NaNoWriMo Winner Sleeps with iPhone


I am beyond happy to announce that I’m a 2014 NaNoWriMo Winner!  I’ve had a wonderful experience this month with writing my novel, and now I have an entire first draft — a beginning, middle, and end — to work with.  It’s taking everything in me not to begin revising and editing.  I need to let it simmer, mull it all over.  There’s many, many changes I want to make, but I’m going to hold off for at least a week.  I want to think deeply about the things I want to add, delete, and completely recreate.

Every time I get in bed to sleep, ideas swirl in my head about my novel to the extent that I cannot sleep.  To fight the urge to get out of bed and write, I’ve been keeping my iPhone in bed next to me.  I know that sounds utterly insane, but it’s extremely helpful.  Here’s why:  the other night when I was trying to sleep, an idea came to me of how I want to alter the physical description for one of my characters.  I reached for my phone.  Luckily, I had dimmed the screen before turning the lights off, otherwise, I would’ve been blinded from the brightness.  But the problem was, I laid there trying to type on the tiny iPhone keyboard, which was fruitless — even with autocorrect.  And I hate Siri.  She never understands me.  No matter how clearly or slowly I speak, Siri does not get me.

I certainly don’t want to roll over, turn the light on, and grab my notebook and pen.  The best way to get my ideas out of my head so that I don’t sleep them off is to launch a voice memo app and just speak my ideas.  It’s okay if my voice is sleepy, at least I can understand myself when I go to listen to my memos the next day.  Once I’ve let my first draft sit for a bit, I’ll revisit those sleepy audio memos and get to work on my second draft.

Writing Advice: “Stop When You Are Going Good”

“The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next.  If you do that every day when you are writing a novel you will never get stuck.” —Ernest Hemingwlarge_3882941631ay

This writing advice from Hemingway has proved extremely helpful.  Day #16 of NaNoWriMo and I’ve reached 28,065 words.  I never expected to be this far along.  I was going to be grateful if I finished November with 10,000 words.  Now, I’m more determined than ever to finish with at least 50,000 words.  I haven’t “hit a wall” yet.  And I’m confident that I won’t, and that’s because I always, always stop writing in the middle of a scene.  Every day, every writing session, I stop in mid-thought.  I’ll jot down a few bullet points about where my thoughts have left off and save them for the next writing session.

When I do that, I’m constantly thinking about the scene I left off with.  Holding it close to me, the unfinished scene burns in my brain and itches to be complete.  But I let the scene continue to unfold in my mind’s eye, picturing the characters and the setting and the action, allowing it all to simmer and go in directions I hadn’t included in my bullet points.  Before the next writing session, most times I have the followup scene already in mind and have jotted down my bullet points for it.

This has been my practice every day since November 1.  And what’s great about this is that when I finally satisfy the desire to complete that simmering scene, I write even more than I what I had planned and quicker too because it’s been yearning to be completed — not only contributing to my word count, but also leading me to explore new ideas I didn’t know existed.

Thank you, Ernest Hemingway, for saying in simple words how to not get stuck when writing a novel!

Highs and Lows of NaNoWriMo

It’s been a whirlwind since NaNoWriMo started. Being the planner that I’ve come to be, it’s such a struggle to not edit my writing or look at my research that I’ve been compiling since April. I was off to great start and still am. I’ve consistently stayed ahead on my daily word count goals. While I refer to my outline, new ideas come to me as a I write, driving me and my story forward. I’ve completely changed some things, though, and added new things and discarded others. I’ve rewritten scenes, which I need to stop doing. I must stop going back to read what I’ve already written.

Along the way, I changed my protagonist’s name and gave her an entirely new personality. Once I reached around 7,000 words, I origin_3875374318decided to completely changes things. I deviated from my original plan and shifted the point of view to another character. Through all my plotting, I had never considered changing view points from chapter to chapter and character to character, but I’m glad I did. It’s been great fun. I feel as though it gives my other cast of characters a chance to tell their side of the story. I’m using three different characters who take turns showing and telling their story.

When I decided to use other character’s points of view, I steamrolled through a couple thousand words. Then BAM! I hit a block. I began panicking. My plots and plans had been turned upside down since switching characters. So what did I do? I strayed more off course and did a bad thing to another character — one who isn’t a point of view character but a major player in my cast. I made it so that she was under suspicion of murder. I was so proud that I deviated from my outline. I felt like a total NaNoWriMo’ing panster. I wrote for another 1,000 words and then BAM! Here I sit wondering how the hell to get this character out of the local jail when my outlining did not allow for this plot twist.


photo credit: Silvia Viñuales via cc