Posts Tagged ‘nanowrimo’

A Novel Idea

“There are times when a feeling of expectancy comes to me, as if something is there, beneath the surface of my understanding, waiting for me to grasp it.” – Sylvia Plath

Laughing gulls on Mustang Island on the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from where Ridley sea turtles have nested. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Laughing gulls on Mustang Island on the Texas Gulf Coast, not too far from where Ridley sea turtles have nested. — Photo by Pat Bean

A November Challenge

This makes the seventh year I’ve signed up to do NANO, which is short for National Novel Writing Month that takes place November. The goal is to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days.

A Ridley sea turtle laying her eyes on a Texas Gulf Coast beach. -- National Park Service photo.

A Ridley sea turtle laying her eyes on a Texas Gulf Coast beach. — National Park Service photo.

I actually completed the goal, and got my certificate, once. It was a great writing exercise but I ended up with a wobbly first draft whose protagonist I had fallen out of love with, and so that’s as far as I took the project. I’m hoping to do a little better this time around, which is why I’m now working on an outline of the mystery novel I’m planning on writing in November.

The last time I flew by the seat of my pants only. I wrote a mystery the first time around as well, and am repeating the genre because I love reading mysteries – the ones that focus on who-dun-it instead of blood and gore.

A just hatched sea turtle ready to battle its way to the ocean. -- U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo

A just hatched sea turtle ready to battle its way to the ocean. — U.S. Fish and Wildlife photo

I’m going to use the things I liked from my first NANO completion, mainly the setting along the Texas Gulf Coast and the story of the endangered Ridley sea turtles, but with new characters and a new plot.

Anyone interested in joining the challenge with me can sign up at: http://nanowrimo.org/   It’s free, and not a contest. The only person you have to please is yourself.

My goal for doing the challenge, besides completing a first draft of a novel, is to get myself back into the habit of writing more consistently on a daily basis.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Blog pick of the Day. Check it out.

Wish me luck!

Bean Pat: Glassine Visions http://tinyurl.com/h7gfdxn For Dale Chihuly fans.

P.S. Re NANO: Since 2006, hundreds of novels first drafted during NANO have been published. You can check out the list at: http://nanowrimo.org/published-wrimos

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Liebster Award

 I have been nominated for the Liebster Award by Kathryn Johnston at 4amWriter.com. And now I have rules I’m supposed to follow.

First is to link back to her in appreciation. OK I’m lost. I know how to go to her blog and I know how to comment and say thank you, but no one has yet told me what button to push to link. That’s the kind of computer user I am. Tell me which buttons to push and I can do anything.

And no thank you, I don’t want to know why or anything else about computers. My brain is already overloaded with too much data.

The second rule of the nomination is to nominate five of my favorite bloggers for the award. Only five? Whine, whine, whine. Kathryn chose blogs about writing, because like me she is deep in NaNoWriMo. It sounds like she and I are within about 100 words of each other and both well on our way to reaching the goal.

The bloggers we choose are supposed to have less than 300 followers. But how am I to know how many followers other bloggers have. I only recently discovered that I now have 80. It’s that “tell me what button to push again” thing.

Two of my top favorite bloggers are photographers. Life in the Bogs by Robin http://bogsofohio.wordpress.com/ and Martina’s Photography Designs http://photosbymartina.wordpress.com/

I’m an avid birder so I’m going to nominate Judy’s Jottings for spot No. 3 http://judysjottings.wordpress.com/

No. 4 goes to A Year on the Road http://allevenson.wordpress.com/ Al’s a full time RV-er like me, and a writer as well.

For the “how in hades am I going to choose only one more blog,” spot I’m nominating Jim’s Notyethere http://notyethere.wordpress.com/ because I enjoy his poetry, photos and our back and forth conversations. Now I have to go let them know I nominated them. That’s also a rule.

The final two rules are simply to bask in the love of supportive bloggers and have fun and spread the karma. Since I don’t have to push any buttons these are easy.

Thank you very much 4amwriter – and now that the fun is over, it’s back to NaNoWriMo.  Well, except for those of you whom I have nominated for the Liebster Award. You now have rules to follow. For clarity,  below is exactly how they were described to me.


The Rules are: 

  1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  2. Reveal your top 5 picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
  3. Post the award on your blog.
  4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogsphere – other bloggers.
  5. And, best of all – have fun and spread the karma.



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New Hampshire's Franconia Notch Flume Gorge -- Photo by Pat Bean

 My Favorite Places: Franconia Notch

Waterfall at the top of the gorge -- Photo by Pat Bean

“How hard it is to escape from places. However carefully one goes they hold you – you leave little bits of yourself fluttering on the fences – like rags and shreds of your very life.” ~Katherine Mansfield

NaNoWriMo Update

Things didn’t quite go as planned today. I didn’t get home from my doctor’s appointment until 11 a.m. And at 1 p.m. I went to physical therapy, which the doctor prescribed for the neck pain I’ve been having. It was almost 4 p.m. before I got home from that.

But, despite not having as much time as I wanted in which to write on this first NaNo day, I got 1,307 words written. Nothing is on my schedule for tomorrow so I plan on doing better.

Meanwhile, I’m hoping my night-time thoughts and dreams will be filling in a few more blanks in my holey story. How’s everybody else out there doing?

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I took this photo of the train I was riding on as it went about a bend on the journey through Royal Gorge. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My Favorite Places:  Royal Gorge

Looking up at the span across the gorge from river level. -- Photo by Pat Bean


“I feel as though I have lived many lives, experienced the heights and depths of each and like the waves of the ocean, never known rest. Throughout the years, I have looked always for the unusual, for the wonderful, for the mysteries at the heart of life. – Leni Riefenstahl

NaNoWriMo Update

Still thinking, with trepidation, about the novel I will start tomorrow. My night-time thoughts solved one problem that’s been worrying me. I came up with a motive for one of the characters to approach my main character.

Looking down on the Arkansas River from the top of Royal Gorge -- Wikipedia photo

It’s a little thing, but it’s part of the opening scene that still exists only in my head. And at least I now feel more confident about that first blank page.

I’m worried, however, because mornings are my best time for writing and I have a doctor’s appointment at 8:30 a.m. tomorrow. The visit has been planned for a month, and since I only have a short time before I’m off on the road again, I have to keep it.

In the past, I’ve let other plans like this keep me from even starting the challenge. So I’m almost glad that I will be facing this simple one on the very first day. It should help me know I can overcome interruptions – just like solving the first travel difficulty in my RV gave me confidence that I could handle anything the road threw at me.

Is this bravado speaking. Yup! But I’m depending on it to help pull me through the next 30 days and 50,000 words.

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Palo Duro Canyon, located south of Amarillo, Texas, is awesome, but travelers don't have a clue until they get to the rim and look down. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My Favorite Places

A landscape carved by water and wind. -- Photo by Pat bean

“Should you shield the canyons from the windstorms you would never see the true beauty of their carvings. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

NaNoWriMo Update

One Day, 14 hours, 20 minutes – and counting down

In a comment I made on a blog this morning – Galen Leeds Photography http://tinyurl.com/3bakmuv – I meant to tell the author to keep crossing “roads” to take pictures. Instead I wrote, and posted before I proofed – keep crossing “words.”

I guess I have NaNoWriMo on the brain. Hopefully that’s a good sign.

I read a quote this morning that inspired me for the coming challenge: “Having a dream to chase is what makes life worth living.” I’m not sure who said it, but it spoke to me. As does Helen Reddy when she tells me I “can do anything.”

What inspires you?


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Everyone should visit Niagara Falls at least once -- even if it's not on their honeymoon. -- Photo by Pat Bean They provided us with yellow raincoats to keep us dry, but when one walks on the storm deck right below the falls, a raincoat is worthless. -- Photo by Pat Bean

 My Favorite Places

All rivers, even the most dazzling, those that catch the sun in their course … go down to the ocean and drown. And life awaits man as the sea awaits the river.” – Simone Schwarz-Bart

NaNoWri Mo Update

2 days, 10 hours,  25 minutes – and still counting — to go

I’ve started going to bed thinking about the novel I will be writing in November, hoping inspiration about the proposed book will invade my dreams.

Last night it worked, although it was while I was still lying awake and not yet into dreamland. I thought of a new twist for the mystery that makes logical sense to the plot.

Of course then it took hours, or so it seemed, before I made it into dreamland. And then the only thing I dreamt about  was silly stuff, like climbing a tree in search of a fish and coming face to face with a grizzly bear and then watching it turn into a stuffed teddy bear.

Does anyone else have such weird dreams?

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Now why would anyone want to call this landscape the badlands. Awesome lands is what I would call this view located in the Badlands National Park.


The area in the center of this photo, taken in Badlands National Park, was once a jungle. -- Photo by Pat Bean

My Favorite Places

For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment, but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects their true value.” – Claude Monet


NaNoWri Mo Update

I’ve decided that I will start each November novel writing day with what’s long been my favorite song. It’s an oldie, but goodie that first topped the Billboard Chart back in 1972. It got me through many a tough day of working and raising children at the same time. The lyrics tell me “I can do anything.”

  I hope that includes writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

 I am Woman, Hear Me Roar 

“I am woman, hear me roar
In numbers too big to ignore
And I know too much to go back an’ pretend
’cause I’ve heard it all before
And I’ve been down there on the floor
No one’s ever gonna keep me down again

You can bend but never break me
’cause it only serves to make me
More determined to achieve my final goal
And I come back even stronger
Not a novice any longer
’cause you’ve deepened the conviction in my soul

I am woman watch me grow
See me standing toe to toe
As I spread my lovin’ arms across the land
But I’m still an embryo
With a long long way to go
Until I make my brother understand

Oh yes I am wise
But it’s wisdom born of pain
Yes, I’ve paid the price
But look how much I gained
If I have to I can do anything
I am strong
I am invincible
I am woman”

— Helen Reddy and Ray Burton

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“Until you value yourself, you will not value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.” – M. Scott Peck

The best way to start any day is with an awesome sunrise, such as this one that I took in Harker Heights, Texas -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Most mornings I start my day the exact same way. I awake with the sun, get up, fix coffee, catch up on my e-mail, savor my cream-laced coffee, look at the landscape outside my RV window and write my daily blog. At some point during this process, I take a break and walk my canine traveling companion, Maggie.

Many days, since unlike me Maggie likes to sleep in, I’ve already finished my blog before we go for our walk. My binoculars are usually around my neck and my camera is in my pocket for it’s usually on such walks that I get inspiration for my blogs.

This is the look Maggie gives me when she finally wakes up and has decided it's time for me to take her for a walk. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Then it’s back to my RV for some more writing – or procrastinating to write, which is just as likely.

Still, it’s fair to say that most of my day is spent in front of my computer – and that’s going to be even fairer to say in November since I’ve signed up to for NaNoWriMo. This is the abbreviated way of saying National Novel Writing Month, which has been held every year since 1999. It started with 21 participants and last year had over 200,000.

The goal is to write a novel in one month. Actually it’s to write a terrible novel of 50,000 words between Nov. 1 and Nov 30. The exercise is supposed to help increase productivity and halt a writer’s obsession with spending hours on making sure every sentence is perfect before going on to the next, to which I plead guilty.

I’ve signed up for the event quite a few times, but that procrastination addiction of mine won the month. I’ve signed up again this year – but this year I intend to win. My advantage is that this year I’m telling everyone what I’m doing in hopes that my pride will not let me down.

My goal is to write 2,500 words a day for six days a week, and then excuse myself from even signing on to my computer for one day a week. I figure I’ll need that one day to keep my sanity. I’ve been thinking I needed that even before I committed to NaNoWriMo. 

To give myself a few days of extra time to think about characters, setting and plot for the AWFUL mystery I plan to write, beginning tomorrow I’m simply going to post photos of some of  the best places I’ve visited over the past seven years of my travels with Maggie. I mean I’ve come too far meeting the daily blogging challenge to not make it to the end.

Hopefully my commitment to the NaNoWriMo challenge will also make it to the end. I’ll keep you up to date with its progress on my blog. Wish me luck.

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