Monday November 6

Diary entry, just an update on life, things, whatnot.

November 6

The view from my office today around 4pm

This morning the sun came up at 8:57am and it set at 4:11pm. The high was in the low twenties while the low is in the single digits.

So NaNoWriMo started. I didn’t get the surge of creativity on November first like I’d hoped. I managed to write a few hundred words, and immediately got a monster headache.

Haven’t touched it since.

Like so many things, I like the idea of having written, but not so much the actual work of writing. I haven’t been able to have fun writing in a long time. I was hoping that NaNoWriMo and my crafty composition notebooks would at least make me want to write, but I honestly haven’t wanted to write in a long time.

Probably I picked the wrong story for NaNoWriMo. And probably I should have just tried typing instead of writing longhand. And I probably should have remembered the lesson from last year–if a thing is supposed to be fun, but there’s a time limit and/or daily goal, I’m not going to do it.

I know I could write 50k words in 30 days. But trying to write 50k in 30 days brings out my stubborn, toddler brain that only knows how to say NOPE.

Preptober 2017

nanowrimo crest

National Novel Writing Month starts November 1, tomorrow. If you too are attempting to write 50,000+ words in the month of November, feel free to add me as a writing buddy. My username is kristykristymckinnon. Last year was my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, and I did not win. May as well try again, right?

This year I’m going to be writing a brand new novel. If I had to pigeon-hole it into a category I’d call it a supernatural mystery. Basically my heroine hears things and accidentally figures out that she’s hearing other people’s thoughts. One night she hears someone plotting a murder, and later sees a story on the news about a famous person who supposedly committed suicide via the same method as the murder plot she overheard. Did I mention that my heroine is a tired, divorced grocery store clerk? Cue the moral struggle/sleuthing theme music!

That’s a thing, right?

Because my job requires me to sit and stare at a computer screen all day, I have a hard time making myself sit and stare at my personal computer after work. In an effort to give myself every opportunity to win NaNoWriMo, I decided to handwrite my novel this year. This way it will be portable, I’ll get to practice my handwriting, I won’t be tempted to rewrite the same sentence over and over, and I have an excuse to buy new pens and notebooks!

So I picked up a few cheap composition notebooks. I tore the shiny paper off the covers to expose the brown paper. This makes it easier to use glue. Using double stick tape and glue, I attached thick cardboard to the covers to make them into hardcover notebooks since I’ll likely do most of my writing sitting on the couch. In hindsight, I should have just spent a few extra bucks to buy hardcover composition notebooks. Oh well, live and learn.

Attached cardboard

I attached a piece wide elastic to the back cover of each to make a pen loop. Then I wrapped the notebooks in sherpa. My thinking was that it would make the books soft to the touch, which would make me want to hold them. But I’m probably going to regret this decision. The sherpa is shedding worse than my kitties, and now my kitties think the notebooks are cat toys.

Finished

Finally, I glued some pretty paper into the front and back for a flyleaf.

Flyleaf

Flyleaf with penloop

See the pen loop?

Almost all of the supplies came from Michaels, and the rest was just stuff I had in my stash.

Acquiring the materials was the fun part. Now comes the work.

I have a general idea of the plot, but I haven’t done any real planning or developing of my story. I want to have the entire story fleshed out and divided into thirty parts before I start so that I’ll know exactly what I need to write each day. Alas, I have been procrastinating.

Writing should be fun, especially the plotting stuff. There aren’t any rules. You get to make up and choose everything. If you don’t like the way something turns out, you can change it to whatever you want.

But to date I’ve had more fun daydreaming about potential cover art and my old abandoned scifi novel. Drat.

But I did make this:

Word count countdown

See? Every time I cross a word threshold I get to color in a box! Hooray for visual goals!

I don’t have to work tomorrow, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that in the morning I’ll feel a surge of creativity, finish drafting the outline, and still hit my 1,667+ word goal. It could happen.

Monday October 16

Weekly check in, overview of last week and plans for next week.

October 16

The view from my office at 5pm, actively snowing.

The sun came up at 8:48am this morning and set at 6:23pm. The high was predicted at 33 with a low of 24. We had some sun this morning, but it has been snowing steadily since about 4pm.

LAST WEEK

Between the weather changing, overtime, and Inktober, I spent a lot of time sitting down last week.

We rewatched Passengers, Liar Liar, The Goonies, and the first season of the animated Spawn series. We also binge watched Stranger Things again so it will be fresh in our brains when season two starts next week.

And then there’s this…

2bg 6

Season six of 2 Broke Girls (Amazon affiliate link). I loved the first season of this show, and I enjoyed season two. Season three was just okay, but it’s been downhill ever since. The show has finally been canceled, so season six is the last. Because I adore Kat Dennings, I’m forcing myself to watch the entire series. I got season six last week and it’s been a painful slog to get through all these episodes. Today I’m just over half way through, but I know if I don’t finish the thing it will bug me. If I didn’t love that first season so much I wouldn’t bother, but it’s like I have to know the thing is dead before I can bury it and move on, you know?

THIS WEEK

I’m putting in twenty hours of overtime this week. Between work, sleep and Inktober, I’ll blink and it will be Saturday again.

Bye!

Monday October 2

Just an overview of last week, my plans for this week, and some talk about living in Fairbanks, Alaska, movies, books, and maybe the occasional home improvement project. Read at your own risk.

October2

View from my office window at 5pm

This morning the sun came up at 8:07am and it will set at 7:13pm. The high temperature was in the upper 40’s with a low in the upper 30’s. Mostly cloudy, little bit of wind.

Last Week

Having finished most of this year’s home improvement projects, Jason and I have been spending more time crafting on the couch with a movie playing in the background. Last week we watched The Shawshank Redemption and Poltergeist.

Piedatre 2

We rented Predator 2 (Amazon affiliate link) from Blockbuster. I hadn’t seen the movie since it came out, and I was curious to see Bill Paxton’s part. (Still cannot believe he’s gone.) We were halfway through when the disc stopped. That’s one drawback to renting physical media–it gets pretty beat up! But we figured we’d seen enough anyway.

My two cents: the original Predator is a masterpiece; the extended cut of Alien Vs Predator is a decent movie; and Predators was pretty good, too. I have no love for the other sequels, and I have no interest in Shane Black’s upcoming version.

georgians interplanetary

Saturday night we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. Sometimes you just want to enjoy a fun, entertaining movie, right?

Sunday was our 12 year wedding anniversary. We’re still in the cute phase.

IMG_1034

As a treat we went to see It, you know, the one with the clown?

them

I’m terrified of clowns, but this version of Pennywise didn’t bother me at all. Maybe it was because we were in a crowded theater with smelly people and whispering kids, but I spent most of that movie bored. Bummer.

Afterwards we splurged on some more fun crafting stuff from Michaels, then did our best to relax the rest of the night.

 

This Week

We’re both participating in Inktober this year. That’s the one where you take the daily prompts listed on @Inktober and complete an ink drawing every day. Check out my Instagram if you want to giggle at me.

I’ve also started doing “preptober,” for NaNoWriMo next month. I plan to devote a separate post to preptober.

But right now, I’m going to cut this short. Today has been a heart-wrenching day, and I want to hold Jason’s hand and snuggle with my cats. Please be safe and considerate, wherever you are.

Bye.

About NaNoWriMo…

If I have to do something, I don’t want to do it. Doesn’t matter if it’s something I usually enjoy doing or if it’s a chore. Deadlines are a heavy weight that keep me camped on the couch doing anything but the thing I should be doing.

And so it’s day 17, and I’m still at 5,537 words. Only 44,463 words to go!

Technically reaching that 50,000 word goal is still doable, but I would make myself sick, miserable, and grouchy if I vomit-typed that many words in that short of time.

I’m still working on the story. My little notebook (with a fancy new spiral spine thanks to Office Depot [never buying a glue-bound notebook again]) is all decked out with backstories and character sketches and ideas.

nanowrimo-bolt

My daily total tracker. I planned to use red if I was below goal, and green when I exceeded the goal. The green colored pencil has become dusty. (Check out my new Bolt G2 pen from Karas Kustoms! Just got it today and I’m in love. Maybe if I was hand writing my book I’d be more willing to bust out those 40k+ words in a week and a half…)

But the next few months are going to be pretty dang stressful for me and I need to give myself plenty of downtime to do whatever will relax my brain.

So, NaNoWriMo, maybe next year. xox

Another NaNoWriMo Update

If you want to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you divide 50k by 30 and get 1,667 words written each day. And if you’re hitting the 1,667 daily goal, by day nine (today) you should have 15,003 words.

I’ve been sitting at 3,473 words for a couple of days now.

I could list many excuses as to why I’m not keeping up with my writing, but suffice to say, life happens. Writing is a great distraction, but lately my brain seems to prefer being distracted by reading, knitting, and drawing mandalas.

But don’t count me out just yet. The goal is still achievable. I just need to rally.

Buffering…

Quick NaNoWriMo Update

Day 3 of NaNoWriMo, and my word count is where it should have been yesterday morning.

Drat.

I didn’t plan well enough. I have a very basic outline: A to B to C, etc. I’m trying to segue into B right now, but I’ve written myself into a corner.

Should I tell the story from multiple points of view?

Or should I stay focused on my heroine and hope for the best?

The problem is, she’s basically a bystander that gets thrown into the story. But to set the story up will take more than she could possibly know during A. So, do I keep the reader in the dark and hope they don’t get bored, or do I make her a Mary Sue who can figure out what’s going on and/or magically get all of the players to confide in her? Or do I need to simply bounce around to different characters, major and minor, to paint the bigger picture?

Yep. Need more planning.

mandala

Spacing out while drawing a mandala is my favorite way to plot. If you’re interested, I use this circular graphing paper and these pens. Happy plotting and writing, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2016

National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, happens every November. The challenge is to start a novel on November 1 and write 50,000 words by November 30. There’s a website with a supportive community, forums, locally hosted write-in events, and swag to buy. If you hit the target, you’re considered a winner and for that you get bragging rights.

Ever since I heard about NaNoWriMo, I’ve made annual excuses as to why I couldn’t possibly participate. This year was shaping up to be no different.

Excuse #1: I need to finish editing that book I already wrote.

Excuse #2: I need to spend my free time preparing for the pending move.

Excuse #3: I…need to…um…

But the fact is, I haven’t touched my old book in months, and there’s not much more I can do to prepare for the move short of packing all the things, but since the move is still a few months away there’s only so much packing I can do. And honestly, I could use the distraction.

So I grabbed my trusty notebook full of book ideas and picked my favorite.

book-ideas

Any time I have an epiphany or an idea for a story, I jot it down in this notebook. I love this little book even though it’s pretty darn impractical. It has stone paper, which means it’s made of limestone and resin. It feels incredible and is virtually impossible to tear. But it’s also nearly impossible to write on. Fountain pen ink puddles on the surface. It will dry eventually, but the one and only time I used my fountain pen in this book I had to leave it open overnight to dry. Ballpoint pens don’t like to work on it either, and they etch the letters into the paper in addition to ink. Fortunately I also love felt tip pens, and they work on this paper no problem.

Idea chosen, I started to prepare. That meant picking out a blank notebook (my favorite part).

nanowrimo-notebook

This is one of those Denik notebooks. They have a lot of fun covers and a portion of the profits goes to schools. Unfortunately the binding is pretty awful. It won’t lay flat, and it will barely stay open. I have to use an alligator clip to keep it open to the page I want.

Anyway, I rewrote my initial idea on the front page. Then I made a list of characters and named them. My book takes place on a cruise ship, a submarine, and an island, so I gave each location a page and did some research on each so I would have some idea of what I’m talking about. And then I came up with a rough outline for the story.

I added a brainstorming page, for all those times when I get ideas for the story and need somewhere to jot them down. I have a page filled with questions that will need answered. And I’ve started some character sketches.

I numbered 30 pages with the intention of putting 1/30th of the outline on each page. I thought that way I would have a set number of scenes to write each day. But then I remembered that sometimes I get into a rhythm and will write for hours. If I got “ahead” on my outline, my procrastinating brain would take that as an excuse to take a few days off. Don’t want that! Instead I’ll use those pages to summarize each day what parts of the story I wrote. Then I can refer to it the next day rather than rereading what I wrote which would lead to compulsive editing.

nanowrimo-tracker

I plugged this graph into my bullet journal so I can keep track of how I’m doing word-count wise. To hit 50,000 words, you should average 1,667 words per day. But I’m not going to cling too closely to that. If I hit 1,667 and still feel like writing, I’m going to keep writing. Fifty-thousand words doesn’t make for a very long book, and I want to actually finish the story by the end of the month. I want to prove to myself that I can write a book quickly.

My last book (which I’ll talk about in a different post) took me three years to write just the rough draft. I’ve now been in editing mode for more than a year. That’s pretty discouraging. If I can crank out this rough draft in thirty days, I might start to feel like a writer again.