National Novel Writing Month

I miss getting high

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I got REAL high on this hike
I got REAL high on this hike

It’s true. I haven’t experienced the high I get while hiking in the Pacific Northwest since our end of September hiking adventure. Shortly after that hike we traveled to Hawaii for a couple weeks and the two hikes we had planned to complete there were a bust.

On the Big Island of Hawaii the heat and humidity were the hike-spoilers for us. We’re not fair weather hikers – we’ve hiked in the rain and extremely cold temperatures before – but heat is a deal breaker for us. Even in Washington state we hike early in the day or not at all if temps on the trail will be 80 or above.

img_0151Then on the island of Maui – where temps near Haleakala crater were guaranteed to be in the 50s – we gathered our gear, climbed into our rental car, drove up eight miles of a single lane, severe hairpin-turn paved road, only to arrive at the dirt road that would lead us to the trailhead and find it was only traversable by 4-wheel drive vehicle. We’re veteran hikers so as I always do before a hike, I checked the trip reports and the State of Hawaii hike descriptions for any pertinent info we might need for that day’s adventure. There was no mention of the hazards requiring a 4-wheel drive vehicle and we sure as hell didn’t want to place our rental vehicle in jeopardy so we turned around.

That's Mt. Rainier, folks. Our early August hiking destination.
That’s Mt. Rainier, folks, where we hiked early August

Disappointing, but at least I knew the week after we returned from our vacation we’d be scheduling a hike that would once again expose us to the expansive beauty we’ve grown to appreciate during our weekly hiking adventures.

Me & my hiking partner/hubby, on the Lake Twenty Two hike.
Me & my hiking partner/hubby, on the Lake Twenty Two hike.

Fast forward to the morning after our late night return when yours truly missed the last stair as I ambled down to the first floor of our house and twisted my left ankle. Mind you, this is the same ankle that has managed to climb over rocks and boulders with nary an ankle tweak; an ankle that has even managed to jump off said boulders victorious and proud to be alive!

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Kendall Katwalk that was NOT a cake walk

And let’s not forget THIS adventure where I conquered massive challenges and came out smelling like roses – or at least without any mangled body parts.

Alas, I accept my lot in life – knowing it’s only temporary – but not knowing how one might define “temporary” is a bit troubling for this Rocky Mountain High-kind of person.

img_0199Yep, I miss and crave the hiking high I’ve grown to love this past year, but there’s no need to feel sorry for me. My current situation has forced me to finalize the preparations leading up to writing my third novel in the 2016 NaNoWriMo month-long competition that begins November 1st.

I guess this is what was supposed to happen in order for me to write that bestseller over which publishers will surely clamber! If that’s the case I can be grateful that it will be awhile before I can satisfy my addictive cravings.

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Second novel … completed!

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Female writer with streak of gray hairYes, it’s true, I finished my second novel at approximately 3:30 pm PST November 25th, 2015. I wrote a 60,201 word novel (10,201 words above the required minimum word count) in 25 days as a participant in the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event.

Is the novel ready for publication? Hell no. Now begins the editing, fleshing out, adding and subtracting of content, and fact-checking drudgery required of a book fit for representation and publication.

But I did it! I averaged 2,408 words per day; yesterday alone I wrote 3,879 words in five and a half hours.

It’s all in the preparation, Bay-bee, at least for me it was. For the first time, I used a novel-planning software called Snowflake Pro developed by Randy Ingermanson. This software isn’t writing software per-se, rather, it’s planning software that helps you craft all the necessary elements for your novel.

The greatest realized benefits occurred in Step Three (wherein you create a list of characters and flesh out their storyline) and Step Seven (where you’re forced to answer forty-seven questions about each of your characters.) These questions are quite thorough, from stating the height and weight of your character, to best and worst childhood memory, to religion and political leanings, to how the character sees herself and how others see the character, and much more.

Typist caricatureArmed with these character profiles, the writing came easy for me. Of course I changed some of the initial answers as I completed one chapter after another. As is usually the case when drafting a novel, I found as I got to know the character better, I needed to redesign its destiny, but without a preliminary resume of sorts, I would have found myself floundering – not a comfortable position to be in when you’re on deadline. Yep, I’m certain I would not have experienced the same outcome without the software’s guidance. Read the rest of this entry »

First step for any endeavor: START

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man with binocularsYou have an idea that turns into a personal goal. You plan for it, making a list of To Dos and To Purchase, or whatever lists are required to put your idea into motion.

Then you’re paralyzed: when do I start? how do I start? You begin to second guess your idea, your plans, your goal.

Perfection is stagnationParalysis by analysis sets in. You freeze in place. You do nothing for a day, a week, a month, eventually discarding the project about which you were initially very excited.

Doubt sidelined your goal.

For me, taking that first step can be the beginning of failure, and because it is, oftentimes it’s a step I choose not to take.

I signed up for National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, in August or September, I don’t remember. I purchased book-drafting software called Snowflake, and went through every step needed to prepare an outline and/or book proposal for a novel, my second. I was extremely excited about the novel’s concept.

I kept receiving NaNoWriMo emails, counting down the days until November 1st when that novel writing month would commence. The second week of October I questioned the sensibility of subjecting myself to completing a novel in thirty days. The third week of October, I ceased all preparation. Monday of the fourth week of October, I decided not to participate. Read the rest of this entry »

November 2013 Celebrations

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As is customary each month, I am providing celebrations – some fiction, some non-fiction – that you might consider in November.

Maple tree on my street
Maple tree on my street

Month: Aviation History Month; and National Novel Writing Month (very interested in the latter because I am still struggling to finalize my own novel)

  • Nov. 2: Book Lovers Day (I am an extreme book lover); and move your clocks back one hour when you go to bed today if you have been observing Daylight Savings Time)
  • Nov. 6: Marooned without a Compass Day
  • Nov. 8: Cook Something Bold Day (for some of you, that may simply be a peanut butter & jelly sandwich)
  • Nov. 11:  Veteran’s Day (thank you everyone who is serving, or has served, your country in this manner)
  • Nov. 13:  World Kindness Day (if everyone observed this holiday every day, there would be no need for wars)
  • Nov. 15:  Clean Your Refrigerator Day; and America Recycles Day (makes sense to me)
  • Nov. 17:  World Peace Day (see Nov. 13)
  • Nov. 21:  Great American Smokeout (millions have quit so it must be possible – will this be your chance?)
  • Nov. 23:  National Adoption Day (in honor of my sister, Mary, and her daughter, Kristina)
  • Nov. 28:  Thanksgiving Day (which doesn’t have to be about food – it can be about feeling and expressing your gratitude)
  • Nov. 29:  You’re Welcome Day
  • Nov. 30:  Stay at Home Because you are Well Day