NaNoWriMo: Last Day. You Can Do It.

In 2010, I did NaNo, but I also had a big Thanksgiving trip planned to California’s Central coast. It was an amazing trip, but needless to say, I barely got any writing done.

Before I left I had about 39,000 words. When I returned, I had about 40,000. I was pretty pleased with that, truth be told, but I wanted more. I really wanted to finish.

So I did. On the 30th, I had nothing planned, so…

Eight hours.

10,000 words.


It was a great feeling to get that done.

You can too.

Once more into the breach!

Literacy and Music: An IndieGoGo Call to Arms!

Taking a break from NaNoWriMo posts to tell you all about a fabulous and important project over at IndieGoGo!

A few years back I was Curriculum Manager at LA County’s Music Center Education department and had a chance to work with Beth Sussman, a Juilliard-trained classical pianist and teaching artist. She’s done a lot of real, in-classroom work and research on literacy and how music and rhythm can improve reading skills. She wanted to figure out a way to make that learning fun and accessible to all. And so she came up with:


Joppity is awesome. Alongside her husband – Emmy nominated writer/director Bill Freiberger of Pee-Wee’s Playhouse, Sonic Boom, The Simpsons etc. – and actor Josh Sussman (no relation!) of Glee and Wizards of Waverly place – Beth has created a delightfully animated, internet-based tool that will help kids learn to read faster and easier.

And it will be available for free.

As writers, we need readers! And we need good readers – the sooner, the better. If you can spare $5 or more dollars for something like that, please head over to the link above and see what it’s all about. Then give. And spread the word! They are in the home stretch and need your help.

Thank you!

NaNoWriMo: Halfway home. Stuck yet??

Hi, everybody! Sorry I dropped off the map. Between NaNo and the nice little boost of editing and non-profit work you’ve been sending my way (many thanks to you all!), I’ve been busy. I suppose that as soon as I committed to NaNo and started running the sale on non-profit consulting, that work would ensue… but I have room for more! Please contact me today to get some great deals on editing. I am super-fun to work with, if I do say so myself. And as I recall, I promised you all a NaNo editing special. That’s still coming, I just needed to put it off a bit. Look for it around Thanksgiving.

End PSA. On with the post!

Today is the end of the first half of NaNoWriMo. Dun-dun-dunnnnn!

Hit the doldrums yet?! I hope not. But if you did, here’s a few more ideas to get you going again:

  • Write from a different/new character viewpoint. New blood = new story.
  • Do something random. Add a flock of menacing ducks. An angry bank teller. Have an alien invasion at the mall. Make all the zombies start getting better. You know… weird stuff.
  • Talk out your story situation with friends or family. Have them give you random ideas for new conflict and then draw one from a hat.

Or maybe this is you: “I missed three days, and am waaaay behind. Help!”

  • Don’t panic.
  • Worry even less about typos.
  • Worry even less about the story making sense – as long as you can keep it going in a good/fun direction.
  • Make sure that you end your writing day in the middle of a scene rather than completing it. That way you know what you are going to write right off the bat next session, and it will be easier to get going.
  • Remove yourself from your normal situations. For example: Use an app that counts words, but isn’t one that you typically use or go outside or to a cafe to write.
  • Set up a reward system. Make it good. What are your favorite little things in life? Do that for yourself.
  • A couple of cheapies, but goodies: stretch descriptions and conversations. Make characters wax eloquent about otherwise boring details in a fun way. Describe every hair on the back of the murderous cat that is the villain of your sci-fi, alternate history.

Whatever you have to do to get that word count! And that brings up the question: what are YOU doing to keep yourself going? Share in the comments! You might help someone achieve their NaNo goal today.

Keep going, everybody! You can do it! Have a blast.

I’ll try to post sooner rather than later, but I’ll not make any specific promises. And please send me some more work! 🙂

It’s Four Days into NaNo. How are you doing??

Hopefully better than me! I started day one like gangbusters, but fell off on day two. Too much outside non-NaNo life intruded. This is all too typical of NaNo. Day two can be tough: the shine is already off and many folks think: Wait. I have to do all that AGAIN?

Yes, you do, but it’ll be alright. Here’s some things that you may be telling yourself already and some tips to get through them. Because you’re so very wrong about what you’re telling yourself!

I’ll never be able stick to it.

Don’t say that. Of course you will! Some days will be better than others and some days will be… awful. Just know that tomorrow is another day. And make sure that you have a good support system in place so people can kindly shame you into continuing when you think you’re ready to give up. Laugh at yourself. Writing a novel in one month is crazy funny. And don’t forget: crazy fun. It’s supposed to be fun!

I’m Terrified of the Blank Page.

Don’t worry. No one is judging you, aside from – most likely – you. Put that voice aside and get creating. You don’t have to be William Faulkner or Stephen King right off the bat. Just be you. The world already has plenty of Faulkner and King; it needs more YOU. Put something on the page or screen and then put something else. Don’t stop. Just write. BICHOK it. That’s “Butt In Chair; Hands On Keyboard.” Go. No judgement allowed.

I’m still stuck. Any more advice, brainiac?

  • If you’re going to worry about quality anyway, try this: deliberately set out to write something you hate or is bad, as long as it’s within the context of your story. The trick is this: write the best nonsensical crap you can. Pulitzer crap. Once the juices are flowing again, you’ll just write your story.
  • Try writing about the noises you hear outside or in the office wherever you are.
  • Type what you’re feeling about being anxious and then put it into a character. Make sure that they overcome some part of their issues before the end of the scene.
  • Ask a random passersby for an idea on setting or character quirk or bad-guy doomsday scenario. Then use it verbatim. With permission.

Whew. I’m going to take my own advice here and get back to work!

What are you doing to get through your early NaNo roadblocks? Or what are you doing that’s allowed you to avoid them? Please share in the comments!