy that magically unlocks stray imagination strands.
We are almost at the end of week 2, which means if you have not got there yet you are almost at the half-way point of the month and the challenge. You will notice that I am using the word “Challenge” instead of “Competition”. I am using this word very deliberately because in a competition you can only have two groups, winners and losers. Anyone who has signed up for NaNoWriMo this month is a winner. It took courage to sign up and register. But this month is a challenge. It is not just the word count but actually making the time every day to write. The added challenge of NaNoWriMo is that there is no “prize” as such. You do it for yourself. You do it to see if you can.
I have been reading a lot of posts lately on various sites as well as on the NaNo forums themselves of people beginning with a shout and bang and now hitting fizzle stage in week 2. Now I am going to throw two words at you. Are you ready?
Phonetically the words are virtually identical except for a very important difference: the first letter. What a difference one letter makes to one word. I want you to turn around your Fizzle into a Sizzle. Remember that you are already a winner. If you have been writing almost every day for 12 days, that is a Sizzling Win in my book. If you have never finished any of your writing but signed up for NaNoWriMo anyway, that is a Sizzling Win. If you signed up for NaNoWriMo in order to chase the dream of becoming a novelist, that is a Sizzling Win. Now look at yourself. Do you feel the fizzle becoming a Sizzle? It is only Day 13, 12 in some parts of the world. You still have more than 2 weeks left to turn this around. You are already almost at the half way point. Prove those nay-sayers in your life wrong. You can do this. You just have to believe in yourself. Also, do not compare yourself to other writers. This is not a competition against others. This is a challenge for You against You.
Another way to turn what feels like a Fizzle into a Sizzle: take this novel one word at a time. Take this month one day at a time. Break your day up into small word sprints, setting yourself a slightly higher goal each word sprint. Have word wars with friends or writer groups. One fellow writer and friend wrote that she believes there is some sort of magical synergy that is created when a group do something simultaneously. I believe there is definitely something there. I have been doing daily word wars with the Facebook group – NaNoWriMo Warriors – and this has spurred my daily writing onto even higher goals and larger word count totals.
I have also been reading many posts that say the story is not going in the direction you, the writer, wants it to go. Perhaps there is a reason why it seems to be taking another path. Sometimes the most interesting routes are the routes that you have not planned for. NaNoWriMo is supposed to promote free-stream writing. It is the one time when you are expected to turn off the internal editor and just write for the love of the story. If your characters are taking you down different pathways, go down the pathway with them. What you may find may not only surprise you but it may also delight you. After all, didn’t you create the characters, their bright ideas come from another part of You…so go with the flow. Sometimes it takes greater sensibility to just swim with the current instead of fighting it and tiring yourself out or giving you writer’s cramp.
Go easy on yourself. You are a writer. You are already partaking in this challenge. Enjoy this challenge. Reward yourself every time you reach a particular goal post or better a particular word war count. Rewards are very important. Remember also you write because you love writing. So turn down the temperature on your pressure cooker and let your stories sizzle with flavour. Most of all, the most important way to have a Win with NaNoWriMo:
Happy Writing….listen to that sizzle, forget the fizzle!
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.
Attention: All Warriors
Yes that means you. The traditional definition for a Warrior is ~ BRAVE FIGHTER & SOLDIER. So why would that make you a Warrior? Let me tell you why. Each of us has our own daily battles to fight. It starts when we get up in the morning and does not let off until we go to bed at night. The battle may have different fields for each of us. But they are all battles. Do these terms sound familiar?
The CHAOS that is LIFE
EGO / ID
Did any of these fields of battle seem familiar to you? If you answered yes to only one of these terms than you are doing better than most of humanity. No matter what culture you are part of, what time-zone you fall in on the globe, what job you do, single or in a relationship – you will encounter at least most of these battles in your daily lives. The only thing that separates you and I from soldiers is that we don’t wear a uniform that describes us and sets us apart. There are also very seldom any awards for battles well fought given out to us.
There are also another group of Warriors this month. They are part of a 172,000 strong army and their weapons are currently almost 200 000 000 words. These brave troops are boosted by infantry troops of 27,000 junior warriors with fighting power of 10 000 000 words.
This month I am proud to say that I am one of the 172,000 warriors for NaNoWriMo 2010 and my individual fighting power currently stands at 16547 words. I am very proud of those statistics and this battalion of True Warriors.
These NaNoWriMo Warriors are truly warriors for three reasons.
- These Word Warriors fight all the above battles that I listed to chase after a dream. This dream may seem impossible but yet this does not stop them from signing up and volunteering for battle. They also do this along a normal life as well. They do not go and become a hermit in a tucked away cabin, eschewing all human company for 30 days. No they do this Great Battle of the Novel parallel to and oftentimes intersecting life. They do this, not for a monetary prize or even a gold medal, they do this to say proudly that they have taken 30 days to write 50 000 words or more.
- The second reason they are called NaNoWriMo Warriors is that by the end of the month they are not just individuals anymore. They have forged bonds and made connections that may last a life time. When you enlist for this Battalion, like any army you become a unit with other individuals all with the same goal even though they may have different motivations. As a Battalion they are supportive and encouraging of each other. They back one another up when they are flailing for air. They cover one another with firepower of WORDS when they go into battle. They respect one another and they all respect the Chase after the Dream.
- The third reason why they are called NaNoWriMo Warriors is to my mind the most important and worthy reason of all. It is a simple fact but one that begs to be repeated in this modern age especially. It is as simple and as complex to say: THE PEN IS MIGHTIER THAN THE SWORD. For this reason, each and every one of the 172,000 Warriors and each and every one of the 27,000 junior infantry are True Warriors of the Highest order. In this day and age that people seem to look to television or gaming devices for information and entertainment it makes my heart swell with pride to see the sheer numbers of the Warriors that have enlisted for NaNoWriMo with only a pen in your hand. Be not dismayed by thinking that a pen could not possibly hold up to a sword let alone be mightier. I mean aren’t writers nerdy? Can you name me one great army soldier from any country in the 16th century? You have 3 minutes, without googling….Did you come up with a name? Me neither. Now name me a great Wordsmith Warrior of the 16th century in the same amount of time? The answer is William Shakespeare. Now how powerful is the Word I ask you? I could give thousands, hundreds of thousands of other great word warriors but I think you get the point with just this one.
So today if you are facing a particularly tough battle, remember that you are a Warrior Chasing a Worthy Dream with powerful fighting power: Your Words.
I leave you with words from the Mighty Bard himself:
that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goose-quills and dare scarce come thither. – Hamlet, Act 2, Scene 2 – William Shakespeare
Fight the Good Fight with your Mighty Words!
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.
- Simplifying NaNoWriMo (and Other Writing) (simpleproductivityblog.com)
Day 1 has come and is almost done in New Zealand. We were the first, along with Fiji to see the start of November 2010 and NaNoWriMo 2010. Before midnight struck, I was at home in a chat room with my fellow NaNoWriMo Warriors. You may have heard of this group before or this may be the first mention you know of. NaNoWriMo Warriors was created this week by the developer of the Scribblerati ning that I am a member of. In 5 days it has grown to 217 members. At first the members were all fellow scribblers belonging to Scribblerati but before long tweets got tweeted, Facebook group shares were placed on individual walls and now we have 217 members as of 9:26pm, NZ time. There are more being added every hour.
This is the first NaNoWriMo is which I am participating. At first there was a small part of me that thought it was sheer madness to contemplate doing a novel in 30 days. But before long I was hooked on the idea and had found myself signed up and registered on 1st October.
People often think that writing is a particularly lonely pursuit. This year I have found my writing life filled with support, encouragement and cheers. It was not just my family and friends as you would expect but two spectacular writing communities that I belong to: Scribblerati (as mentioned before) and She Writes.
When I signed up for NaNoWriMo the support just about blew me away. There was a sense of camaraderie and solidarity from all of my online writing friends. As October progressed, I got more and more excited. I felt like a kid before Christmas except I knew that the perfect gift that I had wished for would be under the tree.
The last week before the today was a mixture of intense anticipation and a jingle jangle of bouncing nerves. I was also trying to get some sleep to prepare for the madness that is NaNoWriMo. It is very difficult trying to sleep when your characters do not have the same courtesy and are wide awake with verbal diarrhea. Trying to explain to my MC that she has to wait just a few more days was like trying to reason with a 4year old child who knows where the Christmas prezzies are hiding. In a word: Impossible. Even for a writerly type who is usually never short of words.
On Sunday afternoon I signed into the NaNoWriMo Warriors page and was immediately infected with the creative enthusiasm of writers all excited for this challenge. I was asked to be a moderator for my time zone when our tireless creator would have to sleep for a short time. I accepted immediately. There is something palpably electric about being a cheerleader for something like NaNoWriMo. On top of that I knew that I would be up for most of the night so being on hand to welcome NZ and OZ WriMos to the wonderful madness that is NaNoWriMo.
The clock ticked and the moon rose higher in the sky. The night air seemed suspended in waiting for something special. As it got closer and closer, I spent the time chatting to my online fellow WriMo Warriors. Simultaneously I started getting ready to type the first word into my full screen MS screen on Storyist. The clock ticked and it got nearer and nearer.
The clock struck midnight. I called the Battle Cry for the NZ WriMos and I was off into the start of my first NaNoWriMo. I wrote down my first word and then I gave control to my MC. I felt it only fair that she be given free rein this first night after being so patient all week long. Before long I had a 1000 words and the next time I looked up I was sitting at 4094 words on my NaNoWriMo Novel. Looking at the clock, I realised time literally opened up a secret time hole that I fell into well writing everything my MC was telling me: it was 3:30am. The first 3 1/2 hours of NaNoWriMo had begun and I had surpassed my own personal goal for the day. I felt a rush of adrenalin hit me and I knew that this story would flow for me this day, this week and this month. All I had to do was believe in the unwritten words that were in a treasure trove locked in my mind.
I stayed online for the sheer pleasure of that writerly solidarity. I kept on popping in and out of the tweetchat #NaNoWriMo and was excited to read the word count updates on there.
Yes NaNoWriMo is a challenge. It may even still sound crazy and impossible to some people. But to me NaNoWriMo is not just about the challenge of the novel or finding the mind-space to let the words flow. NaNoWriMo is also about thousands of writers joined together in a global pursuit. NaNoWriMo is about making friends with true artists all across the 4 corners of the globe. NaNoWriMo is about being a NaNoWriMo Warrior and knowing that I have an army of support, understanding, encouragement and cheerleading to lean on. NaNoWriMo is a creative boost to what is usually a lonely pursuit.
NaNoWriMo Warriors are anyone who has signed up for NaNoWriMo. You are already a Warrior and a Conqueror. It takes real “Chutzpah” to sign up for this challenge.
NaNoWriMo Warriors I salute you.
Bring on Day 2. I am waiting, willing and ready. Are you?
© All rights reserved Kim Koning.
- NaNoWriMo – I salute you (tdhurst.com)
- Social Media Updates for 2010-11-01 (chris.pirillo.com)
- “Writing the mad dash – National Novel Writing Month” and related posts (scholarsandrogues.com)
- NaNoWriMo: an excuse to write (bhplnjbookgroup.blogspot.com)