Wednesday, November 6, 2013

A Little of NaNoWriMo . . . A Lot of Writing

Here's my Wednesday check-in to ROW80, A Round of Words in 80 days, that heady process of setting goals and then attempting to carry them out, despite the intrusions of real life!

Day 6 of NaNoWriMo. My personal goal is just 500 words a day, double my normal output.

So far, so good. On Monday, I cracked over 1,000 words on a daily write, and, for the first time, I have a real working outline for Rivers of Stone. But this morning, after about two hours of reorganizing, that nasty inner voice is saying I don't know enough about the research to really write the story. Not even 500 words would come along this morning. So far. But I am a stubborn writer. Sometimes we persevere through stubbornness. Sometimes we let the story percolate. So I'm sliding sideways first by checking in here at ROW80. Short and sweet.

WRITING. Rivers of Stone is bouncing right along at 3,337 words -- until this morning, for a total of 24,250 on the first draft. The final edit of Standing Stones is also on schedule as I'm editing a minimum of 4 chapters a day. Began blogging about Egypt on the travel blog. I actually miss writing that poem-a-day. I plan to start the creativity series on the writing blog. Busy, busy.

COMMUNITY. Reading other ROW80 writers continues to be useful. Met my commitment to read 10 others this week. Didn't go to the NaNoWriMo meet-up here because of snow, but maybe the next one.

MARKETING. I read in a recent writer's mag this incredible statement about the distinction between writing and publishing. This nameless writer actually said once your book is published, "you can plunge in and enjoy the social aspects of publishing, the fellowship of doing readings and interviews and talking with other nice, smart people about art." Sorry. He's NOT talking about the gritty world of an indie writer who self-publishes and who would like to build an audience larger than friends and family! That article almost made me swear off reading writing craft magazines.

Marketing seems such a daunting task that I was intrigued by an idea from this week's e-mail from that suggests we spend just 5 minutes a day marketing. Certainly that's more than I did all last week. So this week, I have updated my Amazon book description for Mermaids, and I continue to cast about for ideas on cover design for Standing Stones. At this point:

  1. Free sounds good, so it's do-it-yourself.
  2. Need high impact cover that attracts the reader AND communicates the theme.
  3. Standing Stones is historical fiction so photograph may not work (though I have a few).
  4. Best covers have PEOPLE on them or a compelling image. Not sure what the compelling image should be, but I will know it when I see it. Looking at LOTS of pictures of the Orkneys, standing stones, scattered stones, etc.
  5. Apparently a clever FONT is important -- as is some sort of TAG LINE on the cover.
By Sunday, I will put up another draft cover or two for Standing Stones.

READING. Still reading Natalie Goldberg's Writing Down the Bones daily. I'm about 150 pages into The Curiosity by Stephen P. Kiernan and not sure whether I'll continue because I don't quite care about the characters or the situation they find themselves in. Is this story a barely disguised essay on the ethics of raising someone from the dead? Each chapter tells the story from a different point of view, so I'm never quite attached to anyone (Some of the characters are not at all likable, so I'm plodding through those chapters). Maybe I want to find out what happens next, but so far the book reminds me why I'm happy to be retired (no office politics). Next up is Christina Baker Klines's Orphan Train.

OTHER PROJECTS. Steady progress in closing down books for my volunteer public relations job. Wrote an article this week (and got it accepted) on scrap quilting. All else is well. We had our first snow, ate Italian out (fabulous meatballs I will learn how to make some day), and dear daughter is now able to walk for about an hour without icing her ankle. I think my African violets are suffering a bit from the cold.

So I'm curious to know: How are you doing now that the snows of November have begun? Does your writing productivity change with the weather?


  1. "Now that the snows of November have begun..." does not apply here in Houston. We're all thrilled that a cold front may blow in tonight and get us below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. :) We've had a string of rain storms producing a bumper crop of mushrooms in our very green lawns. My lawn guy took his chance to mow my yard yesterday because it was only misting.

    You've got so many great goals! And I agree with you about the marketing article. Socializing with smart people about art? Really? Have you read Kristen Lamb's recent book, Rise of the Machines? I think her marketing, platform building ideas are much more in line with reality.

    Keep on keeping on, and have a great NaNo week.

    1. Thanks for visiting, Kathrese. I've tracked down Kristen Lamb's book and it's now on my 'to-read' pile. Sometimes it seems the more I read about what marketing 'should' be done, the less I'm inclined. But it's at that point, we persevere. In spite of rain and mushrooms. 50 degrees? That's t-shirt weather!

  2. Heh on the social side of writing! Totally agree with you on that one. :)

    Congrats on your progress and good luck on learning the market ropes!

    1. Thanks for your words of encouragement, Ruth, and I'm still working through your comments for Standing Stones at a goodly clip, appreciating both micro and macro. Marketing? As my mother would say, 'Ooofta!'


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