This Year I Said ‘No’ to NaNoWriMo

Nanowrimo blogYesterday was the start of this year’s NaNoWriMo. For those of you who aren’t part of the frenetic and burgeoning underground of published or aspiring writers, this stands for “National Novel Writing Month,” when thousands (millions?) of people sign up and commit to writing 50K words before midnight on November 30th.

I signed up for NaNoWriMo last year and the year before, but didn’t bother this year. While people talk about NaNoWriMo “winners,” I’ve twice viewed the month, and the “contest,” as more of an impetus for me to conquer my procrastination and simply start writing (dammit!). Admittedly, I’m a repeat NaNoWriMo “loser,” simply because I never came close to the 50,000-word mark.

I did write 30K words that first year—a feat I was incredibly happy with and proud of—but looking back I hate everything I wrote. Seriously. Hate it. All 30,000 words. Continue reading

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The 10 Things I Learned From My First Writer’s Retreat

writers retreat blog photo2I’ve been a part of a small group of writers on Facebook for more than two years now. This “writing tribe” consists of women in four states and three countries/continents, and includes both published and unpublished authors. We write in different genres and different forms, but we’re linked by our love for the written word and our desire to tell a story, whether of ourselves or a character or idea that has grabbed us and won’t let go.

Because we’re such a small group, we’ve shared more than just writing over the years. I respect and admire each and every one of them, for the lives they’ve had, the lives they live, and the lives they aspire to in the future. More than half of us recently met in real life for a long weekend of words, interspersed with wine, food, chocolate and laughter. Oh, and vodka. Continue reading

The Writer, Unleashed

Writer UnleashedAt what point do you become a writer? Is it when you first put pencil to paper or hands to keys and write a story? Or does your writing have to be published somewhere that people, and especially your friends and family, can tangibly see and touch it? Or is it when you start getting paid for the words you write? It’s something every writer ponders, and it’s been written about by nearly all of them. Continue reading

Serendipity: What I Found on My Bookshelf This Morning

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This isn’t it. Keep reading===>

I love books. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting on the floor of my bedroom, back propped against the bed, reading. I read it all–the Treasury of Children’s Illustrated Classics sprawled across the shelves in the family room, my mom’s old copies of the Bobbsey Twins, Judy Blume, Babar, Raggedy Ann, Highlights magazines; too many to remember or list. My favorite was Bear Circus by William Pene Dubois–most likely for the simple reason that I’ve always adored Koala bears. I was also a huge fan of horses and Secretariat.

Don’t get the wrong impression: I didn’t sequester myself in my room my entire childhood. Continue reading

The Rose Jar

I was 11 when I found my mother’s jar of teeth. It hadn’t been lost or even hidden. I’d actually been dusting the container for years, not having the slightest inclination as to the contents within. I couldn’t even say what made that day unlike the rest. Curiosity, of course. But I’d always had that and, more often than not, gotten into trouble because of it. Continue reading