Camp NaNo, Not Finished but Worth It

My goal for Camp NaNo this April was set at 30,000 words. Now, I’ve still got a little less that a week left, but considering I’ve only got about 6,000 words, I’m guessing I won’t be reacing that 30,000 word mark. Now, I’m not too upset about that; this month has been good for me as a writer. I’ve had great connections with other writers. I have made some progress on my novel. And though I have been hindered a bit by an excessive amount of homework, I’ve made some steps to dedicate more time to writing in the future. I feel excited about being a writer, and I’m excited to be a writer in a day and age when writers have so many options and so many opportunities to learn and connect with other authors.

Anyway, we’ll see if I make progress next week. I’ve gotten ahead on my homework, so I don’t have any to do next week, for the purpose of getting some extra writing time in. I’m thinking about planning a kind of writer’s retreat for myself, just a weekend or something for me to write somewhere quiet. I’m also looking for a good conference to attend. If anyone has any recommendations, I’d be grateful for suggestions. How do you get writing time into your busy schedule?

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Sometimes I think I’m Nuts

So, in order to NOT be writing a research paper on my family’s vacation to Florida, I’ve been trying to get ahead on my homework/reading/tests/reasearch paper writing at Liberty University Online. So far, so good, except I’m driving myself insane. This paper has so many parameters and we can’t use our textbook as a source. I literally spent three straight hours just trying to find ONE source today. Ok, I’m not going to rail about it too much. All I’m going to say is, if you have anything else going on, beware: going back to school when it’s not your primary responsibility can have it’s moments where you think you won’t make it or that you’ll make it but loose your sanity in the process.

Anyway, besides homework, I’ve also been trying to get 30,000 words on the second book of a series I’m working on this month for Camp NaNo. I don’t know if I’ll make 30,000, but I think I might get some of those pills for car sickness and see if I can write some on the way to Florida. It is an 18 hour drive. It would be cool to use some of that time to put a big dent in that 30,000 words. But if I can’t do it, if the car sickness just keeps me from it, I do look forward to writing some on the Florida beach and maybe a little at my grandparent’s house on the way. They live out in the middle of nowhere; I don’t think they even have a gas station. (But they do have this lady who has had a “yard sale” in her front yard for about five years now.) Anyway, it’s peaceful out there. And I’ve always wanted to write on the beach. 

So, I’m going to power through this research paper and have an awesome time with my family and get some writing done on vacation. Yep. That sounds good.

What are your favorite spots to write? Any suggestions for writing in the car when carsickness from reading is an issue?

Self-love Isn’t All Selfish

And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”  

–Mark 12:28-31 ESV

So, obviously, this verse is not really about loving yourself. It focuses on loving God and loving others, and of course, I don’t want to pretend like it says anything different. Those are two very important things in life, in fact the most important things. I’ve heard this verse preached, and I’ve read lots of great books and articles that talk about loving God and others, about sacrificing your own comfort, time, money, and whatever else. That is valid and biblical and I’m not trying to take away from that message.

However, and this may be largely subjective, but I’ve been thinking lately about the whole “love your neighbor as yourself” bit. Love your neighbor as yourself. Now, I know. We often times do not have a problem loving ourselves. In fact, sometimes we love ourselves much, much more than God or other people. But sometimes we love ourselves much less. I’m thinking specifically about women, but I think this may apply to men as well. How many times do we enforce standards on ourselves (housework, parenting, job performance, etc.) that we would never inflict on another? How many times do we stand in front of a mirror and criticize (or worse) our bodies in ways that we would never criticize another with exactly the same body type?

There is loads to talk about when it comes to loving ourselves too much, and that’s important to talk about. But what about when we despise ourselves, or part of ourselves, for reasons that aren’t justified? What about when we criticize ourselves without real reason? Sometimes, we do need to evaluate ourselves and change. But sometimes we are overly critical of ourselves. I’ve been having a lot of problems with negative self-talk, and I realized last night after talking with my awesome husband that over-criticizing myself isn’t doing anyone any good. Like Jesus said, loving the Lord is top priority. That needs to be number one. And loving others, that’s priority number two. And along with that comes seeing myself in the light of what Christ has done and is doing for me. That means that I’m loved and I’m worth something. And so are you.  

Organize Characters, Places, and Defnitions in Your Novel

When writing a novel, especially an other-world fantasy, which is what I am currently working on, things can get confusing. If you don’t organize some of the information, you can easily find yourself naming two minor characters the same name or changing the color of a character’s hair mid-way or forgetting the name of that other-world herb you mentioned a few chapters back.

There are lots of ways to organize information about characters and places. I also included definitions, for people writing fantasy or sci-fi, because writers in those genres make up a lot of things that they have to name and describe. This is just the way that works best for me. 

I use Evernote for organization. It’s a pretty simple program to use. I have a Notebook Stack, labeled with the title of my novel. I have Stacks for each novel, which is especially helpful when writing a series. All of your characters, places, and definitions are in the same place for multiple novels in the same series. Under the Notebook Stack I have Notebooks labeled the items I wish to organize. Examples could include: Characters, Places, Definitions, Family Trees, Background Information, World Building, etc. Whatever it is you want to organize can be included. For the current novel I am working on, I have three Notebooks so far: Characters, Places, and Definitions. In each Notebook, there are Notes. So then, each character has their own Note. Information, including images, can be included in Notes. 

Evernote is available online so you can have it anytime, anywhere, and you can also download the program to have on your computer. How do you organize your information?