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November NaNoWriMo Our Journey

November finds many of us joining in the madness of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo or NaNo). During the month of November, participants pledge to write a minimum of 50,000 words on a brand new fiction piece. We give our internal editors a vacation and just write--often not even sure what is going to show up next.

This year, I thought I'd give everyone a chance to see how participating in this yearly writing frenzy feels. I have asked twelve volunteers--both new to NaNo and first year participants--to join us on Sundays to share their journey this month! We'll get a glimpse into the varied moods, what methods seem to work and what ones don't--but most of all, you will meet a dozen very dedicated writers who are willing to share with you.

Today, I want to introduce you to our participants. Please keep stopping by throughout the month and leave a comment of support. One of the things that helps each participant succeed is encouragement. I know each of you can do that! Now, let's meet our writers:

April, tell us a little about yourself

April Lee Schmidt – I’m originally from Michigan . I’ve been living in Alabama for nearly 11 years.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo?

This is my 3rd time doing Nano

What project are you working on this year?

I’m actually working on more of a journal this year as opposed to a novel . I got the idea from reading Isabel Allende’s “ The Sum of Our Days” It was a gift from my daughter who thought it might help me through the grief of losing my son . Ironically Nov. 1st is the anniversary of his death . I would like to honor his life with this work.

How much planning have you done?

Not much . Although I have been thinking about this for a while I only just decided to go ahead with it the last week or so.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

In terms of a time set apart for writing yes . But not on the amount of words I’m going to write each session . I’m just going to let them flow.

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

Apprehensive but also determined

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

I guess I would have to ‘blame ‘ momwriters for that . Reading about all of my fellow MW’s reasons for doing it or not got me excited to try it again

***
Cathy, tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Cathy Brownfield. I have been a writer forever. I raised four daughters with my husband of 37 years. I graduated from college May 2009 with a BA in English with the writing minor. I did it for a lot of reasons, including finishing something I started a LONG time ago. I wanted my grandchildren to see that finishing what you start may take some time, but it can be done.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo?

My first participation in NaNoWriMo was 2006 and I was a winner that year. I didn’t even try it in 2007 because I was buried in school work. In 2008 I signed up, but quickly fell behind, again because I was buried in school work. I don’t anticipate any insurmountable problems with this year’s NaNo. Of course, we all know God has a sense of humor and everything could change in a heartbeat.

What project are you working on this year?

I wrote my honors thesis last year. It was a novel in journal form. When I submitted it to a publisher I was advised that it is an important story that needs to be told but it needs a lot of work. I decided to rewrite the novel in narrative form. With all of my studies behind me and grad school a dream ahead of me for next year, I feel ready to tackle the rewriting of my novel, Ramblings.

How much planning have you done?

During the month of October I worked with the BIAM plan to write a novel in 30 days. I haven’t finished the novel, but I feel this has given me the preparation I need to proceed with NaNo 2009.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

I will have by the time we start writing on Sunday.

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

I really want to get started. I have a pretty good idea what I want to do with my novel. But I also told myself this time I have before we begin NaNo 2009 should be spent with my family so they will be willing to give me writing time during the next 30 days.

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

Connecting with my writerly type friends and getting energy from the high energy of my writing compadres that should keep me going the 30 days. Being accountable to someone beyond myself also is a positive motivation. It’s just a thing that writers do, right?

***
Kim, tell us a little about yourself

My name is Kim Francis. I’m a writer, jewelry designer, full-time student, mom and now I’m pretty sure, certifiable. J

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

This is my eighth year doing NaNo.

What project are you working on this year?

It’s a novel idea I’ve had floating around in my head for over a year now. But it’s not going to be a traditional novel…thinking it’s gonna be a diary-type book…written either as the protagonist’s journal or blog.

How much planning have you done?

I’ve got a rough outline and some main character ideas. That’s about it.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

My schedule is…
a. When I can squeeze it in, I’ll write.
b. When the mood strikes me, I’ll write.
c. When I’ve finished my homework, I’ll write.
d. When someone guilts me into writing I’ll write.
e. When I’m not feeling all that creative jewelry-wise (or I’m all caught up supply-wise...three guesses which will happen more often!) I’ll write.
f. When I’m waiting for crops to mature on Farmville or my energy to regenerate on Mafia Wars…I’ll write.

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

Excited and as if I’ve lost my ever lovin’ mind for even attempting it this year!

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

History, guilt, peer pressure and the need to add to my chaos. November just isn’t the same without NaNo.

***
Kai, tell us a little about yourself

My name is D Kai Wilson – my username on most places is Kaiberie (including the Nano). I’m a third year undergrad in Creative Writing and Psychology, and I’m really interested in linguistics, specifically plagiarism tracking and am doing a paper on that. I talk about lots of stuff that I do at my blog –
http://kai-o-9-tales.com/

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

No – I’m delighted to say that this is my seventh year. I’ve won all bar 2004, when I was in hospital, and have ML’d for all of the years that I’ve participated, three years in Scotland, and four years in Gloucestershire, when we moved in 2006.

What project are you working on this year?

I’m doing three books – Change (sci fi), Value (literary), and Glass Block – which is a complete rewrite of my first ever Nano. Because ‘Change’ is also my third year Dissertation, I’ve also done lots of reflection on the planning process which gave me some insight into what I needed to do to strengthen it.

How much planning have you done?

I’ve done the 30 day plan for Change, and half of it for Value. Glass Block has been planned, replanned, written four times and is my ‘third’ book in this year.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

Not really – I write when I feel like writing, and work best after 2pm – up until then I tend to procrastinate on Facebook, or other networking sites. Beyond that, no plans really J

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

As always, I’m inexplicably excited, and really looking forward to getting through it – I’m a bit worried because I’m still not better from my fall, and find it difficult to write as much, but if I can’t challenge myself now, I don’t know when I’m going to ;)

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

Honestly, I can’t remember. I think it came up in several conversations on lists I was on. I signed up, and then discovered that there was no one ‘running’ the meets in the area. I asked if I could, and the rest, I guess, is history.

***
Katie, tell us a little about yourself

Katie-Anne Gustafsson. I’m mother two young boys, Jake and Connor, and wife to Mikael. An expat Brit I live in my husband’s homeland of Sweden. Professionally I’m a freelance writer who loves fiction writing but unfortunately never seem to find the time to fit it into my schedule.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

No, but hopefully it will be the first year I actually complete it!

What project are you working on this year?

A slight detour from my usual sweet romance genre into the world of women’s fiction. The storyline tells of a friendship between two girls that spans the decades from sandbox to courtroom as one of them stands trial for murdering her husband.

How much planning have you done?

Not a great deal. I have a tendency to write scenes as I plan and that’s not allowed for NaNo so I have little more than a sketchy idea, and my opening scene on paper!

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

Nope. Tried that in other years and when the schedule fell apart, so did I! This year I will fit in NaNo where I have time in my day and hopefully keep on the word count schedule at least!

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

Confident, excited, and so ready to nail it this year!

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

Each year the possibility of completing a novel in a month is new and fresh. That’s what excites me about it, the possibility and the challenge. So far I haven’t managed to live up to the promise that each NaNo year brings but that makes me even more motivated to succeed this year.

***
Katrina, tell us a little about yourself

Katrina L Wampler. I am the single mom to three children ages 11,12,13. We reside in central NC with our blind dog and two cats. I am the author of A Hope and a Future, released 2008 and On Butterfly Faith to be released early 2010. I am currently in school pursuing a PhD in child Psychology with the dream of helping young girls overcome sexual abuse.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

This is my very first NaNoWriMo. I'm excited … and nervous at the same time.


What project are you working on this year?

“The Voices We Hear” Destined love speaks to the heart of those brave enough to listen.

How much planning have you done?

I've done quite a bit of research and the entire outline. I've plotted the characters and all the tiny details.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

Does, “write until my eyeballs fall out of my head” count?

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

I'm very anxious to get going. I'm a bit nervous that I haven't outlined enough but I don't normally use an outline anyway. I tend to let the story take me where it will. So, we'll see how this works out for me.

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

I've always wanted to join but have been involved in other projects or had personal issues going on. This year, I just finished my latest novel and the timing felt perfect.

***

Kelly, tell us a little about yourself:

Kelly (Writing Fiction I use my Pen Name: M. Jordan Renee). I am a freelance writer, help a friend run his business, mom to 3 girls (19, 18 and 16), amateur photographer, soon to be grandma, college student

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo:

No, I think this is actually my 5th year, have won twice. November seems to be the month when “the world falls apart”

What project are you working on this year?

I am working on a Fiction piece, working title – “House of Windows”

How much planning have you done?

I have been planning this for quite some time, but has been on the back burner. I figured this was the right time to dust off the cobwebs.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

I want to write first thing in the morning, while everyone is still sleeping and it’s quiet. Once the day starts……..

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

Above all nervous, the past couple years have been a disaster and have nearly given up hope.

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

Determination and proving to myself that I can do this! I will not be defeated!

***

Linda, tell us a little about yourself

I am wife, mom to two children 12 an 16, artist, writer and a whole host of other things.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

No, this is my seventh year participating in NaNo and if all goes well it will be my seventh win. I’ve produced two halfway decent manuscripts from the past Nano's.

What project are you working on this year?

I working on a project that is the polar opposite to the horror/suspense I normally write. It falls between the literary and chick lit genre. Hopefully it will turn out as humorous as it is inside my head.

How much planning have you done?

I’ve done more planning than I have in the past. Usually I write by the tip of my pen with the sketches of the characters. This year I’ve spent the two weeks before NaNo sketching basic scenes, characters, outlining the plot and sub plots using index cards.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

Yes. I usually write from 9 am to 12 pm and again in the evening after the family have gone to bed. However I go for word count rather than hours writing during NaNo. I try to write at least 3K each day during because I don’t write on the weekends.

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

I’m nervous that this will be the year I don’t reach 50K, if I was nervous than it wouldn’t be NaNo.

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

I love the creative aspect and the freedom to write whether it’s great or crap is my motivation during November and it’s also my vacation from Mom duty even though I’m still home.

***
Megan, tell us a little about yourself

My name is Megan Schwartz, I'm a stay-at-home-mom with two girls, 2 and 5. In my spare time, when I can, I work to build my freelance writing career.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo?

This is my first year of doing Nanowrimo. I signed up last year and never even got through the first day. This year I'm committed to getting right through it.

What project are you working on this year?

I'm working on a fiction novel about a SAHM mom, I think.

How much planning have you done?

I have done almost no planning— I'm a stream of consciousness kind of girl!

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

My basic goal is to get up early (I'm hoping the time change this weekend helps with that!) and get down as much as I can in that hour and a half before the kids get up.

What are you feeling as you get ready to begin and what motivated you to sign up?

I'm nervous about the project but I keep telling myself it doesn't have to be perfect of even good, it just has to be the first step. I'm also looking forward to the motivation for writing consistently every day, no matter what. That's why I signed up for NaNo and hopefully that will pull me through to the finish line!

***
Maria, tell us a little about yourself


My NaNoWriMo ID is MariaConnor. I’m a freelance writer and prepublished romance author.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

This is my second year to fully commit to NaNoWriMo. The first year I got sidetracked by volunteering to coordinate social activities for the other participants. This year I’m just writing.

What project are you working on this year?

After recently completing two manuscripts, I’m eager to try a new approach. It’s a combination of Book-in-a-Month and The Spew Method. (The former is similar to NaNoWriMo in that the intent is to complete a manuscript in 30 days; the second means “to flow out forcefully,” followed by an intensive revision process.) With zero focus on the quality of what I’m generating, I hope to unleash my creativity and ramp up productivity.

How much planning have you done?

I have a general plot outline completed and have identified the main characters. I’ve also written a couple of blubs about the storyline (the equivalent of what might appear on the back of the book) and a three page synopsis.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

My goal is to get up at 6 a.m. and write for an hour before beginning my regular day. As I’m not much of a morning person, it will be interesting to see how this works. I’d like to develop this as a consistent writing habit. If my subconscious thinks we only have to do this for 30 days, it might work.

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

At the start of any new writing project, I’m filled with enthusiasm, energy, creativity and curiosity to see where these characters will take me. The added bonus to participating in NaNoWriMo is that pretty much everyone is up for the adventure. There’s a tremendous sense of camaraderie, which is rare because writing is such a solitary pursuit.

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

To me, NaNo is like New Year’s Eve. It’s a new start, an opportunity to let go of past attempts, old manuscripts and begin anew. There is a sense of anticipation, as well as the thrill of challenging one’s self. It’s also a fantastic excuse to indulge yourself as a writer; for one whole month NaNo provides an excuse to lock yourself up in your office, hide out at a coffee shop, gather with other writers or stay up late at night. It’s like eating a dozen donuts but without the guilt and calories

***
Nicole, tell us a little about yourself

My name is Nicole Zoltack and I'm a romance author. I've written many stories: some fantasy, paranormal, horror, YA, but all have elements of romance. I've published one novel, Woman of Honor, a medieval fantasy romance from Desert Breeze Publishing about a girl who wants to become a knight to take her fallen brother's place. I've also sold two short stories for anthologies and am almost done the rough draft of Knight of Glory, the sequel to Woman of Honor.

Is this your first year doing NaNo?

No. I started Nano back in college and won the first four years. Last year, I didn't attempt because I had a one-month old but I'm more than ready to tackle it again this year.

What project are you working on this year?

I am going to try to do two. Crazy I know and I might just end up doing one but we'll just have to wait and see. The first is called Magic's Origins, a fantasy YA, about four teens and the results of magic suddenly occuring within the world. The second, From the Brink of Insanity, is about a woman of accidentally kills a child during a game of hide and seek and her guilt and paranoia causes her to kill again and again.

How much planning have you done?

I don't do a lot of planning. I work best when I let the characters dictate the story. My stories tend to be character-driven versus plot-driven.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

I'm going to write when Nicholas naps and after he and hubby are in bed sleeping. And even spare moment and thought will be about the stories so that when I do have time to type, I won't be sitting there and staring at the keyboard, not sure what to type.

What are you feeling as you get ready to begin?

I'm really excited. I love Nano, the rush, the excitement and I can't wait to get started!

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

I've always wanted to be an author since I first learned how to write. Being an author has been a lifetime goal for me and I will make it a reality.

***
Ron, tell us a little about yourself

Ron Berry. I write kritter stories, humorous pieces bringing inanimate objects to life and some nonfiction. I spend a lot of time with Kadence, my wondrous granddaughter. My writing is allowed to be corny because I am, after all, from Iowa.

Is this your first year doing NaNoWriMo

This is my third year doing Nano.

What project are you working on this year?

The Wild Bunch goes on a tour. At least that is the tentative name.

How much planning have you done?

I’ve written many Amanda stories, the basis for the wild bunch. Based on their antics, I’ve actually outlined who they are and how they react to various situations.

Do you have a writing schedule set up?

Not really. I write as much as I can, when I can.

What are you feeling as you are getting ready to begin?

Apprehensive. What is my opening line? How do I start their tour?

What motivated you to sign up for NaNo?

I signed up the first time to see if I could write that many words. I did it again for the same reason. This year however, I signed up to get back to writing. It’s been an off year for me. I know I can do it and I want the Amanda story in book form. This is my opportunity to do that.

***

There they are, folks--give them an encouraging word--and come back each Sunday to see how everyone is doing and what they have to say about their experience!!!

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2 comments:

unwriter said...

I am in with some powerful company again this year. There are books coming out of this that sound really interesting.

Ok folks, we can all do it!!!!

Keep typing

Stephanie said...

I really like this feature! I signed up for NaNoWriMo this year for the first time, and I find this inspiring.

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