Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist


Nano Prep

Halloween aka Last Day of Preptober

Last day of October may be when most people are focused on dressing up, dressing their kids up, getting organized or playfully disorganized trick-or-treat/trunk-or-treat events, taking the work and family photos and putting them online on every social media channel, handing out goodies from their homes, playing spooky music, watching scary movies…

I don’t have a workplace, so no office contest, party, etc. No significant other, and no kids… so no costume couple or kid/family pics here. We usually barely get kids at our door, due to the events planned for this past weekend, and we live in an odd area, rural but not far from some towns with actual community gatherings. They have parties and the trunk-or-treating things at set times, and very few families go door-to-door anymore, especially in a dead-end or cul-de-sac community. We get candy to hand out just in case, but it’s rare we get more than three knocks on our door. More candy for us, when it’s said and done, usually. Which brings me to the next thing- preptober.

It’s THE LAST DAY BEFORE NANOWRIMO, aka NANOEVE! Are you ready? Are you nervous? Excited? Have you been planning? Or, planfully not planning? Whatever your jam is, I hope you are looking forward to November, full of great isolated but communal creativity exploding into the universe from notebooks, computers, smartphones, and scrap paper all over the globe. It’s kind of a neat thing, when you really stop to think about it. I don’t always have a few extra funds laying around this time of year, due to multiple important family birthdays in November (thanks to growing up in a snowy area, with lots of uh-huh going on in those early winter months, apparently!)… and of course, the holidays approaching. I don’t usually buy gifts and knit things to give for Christmas, but, as many of them now either have what they’ll use from me already or have moved to warmer climates where they simply don’t need hats, scarves, a pile of cozy blankets… it’s a little tougher for me financially, and I end up sending gifts or gift cards (less postage on those)… because of the changes and some important budgeting around it, I was able to free a small bit to make a once every few years type of donation to the cause of nanowrimo, specifically to fund one writing package for one student. I figured, I became inspired and interested in writing thanks to a few great teachers while I was in elementary school, and rejuvenated again my freshman year of high school. If I can help possibly stoke the creative flame of just one kid somewhere, that’s pretty great, really.

So, I don’t feel ready for nano this year. I have announced my novel. It has a title, a cover, and an obscure and not-quite-right blurb which I’ll update as the month goes on. I have gathered the troops – nano buddies, my local writing wrimo group– via nano site, facebook, and discord. I feel like life around me in general and specifically things like my not officially designated home writing spot (hard to explain, but… it’s a mess and is not really ideal or distraction-free) are anything but ready. I know what nano is like and that things are likely NOT to get super organized, relaxing, or better over the next month. I would *like* life to calm down and Mary Poppins itself into some semblance of order. I can dream, right?

I will charge forth, words blazing, hoping to not only slay my word count goals, but to actually find my way back to my writing routine. It’s suffered greatly this calendar year, as I have, and *we* need a reboot. That’s truly what nano is for me this year… a personal overhaul, of sorts.

Less than 12 hours to kickoff. Ready, set… almost ready… one more trip to get water, snacks, another round of  Words With Friends…

If I don’t see you at midnight, or for the next 30 days, have a successful nanowrimo, fellow writers. You can DO it!


NaNoWriMo is Coming

November starts in two days. I am – and am not – ready for this year’s nano. I have other big projects that start on the same day. My health has been lower than the usual, fairly low, holding pattern I exist within. I have multiple goals for the next month, and zero energy.

I trashed the project I had hoped to do for this year’s nano. Maybe not actually “trashed,” but stuck it inside a box, in the back of the file cabinet inside my mind. I may use the lead female character for a future project, or change her around and give her the spotlight down the road. But, not this November.

I am taking the day off. I will write later tonight, because I write every day. I am counting this post as writing, and I will get some things down on my WIP tonight. However, my brain is overloaded, and today my body is screaming at me.


Some rest is needed before I face the next month and work on plodding through the rest of the prep work for those, tomorrow.

I also have a big appointment on Thursday, which has me stressed out. I will do what I need to do between now and then, and I hope after that is in my rear-view, I might have less trepidation about the next few months. That will be a refreshing sensation (I say, after going through this several times already).

I’m off to watch my NASCAR race. There less than a handful left in my favorite series with my favorite driver in the field.

Ciao. Happy Sunday.


My Nano Novel Has a Name and a Cover

I made a title for my nano project. I am calling it Hold the Dressing. And, I used a free site to fashion my own photographed image into a basic book cover. It was easy and fast, which is what I needed. I might change the title, eventually. And, the cover is nothing special that I am firmly attached to. However, having these steps marked off my to-do list, and having the visual evidence that I created these things will assist me in meeting my goal for this year. I will get my 50,000 words before November 30th. And, I will finish the story, no matter the date. No matter the total word count. I will FINISH my draft. That will be a first for me, as far as nano is concerned. That, afterall, is the true purpose of NaNoWriMo. It isn’t just about cramming 50,000 words inside of a 30-day time frame. That is the beginning, not the end. I view the main goal as building a daily habit, a routine, of writing. I already have that going on. I’ve been doing that for more than two solid years, with my main WIP. Nano, for me, will help me to focus on more than one WIP, simultaneously. One of which will get finished. One will be a start-to-finish, cover-t0-cover, First Draft. Something I can edit and, perhaps, get the guts up to try and put out into the world somewhere other than on a no-cost website. Not sure on that one, just yet. It’s in my head, though. I want people to love the stories I write half as much as I do. That would be something.

It all starts with a name, and with a cover. Tangible piecess that will come together to decorate my work and make my project feel real.

I Set Up NaNoWriMo in Scrivener

I wish  I could say I did more than this today. I am not over this migraine, and my doctor thinks my flu shot reaction is still happening. I have to go get checked out Tuesday if I’m not all better by then. The one other thing I did get accomplished today was work on my writing notebook/bullet journal. I have a few more things to do, to get it the way I envision. I think it’s kind of snazzy for my first try, though.

I will write more tomorrow. My head hurts too much to focus here.


So Much for Today

Today was terrible. I barely slept. I kept the TV on all night, which was a mistake. I can’t sleep with it on. I was waiting to see what Hurricane Matthew did, though. I have family and friends in its path. I worried and watched, until I could not stay awake any longer. I kept waking up, checking the Weather Channel, and dozing off again. When I woke sometime after daylight, my head hurt worse than it had, again. I loaded up on Excedrin Migraine and burrowed back into my nest.

Sometime in the afternoon, I emerged. I had to pretend to be productive, for a few hours. I made some food, I wrote a few e-mails, and I laid around, aching and miserable.

I wrote this entry, I attended a live webinar, I did a load of laundry. That is about all I did today.

Tomorrow, I should have the place to myself. I will read tonight before going to sleep. I will write more tomorrow, and work on my big WIP. I also will set up Scrivener for my nano project, creating character cards and a chapter outline to help when November 1 arrives.

Created my Nano Novel

It’s October 1st. One month countdown to nano. The site was down for maintenance, then, a few hours later, it was possible to create a novel. Or, more correctly, add the information that is basically the placeholder for said novel.

I don’t have a title yet. I made a one sentence summary, put that on the site and I’ll continue working on some prep tasks as I can this month.

Today, I have not felt well at all, which doesn’t make writing or anything else easy. I hope my migraine dissipates by tomorrow.


Planning My NaNoWriMo Project

Every year at this time, I begin to get a combined anxiety and excitement. November 1-30 is what legions of writers around the globe know as National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Or, for people who’ve done it multiple times, simply “Nano.”

It’s a time of creating something new. Whether it’s a completely new story or idea, a new set of characters, or adding new twists to an existing work-in-progress (WIP), this is a time to set forth with a goal of creating, in essence, enough words to (almost) constitute a novel. 50,000 words, 30 days. No problem, right? Well…

It can be daunting to think of sitting down and completing this word count inside of 30 days, in general. Especially, if you have not done it before. I have attempted it several times. I’ve “won” a few times, too. I have built myself a habit of writing every day, in some fashion. Consequently, achieving the word count (WC) is not too tough on me, if it’s the only thing I have to do in November. Of course, as for most people, life does not stop for one task for the span of an entire month. There are real life matters that clamor for attention, as well.

While I don’t have children, I have family members who need my attention or assistance. I need to do laundry, deal with errands and meals, and get to appointments. If it was *only* writing for 30 days, 24/7, sure, NO problemo! However, this is not the case for me.

I must MAKE the time to sit and write each day. I have to make it a priority. I enjoy writing, so that is not a problem. It’s the other noise of life that creeps in and threatens that creative zone. This last part is true of my life, in general, not solely for November. Then, you add in things like holidays and other interests one might have. You get the idea.

In anticipation of what awaits for me in November, and the goal I would like to achieve (for ME, not for anyone else), I begin my thinking and planning for Nano in September. I have waited until the last minute in the past. Especially the first year I attempted Nano. I had not heard of it until that particular year. And, when did I hear about it? You guessed it: on Day One, November 1st. I sat down and began typing, but I did not win that first year.

The next year, I vowed that I would at least make a basic outline prior to November 1st. I think I wrote down a one-sentence plot summary, and a name for my Main Character (MC). I did win that year.

The past few years, when I’ve attempted and won Nano, my formula has been variable. I’ve won each time I’ve signed onto the website and made myself accountable.

This year, I have planned a character sketch for my MC, her name is Catalina Rivera. I have an idea of the basic setting of the story’s beginning.I have a year, a time-frame, a city and her home in mind. I have the primary antagonist, the major conflict or incident that will occur, and a few possible resolutions in mind.

I hope having these aspects nailed down, just over a month out from the start of Nano month, will help me win this year’s attempt. I’ll let you know, after November!

Catalina has two black cats, based on the one pictured. Their names are Ebony and Onyx.



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