Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What I've Learned from National Novel Writing Month- Day 10

Song of the Day: Hollywood by Michael Buble

      Hello all! It's only day 10, and already I've learned so much from National Novel Writing Month. I've compiled a list of what the experience has taught me, and what I really should have known all along.

1. You Have to Make Time to Write

   This has been preached to me by every writer I know, and in every article, blog post, or book about writing that I've ever read. Why did it take NanoWriMo for me to see the light? I would make excuses about not having enough time to write, which was a lie. I was doing what writers do best, procrastinating. The fact is that you can write a good amount of words in 10-15 minutes. I've learned this because I use every spare chance I can get to reach my word count goal for the day. I usually arrive early to work, and this morning I wrote 200 words in 15 min while I was waiting in the car.

2. Keep Writing

   It's okay, if you don't have a direction for your novel (or even short story). Keep Going. Just write something down on paper. You can go back and edit later. Before NanoWriMo, I would sit and stare at the screen of my computer for hours because I was stuck. That would usually result in me just closing my laptop and vowing to work on whatever it was later. Then I wouldn't go back to it because I still had no idea where it was going. That got me nowhere. Make something up and keep going. That's the beauty of fiction.

3. I should be Writing Like this Everyday

   Honestly, 1000-1500 words a day, is not that hard to accomplish. I once read a book by Carolyn See called, Making a Literary Life. I was still an undergraduate in college and just figuring out that I wanted to make a career out of writing. See advised that anyone who wanted to become a serious writer should write at least 1,000 words a day. I remember thinking at the time that a 1000 words was ridiculous. That number seemed so big to me. Now, I don't quite see it that way. Writing 1,000 words a day is necessary and completely within reach.

   It took National Novel Writing Month to really open my eyes (sad but true). And Thank God for it. Now to make up for all the time I've been wasting. At least I figured it out while I'm still in my twenties!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Opportunities in the Great Big Literary World- Miami Book Fair

Song of the Day: Lightyears by Kylie Minogue

   Hello all! Well today is day 8 of National Novel Writing Month! I'm just a slight bit behind (not too much) but I do plan to catch up today. I've noticed that it's harder to write on the weekend because I'm surrounded by my family, and there aren't even any small children involved! I didn't think it was possible, but man are they a distraction! Don't get me wrong, I love them to death, but it's incredibly hard to focus. I do much better during the week. It's not as if I'm in complete solitude during the week (as my sister often spends most evenings at my place watching TV), but she's usually working on her own projects too, so it works out. Anyway, since I do need to get back to my writing, this post will be rather short. I really just had to tell you about the Miami Book Fair for those of you in Florida (Or those of you willing to travel here with such short notice).

The Miami Book Fair

     There will be so many famous authors here that it's unreal! The list includes authors such as Ellen Hopkins, Laurie Halse Anderson, Carl Hiassen, Ann Beattie, Susan Cheever, Carol Higgins Clark, Edwidge Danticat, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Laura Esquivel, Jonathan Franzen, Ian Frazier, James O'neal, Katherine Schwarzenegger, Scott Turow, Jonathan Tropper, Scott Westerfeld, Dani Shapiro, Walter Mosley, Jane Leavy, Caroline Leavitt, Larry Doyle, T Cooper, and George W. Bush. Wait, George W. Bush? No comment. Anyway, this my list just scratches the surface. The official list is quite extensive.

       The fair takes place from November 14-21. The Street Fair takes place during the 19-21 and will feature booksellers and exhibitors, offering the opportunity to browse new and favorite titles from major publishing houses, small presses, scholarly imprints and foreign publishers. There will be millions of books in multiple languages, book signings and musical entertainment. Many authors will be giving talks on various subjects. Tickets for the Street Fair are free and Tickets for the 2010 Evenings with Series Author presentations are $10. Visit the website for more information.

   I also want to add that I'm going to be in Miami this weekend, and thought the fair was going to be this weekend. I was horrified (yes, it's that serious) to discover that it's actually next weekend. I doubt I'll be able to make it to Miami 2 weekends in a row, but I guess we'll see what happens. If you're lucky enough to go, have fun! And don't forget about The Black Fox Literary Magazine's Fiction Contest and Cover Art Contest going on now!

Oh, and often doesn't have the "song of the day" that I want to use. If that happens I'm just going to provide a link below the song where you can listen to it. Does Anyone have a better website with the same concept?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

NanoWriMo- Updates and Comments to the Bashers

Song of the Day: King of Anything by Sara Bareilles

   Hello all! As you know, I'm participating in National Novel Writing Month this year! I can't believe it but I've been meeting the word goals every day, and I've written nearly 6,000 words so far! I had already started my novel before National Novel Writing Month as part of my final creative thesis for my MFA program. I didn't want to be a cheater so I came up with another idea for a novel. Then I read Nathan Bransford's blog advising writers to actually write on an idea that they were passionate about. Though I liked my new idea, I wasn't passionate about it because my first novel was never finished. That's when I spoke to my two best writing buddies, Pam and Marquita. They said, "Why don't you just add 50,000 words to the words you already have. That way it's not cheating." What a brilliant idea. Why didn't I think of that? I know, what would I do without them?
    So here I am having written close to 6,000 words over the space of 3 days (Today is day 4, but I'm only at about 100 words due to the fact that I am at my day job). That makes about 10,000 words total for my manuscript! It's the most words I've ever had on a manuscript ever! It's safe to say that I LOVE NANWRIMO! This brings me to my next point.
     I've come across several articles and blogs bashing NanoWriMo. If you are bashing the event and the organization, then essentially you are bashing its participants. I know that the method doesn't work for everyone, and it's okay to say that, but when you're putting writers and their efforts down, that's just not right. I think all participants realize that major editing will have to be done after the month of November. I honestly don't think anyone thinks they are going to type word number 50,000 then send it to an Agent and instantly get a book deal. While it may be possible (hey we can dream can't we?), I don't think anyone's expectations are so high. Why would you put down something that has people motivated to get their words on the page?
     I'm one of those writers who self edits as I go. I end up so frustrated that I just stop writing. This project has encouraged me to keep going. I keep it in the back of mind, that I can go back and change the wording later. There's nothing wrong with that. So to you NanoWriMo haters I say, "Talk to the hand!"
     Good luck to all my fellow Nanoers! Keep writing!

P.S. I know I already used this song, but it's so PERFECT for today's post!