Gather round, friends. I’m going to tell you a story.
Once upon a time there was a 20-something woman who lived with her husband and her cat. She spent her days trying to adult, cheering for herself when she succeeded, and doing creative things like writing.
One day, they decided to move from their quiet little Kentucky town to a not-so-little and not-so-quiet town in South Carolina. She started making to-do lists and felt very well-prepared.
Then Life happened.
The car was totaled and repaired. Depression reared up and was defeated. Yard sales were run, and many things were sold…
Shhh. I’m gonna let you in on a secret. Ready?
I know, I know — they’re the experts! But it’s true.
They don’t know what it’s like when you’re lying awake at 3 am, staring at the ceiling and wishing you could sleep.
They don’t know that your new med is helping, but the whispers in the back of your mind saying awful things still won’t go away.
They don’t know that, even though you’re bathing more often and you haven’t tried to hurt yourself, you still can’t hold a job or keep your home clean or get back into…
Quick! Think of a writer that you look up to. Got one? Good. Hold that name in your head. We’ll come back to that.
You’re not the only member of that club, my friend. Actually, a pretty significant percentage of writers also suffer from mood disorders-including some of the most famous writers. Ernest Hemingway and Sylvia Plath, for example.
It really isn’t just you. Take that, negative voice.
Which raises an interesting question-how did they do it? …
Short version: I did not complete a first draft during Camp NaNo in July.
Long version: I did not complete a first draft during Camp NaNo in July, for a lot of good reasons. But the point isn’t what I didn’t do.
I wrote on six of the first seven days of July. Each writing session was more productive than the last, and I have every reason to believe that I would have made my goal if I’d continued that habit.
At the end of July, I had 5,867 more words than when I started. …
My preparations are complete. (Or as complete as they’re gonna get.) My writing nest has been staked out, the snacks have been purchased, and my characters have introduced themselves.
Now it’s time to consider what my characters will do and where I will unleash them.
No Plot? No Problem! author Chris Baty describes plot as “the movement of your characters through time and over the course of your book.” This is one vital story element that tends to sound more intimidating than it needs to. You know how to tell a story, especially if you’re an avid reader. Trust yourself!
This July, I’m taking another stab at fast-drafting a novel by participating in the controlled chaos that is Camp NaNo. In this piece, I discussed the mostly tangible preparations I’ve made, as recommended in Chris Baty’s book No Plot? No Problem. These include establishing a writing nest, planning when to write, and gathering the appropriate tools.
Today’s focus is on the intangibles critical to the success of such a mad dash to the noveling finish line, and most likely these will continue until approximately 11:59pm on May 30th.
I already had an idea bubbling merrily on a back burner, so…
In case you haven’t heard of it before, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every year since 1999, thousands of writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words (the length of a short novel) in only one month.
My history with NaNoWriMo is kind of… meh. I tried it once, wrote maybe a thousand words, and gave up.
The big one: my initial attempt was (I think) in 2015, and I’ve learned a lot since then. …
Susan Sontag: A writer, I think, is someone who pays attention to the world.
Victor Hugo: A writer is a world trapped in a person.
Joanne Harris: You write because you need to write, or because you hope someone will listen or because writing will mend something broken inside you or bring something back to life.
You write because you need to write.
Maya Angelou: There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.
John Green: Writing is a profession for introverts who want to tell a story but don’t want to make eye contact while doing…
My call-to-action came in the beginning of March. A favorite blogger and writing guru, Shaunta Grimes, said “Hey guys, you should write on Medium!”
And I answered the call.
Was the effort I was investing worth it? Would Medium help me reach my goals as a writer, or would it be yet another bright idea that fell flat and was eventually abandoned? Would anybody really want to read what I had to say?
The effort is worth it. Medium is helping me reach my goals. People do want to read what I write.
That’s a nice feeling, y’all.
This weekend, I spent three days in St. Louis for a friend’s graduation. It was lovely. The weather was perfect, the party was a blast, and as a bonus, the family we stayed with had three incredibly cute dogs.
There was only one downside: I had zero signal. None. Zilch. Nada.
I’ve seen headlines before warning of the death of conversation as we know it, lamenting the lack of social skills in younger generations, and proclaiming the dangers of allowing kids to stare at a screen for too long. We all have.
But that wasn’t me.
Sure, I carried my…
Writes passionately about writing, reading, and mental health. Cheers for new writers and marks up the newspaper with red pen.