NaNoWriMo: Day 15 (100k and some change; book 2)

NaNoWriMo2016Sorry for missing yesterday. After a huge day on Sunday, I didn’t feel like blogging. Or writing. Or moving.

I’ve hit the 100k mark (double-NaNo) and finished up book 2, The Word Runner. I’ve also realized The Word Runner went horribly wrong (I didn’t write it with any sort of an outline, just a vague concept) and I’ll have to rewrite the entire thing from chapter two onward.

Ah well. Live and learn.

Today I will start book 3, Cheyna and the Doorway to Everland. I’m also prepping for Orycon in Portland, OR on Friday and gearing up to do a big attempt at marketing The Wicked Witch of Whatever. Yes. I am talking about marketing. But not until December.

So, it’s halfway to the end of NaNo and I’ve only finished two books. Maybe six was asking too much of this non-Figment body– and that’s okay. I’ll keep writing through December 15th to get as far as I can on first drafts. Theoretically, I should be able to do all six by then. It doesn’t take into account my steadily growing hours at the day job (retail-associated), but I can work around that. I think.

So, onward and upward. Moving on.

How’s your writing going? Are you halfway or better on your goals?

NaNoWriMo: Day 13 (81,953)

NaNoWriMo2016I finally got my mojo back (or rested up enough) to get some serious wordage in yesterday. It didn’t start off the best, though.

First, I went to an in-person write-in because I’m trying to be social for this event and I no longer belong to a certain group that has provided all my social interaction without leaving the house. Also, the in-person event had pastries. But mostly social, really.

When I got there and set up all the way, I discovered I was missing all 1k words from Friday. Now it was only 1k, but it was a hard 1k. I fought for that 1k. I bled (just a little) for that 1k.

I searched all three backup locations. No 1k.

Then I had a thought: what if it was still on the home computer under autosave? So I left the write-in, took a Pokémon Go detour, and then checked the home computer. Huzzah! All the words were there! And I had pastry, which was bonus.

Then, finally, I got to writing, mixing it up with some offline stuff and quick bursts of exercise to combat the fluffy writer syndrome. I’m still not at epic levels, but I’m back to making progress. That’s what matters. I’m not just treading water.

I’ve set myself a big goal today: hit 100k and a double-NaNo. If I manage it, that would be almost 18k in a single day, which I haven’t managed yet. It would also be very close to finishing a second book.

There are social obligations today. There’s a halfway event. I may or may not make it. But at least I have something to shoot for.

What’s inspiring me today? A little lemon-ginseng tea, this Doctor Who word crawl, and this Doctor Who epic soundtrack on endless repeat. Also, maybe regular yoga, because the body is weak and the letter orange, because life is short and should be laughed at.

What’s inspiring you?

NaNoWriMo: Day 10 (74,088)

NaNoWriMo2016I slowed way down yesterday. Way down. Like, I hit the accelerator and was going 60, then I slammed on the brakes at the first light.

At least I was wearing my seat belt.

Yesterday was day 10, 1/3 of the way into the NaNoWriMo challenge. For those of you who are despairing that you still have 2/3’s of the challenge left to go, let me comfort you with knowledge of my distress: I am not done with high word counts until all six books have a first draft. I’m still on the second book. And today I start my newest day job, which will involve 11 hours of being on my feet with no access to a computer anywhere.

Am I still gonna write? Of course.

I’m taking the laptop and I’ll write during lunch. I’m going to write now, at 3:30 am, before I get in the car for my commute.

Because, for me, it’s not about winning NaNoWriMo. I’ve done that. It’s about meeting my personal goals.

So before you go another third through NaNoMonth, figure out what your personal goals are. Do you want the 50k win? More? Less? Maybe you just want to be sure you write every single day? Whatever it is, figure it out before you go any further. Because winning NaNoWriMo is awesome, but making your own personal goals is epic.

Off for my words. You’re on your own now. Don’t blow up the universe before I get back and go thank a service person. You are here because they were there.

NaNoWriMo: Day 5 (45,036) DOUBLE-UP DAY

NaNoWriMo2016It’s #DoubleUpDay for #NaNoWriMo2016… but more on that in a moment. First, the important things.


It’s Day 5 of NaNoWriMo2016 and I still haven’t made what was my ambitious Day 1 goal: 50k. Not only does this mean I haven’t reached my goal, but it means NO PIE! Yes, I will get pie today, but I could have had pie yesterday, and that’s what really matters. Pie. And words, but mostly pie.

So, today is Double-Up Day in NaNoWriMo land. This is supposed to have a two-fold effect: one, you can get double the bling for donation efforts. If you donate $25, you get the $50 prizes. See? If you haven’t donated to NaNoWriMo yet (you don’t have a halo over you because you’re Alistair or Lilith, not Castiel), then this would be a great day to do so.

But it’s also Double Your Words Day. Because I didn’t have enough pressure on this frail “I want to be a real person” body already, NaNo wants me to hit 90,072 words by the end of the day.


No, really.

So, with that sobering thought, I have mainlined caffeine directly into my digestive system, nervous system, limbic system, and solar system. By the end of the day, I expect to be able to levitate near Mount Everest while simultaneously throwing snow balls at the sweaty people in the southern regions of the United States and creating an entire world with just my mind. Not a book world. A world. With physics and stuff.

Which means, as much as I’d like to keep having this charming, one-way exchange with you (why do none of you leave me comments? it’s like not getting a Valentine in class on Day Before Cheap Chocolate Day), I need to go write words that matter.

But you still matter.

Just less than pie. Words! I meant words.

Oh, go write and stop distracting me.

WorkIt Wednesday: Get Up and DO Something

Chess Board - TwitterI’m deep in the guts of revising my publishing schedule, so my WorkIt Wednesday is going to be simple. I don’t want to get stuck in this chair all day; it’s not healthy. But I do want to get this done. So here is the challenge:


For every hour, do five minutes of movement. Stretch, go for a walk, do a quick tidy about the office, or throw in a fast bout of yoga. Do not sit for more than an hour at a time. Use a timer to accomplish this.


Remember that book we’ve been working on together? Let’s plot our schedule from plot to finish. Need a guideline to help you get there? Here’s roughly what I use:

  • Day 1: Idea, outline, researching, rough cover idea
  • Day 45: finish rough draft
  • Day 65: finish first pass edit/ rewrite & send to beta readers
  • Day 95: do second rewrite/ edit
  • Day 115: send to editor
  • Day 135: do third rewrite/ edit
  • Day 145: proofread, finish cover, format
  • Day 166: submit books, pre-release, ARC copies
  • Day 180: (yep, six months later) release book

Your turn! If you’re feeling really brave, share your timeline here. I’d love to see it.


Side note: remember my goal to do 2k a day in run/walk, writing, editing, reading, and eating? Here’s my results:

  • Run/walk: goal of 34k (17 days).  Did 36.7k.  +2700 WIN
  • Writing: goal of 34k (17 days).  Did 12,593. -21,407. Ack.
  • Editing: I didn’t.  I just… failed.
  • Reading: goal of 34k (17 days). Did exactly (or close enough) 34k. WIN
  • Eating: goal of 34k (17 days). I went over, but I need better tracking. That’s on my to do list for today.

I can do better for June. I will do better. Are you doing this with me? How’s it going?

Setting Big Goals (or Big Goalposts)

The Annals of Bobian

Lately I’ve been hearing about this event Reeyal Peeple go to called The Super Bowl. To my disappointment, most don’t attend in person and it has nothing to do with large bowls of ice cream. However, it does have something to do with today’s post: Big Goalposts.

I have been told that this is a game in the Reeyal World and that it sometimes hangs in the balance on kicking a ball through these rather large goalposts. I’ve also been told by my Social Reality Person that if I mention “Wide Right”, I will be looking for a new Social Reality Person. Those goalposts are important.

I don’t have goalposts, but I do have big goals: I’m planning on putting out five books this year.  Book one is out. The Annals of Bobian is a YA humor book about the importance of ice cream in life. There are probably some life lessons, too, but read it for the time-changing aliens.

I digress. I have four more books planned for this year and my Social Reality Person insists she is putting out a book as well and I may have to deal with Reality on my own for a bit. So we’ll say I have five books coming out, one of them vicariously. Really, it’s the same thing.

Will I actually get all five books out and will they all be quality? Honestly, don’t know. This is always the goal, but sometimes Reality and I have a nebulous relationship. What I do know is that last year I had the goal to put out one book and see if I could get in a second. How many books did I publish? One.

If I don’t put up big goals, I won’t reach for big goals. If I do put up big goals, I might fall a little short, but I’ll do more than I would have if I hadn’t had those goals at all.  As long as I don’t fall “Wide Right”, I should have a good year.  So what are your big goals this year?

By the way, I’m apparently hiring a new Social Reality Person. Some people just can’t take a joke.

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: Achieving Your Goals

CaveatReader CropHoleColorRev7B

So, now that you’ve set your goals… you did set your goals, right? Back in this post, I walked you through how to set goals. Hopefully you did your homework, because I’m going to blather on about how to achieve them.

For those who are wondering how I’m qualified to talk on goal-setting and achieving, I read a lot of books. I’m a Figment; we don’t need to eat or sleep much, so I read. I also set a really daunting goal with my last book and achieved it. So… mostly qualified.

My guidance for this section about goal-setting is from Goals! by Brian Tracy. He believes there are twelve steps to set and achieve any goal. Our goal is to publish our NaNo book. Let’s walk through it:

  1. Desire. I know a lot of people say “I want to win at NaNo this year”, but then fail. I’ve failed. Why? Most likely it wasn’t the thing we wanted most. (Occasionally outside stuff interferes, but that still means that outside stuff is what you want most). There’s nothing wrong with wanting other things more; you just have to be aware of it so you can work around it. Priorities. If you want to publish a NaNoWriMo book, nothing is going to stop you (but it might slow you down– and that’s okay).
  2. Belief. If you don’t believe you’re going to publish your book, chances are pretty good you won’t. This is a hard one for Writers and other Artists because we run on self-doubt. You don’t have to beat that to believe you’ll publish. You just have to believe in the next step. Then the next. And so on.
  3. Write it. You should know the power of words. You’re a Writer. Writing down your goal and posting it somewhere prominent will make it more real, more concrete. Keep that goal constantly in front of you.
  4. Starting point. You have to figure where you are coming from. Some of those who do NaNoWriMo have been writing for decades; for some, it’s the first time they’ve really tried to write. Starting points are going to be different for everyone. If you write all the time, then you may just need a quick idea or outline. You’re set. If you haven’t written much, you might need a refresher course in writing, a critique group, extra time, and a Frequent Sipper card from your nearest overpriced coffee chain. Be honest with this step; no one is there to judge you except yourself. You can’t reach your goal if you start at the wrong place.
  5. Motivation. You have to know why you want this. Another thing about NaNo is that it attracts all different sorts of motivations. Some are doing it for bragging rights. Some do it as a bucket list item. Some want to improve as a Writer. Some already are Writers and this helps them crank out the next book. Why are you doing it?
  6. Deadline. You need to set a deadline. Actually, in this case, the deadline has been set for you (thank you, NaNo Royalty). November 30th, come Conductor or high water, you must finish. However, if you want to publish, you’ll need a second deadline. (Really, you’ll need a series of deadlines, but that might be another post.)
  7. Obstacles. Everyone has ’em. Mine is a crazed Conductor chasing me everywhere and messing with my Writer Mojo. Yours may be Work, Lyphe, Family… figure out your obstacles now. Then plan how to overcome them. In The Martian, Mark Watney and NASA often have contingency plans for their contingency plans. You don’t have to be that extreme, but at least have some options. If you get behind, are you going to try to extend your word count every day or catch up in one heroic marathon session? Are you going to start ahead, writing 2000 words per day, so you don’t have to stress over a bad day? Are you planning to skip National Kill Ben Franklin’s Favorite Bird Day (if you’re in the United States) just so you can write?
  8. Skillz. Okay, skills. Spoilsport. What skills or information do you need before you start on this noble goal? It’s getting a little late for taking a writing class before November, but maybe you can do a quick brush-up course. You can start researching publishing avenues. You can make notes on Time Management. I won’t tell the Rabbit you want his job. Maybe you just need information, like how many jurors it takes to push a train off the tracks. Figure out what you need before you start and you’ll go further without mishap.
  9. People. Everyone needs a support center. I have a small, clandestine Writing group in Figmentland. We’re all outlaws, so we rarely meet in public, but we know we’re there for each other. You may have an in-person Writing group or an online group. Either way, get involved. Make some personal connections and find people who will hold you accountable. Some of those people may not even be Writers.
  10. Plan. Now it’s time to put it all together. You have a starting point: starting a book. You have a finishing point: finishing a book (or, for some of us, publishing a book). Now, even you Pantsers, take a moment to plan. Put down the big direction changes. Writing: November 1-30. Goofing off: December 1-31. Editing and Revision: January 1-31. Beta Readers: February 1-28… to March 31. Revision 2: April 1-30.  Editor: May 1-30. Formatting: June 1-30. Publication: July 1.  (Really broad strokes there, but you get the idea.)
  11. Visualize. Remember when we wrote down our Goal? Wait. You didn’t write it down? GO WRITE IT DOWN NOW. Put that goal where you will see it all the time. Put it on your bathroom mirror. Post it next to your bed. Scrawl it on your refrigerator. In fact, put it in all three places. See your goal constantly.
  12. Persevere. Never give up. Ever. Ever. If you “fail” at NaNo this year, keep writing all year. Make it a habit. Next year it will be easier. If you finish NaNo, but never finish the novel, you’re one step closer. Keep taking the next step until you get there and eventually you will be there. The only way you truly fail is if you quit.

Now, go do your homework. The next time I’ll be talking about Writer Platforms. It’s not just a train station.

Publishing a NaNoWriMo Book: Setting Your Goals

CaveatReader CropHoleColorRev7B

We’ve been talking about prepping for NaNoWriMo as if you’re going to publish. Okay, I’ve been prepping. The rest of you have been letting the crickets do the talking, which is really awkward, because they never want to be quiet when I’m trying to concentrate. Hopefully you’re still doing the homework. Let’s talk about setting goals and taking names. Mostly goals. You can take names if you want.

Stop for a moment and pretend you have your perfect dream Writer world. Where are you in five years? How many books do you have out? What are you known for?

Unless you have a vision for where you want this writing thing to take you, you probably should still with writing for fun.

Ooh, sorry. Was that harsh? I’ve been told I can be harsh and I’m trying to change that. But, really, if you don’t have a vision, you at least need a guide dog. Let me be your… wait, no. Scratch that. I’ll guide you. No dogs.

I read a lot of books. It’s fun for me, because I can go in and mess with the Figments or Characters, but sometimes I learn things. I read Goals by Brian Tracy and learned a few things about setting goals.

First, keys to goal setting are SMART (+2… no clever acronym for the last two):

  1. Be specific and detailed (S)
  2. Make them measurable (M)
  3. Be amazing (A)
  4. Be realistic (R)
  5. Be time-limited (T)
  6. Be balanced with the rest of your life
  7. Write it down!

First, be specific and detailed. “I’m going to write five books in the next five years.” Great. Are you writing five children’s books? Five non-fiction? Five laundry lists? For me, it’s “I’m going to write a Figments trilogy in the next five years and start a second trilogy.” I have titles for the first three books and a vague idea of the fourth. The fifth is eluding me; I think the Conductor stole it. Still, it’s pretty specific and detailed. You probably want to be even more detailed before you’re done, but this is a starting point.

Second, make them measurable. The very best goals are broken down into steps.  “I want to have book 2 published by April 2016. To do this, I need to write book 2 by December 2015. I need to edit it by the end of January 2016. I need beta Readers by the end of February 2016. When the beta Readers all run away in terror, I’ll need new beta Readers by…” well, you get the idea. Be able to measure your progress along the way.

Third, reach for the stars with your dreams.  It’s better to reach high and fall a little short than it is to reach short and never get anywhere at all.  If you think you can write one book in a year, dream a little bigger and say you’ll have fifty sales in a year.  That does lead to…

Fourth, keep them realistic. Fifty sales in a year is doable if your book is good, you catch the right audience, and you practice some good marketing techniques. (Don’t ask me about those. I’m just here to pump up your dreams.) Saying you want two million sales in the first year… maybe not so much.

Fifth, be time-limited.  In other words, set deadlines for reaching your goals. If you’re ambitious, set a deadline, then add half-again as much time. If you’re a little more cautious, take one-third of the time off your goal. Either way, don’t set a goal without setting a deadline.

Sixth, balance your goals with the rest of your life. I don’t have a life, so I don’t have to do this much (except for hiding from the Conductor), but most human Writers do. Think about family, job, school, finances, health, community and spiritual aspects before your make a crazy commitment. Don’t give up on your dreams; just make sure they work with the things that fuels your reality.

Finally, write your goals down. Lots of people have lofty goals. I have one goal about flying to the top of a mountaintop and yodeling until an avalanche buries six people. Only six. I’m a Writer. We kill things.  Anyway, I don’t write that goal down, so I forget about it sometimes. In fact, if you want to forget about it, that’s perfectly okay. But if you want to remember a goal, write it down and post it somewhere where you’ll see it often.

So, let’s just talk NaNoWriMo. You want to write a novel. No. You want to write 50,000 words. That’s both specific and measurable. You want to write it all in the 30 days in November. That’s time-limited. If you’ve done NaNo before, maybe you want to write more than this and challenge yourself (be amazing); if you haven’t done NaNo before, shoot for the 50k (realistic). Now, balance that goal with the rest of your life. Don’t quit your job, abandon your family, ruin your health, or kill your finances just to get to the 50k. Make plans to fit those other things into your life.

NOW WRITE IT ALL DOWN.  That’s right. If you don’t want to do your own, there is an official NaNoWriMo one on the website.  Just put your goals in writing.  Now post that puppy where you’ll see it daily. Not a real puppy. Your paper. Puppies are better suited for petting and loving.

Aaaaand you’re set. You have a GOAL. Wait. I have a goal. You need to go set yours.

Let me know how it goes.