Winning NaNoWrimo 2014

Another year of National Novel Writing Month has happened in my little world of writing, and I’m happy to say that I validated my novel today for another win. I’m pretty happy about this, moreso because not only did I win, but I also reached my personal goal, which was to write three novels and/or 150,000 words.

I had a few different ideas that I wanted to write about, and I thought a month of binge writing would set me up to revise the rest of the year. Because while I can type like crazy, I suck at revising. If there was a NaNoRevMo, I’d fail miserably.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner Putting in this many words ended up being a fairly daunting task. The first novel went quickly. I had it done by day seven and I was feeling pretty good about it. My second novel was about the same. I didn’t outline that one, so I ended adding some unexpected elements and it came together quite nicely. The third one started out strong, but by the time I got to the end, I was burnt out and my characters weren’t doing what I thought they should be doing, and I was frustrated with them.

I finished their story, but I came up short by about 20,000 words, so I decided to start parts of the next novels I had in mind. I ended up writing the first couple chapters of each of them and calling it good at a little over 150,000 words. By then, I was ready to call it a month.

I don’t think I’m going to be setting this goal for myself again for 2015. I might change my mind by next November, but right now, I think instead of going for quantity in a genre I’m comfortable writing in, I might go outside my comfort zone and try to write in a different genre. I have so many story ideas in my notes, and I think it would be just as much of a challenge to try to write a science fiction, mystery, or horror novel. I’ve also thought about finishing up the several stories I started and never finished.

Beyond the writing, NaNoWriMo 2014 resulted in some really good times with really good people. This was the first year I engaged in actual “write-ins” with the people from our Writer’s Group, many of which took place at my apartment. Since moving back to MHK, I’ve found that I love having people over. Most of our write-ins turned into TV watching or chat sessions, but we were still able to get things accomplished and crank out some good word counts.

I’m debating applying to be a municipal liasion next year. In the meantime, NaNoWriMo has inspired me to try to be more active in our Writer’s Group and in trying to organize regular “write-ins” as well as writer workshops and discussions. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going. I also plan on taking the pledge to revise my novels, because even though I know they’re really rough right now, I think there’s some good stuff hidden among all those words.

Congratulations to all those who won, good luck and keep going to all those still pushing through until the end, and don’t sweat it if you decided not to finish….just keep writing and doing your thing! It’s a process. Just make it yours and make it fun.


Weird Back Pain and Nanowrimo Revision

I woke up this morning with a sore lower back that persisted all day long. I don’t know what caused it for sure. We walked yesterday but didn’t do anything overly strenuous. Maybe it was how I slept? I know that sometimes it just feels sore for a day or so, and then goes back to feeling fine, so I’m hoping today was just an off day and that tomorrow it will feel better. The pain meant not being able to walk on breaks or lunch, and I opted out of a post-work walk to give it more healing time. However, I want to get back into some activity tomorrow, so here’s to hoping.

Between the back pain and the normal Monday workload, the day was productive but still stressful and overwhelming. I was glad to call it a day and come home to Jon, who had the day off for MLK day, and the crockpot deliciousness he’d cooked up. Over the course of the night, I managed to put away laundry, pack for housesitting tomorrow night, watch four Coursera lecture videos, and…wait for it…finish the first revision of my Nanowrimo project!

The funny thing about the revision is that it’s been hanging over my head, and when my friend asked about it today, I said I didn’t think it was ever going to get done. At the time, I truly believed that. The last chapter I’d revised prior to tonight made me mad…I hated how it flowed, but I was at a loss on how to fix it. However, I was thinking about my goals tonight and knew I wanted to still get it done, even if it meant waiting until later to fix that chapter. So I sat down, got focused, and finished revision on the last few chapters and the epilogue.

It’s not horrible! It’s got some good things going for it, and it has some stuff that I need to work on. My main worry is that it’s going to be super boring and I’m not going to know how to fix the overall plot.  I’m going to take the initial feedback and prepare the first revision for some beta readers, which brings me one step closer to possible publication. Admittedly, this is the furthest I’ve ever gotten on a novel. I’ve written several. I just haven’t revised them. Now that I have this revision under my belt, I’m kind of excited to go back and revise and re-work some of my older projects as well. However, to avoid that feeling of being bogged down in something, I’m reminding myself to take baby steps.

Since I met my January goal, my next goal is to make the initial changes, prepare the second draft as one document, line up my beta readers, and send them the draft. I already have a couple in mind, it’s just a matter of contacting them. I’m aiming to have that all done by the end of February, though since that’s a lot of time, I’ll hopefully have it done sooner.

Now that I feel super accomplished, I’m going to go shower and lay down for some reading and sleeping time. Here’s to hoping the back pain goes away and that tomorrow is super productive.


Winning National Novel Writing Month

I have officially won National Novel Writing Month.

Technically, I won it a few days ago when I broke the total word count of 50,000. However, that was split between two novels I was writing simultaneously. Today, I focused on my first one and managed to finish it completely at just over 53,000 words. I still have a few days before the official end of Nanowrimo, but since we’ll be traveling, I’m not sure how much time I’m going to be able to give to the second novel. The goal now is to try to get a high word count to at least be in the running for Marissa Meyer’s contest. However, even if I don’t make that one, I’m still pretty excited with this accomplishment.

Also, I don’t completely hate the story I wrote, and other than the fact that I’m a bit squeamish about letting my family read it, I might actually work on revising it in the coming year.

We slept in a little bit today because it was freezing and I couldn’t seem to get out from under the covers. Jon discovered that we didn’t have a great deal of hot water, so I decided I’d suck it up and take a shower at the gym after a workout. I took him to work, then decided to run errands. This turned out to be a good thing. One of my errands was to return some laundry balls to Forsh, who told me I could use her place for chilling and showering. I took her up on that offer, which meant I got a ton of writing done in a comfortable chair and got to shower without trying to maneuver around a fairly public locker room. Thanks, Forsh!

Instead of going to the gym, I ended up taking another walk around the neighborhood. It was still cold, but not as cold as it was over the weekend. I did a zombie mission and ended up making it around the big block, then making a lap around a smaller one. I had four zombie chases, and on the fourth one, I actually had to push through some leg fatigue. It was still fun.

After I picked Jon up from work, we went to the grocery store to buy some travel snacks before coming home. I broke out the snuggie right away, because even though the heat is on, the apartment is not as warm as I would like it to be. I finished my story, but I didn’t get much else accomplished. Luckily, we’re almost completely packed for tomorrow, so there’s nothing besides some last minute things to throw into the suitcase, and those can be done tomorrow morning before we leave.

I think I’m going to finish off the night with some reading. We’re off early tomorrow for St. Louis! Whoo hoo!


Writing, Gaming, and Packing

It was another cold Sunday, and even though the temperature said it was ten degrees higher than it was yesterday, it was still uncomfortable. It did, however, give us a good excuse to stay in almost all day, and sometimes that’s a good thing to do. That’s not to say we didn’t venture out at all. I was hungry enough this morning to make a quick breakfast run to pick up donuts for breakfast. They sounded really good, but I need to remember that all I ever need is about a half donut to stop the craving. Donuts aren’t actually my favorite thing in the world.

I used most of the morning to up my Nanowrimo word count and play around on the internet. I’ve started playing Candy Crush Saga on FB. Such a time waster, but I like the fact that you have to stop when you run out of lives. I’m currently stuck on a level, but I’ll just keep playing until I get it. For me, it’s just kind of a nice zone-out activity.

We had gaming later in the evening, then we made it to the gym where I did another ten minutes on the elliptical. We did a short workout due to knee issues for both Jon and I, but twenty minutes is better than none at all (my first ten was spent warming up on the sit-stepper).  After grabbing Subway for dinner, we came home and packed for St. Louis. It’s freezing in the apartment even though the heat has been going, so I’m ready for a hot shower and some sleepy time under about four blankets.

The goal for tomorrow is to get as many Nanowrimo words written as I can, make it to the gym, and finish getting stuff ready for the trip. I’m hoping that the trip isn’t this cold, especially since we want to visit the zoo. Yeah, I know…I’m taking a chance by going on a vacation in November. Still going to do it though. And that reminds me…another thing on the to-do list: find some gloves.

Don’t let Monday get you down!



Monday Blues

One of my first thoughts this morning was that I didn’t know why I’d bothered to rest all weekend, because my hip was still sore. This led to a few hours of bitterness at a weekend wasted. However, a friend of mine gave me some perspective on it: had I not rested, the hip would have been much worse, so even a little bit of healing was better than none at all. I can totally see this. It’s just me wanting to be well again so I can do what I want to do.

To be honest, the hip isn’t as bad as it was last week, and the rest probably was good for it. I think Monday just brought a round of depression with it, some of which may have been brought on by the lack of activity this weekend. I survived the day, though, and I made it to the gym this afternoon for a quick 20 minute session that actually felt really good. I can do my machine without my hip hurting, and it actually seemed to relieve the stiffness. I’m remaining hopeful that everything will be in working order for St. Louis.

Besides that, the only really exciting thing was that I broke 50,000 words for Nanowrimo. Now I just have to keep up the momentum and see if I can’t at least give myself a fighting chance in the Marissa Meyer contest.

Going to take a shower and call it an early night. This might be a fairly uneventful week, but hopefully I’ll make up for it next week. So excited for our trip!


Random Updates on Things

This week is moving along at a decent pace, but today was another day where not much really happened, at least nothing that’s blogworthy. So based on things I did today, I thought I’d give a couple general updates.

Health and Fitness: We walked the track tonight since it wasn’t too cold and we wanted to do something different from the gym. I’m really happy with the progress I’ve made with walking and just being in better shape in general. I can walk a mile in just under a half hour now, though if big hills are present, it takes a little longer. As I mentioned in some recent posts, I’ve recently acquired an interest in jogging…which seems weird for me…so I’m rolling with it. I haven’t done much yet, but I’ve moved from walking zombie chases with the Zombies, Run app to jogging them, and I’ve been feeling really good about what I’ve been able to do.

It’s not always easy for me to remember that it’s okay to be a beginner, but I’m working on it. Eventually I plan on moving into the C25K training with jogging and walking, but baby steps have to happen for me to get there. And there’s a chance that those baby steps will take me two years, but I’m okay with that.  In the moment, I actually need to take a step back and handle current issues, like my sore hip. I keep saying I’m going to the chiro for it, and yet I keep putting it off. I have no clue why I’m procrastinating, but tomorrow…tomorrow is the day I make my appointment.  Tonight will be heat and Biofreeze.

Nanowrimo: I’ve made really good progress with my Nanowrimo story. However, for various reasons, I’ve started a second piece to work on at the same time. My first one is erotic fiction, and I’m finding it challenging. Sometimes the writing flows well, and other times I get stuck trying to make one scene sound decent and not being happy with it, so I give up. Plus, I like to use my breaks and lunch to do some writing sprints, and I’m not sure how comfortable I am writing sex scenes at work. So I decided to start another story to write at work while I work on my first one at home. Combined, I’ve broken 30,000 words.

I’m not sure if this can be considered cheating, but don’t worry, I’m still planning on breaking 50,000 with the one story. Part of the reason I’m doing two is to enter a contest that Marissa Meyer is holding (thanks to Erica for cluing me into this one) and I don’t think the material for the first book will go much over 60,000 words. Also, I find that switching between the two projects helps me write each one faster. I don’t know why, but it does. And I don’t have an outline for my second one. I picked a starting point and went with it and I’m having a blast doing it that way. If I want to make something of it, I’m going to need to do more research, but the joy of Nanowrimo is that I don’t have to worry about that right now. I just have to write.

I think that’s all the updating I have for now. There’s a chance I won’t get a post done tomorrow night. It depends on what time I get home from a Girls Night In. Come to think of it, late night gaming might get in the way of a Friday post too. But this weekend should be pretty chill, so expect some catching up if I miss out on the next two nights.

Until then…


Writing, Knitting, and Zombies

Today was much better than yesterday as far as mood and depression went, but it was fairly uneventful.

I spent my lunch and break times writing my Nanowrimo story. Not going to lie…I’m way ahead. I’m happy about this because I’m hoping to have it done before Thanksgiving so I don’t have to worry about it while we’re in St. Louis. This one is a challenge, and I’ve gone from being really psyched about it to wanting to quit. But have no fear, I will push on.

After work, we walked the rec center and did zombie missions. I tested out the GPS tracker, but I think I’m going back to the accelerometer. I didn’t get any zombie chases. I did pick up quite a few supplies though.

I did some more knitting tonight and watched a couple movies. I had several requests in the office for knitted items, so I’m doing them as people bring me yarn. I’m having a hard time picking up some old projects, but I’ll get to them eventually.

I’m feeling a little sniffly and stuffy tonight, so I’m heading to bed in hopes of feeling better tomorrow. I don’t want to be sick for the weekend.


A Challenging Find and Scary Games

I realized that I didn’t do my blog last night, opting to crash out after time with friends rather than try to push through a post. It’s early right now, almost 8am on new time (did you remember to “fall back” last night?), and though I was going to get my Nanowrimo session done first, I figured I’d go ahead and kick out yesterday’s grind.

I started my day off with some hot tea and writing, working on my piece for Nanowrimo. I settled on erotic fiction, since it’s a genre I hadn’t yet really tried, and though I’m not regretting it, I don’t think I’ll be comfortable letting anyone in my family read it. So far it’s coming along nicely, though. Like most of the things I write, it’s doing things I didn’t expect, which is always fun and why I use a very loose outline when I write. Yesterday, I broke 6,000 words, and I’m hoping to break 8,000 this morning before getting started with the rest of the day.

Once we left the house, we headed out to the Wamego Boat Ramp once again to try to find that geocache. After talking about it with the cache owner and some others who had found it, we wanted to give it another try.  NCC had helped us eliminate some of the possibilities, so we focused our attention elsewhere this time. Within a few minutes, I saw a place where it could be, and Jon managed to get into a position to check it out. Sure enough, there it was! Talk about a sense of accomplishment.

From there we went to Zeandale to grab a few more on one of the back routes to Manhattan. This trek took us to Pillsbury Crossing, an area that we’d heard about and talked about but had never been to until yesterday.

It was a little weird driving across here.
It was a little weird driving across here.
Swing time!
Swing time!
Had to make a short hike to get down here, but the view was worth it!
Had to make a short hike to get down here, but the view was worth it!

We found one cache in a picnic area. There was another one near the rocks in the lower picture, but we decided to save that one for a day when we were geared to handle wet and rocky terrain. We ended the day with five finds and one DNF.

We called it a day there because we were hungry and because I had some prep to do for a small one-shot horror game I was testing out, After stopping at Taco Bell, we headed over to Forsh’s for puppy sitting. I finished up my game’s back story, and we watched the latest episode of “American Horror Story: Coven.”

Around six, Terry and Erica came over. I transferred some music over to Erica for her workouts and we ordered pizza, ate too much candy, and got the game going. Though it was only supposed to be a one shot game, we put it on hold to finish at a later time. It’s story based, so even though I had a general outline for it, I had to veer a bit since the players basically dictated what happened. This is actually a really fun way of running a game, at least for me. It’s like storytelling improv. To my knowledge, I only made one mistake in the telling, and I’m blaming that on being tired.

The goal for today is to “detox” and get back on track with eating well and exercising. When I say detox, I’m really just going to avoid sugar, drink a lot of water, get a good workout in, and maybe have a green smoothie for lunch for a nutrient boost. Last week was SugarFest 2013 (thank you, Halloween) and a short gym hiatus, but I want to get back into a routine. We have our St. Louis trip coming up, and I want to be ready for that and the high amounts of walking we’ll be doing.

For now, going to work on my Nano.


Costumes and Mysteries Solved

I went to work today with the knowledge that today probably wouldn’t be my most productive day ever….because IT’S HALLOWEEN! Happy Halloween, everyone! In the five years I’ve been with my company, Halloween has always been a crazy day filled with food, candy, and costumes. I’ve gotten a little bit of a humbug reputation because I haven’t always participated. The problem in the past has been a high workload that I didn’t think I could or should take a break from. This year I’m working with a full and great team, so I was able to relax a little and have fun.

I’m not one to dress up, but as I think I said recently, I was able to help with costumes a little bit this year. My big project can be seen in this picture of one of our office’s group costumes.

Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions
Gru, Dr. Nefario, and the Minions

I knit the Gru scarf! I love how it came out too. I think the group did great with this costume idea, and it seemed to be a big hit. Our company had a costume contest and they let everyone vote for their favorites. Unfortunately, our office didn’t win, but I’ll admit that the competition was fierce.

Our office had other costumes too.

Biker Girlz rule!
Biker Girlz rule!
Classy Cats
Turtle Man
Roller Ghoster
Roller Ghoster of Doom

For lunch, we had an office potluck with a ton of food. Right before we ate, however, I did our murder mystery reveal. We ended up with four winners who guessed everything correctly. Still proud of myself and my group for executing this like we did. I’m hoping to do a Twelve Days of Christmas Treasure Hunt, but I’ll have to see how busy fourth quarter turns out to be.

After work, Jon and I went out to find a few geocaches since the rain from early in the morning had evaporated into a nice sunny evening. We made four finds and had another DNF. One of our finds took us on a walk around part of Cico Park, and now that we have a better idea of what’s going on over there, I think we’re going to try to go back and walk around a little more.

On the way home, we stopped at Sonic for fifty cent corn dogs, then came home to relax for the evening. Tomorrow is Friday and it’s going to be a busy one. A lot of Fridays end up being pretty busy at work. Besides that, I have an eye doctor appointment first thing in the morning, and Jon and I have our first geocaching event tomorrow night, which means meeting other area cachers. Tomorrow is also the first day of NaNoWriMo.

Between housesitting, geocaching, and hanging with people this weekend, I’m hopefully going to find some time to try to get a jump start on my novel.

Off to finish some internetting, and then to bed. Have a great Friday!


Zombie Evasion and Debating NaNoWriMo

Today wasn’t bad for a Monday, it was just uneventful. I stayed late at work so Jon could take a test. We did laundry and dropped off a library book. I finished up some con notes and correspondence. The most excitement I had was doing a zombie mission this evening. We’d originally planned to find a geocache, vacuum the car, and then take a walk, but I’m not used to the fact that it’s getting darker earlier now. We nixed the other plans and headed to the rec track so we wouldn’t be out much past dark.

I’ve been feeling good about my walking abilities lately, so I was excited to see if tonight’s walk would be better than past ones have been. It started out great. I was walking at a good pace and got chased by zombies early on. I evaded them around the hilly part of the track,  and was out of breath by the time I crested the small hill (hills and I are not yet friends), but recovered quickly. I kept my pace up for a little while after that, but then my ankle started cramping. Everything else felt fine, but that ankle…so frustrating.  It’s like a tightness or stiffness on the outside, and it makes walking uncomfortable.  I thought I’d finally found the right fit of shoe because that cramp hadn’t happened in a long time.

Good shoe fit or not, my ankle gave me some grief, possibly due to the change in speed. I decided to take a rest at one of the benches to let the cramp ease itself. It finally felt okay, so I started up again.  I got a little further and finished my second zombie chase before it cramped up again. There are no other benches along that track, so I took a few standing breaks that didn’t really help. I was limping by the time I got to the last stretch. I figured it was okay, though. The app says it won’t trigger the zombie chases unless you’re walking at least 2.2 mph, and by that time I was shuffling along pretty slowly, so I didn’t think anything would happen.

Apparently, that’s not the case. Maybe it’s an average or the starting speed, but even with my slow shamble, the app triggered a third chase. I realize I could have paused the app or just said screw it and gotten eaten by the zombies. Instead, I pushed through the pain and hauled butt down the sidewalk for that interval. This is a good thing, right? The whole idea of “training” is to push past those painful moments and get in a good endurance-building walk. Be that as it may, once that group was evaded, I slowed right back down.

I ended up taking another break on the benches by the concession stands. The breaks always feel so long, and I get frustrated at the time I’m wasting, but I really needed that ankle cramp to go away. While I sat there, I watched Jon just stroll past. He was going into his third lap and didn’t see me sitting in the dark.

By that time, I was just a few minutes from having finished a thirty minute walk (breaks not included) and completing my mission. Though the break felt long, it was only a few minutes.  I walked around the parking lot for the cool down and to wait for Jon to get back around to the car since he had my keys. During what I thought was my cool down, I was chased again! It took me by surprise, but I got away . Apparently, there is no cool down. It’s just jump in, deal with the undead, and have a nice day.

Besides the sore ankle, I had some pain in one side of my lower back and hip, but I would guess that’s from walking funny to try to avoid the ankle cramp. Otherwise, I felt good! In the future, I’ll have to push through the pain, maybe, or just let the ankle acclimate. Next time I walk, I might do it with no zombie chases so I can keep at a steady pace and see if that makes a difference.

Afterwards, we went and got Subway for dinner then came home. I didn’t put laundry away, opting to get online and start this post instead. I did take a break to shower, so I’m all clean and ready for bed.

The only other thing of note is that National Novel Writing Month is coming up in just a few weeks, and I have yet to decide if I’m going to do it. Last week I was all excited for it, but now I’m not so sure. If anything, I should edit and re-work some of my past Nanos for possible publication. But I’m also sitting on two ideas for new stories right now: a horror/mystery that is currently in my head as a short story but could be fleshed out into a novel, I think; and a romance/erotica novel that I want to write to prove that I can turn out something better than 50SoG.  At the same time, I’ve already got things to do that I’m not getting done, like knitting projects, courses, books to read, and packing and purging. I’m just not sure if NaNoWriMo is in the cards this year.

But i have a few weeks to decide. I suppose I could set October as goal month to get all the other things done to free up the time to write in November. It could happen.

On that note, it’s time to catch up on some blogs before heading off to sleep times.