#nanowrimo Post-Draft Exhaustion

I’m totally exhausted this week. I just finished NaNoWriMo with 50,000+ words of the draft of my newest novel. In fact it took a day or two to recuperate before even writing this blog post. But even exhausted I can’t stay away from writing for very long. I’m a word junkie!

It’s not just physical exhaustion from all the late nights. I’m mentally exhausted – the kind of exhaustion that comes from being on the other side of an adrenaline rush experience. There’s a period of withdrawal from being in that flow of creating, of accomplishing something amazing, of doing the seemingly impossible. Athletes, firemen, artists, salesman after a huge sale, stuntmen, all experience some type of this post-rush exhaustion.

So, I’ll take a few days to rest and re-energize by drafting my next story and reading a few books off my TBR pile. Then back to writing!

 

#nanowrimo 2016 winning and Flow!

November 30th and I’ve finished NaNoWriMo 2016 with 50,620 words! Even though this is the fifth Nano I’ve won, it is still quite a natural high. Every time I finish a novel and write The End, I feel like I’ve just reached the summit of Mt. Everest.

This month offered a variety of challenges that threatened my nano word count. I started the month with a migraine that lasted several days and ended it with food poisoning. Also the first weekend in November my kids and grand baby moved back from Japan.

I decided that if I was going to finish (failure was not an option) I needed to maximize whatever time I could find. At work I reserved the conference room to use on my lunch hour so I had a full hour to write undisturbed. I was able to get a good 1200 -1400 words in each lunchtime.

In the evenings I never knew when I came home if my kids and grand baby would be waiting for me. So the nights I was free, I concentrated on writing as much as I could. With such small snippets of time I needed to get into the flow of writing quickly.

I’d been reading the book FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. In it he explains many concepts about flow and enjoyment of life. I noticed that getting into the flow of writing, that place where I’m totally immersed in my fictional world and can write 1200 to 5000 words in a few hours, is total enjoyment for me. Which of course, since enjoyable, encouraged me to write anytime I could find. I didn’t have any issues with so-called writer’s block, or procrastination.

Csikszentmihalyi also talks about this flow experience as not only affecting our enjoyment of life, but to our contribution to the world around us:

“Flow is important both because it makes the present instant more enjoyable, and because it builds the self-confidence that allows us to develop skills and make significant contributions to humankind.” FLOW: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi.

-Heather

 

 

#nanowrimo Day 22

I’ve been behind the last few weeks on my nano word count, but my story is flowing well. It keeps pulling me forward, it won’t let me stop. That’s the way it is with things we’re really passionate about. The passion and excitement we have for our craft – either writing, acting, dancing, drawing, or whatever it is that ignites that feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment inside of us – helps us persevere when we encounter obstacles in our path.

Yes, kudos from those around us can be validating and keep us going as well. But there will be times when there’s no one around to give us a pat on the back, or we encounter some negativity that tries to drag us backwards.

That’s when the passion for our craft wraps us in a creative flow that ignites and sustains us. We’re able to keep going, keep creating, and keep pouring the best of ourselves into our passions. The world needs our art. Keep on creating!

-Heather

#nanowrimo Day 14

I love NaNoWriMo because it’s not only awesome motivation for finishing a novel, it helps to let more people know just how important our creative sides are. Placing importance on creating words everyday, revealing more and more of our story, and falling in love with our characters are all amazing ways of expressing ourselves. 

When we are in the flow of writing we immerse ourselves into the world we are creating. As we learn about our characters and what is important to them and what motivates them, we in turn learn more about ourselves.

-Heather 

#nanowrimo DAY 11

After many days of either not being able to write or writing very little, I’ve finally caught up! November always seems to throw up roadblocks, but I guess you could say that about every month. There’s always something going on in our lives that tries to derail us from our goals. Sickness, family emergencies, holidays, household tasks, to name a few that always strike me.

The goal of Nanowrimo is to finish 50,000 words in a month. That’s a lot of words, especially if you have a day job that is not all about writing, or you have kids or family to take care of. As a legal assistant, I’m pretty mentally fried by the end of the day. But writing is important to me during all the months of the year. So I find time during lunch and breaks to write. On days when my coworkers don’t interrupt my lunch hour, I can write almost 1000 words. Then at home after dinner and some time with the family, I take another hour or two to write as well.

So set your goals, carve out time for them, and just keep going. Get back up after bad days, and don’t beat yourself up for them. We all have bad days, or days we just fall short of our goals. After being many days behind in my Nanowrimo goals, I made up for it by writing over 6000 words today. And I’m far from exhausted, I’m actually exhilarated. Because I created something, I expressed myself, and I got back on track with my goals.

Onward and upward!

-Heather

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#nanowrimo Day 6

Yes, I fell behind not only on my blogging for days 4 and 5, but also my word count as well. I have a really good excuse though. My oldest son, his wife, and my new grand baby just got back home after four years in Japan. So I was a little distracted this weekend. Family is important, and I did take some time from cleaning and writing to cuddle with my sweet grand baby. (and who could resist that adorable face!?)

I did get soimg_8379me writing done today while she napped. And I’m confident that I’ll be able to catch up this week during my lunch hours at work. It’s all about the long game, being persistent, and having a good writing habit. Which I do most days. It also helps that my writing muse is very persistent and cunning. When a day goes by without having written, an empty, hollow feeling grows inside me. It is only relieved when I sit down and write. This passion for writing gets me through happy and sad days, horrendous days, and meh days.

-Heather

#amwriting #nanowrimo

#nanowrimo Day 3

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Today was an awesome day! I didn’t write too many words on my novel though, but I did conduct research for it. Unusual research by most people’s standards I imagine. I took a tour of our county coroner’s office.

No, I don’t write horror novels. But I do enjoy writing about diverse careers. And I found that this group of people that work at our county coroner’s office are the most respectful, close knit, organized, caring, awesome people I’ve ever had the pleasure to talk with.

I was taken on a tour of the facility with an in-depth explanation of all the processes and procedures that take place there. I was amazed at just how many different job specialties it takes to run a coroner’s office. Along with the coroner, who is an elected official, there is a chief deputy coroner, many office staff, Forensic Pathologists, Forensic Technicians, a Forensic Psychologist, a Forensic Odontologist, many Medicolegal Death Investigators, Anthropologists, and several medical doctors.

It was an enlightening look into careers that most of us would never want to think about. I’m amazed not only how well this team works together at a job that is at times stressful, gruesome and sad, but also how much they enjoy their jobs. They have learned to balance their not-so-glamorous work with healthy personal lives. (And you can tell they have a great sense of humor by reading the challenge coin pictured here!)

In order for us to maintain our way of life in our society, there are jobs like these at the coroner’s office that have to be done by someone. They aren’t jobs that appeal to everyone, but those that do step up to respectfully gather and unravel the mysteries around the deceased, are an asset to our communities.

-Heather

#amwriting #nanowrimo

#nanowrimo Day 2

I experimented on a schedule for writing during a work day. On my morning break I wrote notes for the chapter that I would write on my lunch hour. A little over 700 words accomplished! Then after dinner I finished that chapter and started another, ending up with 1859 words for today! I hope I can keep this pace up and that people will stop bothering me on my lunch hour. Haha

Today’s chapter showed a bit of background on my main character and a hint of her emotions and hopes and dreams. Setting up the stakes! 

-Heather

#amwriting #nanowrimo

#nanowrimo is almost here!!

I look forward to NaNoWriMo every year! I love the support and the camaraderie that takes place all across the globe. It’s such a motivating time with writing buddies cheering you on, famous authors giving daily advice, and so many forums to join. 

This year will be quite a challenge for me since my kids and my new granddaughter will be visiting for the month of November. (I’m so excited to spend time with the cutest little future writer!!!) And I’m starting out with a migraine. But I love a challenge and survived and won NaNo before with full Lupus flares- so I got this!! 

To keep myself even more accountable I’m going to blog my NaNo progress this year! Even if it’s just a sentence or two every day. 

For prep I’ve created my main character and generally envisioned the others. I’ve had some major fun world building and I’ve set up some interviews with local experts to flesh out details in my story as I go.

Speaking of flesh, this week I’m interviewing our local coroner. How could I resist? Their motto is “Our day doesn’t start until yours ends.” I love the dark sense of humor!!!  I love diverse characters as well as diverse jobs- and they’ll need coroners in space right? 

-Heather

#amwriting #nanowrimo