Tag Archives: write-ins

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month: be there or be square

I don’t write as much as I should. I have managed to pump out over a million words, but that sounds like more than it really is, especially when some of what I’ve written is sheer navel-gazing. Not to put too fine a point on it.

November is the one short window of time when I can’t help but write a novel. It may not be much of a novel…scratch that. It definitely won’t be much of a novel, at least not without buttloads of revision. However, it’s one more novel than I might otherwise write. For me, any anxiety that it might not be the best thing ever is entirely beside the point. One of my writer buds, Todd, shared a story that appears in the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland. In this story, a ceramics teacher divided his class into 2 groups. One group was told they’d be graded entirely on the quantity of the work they produced while the other was told they would be graded on quality.

If someone in the quantity group made 50 lbs. of pots, they’d get an “A”, 40 lbs. would earn them a “B”, etc. The ones in the quality group only had to produce one pot, but it had to be “perfect” to get an “A”. If it needed a tweak or two, the pot would get a “B”, etc.

So what happened? When it was all over, the “quantity” group ended up producing more pots of greater quality. They had plenty of opportunities to practice and learn from their mistakes. The “quality” group had a lot of theories about perfection, but the theories didn’t appear to translate to better work. Makes a person think. Anyway, this November, as I have since 2010, I’m throwing 50,000 pots…er, 50,000 words or so at a story idea I have, and seeing what I learn from doing it.

I’m not saying that it’s going to be easy. Writing 2000 words a day, give or take, will take a lot of will power or ego strength or something. A lot of other things might not get done—like vacuuming or meals cooked from scratch. Luckily my sainted sister always hosts Thanksgiving, so I won’t have that issue. And there are a few days—like Cookie Day or Thanksgiving—when I may write fewer words, and which I’ll have to make up for on another day.

chocolatechipcookies   radishes-342932_640
Hmmm…decisions, decisions

I also intend to be especially good to myself—mostly cookies and almost no radishes. That is some stellar advice I got from another writing bud, Jen.

Jen and Todd and a lot of other fellow travelers/Nanowrimos are a huge part of why I know this is doable. If you want to write a novel in November, I can’t say this strongly enough: do it with friends. I’m hosting a couple of write-ins in the Chicago suburbs on November 1st (and 22nd) and you’re thoroughly welcome to join us there.

What if you want to write a novel, but live in a galaxy far, far away from Chicago? I’d still love connecting with you via the National Novel Writing web site. My handle there is Cee-Bee.

You in? Please leave a comment below with any questions (or fast-novel-writing tips) you’d like to share.

More NaNoWriMo Write-ins


Still writing

One can have the best intentions in the world, but sometimes stuff happens. Case in point: this blog. When I started, I was going to be fierce about posting twice a week, on Mondays and Thursdays. No matter what. Then NaNoWriMo happened. I’m doing okay with my novel. I’ve accumulated over 30,000 words, which means I’m on track to finish. But blogging is starting to slide a bit.

I did post on Monday this week. Woo-hoo!

As I write this, it is Friday. That’s a day later than Thursday, for those of you who are keeping score. If I manage to post this today, I’ll only be a day late. That’s something, right?

Here are the exciting NaNoWriMo write-ins and other events I’m attending this weekend.


The prop of the inebriated writer

Friday night in Lemont, I’m attempting something I’ve never tried before–collecting my DWW (Drinking While Writing) badge. Miranda, one of the newer people in our NaNo region (or maybe just new to me) has set up a write-in at a bar/club/lounge kind of place, called Orange 13. Not so sure about this idea. There’s a proud tradition of DWW among famous writers, but then, those writers don’t/didn’t always end up so well. I was iffy about the whole idea, until I talked to my daughter. We started tallying up all the Irish writers who allegedly drank like fish, and she was all, like, “You’ve got to try it, Mom. Honor your heritage!” I’m not exactly Irish. More like, one-half Irish-American. I guess I’m honoring half my heritage.

Miranda may also hold another Friday night write-in at on the last Friday of the month, so if you’ve always wanted a DWW, that could be your chance to see if it works for you. (DISCLAIMER: if you shouldn’t be drinking for whatever reason, then please DON’T try to see if it words for you.)

And as noted before, I’m hosting another write-in at the Woodridge Public Library Saturday November 16, from 1:30-4:30. There will be cookies, prizes and hats.


Check it out…cookies!

Come and write with us, if you’re so inclined. We’re meeting up for dinner afterwards, too, but if you haven’t already RSVP’d for that, it may be too late to join us. We had to make reservations, because it’s a good sized group. If you want to join us (and in case it isn’t too late), try nano-mailing me (Cee-Bee) on the NaNoWriMo web site, and I’ll see what I can do. Or show up at the Woodridge write-in and bug me about it there.