Featured

Preptober & NaNoWriMo

Photo by Jack Hawley from Pexels

Preptober. You see it everywhere. Or maybe I see it around because I am deep into YouTube for a project.

October precedes November, aka National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). And now, the 31 days is the time to prep your space, your mind, your calendar, and your novel outline for November.

For me, preparing for November has always been a goal but never a reality. This year I invested in setting the groundwork.

I attended a workshop with the Silicon Valley RWA about preparing for Nano, and the presenter, Alexis M. Roark, framed NaNo in a new way.

“Go Your Own Way” was the theme of that talk. (Cue the Fleetwood Mac song here.) It’s okay not to write. It’s okay to do research or plotting and planning. It’s okay to chunk out time rather than words. I’m a big believer in the QTP factor I learned in the Write Better Faster workshop with Becca Syme. Question the premise. Check to see if what you’re being asked to do makes sense to you emotionally and physically. Everything doesn’t work for everyone. Everything can’t work. We aren’t cookie cutters, and the advice we get from pundits, best selling authors, and others may not gel with your contexts (life, job, family, social obligations, etc.). 

For me, this means that I remade NaNo into something that works for me. I’m doing a hybrid NaNoWriMo. This Nano about new words to finish and new ideas to plot.

During October, I prepared the things I need from November 1 to November 31:

  • A community — I’m trying to draft a cozy mystery in Nano and revise a holiday romance novella. I’m in a screenwriting class, so I expect to prepare pages each week. I have signed up for the NaNo challenges offered by RWA and SiNC.
  • A plan — I have two blocks (6 a.m. to 8 a.m.) and (8 p.m. to 10 p.m.) dedicated to writing. Throughout the day, I do other challenges.
  • A goal — at least 30 minutes a day of writing and thinking and at least 500 new words a day per project
  • Paper — I’m going old school and using up my notebooks.
  • Lip balm
  • Plottr
  • A clean office or at least a clean desktop
  • Note cards for outlining and notes
  • Timer for Pomodoro sprints

Wish me luck! (It’s Day One of NaNoWriMo, and I have pushed out 1,667 words. Let’s hope this energy continues. I have things to write.) Are you doing NaNo this year? Let me know what you are focusing on this month.

Featured

Links & Loves for October

Links 

How to write almost anything, from a great joke to a killer cover letter via Pocket — This is a collection of great articles about the craft of writing — Bookmark it. 

The strategic side hustle via Harvard Business Review  Key quotation: “ …leaders who want to rise—and help their organizations thrive—need to find ways to expand their field of vision and build their knowledge, skills, and connections even as they carry on their daily work.”

The day I brought my knitting into the boardroom  — More knitting in business meetings, please 

Scrum your novel via Karla Tipton — 10 steps for plotting, planning, researching and writing for NaNoWriMo — I’m prepping my kanban board and planning on using this as a daily standup journal. 

Yes and no: Consent in love scenes via KJ Charles — “…consent isn’t simply an administrative preliminary to sex: it’s a discussion of what people want. The way consent is portrayed in sex scenes gives a massive amount of info about the parties involved. We can tell a lot about a MC and a relationship from how and whether they actively ask for consent, or seek it non-verbally, and when they do this.”

Writing While Black via LA Review of Books — “To write as a Black person in America is to sustain a barrage of gut punches from a community and industry that don’t do a great job transcending the larger inequities of the culture surrounding them. Writing is difficult and publishing hellish, but the path for Black writers is laden with unique indignities.”

Loves: 

I fell back in love with salt-and-vinegar kettle chips. We are #fancy over here. 

This new distraction-free writing tool (that I have an account for and didn’t realize it). You only see one letter at a time when typing. And because you set a word goal, you cannot see your full draft until you type all the words (via Ann Handley’s newsletter

Log-in emails. Received a heads up that someone in Indonesia was getting into one of my accounts. (Thanks, Hulu.)

This new yarn from Peaches & Creme that I found in Wall-Mart

The conference workshops at the RWA 2020 conference: https://www.rwa.org/

This Quotes & Questions game I found at Barnes and Noble (I purchased one on hopes and dreams and one on friends and family. One day, when I can meet people in person, I am going to pull them out for a fun icebreaker.)

Featured

Links & Loves for September 2020

Here are some reads, websites, videos, and more that have given me joy and inspiration.

Links worth a click, a read, or a listen:

Will you allow underdog thinking to determine your next move? — Wanda Abney (via Creative Mornings)

“In choppy seas, it’s better to mend the sails than return for a total refit.” (via The Guardian)

Neil Gaiman on how stories last

Advice on getting unstuck 

Loves worth checking out:

“Silence will not save you” T-shirt from Philadelphia Print Works

This decadent cookie recipe

This virtual white board that I can use when plotting, planning, or teaching

Click this button and get an amazing fact. And another. And another. And another (via Mental Floss)

“Song Association” games on this YouTube channel will have you looking up new artists and new songs

A new and free stock photo site? Gimme. 

This petty and pretty Instagram that highlights the 1-star reviews of U.S. National Parks

Links and Loves for January & February 2021

Links:

The New Generation of Black Chefs Exploring Soul Food in Paris. Black chefs are exploring “Afropean” identity and building on American soul food’s long history in the European dining capital via @Eater


Weddings to die for (COVID-19 and gatherings) via Texas Monthly

How a nap guru gets it done via The Cut


Signs of Burnout via The Research Companion

I Don’t Hike to Lose Weight. I Hike Because I Love It via Outside

The Invisible History of Plus-Sized Black Women In Music via Zora

Currently listening to and watching:

New Jack Swing albums via Albumism

The evolution of Beyonce’s Everybody Mad dance

Where the money reside remix 

Loves:

I love words. These are some I have delighted in finding:

To ALACRIATE someone is to enliven them, or make them hurry.

RAMFEEZLEMENT is a 19th century word for chaos or disorder caused by being overworked or tired. (From Haggard Hawks)

A MURG is a heavy fall of snow. As a verb, it can be used to mean ‘to labour perseveringly through a pile of unpleasant work’.

Christmas in February?!?

I published a novelette in 2020. A Picture Perfect Christmas is available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

#smallwins

I am so late with announcing this on my blog and social media. But I got this in under the wire and before 2020 rolled over into 2021. I loved writing this short and I hope readers do as well.


Blurb:

All Bee wants for Christmas is the opportunity to launch her photography business. She is hoping, wishing, and praying to get access to the city’s most picturesque place: the local Christmas tree farm. Only she has to convince the gruff but handsome co-owner to let her in. 

Tree farm co-owner Frank is dreaming of white Christmas, anywhere else but his hometown, and on the tree farm lot he worked almost every winter. He wants nothing to do with the holiday and certainly nothing to do with the joyful woman who wants to deck his farm with holly and cheer. Only she keeps coming back, and he keeps looking forward to their meet-ups. 

Will the holiday be merry and bright…and steamy for both of them? Will the most wonderful time of the year result in a picture-perfect match and a picture-perfect Christmas?

I Did (NaNoWriMo) My Way

Congratulations to anyone who put words down on the page this year, and congrats to those who tried NaNoWriMo. Instead of feeling bad about not succeeding year after year, I took the time and restructured the contest in my own best interests.

And I did the damn thing.

Eleven days ago, I won NaNoWriMo, and I did it my way. I wrote a lot. I started the outline for a script and drafted 12 pages at the end of November. I went to writing sprints, and I wrote and worked through plot holes every day during those 30 days. I wrote a bit on the cozy mystery and realized that I need to go back to the planning blocks. I reshaped my historical romance, and I added words to several novellas I need to finish. (Fingers crossed that I get this romance novella out this month.)

For December I am committed to a new knitting project and am still trying to get my writing revised. I’m excited and motivated, but like with all things, I am doing it my way.

How did you fare during NaNoWriMo? Are you spending this month revising and editing?

Links & Loves for December 2020

Links
Productivity Skills to Help You Gain Time Back via Harvard Business Review
Automate. Outsource. Use asynchronous communication. Pause your email. Bundle your temptations.

6 Ways to Support Black-Owned Businesses During the Holidays via HubSpot
Refer. Buy. Partner.

How to be Productive Without Motivation via Self-Publishing Formula
Automate. Find support. Keep office hours. Prepare your environment. Treat yourself.

Do You Want to Be Known For Your Writing, or For Your Swift Email Responses via Catapult

Loves

These yarn and scarf pattern (It’s sold out in the color I want.)

This performance of Revelations (available until December 17)
Murphy bed
This quotation on a notebook or shirt: “I eat no for breakfast.” — Kamala Harris