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Will you or won’t you Na-No-Wri-Mo? Here’s something for both sides.

The Artdog Image of Interest 

One more thought as we approach National Novel-Writing Month, AKA Na-No-Wri-Mo. Remember: one week from today, it starts! But I have to admit that this is usually my strategy!

IMAGE: Many thanks for the ever-wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her Will Write for Chocolate blog, for this cartoon!

It’s getting on toward time. Are you ready?

The Artdog Image of Interest 

Each year in November, it’s National Novel-Writing Month, AKA Na-No-Wri-Mo. Each year in October, I consider participating. Will this be the year?

IMAGE: Many thanks to Errol Elumir’s blog NaNoToons and the Na-No-Wri-Mo organization for the use of this cartoon.

Retreat to Paradise Point

I’m writing this post from the edge of Table Rock Lake, in the Hollister, MO area, at a resort managed by Bluegreen Vacations called Paradise Point. I’m enjoying a mini-writing retreat there with my friend Dora Furlong, who set up this trip.

Here’s the view (across an arm of Table Rock Lake) from our balcony at Paradise Point.

Neither of us is officially participating in Na-No-Wri-Mo, but both of us are trying to make progress on our current projects. And what a beautiful setting for our efforts! The physical beauty of the land is sometimes absolutely breathtaking.

Fog rose from the valleys in southern Missouri  on our trip to Paradise Point. Photo (complete with unavoidable bugs on Jan’s windshield) by Dora Furlong.

We drove down from the Kansas City Metro Monday, and were startled by the thickness of the fog in the valleys at dusk. I remarked to Dora that it was like the fog that comes up each evening from the Sirius River on Rana Station in my stories. From there, we launched into a discussion of ways to create greater drama with the fog (writing retreat; it’s what we do!).

The lights and the fog held an interactive dialogue on the grounds of Paradise Point after dark.

After supper we wandered around in that selfsame fog on the Paradise Point grounds, both to get a sense of our surroundings and because it was good to take an after-dinner constitutional. And of course I collected more great resource material!

It’s a mini-retreat, so our time is limited. But I hope you’ve enjoyed this glimpse. If you’re a creative person, I hope you’ll consider taking some time away (with a friend or alone) to concentrate on immersing yourself in your own creative work. Not all of the rewards show up on the page, but I think you’ll find those rewards are both real and enriching.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Dora Furlong for sharing her photo of the fog along Hwy. 65 in southern Missiouri, and giving me permission to use it here! The other two photos are by me, Jan S. Gephardt. As ever, if you wish to use an image from this post please include a link back to your source and an attribution to the photographer, when you do! Many thanks!

Perfectly set up for Na-No-Wri-Mo

It occurred to me the other day that I’ve got not one, but two projects ideally set up for a Na-No-Wri-Mo style writing blitz

On the eve of the event itself, no less! If ever there were a year when I was perfectly set to participate, this is it.

What is “Na-No-Wri-Mo“? you may ask. That is short for “National Novel-Writing Month.” It’s an annual event, held November 1-30 of each year. Participants attempt to write 50,000 words or more in a month (50,000 words is the minimum length for a novel, according to some definitions and in some genres).

Many participants look upon it as a competition (for well or ill) and for many it provides motivation. I think whatever helps a writer make progress on his or her work of passion is a positive thing.

It’s true that a rare few people actually can write a real novel in a month. For most of us, 50,000 even-semi-coherent words in a month is a stretch, and that’s the point. Na-No-Wri-Mo is designed to push writers beyond their comfort zones and help them achieve more than they thought they could. It’s a creative challenge that is a high bar, but not unreachable.

That’s extremely beneficial for a writer, whether you end up with a novel at the end of the month, or (more likely) with a steaming pile of first draft.

I know I’ve posted this quote from Shannon Hale before, but I thought it was appropriate here.

I have never personally participated in Na-No-Wri-Mo, although I’ve been “Na-No adjacent” for years because I hang out with other writers. Why don’t I participate? 

Mostly it’s because I’m a competition-averse person, and I write slowly. I’m persistent, but not fast. Also, I know myself. Trying to write 50,000 words straight through with no stopping or second thoughts . . . not gonna happen. It would make me nuts.

Also, it’s in November. That might be a time of miserable weather in San Francisco (the original reason for timing it then), but November is the month before Christmas, contains no fewer than three family birthdays for my clan, and it has Thanksgiving in it. NO WAY am I going through November with the minimum of distractions needed to produce 50,000 words!

In November, San Francisco looks like this a lot. No wonder the Na-No-Wri-Mo founders wanted to stay inside!

So, no. I’ll flirt with the idea, but I won’t sign up for Na-No-Wri-Mo this year, either. But I’ll think of the participants often, as I regularly take chunks of time to work on my projects throughout the month, and I’ll be wishing them well!

IMAGES: Many thanks to Wikipedia for the Na-No-Wri-Mo logo file, to Ali Stegert’s “Spilling Ink” blog, for the quote from Shannon Hale, and to Free Tours by Foot, for the photo of San Francisco in November.

The next battle

The Artdog Image of Interest

If you’re tired of Na-No-Wri-Mo posts, I’m sorry–gonna inflict at least one more on you. Because once you get to a certain point in your writing, it’s time to–GASP!–show it to someone else!! It’s pretty scary, because even after all that work, it’s inevitable that it’s not perfect.

Gotta be done. Find someone you trust and hand it over. It’s What Has to Happen Next, on the writer’s journey. Good luck!

IMAGE: Once again, I’m grateful to the wonderful Debbie Ridpath Ohi and her web comic “Will Write For Chocolate,” for this rueful look at the truth of a writer’s life.

Making a good finish of it

November–and Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month) is almost over. A lot of people will be trying their best to close in on 50,000 words by midnight tomorrow. To cheer them on, today’s post is a collection of wisdom about FINISHING.

A 50,000-word manuscript that has a beginning, middle, and end technically qualifies as a novel, in some genres. For my particular genre, science fiction, the contemporary normal finished length is 90,000-120,000 words, so 50,000 words will get you maybe about halfway there.

But no matter how you slice it, 50,000 words in one month is a prodigious chunk! It’s a noble goal, a major effort, and a valuable milestone. So here’s to finishing your fifty-thou, even if you aren’t “really finished”!

One more thing. Once you’ve finished your 50,000 words–or however many you manage this month–take time to celebrate! Yay! You did it!

ANY amount of words add up to more than you had written before, and every special effort deserves recognition. Just be sure to get back into the chair on December 1, and begin again.

IMAGES: Many thanks to Jeff Goins for the quote images for Bradbury and Lamott, to Happy Monkey for the cartoon about finishing your novel, and to 8 Tracks for the mountaintop celebration photo. 

The finish line is in sight!

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Hang in there, Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month) participants! You’re almost there!

Even if you’re not shooting for 50,000 words this month or participating in any kind of contest or event, this is still immensely helpful advice.

IMAGE: Many thanks to GoTeenWriters and James Scott Bell for this wise and timely advice!

How’s the writing coming along?

The Artdog Image of Interest

We’re about halfway through Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month). Time to check in, again . . .

Whether you’re participating in Na-No-Wri-Mo or not, I hope your creative endeavors (whatever they may be) are going well. The creative process always involves frustration–but don’t let that stop you! Keep going!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi, her ongoing comic “Will Write For Chocolate,” and her Twitter feed for this image. It’s always a pleasure, “Inky Elbows”!

Writing is like . . .

The Artdog Quote of the Week

Especially for the “pantser,” I think:

If you’re one of the brave souls who are persisting in the creative challenge to participate in Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month), then you’ve already long since figured out this aspect of your writing process. To all writers everywhere, Good luck, and keep writing!

IMAGE: Many thanks to Writing Sisters and E.L. Doctorow for this week’s quotation image.

Characters

The Artdog Image of Interest 

Think of it as a casting call . . .

As a tribute to all the writers brave enough to take the Na-No-Wri-Mo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge, I’ve dedicated most of this month’s Quotes and Images of Interest to observations about the writing craft.

IMAGE: Many thanks for this week’s image to Tom Gauld, a wonderful comics artist whose work I encourage you to explore!

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