Nanowrimo 2018- Time For A New Project!

It’s high time for a new project for me. Nanorwrimo starts on November 1st and it’s the perfect opportunity to start drafting a new story. For those not in the know, November is National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo). It’s where writers all over the world commit to writing a minimum of 1,667 words a day for every day in the month of November. The goal is to get a 50k word rough draft of a novel completed within 30 days.

I’ve been participating in Nano for years now. My family and friends already know the drill. My husband is good enough to make sure I am fed and usually gives me all the space and time I need. My family tolerates my laptop or notebook at Thanksgiving. My work is bewildered by my sudden distraction, but they usually manage until I am mentally back in December.

The big question now becomes... what am I going to write about? Well? I’m not going to lie... I’ve been developing this tale for months. It’s a natural progression after working on my Grandpa’s story because the subject matter has a lot to do with my own Norse heritage. What is this new story? I am dabbling into the world of Norse mythology. Specifically what happens when someone defies their predetermined fate and how, in the world of the Norse gods, that can send everything into chaos.

I’m really excited to launch myself back into fiction, but I’ve learned that the more authenticity I can breathe into my story, the better it will be. The more anchors I can attach into the real world, or in this instance, the actual myths of the Norse people, then the more realistic and more gripping I can make this tale. Plus there is a lot to say for being as close to the original sources as possible. I don’t want to just start making things up and taking liberties where it doesn’t make sense.

The research into all of this has been incredibly enlightening. I’ve delved deep into websites. I’ve read through my several copies of Norse myth interpretations. I’ve watched countless documentaries on Viking archaeological sites and historical events. And, most importantly, I’ve discovered Dr. Jackson Crawford, a professor who teaches at the University of Colorado in Boulder. This magical man not only has translated several of the most important primary sources from Old Norse, but he also makes incredible videos on YouTube explaining the finer details of the culture and literature of the time. I’ve learned SO MUCH from this man and it’s opened up incredible plot points that I would never have gotten to if he hadn’t explained the details. For instance, the details of the seider (more or less a séance) and the volva (seeress). More specifically how the songs that were sang could have been entreaties to the Norns to reveal the fate of the ones in attendance.

The impact of that revelation on my plot was huge. When I heard that particular video, I’d been stuck for quite a while on what should happen or where my character would go. It’s always the little details that generate the question necessary for plot progression. Listening to Dr. Jackson’s videos (usually on my commute to the day job) gave so much depth and guidance that it launched my plot forward and is making it even possible to make this germ of an idea into a fully-fledged story line that would be fit for Nano this year.

To summarize, I am so excited for Nano this year. All of the research I’ve been doing this summer is about to be put to work.

If you are interested in Nano, check it out! For Dr. Jackson’s wonderful videos, check him out on YouTube by searching for Jackson Crawford.

Happy Nanowrimo!!



Lessons from Nanowrimo 2017

I have survived Nanowrimo this year, more or less intact. This is an annual exercise for me and my friends. We use the motivation that Nano provides to get out the first drafts of many of our novels. We use it to finish up works that we need to just buckle down and write. It’s not just for November, either. There are year round resources and information you can access with Nano, not to mention their Camp Wrimo and meet ups. I highly encourage you to check it out if you are the writing type.

This year, my Nano project was my grandfather’s story; Fair to Middling; a very difficult topic since my grandfather passed two years ago around Thanksgiving. I’ve got videos and letters and a whole assortment of notes that I’ve been combing through. Not to mention the memories.

I want to say that everything for this Nanowrimo went perfectly. I want to say that I sat down, had butt in chair time and pounded out 1,667 words every day.

Life doesn’t happen like that.

Instead, there was an incessant buzz of adult responsibilities that distracted me from my writing. I was sick for a good week or so. We had conventions and book signings. A major recall happened on my car and there’s been a constant upheaval with our transportation. My day job has been keeping me later and later. Family has been pulling at my sleeve. The upcoming holidays and all the worry that comes along with it. The constant nagging that I still had to do things before I could write. Getting over that feeling is the hardest thing. After that, you have to convince yourself that the words you are diligently putting on the page do, in fact, make sense when strung together in a sentence. You have to ignore the little doubts crowding your head and trust that what you are writing is not complete and utter crap.

This year, I did make my word count, but only just. It was a hard-fought win. There’s still a little bit more to go in the story, but it shouldn’t take me that long before I can start editing.

All of this rambling is to make a certain point: Life will get in the way of your dreams. It will distract you, it will do its best to disillusion you, and it will try to legitimize the doubts that you aren’t good enough.

Your job is not to let it. Your job is to fight for your dreams and to achieve your goals.

It’s the only way you won’t live full of regret.

Keep fighting for what you want. Make a life on your terms, not everyone else’s.