Friday, November 28, 2014

I SURVIVED NANOWRIMO

As of 2:40pm today, I am officially a National Novel Writing Month Winner!

It was a long month of grueling hours in front of the computer screen, but after everything I made it through unscathed, and with 50,000 words to show for it. I'll admit it: I'm proud of myself. I wrote (part of) a book. Although my manuscript is far from done, I completed the challenge, and hopefully I'll keep on writing without the motivation of must write 50k!

The goal helped a lot. The idea that I HAVE TO WRITE 50K IN 30 DAYS kept me from procrastinating or putting aside ideas because I thought they weren't good enough. Which means there's a lot of rambling sentences and unnecessary scenes dumped onto those pages, but that's what the editing process is for, right?

In conclusion, if you are doing NaNoWriMo, don't give up just because it ends in two days. Keep writing. Stay up all night. Fall asleep in the middle of dinner. WHATEVER IT TAKES. And even if you don't make it, at least you worked hard and have part of a book to show for it. Keep going, even after November has ended. That's a direct order from me to you.

Good luck and good writing!

(PS. I got this awesome winner's certificate, which I'm going to force you to appreciate.)
(PPS. Happy Thanksgiving)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

On Being Cold (and Staying Warm)


I think I am secretly a reptile. Not because I have scales or four legs, but because I'm 93.07% sure I'm cold blooded.

I get cold way too easily. If I'm swimming and the water is anywhere below seventy-five degrees (I estimated there), I'm left with my teeth chattering uncontrollably and my lips a very unnatural shade of purple. In the winter, I'm not one of those girls who you'll see wearing a thin jacket with no gloves or hat. I'm the one with the big coat and the neckwarmer that leaves only my eyes exposed, the puffy mittens, and the fat boots. Trust me, it'll be the fashion in oh, I don't know, twenty-thousand years. I'm a trendsetter.

Anyway, I thought I'd write up some tips for any fellow reptiles out there who need some help staying warm as the temperature drops.

1. Weekends are for comfort. During the school week you might need to stay on top of your fashion game, but come Friday evening you can strip off the jeans and thin tops and opt for the warm, comfy choice. Nobody's going to know if you laze around in your room wearing sweatpants and baggy sweatshirts. It'll be your little secret.

2. Drink ample amounts of cocoa. There's nothing wrong with guzzling down a gallon of hot chocolate to keep your insides toasty. Heck, bring some to school in a trendy travel mug if you can. If necessary, stop by a local cafe after school (or, okay, Starbucks), and treat yourself to a mug of cocoa. There. That's better.

3. Never leave the palace that is your bed. Seriously. If you can stay beneath the warmth of your comforter all day, do it. There's nothing wrong with living in your pajama paradise. As long as you have a stash of chocolate and a good book, you'll be fine. Trust me on this one.

4. Wear layers. You might not want to cover your cute top with a sweatshirt, but you can layer underneath to keep warm. Wear a cami if that helps. And I know how dorky this sounds, but if you're walking to school and it's not a gym day, slip on a pair of long underwear under those jeans. Nobody has to know, and your legs will thank you.

5. Hats + gloves = happiness. Girls seem to think that they won't look cool if they wear gloves or hats, but I personally think it's the opposite. If it's ten degrees out and you're not wearing proper head-or-hand-wear, sometimes it can look like you're just trying too hard to seem cool. Maybe I'm being a little harsh, but that's just how I see it. Fortunately, hats and gloves don't have to look dorky. There are plenty of cute and fashionable hats out there, as well as adorable knit or leather gloves. If you want to suffer frostbite for the sake of...I don't even know what it's for the sake of, well, that's your choice. Brave the elements with bare skin, Shackleton!* Or don't. And be happy.
*Look him up.

There's my advice, if you so choose to follow it. Stay warm, folks!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

A NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from Yours Truly

Hey, everyone! As I mentioned in an earlier post (as in, like, three months earlier) I signed up for National Novel Writing Month for the first time this year. A brief recap of NaNoWriMo for anyone who might not remember: you try to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, updating your word count as often as possible on your profile (go to nanowrimo.org to sign up--there's still time!).

It's a-week-and-a-day into NaNoWriMo, and I'm 16,500 words in (a little over 30 pages, on my computer). I'm really trying my best to commit and actually win, so nowadays my schedule mostly consists of homework, eating, play practice, and writing. I usually write anywhere from 1,600 to 2,000 words a day.

Anyway, the main reason I created this post was to encourage any other WriMos out there to keep at it! 50k is certainly a daunting task, but you can do it! Carve out a little time every day to write, and use it. Don't think about the quality of what you're writing. Absolutely DO NOT go back and edit (I know this is hard for some people, but that comes at the end!). Write whatever comes into your head. Your main goal here is not to write a stunning book, but to write 50,000 words. As odd as that may sound, the point of NaNoWriMo is to just get it all out. Then, when the calendar changes to December 1st, you can go back and edit the heck out of your novel.

Here are some tricks that I find help me to write, in case you need a little push.

1. Get everything else done that you need to do. There's no way you can write freely when you've got a whole load of homework sitting on your desk beside you. Knowing you have more commitments is going to weigh you down. Get work out of the way first, so you know you have all the rest of the day to just write.

2. Wear comfortable clothing. If you're constantly pulling at your too-tight collar or scratching at an itchy sweater, you won't be able to focus fully on the task at hand. Wearing a comfortable and cozy outfit will help you keep your eyes on the prize.

3. Bribe yourself. Every time you write 500 words, or 1000, or however many you see fit, reward yourself with a piece of candy or something else you've been waiting longingly for. Tell yourself that when you finally get 50,000 words--and you will!--you'll go out and buy a hot chocolate or a taco--whichever is more appetizing.

4. Don't think. NaNoWriMo is about getting the words down on the page, regardless of how crazy or strange your ideas may be. Maybe you've already plotted the whole thing out--great, you don't need this advice. But if you're like me and you only have a vague idea of what's going to happen, let your imagination run wild. Do whatever it takes to keep your novel moving, even if that means killing someone off or even adding a whole new character to the story.

Now go fourth and WRITE!