Comparison is the thief of joy.
– Teddy Roosevelt
Comparison is the thief of joy.
– Teddy Roosevelt
How is it almost April already? Where did the rest of winter go?
I will once again be participating in Camp NaNoWriMo next month. I’m especially excited because I am sharing a cabin with people I actually know! For the last few months I’ve been getting together with a group of young female writers in Silicon Valley. We decided to create our own cabin this year, so we’ll be able to meet in physical cafes and online. While I enjoyed my past experiences with Camp NaNo cabinmates, I think it will be good to hold each other accountable in person.
I’m going to be working on my latest draft of Rave (which desperately needs to be retitled). This draft is close to completion, but I have this chunk in the middle that needs several new scenes (about 10,000 words worth), which will undoubtedly then have to be rewritten. Sigh. So goes the cycle. I’m looking forward to having a concrete goal and more accountability from my cabin mates.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.
– “The Old Astronomer” by Sarah Williams
Just validated my word count, and it feels oh so good to have a machine tell me I’ve won! I find this especially ironic, given that the main robot in my novel is often the announcer of truths. I am quite pleased by this accomplishment, especially having reached 50,000 words in sixteen days.
Officially, I won at the Night of Writing Dangerously, a NaNoWriMo fundraising gala held in San Francisco. I got to ring a bell and wear a crown and announce my accomplishment to all of twitter! It was wonderful to be a part of such a public celebration of writing.
Too often, we writers are the only source of our own validation. That is a huge bummer. While I don’t need someone telling me I’m the Greatest Writer of All Time, I do need other people to remind me that what I do is work. It is hard work; it is worthy work. This is same sort of validation I look for when trying to break my dog of eating everything in sight. It’s a reminder that while we may not all experience the same difficulties in life, the life you are living is valid.
So celebrating my win surrounded by 300+ other writers was excellent validation. And motivation! My manuscript is much too short to sell, clocking in at under 55,000 words. I’m already hard at work editing and hope to have it out to betas soon. In the meantime, though, I am proud of my blitz two weeks of writing, and excited to have raised so much for the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program!
One of the best parts about NaNoWriMo is the community. I’ve been very active on the NaNo forums this year. By challenging myself, I’ve written more this month than any other, since grad school. I’ve also challenged others with this writing crawl, which is designed to help focus your mind. Whether you’re doing this crawl first thing at 6 a.m. or last thing at 2 a.m., hopefully it will help center you. If you’re curious about the title and inspiration, check out this clip from The Jungle Book. Glhf!
If you continue writing today past this crawl, peak at your Question Rather Droll. Let this guide your writing, let the question permeate every scene.
Hope you enjoyed marching to The Dawn Patrol!
I wrote a guest post, about being healthy at conventions (and while on the road).
You can check it out here. Thanks to J R Vogt for his inspiration Write Strong series.
This summer just goes on and on and on. It has been consistently above 90 for the last several weeks, and I am tired of the heat. Life must be pretty good, though, if that’s what has me down these days! And truth be told, the weather is the perfect setting for wrapping up my romance novel. I’ll be just about ready to tackle the next one as the weather turns.
Of course, it may stay like this forever. Who knows? That would bum me out, though, since I love so many things about fall. The cooler weather, the shortening days, the liberal use of pumpkin, nutmeg and star anise. I’m going to make some port poached pears tonight, the heat be damned.
I’m in the middle of not one, but two, different projects right now. One is a YA scifi/fantasy crossover with a lot of world building and complex geopolitical elements. The other is a romance novel, and as I haven’t attempted a romance novel before, it’s proving to be full of challenges. So, I’ve struggled.
Lucky, there’s always help (and a whole lot of not help, but that’s a post for another day) to be found on the internet.
ilys is a kickstarter project. You enter your word count, and it takes you to a dark, nearly blank page with a large text box. You can only see one letter at a time as you type, forcing you to turn off your inner editor. It does take me a few minutes to settle into it, to accept spelling errors and just push forward. But I’ve made tremendous progress when I enter small word counts, 250-1000, with this app. And it’s a lot better than similar apps, which will threaten the writer with noises and even the deletion of words. Meep!
Hemingway is my new best editor friend. It is essentially the 10% Solution, in program form. It will review your writing for complex sentences, adverbs, passive voice and more. It even gives you target grade levels. This feature may be completely unhelpful if you’re writing literary adult fiction, but I found it quite useful. I even plugged in this post, et voila, much improved.
Any other writing resources I’m missing out on?
For the past two years, the Nebula Awards weekend has been hosted in San Jose. I went last year on a whim and had an absolutely wonderful time. It definitely set the tone for this year, which was busier, more difficult to navigate, but equally engaging.
Despite being one of the more geographically diverse cons, in that the nominees come from all over, I spent both Nebula weekends mostly with local writers. Funny how sometimes it takes an awards banquet to bring people together! Last year I stuck close to Rahul Kanakia, who I miss dearly, and this year I caught up with my local group, including Vincent Jorgensen and Amy Sundberg. I also had the chance to spend lots of time with Dr. Lawrence M. Schoen and his wife, Valerie. I know him even better now than I did after spending two weeks with him at Taos Toolbox in 2010.
And that’s really what I enjoy about the Nebs: while it’s certainly a fantastic opportunity to network, everyone is so open and friendly and excited. It truly felt that we were all a part of the same tribe, and that we were collectively honoring some of the best and brightest among us. The glow of the writer community brightened especially in the evenings. I made new friends, shook hands with some very well known writers, and smiled so much my jaw ached.
As always, there are things that could have been improved. Sunil Patel began a conversation on Facebook which has been summarized neatly by Juliette Wade at her blog. I wasn’t at the “Writing About Other Cultures” panel. I admire Sunil and Juliette for sharing their experience. I hope we continue to talk and reflect on diversity, that we find ways to improve our panels, our writing, ourselves. Next year, the 50th Nebulas Awards ceremony will be held in Chicago. I’m hoping to attend.
But before that, I have many other workshops and cons to attend this summer. Next up: a trip to Philadelphia for a writing workshop with some of my dearest writer friends.
I’m back at home, hunkered down in my cool, dark house. It’s been in the 90s in the bay area the past few days and while that heat isn’t breaking any records, it sure seems unusual to me. It’s going to be one hot May!
I also cannot believe how quickly this year has flown by. I began the year in Tahiti, and have since made several visits to the east coast, and attended a writer’s workshop in Vegas. Whew! This past weekend I got to celebrate the wedding of our good friends from college, who had been in our wedding party way back in 2011. It was an absolute blast. I laughed, cried, danced and got to hug so many people that I care about. To add to the success of the weekend, I wrote some words!
1,500 words, pounded out in one blitzed session. By Saturday morning I was ready to write, and knowing I only had computer access for a little while, I crammed all of my thoughts into a few scenes. They are not perfect, but they are progress. I am now even more excited for my next trip, a workshop in Philadelphia at the end of May. I’ve chosen the writing track there, so I will have plenty of dedicated time to stare at my computer and trying to wrangle Iron into submission. I suspect I will need at least another month to get a working draft of this book. Sigh.
For now, though, I am going to enjoy the warm fuzzies that come with having seen my Holmes friends.