It’s Coming…

Winter NaNoWriMo is Coming!!!

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Yes, it’s that time of year again.  I’ve even been spending more of my daily commute on NaNoWriMo.org than on Twitter/Facebook.  I’ve probably already used up all my data for the month.

 

I guess this means that it’s time to get planning.  I’m worried about NaNo this year, purely because I have been working so much lately.  I have no time for this crazy writing thing.  And we’ve planned even more pre-NaNo events this year to prep for.  Fortunately, I think I know how I want to handle at least some of them.

 

As always, we’re going to try some new things with the region this year.  I’m optimistic that they’re going to work well and make my job easier.

*pause for laughter*

No, seriously!  Okay, we’re experimenting.  But that’s what we do, to see what works for our region and what doesn’t.  I have to be positive!

 

In positive news, we’re in the process of confirming venues and dates and times and such.  It looks like it’s going to be a good turnout this year, and some of the veterans are really stepping up to the plate.  So I’m trying not to worry.

 

I just need to carve out time to work on my novel planning.  Lest I have to write this year’s novel by the seat of my pants.  That could prove interesting…

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Chicken WHAT?!?!

Chicken WHAT?!?!

 Photo by Riverseal (flickr)

 

So, last week I shared how I participated in the Camp Marathon for NaNoWriMo (the NaNoThon).  Well, today I had two great pieces of news related to the NaNoThon that really made up for a long, tiring Monday.

 

Not that my day was bad or anything.  Far from it.  It was just a 10 hour day, from start to leaving work, including a 4:00 pm meeting that went until just before 6:00.  Then there was work to finish after that.  This is my normal Monday, and is the curse of working with a client that’s 15-16 hours ahead of us (4:00 our time is currently 9:00 am their time).  I’m still enjoying it and learning a lot, and hey: overtime’s alright.

 

But!  It was long and I was tired by the end of it.  So just imagine my excitement when I got home and checked the mail to find my Camp NaNo donor goodies awaiting me!  A brand new patch to add to my NaNoWriMo hoodie (that I’ll have to show you sometime).

 

Then, I checked my e-mail to learn that I was one of the lucky people that won a NaNoThon Donor Bonus prize!  So I have a Chris Baty Studios poster coming my way (which are beautiful and completely writer-themed.  It will likely be donated to my local NaNoWriMo group if it’s one I already have), along with a subscription to The Writer and an album download from Debs and Errol (which I have been listening to while writing this blog post).

 

So there you go: a rather uninspired Monday that ended up with me feeling pretty excited about NaNoWriMo stuff (we got some more good news about this year’s NaNo plans with our new partner, which I am saving for just the right moment to reveal) and life in general (a health insurance rebate cheque?  Yes please!)

 

What was the best thing that happened to you today?

 

 

 

 

 

Four Years and Four Weeks

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Four years and four weeks ago, I sat down at a table in a local family restaurant, not knowing for a moment that my life was about to change.

 

It had been a rough year for me, you see: I had moved from Grande Prairie back to my hometown and I was struggling to fit back in.  I was still living out of boxes in parent’s basement (until I found a place of my own) and my former high school friends had their own lives.  A lot changes when you haven’t lived at home for seven years.

 

I wasn’t going to do NaNoWriMo that year.  I had decided it.  It was too much trouble and too much stress.  The last two years had been marginal successes, at best.  And I didn’t need that kind of stress in my life.  Or so I had told myself.  Of course, my friends, and fate, had other plans.  When I expressed the above to a good friend, she immediately shut down all of my rational excuses why I wouldn’t be writing a novel in a month.  Instead, she gave me a new challenge: “write 5,000 words and meet new friends.”

 

I wrote 5,000 words that first weekend and just kept going.  You see, for the first time since I had started NaNo, I was spending a significant amount of time around people like me: other Wrimos.  That changed everything, including my outlook on writing.  Of course, I was writing a horrible Mary Sue fanfic that shall never see the light of day… but I was writing.  And having fun.  And meeting people!

 

And then, November 14, 2008 came.  The day when I innocently sat all alone at a table at the Ricky’s.  You see, fate had plans for me that day; thank goodness it’s more clever than I was.

 

I wasn’t alone for long.  One of the other Wrimos that I had sort-of-befriended came to keep me from feeling too lonely.  Then the Municipal Liaison at the time sat two “shy” girls at the table.  Of course, the four of us ended up singing songs from Harry Potter Puppet Pals, but who cares?  We were having fun, and I was hanging out with people that got me.  I was smiling.

 

And then someone else joined the table.  A young man with an amusing shirt, a hat, and an engaging smile.  I don’t really remember much else about what he looked like then, but I do recall that I couldn’t seem to stop talking to him.  I still haven’t stopped.

 

Three weeks ago, four years and one week to the day that we had met, that man asked me to marry him.

 

Of course, I said yes.  The last four years have been among the most amazing and life changing years ever.  He has laughed with me, cried with me, grieved with me, and grown with me.  He has challenged my beliefs and everything I thought that I wanted from life without ever making me feel like less of a person.  He has supported me without question no matter what was going right or wrong in my life.  He stood by my side when my world crumbled around me, and he was still there when the chaos stopped.

 

He constantly inspires me to aim for new heights, both as a writer and a person, mostly without even trying.  He pushes me to be better, to do better, and to set goals that I never would have otherwise considered.  He always listens to me vent when I just need to vent, but offers amazingly insightful advice when that’s what I need.  He likes my friends and loves my family (and I love his).  He completes me in nearly every way that it is physically and emotionally possible to do so, and I find myself loving him even more every day.

 

I don’t have the words to express how honored and humbled I am to have found him and I cannot wait to celebrate the next phase of our lives together, in front of the family and friends that have helped to shape us and our relationships.  I love him more than any mere words can say, and I cannot wait to see what other plans fate has in store for us.

So… This Happened

So…

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This happened.

 

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Then this happened.

 

All in all, it’s been a pretty amazing week so far (and it’s not over yet!).  Some highlights include:

  • Tea with friends new and old
  • Meeting an adorable pair of newlyweds and some newcomers at the Meet and Greet
  • Writing in a neat little bagel shop we discovered
  • Reaching my 50K in NaNo (and promptly doing nothing for 48 hours afterwards)
  • Overdosing on candy
  • Finding the perfect gift for my ML Secret Santa
  • Petting a shark and a ray
  • Eating my first sushi boat
  • Visiting the Office of Letters and Light and learning that I look great in a Viking hat
  • Watching a beautiful Pacific Octopus charm the employees of the aquarium
  • Baby Ostriches!!!
  • Dim sum in China Town
  • Meeting colourful characters on the streets of San Fran

 

Watch for more pictures and updates next week, as I’ll have more to share soon!  Tomorrow, we bike across the Golden Gate.  Wish my rear end luck (it’ll need it).  Until then?

 

Have a baby ostrich.

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Sorry, it’s been a while…

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Image from Dreamstime

 

But I have been BUSY!

 

It’s NaNo season, which around here means I’m trying to keep order at meets, frantically trying to confirm events with venues, bemoaning how they keep losing our reservation, and spending my work days overcaffinated.  Also, writing.  I have to do that somewhere in there.  At least I’m on track with my goals and the story is even starting to turn into something I kind of like.  It’s not proceeding exactly as I planned (what story ever does?), but I like some of the twists that it’s taking.  Lots to consider for the re-write.

 

NaNo is a different energy every year, and I’m still trying to figure out this year’s energy.  Personally, it’s been a year of fits and starts – I started my new job on November 5 so I spent the first four days getting my word count to 25K.  It’s a good thing that I did, because apparently working for 8 hours a day is something I am no longer used to.  But I think it’s going well.  My Project Engineer advised me to “sparkle”.  I think I can do that… where’s my glitter?

 

Seriously, the new job seems like a good move so far.  I’m learning a lot already, mostly about the specifics of the project and the team, and it’s a very exciting project to be involved with.  Fraught with challenges of the non-technical sort, of course, which is not something I’m necessarily good at solving, but I’ve done it before./  I’ll be working under a Senior Project Engineer and the Project Manager, and they both seem very reasonable to work with.  A lot like people I’ve worked with before, so I feel like I already know what they expect of me.  Right now, I’m still getting my feet wet and learning all that I can.  I get to meet the client next week!  Should be fun.

 

Anyway, you can sort of see how I’ve been busy.  Busy and tired.  And I apologize for not checking in here more regularly.  I wasn’t foolish enough to try the Epic Month of Blog posts in addition to NaNo and MLing.  I think the idea is really cool (write a blog post a day during the month of November), but I did something like it in April along with Script Frenzy, and it was too much.   So you’ll have to live with the little bit of me that you have here!

 

I promise to try and find some time next week to come back here and update you all.  I’m hoping that I won’t/shouldn’t be quite as worn out by the day job, now that I’m starting to get used to using my brain again!

Welcome to the Batcave!

… okay, not really.

 

But since NaNoWriMo is on the way, I thought I would take you on a quick tour of my writing lair/office (I prefer lair).  Mark and I have been preparing the house and our lives for November, so I actually spent the last few days tidying it up and making it workable.  I expect I will be spending a lot of time here over the next few weeks.

 

Here we go!

 

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My office!  From the doorway you can see (from left to right) the cat house, my shelves, my cupboard and my desk!

 

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A closer view of the shelves and all the books that I have (not so many as you’d think, and recently pared down) and some of my precious treasures.

 

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My desk, with my bulletin board of writerly motivations.

 

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My crafty zone (with all my knitting) and my sewing machine (mostly used for now as a holder of tea things and, apparently, my lightsabre).  Also, my filing system that needs a better home.

 

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And my cleverly hidden printer and writing books!  The drawers are filled with more craft stuff and other things that still need a home.

 

And that’s my lair!  I hope you like it as much as I do.

Preparing for NaNo

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Image from Dreamstime

 

A lot of people prepare for NaNoWriMo.  I do as well, only my preparations are a little bit different from everyone else’s.

 

Of course, I plan a novel to write.  I didn’t use to (when I started NaNo, I was a committed pantser) but I’ve learned recently that NaNo is much easier with a plan firmly in place.  Shockingly, that’s the easy part of preparing for NaNo.

 

Yes, I just called planning an entire novel “easy”.

 

For me, the hard part is getting ready for my Municipal Liaison duties.  As an ML, I work with a good friend to plan various and sundry local events, write and send out weekly pep-filled e-mails, and generally act as a cheerleader for the local group of crazies… I mean writers.  No matter how well we plan, it’s exhausting and usually knocks me out for most of December (I recover just in time for Christmas!)  But I wouldn’t change it for the world!

 

I don’t want to talk a lot about what’s going on this year, because I know some local Wrimos read this blog and I don’t want to spoil them just yet, but here’s a general schedule for what we do to prepare.

 

 

July – start to get excited: only three months to go!

 

August – get together and plan approximate event dates and locations, working around work schedules, my trip to San Francisco, and other time constraints.  There are six major (newcomer’s night, kickoff, midnight kickoff, midway bash, twelve-hour, and TGIO – Thank Goodness It’s Over) and eight minor (weekly write-ins) events, as well as eight online events.  That works out to nineteen events in thirty days (not including kickoff, newcomer’s night, and TGIO, which happen in other months.  And that’s a small load for a region of our size.

 

September – Order stickers for the locals, brainstorm ideas for the yearly theme, and start on any prep work that we can do.  This includes the “survival kit”/goody bag for kickoff, pre-writing as much of the weekly e-mails as we can, planning the midway craft, brainstorm fundraising ideas, ‘standard’ forum posts that always go up, posters, press releases, etc.  Of course, here’s when we start to confirm with venues and beg for space that we need, prizes for TGIO attendees and superstars, and generally begin to freak out.

 

October – Pray that stickers arrive in time.  Wash hideous yellow ML shirt (I would include a picture, but it’s not photographable.  Seriously, you’ll thank me for this).  Finalize dates with all venues.  Finalize all written information.  Print out what needs to be printed and put together goody bags, craft supplies, and all necessary other goodies and supplies.  Try not to panic.  Host newcomer’s night and prepare for kickoff.  Host kickoff.  Prepare for midnight kickoff, and get ready for another wild ride!

 

November – I cannot describe NaNoWriMo to you.  It’s a month filled with joy, sorrow, stress, creativity, inspiration, perspiration, and general insanity that can only be experienced.  In my case, I will be spending a week in San Francisco for the annual “Night of Writing Dangerously” write-a-thon/fundraiser for NaNoWriMo.  I’ll return the night before our twelve-hour event.  Yes, I am completely insane.

 

December – Host TGIO.  Try to find any remaining energy to be peppy.  Sleep for two weeks.  Wake up and prepare for Christmas.

 

 

And that’s it.  Then I rest for eight more months and start the whole crazy process over again.  It’s a wild ride, but the day I have to quit being an ML, I’m pretty sure wild horses will be involved.  A whole herd.  With the requisite thundering and snorting and pawing of hooves.

 

Anyway, there will be more NaNoWriMo information incoming as we get closer to the month.  I’ll try not to be too boring but it’s about to consume my life for the next few weeks.

 

T-45 days until NaNoWriMo!  Are you ready?

 

What do you do to prepare for NaNo?  Any MLs care to weigh in on their process (or lack thereof)?