Monday, December 12, 2016


Due to a mixture of busyness and life-related things, I have decided to go on indefinite hiatus. I hope to get back to blogging in January, or sooner, but we'll see what happens. In the meantime, I’ll still be around commenting on blogs and answering comments (hopefully).

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up // Part Two

If you missed my first NaNoWriMo wrap-up post, you can find it here. As promised, today I'm going to be answering some frequently(ish) asked questions. 

How, what even, why? 

I'm glad you asked that question. Let me explain. 

I am a very determined person. 

Also, I am nauseatingly competitive. 

Did you even sleep? 

Yes, actually. Because I was sick for over two weeks, I made sure to get a little more sleep than usual each night. 

How much coffee did you drink?

Too much, and simultaneously, not enough. 

Surely no one can write that many words in one month. You must have used filler/purple prose to pad your word count. *squinty eyes* 

First of all, that's a statement, not a question. You had one job. *shakes head* 

Second of all, no. I don’t write concise rough drafts, because my thoughts wander when I’m writing. It takes me multiple tries to say what I'm trying to say, and I sometimes write in circles just to figure out where I’m going and who my characters are, but every word I type is written with the idea of moving the draft forward, not upping my word count. I never write words just to write words. 

I've been accused of cheating before. *sad face* And I feel like I shouldn't have to say this, because it should be apparent, but I'm going to say it anyway, because apparently it isn't (see what I did there?), but while my word count may be discouraging for those who struggle to reach the 50K, being accused of cheating is just as discouraging. I'm sorry if my word count makes you feel bad, I really am, and I don't mean to rub it in your face or put you down. I promise I'm not sitting here judging you for writing less than me. If anything, I'm judging me for not writing more. 

For the record, I didn't just wake up one morning, suddenly able to write 606,606 words in a month. I wasn't born dipped in talent and sexy. I had to work up to this. (I still look like a potato though.) Five years ago, a 3K day was a phenomenal day for me, and I haven't forgotten how magical that felt. I think I was more excited for my first 3K day than I was for my first 50K day. 

So remember to celebrate your own achievements, and please don't feel bad to tell me about them, because I would be more than happy to celebrate with you. 

Are your hands about to fall off? 

Maybe. My wrists have been sore off and on, but it’s nothing compared to last year. I'm thinking my wrist braces really made a difference. 

How many books/projects did you work on? 

I started writing my Scottish Romance, but I only got 15K in before it turned into a cynical story about why love is a destructive force, so I decided to pull the plug on that project. I also pulled the plug on another project after a couple thousand words because it felt like the sort of story I would enjoy writing at a more relaxed pace (which is odd for me). I wrote the prequel to DRACONIAN, the sequel to TIB (and planned another sequel), my ghost story, the third book in my literary trilogy, and then I went off plan and wrote two spontaneous novels: the first book in a duology about assassins and a horror novel about space travel (which was supposed to be a novella, oops). 

How did you manage to pull off three 50K days, and how many hours did it take? 

My first 50K day took 12.5 hours, including breaks and driving time. I only wrote for about 10 of those hours. In contrast, my third 50K day took 10 hours, including breaks, so only about 8 hours of actual butt-in-chair (except I tend to sit on the floor, for the most part, so butt-on-floor). I made sure to get 20K written before noon and to read during breaks, since Facebook and Twitter drain my brain cells. I also walked around a bit and made sure to stay hydrated. Most importantly, I didn't let myself procrastinate. 

Just as a caveat, because there were several newer writers in the forums expressing hopes of pulling a 50K day themselves: If you want to do a 50K day, then go for it! By all means! But also keep in mind that it is strenuous, both physically and mentally, and you might want to work up to it. If you can't write more than 30K in a day comfortably, I would recommend waiting and getting that under your belt first. You don't want to pull a 50K day, only to burn out and have no energy left to write for the rest of the month. Plus, you'll enjoy your accomplishments more if you're not about to pass out from exhaustion. 

Did you have work?

Excluding Black Friday, I worked Fridays through Sundays every weekend. Fridays were lighter work days, so I made sure to write on those days, but I didn’t push myself on Saturdays and Sundays. In retrospect, I think this was the main reason why I didn’t burn out. 

How fast can you type? 

My cruising speed ranges from 110-170 wpm, depending on pain levels and mental energy. I can only sustain 170 wpm for about an hour (hence the 10K hour I managed). 

Are you happy with your results? 

Yes. I mean, my drafts are messy, with faces not even a mother could love, but at least I have something to work with now. And editing is my jam. 

How much do you plan to write next year? 

I’ll have to get back to you on that one. There’s a chance I will have less time next year, so I don’t want to get my hopes up for an 800K year, just in case. 

Oops, too late. 

Any advice for writing lots of words? 

Keep typing. Once you sit down at the computer and start writing, make sure to maintain that momentum. I know that if I pause to think, my mind wanders like an untended hamster and I end up accomplishing very little. If I’m running low on ideas for advancing my plot, I spend a couple paragraphs discussing my characters’ motivations or back stories until the thought mill starts running again. (I know this sounds like unnecessary filler, but if I don't do this, I never figure out my characters. Last year I didn't allow myself to do this, because I got super paranoid and worried that people would accuse me of padding, and it hurt my drafts majorly. Pro tip: It's not filler if it advances the story.) 

What about you, my little coffee beans? How was your November? What are some accomplishments you're proud of? 

Monday, December 5, 2016

NaNoWriMo Wrap-Up // Part One

Well, it’s December. When did that happen? 

I guess it’s time to talk about how NaNoWriMo went. 

For today, I’m just going to touch on the highlights, but I’ll go into more detail on Wednesday, if my brain doesn’t die. At the moment, I’m crunching to finish DRACONIAN by the end of January, and this after writing 606,606 words in November (oops, spoilers), so we’ll see how this goes. Send help.

Before November, I listed my goals. I passed my main goal of 500,005 words and came in at 606,606. 

Click to embiggen

See those low-word count days? Aside from the first weekend, on Saturdays and Sundays I wrote 1,100 so I could get the badge for writing every day. But since those were work days, which leave me a little extra tired and spacey, I decided to give my wrists a break and not push myself to write. I’m weirdly fond of how wavy my graph looks. It has character. *hugs graph* *gets confused and starts gnawing on keyboard* 

While I didn’t get my dream goal of 800,008, I’m cool with that. I felt like I paced myself well, broke most (if not all) of my records, and came away feeling accomplished but not burnt out. I socialized, hung out at my church a lot even on my days off because I like my fellow staff, worked custodial on the weekends, enjoyed Thanksgiving, watched a couple movies in theaters, took care of my wrists, and got enough sleep. The month didn’t feel like a chore, or even too much like a marathon—it felt like fun, which is what it’s supposed to feel like. That’s not to say there weren’t days I felt like quitting, because there were, especially toward the end, but I don’t feel disappointed with myself like I did last year. 

As for personal achievements, I managed to write 10K in an hour, reached a typing speed of 170 wpm (not consistently, of course, because pain), and got not just one 50K day, but three. 

And another bonus, last year I tied for 9th place in the faces chart. This year, by some strange twist of fate, I got 1st. Someone hold me. 

Yep, zat is me, Lorna Doone 11

Sadly, after flying off fifty million times throughout the month, the J key on my keyboard is officially broken. (Just the key, not the actual button—I can still type with it. See: jjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjjj.) It’s sitting on my bedside table right now, waiting for me to buy superglue to, hopefully, stick it back on. *squints disapprovingly at keyboard* 

And that’s it for today, my little coffee beans. On Wednesday I plan to talk about the projects I worked on and other assorted wrap-up stuff. In the meantime, how was your NaNoWriMo? Did you participate this year? What were some highlights?