Sage Advice During NaNoWriMo: Ursula K. Le Guin and Her National Book Awards Speech

I read pieces of this speech in Twitter feeds. From my laptop as I write word after word, this makes me go back and write more words. Hear it and be inspired:

Coming Up for Air, or The NaNoWriMo Half-Way Point

Current Count: 29,228

It usually starts with a germ. I try to take the germ as far as it can go. In this case, I took a bit of last year’s germ noticing it’s getting me a lot further than before. I just go with the story, letting the character tell it to me. It feels like a gumbo with everything getting thrown in, but I decided as much as much as this looks like ‘pantsing’, the next phase will look more like plotting.

My goal, if I succeed, is getting to 50,000 then tack on another 10,000. I will then leave the draft until the new year, making sure one of the copies is a print out. People forget National Novel Writing Month is a start not the end. Around this time of year among the many articles wondering why people would undertake such an event, a few scoff at the concept. If you want to write a novel, goes the thinking, well write. People do write a novel at anytime, but what makes this month unique involves people brave enough to share the joys and struggles. Writers still work in solitude, but at certain times need to come up for air. NaNoWriMo provides the opportunity to come up for air, take big gulps, and keep diving deeper in the story.

Every year since 2008, under another username, I have come up for air before diving again. This year I did publish a short story with my writer’s group. It proves writing can happen at any time of the year. NaNo teaches me to keep diving. I go below to find pearls, and come back up for air. I started with zero words one year, two thousand another, then ten, before doing over 20 thousand for a couple of years running. One year I cracked 30K. This time I wrote every day, to get to the next thousand. I dared myself to write 5000 words over two days. Mission accomplished. I tweet them and since Twitter stands in for the universe, I better make good on my promise.

I have stepped away from my computer for the day. I also eked out 500 words after feeling tired from a long day. I learned to get back. The blog helped as I do write (not quite) everyday, but stepping away honed my focus. To follow the character, a write has to focus as if in conversation. In a way it does feel one as the story gets told, and I listen.

Will it see its publication? May be. Will I write another? Oh, yes, and not in November. Actually the next project will be the next step in keeping the momentum going, and this time I have mapped a plot to some extent. I just call it a bigger germ. Whatever the plot style, the intent remains to keep diving, and make sure to come up for air.

In the Woods: Free in the Kindle Store

I am coming up for air to say for ONE DAY ONLY Into the Woods is free on Amazon. This is the first of many anthologies featuring the members  of the Off the Wall Writer’s Group. Click below to download and enjoy:

Now back to a wee break before writing.


Gone Writin’

I wrote earlier about taking a hiatus for a month from the blog. I adjusted the goal a little bit for a mid-November post. It’s a way to say what’s up other than a simple 140 characters on my Twitter.

Good Luck NaNoWriMo Participants!

Image Credit: Brain Drops

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Judy Blume

Where do you get your ideas?
I used to be afraid to answer that question. I thought if I ever figured it out I’d never have another one! But now I know that ideas come from everywhere—memories of my own life, incidents in my children’s lives, what I see and hear and read—and most of all, from my imagination.

via Judy Blume on the Web: Questions for Judy.

Canadian Library Month: Keep the Inspiration Going

It’s Halloween. It’s also the last day of Canadian Library Month. After the events pass, and we move into November, libraries will continue to do what they always do, depending on who they serve. They will provide access to resources, programming for those who need it, and information to those walking through the doors. Sometimes it’s to those clad in pajamas, sipping coffee from the comfort of their home.

People try to frame libraries in dollars and cents. It’s the symptom of today’s society to put things, and people, within a profit margin. What use are you? They ask What can libraries produce?  Libraries create a democratic society. They created writers, thinkers, and community. Libraries, like the downtown branch here in Winnipeg, see the price paid by people cut off from school libraries in their youth. Those same people come to public libraries feeling welcome for the first time in their lives. It’s why these same libraries, like Edmonton Public, expanding outreach services to connect people to social services along with reading materials. The price of doing otherwise makes the dystopias of Collins, Roth, and Huxley look like Disneyland.

Amid the databases and non-fiction books, fiction proves the best weapon against ignorance. (Yes, you read that right.) Ken Robert’s report, one I mentioned earlier this month, discusses the shift from consuming information to creativity. It’s not learning things by rote stimulating creativity, it’s reading a novel outside of one’s own experiences, perhaps sparking the next great idea:

People are increasingly aware that creative works feed creative minds and creative minds are highly valued. (Roberts, 11)

What libraries advocate goes beyond bricks, books, and budgets. It does to the heart of what it means to truly be a democratic society, a place with access to information, innovation, and invention no matter a user’s background.

Off the Wall Offerings: Kindle release and What’s Next (Confirmed)

 In the Woods is Now On Kindle!

After converting our file to an ebook-friendly format, In the Woods uploaded to Kindle this week. The book retails for $3,99, and the cover photo links to the Amazon for easy browsing/purchasing. Off the Wall still has copies of the paperback version for $18.95, and at last count we had less than 20 copies left.

We learned a lot from writing and publishing this anthology. It’s one thing to write the stories, take the photographs, and compose the haiku. It’s quite another to take all those pieces and format it for e-book, or an Expresso Book Machine. The result for this process: Priceless.

What’s Next for Off The Wall?

We liked doing theme anthologies so much, we’re doing another one. This time we will go the e-book route, and we already have a theme:

Dystopian Stories

Look for details as we edge closer to our proposed Spring 2015 publication. In the meantime I hope people have enjoyed our collection, and feel inspired to get together with a group, and do one of their own. Why? It’s a bit like being in a band. We jam together, then go off to make our solo albums, and then come together again. It’s a way to keep the creative pump primed.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Chuck Wendig

I’m saying, sludge yourself into the ass receptacle and peck keyboard keys like a hungry chicken until it makes words. Tap tap tap. Click click click. Or pick up one of the tools used by our distant ancestors — it is a tube filled with the liquid black souls of all the animals we’ve made extinct — and use this “pen” as a scribe would to etch scribbly heretical word-shapes onto dead tree pulp.

In other words: shut up and write.

via Shut Up And Write (Or: “I Really Want To Be A Writer, But…”) « terribleminds: chuck wendig.

Sage Advice Before NaNoWriMo: Jack Kerouac

Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
Submissive to everything, open, listening
Try never get drunk outside yr own house
Be in love with yr life
Something that you feel will find its own form
Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
Blow as deep as you want to blow
Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
The unspeakable visions of the individual
No time for poetry but exactly what is
Visionary tics shivering in the chest
In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
Like Proust be an old teahead of time
Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
Accept loss forever
Believe in the holy contour of life
Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
Don’t think of words when you stop but to see picture better
Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
You’re a Genius all the time
Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven

via Jack Kerouac: 30 Cool Tips.