NaNoWriMo

Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month. I’m sure that most of you have heard of it but November, every year, hundreds of thousands of writers from around the world commit to writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Last I checked there were about 400,000 writers signed up this year.

Many have never written a novel and are using this as an incentive to finally achieve that goal. I applaud you for that. Even if you don’t hit the 50K word count mark, hopefully, you will see that you can achieve it and will be so addicted to writing by then you’ll keep going.

Many of the participants have done this before and know that the support and camaraderie will get you a long way toward achieving your goal. Many have done this and achieved 50K words all the time but being part of this group just inspires you. There are as many different reasons for signing up as there are writers who made the commitment.

I signed up to do this for the very first time. Then I got cold feet and was going to back out before I read a blog post by an author I know (by his writing and through FB) and after reflecting on the whole concept of 1,666.666 words per day (yes I did the math) I realized it was a great opportunity to just write without worrying about every single word choice, whether it would be good enough, and all the other neurotic thoughts that are a hindrance sometimes. I have also found a group of people that will band together and support each other through this process. I feel very lucky to have met these writers. They are a real gift.

On December 1st, I will either be jumping for joy or I will be locked in a padded room wearing a straitjacket and I will have a 50 thousand word document comprised of one sentence repeated over and over.  “All work and no play makes Liz a dull girl.” Luckily I don’t own an ax.

Good luck and happy writing to all the NaNoWriMo participants of 2017!

(If you don’t get that reference, it’s from “The Shining”) If you like this post, please share it or comment. If you hate this post, please comment. If you really hate this post make a voodoo doll of me and stick pins in its hand so I’ll never write again –ok please don’t do the last one.  If you’re a NaNo and need another writing buddy my username is LJLeighton.

 

 

 

 

Why I write

A great post from Robin Leeann with which I think all writers can identify.

Robin LeeAnn

there’s no greater movement inside of me

than when their faces shine bright

from the something I’ve created from nothing

the something may make me cry

make me fall down and self-doubt

but there’s a beauty from the pain it brings

the beauty brings smiles on people’s faces

the smiles bring a rushed feeling inside me

the rushed feeling beckons me to write again

my writing could never be read

could be hated by the world

but that’ll never stop me from writing

there’ll always be a new piece from me

there’ll always be words coming from me

there’ll always be me, with a pen in my hand, writing

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Writing Through the Insecurities

In “Journal of a Novel,” John Steinbeck wrote, “I know it is the best book I have ever done. I don’t know whether it is good enough.” I’m no John Steinbeck and never hope to achieve the status he did as an author, but even he had insecurities about his writing.

Maybe my insecurities are justified. That’s one way to think and going down that particular rabbit hole is where I find myself too often. I constantly have to ferret out all the voices in my head that tell me that the last sentence, the last paragraph, or even everything I’ve ever written is just drivel. It somehow makes me feel better, and not so alone, knowing that even John Steinbeck struggled with such insecurities.

For the past few decades, most of my writing has been technical, nonfiction, or novels. I recently made the decision to pursue my passion for writing novels once again. I never tried to publish my last two novels and I’ve told myself for years that I was just happy with my accomplishment. The truth is that my insecurities held me back and have kept me from writing another novel until now.

Since I made that decision, I’ve set aside some of my reading time for articles and books about writing.  One of the suggestions I’ve read from numerous sources is that novelists should give flash fiction and short story writing a shot. Each writer gave lists of reasons for doing so, but the one that caught my eye was that it could stimulate creativity.

I was very insecure about this new fiction form. How could anyone pack a story of any interest into such a compact space? I gave it a whirl anyway with a lot of starts and stops. I didn’t count how many times I edited it.  Then I finally posted it on a website where I knew it would get serious reviews. I was terrified and expected to be shredded. I felt vulnerable and exposed.

I was torn between wanting to see my reviews and never wanting to even check them, but humans are inherently curious and curiosity won the battle. I had to see what kind of “train wreck” I had written. I was so shocked when I read my first reviews that I thought there must have been some mistake. There were genuine critiques of my story, but my aggregate rating was 4.5 out of 5 stars.

So, to all of the insecure writers out there, tell the negative voices in your head to shut up. Do it every time they try to sneak into your thoughts. I have to do it constantly. Remember that even John Steinbeck had insecurities and most importantly keep writing.

Maybe I’ll try poetry next…….Nope! Not a chance!

 

Oh the Mistakes I’ve Made

When it comes to starting a blog, I’ve made every mistake in the book.  I just jumped in with my eyes wide shut.  I’m working on a post detailing all the mistakes I’ve made and all the things I’ve learned the hard way.  I’ve learned a lot about blogging and a lot about myself.  So please stay tuned for my next post.

 

Soul-Searching

I’ve done a lot of thinking since my last post.  After getting halfway through my travel writing class, I realized the class was all about content marketing.  I do want to be a travel writer.  I just don’t want to focus on content marketing.

I delved into copywriting (now called content marketing) a couple of years ago but when I realized what it was really about I just couldn’t do it.  I suppose someone has to do it. It just isn’t going to be me.

After much soul-searching and internet researching, I decided that travel blogging is the path for me.  I dumped the old class.  Then dove right in to a blogging class and a travel blogging class.

I said I needed a break in my last post. Hell, I screamed it.  What I really needed was a new direction.  I’ve been working my butt off on my new classes.

To my fellow bloggers, don’t you enjoy being able to control the content of your own blog?  No word limit restraints?  Not having to plug someone else’s product or service unless you want to?

In a previous post, I wrote about all the travel articles I was reading and that I found most of them bored me to tears.  Can you guess why?  Those articles were nothing but content marketing.  They didn’t tell a compelling story.

I started this blog with a post called New Beginnings.  Funny thing about new beginnings sometimes there are some sharp turns along the way.

What do you think?

Information Overload

“Do this, don’t do that. Can’t you read the sign?”

—- Signs (Five Man Electric Band)

 

I’ve been working through my course, reading travel articles, reading articles about writing travel articles and reading travel blogs.  I’ve even been reading blogs about blogging.

It’s just information overload.

Top 10 this….

Best 10 that…

101 places to…

Articles that are sales pitches for more articles.

Links to other links to yet other links that finally end up at a price tag.

I need a BREAK!

I’m not a young person just starting out.  I have a lifetime of experiences and adventures that I want, no–that I need to write.

For now what I need is to stare at the sky and watch some hot air balloons float by on their way to somewhere else.

 

Struggling

I’ve been slogging through the first 6 chapters of my travel writing course and honestly the first 5 seemed more like a sales pitch than actual instructions.  I’ve spent practically  every waking hour for three days on this and I have a ton of ideas for articles.  I’ve read a lot of travel articles by professionals in various magazines and online publications.  Frankly, I found more than a few that were just boring as hell.  Some, however, made me want to jump on the next plane headed that direction.

Then there’s the work of trying to find a publisher that would be a good fit for these articles.  It’s tedious at times but I’m committed to this and it’s not as tedious as detangling the Codes of Federal Regulations or writing a Patent.

Then there is this exercise where you describe something without using adjectives–or at least as few as possible.  How do you do that?  I’m working on it.  Goodbye adjectives!  I’ll miss you but I still love you.