NaNoWriMo 2016

All about NaNoWriMo

To those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is National Novel Writing Month. It’s a writing challenge that takes place during the month of November, from November 1st to November 30th. The goal is to write 50,000 words within those 30 days. The rules are that you have to write every word within those 30 days, midnight to midnight. I suppose that’s the only rule. Lots of people start something new, but it doesn’t have to be new. It can even be a re-write of something old, as long as all 50,000 words are newly written during November. You update your word count on the very useful website NaNoWriMo.org. I have been doing this for almost 5 years now, but the only year I have officially completed was last year. The two years previous to that I was unable to update online, so they kind of didn’t count.

I had been editing last year’s NaNo, and even added to it during Camp NaNo, which takes place during the months of April and July. During Camp Nano, you are able to choose your word count goal, and change it at any time. I chose 25,000 for both, but because I was moving during July, I was unable to continue that month. I’m actually going to start something new this year.

So what do you do if you’re interested in NaNoWriMo?

The very first thing I would suggest doing is breathe. 50,ooo words sounds like a lot. In some ways, it is a lot. But remember this. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone is only 90,000 words. That book doesn’t take too long to read, and it kicked off an insanely amazing series, who’s books only grew in size. 50,000 is a good start to a rough draft, and since NaNoWriMo is intended to be only the rough draft, I’d say don’t worry too much about how large of a number 50,000 is.

The idea behind NaNo (short for NaNoWriMo) is that we are all getting ready to build a sand castle. What’s the first thing you do when you build a sand castle? You gather the sand. Each and every word is a grain of sand. Your completed NaNo will be the sand you need to mold a castle. Most WriMo’s (NaNo writers) go back and edit during December and January.

So, you’ve decided to do NaNo. Okay. Gather some materials now. I’d say one notebook, a few pens, a highlighter or two, coffee (or tea/soda) and some munchies. You’re about to start a long process. I never start with the title. In fact, I don’t start with much except for one simple sentence. I expand on that when something comes to me, but other than that I move down to the next line and start another sentence. This is how I find the topic I will eventually write about. Keep a notebook, or folded piece of scribble paper handy. October is going to be a crucial month, this is the time where you get ready to write. All of the planning, if any, will be done now.

You’ve got your materials now, and a few ideas. Start forming characters, worlds, plots and my favorite part, the villains. Just brainstorm. All over the notebook. I don’t spend much time thinking either, if you over think, nothing gets written down. Just write. That’s how NaNo goes.

There is something very important you need to know about NaNo

The most important tip I have for you is this:

Do. Not. Edit. 

The month of November is not for editing. It’s for writing. Brainstorming. It’s for mistakes and mind changes. But whatever you do, do not put that pinky on the backspace button! Even if you forget a period or to capitalize a characters name. Even if you forgot to put the before the e. Just keep writing.

It’s almost November

Now, you’ve gone through the first motions of creating a book baby. You’ve created a few characters, an intriguing world, and a semi formed plot twist. You have notes scribbled in the margins of the notebook and you’ve found your favorite pen. What now? Well, it’ll almost be November now. It’s almost time to start your NaNo. What you need to know about writing is that there are certain programs that will help you during this time. My favorite one is Scrivener. They offer a  free 30 day trial (and a discount to all winners). What better time to try out the program than during your NaNo? Spend some time looking over the details of the program and see if it’s for you. There are numerous videos on youtube showing how to use the program. On Nov 1st, go ahead and activate the free trial. It’ll help more than I can describe.

Do I have any tips for you?

I’ve already told you not to edit. So I stress, don’t edit! But beyond that, I need you to know that there are other tips that can help you survive NaNoWriMo. Let your family and friends know what you’re doing. Writing 50,000 words isn’t easy, and it takes up a bit of time. Be prepared to spend lots of November doing nothing but writing. I like to try and keep myself a day ahead. I always start out with a bang, I over write. I try to keep up on that as long as possible because at some point something is going to happen that is going to make you lose a day or two. If you have a healthy amount of extra words, you can safely lose this time and not fall behind on NaNo. Which brings me to my second very important tip.

DO NOT FALL BEHIND. I really do mean this. Falling behind is what causes lots of WriMo’s to quite early. It becomes overwhelming and feels like a task that you no longer want to do. Try not to fall behind, and the best way I can say to do this is to write what you can. If you’re having a seriously busy day, don’t just put off your words for the next day. Try your hardest to get any amount of time in, weather it’s 15 minutes or 30. Half of your daily count means you won’t have as much to make up the next day.

Another thing that helps me is to do sprints. Set a timer, shut off any electronics, disconnect the internet if you must. Turn off the tv and close the door. The timer should be set for an amount of time that you feel comfortable with, 15-30 minutes. Write that entire time. I usually can get away with doing this twice a day and I end up with my daily count.

Speaking of which, you will have to write 1,667 words a day. That usually takes me about an hour, I type quickly. I suggest trying to work on how quickly and efficiently you can type in the month of October. You’re going to need it.

Sleep when you are tired. I remember last year when I was writing. I refused to drink coffee because I knew that once I got my word count in, I was going to go to sleep for the night. Half way through my writing I ended up dozing off, while typing. I guess it was more like a trance in which I was daydreaming, typing with my eyes shut. Somehow, my sci-fi character began talking about rescuing the second main character from “Hogwartz”. Just like that. I began rambling about this. Before I knew it, I had my word count, but it was all about this “Hogwartz” place. Get your sleep folks.

My final piece of advice? Don’t give up. Please. I beg you. Do not give up. This is important work. It’s a story itching to get out of you. It’s an entire world that will never exist if you don’t put it on paper. It’s a part of you that the world might never know, unless you write it down. Whatever you do, push through it, and keep pushing. Push until you can’t anymore, and then push some more. What you’re doing this November could change your entire world. Remember that. Look forward to how it will feel to have an entire novel at the end of November.

 

If you are going to do NaNoWriMo this year, I encourage you to share with everyone else. I encourage you to have fun with it. Insert tiny t-rex characters or a character that owns a cat who likes to cuddle the character’s left shoe. Be silly. Be serious. Make jokes. Be who you really are, and don’t doubt. At the end of this, if you don’t like it, you don’t have to show a single person. You don’t send your actual words to anyone, only the word count.

I wish you good luck, and happy typing. 🙂

 

Advertisements

Find Something To Love

I used to hate mornings. They suck. You get woken up from a good dream and your blankets have accepted you as one of them as you slept. Now you are laying in the most cozy place known to man, and usually you have no choice but to get up. I hate that part. 

Because I hate getting up so much, I have developed a routine. I give myself extra time. Not to put on make up or watch the news. I make a quick cup of coffee or tea and I sit. No TV. No phone. Just me and one of my cats who is purring away. I hate getting up still, but I love mornings. 

You have to find something you enjoy. Especially if you are looking for something you enjoy during something you detest. Live in the now. You hate going to work, but right now you are sitting in your comfy pajamas, sipping some tasty warm beverage. Love that. Love the music on the ride to work. Love the chair you sit in or the customers you deal with at work. Struggling to love mornings taught me that I can love my day even if I’m doing things I would rather not be doing. And in time, I’ll be doing exactly what I want to do. 

A Little Something Special For You

Sometimes I get that feeling that I am boring. I’m not very special, and there are other people that are far more interesting than me. I don’t get that feeling just when I’m depressed though, I get it randomly. Weather or not I’m trying to progress in life or just sitting there watching the cat’s sleep. I get it.

I realized something though. No matter how many other people can write better than me. No matter how many other people have the exact same hair style or taste in music, no matter how many people like chocolate and vanilla ice cream but do not like them in a twist ice cream, I will be the only me. There will never be another combination of human traits quite like me. That of the 7.5 Billion people on this plant, I am the only one that ever is, was, or ever will be.

I think that’s something special, don’t you? I think that each and every one of us is as special as the next person because we are rare. As a species, not really so rare, at least not on Earth. But individually we are so rare that we are all on the endangered list. We are all a protected life form, because we are so rare. And that is why we have to treat each person that we bump into with love and respect.

That is why you have to treat yourself with love and respect, undoubtedly. 

14440905_10210617191212156_8761634440297721594_n

The Road to Self Love

My apologies. I’ve not been writing for a while. I’ve started this new job of mine and been busy trying to balance the work life, my health and my time off. That is the main thing. Balance. 

 

What comes first in your life? Is it your health? Your job? Happiness? Family or friends? To some, the answer is obvious. Their image means most to them and they will do all that they can to make sure that their image is not damaged. This is usually very bad for their health, and for the relationships that they have in their life. Then there are those who put their health first. These are the people who tend to be happiest, even if they don’t have everything worked out yet, their mental and physical health is taken care of and they are fully capable of handling what life throws at them. And then there are those who put everyone else first. Neither their image or their health matters most, and these kind souls are usually the ones that burn out. They take care of others as long as possible and then burn right out, like a candle that ran out of wick. I used to be, and sometimes still can be, this type of person. I would sacrifice my happiness to make someone else happy and it wasn’t until my last friendship failure that I realized what I really needed to do. I needed to focus less on others, and more on myself because you simply cannot pour from a pot that is empty. And trust me, I’d love to share all that I have.

These days, I come first. At first, I felt selfish. Very selfish. I don’t like turning people down because of my ‘health issues’. I don’t like making them feel like they don’t matter to me but even if I were to try and help another while I’m in a bad state of mind, I wouldn’t be giving them my all. In the back of my mind, I would be thinking of myself. I would be  halfheartedly listening to their problems or questions. How would that help them? It wouldn’t help either of us, and a real friend would want to help, to really help. Sometimes help comes in the form of just an ear, open and willing to hear. Other times, that help comes out in what you can do for them. You have to be working at full capacity to be there for another.

Luckily, self care isn’t hard to do. It’s not tedious, it’s not terribly time consuming. At first, though, it can feel overwhelming. And lots of people might not understand the sudden changes you are making. You might not even fully understand them. I will give you a few tips, things that I’ve learned, but of course you must know that I’m no expert. I’m just journeying on this path, wandering more like. I too have been lost, and at times I still am lost. All that I can do is give you tidbits of knowledge that I have found through my own experiences. I can’t make you see the truth or feel any kind of way. I can pour you the cup of tea but I cannot make you drink it and I cannot make it heal you. That is what you can do for yourself.

So I ask you this, with this post and all posts you will come across in my blog, I ask you to be open. You won’t agree with everything that I say and that’s okay. I ask that you also do not judge. Take what you need and leave the rest. I won’t be offended or hurt. You’re you, not me. Everything that works for me won’t work for you. But most of all, I ask that you take a moment, now or later, to be honest with yourself. To give yourself a moment to just feel. To just love yourself. You can do so in many ways, and I’ll tell you a few now.

The first thing I learned about self love was that I have to love myself. This has always been hard for me. I grew up being told I was a bad child because I threw fits, I was defiant, and I stole from my mom and stores. I did so because I was battling for control of my own life and I was losing simply because I was the ‘child’. My mom has the mental capacity of a child, and once I surpassed her, the problems really began. Things got worse when I needed more, new clothes or personal hygiene items. I began craving real food, rather than the fake cheap stuff she would buy for me. There were many battles, and because I started defying her and stealing money from her to buy the things I needed (or just stealing them from the store), I was known as the bad child. And because I wasn’t getting the healthy food that I was craving, I began to gain weight. Thank you puberty. My hormones made me become insulin resistant (a side effect of PCOS) and I gained weight but have never lost it, regardless of how much I’ve tried. So here I sit, 240 pounds. I’m technically overweight. Everything makes me look bad, I think. So the first step to self love was hard. Still is hard. I’ve got it in my head that all I do is fuck up, and that I’m gross. But I sit here telling you, no matter your size, color, hair style, income or mental status, you are god damn beautiful. You are a masterpiece. You own you, and you own it well. Lift up your head, walk with your chin up, and make eye contact with those around you. Smile. Even if it feels weird at first, I promise it begins to feel good. When you walk into a room with your head held high, there will be a sense of confidence about you that others wish they had. This isn’t to make anyone jealous, it’s to create that confidence in yourself. Holding your head high is the first thing you can do to promote self love.

Secondly, get enough sleep. Please. Calculate when you should go to bed, get at least 6 hours of sleep, but if it’s possible get 8. Fall asleep in your comfiest clothes (or lack of). Hug your pillow. Make friends with the bed. You need sleep to survive. You have to dream to be healthy. There have been many studies done on the topic, I even did a paper in school about the effect of dreams on health. Did you know that people who don’t get enough REM sleep have lowered immune systems and are more susceptible to stress, depression and mental illness? So go to sleep. Take a nap! If you’re yawning and you have time, take a nap instead of make another cup of coffee.

Third, eat something good. I don’t mean brownies with peanut butter frosting. I mean go to the store, buy a pomegranate and some kale. Snack on the pomegranate seeds, put the kale on your hamburgers or ham sandwiches. Make salads. Drink tea. Use almond milk, or cage free eggs. Real cheese instead of processed cheese. Real meat instead of processed meat. Drink water. Eat something that is good for your body. Start small, make it a habit. Have an apple a day. Use almond milk creamer in your coffee. Snack on nuts instead of chips. Start small and add to it. Don’t just overwhelm yourself with foods that you have no idea how to even use. And yes, they can be more expensive. That’s where my next tip will come in handy.

Guess what, kale is super cheap. So is spinach. And peppers. But do you want to know what’s cheaper? Seeds. Grow something. Even if you start with easy herbs. Cilantro, chives, mint, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, ect. Use those super fresh herbs in your food. You’ll come back later and thank me. Once you’ve mastered growing those, go grab some pepper or tomato seeds. Those tend to be easy to grow. Spinach, kale and cabbage, onions, garlic, cucumbers, squash and carrots are also easy. All of these can be grown in pots too, so you can grow them on a balcony. And you’ll have fresh food to eat, that costed you less than a dollar. The dirt and pots can cost a little more money that one would want. Get the dirt on sale, or in bulk, and pots are sold at dollar trees, and can be made out of many things as well. Herbs and small plants can be grown in anything. Cups, bowls, bottles, coffee cans ect. Be inventive. 🙂

The next two can fall into the same category. They are also the two that I would stand on a box and yell out to everyone. Meditate or do yoga. (Or both.) I know, a lot of people feel that yoga is a fad, and I can’t blame them. It seems that there are many going around, like the gluten free diet that possibly has no positive effect on people who aren’t gluten intolerant and is expensive just because it’s a fad. Yoga is not that kind of fad. Yoga has many many benefits, proven benefits. And it doesn’t have to be expensive. You don’t need a yoga mat to do it, just something you won’t slip on. However, if you can afford it, do get one. It makes yoga life easier. And there are thousands of yoga videos on youtube. The one I started out with was Yoga with Adriene. Branch out and find what works for you. Adriene has many many other videos, but I like her because she encourages you to not be perfect. Take breaks when you need to. If you can’t do a pose, don’t freak out because before you know it you’ll be doing it like a pro. As for meditation, I’ve been told many excuses as to why someone can’t do it. “My mind won’t quiet down enough.” “I tried it and it didn’t have an effect.” Well, meditation’s effects aren’t seen as quickly as something like yoga. Meditation can take a month or so for you to actually see an effect. Stick with it. It will help, but it takes time to form the habit and to change your brain (and yes, meditation can alter your brain.) When you meditate, and your mind won’t stay quiet, just keep sitting there. You are a mountain. Imagine yourself as such. Your thoughts are clouds, and they are passing by. Meditation is not about clearing your mind, it is about living in that moment. Know that the thought is there, and just let it be. Don’t think on it, don’t try to force it out, and don’t give up. It will pass. Focus on your breathing. In, out. In, out. Deeply, using your stomach, not your chest. Slowly, deeply. In, out. If it helps to light a candle and focus on the flame, or an incense and focus on the smoke, do that. Your mind might never be completely quiet, but that’s okay because you’re human.

The last tip I’m going to give you today is to be honest with yourself. Don’t lie to yourself or try to convince yourself of anything. You feel what you feel, you think what you think and that won’t change if you give yourself the illusion that it has. If you want something to change, work on it, but don’t convince yourself that it has already changed. The same goes for weather or not it should change. As long as you harm no-one, then you are okay. Believe what you want, feel what you feel. Be solid in what you feel and believe, and explore everything else. Be open minded, and if your mind is changed about something, accept it. Don’t fight it, you are progressing. When we refuse to change, we refuse to grow. And when we force ourselves to feel or think another way, we do more self harm. Things have to happen naturally, and when you’re ready, so live in there here and now and let things happen.

Self love takes a while to get used to. Self love isn’t something you can learn, it’s not something you can teach. All that you can do is be open to receive the message that those around you send out, and that your body sends you. Above all else, listen to yourself. Do what feels right to you, step out of your comfort zone at your own pace. Don’t let anyone force you.

Warriors of the Rainbow

I know that indigo children are the warriors of the rainbow that the Native Americans talked about. With everything that’s going on with the pipeline and the protesters, we can see that our peoples are divided. Those that know the right path, and those that are blinded by greed. One path will bring us to happiness, the other will ruin us. Which will you take?

I’ve Been a Busy Bee

I’m sorry I haven’t updated in a while. Well, to me it feels like a while. I had planned on writing a few posts a week and then I got a job. I started that job yesterday. I’m working at a local supermarket and for the most part I like it. I mean, it’s a retail job and those are hardly the most exciting or rewarding jobs around, but it’s a job none-the-less so I am grateful to have it. I was starting to think I might actually rot away without my own means to make a living. A few days before my fist day on the job I spent some time with family and did some digging around. See, I stumbled onto a post somewhere about the total number of bees that have been killed due to us spraying for the Zika virus. The number makes me cringe. Makes my heart skip a beat, and hesitate on the next beat. Our bees are literally the one animal that we need the most, and we just killed off quite a few of them. Do I decided I should stop procrastinating and just look it up. What does it take to own a bee hive in Indiana?

Not much, turns out. You have to have the proper set up and someone has to come and inspect your hive for parasites and illness. That’s about it. And if you have shit neighbors, you might have to disguise the hive, which I plan to do anyway. I was actually in contact with the only apiary inspector in the whole state. She’s very very nice and has told me to contact her with anything I might need, at all. On top of that, there is a local bee club in my county that meets once a month, even during the winter. I plan to go next month and meet all of the people who are locally a part of the bee obsessed population. While researching things I needed and rules and regulations, I came upon a list of people who sell local honey. I ended up buying 40oz of the good ol’ raw honey. My desire to house a hive of my own was only tripled when I saw the nearly 20 hives that sat off in the distance on the families land that I bought the honey from. I’ve fallen into a hive of my own it seems. That same guy actually makes the bee hives that I will be needing! I’m ready, mentally. Knowledgeably, and physically, not so much. But I have all winter to prepare. I’m here though, and that’s half of the battle.

So I’ve been busy trying to learn all that I can about this topic. I’m desperate for spring and it’s not even technically fall yet. This happened last year after I grew my first tomatoes too. I grew tomatoes this year as well, but I’ve wanted the bees far longer than I’ve wanted the tomatoes. I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be wearing my bee suit for long (or not, I’ve heard that you don’t actually need one. Morgan Freeman doesn’t wear one.) and I’ll be preaching about bee safety and love.

So rest assured, I’ll be continuing with this blog as well. And it might include some things about bees. Maybe my next post will be about the beloved honey bee? Only time will tell.

Sundown

At the end of the day when it’s time to rest, we get one of the most beautiful shows. Things were quite different when I lived in NY. The mountains and trees would block my view and the clouds acted in a different manner. I am enjoying the sunsets here.