Charlotte K Stewart

Writer, Reader, Knitter, Artist



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.

Are you on Ravelry?

I joined the day after my birthday, several years ago, when you still had to request a membership. I think it was still in a “beta” phase, though it already seemed large and hopping by the time I was extended a join code.

When I get too overwhelmed by life or other things, I peruse patterns. I look at lovely yarns and the delicious feast of colors and textures others have chosen. I admire the skill and time they have put into projects that seem too complicated for me to even attempt.

It seems I go through phases. I’ll have a phase of wanting to get super-organized. I’ll add a needle or two from my supplies, or click on the button to mark patterns I hope to try. Occasionally, I’ll stash some yarn or post a project I started. I am not great about getting it all on there, from beginning to end. The library of actual books that I added is mostly lost in boxes from a move I made over five years ago, and I’m bitter about that entire thing. I want my hands on my resources, especially now that I’m knitting again after a multi-year hiatus for medical reasons.

I have newer things to add to my “notebook” on the site; I want to make that a goal for this year. I actually want my needles, yarns and books that are ON my real bookshelf… listed on Ravelry. I want to post projects from cast on to bind off, with some photographic evidence of my time and efforts. I am going to work on this, BIG TIME, in the upcoming weeks.

Groups and forums are another animal, completely. I’ve joined and left several, over the years. I’m active in one or two, again sort of in phases. Currently, there are a few who message or write from time to time. It’s nice to have a little sense of connectivity within the largeness of the overall site (it’s HUGE).


I Hate Being Sick

My post’s title says it all, for today and in general. I’m a bit too sick to write anything here, actually.

Many thoughts are swirling around my head, and I want to get them out before I pass out again.
Tomorrow, I hope I finish the chapter I’d wanted to get done today. And, I have a project that I want to honor with its own post. Not tonight.

I’m going to curl up with some knitting and a Lifetime movie, and I’ll do better 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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