Sunday, October 31, 2010

Day 61--Almost NaNo Day

Today's the day to do my final set up for NaNoWriMo. As a pantser, I have the general direction my story may want to go in my head. Although, as you know, sometimes our story people have their own ideas and take off in their own directions. And that's okay during main objective is to get the words down on paper. I'll argue with my characters later if need be.

So, I have my tentative plan in place. My household and friends know what I'm going to be focusing on in November. Today I'll create a new document--Nano10 and keep a shortcut on the desktop for easy access. I also like to have a second document available--a place where I can keep track of those inevitable new ideas, bits of conversation, plotlines that don't fit in my NaNo work in progress. And I'll decide the number of days I KNOW I'll be writing so I can fix my daily word count. There's always some days where little or no writing is done. I know that--so I might as well plan for it.

I'm not going to forget these 100 day posts during November either. Keep checking here for quotes about inspiration and writing. And celebrations as Heartlandians grow their stories through NaNo!

On your mark...

Get set....


Saturday, October 30, 2010

day 62--it's almost NaNo time

Just a couple more days and thousands of writers will be pounding out word after word on their creative projects. Are you counting yourself in that number?

Think 50,000 words in a month is impossible?

Friday, October 29, 2010

day 63--the power 100

November fast approaches. Many of us are planning on really kicking up our 100 words in 100 days. Really kicking!

Photo credit: taliesin from

No matter what your plans...
Now is the time to write. And the best time to write is now.

"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way." ~~Abraham Lincoln

Thursday, October 28, 2010

day 64--the power 100

A little motivation Pooh…

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.
A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh

Are YOU organized for National Novel Writing Month?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 65--the power 100

NaNo Bootcamp--check out the great pre-NaNo blogs from agent and author, Nathan Bransford
 So far, my favorite blogs of the week, full of information, suggestions and just plain good advice. Follow Nathan's blog and you'll be in for a good time and learn a bit along the way.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 66--the power 100

Here's a post from last year at this time. And I've said some of this already this year. But still, it bears repeating! 
What else can we, as authors, do to get ready for a writing challenge? The pre-writing is done--so what else?

*Tell your family and friends. Don't keep the amount of time you'll need for intense writing a secret. You may have to negotiate with those you need to spend time with. Make sure they know that they are important, but your writing is too. Plan a celebration for the end of November. Make a promise for some special time.

*Get your writing area(s) in shape. I share one computer with others and always seem to be shoving their stuff out of the way. Heck, with my personal computer I'm always shoving stuff out of the way. Before Minano I will get both spaces workable so I don't have to face the frustration of a mess. My spaces won't be neat by some standards, but will be what is comfortable for me.(A 2010 note--I have a friend who has an office she uses mostly in the evenings and on Saturday. I've made arrangements to 'rent' the office from her a couple three hours in the afternoon after my day job is done. A quiet space. No interruptions. Ah, undisturbed writing time!)

*Speaking of your writing space... if you enjoy writing to music, have the appropriate CDs nearby. Or better yet, create playlists in whatever program you use for music. I love creating 'A long afternoon' playlists. The music plays forever so I don't have to think about it. Hmm, guess I should create a Minano playlist! If a bowl of M&Ms sparks your creativity... you guessed it. Be prepared! Although, I would like to suggest that a healthier writing munchie like fresh veggies and fruit!

*And speaking of food--if you can in this next week, prep and freeze some meals to help get through the month. Plan great crock pot dishes or casseroles that come together quickly so you don't have to waste writing time on cooking. Better yet, let other household members take some of the meal prep responsibility. You may end up with peanut butter and jelly, but when made with love, what does that matter?

*Whatever you think might help you focus on intense writing--do it! There's always life outside of writing. Throughout November there will be a TON of distractions but if we have some plans in our arsenal, the distractions will be kept to a minimum and our wordcount at maximum!

Monday, October 25, 2010

day 67--the power 100

The National Novel Writing Month begins in one week. There's a number of Heartlandians aiming to up their word counts for the month--check out the list in the side bar. We're going to be writing more than 100 words a day for these 30 days. If you're not participating in NaNoWriMo--keep on writing your 100 words a day! Remember that every word counts!

So, Heartlandians--ready to write? Have you told the people you interact with that your availability will be limited during November. Have you planned how to keep the word count growing while life continues on? Figured out a way to get the laundry to do itself? (If you have, please post here--I'll bet there's a bunch of us who'd like that information!)

Do whatever planning you need to do. Get a calendar (there's so many monthly calendars you can print online) and post it where you can see it. Fill in your word count every day! Visualize your progress and see your success!

We'll keep getting ready for NaNo this week, so if you have suggestions, hints, fears or just plain wanna talk about it, post in the comments. There's a whole group here to encourage, help and celebrate!

Get Ready...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 68--the power 100

classic commercial--that parodies itself

spurs additional parodies.

Can you write a parody with your 100 word today?
Want more of the Old Spice Man? Visit Walmart--he's speaking out from an Old Spice end cap!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Day 69--the power 100

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – e.e. cummings

(This is a self-portrait)

For your e.e. cummings laugh of the day... go to

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Day 71--the power 100

If you haven't seen yesterday's post on Starr Words, stop by there today. If you have, stop by again. It's worth the time for a second, third or even fourth listen.

Write your 100 words showing your reaction.

And Stand By Me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 72--the power 100

From my library...

(page 90)
Everything You Write Has Value
You believe that what you've written today is at best self-indulgent or repetitious, at worst irrelevant. So be it. It's okay to think that. As long as you don't allow your thoughts to stop you from continuing.

Every word that emerges in every writing session has its own contribution to make to your book or project...or life--be it a direct or indirect one. Trust that and stay open to the flow.

I'm not asking you to trust that this word is perfect and that so is this one. I'm asking you to trust that this word forms a part of a larger picture that you will not be able to see until you step back from it--later today, tomorrow, next week, next month or next year.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I learned from NaNoWriMo

If you're planning on jumping into NaNoWriMo this year, here is what I learned last year (Originally posted to Mary's Ramble Nov. 30, 2009):

Whew! I made it! I wrote 50,000 words in one month, actually less than that, considering I started a week late, I finished a day early (25 hours, to be exact) and there were a handful of days scattered through the month that I didn't write at all. In total, I wrote 17 days this month. 

I signed up for NaNoWriMo once before, and tried it unofficially another time, and I didn't finish either time. I didn't even come close. Finishing, and finishing early on top of it, felt really, really good!

Here are a few things I learned over the last month (in no particular order)

  • It's good to have a plan. 
    • I'm usually a pantser (someone who discovers the story as she writes, rather than plotting first), but this time I started out with what I called a Fuzzy Synopsis (as opposed to the legendary Dreaded Synopsis) - it was just a vague plan of my story arc and the points I wanted to hit. I kept the file open a lot and it became a place to throw things I saw coming down the road, but that I hadn't gotten to yet.
    • I also used a calendar. For years, my writers group's "Goals Guru" *lizzie has encouraged us to use a desk calendar to track our writing progress through the year. I've never been good with the paper calendars and usually track it in my Google Calendar instead. NaNoWriMo turned out to be an exception, thanks to a lucky purchase. Months ago, I bought a $1 calendar mouse pad at the craft store. It was a horrible failure as a mouse pad, but it's the perfect size to keep on a little stand between my keyboard and the shelf my laptop sits on. On it, I tracked each day's goals and progress. 
  • I needed a better plan for laundry. I washed the clothes, but very few of them got put away. I've been wearing wrinkled clothes from a basket for three weeks. Hopefully by next November, LilGirl will be well-trained in putting away her own clothes. I won't hold out the same hope for Hubby - that's a battle I gave up on years ago. But we will have a better system in place by then. We won't even talk about the rest of the housework.
  • It's good to reward yourself. Some nights it was tough to make my word count. On Monday nights I bribed myself to get done early so I could watch Big Bang Theory. Other nights, I told myself that as soon as I was done I could watch the new episode of The Guild. Once or twice, the bribe was a shower. I tried to keep the bribes non-food-based, but I have to admit there were nights the bribe was a piece of dark chocolate.
  • It's good to reward your family, too. The last couple days of writing were tough on LilGirl. Her reward for letting me finish was getting out the Christmas dollhouse we haven't taken out of the box since we moved into this house four years ago.
  • Sometimes you have to be your own Jillian Michaels. Sunday, the final day, was the hardest. I knew I had to do 8000 words in two days, which is more than I've ever done in that amount of time. A strong feeling of being overwhelmed started to come over me, but I knew I would kick myself forever if I came so close to finishing and didn't make it. So I broke out the sticky notes and the Sharpie and wrote myself a note that said "Four sets of 2000 words and you're done!" 2000 words is less than I had been doing each night. It was do-able. I promised myself a break between each set and got to work on the first one. It worked. Even though I had another day to finish, once three sets were done and it was only 6:00 pm, I knew I'd finish on Sunday. The last 2000 words were the hardest. My brain was full of all sorts of other things I could be doing, like reorganizing my bookmarks or cleaning my keyboard. I wrote another note, "2000 words to go! WooHoo!" and stuck it to the calendar, then dove in. A couple hours later, I was done. (You can see the sticky notes stuck to the calendar in the picture above)
  • The rumors that you don't shower much during NaNo is totally true. Sorry to those of you who had to put up with my stinkiness.
The biggest thing I learned:

  • I can do this! After struggling along with another story for literally years, it was good to set that one aside and come out with a whole new story in under a month. Yes, it needs a lot of editing (boy, does it ever!) but it's light years ahead of the other story for the amount of time I've spent on it. This has extinguished one doubt among many about my future writing career - that I can work to deadline without having to spend years on a single story. I've given myself a deadline for editing and submitting my NaNo story, then I hope I'll be able to return to the other story with renewed vigor and finish it. By next November, I should be ready to jump into another fresh story and do it all over again.

Day 73--the power 100

I love moments of synchronisity, don't you.

Last Friday on my way home from work, I started thinking about one of my works in progress. Driving is a good time for that. And I was thinking about one of my heroes, Micah. Perhaps I was thinking about that particular story because a fellow on a motorcycle and I were going the same way--pretty much my entire way home. So we'd grin at each other at the stoplights.

Then I realized that his bike was pretty quiet. Not like some of the crotch rockets that whine as they pass (way too fast), or the low, throaty rumble of a Harley. This machine had a nice, gentle purr. He could even talk to the person in the car ahead of me, and we could all hear.

I looked more closely at the emblem. And my mouth dropped open. An Indian. Micah rides an Indian--a vintage model like the above picture. An Indian! Not the most popular bike in the area, although there is a big store between Lincoln and Omaha--where I say I'm always gonna stop, but never have.  (Admission here--I've never been on a motorcycle. Not once. The experience is, however, on my bucket list!)

So, what are the odds of thinking about a particular character, and one of his modes of transportation, and seeing a similar motorcycle at the same time. For me, it's enough synchonisity to give good feelings about my WIP, and encouragement to finish it!

Today's prompt--How does your character get from one place to another? What's their 'favorite ride'?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Day 74--the power 100

One hundred words a day, for one hundred days. That's what the power 100 is all about.
I wrote one hundred words yesterday. But I didn't post any...

Did you miss me?

Today put your character in a situation where something that's expected doesn't happen. How do they feel in your 100 words?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 76--the power 100

I walk by this line of mums every day to and from work. It's been fun watching each plant go from tiny little mounds of green leaves to tight buds to flowering glory.

Then I thought, those mums are like stories.

The plant itself is an entire tale, and within the growth of the mum, I can see the growth of a story.

Each story is comprised of many germs of thought, ideas that cluster together but just don't quite make a cohesive whole.  But those ideas turn into scenes, each opening like a blossom, separate, but part of the whole.

Although you can't really see it in these photos, there are some areas of dead, sometimes just a leaf of blossom or two, occasionally a whole branch has died. When we write, there's ideas, scenes, plotlines that seem at first to be a grand part of the whole. Sometimes we snip them away before they exhibit much growth, other times they die on their own. There's just not enough to keep them alive.

When a story comes together, all the little blossoms connect to make a nearly seamless whole. A complete and blooming whole. Each day more and more flowers decorated the walkway, just like each day we write adds to the fullness of our tales.

Another thought--have you had the experience where certain parts of your story are full of all the parts that make the tale great, while other scenes or chapters remain like half-blooming flowers?

Keep caring for the garden filled with your stories. Coax each bloom to full beauty. Just don't overwater!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Day 77--the power 100

The role of a writer is not to say what we all can say, but what we are unable to say. ~Anaïs Nin

Substitute "damn" every time you're inclined to write "very;" your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be. ~Mark Twain

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Easy reading is damn hard writing. ~Nathaniel Hawthorne

Today, write the quote others will take inspiration from.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 78--the power 100

Since I've been writing these blogs at least a day ahead, you'll have to replace today with yesterday as you read. :)

Today I spent a great deal of time watching the rescue of the miners in Chile. I had the live CNN feed streaming on my computer at work. Even without sound, the experience was fascinating. And when the 4th grade came to lunch, we talked about what was happening since they'd been watching in their classroom--and they checked out my computer screen (which they can see from the serving line) to keep up with the action.

Now, you have to understand that for the most part, I don't do news. Too depressing and I argue too much with the TV. Not that arguing helps.  I couldn't understand why people were glued to their TVs when OJ raced along a freeway in his white Bronco. Aging myself a bit here, huh? And I guess I did watch all the moon landings live. Okay, and I got up in the middle of the night to watch Charles and Dianna get married.

I did watch the towers fall and cried with the world.

So why did the rescue hold my attention? I'm not sure what drew me there in the first place--curiosity I suppose. But then I became involved in the lives of people I'll never meet. I got chills when miner seven stepped from the tiny capsule that lifted him from the depths of the earth. Those chills returned with each miner...just as strong when I just watched number 29 step out to cheers and greet his family, coworkers, rescue team and the Chilean president. It will take a long time for the smiles to fade.

On another note--I can't help but grin as each man steps out in a new tee shirt--(been there, did that, got the tee shirt)

Why blog about this dring a time dedicated to writing 100 words in 100 days? Because, as writers, part of our duty to our readers is to lead them into strong emotions, to let them share smiles and tears, fear and determination with characters.

What better way to do that than to spend today's 100 words describing your reaction to the Chilean miners, their ordeal and their freedom?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 79--the power 100

To paraphrase Iron Man...
I am Writer. I am one with the pen.        

Okay, so there was a commercial on in the background while I was trying to discover what I wanted to talk about today. Strange as it may seem, the above phrase does work.

It's easy to say 'I want to be a writer' or "I'd like to be a best selling author.' Easy to dream. Harder to do.

I am Writer. Say it. Then say it again. Make this a daily affirmation and a promise to yourself. Want to, like to...try to...  these will get you only so far in your pursuit of a well-told tale. Sooner or later, you have to give up wanting and simply make it happen. yeah, it's hard work, but fighting crime didn't come easy to Iron Man either!

I am Writer. I am one with the pen. Or the keyboard.

Photo credit: xenia from

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 80--the power 100

From my library...
Spiritual Doodles & Mental Leapfrogs
A Playbook for unleashing spiritual self-expression.
by Katherine Q. Revoir

"Fairy Godmothers R Us

We can start to become our OWN fairy godmother by being clear about our dreams. This clarity starts up the engine of the creative process.
If you could wave a magic wand and instantly realize all of your wildest dreams, what would they be?" (page 39)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Day 81--the power 100

We've all heard, or said "It is what it is." What the phrase means to you may be different than to the person sitting next to you, but for the most part it's an expression of 'whatever' or 'f**k it'.

I saw a plaque in a catalog today that changes this negative phrase to a positive statement that speaks loudly to me as an author.

It is what it is...
But it will become what you make it.

So... what will your storytelling become?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Day 82--the power 100

Saturday was meeting day for Heartlandians and we had a great business session, then moved on to small group brainstorming. An excellent day all around.

Thanks to our word intern, we are now engaged in Writing Around the World in 80 Days. Combined with NaNoWriMo, this is going to increase our Heartlandian page count by leaps and bounds. How cool is that?

And speaking of NaNo... there are currently 10 Heartlandians signed up for the whole deal, and 2 for our groups MinNaNo (a committment to write 25,000 words during November's 30 days). That means, when we all reach our goals, we will have written over half a million words!

That's a heck of a lot of pages!

Photo credit: ppdigital from

Join us in our November efforts--let's keep cheering each other on to publishing success!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 83--the power 100

Okay, it's finally happened. The doubts, the 'am I crazy' thoughts. I mean, who do I think I am committing myself to blogging here every day for the last 100 days of 2010? Is there anybody out there really ever reading these things? Does anyone care about a bunch of scattered thoughts and odd writing prompts?

No matter how hard I beat these feelings back, I'm sure they'll return. Kind of like an internal editor. So, what do I do? Decide I've done my bit to try and get folks writing and slowly disappear into the woodwork? Or should I stamp my feet, throw a 'nobody cares' tantrum and storm off to find chocolate?

Photo credit: jusben from

Or... and this is the big or... should I continue on as I have been?

Choosing to write 100 words a day for 100 days is a committment. So is choosing to blog encouragement for those 100 days. Will I run out of things to say? Probably not. There's lots of life that can be related back to writing. And lots of writing to relate to life.

So I'm here to least for the next 82 days. And if you're here with me--happy writing!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 84--the power 100

I attended another food show a couple days ago--that's the joy of working with more than one distributor. But those distributors receive their products from the same manufacturers. So, there's a repeat of products--and company representatives. I'm always surprised to be remembered.

I had my show order book completed and wasn't really in the mood. So, why did I go? There's always a chance of discovering something new. And as I ambled along, refusing to taste yet another chicken product, I discovered something new! A multi-grain muffin mix that will fit perfectly in my school lunch program.

Even better than that, I had the chance to connect with a number of folks I worked with at my previous job. It was kinda like an old home week.

Photo credit: click from

Taking a writing challenge is a good way to stretch your writing muscles. But, if you look around, there's lots of challenges, prompts, things to try in your stretch. Sometimes, even when out plotting or brainstorming is done, we're really not in the mood. Wandering through the maze of possibilites, you might refuse to try another version of the same thing. (Like writing 100 words a day for 100 days.) But, you never know. You might discover something new about you and your writing. And that something might fit perfectly in your writing world.

And who knows. Maybe you'll even reconnect with a character or a part of your tale that was missing.

So write those 100 words today. On anything you want. Just write. Just do it anyway!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 85--the power 100

Today's From My Library...
The Pocket Muse--Endless inspiration, New Ideas for Writing  by Monica Wood

Writer's Special

Write what you don't know...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 86--the power 100

Noid, much loved lab/chow mix, was a big (literally) part of my family. Yep, he was the inspiration for Noid in my Keltic books. My bro took this picture, then after Noid crossed the rainbow bridge, made this colorful composite.

Take a close look at each picture. Isn't it interesting how different details or highlights show in each color? And each seems to reflect a different part of Noid's personality. I see the playfulness of the rolly polly pup he'd been (unbelievably, he was the runt of the litter), as well as the wisdom of age reflected in his nearly gray muzzle and face. The purple pulls me in the most, and makes me smile.

How does this relate to writing? Just as there are many ways of looking at a situation or a character, there's also much that colors our reactions. We often think of colors with emotions. Red is anger or power. Blue more calming. Purple is royal or spiritual. Yellow is cheery. Green is natural.

Try placing a character in a situation where a color stimulates a completely different reaction than we'd normally expect.

(Think Noid is a funny name? My bro got Noid from his boss when he worked for Dominos--long, long ago when their advertising icon was...the Noid.)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 87--the power 100

Your writing can provide a window into the lives of your characters. Sometimes the windows are wide open letting readers fully experience as the character experiences. Other times, the window is shut and the reader only observes as the story unfolds.

As romance authors, we strive to keep those windows open most of the time, letting the reader become the heroine--or hero. Letting the reader fall in love.

of course you've got a window prompt today... Put your character at a window. Open or closed? Looking in or out? What do they see, imagine, feel?

Photo credit: seemann from

Monday, October 4, 2010

day 88-the power 100

A recent book release brings us How To Survive A Garden Gnome Attack.
An interesting premise, don't you think?

So how about for today, your 100 words show the inexplicable menace in a seemingly neutal object.
(hmm, wonder if the gnomes are angry about the movie Gnomeo and Juliet?)

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Day 89--the power 100

Happy Sunday!

Yesterday I mentioned folks who provide writing prompts for the rest of us. From my bookshelf:
The Write-Brain Workbook by bonnie neubauer. In this thick, write-in book, she has "366 exercises to liberate your writing". More than just those 366, there's also a 'take the next step' at the bottom of the page. These are thought provoking, one minute exercises to help you explore your personal writing processes. 

So, for today, here's a next step to explore for your 100 words. "Write about the second when you realized that writing was work but you loved it anyway. If this never happened to you, make it up." (From day 277) 

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Day 90--the power 100

Ten days down. If you've written 100 words a day that's...wait, I don't have enough fingers!

Photo credit: grietgriet from

Oh, yeah, just add a zero to the 100. That makes 1000 words in short bursts in just a few days. Feels good, doesn't it?

And how many of us kept going after the initial 100 words, adding to that count? Ready to keep going? I am if you are!

Just curious...have any of you used a prompt from any of the power 100 blogs

 It's an interesting experience coming up with different possibilities.  There's many creative folks who have done just that...and provide hints and prompts for others to stimulate their writing. I'd love it if each of you created a prompt. Send one--or more--to me and I'll feature them as we continue counting down our creative days until the end of the year.

And that's your prompt for this grand Saturday. Create a prompt.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 91--the power 100

Your writing makes you smile.
Your writing makes your readers smile.

Today, give your character a smile.
Write 100 words about that smile,
and how it affects another character.