Posts Tagged With: NaNoWriMo

Are You Afraid of Falling Through the Cracks?

Facing a Big Project Turns Us into Little Kids Again

…in a Bad Way

pg pier by mike138 on FlickrWhen you were a kid, did you ever walk across a pier, look down through the narrow cracks between the planks to the ocean below and become convinced that, if you made the slightest misstep, you were going to fall through the cracks and drown? Or maybe you crossed a bridge, clinging to the side or staying steadfastly in the middle because it seemed like you might be easily swept over the side and plunge to your death, that you might even be compelled to jump over?

When we got a little older, we realized how irrational, how insane, those fears seemed. We could laugh them off because we knew, duh, people can’t fit through the cracks in a pier nor easily be swept over a bridge. But it seemed so real back then.

I think the same thing happens when we face a huge project, whether it’s getting fit, making a life change, writing a book, joining NaNoWriMo or learning something new. Every step along the path to our goal seems treacherous.

Maybe we can’t even admit we’re afraid.We’re adults. Adults aren’t afraid of falling through cracks in the pier. That’s just nuts.

And sometimes those fears stop us cold. We can’t fight back because we can’t even admit we’re having them. We make excuses. We get busy. We forget. We tell ourselves, “Tomorrow,” and every day is today.

Of course, once we screw our courage to the sticking place or drag ourselves kicking and screaming onto the path, we realize what we realized when we were kids: just keep moving, one step at a time and you’ll make it to the end just fine, even if you have to hold the rail the whole time.

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What irrational fears crop up for you when you’re facing a big project? How do you handle them? Do you have a funny irrational-childhood-fear story to share?

For all my fellow NaNos, how’s it going for you so far?

Photo Credit:
p.g pier by mike 138 on Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

How to Conquer NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is really just around the corner now. Are you ready and raring to go?

I’m not sure about the ready or the raring. I think I’m good to go but the doubties have begun to creep into my head. This year has been busier than ever and the choice to join NaNoWriMo seems crazier the closer Nov 1 gets. But I’m determined to make it happen…mostly because I have a full story plan and am way too impatient to weather another 6 months writing a draft. I need this to happen soon or else.

Or else what, I don’t know, but I’m trying to keep my motivation up here :).

With that in mind, I’m gathering my weapons and planning my assault on NaNoWriMo. Here are a few articles with excellent suggestions:

My other two weapons of mass NaNo destruction are Scrivener and Snowflake Pro. Snowflake is a story planning software (I use it with Larry Brooks’s story structure in mind) while Scrivener is an all-purpose writing software.

I’ve got my arsenal and story plan…so maybe I can make this happen after all.

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How about you? Are you ready to conquer NaNoWriMo?

Categories: Killer Thursdays | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

How to Survive NaNoWriMo Without Resorting to Cannibalism

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner and, if you’re anything like me, you’re waiting for it to arrive with a mixture of excitement and dread.

Cake

Cake is a meal. Right?

Most of us don’t really have time for NaNo. We make room by temporarily pushing aside non-essential activities, making a bargain with our families to offset some of our individual responsibilities and planning for the chaos as much as possible. Or we just dive in and hope for the best. Either way, we do it because, if we win, we’ll have most or all of a first draft done. That’s a pretty decent reward for a month of madness.

For my family, meals are the biggest concern during NaNo. While it’s tempting to get take-out or drive-through all month, it’s not so friendly on the budget or health.

Assuming, of course, you can make it to a fast food joint. Otherwise…

So, how do we keep ourselves and our families fed without re-enacting Super Size Me or that Stephen King short, Survivor Type (lady fingers, they taste just like lady fingers. *shudder*)

Here’s what works for my family (when we work it, anyway):

Chicken Stock

Roast up a chicken or two. Eat some for dinner and cut up the rest for sandwiches, tacos, pasta, soup, etc. Throw the bones in a stockpot or a crock pot (I prefer the crock pot because don’t have to worry about leaving the range on for so many hours) along with big chunks of carrot, onion, celery and whatever else you like (if you have the giblets, throw those in there too) and simmer for 6-12 hours.

I like to leave out the salt so I can add whatever’s needed when I use the stock in a recipe.

When it’s ready, pour the stock through a strainer to separate out the bones and veggies. You can separate out the fat with a gravy separator or cool the stock and scrape the solidified fat off the top. Then, freeze the stock in meal sized portions (I usually figure 1-2 cups per person as a recipe base).

Stock is great in homemade soup, curry, chili or in a variety of sauces.

You can also make beef or veggie stock. And, of course, canned stock works in a pinch.

Soup

Our family loves soup. I rarely use a recipe because it’s so much easier to throw in whatever I have. I usually sweat some onions first, pour in my stock, and add celery, carrots, bell pepper and whatever other veggies I have on hand. Then I’ll add meat and maybe pasta. I also add salt, pepper and any other seasonings ( Italian blend, sometimes curry powder, crushed red pepper, etc.) to taste and let it simmer until the veggies are tender.

One of our favorites is sausage and potato soup. I use spicy Italian sausage, lightly browned on the stove top and sliced or diced, baby gold potatoes, onions and any other veggies I have on hand. This recipe usually requires only a little salt and pepper and no other seasoning as the spice from the sausage really infuses the soup.

Miscellaneous Meal Tips

Stock up on your favorite pasta and jars of sauce or make your own sauce and freeze it.

Make a big batch of chili (I like to add lots of veggies such as celery, onion, red bell pepper and cherry or grape tomatoes) and freeze in meal size portions.

Stock up on burrito fixings such as beans, cheese, tortillas and salsa. Burritos are super quick and easy when you have all the fixings on hand. You can even pre-chop and pre-cook any meat, then freeze them both ahead (just be sure to allow for thawing before meal time).

Make a few freezer meals.

Every week, do all y our chopping of veggies ahead of time and stash in the fridge (or you can prep two weeks to a month ahead and freeze). That way, when meal time rolls around, you can just throw the ingredients together and go.

Starting now, make a double or triple batch of whatever you’re making for lunch/dinner and freeze the extra.

Plan a couple of pizza or take-out nights to ease the stress or enlist family and friends to do the cooking.

Shoot for 2000 words every day for 6 days and take the 7th off so you can have time to relax and/or prep for the next week.

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So this is how I plan to surive NaNo. What’s in your plan?

You might also be interested in:

How Not to Starve During NaNoWriMo

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , | 15 Comments

Are You Stuck in the Squishy Middle?

How to Get Over the Halfway Mark Hump in NaNoWriMo
(or any big writing project)

Middles.

Sometimes they’re a cause for celebration. As in: “Yeehaw! We’re halfway through!” Or: “Whew! Thank goodness that’s half over already.”

Other times, they just suck. As in: “Oh man, I’ve come all this way and I still have so far to go.” *cue self-pity montage music*

I suppose it probably depends on whether you’re glass-half-full kinda folk or if you’re stuck in that middle.

We’re heading towards the halfway mark of NaNoWriMo. Some of you may just be picking up steam after a long, slow start. For others, the creative high of the first half of NaNo may be wearing off, leaving them stuck in that mushy, soggy, squishy middle.

Me, I’m aiming for denial. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Fattening Up Your Word Count for NaNoWriMo

Is it Cheating to Use Tricks to Get to 50K?

skinny black cat with back arched

I have to write how many words a day?!

50,000 words in 30ish days. That’s the NaNoWriMo goal and it breaks down to about 1667 words a day.

For some, word counts in the thousands a day is routine. For others (*cough cough* like me), this is no small feat.

Prior to NaNo, I averaged about 5-600 words a day. 750 was a pretty good day. And 100o was cause for a parade and statue erected in my honor (in my head, anyway).

Of course, I was also hand writing all those words. So that may have played a big part.

Coming up on November, the idea of hitting 1667 daily was nothing short of terrifying.

But then I remembered reading a post on padding your word count for NaNoWriMo and 750Words.com. At the time, I ignored the advice. Sounded like a good idea but I didn’t think I needed it.

And I didn’t need it for 750 words but for 1600-2K?

Well…maybe. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

How to be a NaNoWriMo Rebel

NaNoWriMo is in the air. Can you smell it?

Sure, right now that’s the smell of excitement, stockpiles of chocolate and coffee, and possibly disinfectant, as writers furiously clean their houses one last time before NaNo sets in.

Later on, it’ll be the smell of madness and unwashed people. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

How Not to Starve During NaNoWriMo

Freeze Ahead Meals for National Novel Writing Month

Hungry bird

Feed. Me. Now.

Imagine this: it’s the end of another NaNoWriMo day. You’ve worked, studied, and/or chased kiddos all day long. Maybe you’ve already knocked out your daily word count or maybe you’re gearing up for a kamikaze session this evening. Your stomach is growling and your family, especially if you’re usually in charge of meal prep, may be eyeing the dog with evil intent. Somebody’s gotta make dinner or it’s gonna be pocket pizzas and candy corn again.

That dog is starting to look pretty tasty. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

Every Word Counts When You’re Writing a Novel

Word Count Trackers for NaNoWriMo and Beyond

TypewriterWriters everywhere, newbies and old hands, are staring down the barrel of NaNoWriMo. *cue tense theme music*

At the moment, I’m wading hip deep the first draft muck of my work-in-progress. I don’t know if I’ll be joining the ranks of psychotic intrepid ink-slingers in November but I am learning the value of a monthly deadline, even a self-imposed one. Continue reading

Categories: Tuesday Toss-Up | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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