LAST YEAR of NaNoWriMo Night of Writing Dangerously

I just received this email from the staff at NaNoWriMo. If you have been holding off to join us on this fun adventure, then this is the last year to get in on it.

Hi everyone,

For twelve years, the Night of Writing Dangerously has been an important fundraiser for NaNoWriMo, but equally importantly, it has been an opportunity to connect in person with the writers for whom NaNoWriMo has been a guiding light and a shining star. The community-building aspects of the event were always as important to us, if not more so, than the fundraising side.

But over the course of the last five years, the fundraising side of it has become increasingly challenging. The total amount raised by the Night of Writing Dangerously has been steadily decreasing, while costs to put on the event have risen sharply. The number of people able to attend the event has also decreased, as our necessary price increases have put ticket prices out of reach for more and more people. Costs are slated to increase again this year, and we’ve had to sit down and wrestle with the realities of being a small non-profit organization.

And as a result, we have made the difficult decision that 2018 will be the last Night of Writing Dangerously.

We know many of you will be incredibly disappointed to hear this news. We are disappointed as well; we love this event, and have worked hard to try to find ways to make the math work. We hope that in the future, we’ll be able to plan a new in-person event that will be accessible to more participants, with all the joy and inspiration of the Night of Writing Dangerously.

Let’s send the Night of Writing Dangerously off on a high note

And in the meantime, we hope you’ll join us to send off the Night of Writing Dangerously with our biggest, best event ever. We’ll be pulling out all the stops to make our final Write-a-thon one to remember, and we’d love to see you there. We know that not all of you will be able to join us this year and were already planning to attend in future years, and we’re sorry that won’t be happening. We’ll keep in touch as plans for future events develop, and we hope to see you at a NaNoWriMo event down the road.

But if you can attend this year, we recommend getting your fundraising up and running or buying your ticket as soon as you’re able to, as we suspect there’s going to be a full house this year.

The Night of Writing Dangerously has been an incredible event for our organization and for the writers who have attended it. We will miss it greatly, and we will remember it fondly. We are so grateful to you for the support you’ve given our organization over the years, and we hope this decision won’t dim your memory of past events or dampen your enthusiasm for future NaNoWriMo events. The future is bright, friends, we just have to give it some time to reveal itself.

Sarah Mackey
Director of Community Engagement

Romance Genre

I am curious, what is it about romance which makes it such a big seller? I don’t write romance, though I would like to try. According to a group I am a part of contemporary romance is the top dog for booksellers. Which, to me, sounds really boring. I have never been into romance. I have owned one romance book my entire life and that was to try it out as a teen and had somehow tricked my mother into allowing me to buy it (Sorry mom, it wasn’t from the teen section, I was just really curious). So, what is it about this genre which makes it so enticing?

Even when summer comes around one of the things which is kind of a summer thing is to hit the beach with a steamy romance novel. I have never actually seen anyone do this, though I have never really paid that close attention either. I would prefer a mystery on a summer beach, personally, but again, I am apparently not the targeted audience.

Romance, contemporary romance, is it because it allows us to touch upon a primal part of ourselves which may not be receiving what we need? Or perhaps, not that we aren’t receiving what we need, but allowing us to see something even stronger than what an everyday real-life relationship can even bring to us? I mean, these stories, at least from what I have seen, are about everyday men and women finding a connection which just reaches through the ages and through the depths of their souls. Is it the idea of a soulmate which entices the readers to pick these books up? Do all contemporary romance books actually have a soulmate type of story? Or is the main thing even more primal? Is the main thing they want to consume is that passion in the sexual fantasy which you only get every so often in real life? That feeling of utter and full living within the other person. To almost feel like your skin is one and the primal instinct of still wanting to be closer and deeper pouring into every pore it can find. I will admit, those moments I have had with my partner are intoxicating. Is that what it is which pulls readers into these books? Is THAT feeling? It is hard to get every time you have sex, but in a book, you can feel it through the pages if it is written well.

I am curious to see what those of you who read or write contemporary romance think. I am trying to understand and I have a very narrow sense of the genre in a whole. Which probably means I need to pick up a book or two before trying my hand at it. But, seriously, what is it which makes it almost a given that you will make at least a few bucks on a book written in this specific genre?

2018 NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge

Last year I was introduced to NYC Midnight short story challenge. They give you a genre and two other criteria to incorporate into a short story piece. If you write a unique enough piece which follows the necessary pieces then you move on to the next round. There are three or four rounds (I forget now) but I was unable to pass the first round last year. You can see my piece here. It was supposed to be a comedy and I failed miserably at doing that.

This year I entered early for two reasons. One, they were offering $5 off the entry price. Two, I was worried I would chicken out when the time came at the beginning of the year to actually sign up. I had actually forgotten I had signed up and was trying to decide if I even wanted to when I received a reminder email about the event. After searching my email I found the receipt showing I had paid early to enter. Well, I guess I knew what I was doing and knew myself pretty well since I had not planned on entering it at that point.

I figured there was no way I would receive comedy the second year in a row and was ready for what the committee was going to give me. Well, comedy was apparently going to see if I had learned anything over the past year since that is again the genre I was given. The other two pieces being teacher’s assistant and recycling. Those two lend themselves hand in hand actually pretty well, but I keep thinking of making it a social commentary rather than a comedy. I know I can do both, but I have a hard time not making something like this into a drama.

So, I have been doing some research and landed on 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing While Thinking Like a Comedy Writer. I think I may have found it last year since some of it sounded familiar, but the ten ways make a lot of sense in just writing in general. Hopefully, it can help me through this challenge well enough to move on to the next challenge. And hopefully, I will not receive another comedy genre.

New Year / Catching Up

Hello and welcome to the year 2018! I am hoping this year this webpage will have a ton more things posted to it for multiple reasons.

  1. I really want to have it up and running like an actual website (I pay for the domain after all)
  2. I am going to be writing a ton more this year

Ya, those are the two main reasons. And while my writing definitely kicked up its pace in November with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) we bought a new house in October and were packing until about a week and a half before Christmas to move. Needless to say, life has been a bit chaotic.

But now with the holidays behind us, 2017 behind us, and my house more or less put together, I can put some time into keeping this blog up and doing more writing.

In that vein, I have decided to try doing 85k90 challenge again this year. I tried doing it last January but just did not have the energy to keep up with it. I wasn’t the healthiest and having two little ones just wore me completely out by the end of the day. I have lost over 20 pounds now and have a ton more energy for myself and my kids. It is day two (actual day three but I have only written two days worth so far) into the challenge and with this challenge you only have to write 912 words a day to keep on track rather than the 1667 words you do for NaNo. My word count is at 2000 solid right now and I will add more to it soon. Along with the challenge, I am also keeping reminded by the emails which come in from 750words where you write at least 750 words each day and they just keep track to how many days in a row you actually are able to do it. You can challenge yourself at the beginning of the month and write out a sort of promise to yourself, ie: If I write for the Month of BLAH then I will treat myself to BLAH. However, if I do not complete the month my punishment is BLAH. I actually challenged myself this past November and while I won NaNo, I did not write every single day so technically I lost my 750words challenge to myself. Though I didn’t punish myself like I said I would, I was too pleased with myself for finally winning NaNo.

Yes, I won NaNo this past November, which means I wrote 50k words in the month of November. I even finished a few days early, it felt marvelous. This was my seventh year doing it, but my first win. It was also the first year I went to Night of Writing Dangerously and I will definitely be going back. That was an amazing evening. I think I will post up more information on both NaNo and Night of Writing Dangerously later as I have come to realize that while I have posted quite a bit about NaNo people did not realize it was an organization nor a non-profit. So when I do that I will post a link to that post so you can go check it out.

I think that is all for now. Keep me honest people! If you do not see me post in a while shoot me a message and bug me.

750words

Alright, so I apparently forgot that I can actually sign up and get something out of this, for myself. I have now “signed” up for next months challenge, which shouldn’t be too hard as long as I keep up with writing for NaNo as well.

So, here is the thing. 750words.com is an amazing website to help you get into the habit of writing every single day. You only have to write a mere 750 words, which for some people may seem like a lot, but once you start doing it, it will feel like it is not enough to accomplish really anything. They send you an email each day, I believe you can set up the time it is sent to you as well, though I may be wrong, will have to double check that. There is no time you have to write the words in, specifically, you just have to finish writing your 750 words by 11:59P that day. At midnight it resets and you are on to the next day.

This website is great for people who are trying to learn how to write, or for veterans who just want a quick soundboard for ideas or even people who have not written for some time who wish to get back into the groove of writing. Life changes us all and with that our routines can get thrown out the window. Sometimes we need to reassess when we can fit in what we love back into our lives. I know that this happened when I became a mother and that was five years ago! It hasn’t been until recently that I have begun to really focus on me and on what makes me happy once again. Which is not only reading and trying to feel better physically, but is writing, and this website is bringing that love back to me.

It is really helpful if you have been trying to figure out when you have time to write. Because it will send you the email and remind you and when it keeps doing it, you start to think about it during the day. You may find you can sit down for five minutes in the morning, another five at lunch, and maybe another five before going to bed. It doesn’t take much to write 750 words. And it doesn’t have to really do with anything! It can be a journal entry for the day or perhaps you need to vent and INSTEAD of being that arse on the Internet, how about posting it here where it is just for you and you do not have to be the person everyone hates on the Internet. Not that most people will take me up on that advice, but I can be hopeful. But yes, as long as it is 750 words no one is checking content. So you could just write out the numbers in word form: one, two, three, etc; but really that is a waste of your time and creativity.

National Novel Writing Month is coming up, as I have said before, and this will be a wonderful reminder each evening if I have not gotten a chance to sit down to write yet. I am hoping to use the 750words.com more for writing pieces for my webpages like I have been, but it may come down to using it as a soundboard for what I am writing at that moment in the story. Who knows, but that is the great part of having this option.

As I said before, no one reads this, it also doesn’t save your work from previous days (at least I have not seen it do so), so if you are using it as a journal or soundboard, you may need to save what you write to an outside source so you have it for future reference. Otherwise, if you do not care to ever see what you write here again, do not worry… POOF! it is gone.

If you are a beginner writer or a veteran writer, I recommend using 750words.com. For all the reasons I have listed above. I have used it off and on for that past few years, but this is the first time I am really dedicating time to it and I am remembering why I loved it to begin with. Truthfully, I do not remember how I found it, but I did and I guess that is all that matters.

With that, I wish you all luck and good writing.

NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is next month and this month a ton of people are starting to gear up in their own way for it. I have always been a pantser which means I would always just write what came to me rather than sitting down and making a plan. I have tried to do a plan but it typically always went off on its own and left the plan lonely on the sidelines.

This year, I am doing a different type of writing and I am more or less planning out what I want to write. I came up with an idea over the summer and slowly I have worked up what I want to write about. I even wrote down all the chapters I want to do and what would be in them. Granted I have NO CLUE where that outline ran off to so this month will be frantic cleaning and trying to find it while also probably having to try and write up a new version of it.

There are different groups around the country (and I believe around the world now) which get together for what is called “write-ins” which is when the local people meetup at a coffee shop or somewhere quiet to write and give each other encouragement. Sometimes there are things called “word wars” which are timed quiet sessions where all you do is write and until the timer runs out, you are not allowed to do anything else. (Actually I am participating in one right now as we are trying to get back into the groove.) Some groups do online versions in case not everyone or a lot of people cannot meetup. There are also unplanned one where someone will just post in their Facebook group or on the NaNoWriMo website that they are at some location and will be for this amount of time and to come and do a write in with them. They can be a nice way to meet new people in your area.

There is also the Night of Writing Dangerously which is towards the end of the month. People fundraise or pay for it themselves to go to San Francisco and spend a very long evening with a ton of people and write and gossip and…. well truly I am not all that sure. I have never gotten a chance to go, but I WILL be going this year and I am so excited!

If you wish to learn more about NaNoWriMo then check out their website NaNoWriMo. I hope you join us and have fun creating a world and characters which wish to come alive before your very eyes… fingers… ummm… anways, come join us.

Brandon Sanderson Book Signing

This evening was a nice treat for my husband and me as we whisked our 5 month old son out of the house for a few hours to go to the next city over to the Barnes and Noble.  We had put this on our calendar a month or two ago and thankfully I remembered it before falling asleep last night.  So, my husband got home from work and we packed Jackson up and headed over to the Barnes and Noble in Citrus Heights.

Upon walking in I was afraid that we weren’t going to get to the front of the line any time soon, but that worry was apparently foolish.  A moment after we walked into the store an employee asked if we were there for the signing and said that due to us having a little one in a stroller we would be able to bypass the line.  We weren’t sure if she was joking or not, but after grabbing a couple of books to have signed (we forgot to grab them while at home and there was a book we had never seen of his out on display), we went to find the back of the line.

Just as we got comfy to go through the line a man in a red shirt (don’t go on any missions!) came up to us and told us to follow him.  He zigged and zagged through the line and I embarrassingly apologized every step of the way for going through these cramped books shelves full of people waiting in line.  At least one person said to not be sorry and said that I had enough to deal with besides being sorry for having to do what I needed to do, but I still felt bad.

We finally got to the end of the shelves and out to an open area that we could bypass the rest of the line.  We were told to wait next to the front of the line and when the person asked for next we were told to go ahead.

Brandon Sanderson is quite nice on his Facebook page and actually answers questions when you post.  So, I was curious how he would be in the real world.  He was just as nice if not nicer.  We walked up and he first off thanked us for showing up at all.  I told him I did book reviews and gave him a card and he actually looked at it and looked very interested.  When he was done signing the books he pointedly asked if we had any questions and since I hadn’t been planning on writing anything I hadn’t thought of any.

However, my husband and I had talked about a few things in the cars and he asked the question that brought an answer I would never have guessed.  My husband’s question was, “When did you start writing?”  In the car we had meant when had he begun the first book that was then published and he was known for, but he took it as in general when. His answer was that he had begun writing when he was 14 years old, but didn’t write his first novel until he was 19.  He joked that he was not like some of these other authors who began writing when they were 4 years old.  My thought at the time was, dang, I still haven’t produced anything yet.  The next part of his answer was the part that really surprised me, though, he continued his answer with the fact that he didn’t particularly like to read until he was in his teens.  For some reason this shocked me as with well as he writes, and especially in the Fantasy/Sci-Fi genre, he had a great handle on how to produce a wonderful, entertaining book.  I told him just that and he thanked me.

It was a wonderful experience and I would love to get to know him better.  I hope he does like my page at some point and perhaps in the future he and I can work on something together, even if it is just a simple interview.