Monday, November 21, 2011

Live blogging take 2

12:07 p.m. - Okay. I'm going to be trying this live blogging thing again. We'll see how it goes, since last time I failed miserably. But I really need to get some writing done today, so I'm going to give it another go.

I did write about a hundred words last night, but I'm not going to count them yet (don't worry, I wrote them after midnight). I just got up (blame it on working a night job) and I'm going to write at least a 1k before I figure out what to do for lunch. See y'all in a bit!

1:18 p.m. - Taking a small break to order lunch, then I'm diving back in. I still have another 500 words or so to go until I catch up to today's word count. Oh! And I forgot to mention, my goal is 5k total today. It would be better if it was 7k or 8k, but I'm thinking that's unlikely. So, goal is 5k for now. I may change that if I am able to meet that goal. Anyway, here are my stats:
  • Words written today: 1,500
  • Total words: 34,504

1:59 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 2,011
  • Total words: 35,014
Taking a break because my lunch was delivered. I'm going to take a full twenty minutes off and watch half a show, then I'll write during the commercial breaks through the rest of it. I'll be back hammering at the words by 3 p.m., I think.

2:59 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 2,238
  • Total words: 35,241
Lunch break wasn't nearly long enough, but I'm going to try to suffer through the next round anyway. TV is successfully shut off, and I'm heading back to my desk now. (But I don't want to write! Too bad.) *le sigh*

3:46 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 3,053
  • Total words: 36,056
I need a de-stressor break now. So I'm going to take a half an hour off, go watch last week's Big Bang Theory and not think about writing. I can feel the tension starting at the back of my neck and my shoulders, so this is a well-deserved break, I think. Hey, that's 3,000 words in four hours. Not half bad, I think.

5:45 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 4,020
  • Total words: 37,023
My break was very nice, and then I went back to writing just as I said I would. I'm starting to get a little tired of writing though. I was going to update this a half an hour ago, but my mom called me and we caught up for a little bit. But, now I'm headed back in. Last thousand words are going down. I'm setting my goal time for 6:30 at the very latest that I'm going to cross my 5k mark. So, let's get going!

6:27 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 5,029
  • Total words: 38, 032
I did it! I made my goal! Huzzah, hurray and yippie! I feel like I should celebrate, but I have no idea what I should do to celebrate. Oh! I know! I'm totally going to play some Uncharted 3! Muahahaha! Now I'm excited. Although, I've heard there are spiders coming. And I hate spiders. Yuck.

Anyway, I think I'm going to come back at 8 p.m. or maybe a little later. I decided I'm totally going for my 7k today. That will bring me to only 10k left. And that, my friends, is a number that I like. So. I'll see you back here in a few hours, yes?

9:07 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 5,888
  • Total words: 38,891
Started writing during a hangout with some NaNoWriMo buddies down in Idaho. I wrote nearly 900 words the first timed writing we did. I think I'm going to be able finish my last 2k during this time. I'll update when we're all finished.

11:24 p.m. - 
  • Words written today: 8,040
  • Total words: 41,043
That's right! Not only did I reach my goal of 5k, not only did I reach my second goal of 7k but I wrote more than eight thousand words today! I am so exhausted, though. I finished my last timed writing with my fellow NaNo-ers on webchat and I only had 140 words to go until I crossed that 8k finish line. Man, does it feel fantastic! It really does. So, I'm going to eat dinner now, watch some TV and veg out before bed.

Live blogging take 2 = a success.

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo update

So, maybe live blogging isn't for me?

Last Friday, the day I gave myself a goal of 3,000 words, ended up being the first day that I didn't write anything. Which is a little sad, in my book. Then, of course, I was far too busy on Saturday to get any sort of writing done (I was judging debate, and then I had work). So, that was really unproductive and all.

This ended in me actually falling a day behind in my writing, despite all my trying to keep far enough above the "par" line to not fall behind.

But that's okay. Falling behind isn't such a bad thing, because you can always catch up. There are always those days where you get so wrapped up in writing that you come out way above what you thought you'd have. I like those days.

But the real important thing is you don't give up - no matter the project you're working on. I was able to catch up to daily word count yesterday with the help of my lovely friend Sarah over at Squidink and her mother. I'm staying with them for a four day weekend. The only reason I'm going to make it through without killing my word count is that they are both doing NaNo too.

So tell me, how are your projects going right now? Do you feel behind or ahead? Let me know.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Live blogging Friday

Happy Friday everyone! Hope you're doing great today, and if you're involved in NaNoWriMo, you're keeping up with your word count.

My good friend Ashelynn over at A Gypsy Writer did a live blogging day last week that looked like fun, so I'm going to try doing that today. I'll have updates all throughout the day (starting now, 1:24 a.m. my time) saying what I'm doing as for writing, thinking and everything in between.

What's the point? One, to share a little about my writing process (like the physical process, not the writing itself) and to show you that even people who have full-time jobs like me can get some writing in. Also, to give myself a goal to reach and be held accountable. My goal for today is 3,000 words total (hey, I do have a job, remember?).

What will I be working on, you ask? I'll be writing on my personal NaNoWriMo novel. It's a young adult contemporary – the first I've ever attempted in this genre. Here is a synopsis:

Lenna Foster thought she was going into what would be the best year of her life. But after a tragic accident just before her senior year, Lenna nearly dies when she falls into acute kidney failure due to her injuries. She's saved when her brother, a donor match, steps in and gives her a kidney. Now Lenna is trying to put her life back together, but the pieces aren't fitting like she thinks they should. Her friends and teachers are acting so strange around her; her boyfriend is suddenly distant; for some reason, her mother will barely look at her anymore. Lenna turns to her brother, her literal savior, for help and support. But even he is keeping a deadly secret – one Lenna will never see coming.

What do you think? Let me know. On to the blogging!

1:28 a.m. – Wrote a whopping 176 words from midnight on, which is a little dismal. I spent most of the time doodling and listening to the Next to Normal soundtrack. I'm headed to bed now and will be up later this morning for more writing shenanigans.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


I will admit when Twitter first started to get big, I was not that much of a fan. I didn't get it. I couldn't see how it would be beneficial to know John was eating a bagel or Missy was feeling blue.

It was a professor of mine who encouraged me to get a twitter account to other journalists for a story I was working on. It worked. I got several interviews through the site. But I still didn't tweet.

Then I started getting on it more as a way to connect with friends from whom I moved away. I started realizing there were authors that I admire on it. Then I realized there were other writers just like me using it.

Since the day I've started, I've made many friends and had several fangirl moments. I'm so connected to the news and authors in the field I want to go into. Twitter has really become invaluable to me - which is something I never would have imagined saying two years ago.

Writers can easily connect on Twitter, but some ways are easier than others. The best way is through hashtags. Here are a few of my favorites.

  • #amwriting: This is the most generic and used hashtag. There are a lot of people who use it, and so a lot of opportunities to connect. It is also very easy to be drowned out and lost in the shuffle. Although, when you have a question you want answered, I've always combined the #amwriting tag with #quickquestion and have never failed to get an answer. 

  • #writetip: This is a great hashtag if you're looking for inspiration or help that someone's given. This is a great way to find what other writers are struggling with or working out. It's also a good way to share what you've learned so far. 

  • #pubtip: This, like the last one, is all about getting published. A lot of publishers and editors and agents use to share tips about getting published. There is some great advice out there, so make sure you are keeping your eye on it.

  • #NaNoWriMo: This one goes along with @NaNoWriMo and @NaNoWordSprints. They are generally centered around the month of November. NaNo is where a lot people come together for a month of literary abandon. I've talked about this before. @NaNoWordSprints runs timed writes where participants write as much as they can in whatever span of time the NaNo gods choose. They are set with breaks for rest in between so you can do what needs to be done before the next one.

  • #wordmongering: This and the next tag are actually my favorite hashtags recently. They were created by a fellow writer for a way for others to writer together. The principle with #wordmongering is a set wordsprint that starts on every hour and is set for a half an hour. Anyone can jump in at any time and total words are announced at the end of the round. However, positivity is the key with these people, so check your negativity at the door.

  • #editmongering: The same as #wordmongering only you edit. Started by the same people, it's supposed to be a half an hour of editing starting at :30 every hour. Although, I will admit it's become much more lax and used recently whenever anyone is editing.

There are many more hashtags out there for writers, but these are my favorites. What ones do you use the most? 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Real life can be weird

So on Wednesday I talked about the day I went to the Lewis and Clark interpretive center. Today I want to talk about what happened the rest of the day. Warning - this could get a little long. But it's well worth it. Or you can just scroll through the pictures.

My parents: Jeff and Stacey
For those of you who know me on Twitter, I tweeted that I had the weirdest day ever. It truly was. My parents came to visit me, see my new place, see where I work, make sure things were okay with me. We had lunch, visited my work, saw the center, visited the falls. Then, things took a turn for the weird.

My parents were staying at The O'Haire Motor Inn. As I waited in the car for my mom to get checked in, I'm watching her through the window wondering why she was cracking up.

She comes out and says, "You're not going to believe this. The restaurant is open now, the patio is out back and the mermaids go live at 9."

Yeah, mermaids. This place had mermaids. But not only that. It's a motor inn. That means, I'm sad to say, people can drive right up to their doors. Yes, even the second floor. You can't imagine this place, guys. It was so hokey! Right down to the plastic tiki torches out at the patio.

Here are a few of the highlights of this really odd place:

Check out this old fashion ironing board from the '50s 
That's right, it's patent pending, everyone!

Need a timer on your bathroom light?

Don't forget a bottle opener by the hair dryer.
Just in case you drink and dry.

That is real marble trim there. No kidding.
At dinner we ate "family style" where we all shared everything. My lovely parents decided to make dirty jokes. I couldn't believe it. Apparently I'm old enough to hear my parents' teasing now. It's sad. Then, my stepfather, who had admittedly had a few drinks, decided to start bending the forks at the table.

Then of course we had to go back for the mermaids. It's set in this old bar that looks like it also stepped out of the '50s. It has all these plastic beach stuff everywhere and is packed with people. At 9, the mermaids came out.

Here are a few highlights. Sorry about the poor quality, but the bar was quite dark and the first picture is what it looks like when the flash is on.

Did I mention Daryl Hannah, the woman who starred in the Hollywood blockbuster Splash kissed the bar?

The night didn't end there. Oh no. There were the two people who sat down next to us at the Sip and Dip Lounge who were there for recruiting. Everyone thought they were dating or married, but she was quick to tell everyone she had a nice family waiting at home.

The place was packed. Like fully. Standing room only and barely that. In fact, that was about the moment that this man was pressed into my mother and started hitting on her. She smiles and he introduces himself as Jeff. She laughs and points to my stepdad.

"My husband, Jeff," she says.

Then Jeff goes over and the two Jeffs start bonding. I couldn't believe my eyes.

And yet, it still doesn't end.

Say hello to Piano Pat, an actual live piano bar player who had to be in her 80s. Most of her songs sounded the same, and she pretty much didn't care what people wanted to hear. She played what she wanted to play.

She wasn't all that good, but people were so into it by then, it didn't matter. The entire (and when I say entire, I mean there wasn't a person that I saw who wasn't joining in) broke out singing to "Sweet Caroline." Have you ever seen 150 drunk people join in with an 80-year-old piano player as mermaids swim in the background? Because let me tell you, it's surreal.

So that's pretty much the whole story. Except - one last thing. The O'Haire Motor Inn is known for one other thing: rubber duckies just waiting on your bed for you when you get there. I took mine home.

So, sometimes real life is stranger than fiction.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

History can be helpful

I recently moved to Great Falls, Montana this summer, which – for those of you who don't know – is on the Lewis and Clark trail. Great Falls is the famous falls that Lewis and Clark had to go around while traveling on the Missouri River.

It is here, in the place where they faced their greatest obstacle (not even the Rocky Mountains challenged the expedition as much as the falls) that the Lewis and Clark interpretive center is located.

Black Eagle Falls, the first and smallest
My mother and I visited the center, where I learned more about the amazing journey those men took. I also got to travel up to the falls and see the magnitude of what they truly were.

As I stared at the beautiful waterfalls, which now do have dams that make them no less impressive, I started to imagine what it would be like if I'd been in Lewis and Clark's shoes. What would it have been like to face such a challenge.

Rainbow Falls - the second of the series of five
It is in this way that history can help your writing. Putting yourself in the shoes of others who have faced such daunting tasks such as that can help fuel your understanding of the tasks your characters face. Think of how much harder going around a waterfall would have been back then. Then think about how you can make things harder for your characters.

All of this will make for a better story.

So tell me – are you fans of history? Have you ever thought about applying history in some way to your writing outside of writing historical fiction? What amazing pieces of history do you have in your neck of the woods?