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Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist

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NaNoWriMo

Writing up a Storm

I had a painfully slow start to nanowrimo. I was prepped, somewhat, and I expected to be able to write at midnight, for a few solid hours. Instead, I dozed off in the evening and wasn’t able to start writing until mid-afternoon of day one. I did manage the nano-prescribed 1667 minimum for day one and day two, which was nothing short of herculean when you add into that the fact that a family member woke up with unexpected blurred vision/near-blindness on day two. Talk about scary. Well… the good thing is with a sudden medication change, the vision seems to be a factor but not total blindness, so far. I am on call to support the family member, though. I had been already, which has worn me down quite a lot the past year. This is an added layer of stress and concern on what’s a non-stop difficult living and overall situation. It all complicates my own medical picture, too, mainly from the stress alone. It affects certain factors in my body and how my medication does or doesn’t work… it’s complicated and even my doctors are having trouble keeping me somewhat stable and out of the hospital.

Yet, I write on. I picked up many more words yesterday, day three. I pushed past the 15K mark! I take that as more than making up for the first day. And, with my total sitting just over 17K today, I am prepared in case I don’t get solid writing time the next few days. I know there will be days I get much less or much more than my personal goal of around 3K/day; I’m thankful I’ve written a lot of words this weekend. Tomorrow, I should be able to get a good amount in, too, barring something unforeseen. I know everything written isn’t my best, but I am comfortable with my story and I like my characters. That’s something, right?

 

Triple Play

This is my first page in a planning notebook for nanowrimo. It may or may not become a bullet journal, but it will serve as my hands-on, analog talisman between the digital writing sessions when I need to jot things down.

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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 near

At the stroke of midnight, around 36 hours from now, it will begin… one month of writing boldly, rapidly, steadily, bravely. It is always daunting in some ways and comforting and predictable in others. Each day, the goal of 1,667 words makes the overall 50,000 words for the thirty days seem reasonable and attainable. Until the blank page glares back at me and my mind goes blank. Or, I realize at 11pm at night that I haven’t put down a hundred words on a given November day. I’ll try to push myself while also being kind to myself, because life is hard. Yes, nano is supposed to be productive, and it’s also supposed to be FUN.

Someone please remind me of that last part after we’re about 12 days in.

Nanowrimo 2018

I wasn’t sure about committing to this November’s National Novel Writing Month (nano). I have so much going on. I’ll get into that another day.

Last year I signed up and didn’t actively try to “win;” I had too much going on and didn’t feel like spending energy on one more thing. No matter how much I liked the idea of the story I’d wanted to write. December hit and I felt like a failure.

This year, I’m caving to peer pressure, at least somewhat. The writing group I’ve been most active in this year has members fired up about nano. And, I do feel connected to both the nano process and my writing group.

I logged in, created my novel project, and even designed a book cover. To my surprise, my bestie (who hadn’t done nano before, that I know of, but who is a member of my writing group)- joined and set up her novel project, too! We even worked together on a cover design for it.

Whether or not I win (of course, this year I’ll try!), it’s going to be more fun to do than it will be “work.” At least, that’s the plan.

One good thing

At a time when everything else seems to be wrong, it’s a relief to get word that the routine mammogram results were unremarkable, meaning no sign of any cancer. Big sigh of relief on that one. Even with no tangible reason to worry or stress during the waiting time after the test, it feels huge to get the confirmation that one thing is not bad with my body.

Nano is going okay, my wordcount is on track. I’m dealing with some other severe things, some are ongoing, others are new. I’m too beat to get into it. Bullet journal is working for me, a week into it, and I’m going to sleep so I can deal with tomorrow.

Happy Halloween & NaNoWriMo Eve.

It’s not my favorite holiday, in fact, I don’t really classify it as a holiday. It’s fun to dress up if that’s in the cards. I always enjoyed that part, along with the candy part. Not being social where I live now makes it harder to like any of this stuff, honesty. And, even my favorite real holidays are a challenge without friends nearby, or someone to go with me to any type of events. I know I sound old and crotchety, but it is actually for many valid reasons. I’m not too old, in the scheme of things. My life situation makes it seem like I am, though. I don’t have a significant other or spouse, no kids, so… it is just the way it’s worked out. Which is not even close to half my decision. And, it sucks.

I’m looking forward to nanowrimo. I have my medical and life appointments set on my calendar. My mail is organized. My knitting projects are queued up, some to have the finishing touches done, like weaving in ends, blocking, adding notions, etc. My laptop is updated, the mobile devices fully charged. A few notebooks and writing implements are assembled, in case they are needed or we have a power outage. The weather has been psycho, but today it’s sunny and comfortable enough to wear a sweatshirt. Junk food and healthy snacks are loaded.

I hope to be better about posting here, especially to track my progress with my new organization and planning system, as well as my nanowrimo project.

One of the cats turns 3 tomorrow. She is excited, because we make a cake and she licks the frosting. It’s a rare event, and since we didn’t think she would live past the first month, we take extra care to celebrate her birthdays.

 

NaNoWriMo Update

My writing has been great, even if other things have been less than wonderful. I’ve grown my nano project to more than halfway, today reaching a little more than 30,000 words. My main non-nano piece has grown, too. I’ve published a few chapters since the last time I posted here. This is good for me, even if I feel like I barely make it from day to day the past month or so.

This next week is unbearable for me, and I want to write about why, but I can’t do it.

I am always a wreck in November. I grieve. I laugh. I bawl. I might not come around here too much until we’re into December, other than to let you know when I reach the 50,000 word goal of nano. Forgive me if I hide. It’s what I have to do.

 

I Am Alive

There are days that is all I can say. My whole past year has felt that way, more of the time than not. It was a bad week. I think things can’t get much worse, then they go ahead and veer off the rails. I would like to get into detail about it, yet I can’t do that. At least, I am not ready to do it.

The part I can share is my family is having a tough time, on top of my own stuff that’s going on. It isn’t one thing. It’s not even ten things. It is a non-stop flood of MASSIVE things. And, it’s too much. I don’t know how the family is getting by, on a daily basis.

I had a doctor appointment this week, which took several hours, and I lost it. I completely broke down and cried and vented for two solid hours. I wanted to curl up and hide, but after the close to four-hour long appointment, all I could do was go back to the family. Back to the situations I’m stuck within. Back to feeling like my body and my life are not moving or going anywhere. At least, not anywhere better. Everything is either stagnant or declining. That is how I have to leave it. I can barely type this. I just keep crying.

I am writing. I am doing nano, though I wasn’t sure I’d be able to even bother with that. It can be a good distraction, for a few 30-minute chunks a day. Will it ever lead to more? No idea. For now, it is getting me hour to hour, maybe day to day. Maybe to December 1st.

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.

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.

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