Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 21: I’m a Winner!

I won Camp NaNoWriMo today with 50,489 words, according to their validator. I am SO happy and proud of myself and I’m so glad I stuck with it. This month has been a whirlwind of ups and downs, but the ups have always been so much better than the downs.

winner

So this month has been a struggle. The beginning of the month was amazing and I wrote about 26,000 words in the first seven days. Pretty damn impressive, if I do say so myself.

Here’s how my stats looked throughout the month:

statsgraph stats

My average was obviously higher at the beginning of the month considering how many times I plateaued and didn’t write for days on end, but hey, it’s cool.

Most of the time I was ahead of the game. Actually, I stayed ahead of the game even though my count caught up to me (I was still about 500 words ahead).

Today alone I wrote almost 15,000 words. Suffice it to say, my brain is exhausted. I started at 6AM this morning and after 5k words, took a nap, and then just kept going and going until I reached my goal.

My story has been progressing nicely and I’m really enjoying it so far. I’m still not done, though, even though I reached my word count goal for the month. It’s crazy to think that I’m creating this story, that this story isn’t even done and it could lead to a potential two more books. I’m freaking pumped.

Though there were some rough times, I look back on them as times I just needed to rest. They were times I needed to just relax and not worry about word count goals or winning anything. When I wrote just for me, and saw that word count go up and up, I was happy.

Now that I’ve won and Camp is over for now, I’m going to keep writing my story to its completion. But now at a much more relaxed pace.

I’m very thankful for the support I’ve had so far and the support I hope to have as I continue on this journey as a writer. It’s definitely an adventure, but I wouldn’t wish for any other.

How has your writing been coming along? Have you reached your word count goal yet? How far behind/ahead are you? There’s still time to win this thing, so keep going! Keep writing!

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Camp NaNoWriMo Day 16: Finding That Groove

Sometimes all it takes is a little motivational poster to make things okay again.

writeeveryday

Well, it’s not really a poster, but I did make it in Word last night because, well, I needed to remind myself why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I’ve always been creative. Always. Ever since I could remember I’ve had a vivid imagination and began writing stories at a young age. I remember I had to do one for a school project in elementary school (I think) and I told the story of how the sun came to be in the sky (crappy drawings included). I was proud of it then. I’m sure if I read it now, though, I’d be like, “What was I writing?” But for a young kid to write something like that, it’s pretty exciting.

As I got a bit older and my friends introduced me to manga in sixth grade, that’s when the stories really started to flow (as well as my artistic abilities, too). I began writing at eleven or twelve years old a story that I based off of the manga series Tokyo Mew Mew by Reiko Yoshida and illustrated by Mia Ikumi.

It was my first full length novel. Well, I never completed it, and it was in 14 size font, but it was in the old Word program from ages ago. BUT I do remember writing over 70 pages of story. I mean, that’s a lot for a twelve year old to write. I had this whole concept developed in my head, but it’s also one of those stories that’ll never see the light of day.

From that time on my parents, especially my dad, have always urged me on to write. They know how creative and capable I am, and I’m not just saying that because they’re my parents. They’ve read some of my stuff and they’re impressed that it just all comes from my head, you know?

Well, now that I’m out of college and doing these writing activities like NaNoWriMo and Camp, I realized how much I’ve missed writing.

Yes, I’ve written short stories over the years for classes, and I want to continue doing that, but for a full length novel? That’s a challenge and a commitment.

And I’ve taken that challenge.

Camp NaNo has helped me to see my potential as a writer. It’s helped me to get my groove back, to say that, “Hey, you’re a writer and you’re good at what you do. You love it. Keep going.”

And I will. Even tough there will be dry spells and days where I just can’t get any words out lest I force the shittiest words ever to come out, I’ll write.

Write everyday. Keep going. Never stop. Keep moving forward.

P.S. I am now over 35k words out of my 50k word goal for the month. My story won’t be near completion by then, and I’m happy about that, because it just shows how big this story is and how much it means to me.

I found my groove. I hope you find yours.

How’s your writing coming along? Have you come across bumps in the road or are you managing to avoid them? Let me know!

CampNaNoWriMo Day 14: This Week Sucked

Okay, there, I said it. This past week sucked in terms of my writing. I barely wrote 5,000 words over the last seven days and I am so ashamed of that.

To be honest, my only “excuse” is that I was depressed. And since I was depressed, I didn’t feel like writing, so I read three books this past week (fastest reading time, what what?).

And I guess my other excuse was that I just wasn’t “feeling” up to writing. Like, that’s not a good reason at all.

I am a writer and I love to write. I’m reminded of that every time I continue my story or start a new one. So why was this past week so hard?

Maybe because I was on such a roll I let it get to my head and so I just thought that I should take a break and everything. I mean, there’s really nothing wrong with that at all. If you need a break, take a break. I was ahead (and still am) anyway.

The other thing that got to me was this: is my writing important enough?

Maybe it was because of the three awesome books I read this past week with such great diverse topics that it made my writing feel inferior, less important than what it is.

I mean, my writing doesn’t hit hard issues like intersex, sexual orientation, or suicide. My story that I’m writing for Camp is a romance/fantasy that’s finally in its plot point right now where the action is finally taking off (and I finally reached 30k words to get to that point).

I felt like I should be writing about those hard topics or those diverse reads. I’ve had an idea for years that I still want to bring into fruition one day.

And then just last night when I asked my husband for words of encouragement he said: “Keep writing! Keep going! You can do it! Your writing matters!”

And it’s true. My writing does matter. All writing matters.

Sure, my story may be something that’s seen sort of often in YA fantasy, but it’s got more romance, it’s got a few twists that I hope no one sees coming. And I love it.

That’s the biggest thing: I love my story.

And why shouldn’t I? It’s my creation. No one else is going to write it exactly the way I’m going to write it but me. No one can tell my story like I can. And I love it.

Yes, it may have took a lot of pushing and prodding to reach just over 30k words last night, but I managed it because I know where I want my story to go and where I hope it’ll lead.

This week may have sucked, but I’ve gotten over a decent hurdle and I’m not going to stop now. Not until it’s finished, and definitely not until I reach my goal.

How are your stories for Camp NaNo coming along? Are you fizzling out? Almost done? Actually finished? Let me know.

Camp NaNoWriMo Day 4: Feeling Like a Boss

As my first update for Camp NaNoWriMo, I must say that I am really proud of what I have accomplished so far in my writing journey.

As I stated last time, my story is bigger than I thought it originally was going to be. As I continue writing I’m discovering more and more about what I want the story to be and how I want it to unfold.

Hell, I even figured out that I want it to be a trilogy.

That said, my writing the past four days has been an epic one.

As of this moment I am currently at 16,803 words of 50,000. That’s 34% of the way to my goal. And I’m not even close to being done yet.

It feels amazing to write almost 5k words per day and to just see the story unfolding in front of my eyes. I’m learning more about my two main characters, as well as the world surrounding them, and I love it.

Though right now I’m still working out kinks and how I want certain things to flow, I do have a vague idea of major plot points, as well as some scenes I really want to work up to.

Especially the romance parts. *teehee* (I’m such a goob.)

But as of today I’m feeling like a boss. Which means, pretty much, I feel great and like I can conquer the world (muahaha!).

Now this doesn’t mean I’ll keep up my writing streak for long. I am trying to reach the next milestone every day (5k per day), so my next milestone I want to reach today is 20k words.

I’m determined, though, and I am truly loving this novel so much.

Now for today’s advice because I need it as much as any writer out there:

  • Don’t let what future reviews might say affect how you write. Do you worry about what future readers might think about your writing? I’m the sort of person that hates disappointing people, and if they’re disappointed in my work then I feel I’ve let them down. I’m already thinking of future reviews when I should be focusing on the now, on my writing, on my first draft. Don’t think about what may be; think about what you have right in front of you.
  • Reach a milestone per day and reward yourself somehow. Rewarding yourself is something that everyone loves doing. If it weren’t for rewards I’m sure a lot of us wouldn’t be doing what we love to do. I haven’t rewarded myself yet, but that’s also because I’m trying to think of something that’ll work for me. So whether that be an hour or two of Netflix after reaching your word count goal for the day, or going for a walk with a friend, or chocolate, give yourself a reward.
  • Give yourself a challenge to reach toward. I find that I’m a competitive person at times when I’m otherwise a very relaxed person (in most cases). Giving myself a challenge to strive to achieve is one such way that helps drive me to my goal. That’s why I’ve been thinking of raising my word count goal from 50k to 100k: it’s a challenge that I can strive for, and the way I’m thinking of my novel, that’s what it’ll turn into.
  • Keep cheering for yourself. There’s not shame in keeping positive in your own writing and giving yourself a pat on the back each time you reach a milestone. Others will be proud of you, too, but also try not to overdo it. Moderation is key.
  • Keep writing! Don’t get discouraged if you fall behind. It’s still early on in the month and so you just need to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep writing!

Anyone participating in Camp NaNo this month? What’s the story you’re working on about? How far have you gotten? Let me know!

Camp NaNoWriMo Day One: Getting Started

So I’m thinking I’m going to do some posting about my process and how  well my progress is going with Camp NaNoWriMo this month. I’ll do weekly wrap-ups every Saturday, so expect those, but I may do a post or two during the week about something that inspired a great deal of writing, something that may have put a damper on it, writing from different perspectives, tenses, whatever comes to mind.

As for today, I wanted to talk about getting started with the whole writing process.

As many of you know I participated in NaNoWriMo back in November and wrote over 50,000 words. That’s the equivalent of writing a 200-220 page book. That’s a really great achievement, if you ask me. It was fun and enriching not only for myself, but for my inner writer. It’s been wanting to come out ever since then and take over, but I’ve kept it at bay. Well, now that Camp NaNoWriMo is here, I have no excuse to hold back anymore.

I was originally going to work on my draft of the story I wrote back in November. I still am, but for Camp I’m going to be writing a whole new story, one I’m actually really excited about.

So what I love about Camp NaNoWriMo is that it’s a much more relaxed version of NaNoWriMo in that you can set your own word count goal, starting from 10k words up to (I think) 1 million? I could be totally wrong on that, BUT the point is is that you can set your own word count goal. So it’s much more relaxed if you only feel like writing a shorter story than back in November.

Well, I had set my word count goal to 20k words. Doable, short, and I already had an idea that I fell absolutely in love with and was begging to be written.

But as I thought more and more about it, I raised my goal from 20k to 50k words. Yup, I’m going for another small novel length again.

As for my progress, I’m over 5.5k words and it’s only day one. Suffice to say, it’s been a really good writing day for me.

My story is going to be bigger than I thought it was, at least I’m hoping. I love the idea I had and I really want to expand upon the world and characters and everything this month.

Here’s the synopsis I wrote for it:

“Eighteen year old Abby knew she’d be working as a maid from when she was a little girl. Her mother had been a maid, as had her grandmother, and so she knew she’d have to continue the family line and work in the palace to continue their work. But she didn’t want to be a maid, she wanted freedom and a choice for herself, though she knew she couldn’t have it.

Maddock has been training to be part of the royal guard since he was fourteen and has since gone through the ranks to become the youngest Captain the palace has ever had. Now at twenty-two, he is one of the deadliest and coldest men on the field. He’s always wanted this life and strives to serve his kingdom.

Until one day when the threat of war from an ally comes and the two soon realize that they may need each other more than they realize.”

I’m excited about it. Really excited.

Now I’m not here to brag or anything like that, so let me give you a few piece of advice if you’re struggling with your novel:

  1. Have fun with it. This is probably the most important piece of advice I, or anyone, can give for this event. If you’re not having fun writing your new story, then change it up and add something to it that’ll help you to have fun.
  2. Start in the middle or the end, not the beginning. If you’re having a really hard time starting from the beginning of your novel, just write the scene that’s really stuck in your head rather than the scenes that will eventually lead up to that one. Even if your tone changes from beginning to middle to end, it’s okay; that’s what the editing months are for.
  3. Just write. Really, that’s the simplest way I can put it. Even if you write 100 words for that day, you’re still 100 words closer to your goal. Keep going and don’t give up.
  4. Don’t fall behind. It’s seriously really, really hard to catch up if you’ve fallen behind (I learned that the hard way back in November). Try to keep up with your goal, but don’t strain yourself.
  5. Talk to others in your cabin or on the forums. Talking to other writers can really be inspiring and raise your morale. Try it out a few times.

I know it can be intimidating to write anything sometimes, but just give it a go. You won’t succeed if you never try, so keep your head up and write on.

Epiphanies Are Amazing

Sometimes you just need to let go, trust yourself (and God, if you believe), and roll with the punches. Well, I rolled, and I realized that maybe I don’t need to rewrite my entire novel to be satisfied with it. Just fix what needs fixing.

I have been struggling to rewrite this novel. Yes, I kind of like the way I’m getting extra scenes and getting into the head of my other main character, but I don’t like that I have to rewrite 50,000 words. That’s a lot of words.

Long story short, my story is about a boy who ends up finding a portal to a parallel universe that is riddled with war in the U.S. and then goes on to try and find a way to help out as much he can without dying.

I put a lot of time and effort into writing it the first time, and it’s not that I don’t want to improve it, but as I look at my second draft and look at my first, I’m noticing major changes in what’s happening in the story; some good, some bad.

For instance:

  • Good: Changing a mini-major plot point that then leads the main character (boy) to find the portal, and frankly, I really like this change.
  • Bad: I’m finding that what I thought I wanted to write (1st person, present tense) isn’t what I wanted after all.
  • Good: I’ve been able to get into the head of my second main character (girl) by writing chapters from her POV.
  • Bad: If I keep my old draft, do I want to separate the chapters into different perspectives, or keep it all one POV? This requires either heavy editing or reworking scenes with her in it. Either way, lots of editing.

The list goes on, but as I’ve been sitting here the past few days trying to rewrite the story, I’ve noticed just how much I 1) don’t want to rewrite everything even though I’ve made it up to 12k words, and 2) I loved what I wrote the first time because it was in my voice, not someone else’s.

I think that’s the biggest thing I’ve realized in this short time: My rewrite is turning into voices I read in YA all the time, and I want to stand apart from that.

Having your own voice in how you write is a major component to your writing style. I know I have my own unique voice in my writing when I write short stories, and even when I wrote my first novel draft back in November. But now?

I’m noticing that I’m sounding like a lot of other YA novels. I understand that that can be the norm for these kinds of novels (and don’t get me wrong, I like reading that style), but… it’s not mine.

Also, I love the different perspectives and getting to know my characters, but as I was continuing I was noticing how similar those voices of those characters were beginning to sound and I was fearing that they would soon sound like the same person. I want readers to be able to differentiate between characters and not think that it all sounds the same. If I write from one perspective, I want it to sound like it. If I write from two, then anyone should be able to tell the difference between them.

I was able to describe so much more in my original writing than in my rewrite. I love being able to use descriptors in my writing to give a sense of the world around the character. That’s part of my style and it was almost completely gone in my rewrite.

I don’t know why I struggled so hard through this when I should have just realized that what I had, my creation, was part of who I am as a writer. To change it so dramatically, even though it did help in ways, but hinder in others, was just something that was unnecessary.

But it was needed.

If I hadn’t done what I did then maybe I wouldn’t have realized what I’d done. Yes, of course my original draft needs plenty of editing and polishing before it ever gets into the hands of others. Yes, of course I can add chapters from other characters’ perspectives if I want in my editing process.

But I think most importantly is that I don’t lose my voice. It’s part of what makes a writer a writer, after all. There are others things, too, but that’s most important, in my opinion.

So, just to let you know, yes, I will still be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo in April, but on a short story that has been dying to get out for the past two weeks (like, I can’t contain it anymore, it needs to be written).

I think this is for the best. I’ll review both versions, at least sections of them, before making an absolute decision, plus I’ll be getting my husband’s opinion on it since he’s into the kind of content I’m writing about. I don’t want to keep feeling the doubt that’s been creeping up on me throughout most of this rewriting process. I want to be sure of myself and my writing.

Have you ever had this kind of problem? Did you realize it early in the process, or way down the line? Any advice? Let me know in the comments!

Plans for Moving Forward

My sincerest apologies for practically throwing this blog to the wayside. I feel as though I’ve run out of a lot of ideas for this blog, and so I’m here to announce some big plans that I plan on accomplishing within the year as well as plans for this blog.

First off, let me start with my overall plans.

I feel as though I’ve been slacking in what my dream became once I found my calling in college, which was Professional Writing. Well, to be technical, that’s just the term I graduated with. To be more precise, I feel as though I have been called to creative writing; that is, bringing those many thoughts and ideas in my head to life, creating stories and beings and wonderful things from my head onto paper (or screen, in this case). I want to create and write and just have fun doing something I love to do, and I realize that when I participated in National Novel Writing Month in November 2014.

I created my first full fledged story and I didn’t even complete it. But I also realized that it wasn’t the exact story I wanted to tell and so I have decided to rewrite the entire thing from a different perspective(s) than before and in a different tense than before (present instead of past).

It’s a huge undertaking, but I believe I need to accomplish it. Without it, I won’t be telling the story that I know resides within my heart. Though I’ve just started rewriting I’m already frustrated, but that’s how it always goes, right?

Besides that, my other big plans include:

  • finishing said story to its completion, polished and ready to go
  • having said story read and critiqued by others whom I trust to give me honest opinions
  • once feedback has been received, make any adjustments and then proceed to research agents and publishers
  • query my story

Very big plans, as you can see. But that’s not all I have planned for this year. I have some other major plans that I’ve been thinking about and I truly believe that I need to accomplish them:

  • choose one of my many ideas and start working on the next story
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2015
  • if rejected from any agents/publishers, continue writing anyway
  • potentially find some way to get myself out there more in terms of writing
  • continue with my Reader Rayna blog & my YouTube channel

Those are some pretty hefty things I want to continue to do for myself, that’s for sure. Some are easier than others, but they’re all time consuming. As a writer, it’s nothing short of what I expected.

I love what I do. I love to write and create and bring characters to life on a page. It’s one of my passions that I stubbornly ignored for such a long time but I found it is truly my calling.

Though I can’t be a full-time writer right now, I can work on the sides and behind the scenes and push through my day to day life. I know my husband supports me in my endeavors, as does God, and so I have to support myself, right?

Now as for this blog, I know I’ve highly neglected it for several months now, and once again I apologize. Topics just haven’t been coming to my mind and I have been busy with my other blog, work, wedding, honeymoon, and just trying to make it by in my daily life.

But I’ve missed this blog and those that read and follow me. I miss the conversations and the fact that I could express my own opinions about topics and be happy that they were out there.

So here are some of my plans for this blog:

  • write at least one blog post bi-weekly; if I’m able to write more, then I’ll do more
  • don’t so much focus on a certain topic, but just let my opinions soar out of me
  • as I continue in my endeavor to write and eventually query my story, talk about that process and what I’ve learned from it

It’s only a few, but it’s enough for now. I don’t want to stress myself out too much with this, so I just want to give myself at least a few small guidelines for what I expect to do with this blog and how I want to continue in my endeavors and journey as a writer.

I hope I have your support, as well, in all of this, dear reader. I want to be as warm and inviting as possible to those who read my blog and can put up with my absences. This isn’t about just “trying to be professional,” but it’s also about connecting with a larger community of people like me.

Thank you for your time.

NaNoWriMo 2014 Revision Plans

This was originally posted on my other blog, Reader Rayna.

I never posted this here initially, or really kept up with updates, but I did win NaNoWriMo this year with over 50k words (50,281 to be exact)! I’m very proud of myself as I won on day 29, and I wrote my butt off to catch up when I fell behind.

If you want to read a synopsis and excerpt from my novel, you can go check out my page.

So let me talk about my revision plans. I’ve got a lot of them planned, I’m just not going to get them started until the new year because my brain needs time to recuperate after all that writing and other busy things going on, plus my husband and I are going on a honeymoon to Disney World over Christmas, so… I have no time to think about my story.

Anyway, now that I’ve rambled, let me get on with my revision plans:

  • I’m going to rewrite the entire novel in first person point of view present tense from the perspective of my main female character, Dahlia, whom I connected with much more than my main guy character, Jake.
  • After that second draft (since my first NaNo draft is… my first draft) I’m going to polish it up and have several people who were interested in reading it read it.
  • Upon feedback from them, I will revise more and start looking for/querying potential literary agents who might be able to help me get my book published.
  • Yes, my ultimate goal is to get my work published, and I do love the story very much and I believe it would be a great debut novel (at least I hope). That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to grow in my writing from doing multiple drafts or anything of the like. As many people say, it’s not about getting published, it’s about the writing process.
    • What I’ve learned from it is that I missed writing. I missed being creative and spewing out as much as possible to create a feasible, entertaining story.

So my revision plans are pretty standard, I think, for any aspiring writer. I love my story and want to share it with the world. I have many other story ideas and writing plans, I just need to implement them and begin writing. No one’s going to tell those stories but me, so I may as well get on it, right?

Did you participate in NaNo this year? How did you do? What are your revision plans, if any? Let me know in the comments below!

NaNoWriMo 2014

Sorry for the lack of posts, but I’ve been super busy with working and getting ready for my wedding on November 1st.

Speaking of November, that’s when National Novel Writing Month is happening!

Haven’t heard about it? NaNoWriMo is a yearly event where writers of all writing levels take part in trying to reach the goal of 50k words in 30 days.

You’re probably wondering, “How in the world is anyone supposed to write that many words in that short of time?”

It’s actually quite possible. Many people have achieved that goal and went beyond it within the time allotted, or even sooner. When inspiration strikes it’s hard to get it to stop.

This year I will be participating in NaNoWriMo (even though it starts the day I get married). I already have an idea in place and I am really excited to be able to start.

My story is going to be a Young Adult sci-fi-ish novel based around a boy who ends up finding his way into an alternate world where he runs into himself – literally – and switches places with his alternate self to escape the real world. Upon finding himself there, though, he discovers that this alternate world is a lot more dangerous than what he had expected and he has to survive it if he wants to get back home.

I have the ending in mind, I have bits and pieces of how I want it to play out, but that’s all I’m probably going to give right now.

If you’re thinking about joining NaNo this year, or if you’re a returning member, add me as a writing buddy! I’d love to be able to read your stories and communicate with you as to how your progress is going.

Also, if you’re prepping for NaNo, don’t forget some supplies that you’ll probably want for the month: USB drive to save your stories in case some cataclysmic event happens to your computer; a computer or some other form of writing device (tablet, paper & pen, etc.); notebook to jot ideas down; coffee or tea to keep you up; and lots of supportive people who will bring your spirits up rather than kick you under the bus.

NaNoWriMo is a fun, long, and stressful time, but it’s also worth while because at the end of it you’ll be able to say, “I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days.” It won’t be pretty, and it’ll definitely need to be polished afterwards, but you made it.

In case you’re wondering, I’m going to try doing daily/weekly videos on my YouTube channel, plus some entries here, so if you want to check those out, please do!