Reflections on NaNoWriMo


Done for another year. Last year was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo, so it was interesting to do it again and see if the same things happened as last year. Yep, they did.

Writing frantically, every day for 30 days, means there isn’t time for editing. Last year was difficult because first, I’m a short story writer, and second, I tend to edit as I go. I didn’t think I could write a novel of 50,000, but I did it last year, and again this year, so last year wasn’t a fluke.

The other thing I found interesting is that my novels didn’t go where I wanted them to go, and people and events crept in when I wasn’t paying attention. This year, I wanted to write a history of the Divine Sisterhood of Animal Magick, which was something I came up with in a short story. I thought I would start way back in the Dark Ages to show how the sisterhood started and then write vignettes about the sisterhood and its members at different times in history. Silly me!! I should have known better! These were to be people taken in as young girls and tested for their ability to talk to animals, and how they were treated, etc. But I ended up with People who are Magic, and can either time travel or live forever as each vignette had the same characters. And that wasn’t being lazy, as I had all the names for each time period picked out.

There were also storms at sea, and storms on land, and a ship getting blown off course during a hurricane and ending up in the New World. And when I came up with a name for the ‘castle’ in North Wales where it all began I was kinda spooked to find out there really is a ‘castle’ with that name, and it was built in the 16th Century. 

So now I don’t plan to write at all during December. I will catch up on the stack of books waiting to be read, and the blogs that need to be read and commented on, and the new followers and commenters on my blogs that need to be acknowledged, and the list goes on. In january, I will go back to editing last year’s novel and start editing this year’s. And I will probably do some research that I should have done in September and October. But it’s hard to do research if I don’t know where the novel is going to take me.

And yes, I’ll do it again next year.


And …Done!

Phew! Another 50,000+ word novel is written but not yet finished. Now it will sit and I will ignore it until January when I will pull it out, dust it off, and see if there’s anything worth salvaging. I think there is, but that just may be the November euphoria speaking. So now I have two novels to finish and edit, which is probably a good thing; this way I can switch back and forth when my head starts to hurt from one of them.

So now I can catch up with all the blog posts I’ve missed, and visit all those who were gracious enough to visit and/or like and/or follow my blogs.

For those of you still writing – Onward and Upward!! I’m rooting for all of you.

Coming down the home stretch!

Only three days left after today, and I’m running out of steam, but I’m not giving up. I have written several vignettes, each in a different time period, so when I run out of ideas, or plot, or dialogue, in one, I can pick up in another. But even that is getting harder to do. This is the point in November when I realize I have no idea what I have written; when my plot lines start to tangle or fall apart; when my characters either go AWOL, or refuse to do what I think they should do.

As I realize I have a little over 3,300 words to write to reach the goal, I find it harder and harder to write. Suddenly, the dusting needs to be done, there are dust bunnies to be vacuumed, dishes to wash, dogs to play with – well, I think you get the idea. This is when I tell myself I won’t do this again. But then I look at that little Certificate from last year’s NaNo that says I wrote a novel in November; and I look at that t-shirt that says ‘Greetings from the Winner’s Circle’; and I know I will do this again. It isn’t writing the great American Novel that keeps me coming back; it’s the fact that there is a whole community of crazy people out there who put their lives on hold for 30 days in November, to write. And that’s why I’ll do it again next year. After I finish my 50,000 words for this year!!



It seems a shame that we have only one day out of 365 to give thanks. For me, every day is a Thanksgiving Day. We take so much of what we have in life for granted; the simple act of flipping a switch gives us light, or heat, or air conditioning. Our water is drinkable, our air is breathable. We have such luxuries as toilet paper and indoor plumbing. We have the freedom to work, to play, to marry or not, to move to another place, to buy or rent a home. We have food on our table and running water. There is so much to be thankful for.

For many people, Thanksgiving Day is merely the beginning of the big shopping season leading up to Christmas and New Year’s. Some have been camped out, in tents, since as early as Monday, to get some perceived bargain. When did Thanksgiving Day change from being a day to be with family and giving thanks? Retailers make a good deal of their profit between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so it is in their best interest to start as early as possible. They weren’t satisfied opening in the early morning hours of the day after; they weren’t satisfied opening at midnight; now they’re opening on Thanksgiving Day to chase the almighty dollar.

I have seen postings on Facebook saying that soldiers don’t get Thanksgiving off so why are these retail sales people complaining about their holiday being ruined. Which entirely misses the point. When you sign up for certain jobs, you know you will be working nights, weekends, holidays, and long 24-hour days in some cases. It’s one thing to know that going in to a job; and another to have this thrust upon you at the last minute.

So let’s focus on giving thanks for what we have instead of worrying about the bargains we might get. And are they really bargains worth giving up your family for?

photo credit: <a href=””>Elevated</a&gt; via <a href=””>photopin</a&gt; <a href=””>cc</a&gt;

That time of year

It’s that time of year again when all the stores try to get us to buy stuff. I hate that the Christmas commercials started well before Halloween, and the Christmas merchandise was in the stores before the Halloween candy was even sold. Now I see where some stores are opening on Thanksgiving Day instead of at least waiting for Black Friday.

I understand that stores need to make money, and I understand that working retail means sometimes having to work on a Holiday. But I, for one, am sick of it. Our culture says buy this, buy that, and somehow makes it seem that we aren’t complete without the biggest, fastest, newest, whatever. 

Corporations are making lots of money; look at how much the top people are paid. So they aren’t hurting for money. The stockholders often determine the fate of a company, so they are the ones the corporations listen to, not the customers, and certainly not its employees. I can still remember a time when companies paid their employees well, and customers were treated like the business depended on them (and it did!)

What companies don’t seem to understand is that if its employees are paid well, they can afford to buy the companies products. If wages fall, and they have been falling for some time now, who can afford to buy the company’s products? Companies are blaming unions for their failures, and while some unions may be greedy and corrupt, it’s because of unions that we have 8-hour workdays, lunch breaks, safety in the workplace, and a whole myriad of things that make workplaces better.

I think what gripes me the most is that companies aren’t placing the blame for their failures where it belongs, on their greed. I know that some companies do pay their workers a living wage and they still manage to make a profit. But when profit comes before the welfare of a company’s workers, our system is broken.

I won’t be shopping any chain stores on Thanksgiving Day, nor on Black Friday. I will support local businesses, because they are the lifeblood of our communities. When you shop at locally-owned businesses, 74% of what you spend stays in the community. When you shop at non-locally-owned businesses, 43% of what you spend stays in the community. For me, the math is simple; shop local and the community benefits.

NaNo Day 15

Halfway through the month and I’m waaay behind on word count. I’m struggling through this one. By the time I get home from work, sitting down to write isn’t always what I want to do. It’s a good thing I will have Thursday and Friday off next week. That’s four days of writing, I hope.

I’m not sure what my characters are up to, but they’re not giving me much help. But I’ll keep plodding along; and introducing new characters; and chiding the current ones to get with the program. 

NaNo Day 12

I’m still behind on word count, but not as behind as I was yesterday. I didn’t have to go to work today so managed to pound out some 3,500 words between construction in the house and all the laundry. So I’m feeling pretty good that I can catch up and even get ahead a little, maybe, hopefully.

My characters aren’t cooperating very well. But that’s okay, because I’m writing a sort of history, so I can always go to a new time period with new characters. Once I get started on a time period, the characters will take over again, and everything will be fine. It’s almost like writing a series of short stories, except they’re all tied together, so any time period builds on the one before it. Only trouble is, I have to keep track of what happened in each time frame. But I have found a great way to tie them together, I think. Only time will tell.

Now for dinner and some TV time! 🙂

NaNo Day 7

I’m behind again, but that’s okay, because a long weekend is coming up. And my characters are giving me fits. The main character from the beginning of the story, set some time in the 12th or 13th century has suddenly shown up in Regency London, and I have no idea how she got there. I guess I’ll have to just keep writing, and if I’m lucky, she’ll tell me how she got there and where she’s going. Then some crazy character showed up and looks like he might become another main character. Didn’t see that one coming at all. Maybe he’ll show up in London, too? Who knows! Stay tuned! 🙂

NaNo Day 4

Day 4 was actually pretty good. By writing off and on all day, I was able to catch up with the word count. By the end of today, I should be at 6,668 and have actually written 6,758. I like to be ahead, even a little, to account for the unforeseen things that come up in life. So now I’m going to reward myself by zoning out in front of the TV for the rest of the evening while I finish the laundry.

I have a general idea of where I want to go with my story, but my characters seem to have other ideas. The first part of the story went well, at least I think so. The second part isn’t going so well, so I may have to rethink that. Maybe I’ll just put something between the first part and the second part to bridge the gap a little more.

The story is about a Sisterhood of women who have special powers to hear and talk to animals. What I wanted to do is write about the beginnings of the Sisterhood in ancient times and then write a story about how it was faring in different periods of history. I think I may have to expand from just animal-talk to other forms of ‘magic’ as well. Or at least, that’s where the story seems to be going at the moment. And that’s the thing about writing for me, I can have a plan, a plot, an outline, characters, etc. but it all makes no difference once I start writing. My stories have a life of their own once they leave my head and start down my arms to my fingers! 🙂