NaNoWriMo Day Ten

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So we’re more than a week into this and I’m actually doing pretty well.  I haven’t quite been staying on track with my personal NaNoWriMo word count goal of 3,766 a day, but I always write more on weekends, so I expect to have caught up to that before the end of the day Sunday. I’ve been attending and hosting plenty of write-ins and my region’s on-line chat is almost always active, which is awesome.

In NaNoRDU, we have a tradition of posting tweets of the interesting things overheard at write-ins, either said by us or by random strangers.  I just wanted to share a couple fun ones we’ve had so far this year.  They can be pretty hilarious.

2017-11-10 NaNoRDU tweets

We get up to some fun shenanigans at write-ins, and I’ve been enjoying them so far this year.  Looking forward to tonight’s.

So here’s the rundown of my writing stats so far this year.

Most productive day was November 11 with 5,036 words.

Average words per day at the end of November 9 was 3,615.

Total words at end of day on November 9 was 32,543.

Looking good so far this year.

Keep those words coming, all your WriMos out there.

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NaNoWriMo Day Three

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So it’s NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month), so I’ll be focusing on a fiction project this month.  I’m writing a story that takes place in the same world as Strong Fort Spathí, but focuses on different characters and locations.  This one is set at Black Ashe, the Wiccan University in Fort Madison IA (or at least my fictional version of it).

I’m excited about the characters and the idea and the story.  As of going to bed on the second, I have 7,556 words written so far.  Blog posts are going to be fairly short this month, and mostly center around my NaNoWriMo project, but I’ll still be posting the traditional 2nd Friday image prompt, and I’ll still post a response to that on the 3rd Friday.  (Because words are words, so I get to count my response sprint as NaNoWriMo word count.)

Good luck to anyone else out there doing this crazy challenge.  My personal goal is to beat my all time high word count in NaNo, which means writing at least 112,959 words this November, which is 3,766 words a day.  I’m on track so far.

Let’s do this!

Image Prompt 033 Response: The Tree

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I picked the tree in the Florida state park for my twenty-minute sprint this time.  I went in a little bit different direction than my usual.  I’d love to hear what you think.

The Tree:

The tree was alone now.

Before there had been others.  A forest of them together at the edge where the land met the water.

Time took away the sand and rock they clung to first, and then one by one, the other trees succumbed.  They were carried off by well-meaning creatures, or they drifted out on the waves.

The tree was alone now.

The boulder it clung to was ancient.  The tree grew its roots down around it, hoping to shield it in some small way from the ravages of time and waves.  The tree knew this was a futile effort, but it had to try.  Perhaps its efforts would extend the boulders life by a few seasons.

Creatures came and went on the sands nearby, but the tree paid them no mind.  It paid attention to the bright sun, the rhythm of the waves, and the shifting of the sands beneath its boulder.  The creatures would come and they would go and everything else would remain.

The tree was alone now.

It thought fondly of the days when it was surrounded by its brothers and sisters.  When they had been a whole.  Now the tree was just a single piece of a whole that no longer existed.  The tree would never be whole on its own.  That was simply not the way of things.

The tree tried to grow sideways.  It tried to expand so that there would be more of it and maybe, if it was very lucky, there would be daughter and son trees and it could be part of a forest again.  There had only been one tree before, and it always seemed to build its own forest community.

The tree was alone now.

The tree stood over its rock and watched the sea.  There were always ships coming in and going out.  The tree had seen this happen before.  There were always ships.  For as long as the tree had stood, there had been ships.  It had been a tiny sapling when the first floated across the water.

The tree thought that when its time came, it would rather drift away into the ocean.  It didn’t particularly want the creatures to drag it away and it did not want to find out what any of their strange contraptions did or felt like.  The tree did not have a thirst for knowledge.

The tree was aloe now

The light was fading and the tree continued to watch the waves as they came in again.  The tree watched the stars come out and the sky fade to inky blackness.

The tree wondered what the stars where and what would really happen when he no longer had the boulder to cling to and the soil any longer.

The tree was alone now.

Image Prompt 033 – Flat in Dundee Scotland & State Park in Florida

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It’s the Second Third Friday of the Month, so today is an Image Prompt day.  (Not sure what happened to my brain last week that I forgot to post this.)

I’ve included two images to work from.  Pick one (or both if you’re feeling ambitious) and write something inspired by the image.  You can use something in the image, the feeling it invokes, or whatever the image makes you think of.

If you write a piece and end up posting it somewhere online, please link back to it here on a comment so we can all enjoy it too.

I’ll be posting my own piece next week.

2017-10-13 Image Prompt033-1 - Dundee Scotland Walking Tour of the Flat 018

2017-10-13 Image Prompt-033-2 - FL State Park 023

Anticipation: The Good, the Bad, and the Weird

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There’s been a lot of anticipation in my life the past several weeks.  I just wanted to share some thoughts on various kinds of anticipation.

The biggest anticipation in my life right now is for NaNoWriMo to start.  This is a slow burning, long building anticipation that starts in the summer when I confirm I’m going to be a Municipal Liaison (ML) again, and never really goes away.  November is by far my favorite month of the year.  It’s crazy and amazing and ridiculous and I’m almost always looking forward to it.  The anticipation has been heightened this past week because scheduling has started happening for all the write-ins that will be hosted by WriMos in my region.  The MLs have had theirs decided for weeks, but it’s super fun to watch the calendar fill up as people announce their intentions to host.  We’re already down to only three days without a confirmed write-in.  I expect we’ll fill those three days in fairly quickly.

So that’s the good kind of anticipation.  Looking forward to what’s to come.

I also had the bad kind of anticipation this week.  It was time for my six month visit with the dentist.  I’m also due at all my doctors in the next month or so.  These are not things I look forward to.  I try not to think about them, but then the reminders start coming in, or I’ll see it on the leave calendar at work.  The appointment is coming.  The dentist especially gives me a bit of anxiety lately.  After not getting my first cavity until eighteen, and going several years after that without another, I have had six cavities filled in the last year and a half.  It sucks.  So I was nervous leading up to my dentist appointment even though I’d been doing everything I was supposed to.  The good news?  No cavities.  The bad news?  My insurance still won’t cover a mouth guard even though it really is a preventative care item when you have TMJ.  Maybe I should see if my medical insurance would cover it…

And then there’re weird kinds of anticipation.

I have a coworker who got a new job and today is her last day.  I’m super excited for her and it’s a great opportunity, but I’m going to miss her.  This leads to a mix of happy feelings and mild anxiety over what we’re going to do without her.  She’s the glue that holds together all the disparate little departments that live under the same senior associate dean umbrella as mine.  I’m going to miss her so much.  But she’ll come back to visit and it’s not like she lives any further away.  I just have to not fail at keeping up with someone like I usually do.

Along similar lines, we’ve been dealing with a little financial difficulty the last few months, so I’m always anticipating the next paycheck, the next bill, the next time they don’t line up and we have problems.  It’s stressful.  I’m stuck in a constant state of anticipation and anxiety.  Thankfully, that’s working itself out this week so that I can finally relax a bit.

Then there’s the kind of anticipation that’s only weird in my head.  I’m making my own Halloween costume this year.  I’ll likely post some pics at some point.  I’m super excited about the idea, and about actually doing a sewing project after so long.  But then I’m also nervous about my new sewing machine and whether the idea will hold up when I actually make it.  This leads to some procrastination, which I’m trying to short-circuit this week by at least starting on the wings for the outfit.  We’ll see how well that works.

What are you anticipating right now?  Is it a good kind of anticipation?  Or something weirder or less comfortable?

Growing as a Writer

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I’ve been reading through some of my older pieces lately, and it’s got me thinking about how I’ve grown as a writer and how writers grow into their craft in general.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that practice has played a huge role in my own growth process.  I’ve been writing down my stories since the sixth grade.  Some of those early ones are pretty atrocious, let me tell you.  I got a bit more serious in high school, taking creative writing as an elective and actually showing some of my outside work to my teacher.  She was very impressed.  For a high school student, I was probably doing pretty well but I still look back at drafts from those days and cringe.

I continued to take my development as a writer more seriously in college, taking writing courses alongside my literature classes and trying to get insight for both.  My work improved a lot over those years.  The piece I’m rereading now actually dates from after I was out of graduate school, and the beginning of that piece makes me cringe too.  I haven’t taken any formal classes since then, but I can see the improvement as I read through this piece, and I can see it in other drafts that where written after this one.  I’m still improving.

So where does the improvement come from?  What’s letting me get better outside a normal learning environment?

Practice.

For writers, practice is the key to improvement.  Almost any author you ask will give advice that sounds a bit like “just keep writing” and there’s a reason for that.  If you keep writing and keep writing, and maybe even try some revision every so often and still just keep on writing, you’re likely to get betted.

Reading helps too, don’t get me wrong.  Without good examples, it’s hard to write well, but practicing your craft is also very important.

It’s also helpful to remember that everyone starts out awful.  Keep practicing and you’ll get better.

Introspection in Images: Fascinated by Decay 003

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I have always been fascinated by the decaying remains of human structures.

That sounds weirder when I say it out loud, but I always knew I was weird.

I love to take pictures of stone buildings being overgrown with ivy, old gravestones, wooden houses being reclaimed by nature.  Old monuments.  Mossy stones set up by ancient people.  It all fascinates me.

My first digital camera probably took more pictures of things like that, than it did people.  I have hundreds of photos from trips around town and around the world of the things humans have built that are now wasting away.

Today, I’ll share a few of them with you.  And I expect in later posts I’ll share some more.

I hope you can see the beauty in them that I do.