Writing My Life

Now and Then

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Life in 100 Words or Less: Writing Less More Often

I’ve missed blogging. A lot. And since life hasn’t quieted much, I don’t see that I’ll have any more time to post than I’ve had the past few months.

Inspired by information about Grant Faulkner, the new executive director of NaNoWriMo,  I think I’ve come upon a solution. It seems that Mr. Faulkner runs an online literary journal – 100 Word Story – and thus launched MY epiphany: I can limit my entries to 100 words or less, AND I will post at least one or two times a week.

I don’t have enough words left to say anything else, and captions don’t count!


EPIPHANY: When you realize your future isn't mixed in with noodles.


NaNoWriMo Update

As you can see by the new widget in my sidebar, I have accepted the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge. I know I am crazy, but I ALSO know this is the ONLY way I will EVER complete a novel.

Craziest photo I could find of me - t'was taken LAST November in Bahston

I’ve tried the SANE way – writing every day… worked for a minute; writing a certain amount of words daily … ditto; writing at the same time each day … no luck; write with a buddy … buddy bailed; tried a “MiniWriMo” … same sad story; started and stopped writing a mash-up novel by sort of plagiarizing Thomas Hardy. Sigh.

So here goes.

I told G.E. about my goal and he didn’t even say, “What? Are you NUTS? Aren’t you busy enough? You’re already glued to the computer.” Etc.

I shared my writing idea with him AND read the first 1000 words to him. He was “almost” enthusiastic. Hey! That’s good for the man, okay? He even fell asleep last night without growling – and I mean literally growling – at me to turn off the light. (The growl is really cute and always makes me smile.) Anyway, I typed for about an hour! And then read “until I learned something.”

I plan to leave “mini-posts” to document my progress along the way, but not until after I post my “Autumn Album” tomorrow – LOTS of cute pix of my grandkidlets between September and November.

In the meantime AND if your curious, I’ve written – drum roll, please –

4161 words!

and yes, I’m behind.

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… maybe you’re wondering why I’m posting EVERY day …

And maybe you’re wondering why every title includes the “maybe” word.

Well, wonder NO more.

Reason #1: Not exactly like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the “knock-off” site, NaBloPoMo (National Blog Posting Month) promotes posting every day. While November is the BIG promo for NaBloPoMo, the organization does invite bloggers to respond to a different theme for every month.

This month, the theme is MAYBE, and for some unexplained reason, it struck a chord. I hated the word when I was a kid because it was a way my parents had of putting off a decision:

“Mom, can I sleep over at Diane’s?”

Maybe. We’ll see. Let me think about it.” (Three ways to say “maybe.”)

“Dad, can I sleep over at Diane’s?”

Maybe you should ask your mother.”

When I became a mom, however, my 4 boys soon learned that when Mom said “maybe,” it usually meant “yes.” But when Dad said “maybe,” it was a “no,” unless Mom could work her magic on him.

Reason #2. WordPress.com, my publishing platform of choice, is also sponsoring a post-a-day OR a post-a-week challenge. I opted for the weekly route because I WAS pretty good about posting that often. BUT life got crazy all around me, and I was lucky to publish every 10 days.

Now that things have calmed a teeny-tiny bit, I thought posting every day would get me back in the writing groove, and it has.

Reason #3: During my “I’m-too-busy-to-blog” weeks, dozens of writing ideas haunted me. WordPress sends me writing ideas every day, along with Plinky. But I don’t really need writing ideas as my life is crazy enough to generate topics that attack me from every direction. I realize, however, that if I don’t get them in print fast, I’ll forget. (I’ve been dying to post that PooParty blog!)

I also have dozens of pictures I want to share. April was a bit of a travel month, and so I know you are waiting with baited breath to see my Bryce Canyon and Albuquerque shots!

Reason #4: Blogging often builds up readership. While that isn’t the main reason I do this, it is still a thrill to learn that someone enjoyed what you had to say about something – even if the topic is poo.

Reason #5: I just love to reflect and to write. End of story.

Until tomorrow, rbs


NaNoWriMo: What I did NOT write.

Step back for a moment, and take an objective look at your writing life. Are you failing because you’re simply not writing?  Are you failing because your family keeps you too busy to do your research or editing? Are you failing because you’re weary, depressed, or despondent? ~ Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen

My response to Ms. Pawlik-Kienlen’s questions is “all of the above.”


I wrote ONE freakin’ page during NaNoWriMo. That’s it! PA.THE.TIC.

It is not that I did NOT or am NOT writing.

I am.

I am just not writing my “dream book.”

What am I writing? Well, let’s see …

  • Email replies by the 100s
  • Blog posts – and not even many of those!
  • Blog comments – a few
  • Book reviews – a couple
  • PowerPoint presentations – big whoop.
  • Google Chats – mostly to my boss Carolyn  – and her friend Amy, who pops in every once and a while
  • Social networks – Facebook and Buzz status updates
  • Texting – mostly family members, but a few friends and colleagues
  • Notes from meetings and/or presentations
  • Well-wishes in forms of birthday cards or thank you notes, etc.
  • To-do lists
  • Calendar updates
  • Forms – from those required to buy stuff online to work reports
  • Reminders to self, family members, and others who help me survive

What did I do INSTEAD of writing my novel?

  • work, Work, WORK, WORK!
  • Commuting- 100s of hours, but at least I enjoy listening to audio book tapes by the score!
  • Hang out with hubby – which usually means watching more TV than I like to
  • Sleep – about 7 hours a night – absolutely necessary for someone my age!
  • Visit or escort my cute mom here and there – wouldn’t give this up for the WORLD! She is so dang fun to be with.
  • Attend plays (a couple of winners at the Hale Centre) with Mom and sister Connie
  • Worry – SO unproductive!
  • Read – NOT a much as I like! Still enjoying my year of UTAH authors.
  • Attend meetings – mostly work and CHURCH! (Yes, I am a Church Lady!)
  • Shopping – as in groceries or Christmas
  • Surfing the web – research for work, writing (a little), shopping, curiosity
  • Talking on the phone – not much now that I can text
  • Good deeds – like visiting neighbors and other Church Ladies
  • Cooking – a bit
  • Eating – a lot
  • Preparing for and enjoying the holidays, as in Thanksgiving when the whole fam was here and Christmas, as in decorating the house, shopping for and shipping gifts
  • Exploring BOSTON for a week in November! So super FUN!
  • Looking for lost items

I could go on, but I think you get the point! However, as one of my favorite procrastinators Scarlett O’Hara is so often quoted, I add my confirmation ~

After all … tomorrow is another day.


How about MiNoWriMo???

Writing every day, however, does more than simply instill the discipline to write at will, rather than just when inspiration strikes.  ~ Dana Mitchell

I know, I know, I know!!! The last time I posted – which was awhile ago – I committed to plunge into NaNoWriMo, but common sense intervened. I realize EVERYONE is busy, and MANY busy peeps still find the time to write 16,000+ words a day, but I HAVE to be realistic. I AM busy, but I am NOT organized. I am committed to writing, but I am NOT insane.

Yes, dear readers, I hear you mocking my commitment and will view my statements as pathetic excuses, but excuses or not, I cannot ignore the fact that writing 1600+ words a day on a novel might just …

  • cost me my job – which I still need for 3 more years or more until I retire;
  • strain my marriage – G.E. already thinks my computer is another of my appendages, and although he supports my talents, he also likes to spend time with me every once in awhile;
  • frustrate my 10 grandchildren who like to hang out with GrammaNae as often as possible – which has not been as frequent as it used to be;
  • disappoint my 85-year-old mother – who looks so forward to daily phone calls and at least 3 visits a week;
  • ruin my trip to Boston in mid-November – it’s my first time to that historical city, and I’m danged excited, even if I am going there for work;
  • hamper my Church calling – which is kind of a big one, but hey how else do I show gratitude for more blessings than I deserve?;
  • stress Soledad, my Chilean neighbor, who needs tutoring to help her wade through a community college writing class;
  • push me over the edge – it only took a straw to break the proverbial camel’s back, you know.

BUT I have looked forward for to the craziness of NaNoWriMo, realizing the benefits that may come of it. I recently read a blog – can’t remember whose – that claimed the hostess was ready to send off last year’s NaNo book to an agent. And I thought, “that COULD be me!” But when my blogger friend, Catherine Winn, over at The Writing Room, shared a comment on my last post, I took pause! (I know that’s a cliché, but I think it’s rather a classy one.)

Catherine wrote that when she participated in NaNo last year, she ended up with C.R.A.P. (She didn’t really say it exactly like that, but I read between the lines.) So this year she is still diving in, but she does NOT plan on winning – I think winning means you finish the 50,000-word goal. I like that idea – enter to enjoy the fervor of the event but lower your expectations.

MiNoWriMo: a sane approach to November Writing

I decided to go just a little further and create my own November contest MiNoWriMo – sadly, someone else came up with the “word-crunch” or whatever it’s called when writers cram together parts of words to come up with a new word. While I can find the word in a search, I CANNOT find an explanation or definition of MiNoWriMo. Any ideas?

Anyway, here is my version of a MiNoWriMo: I plan to write a Mini-Novel, hence Mini-Novel-Writing-Month. I’m cutting the goal in half to 25,000, and adding the challenge of writing EVERY day. I’m even going to create a MiNoWriMo badge of some sort – in a day or two.


All 2 or 3 of you readers?


Jumping off the NaNoWriMo cliff.

Deadlines are powerful things. With only a month to write your novel, you’ve got to get 1,667 words written per day.  There’s no time for an inner-editor, you’ve just got to write, write, and write some more. This is the perfect chance to throw up words.  It’s fun.

~ Melissa Douglas


No turning back!


I’m standing atop a cliff, looking at the bottomless abyss that makes my stomach turn inside-out and my brain gasp for air. The last time I felt like this was October 2007 when I had two weeks to write three MAJOR research compositions for my comprehensive exam to earn my M.Ed. in literacy.

Why has this nauseating feeling of fear and trepidation returned? Because I have committed myself to jumping into the NaNoWriMo frenzy. This is SO creeping me out, but I know I decided a LONG time ago to do it – as in a year ago after I participated in NaBloPoMo.

Posting a blog every day was an exhilarating experience but NO WHERE as challenging as writing a novel in a month. After I pledged myself to the effort AND registered, I realized the obstacles I would have to overcome to make it to 50,000 words: a week-long trip to a conference in Boston AND Thanksgiving AND Mom’s 85th birthday party! Yikes! And I’m not even counting family, church, and work obligations! WHAT AM I DOING?

My first thought was to BAG IT, but then I decided to read up on WriMo tips, start thinking of ideas, and just dive off or in or under and start swimming. I won’t cheat and work on my WIP, but I’m contemplating writing to prequel novel to the one I’ve started.

As I’ve pondered, I’ve wondered: Can I do anything historical without the temptation of stopping to do research? Can I play around with formats without delving into various novels to check out various and unique layouts? Will I be FORCED to write about something I know?

I guess we’ll find out.

I HAVE to DO this because I need to KNOW I can start and finish a novel. I know it’ll be C.R.A.P., but it needs to be done. Right? And if there is anything redeemable from the pile of poo, I’ll adopt the John Green plan: revise over the next 3 (or more) years and MAYBE come out with something worth reading!

Wish me luck, and check in after November 1st to find very BRIEF updates as to how I’m surviving. Feel free to cheer me on, too.


P.S. Check out my latest UTAH WRITER review of Mistborn.