Disney Got it Write

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TianaPinnochio and Cinderella taught us that dreams come true if you wish on a star. I don’t know about you, but If I had a penny for every star I wished on … I’d overflow a wishing well (and I’ve patronized my fair share of those). When it comes to getting published, wishing won’t write words.

Disney has certainly improved the messages in their movies in the last several decades. In The Princess and the Frog, we are taught that hard word and determination make dreams come true instead of wishing on stars.

I think many of us can relate with Tiana in the beginning of the movie when she staggers into her room after work, lays down on her bed, only for the alarm to go off seconds later. Not only is she one of the first Disney heroines to have a job, but she has more than one to achieve her dream of opening a restaurant; meanwhile she has no time for fun, love, or sleep. Kind of sounds like the life of a writer, don’t you think.

The thing about dreams is you have to make them happen, not twiddle your thoughts waiting for them  to come true. One of my campmates for NaNoWriMo asked me when I make time to write since I work until six in the evening six days a week. That leaves me with roughly four to five hours every night. Subtract and hour to eat, another for chores or spending time with my son, and that leaves me with roughly one or two hours max. During that time I write, making every second count. I’m not a mathematician or anything, but if you can write 90 words per minute, there is the potential to write thousands of words each night. I usually write between 200-1000 words. It’s like Tiana says about her tips, “Every little bit helps.”

So next time you get discouraged, and it feels as though you’ll never see your writing dreams come to fruition, don’t even glance at that north star. Just remind yourself that you’re “almost there.”

Camp is in Session

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Camp-NaNoWriMoCamp is in session! Which means I finally have a reason to justify buying a bag of those giant marshmallows. I won’t be roasting them, unless it’s safe to cook over a candle. Being the size of a mug, they aren’t suitable for hot chocolate either, so I think I’ll just stab them with a fork and eat them bite by bite or nuke them in the microwave on a graham cracker to make s’mores.

At the last minute I decided to sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I was thinking about skipping it this year but It’s a great way to gain inspiration and get to know other writers. Even though it’s not a real camp (no fighting over who gets the top bunk), you get all the benefits of an actual camp. With the forums and your cabin mates, you are never writing alone. You’ll never find greater creative camaraderie than at Camp NaNoWriMo. My main focus this month is editing so I kept my goal small, only 10,000 words. Considering I’m only about 5-10,000 words away from finishing my final draft, it isn’t too low.

With my writing goals being relaxed I’ll be able to spend more time on the forums, which in the past has always been a guilty time eater for me (time I should have spent writing). I can also spend more time connecting with my cabin mates and other writers. My sister isn’t in my cabin this year, which makes me feel like when we were kids in different classrooms.

I haven’t written a word yet (gasp) because I spent the first day of camp celebrating my mom’s birthday. Before, birthdays had to take a backseat to writing, but the pressure is off this year, so a zero-word night here or there won’t make or break me.

If you’re interested in connecting with my sister and I, my sister’s name is Kitomi and mine is Skylo_Snowfire. For those of you participating this year, feel free to give me your information as well. The more campers, the merrier!

Can't wait to get to know my cabin mates

Can’t wait to get to know my cabin mates

See you all around the campfire!

Writing in a Winter Wonderland

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untitledSo it is the 24th of December and I am just now changing the page on my calendar. I think the hesitation comes more from denial than forgetfullness. I hate that December follows November. Yes, I know that is the natural order of things, but as a writer December is a particularly frustrating month because it follows NaNoWrimo. November is an entire month dedicated to writing. Writers are encouraged and celebrated while they devote an entire month to their passion. By the first of December the theme of the month changes as swiftly as the coffee flavors at Mcdonalds. The focus shifts from writing to family and festiviites. It is hard to switch gears when the urge is to keep writing or go back and edit what you’ve accomplished the previous month, but society practically demands that you drop your current writing project to acknowledge the holiday season.

For the record, I’m not one of those people who only writes in November. It’s not only November, but it’s always November. Most months I find time to write between work, obligations, family, and that thing called sleep. So far this month, I’ve maybe written a page collectively. How can that be? I just wrote 50,000+ words in November. Did I lose inspiration? Fall in a plot hole? Lose a hand? All I did was turn the page of the calendar where I witnessed highlighted and marked on various dates are entire evenings, days, and weeks that are blocked out for work and family obligations all pertaining to Christmas.

Unlike Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day, or the famously forgotten Thanksgiving holiday, Christmas is a holiday that last more than a day. It gets the entire month. I don’t mind losing some writing time for family or holidays, but I feel like everything is expected to be put on hold during December. I wouldn’t even celebrate the holidays if it wasn’t for my family. Christmas is one of two days a year where all of my family gets together. This is pathetic considering we all live within a mile of each other. I also have a child; athiest or not, you give your kid presents on the 25th of December. I’m also fairly certain my inheritance is based partially on my showing up to awkward, unnessesary family functions.

Of course, showing up is not all I am expected to do. I have to bring food and presents, so I have spent two weeks shopping for presents of the personal and white elephant variety. Both have proven difficult due to price and my personal finance limitations. I would use PTO to give up one day to get all of my shopping done but almost the entire month of December is a blackout period for my company, which means I have to do all of my holiday preparations after work hours or on the one day I have off each week. Not only am I giving up my days off to shop and prepare for Christmas, but I also have three Christmas gatherings to attend, so I lose not one, but three days of writing.

All I really want for Christmas is more time to write … of course, I’ll probably just get socks.

A Much Needed Holiday

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In the words of Bilbo Baggins from The Hobbit, “I need a holiday . . . and somewhere quiet where I can finish my book.”

During the Labor Dbilbo-baggins-writingay weekend I got just that. Sunday, I joined my sister and her friend for a write-in. For those who are not familiar with a write-in, this is an event where writers get together to work on their novels.

Meeting with other writers can be very inspiring and beneficial. Take me for example: I got more writing done in one day than I did the entire week leading up to the holiday weekend. I don’t know if it was the coffee or the therapeutic clacking of computer keys, but I couldn’t stop writing (usually starting is my problem). Not that we didn’t take breaks from time to time. There were a few food runs (junk food mainly) and some much needed socializing, but it’s a good idea to keep the chit chat to a minimum so you can get some writing done.

Restaurants, libraries, and coffee houses make excellent venues for write-ins, but we met at my sister’s house, which was the perfect setting because it was quiet and spacious with plenty of room on the chairs, her couch, or even the floor to set up shop or sprawl like piles of dirty laundry.

Write-ins take place every year for NaNoWrimo. This November, I hope to participate in one if they have one close enough to home; if not, I’m sure my sister is more than willing to host another at her house.