Monday, October 29, 2012

NaNoWriMo Agenda

What is something you've done to prepare for NaNoWriMo this year?


Did you  gather frozen food, stuff chocolate in desk drawers, warn the people in your life, or make sure your laundry is done?

My big thing is getting ready to focus. I've only won once before and I want to make sure I don't let things get in the way this time around. I don't have a full time job to get in the way so I have the time. My biggest problem I have right now is I somehow bleed my writing time into my every day life in the evenings. The evenings I would like to reserve for my husband. I think one of the challenges of NaNoWriMo this time is trying to keep that from happening. November is going to be a way to exercise handling writing full time and finding time to do those other things--- laundry, exercising, cooking, and maybe reading. It sounds easy, but as any writer knows, there are distractions. And sometimes distractions are too welcome.

Over the past few months, I've started to utilize the white board pictured above that sits right in front of me as I write this. I updated the writing section so it is ready for next month. Things to do this week is a little more chaotic than usual, but it is expected. The new section I added in red is Today's Goals. I think it is a good way to help me keep focused on the smaller picture than the big one. As a kid, they would give us agenda books to keep track of all our assignments. I think this has become a new version for me.

Google Calendar is where I keep track of the goals I want to refer back to later on. I'll record my word count there and it is my solid place for upcoming events. The board is what I can wipe clean at the end of the week, or the day, with a smile. Tomorrow is always fresh and that is the way I want to treat it.

If you're participated, be sure to add me!

May the odds be ever in your favor!

Natasha

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RTW: Writing Challenges and NaNoWriMo


Today is Road Trip Wednesday! What is that? It is a blog carnival where the contributors of YA Highway post a weekly topic and participants write their responses. You can jump from blog to blog to see each blogger's take on the question. 

Topic of the week:
Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or have you ever? Does having a deadline inspire you?

I've participated in NaNoWriMo several times since 2005. I completed my 50,000 words once during the month, and that project will never see the light of day. And that's okay.  
My first NaNoWriMo was the year I graduated from college. No more papers, assigned reading, or limited views. For five months, I worked on my wedding planning while writing a novel and reading whatever books caught my eye. When November arrived, I knew I needed to build up the word count of my novel so I did the 50,000 word challenge. I didn't reach it that year, but it is a way for me to push myself. NaNoWriMo was the first time I realized how my writing works, and how I work with it. I don't outline very often, and have few ideas when rushing in. Sometimes I can push out a huge word count in a short period of time, but I'm more of a three-month increments kind of writer. 

This led me to participate in the Inkygirl Wordcount Challenge. I decided on 500 words a day and ended up with 20,000 words at the end of the month. What is great about this challenge is it is something that I can use throughout the year and it fits more with how I write.  

This year I do intend on finishing a second novel this year. I've been revising KIN for three months and I think it is time to do a little writing again. I intend to sit down and go over some research for what I'm thinking for my next project. There is a great post over at Writer Unboxed about ways to prepare for the challenge and don't forget to sign up for YA Highway's inspiring e-mails! It feels great to have people reaching out to help each other and to inspire each other in the writing community. It is one of the main reasons why I keep coming back.


So feel free to add me and let's encourage each other to reach our goals! 

Are there any other writing challenges you like to participate in?


Natasha

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Words to My 15 Year Old Self

What words would you share with your younger self?

It is International Day of the Girl, and CNN gathered quotes from various woman about advice they would give to their 15 year old self. My favorite of these was from Her Majesty Queen Rania Al Abdullah of Jordan, "People do things differently, and that's ok! Learn from those who walked the road before you, but carve your own path. So be different, explore the twists and turns on your own way." Maybe her words don't seem like the others since they seem more general and open than the others.

I've read lots of advice people would say to their younger selves, and I never wanted to do it. It was too hard reflecting on my past. My husband and I joke about giving our younger selves high fives because of how amazing our life has become. What would I have done differently if I knew what life had in store for me? Would I have worried or cared less about the things in my life? It wasn't until this weekend, when I read The Perks of Being a Wallflower where I thought to myself, "What would my life have been like if I read this book in high school?" It wasn't until the very end, when I read the words below, where I thought of my pile of journals filled with words from someone who doesn't feel like me any longer. The girl left behind.

“It's like when my doctor told me the story of these two brothers whose dad was a bad alcoholic. One brother grew up to be a successful carpenter and never drank. The other brother ended up being a drinker as bad as his dad was. When they asked the first brother why he didn't drink, he said that after he saw what it did to his father, he could never bring himself to even try it. When they asked the other brother, he said that he guessed he learned how to drink on his father's knee. So, I guess we are who we are for a lot of reasons. And maybe we'll never know most of them. But even if we don't have the power to choose where we come from, we can still choose where we go from there. We can still do things. And we can try to feel okay about them.” 
 Stephen ChboskyThe Perks of Being a Wallflower

And I asked myself,  "Am I okay with them? Or does it matter?" My life is the way it is because I decided not to drink, smoke, or do drugs. I dived into geeky pursuits and it took me on adventures. I chose my path, and I don't regret it. So what would I tell my younger self? I decided to keep it open and general.

Keep walking down your own path. Rocky or smooth, blizzards or rainbows close or far away, it is yours.

Natasha

Monday, October 8, 2012

The Heroine's September 2012 Reads

I didn't read a lot in September. I'm in the revision process with KIN and family came to visit us so we had a week of "staycation" mixed in there. So here are my reads! I'm hoping there will be a nice pile of additions next months. Once I'm finished with my revision, my reward is taking a few days to catch up on fun reading before hopping into my next project. Not sure if it will involve getting ready for NaNoWriMo or jumping into another project revision.

September Reads! 
The Diviners by Libba Bray
One of the reasons I didn't read that many books is the thickness of this book! And it isn't a bad thing. You know how you don't want a book to end? This is one of them since it filled with so many details of a different time mixed creepiness and a mystery. I couldn't have asked for a better fall book and totally recommend it as a read for October. I was able to snag an ARC at ALA from the author and took a look at the hardcover at a convention and bookstore this weekend. I weighed it in my hands, and when I opened it, it was more fabulous with the chapter illustrations and "newspaper clipping" from an event featured in the book. I'm thinking I might have to pass along my signed ARC to a school and buy the book in hardcover--- that is how much I enjoyed it!

Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
This author is one of my favorites and I was looking forward to her latest YA series. I loved Wildwood Dancing and Cybele's Secret so very much, especially the artwork. This book is much quieter than her others, but it is the first in a trilogy. Marillier writes relationships in such a subtle and beautiful way by building them slowly after a strong connection. She doesn't fail doing it again in this book. It is the start of a journey, and I'm looking forward to more action in the next installments. Her next book is the sixth installment of her first adult Sevenwaters series, Flame of Sevenwaters, comes out in November.

Currently Reading:
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
I love her unicorn killer series and I finally bought this book. So very excited to read this!

What books are you planning on reading this fall?

Natasha

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

RTW: Seasonal Writing


Today is Road Trip Wednesday! What is that? It is a blog carnival where the contributors of YA Highway post a weekly topic and participants write their responses. You can jump from blog to blog to see each blogger's take on the question. 

Topic of the week:
How does your writing (place, time, inspiration) change with the seasons?

I lived in North Dakota for the first thirty years of my life and the seasons there are quite entertaining. They say if you don't like the weather, wait five minutes. The temperature are quite extreme going as far as 40 below zero in the winter and up to 100 degrees in the summer. Blizzards in the winter, floods in the spring, tornadoes in the summer and fall. It isn't all weather (the number one conversation piece in the region). There is also the fluffy pieces of snow on winter days, the smell of fall during the turning of leaves, rainbows after a spring rain, and summer days by the lake. Those are the things that inspire my writing when I need details.

Summer was the busy time and harder to write since we don't get a lot of time outside. It was also a time that I would love taking a notebook to rest in my lap while sitting in the grass or while on walks. On the days that weren't scorching or freezing, of course.

Winter I would snuggle on the couch with the view of the snow and the lamplight outside our window to do the same thing. Winter was the time to keep me inside and brought me closer to my characters.

We moved to San Diego six months ago, and the season hasn't changed. People tend to complain about it, or that it is too hot or cold (in which I laugh). It hasn't rained very much and lots of sun. I find myself inspired in the different plants, the beach, the color of the sky, the city lights. I'm able to work full time at my writing so I'm more dedicated. I'm not sure how this weather and different seasonal changes will affect me, but I know there is beauty, extremes, and the in-between. Very much like writing.

Natasha

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