nanowrimo: in soviet russia
Word count: 100043

Hi. Update on the whole love life thing and some other things too. (No, really. This was supposed to go up on the 12th. I started writing it after EWW. It did not go up then.)

Chris and I went to Atlanta Streets Alive and geocaching a couple of times in October, once in my neighborhood and again the next weekend to try to be first to find a cache. We missed being the first to find by a few hours, though. Sad. The second geocaching trip resulted in a lot of teasing and innuendos, which only turned into more teasing as the day went on. During the last geocache quest, we were both on our knees looking for the cache, and he jokingly pushed me back. This wound up pushing me back, and he helped me up, which led to more innuendos and flirting.

After finding the desired geocaches and stopping by a Wendy's for food, we went back to my place, where some fooling around commenced. We did talk a little after the fact, but honestly, this was more of a one-time thing. And I'm okay with that. He's also not a Wrimo (though he does think the idea is neat).

With that, on to Nano and my love life.

Paul is an Atlanta Wrimo who is a regular in the regional chat room, and we had gotten on well (in a friendly way) over the Internets. He showed up to the MARTA writein the first weekend of NaNo, showing up to Java Monkey before me. I passed him on the way in, put my order in, and walked back to the front to snag tables. It was nine, when the write-in was planned to start, and David said he was going to be late, but I didn't see anyone I knew there yet. When I walked back to the front as an attempt to claim tables, a guy with goggles and red headphones and a laptop looked up and asked if I was with NaNo.

Why yes, yes I was. And hello, cute person. We introduced ourselves (hello regular chat person!) and attempted to claim the couches in the front for our write-in. One woman was sitting there, and I managed to talk her into moving and letting us have the couches since we were expecting a group and she was expecting just one of her friends.

We wound up with seven at that write-in, and Paul and I definitely started catching each other's eye at that point, which continued throughout the day. We shared a big pot of tea at Zentea (we're both big tea fans), found ourselves talking a lot at the other write-ins, and he wound up going for sushi with David and Tia and another Wrimo we met at the write-in set that day. Yes, there were lots of sushi eating jokes. On the way back we talked about the idea of a Brick Store write-in and planned on doing so on Friday.

Well, Friday got moved to Saturday thanks to the Macon caravan writein at Tech, and we got flirty over the course of the week, which got interesting because neither of us took it to PM, so we couldn't get that obvious. At some point Paul asked me if I had invited anyone else. When I told him I hadn't yet, he proposed not having it as a write-in and having it as a time to hang out and take a break from writing. This was where I picked up that yes, he was asking me out, and I called him out on it. He replied that we could hang out and then I could decide afterward whether or not it was a date. Fair enough.

There was a lot of food talk throughout the week, and at some point talk of making a sandwich came up, and he said he would, if not on Friday (when he'd be coming to the Tech write-in) then on Sunday (where I talked him into going to EWW). He did in fact bring the sandwich on Friday; I reached the write-in venue around 6:15 and got a text from Tia saying she was at Tin Drum and I could join her if I liked. No one else was at that Starbucks yet, so I headed down the street and found Tia. By the time she got her food to go, just about everyone else at the write-in was setting up camp. Woot.

Paul did show up a little after seven with my sandwich. Grilled cheese. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I've been looking for a really good grilled cheese since Andrew. By golly, I might have found one.

We wrote for awhile. Heather the forums mod beat me in a word war (though I did beat her in the two prior). She later started a shoutout thread for it. I am so amused at this. When the Starbucks closed we headed elsewhere on the Tech campus to write, where I discovered the wonders of a hot chocolate vending machine. I'm not kidding.

He and I wound up talking for most of this segment of the write-in instead of writing. Whoops? He took me home, we exchanged numbers, and that was that.

Until Saturday (the day after Friday, as a certain song has taught us). We wound up getting to Decatur around the same time and headed to Brick Store, where we got drinks and food and chattering the whole time before wandering around Decatur. He mentioned a moped shop nearby that I wasn't familiar with, so we walked around to there and back, which eventually led to arm-linking and hand-holding and his getting lost on the way back to where he parked (which I'm starting to suspect was intentional).

So where to next? Another bar was out since he had to drive eventually, but he had his laptop with him, so why not return to my place and write? This sounded like an excellent idea.

Spoiler alert: Not a single word got written.

I led him to the magnetic poetry set on the side of my fridge. This has become a thing for new people entering my place: make something perverted out of my magnetic poetry. He put "soon we" to start a sentence, and he pointed out that it had better implications than "soon I". I asked what kind of implications.

And then he kissed me.

One thing to point out: He is 6'6". Even though I'm certainly not short at 5'8" (which as we later discussed is above his shoulders and therefore an acceptable height), that's still a ten-inch difference in height, and it makes standing kisses difficult, as he pointed out. So we went to a chair, and when we discovered that it doesn't recline, I pointed out that yes, I do have a bed, so we retreated there, where the fun begins.

The night was punctuated by cuddles and middle of the night makeouts and more in the morning, followed by a trip to Waffle House where we became that pair. Yep. We stopped by Kroger on the way home to grab foodstuff so we could make something for Evening of Writing Wildly that evening and took a nap before making said foodstuffs. And uh, more stuff might have happened after that nap before we made the food and realized we were late to EWW. Whoops.

We did get there, though. I broke 70k there, ate a lot of yummy food, saw lots of wonderful Wrimos, saw Heather the forum mod god(dess) again (even though I just saw her on Friday), saw lots of other Wrimos, won some rubber ducks, didn't win any raffle prizes, and had a good old time. He left early since he had to work the next day (and someone called me out in chat PM for the kiss on the forehead), but David and Klepto and Tia and I went to write at my place for awhile after EWW ended.

And that's how I left singledom. He came over a couple of days later and I said, "So this ship is canon now, right?"

Yes, yes it is.

And that's part of why I've been so distracted this Nano and haven't been as ridiculous as usual. Heck, I failed miserably at 50k weekend this year and had several zero word days. It's a good thing I did 50k day again, yes (despite saying I wouldn't)? Especially considering the next 50k took 23 days to write?
nanowrimo: sushimustwrite
I went to Atlanta Streets Alive with a friend from Reddit today. It was a lot of fun, but the event itself isn't what I'm writing about here.

I spotted a poetry on demand table at some point on North Highland Avenue, and won't lie--this was what I was looking forward to for the past day. These were the folks from Free Poems on Demand, and indeed, they would write a poem on the topic of your choice. So I went up to them and after struggling to come with a good topic, requested a poem on what it's like to be a food.

One of the poets noticed my NaNoWriMo messenger bag and we started talking about NaNo. I mentioned that I had done and won NaNo for the past ten years, and he asked what my username on the site was. I told him.

"Sushimustwrite," he said. "I've heard of you."


Yep, pretty much my reaction right there.

I got used to being recognized in my region and even at Night of Writing Dangerously, but out in the general public? Whoa, dude. I honestly don't know what to think.

The rest of the day passed. We wandered around, found the park in my neighborhood, wandered around more, and went to our respective homes. I came home, ate, and checked my email, Twitter feed, and NaNoMail. And found multiple messages in my NaNoMail that are best classified as fanmail.

So hi, apparently NaNo fame is apparently a thing I have now.

And by the way, here's the poem.
What It's Like To Be A Food poem

By Jimmy Lo
I see you eying
the fresh peel of my package.
In the language of modern consumption
I'm consumed with the possibilities
of the many ways to snap into a Slim Jim
Or break me off a piece of that
Kit Kat bar--or
the melt in yr mouth not in yr hand variety
of sexual innuendo that fills
my mind with the vaguest wish
to die inside the stomach of a whale
like some martyrannical version
of slowly wasting away,...

Oct. 31st, 2011

NaNo starts in twenty-four hours.

The madness is nigh.

Now to finish things before I sleep.

That is all.

An idea for next year's NaNo? Already?

nanowrimo: since 2002
You know those sayings about ideas coming in droves or when you have too many? That appears to be happening to me right now, at least about the last part. I blame the #nanolanta chat room for helping me come up with this idea, even if I did hint at the idea myself.

I can't write the idea this year. Well, I could, but most the research is experience-based, and that experience can't happen until next year. All I can say is that you have a year to read or reread Adventures in Wrimonia if you haven't already. I'm just saying.

NaNoWriMo vs. my family

nanowrimo: sleeping is for december
The new NaNoWriMo website launches in a week. I'm running around like a headless chicken thanks to MLing, having a social life, trying to get other work done, and oh, being away last weekend and this upcoming weekend. This thing called a social life is really getting to me, but at least I'm getting it out of my system before Nano season officially begins for the masses.

What many people don't realize is that Nano season begins much sooner for me. My brother contacted me about the family coming down to visit me this weekend for my dad's birthday. The fact that my dad and I aren't very close at all (the least close of all my family members) aside, I have an airtight excuse in being away this weekend. But it also happens to be Nano season, and as we all know, Nano eats my soul even more than usual during October and November. Not that it doesn't during the rest of the year, of course, with many of my social interactions being with Wrimos, but the soul-eating definitely goes into overdrive and obsession during Nano season. You would think my family is aware of this since I did Nano as a high school student while living with them, but no, every single year they still ask what Nano is. At least my brother, who is like me in that he is Internet-savvy and geeky, has figured out what Nano is after all these years and even commented on it last year when Nano trended on Twitter. He still thinks I'm nuts for doing it, which is expected. My parents primarily care about my writing to get published and therefore rich. It doesn't work like that, but that's a separate subject altogether.

So how do I explain to my family just how important Nano is to me? They sort of know what Nano is but don't really value writing unless it's going to make me rich. You know, because all writers are rich, right?

Night of Writing Dangerously: It's on

sea kitten
Today something great happened. As you may recall, I've been fundraising to attend NaNoWriMo's Night of Writing Dangerously over the past few weeks. Attendees have to raise $250 to get in the door, and all the money raised through the page supports the Office of Letters and Light, NaNoWriMo's parent nonprofit organization.

Well, thanks to the wonderful donors to my fundraising page, I reached the magical $250. Okay, the full amount was really $250 when rounded up to the nearest dollar, but not all my donors knew that since my fundraising page rounds the amount raised up to the nearest dollar. I threw a few bucks toward my own page to make absolutely sure I was above the minimum before filling out my RSVP form.

So thank you, donors. Thank you so much for supporting creative writing and for indulging in my desire to make this year's NaNo the best one yet. I'm not finished yet, though. For every $100 above the minimum $250 raised I'll add an element of my Twitter icon (see icon) into my outfit.

This means I need to get to work on the order of the outfit elements. When that's decided I'll edit my fundraising page to reflect that.

Thank you so much for your support, whether you donated or shook your head at my word count. Here's to the best November yet!


Does NaNoWriMo foster bad writing habits?

nanowrimo: sleeping is for december
There's a discussion in the NaNoWriMo forums about a non-writer friend of a Wrimo who believes that NaNoWriMo fosters bad writing habits. Does it, though? The non-Wrimo friend believes that NaNo encourages writers to pad and worry about deadlines and word count instead of writing on one's own and page count. Let's take a look.

I rarely if ever pad, which you might not believe. In fact, I anti-pad. My writing is so skeletal in the first draft stage and lacking in description that I often have to go back and add these things. Of course, not every Wrimo writes like me. Padding can be part of the NaNoing experience, but only if that Wrimo chooses to make it so. The idea behind padding isn't necessarily to make one's word count or to intentionally write crap that will definitely be cut out later but to write something down. You can't edit a blank page, and writing anything down lets you keep going. In that way, NaNoWriMo fosters the best writing habit of all if you want to write well: writing.

Word count, not page count, is what the publishing world usually goes by. Anyone who has written a paper for a class knows that you can fudge page count by changing the font or margins to squeeze in that last half page. Word count can't be fudged as easily, but you get a good idea of how many pages, say, 50,000 words take up in pages. (Somewhere around 175 book pages, if you didn't already know.) Awareness of your word count isn't an entirely bad thing in the long run; it makes sure what you intended to be a novel doesn't end at ten thousand words or stretches on to 300,000. Some genres have understood guidelines on word counts, so knowing those limits going into a book's writing is a good thing so you don't overstep them too much. Well, unless you're absolutely convinced that your novel is really really good.

If you're a writer outside of NaNo, there's a very good chance you're going to work under a deadline at some point. NaNo teaches you how to do that. Writing under a deadline makes you better at it over time, and you'll learn how to write smoother prose that is easier to edit, even if it doesn't look easier at first. Take this from my own experience; my first NaNo novel is never getting touched again, while two of my books from the past two years definitely have potential.

If there is a bad habit that a Wrimo may fall into, it's the idea that one writes only in November with a bunch of other writers. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary activity, but it's not always an activity with thousands of writers cheering you on, either. Not everyone does NaNo with its breakneck writing speed and community support, and as much as I love NaNo, that's okay. November is for writing, but if you want to be a serious writer, the rest of the year can't be off-limits.
nanowrimo: sushimustwrite
As I mentioned in my list of goals for 2011, I want to go to the Night of Writing Dangerously, a write-a-thon fundraiser in November by the NaNoWriMo staff. I've been planning my fundraising page and bribes for months in preparation for the day the event fundraising page went up and I could simply make a few small changes and practice my copying and pasting skills to get started immediately.

My Night of Writing Dangerously page text has been ready for quite awhile, so I let it sit until the fundraising page sneaked its way onto the Internet today. A few tweaks later, my fundraising page made its way to the Web.

Then another idea for bribes came in, courtesy of OLL's Sarah. My Twitter icon is rather iconic, and she joked that she might not recognize me if I didn't come in looking like that. She suggested that I add one element of the outfit for every hundred dollars I raise.

I could go to the Night of Writing Dangerously looking like this.

Well, that would mean I'd be outfitted up for right around a thousand dollars. Why not reward people for raising more? For every hundred dollars over the minimum $250, I will wear one element of the icon's outfit. This means that if you raise $1450 on my page I will go to the write-a-thon looking as much like that sea kitten as humanly possible.

But there are individual prizes too. Everyone who donates receives a thank you email from me. Donating five dollars gets you a Twitter shoutout. Ten dollars gets something or someone in my novel named after you. Twenty gets a character of yours in my novel (or a character of your choice created in my novel for the non-Wrimos). The custom pep talk comes at forty.

If you are the top donor, you will get to choose the idea for one of my novels this year. I'm not kidding. It'll probably be my 50k weekend novel. This is the big one, folks.

My fundraising goal for this year is $500, twice the minimum for admission to the event. Take a look at my fundraising page for the full deal. Thank you so much, and you rock no matter your support level, from donation to spreading the word to wishing me many words in November.

May. 26th, 2011

I haven't been here in so long for a few reasons. In the beginning I wasn't here because absolutely nothing of interest was going on, so what on earth would I write?

Then I started writing what was going to be exactly 1667 words a day for May. I fell very behind, but now it's not such a huge deal since David and I are cowriting a work of awesome and still working on it. Aw yeah.

I did some work at a lawyer's office last week. It wasn't that difficult, mostly answering phones and general office stuff. This could turn into more intermittent work in the future, which means money for me. Huzzah? Huzzah.

Camp NaNoWriMo approacheth!

I'm still a bum. This is a surprise to no one.

And I'm going to sleep.

All my NaNoWriMo word counts to date

nanowrimo: word count badger song
Note to self: the 2002, 2004, 2008, and 2009 aren't officially official (read: from my old NaNo profile). 2002 and 2004 are from old blog posts, 2008 is from memory and the novel itself, and 2009 is from memory because for some reason I still remember that word count. I collected these to figure out my 2011 NaNo goal with a theoretical job. That word count is now set. More on that in a minute. Now, the word counts.

2002: 50037
2003: 51992
2004: 52286
2005: 53726
2006: 50170
2007: 54823
2008: 61335
2009: 131014
2010: 300787

Gee, I wonder what year I graduated. And no, that's not a typo for 2006. I finished the story that year, and it's one of my better ones. That doesn't explain why it's still unedited.

If you mentally added up those word counts like I did when I started thinking about it, you might notice that I'm near 800k cumulative words for the first nine NaNos. A million isn't too far away now that I know how much I can really write in a month. In fact, it's 193820 words away. That's my goal for November 2011. Whether I have a job or not, I'm writing at least that many words and will likely aim for 200k. Of course, if I don't have a job, I'm writing 500k. Next year will be my tenth NaNo. It needs to be the best one yet.


Things that have happened

* Jennifer and Autumn showed up for Thanksgiving, family members we haven't seen in nearly a year and a half. Given everything that had happened surrounding Jennifer, I'm glad that everyone acted cordially.

* NaNo ended, but you know that. I'm still going through withdrawal.

* I'm still a bum, but you could have guessed that too.

* I had my last tutoring session with one of my tutees yesterday. The other tutee's last session will be next week.

* I'm working on my writing schedule for next year. It'll be interesting with two books to edit (the first 2009 novel and this year's first novel). I'm hoping to make significant progress on both of them next year, but the timeline on the first one (the one about the haunted pumpkins) has been driving me nuts, probably because I want to change the timeline again and the one I want to change it to (over the course of one night and the day after) simply isn't doable. No, really, I can't think of a single way to keep the reader's attention or make it not confusing. There needs to be something more to the story, but I can't figure out what. That's what I'll be spending the rest of the year thinking of because I'd really like to have a third draft finished before NaNoEdMo in March, when I'll start working on the first 2010 novel again.

* Slightly related, I'm working on a list of goals for next year. Or to be more specific, a list of things to do before I turn 25, which is *gulp* in early 2012. Seven days into 2012, actually, so I may as well make the goal list for next year. First up: Income flow. This usually comes with a job. Second up: At least one more draft of both aforementioned novels with a plan for editing the chick lit novel from 2006. Fun fact: the love interest from said chick lit novel showed up in this year's third novel. It makes perfect sense, believe it or not. Both books take place in New York City, and the love interest is an artist. He painted a painting that is very important to one of the storylines. A couple of his paintings from the 2006 novel are even mentioned in this one, though not the important one. That's because the important one got stolen.

Even more ideally, I'd have a plan for the mathverse as well by the end of 2011. This is where being a pantser comes and kicks me in the butt. You'd think NaNo would have taught me to write the damn thing instead of waiting for it to come fully formed in my head, but apparently not. Time to brush up on my math for the mathverse planning, then.

* I think that's everything of interest. Carry on.

NaNo is over.

nanowrimo: sleeping is for december
Final word count: 300787 spread out over three novels of lengths 78787, 50036, and 171964. A full NaNo review will be here soon, but for now I'm sleeping.

#50kweekend: The End

nanowrimo: sleeping is for december
#50kweekend has been over for almost an hour in my time zone. Granted, I finished the 50,000 words for the challenge last night, but I still wrote a significant bit today for a day three total of 16910 and a #50kweekend total of 66915. This is still over what one should be aiming for in order to succeed at #50kweekend, so I'm happy. It also makes reaching 300,000 words much easier since the goal for the next two days is now just over 12,000 words each day. After this weekend, that sounds like cake. I swear, this weekend is ruining my perception of the word "easy" in the same way NaNo and the Three Day Novel have ruined my perception of the word "deadline".

Some observations about the weekend:

*Pain: I didn't experience any pain from the writing besides the nagging pain from sitting for too long. Luckily that could be resolved by getting up, moving around, and trying to improve my crappy posture. In fact, the worst pain I experienced came from something that had nothing to do with #50kweekend: I unloaded over 200 books for the book drive myself. I am a small person with little upper body strength.

*Plot: It's slowing down, and this is a good thing. I have less than 25k to go before hitting 300,000, and I'll definitely hit that on Tuesday unless something goes terribly wrong. I have three distinct storylines that have appeared. Two of them can definitely hold out for that long, while one of them is starting to wrap up thanks to a new development unless I come up with something else. If it does end quickly, then I'll be conflicted. Do I started a fourth story that I know I won't finish, especially since this fourth story is definitely just for kicks? Or do I go back and write more scenes in the novels?

*Post-noveling life. Yes, it's something to be considered. Especially laundry, as I'm almost out of clean clothes. I should have enough to last through December first, though.

*The #50kweekend hashtag. This is the second hashtag I started that people have picked up on, the first being #lickmattkinsi. I didn't start #wrimosagainsttheeatingofsushi, but I have spread it.

*And finally, a little paragraph on my female lead.
"No, goals were supposed to be exciting. Goals were supposed to make you wake up excited for the day. Sure, being a librarian would make Lily happy for existing, but she needed something that would light a metaphorical fire under her ass. She needed something that gave her a reason for existing, and right now she had none."

This is exactly how I feel about goal-setting and why I do the things the way I do, minus not having a reason to exist.

Conclusion? #50kweekend needs to happen every year. Make it so.

#50kweekend: Day Two

nanowrimo: sushimustwrite
Two important things happened today: I hit my new 250,000 word goal for the month, which was exciting in itself. I also reached 50,000 words in #50kweekend around 11:15pm with a cumulative total of 260,307 words and a daily total of 22238 words.

This was the shocking part for me. My previous record for 50,000 words was sixty-four hours, which I reached during the Three-Day Novel weekend. This time I reached it in just over forty-seven hours. That's over 1600 words per waking hour, and I definitely wasn't typing for all those waking hours. Once meals (yes, I ate three of them both days), showers, travel to and from a write-in, and Internet tomfoolery are accounted for, the number of writing hours goes down a bit.

This means that 50k in twenty-four hours is theoretically possible. I write a thousand words in fifteen minutes regularly, so I can theoretically top 4k in an hour. This would mean 12.5 hours of typing at that speed, which amounts to constant typing all day or staying up all night and doing it. I'm tempted to try this one day. Really tempted. I'm not going to try it anytime soon, though.

This book still shows no signs of ending, though the ninjas I introduced ten thousand words in are finally showing some significance. They're actually showing a lot of significance. I still haven't figured out where the rest of the plot lines are going, but that's okay. I'll figure it out later.

#50kweekend, day one

nanowrimo: sleeping is for december
So how was the first third of 50k weekend? In a word: awesome.

I started with 210,302 words. I stopped writing at 11:45pm with 238,069 words. For those playing along at home, that's 27,767 words. For those who don't care about the numbers, that's a lot. Given that my previous record was just over 20,000 and I mean that by not even 100 words, I just shattered my single day writing record and stomped the pieces into the floor.

Observations of the day:

*Pain level: Rare and only when I've been sitting for too long. I expect this to go up tomorrow, just as it did during the three-day novel contest.

*Plot: I swear, this book is never going to end. Just in case it does, I have a fourth idea ready thanks to the crazies in the #nanolanta chat room.

*Competition: I had the best first day of the #50kweekend crazies I've been talking with today. I plan to cut back on the words a little tomorrow, perhaps to 20k. I'm also approaching the top of page three on the NaNo word count list, though. I probably won't hit page two before the end of the month, but it'd be nifty if I did.

*Fun: It's still a lot of fun so far. Writing may be a little less fun tomorrow, but that's the nature of the beast. Word wars and talking to my fellow crazies will keep it more fun.

*I pulled off 10k in four hours (okay, three hours and 45 minutes) after hitting 15,000 words and taking a break for food and a shower. This was the big accomplishment of the day. 10k in four hours is a push for me, but it's a doable push. It requires me to concentrate on writing for almost that entire period (unless, of course, I'm doing word wars, in which case I get a little more distraction time but still have to be dedicated to setting up those wars).

*This is ridiculous amounts of fun. It should be a NaNo tradition.