writing

NaNoWriMo 2021

It’s NaNoWriMo time again.

And again, I am participating without the goal of pushing to actually reach the 50,000 word mark. Even so, I’ve started off even slower than I’d hoped. I have so far averaged about 300 words a day these first couple days. So I will push a little because I’d like to see a few 1000 or more word days even if that’s not a pace I can maintain. My other personal goal is to get some writing done every day, and so far so good on that front and really, the only reason those 300 words got written the last couple days.

So any NaNoWriMo-ers out there, I’m karabu on the website if you want to be buddies. I won’t be hard to beat, so I’ll make you look good.

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NaNoWriMo Time Again

This is where I would usually post a widget from the NaNoWriMo website that would show my daily word count or a color coded calendar or something like that. But the website is new and I’m not having any luck finding widgets over there right now. If I track one down I’ll post it later.

Today was a rough day at work, so I’ve gotten about 250 words written today and I’m nodding off, and I need to be up early again tomorrow for work. So I’m off to an amazing start! (At least I’m started).

Happy writing folks!

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Not going to make it

I’m not going to win NaNoWriMo again this year. I had a very solid start, I thought this would be my year, but then life came along and expected me to do things other than write. I was nodding off at my computer, not hitting my words for the day, and as this state of affairs wore on, the finish line not getting any closer, I knew I had too much to make up to be able to get there.

Now, the wonderful thing about NaNoWriMo, and the reason I keep doing it year after year, after year despite losing almost always, is that even thought I’m going to ‘lose’, I have 28,453 words written as of today. I hope to at least get over 30,000 by the end. My normal monthly word count is probably 1/10th of that. That’s nothing to be upset about.

From pushing myself to write more each day, I’ve learned what a comfortable amount of writing is for me in a sitting, and in a day, and it is much more than I’ve been doing prior to NaNo. I’ll report in in another month, but I have a new system I’m going to try out for myself to make my writing more consistent based on what I’ve discovered about my process and what I think works for me and what does not.

Basically, I think daily, or at least almost every day daily writing does work better for me than letting days and days go by with nothing. I get more excited about my story, it stays in my head, and new ideas pop up when it stays in my head. However, forcing myself to write while exhausted, or drained from a hectic day produces stupid writing that is also tired and dull. So while I need to push myself, I need to stop short of force.

That’s how NaNo went for me.

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NaNoWriMoing with yWriter for PC and Android

I wrote before about my little Samsung laptop that is probably eight years old now is slowing down. It takes so long to power on lately, I was concerned it was getting ready to die. Since NaNoWriMo is upon me, I wanted to make sure I had a reliable way to write when I’m not at home. Buying a new, or even a used replacement laptop was a bigger expense than I could make right now, so I bought a bluetooth keyboard and planned to use it with my phone.
I originally thought I would type in Google Docs because I know I can use that on both my desktop at home, and on my phone, but before November began, I decided to just research if there might be a better option. I found yWriter, and decided to give that a try.
I’m glad I played around with both the PC and android app versions of yWriter in advance of NaNoWriMo starting because it took me a few days to figure out how to sync the two versions. Being able to write on my phone while out, then continue on my PC when I was home was key to my whole plan of living without my laptop, so it was the most important feature to me.
yWriter still actually does (or can, there are other methods too) use Google docs to sync between devices. Both the PC version and the android app save to Google docs. They do so in slightly different ways, and since I’m not super tech savvy, it took me a little while to figure out how to get them to do so. Now that I have, however, it works great.
There are lots of bells and whistles in yWriter that I’m not using. There are outlining tools, and scene breakdowns, and character lists, etc. I already had my outline ready to go for November, and didn’t want the extra work of putting it all into yWriter, but looking around in the program, there are some things I’m looking forward to trying out with other books down the road.
Even better, the PC version of yWriter is free, and the android app only cost $4.99. So far, I have to say it was money well spent.

Today on our weekly library trip, my kids finished looking for books and found me typing away on my phone with my snazzy new keyboard and both commented how ‘cool’ the setup was. Considering all the tech these kids have grown up with, I took that as a huge compliment.  
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NaNoWriMoing with my New Bluetooth Keyboard and my Phone

I think I mentioned in my last post that my laptop was dying, and instead of spending a lot of money I don’t have to buy a new one, I was just going to write on my phone.

This is the bluetooth keyboard I got, because it had great reviews and was super affordable. I bought the white one because it was a dollar cheaper at the time, and I don’t care about color. It looks like both the black and white keyboards are the same price now though.

So far it’s wonderful. It’s actually easier to use out and about than my tiny laptop was. I’m trying to write on my lunch breaks, or when the kids are in a class or something. Before, if I was sitting in the car trying to write, it was scrunched and uncomfortable because the open screen of the laptop hit the steering wheel, so I had to keep the keyboard uncomfortably close to my body to have it open at all.
With my new bluetooth keyboard, I put my phone in the hands free holder on my dash, and only the keyboard itself is in my lap, so I have more freedom to adjust it to a nice position.

The keyboard is very light. Probably less than a third the weight of my laptop, and I had one of those tiny laptops – it was no more than 10 inches wide. So carrying it around in my bag is much nicer.

There were other keyboards that came with a case, and I was a little worried that this one didn’t have one as I know it would be in my bag a lot and I wanted it protected. I figured I’d sew a little quilted pouch for it to live in. With NaNoWriMo in full swing I don’t have a lot of free time for sewing, so I’ve just been keeping the keyboard in the little box it came in and that has worked dandy. The box just fits the keyboard so there isn’t a lot of other space or padding or anything to take up more room. Eventually I’d still like to make it a cute quilted bag, but this will work for November.

I’m not exactly a tech person. I love tech, but I’m not especially good at it, and I had this keyboard synced to my phone and up and running on the first try. I was a little confused because the power light doesn’t stay on, it just flashes when you first turn it on, then it goes out again. I thought that meant it wasn’t still on, or my batteries were bad or something, but it’s just they way it’s supposed to work to conserve batteries. Types just fine with no light on.

So if you are in a similar position of not wanting to invest in a new laptop, but wanting a portable way to write, I highly recommend this system of using a bluetooth keyboard with your phone. I also bought the yWriter app to write with on my phone, and I’ll talk about how that part is going in my next post, but there are other online word processors for you to pick from if you’d rather.

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NanoWriMo 2017 starting in 2 days

I’m NaNoWriMo-ing again this year. National Novel Writing Month for those unfamiliar with the term) I haven’t won in a very long time, and I really, REALLY want to win this year. Yet I’m no less overwhelmed and overscheduled than I usually am, so we’ll see how things go.

This year I’m writing with an outline. As my novel revisions are going very well so far, my NaNo novel will be the sequel to that one. The story so far is fresh in my mind, and I’m excited to continue it. I already know the characters fairly well (although new characters will be introduced). So all this is to my benefit I think, as far as quick word counts go.

Logistically, I’m also trying some new things. My laptop has been slowly dying for awhile now. It takes ages to power on, an off, and is just old and sad. Since I’m too broke to just go get a new laptop, and I have a wonderful pocket computer anyway (aka a smart phone) I decided to get a bluetooth keyboard and write on my phone.

I’m trying out the program yWriter, but so far can’t quite figure out how to use it both on my phone and on my desktop. It seems like there is something to do with saving to Google Drive, but I can’t figure out how to do that yet. So I have two days to get my learning curve finished with this program, or I guess I’ll just use Google docs.

Wish me luck!

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Stopping C25K, Starting Camp NaNoWriMo

Just because it’s become sort a running (pun intended) gag to post about C25K and NaNoWriMo in the same post – here we go:

I’ve recovered enough from my cold to breathe well enough to start C25K (Couch to 5K) back up again – but – I’m having other symptoms that make jogging very uncomfortable. I have another doctor appointment to find out more specifically what’s going on, but in the meanwhile I will report that I’m apparently having further complications to my earlier colectomy and illeostomy reversal surgeries. There is very likely another surgery in my future. While I am not technically restricted by my doctors from running, it doesn’t feel good, so I’m going to stick with walking and biking for now. There will more to report on this front soon I’m sure.

Camp NaNoWriMo started at the beginning of April. The difference between the camps and the official November event is that for the camps (in April, and I think July?) you set your own word count goal, or you can set a different type of goal, like for editing or some-such.  I’ve been preoccupied with taxes and lots of doctor appointments so I’ve written almost nothing toward the goal of 12,000 words I’ve set for myself. This week is technically spring break for our charter so I hope I can get in extra writing time since the girls will not need me for teaching as much. However, we still have a lot of group events and outside classes that will take up time, so I’m not going to get too excited about how much free time I’ll end up with.

There we are.

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NaNoWriMo failure. Again.

I’m not going to make my word count for NaNoWriMo. I’m disappointed, but this has been visible in the distance for awhile now. I just couldn’t keep up. I started out so strong, but I couldn’t keep going on a sleep deficit and I got sick, and couldn’t kick it – it kept coming back. Still, I know it was doable, I just made a choice not to sacrifice to the level I would have needed to to hit the 50,000. And I’m good with that choice still.
While I don’t have as many words as I might like, I’m very happy with the words I have. At month’s end (I am going to keep writing until the end even if I can’t hit my words) I will switch gears to revising the previous book. I’ve been doing a lot of exercises on character, and I think I can use what I’ve learned to help significantly in the revision process.
The plus side of not pushing myself into burnout is that nearing the end of November I’m still excited about writing and my story, and not sick to death of it. I’m calling it a win. Not an official NaNoWriMo type win, but a win in my progress and growth as a writer.

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2016

This is the first year I’m heading into NaNoWriMo with an outline. In the past I usually knew the premise and a few characters from the story I planned to write, but not much more than that. I’ve been experimenting with outlining recently, and I think it is working for me.

This NaNo novel will be a sequel to the one I finished up a couple months ago and am now revising. The timing worked out well for me, which is unusual. I generally suck at timing.

So, if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year and need a writing buddy – I’m karabu on the NaNoWriMo site. Let’s go!