Archive for the ‘ NaNoWriMo ’ Category

Getting Geared Up for NaNoWriMo

For the past two years I’ve worked with my library to host a variety of National Novel Writing Month events. For those of you who aren’t familiar, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) writers are invited to sign up on (if you want to keep track of your progress and/or get some great support from fellow writers) and pledge to write 50,000 (a short novel) during the month of November. It’s crazy, but very rewarding!

This year we’re featuring a number of local NJ authors like Alissa Grosso, Charlotte Bennardo, Natalie Zaman, and Corey Rosen Schwartz, among other talented writers. They will talking about great topics that are pertinent to budding writers like publishing options, how to write successful query letters, and how to go from your first draft to getting an agent.

It’s a great time of year for me not only because I get to meet great authors and writers but it’s a great way to get inspired in my own writings and learn from the wisdom of others.

Good luck on all your writing goals this November! 🙂

NaNoWriMo – Where Do I Go From Here?

The end is near….! For NaNoWriMo that is. 🙂

I hope you are taking a short time out to read this and then getting back to writing, writing, writing. Now is the time you stop doing all those things that make you human and focus on finishing that novel! Stop showering, don’t run that errand to Target, don’t bother vacuuming and don’t even THINK of shopping at etsy. Just don’t do it.

Starting tomorrow you can get back to your old life. The life where you thought about things other than character development, plot twists and story arcs. But, I have a confession to make, my month of writing didn’t exactly go according to plan. While I didn’t crash and burn, I didn’t make the time to write as I should have. I can blame my lack of focus on any number of life hiccups, the truth is I dropped the ball or the pen as it were.

Moving forward


If this is your first attempt at completing a novel it can be just as daunting to know where to go after your first draft (yes, that’s right, first) is finally completed. Through trial, error, and much advice, here’s my list of what to do after that first draft is wrapped:

1. Walk away. Don’t even think about your novel for at least a few days. Take time to recharge your creative batteries and go for a walk, visit a museum, read, before going back to your novel. But don’t wait too long to go back or you might be tempted to fall out of the writing habit.

2. Revise, revise, revise. My favorite method is to print out my first draft (double-sided to save paper of course), choose a colored pen, and rip through my novel one page at a time correcting as I go. Then I retype my revisions, walk away, and go through my novel again to see if I can find any further discrepancies, blatant grammatical errors, or any other last minute changes I want to make.

3. Give your novel to someone else to read. Don’t give it to someone who’s going to lather you with praises. Do give it to someone (or someones) who will give you constructive criticisms that will help you hone your craft and perfect your work. This is the time a trusted writing group will come in handy.

4. Revise. Correct any worthy suggestions your critics may have made. As much as it might sting, they probably see things you missed after being so engrossed in your art for so long.

5. Develop a thick skin. After you’ve gotten your novel to a point where it’s as polished as you can make it, research agents that represent your genre (young adult, science fiction, Christian, etc.) and work on writing a query letter. Write a synopsis too if you can. The road to getting an agent isn’t an easy one for most, so don’t take it personally if your novel doesn’t get the response you’d like it to initially. Just remember even renown authors like Stephen King and J.K. Rowling got dozens of rejections and Kathryn Stockett of The Help fame received 45 during her five years of trying to find an agent. So don’t lose hope!

But most of all, never give up on your writing dreams!

Best wishes and happy writing! 😀

Running Around

I feel like I’ve been running around all week – both figuratively and literally. Between getting in some last training runs before my half marathon on Sunday and working on my novel, I haven’t gotten many opportunities to blog as much as I usually like. Despite next week being Thanksgiving week, I’m looking forward to the free time I’ll have as a result of NaNoWriMo winding down and my race training coming to an end.

I’ve managed to find blocks of time to concentrate on my writing which has been awesome! It’s always rewarding to see that word count go up even though I know it’s only my first draft.:) I hope you are faring well in the writing of your novels as well – whether you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or not. The only downside to working diligently on my novel is that I haven’t had as much time to devote to blogging or visiting other blogs. ARRRGGGHHH! Do you think it’s possible to duplicate myself in order to multitask to my heart’s content??

And the Philadelphia Half Marathon is finally here! This Sunday (at 7am – the race organizers are sadists) I’ll be running with thousands of others participating in both the marathon and the half marathon. I’ve been training steadily for this race since the spring as I was coming back from an injury and wanted to give myself plenty of time to up my weekly mileage and my long runs without injuring myself. Fortunately, it seems like my plan worked and I feel great! Because this is my first long race after an injury though I’m not looking to set any PRs instead focusing on crossing that finish line strong. 😀 Even better, two of my uncles and my cousin are also running so I’ll have a built-in support system on race day. Sweet!

Does anyone else feel like this month has them being pulled in twenty different directions?

Write on my friends! (The finish line is in sight!)

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

It’s Day 3 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve taken time out from writing (fine, I’m procrastinating, but you’re procrastinating by reading this!) to give you an update on my work in progress.

I don’t know about you, but I need a few things in order to focus on my writing. Sometimes, when I’m in a particularly procrastinatory (not a word, but it should be) mood, I’ll add more stuff to the list until I deem myself “unfit for writing” and lay on the couch swearing that tomorrow will be different.

Things I need in order to write:

1. Snacks – that reminds me, I’m hungry! I’ll be right back.

(Twenty minutes later.)

2. A clean kitchen. Strange, but true.

3. A recently walked dog. He’s very demanding.

4. Comfortable clothes, chair, etc. Ideally, I would have someone massage my shoulders while I write. It’s hard work!

5. My notebook of, well, notes next to me. This way I can doodle jot down key ideas while typing on my computer.

I don’t know what you absolutely need in order to have an optimal writing environment, but I hope you’ve managed to write in addition to doing all those very important things. 🙂

WIP: 2376

Send me an email, link, carrier pigeon to let me know how you’re faring too! Happy writing!