Tag Archives: JuNoWriMo

Friday Photo — Old History

Boat

Boat

Busy, busy…  That’s been my week so far.  Yesterday I wrote 8114 words for my JuNoWriMo project, host three hours of writing sprints and everything else on my normal schedule….

…except take or edit any photos.

That’s okay, because I have a different sort of Friday Photo for you today.

My JuNoWriMo project, as regular readers may know, is a high fantasy series I’m calling Swan Song.  To get my head into a month of writing page after page of knights and castles… and the ruins of kingdoms long past, I looked through the pictures I’d taken back in 2004 and 2005 while visiting England.   Back then I wasn’t trying to act like a photographer; my photos–snapshots really–were taken solely for my use as ways to remember my experiences and share my adventures with my husband (he was working in Birmingham at the time and seldom had time to tour the country the way I did) and our family here in the US.

But I had another reason even then.  I was already writing fantasy stories.  I wanted these images as references for those stories… someday.

Someday officially arrived this June 1st.  So let me share with you some images that I have integrated into my recent writing.

Come walk through my creative process with me.

(Next week I will post pictures of Bolsover Castle and North Wales.)

Coventry & Kenilworth Castle

Entering the Cathedral

Entering the Cathedral

Father Forgive

Father Forgive

A little park fountain

Park Respite

The Ford Hospital

The Ford Hospital

Cemetery near Kenilworth

Cemetery near Kenilworth

Just a Tile

Just a Tile

Kenilworth Garden

Kenilworth Garden

Boat along the trail

Boat along the trail

Cellar room

Cellar room

Churches and Ruins

Decay in the Distant Fog

Decay in the Distant Fog

Stained Salvation

Stained Salvation

Saints and Sinners

Saints and Sinners

 

Some Words Sunday — WriMo Sprints

Welcome June!

Cafe Office

Cafe Office

For some of you, June is the beginning of summer vacations and the end of school days (or for those in the southern hemisphere, the exact reverse).

For me, it’s June Novel Writing Month (JuNoWriMo for short).

Last year I got involved with JuNoWriMo because I needed to get more work done on some old NaNoWriMo manuscripts.  The people at NaNoWriMo were running camps for two summer months but acceptance of NaNoRebels hadn’t fully sunk in to the NaNo community then.

Well, those of you who know me know I tend to jump in with both feet when I find something I like.  Although it was my first year, I went right in and help host sprints (although I wasn’t that active in the site forums).  I had a blast!  I even ran the CampNaNoWriMo simultaneously, clocking over 122K words for the month in two manuscripts.

I also learned some things (and with my ROW80 experiences, I have even more tools to use for this passion of mine).

One of these is how to best handle a sprint, not just for the day or the moment.  But how to do writing sprints in general…

See, there are a lot of writing sprints out there, especially on Twitter.  I like #wordmongering and the #teamsprinty sprints probably best of all because the communities are so close (the iWriteNetwork on Ning is wonderful too, but it involves adding another layer of process that slows down getting to the actual writing more than I like).  Thing is, as much as I love these groups, I think they handle the health of the sprinter badly.

This may be a shock to you, but it’s not healthy to sit in one place and just fill pages with words for hours and hours a day.  But it’s not just the days of writing.  It’s the hours too.  In fact…  it’s a half hour and less.

Moment of Heaven

Moment of Heaven

So, may I modestly suggest some rules (call them guidelines) that I wish to see more often used during writing sprints, not just for WriMos but in general.  (These do not all involve health issues, obviously.)

Rules?  I thought We Just Had to Write

  1. Be prepared!  Have playlists ready, have the caffeinated (or alcoholic) drink of choice poured and seasoned to taste, have a small snack available (nuts or something with a bit of protein and fiber and fat in it would be ideal–brain power demands fuel too)–this is not an excuse to just nibble.  If all is going well, you’ll be writing too much to get that cup to your lips more than once during the sprint.  The snack might end up waiting until your break.
  2. Be prepared mentally!  It’s not enough to say have all your shit together.  You need to have your head in the game too.  Have an idea of where your story will  head.  Know what characters you are going to write about.  Have a visual image of the setting and the situation ready to write.  Have notes and pictures that you can look at if you need them.  Be ready to dive in at the start of the prompt.
  3. When your sprint-host says to write–Write.  Don’t check email; don’t stare at your keyboard–write–even if it’s “I don’t know what Sally is doing now”.
  4. If you don’t know what to write (next time–see rule 2), then ask your sprint-host for a prompt.  We have them–lots of them.  I like to use visual prompts of pictures and videos, but I also use text prompts.  When you get your prompt, follow rule 3.
  5. Stop writing when your sprint-host says the sprint is done.  Don’t write through to the next sprint.  Sprints are usually spaced with a 5 to 10 min break.  This break is for your health and comfort.  Get up, move, stretch a little…. go to the bathroom, whatever.  Do not just sit and type.  The ideas will hold that long.*
  6. Talk to your sprint-host; yes, we are doing our own stories too, but we like to know what we can do to help make things better.  We like feedback, encouragement, even banter.  Twitter is supposed to be a social network not just another office.
"LIFE" features prominiently

“LIFE” features prominently

And of course, I don’t have to make this a rule… Have FUN!  Writers write because we love words and stories.  If we didn’t, there are enough people who do who could do this work for us.  We could just read while sitting on the beach drinking Mai Tais (okay, well, maybe not that).  Thing is, writing doesn’t pay that much, not even when you start adding in the best sellers (if one adds in all the writing time before the big break and/or the money and time spent in promotion–well, more than a few are just starting to break even now).

Yeah? Well, My Muse Hates you now

OK, I hear you grumbling.  My muse needs nurturing.  I can’t get anything done without spending time in the flow.  Yadda yadda… Being “in the moment” or “maintaining  the flow” sound great…  all of those streams of consciousness saying sound good wonderful, but the flow is actually pretty forgiving–especially if you nurture it well.

Make a Sunshine Date with your muse (or a cold cellar walk for the emo-types).  Share a (skinny) latte with him/her…  Invite your muse for a few minutes of dancing to a favorite song.

Make the breaks fun, and your muse will hang around and be happier about helping you when you get back to work.

* If you are that afraid you will forget, take a little piece of paper and scribble down a note or two while standing.  The act of moving increases blood flow (which fires up the brain), and the act of writing helps build cellular connections that make remembering something easier.

ROW80 Check-In

Dungeon Office

Dungeon Office

Fellow ROWers probably will recognize the theme of this post as similar to that of my sponsor post this ROWnd.  I am adamant about the need for us to take care of ourselves.

For the next month, since I’m involved in the JuNoWriMo, I will be spending a lot more time writing than I need for my Five Sentences (I still am–I do sprints on the computer and then add Five Sentences in a notebook before bed).  The Five Sentences framework works though.  I use at them end of my daily total (min 1667 words) for that extra boost.

Thing about this JuNoWriMo….  I’m actually editing as much as writing.  Last fall, I made a very sketchy draft of Courting the Swan Song, more of a very detailed outline really.  Now I’m filling in that outline, adding (and subtracting) words as they fit the Swan Song series.

This ability, btw, is why I love JuNoWriMo (and the redesigned CampWriMos) so much.  It’s total word count on whatever project you need to work on, not word count on a new story.

ROW80LogocopyIn addition, my social media time is sky-rocketing because of the WriMo, but also becoming more focused.  I’m still doing my rounds of Facebook and Google+, and I hope to indulge a touch more time on Flickr and Reddit, but will probably save those for once a week.  Most of my online time will be Twitter-based.  Most of my writing will start in 750words and then move to Scrivener (that pattern worked well for me last year, giving me an online rough copy and then a home copy for tweaking).

And lastly, I fully intend to retain time for family and friends, as well as my passions of reading, photos, piano, and guitar.  Yeah…  I can do it all.  😀

What am I Doing Here? ROWing Upstream

In the wake of insanity run rampant this week, I almost avoided doing a check-in yet again.  I mean, it’s not as if there wasn’t some kind of update on Sunday…granted I posted it on Facebook in the ROW80 group.  This is how it read:

My check-in…
I have written over 20,000 words in my JuNoWriMo novel, and most of them are words I actually LIKE.
I have kept up with my sponsor duties.
I have commented and posted on blogs.
I’ve allowed myself the emotional space to enjoy life and time with family as well as write.
I had fun hosting some of the #wordsprints for the WriMo.

I managed over 5K words yesterday.

I’m in a really neat section of the story and I want to get back to writing it.
BYE!

"Writing on the wood is prohibited."...

I’m still maintaining those numbers, PLUS (happy big excitement time for me) I am finally figuring out how some of the real virtues of Tweetdeck due to my hosting wordsprints for the #JuNoWriMo challenge.  Much easier than running Tweetdeck and Google Chrome (and occasionally Seamonkey as well) to keep all the various accounts for things separate.  Since I often run several such programs for different tasks (notably to keep track of all my wandering logins on my laptop), this had not seemed to much of an issue.

BOY did Monday convince me otherwise.  (Monday and Tuesday evenings were very hectic sprints.)  But I think it worked out well enough.  And I find that I really love running these sprints.  A very big thank you to Julie Jordan Scott for helping get me involved.  And if Anna and Becca decide they need me for next year, they can count on me.   ♥

Wait!  Wasn’t this a check-in?

Umm, well, yeah…  But this is what I have been doing for my ROW80 right now.

  • I’ve been writing ( 29,871 words today for the one WiP and a little over 12K on the one for CampNaNoWriMo)….a LOT!
  • I’m learning more about the tools I have at my disposal here (ie. Tweetdeck).
  • I am still somewhat managing to do some of the social media circles out there (though my Facebooking has suffered a LOT since June started)
  • I’ve found some small amount of balance with the new home-life and pursuing the path to publication.  YAY!
  • Most of ALL….  Writing has become FUN again.

The only thing that bothers me about all of this happy chaos is the way that I have a tendency to get so caught up in the glow of the words and the story that I lose track and don’t visit those wonderful people who have encouraged me to get to this point.  Not just online, but in real life…

So this is a projection of what is to come for the next ROWnd…

  • I will not be a sponsor for the next ROWnd.  However, Kait has my word that I will happily do it for ROWnd 1 in 2013 if she wants me.  (I’ll even consider ROWnd 4 for this year, but since I will by necessity be away from computers for almost two weeks during ROWnd 3…  It seemed wiser to avoid it.)
  • I will be missing several check-ins
  • I will be doing the August CampNaNoWrimo–I’m finding this mad writing dash, then pause, then dash again…ebb and flow of writing works very well for me.
  • Beyond the WriMo, I will be dedicating the third ROWnd for getting my blogs and author pages straightened out.  (The awards I’ve received and the tags I’ve received will also be dealt with during this time–THANK YOU for your patience everyone!  I appreciate the thoughts–I’m just not that organized right now.)
  • I will be making a point in July to visit as many people I owe… real visits when I can, but certainly electronic as necessary.
  • I will be making the (so-far) Unnamed Story into an ebook (I think–still considering this).  So if anyone would like to recommend a good editor to go through the story with me with a fine tooth comb, I’d love a heads up.

So that’s it.  No Unnamed Story post tonight or at all this week.  I should have something ready by next Tuesday.  Although my “crappy first draft” energy is definitely being spent elsewhere at the moment….