Nano Inspiration: Still Great After All These Years

crest-bda7b7a6e1b57bb9fb8ce9772b8faafbIt took a couple passes through November posts, but I finally found what I was looking for in November, 2011. I didn’t see how I could improve on this gem and P.S. my writer friend, Kara, who shares her writer wisdom, now has a contract for her YA manuscript. So see? Hard work, butt-in-chair writing pays off. But don’t take my word for it. Here’s some Nano inspiration that never gets old:

So, I know that hordes of writers are out there, busily pounding out their 1,569 words today so they can make their National Novel Writing Month goal of 50,000 words. Kudos to y’all!

And kudos to all y’all who may be a NaNo writer like me. Maybe you’ll make 45,000 words. Maybe you’ll forget to actually sign up. Maybe you’ll manage to pound out only 1500 words. Doesn’t make you any less of a writer. (It does, however, leave you with an awful lot of manuscript to finish.) You might be the kind of writer who could use a little extra inspiration and some serious writerly advice. Go here.

Or maybe you’re skipping Nano this year in favor of something different. Maybe, like me, you’ve signed up for Picture Book Idea Month. Because, honestly, who can’t come up with an idea a day? Kudos to y’all! But maybe, inexplicably, your ideas sort of sputter out on the third day, along with your kudos. You might be the kind of writer who could use some extra inspiration and some wonderful writerly advice. Go here.

Okay, yes, it’s the same writerly advice and inspiration. Because it doesn’t matter what you write. It only matters that you write. At least, if you were born to write. And kudos to my writer buddy, Kara Bietz, for sharing that little nugget of writer gold.

Will I Ever Learn? (November Lessons)

2012-11-20 02.40.05Holy Tom Turkey–November already! And I’m sure lots of you are rockin’ National Novel Writing Month or Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month. Keep up the good work!

I’m doing something a little different this November: I’m taking off.

Not that I won’t be working. Quite the contrary. I just returned from a lovely writing retreat up in the North Georgia mountains where I started my next middle grade novel and I can’t wait to work on it. So I will be deep into novel-writing this month. And I have a couple other projects that I’ve been dragging my pen on–and I absolutely need to finish them.

See, the mistake I make (and honestly, not just in November) is over-committing to challenges. Sometimes, it’s a big and fancy challenge like NaNo and sometimes, it’s just me, setting one goal too many. When I impose too much, I fail to accomplish what really matters.

But here’s the great thing about mistakes: we can learn from themSpeaking of which, I wrote about New Writer Mistakes (That No Writer Can Afford To Make) over at The Muffin. The truth is, new writer or experienced writer, we can always learn from our mistakes and learn a lesson or two.

So, this November, I’ll be working alongside all of you, working on your challenges. And here’s to all of us, accomplishing what really matters!


Pushing Through November

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIf you’re the observant type, you’ve already noticed the badges over in the sidebar. There’s one for NaNoWriMo and one for PiBoIdMo, and the calendar for Picture Book Month is there, too. So, a couple things.

Thing 1:

If you’re not sure what I’m talking about, you can zip over to my Muffin post where I explain all those letters and what they mean. And how you can join in the fun. New writers are popping up and popping in here every day so I want you to know what everyone in the writing community is blathering on about all November. Because honestly, it’s not like we’re going to suffer work in silence.


Thing 2:

November is going to be busy, busy, busy! I’ll be revising a novel and thinking up ideas and reading, reading, reading. I hope I’ll be learning, learning, learning, too.  And all that writing, writing, writing keeps Cathy running around like a chicken with her head cut off (or perhaps a chicken trying to keep her head). But even a speedy chicken can come up with a post or two and a couple surprises, so I hope to see you around. But if you’re also pushing through November, trying to make word counts and idea deadlines, I’ll completely understand.

November Bonanza: PiBoIdMo, NaNoWriMo, Picture Book Month and Kidlit Cares (Whew!)

There was a time when November 1st was a relatively simple day. Dispose of the pumpkin before the ants overran my porch, pick through any good Halloween candy left, and get myself to church for All Saints Day. I still do all that (okay, I don’t always get to that pumpkin promptly. The ants are my new best friends) but now that I’m a (mostly serious) writer, November 1st is far from simple.

There’s Picture Book Idea Month starting up over at Tara Lazar’s wonderful blog. I love PiBoIdMo because I just have to come up with an idea. An idea. That’s like, what? A sentence? A sentence fragment, even. I am all over that writing challenge.

And it ties in nicely with Picture Book Month. Technically, I don’t have to write anything for this wonderful literacy initiative that promotes picture books. I just like to slap the badge on my blog and celebrate.  And ask others to join me in the celebration. Picture books opened the door to a world of reading for me and for all the Junior Halls, and I want every kid to have the opportunity to discover that same world when they discover a favorite picture book. Oh! I know! I can celebrate by sharing a post or two on favorite picture books from our shelves. So there will be Picture Book Month writing, after all.

Of course, many of you know about National Novel Writing Month, where 50,000 words in a month gets you a novel and makes you a winner in this writing challenge. NaNo has been a great tool for me, whether I finish the 50,000 words or not…but that’s a post for another day. For now, I’m using NaNo to finish the last edits on one of my already-finished novels. So definitely a chunk of writing there.

Oh! And this year, because of the devastating destruction left behind by Sandy, kidlit authors, agents, editors and illustrators have come together in Kidlit Cares: Superstorm Sandy Relief Effort over at Kate Messner’s website. You can bid on their services (like a critique) and maybe get some feedback on one of your November writing projects–and help the efforts of the Red Cross while you’re at it.

And now, I should check on the time for that All Saint’s Mass, and the status of the leftover Halloween candy.  Although with the Beneficent Mr. Hall in the house, “leftover candy” is an oxymoron.

Finding A Picture Book Writer Within

 It’s been a week now since Picture Book Idea Month ended, and the brainstorming dust has started to settle. Here’s something that surprised me: I miss it.

I miss my extra-long showers wherein I came up with every conceivable PB idea having to do with bathtime, soap, shampoo, and bare body parts. (PB Ideas #3, 7, and 13)

I miss that panicky feeling at the end of the day when I’d sit at my desk without an idea and scrutinize every object looking for PB gold(Look! It’s Mr. Eraser Head!). (PB Ideas #5, 11, 17, 22, and 30)

I miss starting my day with the brilliant and inspiring posts provided by all those picture book authors over at Tara Lazar’s Writing For Kids. I learned a lot about…well, writing for kids. (PB Ideas #2, 7, 18, 26, 27, and 29)

Mostly, I miss that zing when I’d have my own brilliant picture book idea–and could envision the story, could imagine a child loving the story. (PB Ideas #1, 6, and maybe 29)

It’s a long way from coming up with a picture book idea to actually writing a picture book, much less getting that picture book into a child’s hands. But thanks to PiBoIdMo, I’ve found the beginnings of a picture book writer within little, old me.

 And that may be the biggest surprise of all!