NaNoWriMo 2020 Update: How is your NaNo doing?

It’s almost halfway through NaNoWriMo 2020. If you decided to join me and many other writers this year and stay home and spend all of November writing a novel (maybe your first, maybe one of many), than hopefully you’re a good chunk of the way in by now.

My NaNo is going great, though I was hoping to get in more marathon days. Take a look at my progress over the past week and bit below:

You can see that I was sidetracked on the third day of NaNo and spent a lot of time writing something that I wasn’t planning on writing but that was calling to me. I didn’t mean to do switch tracks, but I’m terrible at ignoring calls to new work. The good thing it was a short side project and it’s all drafted now, so I’m back on focusing on my main project, BGG, which I hope to have fully drafted by the end of the month, though it will be closer to 90,000 words than the 50,000 word goal that is a regular NaNo (hence my larger than average daily word counts. So, in other words, I still have a long way to go, but things are heading in the write direction!

Now, time for a snack and to get back at it.

JEH

NaNoWriMo 2020: Why We Should All Do It This Year

Happy Day One of NaNoWriMo everyone! If you’ve been a reader of this blog for any amount of time, then you know that I’m an annual NaNo-er. My first NaNo was in 2006 – 14 years ago, and I’m doing it again this year with even more enthusiasm than I’ve had in some other years. This is a great year for NaNo, not just for me, but for everyone. I doubt I really have to spell it out, but I will anyway. Doing NaNo this year is a great way to pass the time while staying home, while trying to decrease the virus load and help end this pandemic sooner rather than later. With the news yesterday that England is heading into another national lockdown, it is a bit disheartening, unless, of course, you’re planning to write a novel this month, because then yes, this is exactly what you need to keep your butt in your chair and writing away madly!

In my fourteen years of NaNo, I’ve written many books. Some of them successufully (and others that turned out to be still uncompleted flops). After finishing my NaNo novels, I’ve gone one to publish many of them, and you can do this too, but you also don’t have to. You can write just for yourself. And let me say that while publishing and sharing my hard work with others is great, the best part is actually living in another world for a full month.

With a load of coffee by my side and left over halloween chocolate, I consider myself ready. I love writing fantasy, which makes my escape all the more distanced. When I was writing Tales of a Red-headed Sea-Witch, the first book my Black Depths series, I loved nothing more than settling into the log house in the woods that my character, Nessa, calls home. For a few hours a day, I became a sea-witch. I casted magic spells, made friends, and fought off monsters. I think we could all use a little bit of that control right now.

If you’ve been toying with the idea of doing NaNoWriMo, let me break it down for you. NaNoWriMo is a promise to yourself to write. You can write about whatever you want, you can make your sentences as short or as long as you want, you can chat with other fellow writers on the forum if you want. The only thing you have to do is write something—and really, if all you write is a title, that’s fine. NaNo isn’t graded. But if you do decide to write a novel this November, what you’ll really be doing is spending a month of your life daydreaming about the kind of world you’d rather be living in right now. Which can be just as powerful as taking a vacation. And heck, if it’s a vacation you really want, why not writing a novel about the vacation you would be on if it wasn’t for Covid-19.

So, come join me and many other writers doing NaNoWriMo this year. It’ll be a blast.

Next time: more on my new series, The Gemology Saga, and the cover for the first novel. And also, how am I doing at NaNo.

Go forth, fearless writers, and write!

JEH

How I Won NaNoWriMo, and How I’m Winning My Writing Year

I did it! I won NaNoWriMo again! And this was probably the easiest year for me because I love my current Work in Progress so much! I’m very happy that I managed to push through NaNo this year, especially given that I’m in the middle of a major house renovation (Hello New Office! —More on that later).

First I want to talk a bit about how I managed to win NaNo when I’m so busy, when I have an incredibly busy day job, a busy personal life, and a major renovation going on right now.

I did it by making time. Every night I did some writing. If I didn’t make the full 1676 words per day one day, I tried to make sure I could catch up the next. I booked time for myself on the weekends to get extra words done, I made it to my weekly writing productivity meet-ups, and we had one Saturday marathon where I wrote a whopping 11,000 words to pass the 50,000 word mark. (I may have bought myself a box of chocolates to cheer myself on… They may also now be all gone…). You can see my daily wordcount summarized below, along with my wordcount since July 1, 2019, when I decided I would write 500 words a day for an entire year!

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So, I won NaNo, and I did it by making time, but also by focusing on my task. When I sat down to write, I wrote. I didn’t daydream or browse the internet or get lost in research like I often do, I just got to it because I knew that my time was limited. This is why I love NaNo, because it gives me a deadline, and deadlines can be the best motivation of all.

Did you do NaNoWriMo this year? What gave you motivation to work?

JEH

O-M-G It’s Almost NaNoWriMo! What do I do now?

I’ve been here before. In fact, I’ve been here many, many, times. Sea-Witch was one of the first NaNoWriMo novels I ever wrote. Scratch that, Under Jupiter was the first NaNo novel I wrote! I’ve written a lot of words during NaNo, yet every year it creeps up on me so that I feel that I am once again looking at doing NaNo for the first time ever.

I have one week left, how the heck am I supposed to prepare for this crazy marathon that is NaNoWriMo.

Well, the short answer is: buy a notebook.

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A good notebook, a great notebook, the kind of notebook you don’t want to leave your side ever. Take this notebook with you everywhere you go, in your car, on the bus, to the washroom, to work, to school, to your kid’s gymnastics class, to the zoo to watch the bears, to your Nana’s to watch a knitting marathon, to the bar, to your favorite cafe.

Find a notebook and never let it leave your side.

And, while you’re carrying it around, you might as well find a pen. Or a pencil. Or any kind of writing utensil that looks awesome tucked into your pocket or purse or behind your ear. The kind of pen that you never want to leave your person. The kind of pen that makes you feel awesome. And carry that pen around everywhere with you.

Now, with a notebook and pen in hand, you have no excuse. You’re ready. It’s time to start thinking about your story.

Think about your story while your cooking, exercising, walking, or watching TV. Or one of my favorites thinks of your story when you’re trying to fall asleep at night. Fall asleep dreaming of your story. And every now and then, write down the plot points that fall into your lap.

Collect the locations that your main character has to visit. Write down your MC’s favorite food and whether or not they enjoyed that song you just heard on the radio. Write down the name of your MC’s first-grade teacher, mother, siblings, and friends. Write down all the little tidbits about your story and the world it encompasses. Don’t aim for sentences, just little bullets.

  • like fries hates burgers
  • wants a pet rabbit
  • thinks that smell down the hallway is awful
  • wishes for magic
  • finds magic and ruins their life

Bullets are wonderful.

Bullets are magic.

If you’re getting ready for NaNo, start bulleting. And good luck!

JEH

It’s Halfway NaNoWriMo Day

If you’re a 2017 NaNoWriMo participant, then you know today is halfway day!

I hope your novel writing journey is going fantastically! Me, I’m exactly on target, though I’m hoping to write more tonight and finish at least one day ahead.

My trusty NaNo mug has been reminding me to write. I’ve also been attempting to work on my final edit of The Torc: Artifacts of Avalum Book One, which can be previewed here: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/WNGLSOVB1GOP

The best news, however, is that I have finished my first draft of The Circlet: Artifacts of Avalum Book Two! I can’t wait to have these books out in the world, and to be done another successful NaNoWriMo!

JEH

Finding the Inspiration

It’s another year of NaNoWriMo, and as usual I’m flipping up and down with both motivation and inspiration.

I had a great weekend marathon-ing with one of my writing groups. I drank plenty of coffee, brought out my favorite soundtracks (The Hobbit), and not only caught up on my word count but got a couple days ahead.

Fast forward a couple days later and I’ve slowed down again. Today, I’m currently sitting right on par, though I hope to get another couple thousand words done in short spurts throughout the day (yes, that’s often how I get my writing done).

As for the motivation problem, I’ve had to bribe myself again. This year, I’ve decided that if I win NaNo, I get to buy myself a three month subscription to a book box of my choice. I’m already excited, which means I better keep my fingers moving or no books for me! How is your NaNo writing going?

JEH

On Quitting NaNoWriMo

img_4689Wow. This post is a bit more difficult to write than I thought it would be. Usually, I am not a quitter, but this past week a lot of things have occurred which really made me question my decision to do NaNoWriMo when I’m already have my personal goal of writing 365K words in a year goal, which I’m really happy with. I’ve come to the conclusion that writing the 1,667 words a day that NaNo requires is just too much for me. So I’m cutting it out, I’m cutting back, and I’m returning to my 1,000 words per day goal, which I find a slight struggle to do on some days, but most of the time I find it alright.

I’m coming to the realization that expecting myself to write 600 words a day would really be my ideal. Maybe because I’m working an almost full time job and have two tiny kids to look after. And a cat. A needy cat. Who likes to sit on my laptop. So, 600 words a day is easily do-able. But my goal for the next 9 months is 1,000 words a day. So I’m going to stick to that.

So, I’m not buying myself my pretty NaNo reward, which is fine. I already have a million blank journals anyway. I really don’t need another one. I mean, I WANT one, but I don’t NEED it. Maybe I’ll get lucky and someone will get it for me for Christmas. Anyway, that’s the gist of it. Now. Time to write those 1,000 words.
JEH

365K Words in a Year Update #10

Wow, the tenth update already! Things are going well, and have become consistent with the help of Nanowrimo. I’m behind in NaNoWriMo word count, which you can see on the chart pulled from my NaNo page last night. I’m hoping I can average 2,500 words a day until the end of the month in order to win this year. I know I can do it. I’ve been reminding myself of the new journal I’ve been coveting for a while, and that I get to buy it the minute I win. This has been my primary source of motivation all week.

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By mid-December I should have a completed draft of a novel I’m calling Life. I’m planning on letting Life sit for a few months while I work on rewrites for UJ and still untitled project. Once I’m done drafting Life, I’m planning on using my 1,000 words a day to finish my long overdue WattPad project, Half-Moon Blood. I also plan on spending all my free time in December trying to catch up on GoodReads goal for 2016. I pledged to read 40 books, of which I’ve finished 31. I have a bunch of half-finished novels waiting for me to read them, so I’m hoping it won’t be too challenging to finish 9 books in the next 5 weeks. The good news is, you should see a lot of reviews next months!

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Read it Here

Also, it will be great to finish reading a bunch of books before Christmas, since I hope to get more books for presents!

JEH

365K Words in a Year Update #9

I’m taking a pause in my NaNo-ing as I’ve just realized I’ve reached 100,000 Words in my 365,000 words in a year goal!  Whoo-hooo! *Insert Party Here*

I’m so supremely pumped about this! I think I might have to reward myself with a little something for reaching this huge milestone! Here’s a look at my table for the past couple days. As you can see, yesterday I had a great day, but I didn’t even realize how close I was to 100K until I updated the 800 words I’ve written so far today!

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This 100K words has mostly been the finishing off two projects which were already started when I began my 365K goal. I’ve written one completely new short thing, and I’m 18,000 words into my brand new novel, which I’m just calling Life, for now though it will definitely change in the future.

Wow. I really can’t believe I’ve come this far already! I’m so happy with myself. Even though I’ve had a few days where I haven’t written new words, i’ve generally been either rewriting something, working on formatting, or horribly sick. So I feel pretty good about that too, though I’m still hoping I can get more consistent with my daily word counts. For now I’m going to happily take the 100K and just my buy myself another e-book to read in the future. What better way to reward oneself for writing that by getting something new to read?

JEH