30 November 2009

There's still time to hit 50,000 words!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is quickly coming to a close.  Thousands of writers... (Continue reading)

November 30

Today's the last day,
and I'm procrastinating.
Back to the novel.

One. Day. More.

To those of you who haven't crossed the finish line yet: Don't panic.  Take a deep breath.  It's just you, the keyboard, and the last few thousand words now.  You have until midnight.  You can do this.

I'll be here with the drinks December 1st.  Until then, NaNo sufferers, keep on!

This Week's Task List

Ladies and gentlemen, NaNoWriMo is over for me!  I "won" last night at about 1:30 a.m., and after taking a break today, I'll be jumping back into the writing world tomorrow with my new focus on fiction!  Yay!

  • Write a set of articles for a client (due by end of business Saturday)
  • Start writing content for my renovated website
  • Outline my coffee house book (I'm kind of starting from scratch so I need an updated outline)
  • Work out a writing schedule for my coffee house book
  • Start writing character biographies for my coffee house book (this will be a big task considering the changes I'm making to the story)

With a whole day to spare...

Tomorrow I'll give my poor hands and wrists a break, and on December 1st, it's back to work!

27 November 2009

26 November 2009

November 26

Relatives invade.
I don't have time for this now.
Turkey to go, please.

Push Through the Pain

This photo symbolizes two things: what I'm thinking when I contemplate donning a cheerleading outfit, and what you're probably feeling right now.  The last days of NaNo are among the hardest.  I know - I've been there.

I've been staring down the barrel of an anemic word count, convinced I won't make the goal, and wanting to do anything rather than put fingers to keyboard and push out another single damned word.  Yes, anything - even don a cheerleader's uniform and shake pom-poms.

But you don't stop now. 

You down an energy drink.  You put your fingers to the keyboard.  You type one word, and then another, and then another.  You push through the pain.

You do it every day, as many hours as you can beg, borrow or steal, until 11:59 pm on November 30th, 2009. 

And you will either hit 50,000, or you will come so close as makes no difference.  The point, ladies and gentlemen, isn't to win, but to play the game.  My heart sister's absolutely right.

The journey is the reward.  So keep walking.  You can do this. You're a writer, darling!

Never give up.  Never surrender!

Happy Thanksgiving!

25 November 2009

Pushing through NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming to a close, and in just five short days, the last of the WriMos will be submitting their novels for word count verification.  If you're looking at your word count and find that you're behind, take heart.  Lots and lots of people are.  In fact, chances are there are even lots and lots of people who are further behind than you are.  But that's okay.

(Continue reading)

November 25

Crackers for dinner.
Eat while typing one-handed.
Don't stop to swallow.

24 November 2009

November 24

They say, "Life happens,"
and word counts are sacrificed.
Write more tomorrow.

10 on Tuesday: yummy Thanksgiving foods

  1. turkey (or for those who prefer: tofurkey)
  2. honey-baked ham (since Hubby doesn't like turkey)
  3. stuffing made from scratch
  4. green bean casserole
  5. sweet potatoes with lots of marshmallows
  6. mashed potatoes and gravy
  7. carrots (cooked with a little brown sugar)
  8. corn
  9. fresh dinner rolls
  10. pumpkin pie with a dollop of whipped cream

23 November 2009

November 23

Only a week left.
Tell me: where did my time go?
Can I win this year?

This Week's Task List


  • Work on articles for a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNo


  • Finish articles for a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNo


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNo



  • Write at least 4,000 words for NaNo


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNo

21 November 2009

20 November 2009

November 20

L&O is on.
It's my biggest temptation.
Why must I give in?

NaNoWriMo update

You can see to the right where my word count is for NaNo.  I update it regularly, so it's probably accurate.

I'm not where I wanted to be by today, but that's okay.  In addition to working on pieces for clients, I've been busy at my other job.

I'll have this weekend to catch up, as well as the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Since Hubby and I are not traveling for Turkey Day this year, I'm hoping the weekend will be nice and relaxing for us.  And since Gma P7* and Auntie M-- will be here, I'm guessing I'll have Bean-free moments I can use to write.

I'm really enjoying writing this novel, but I also know it's one I'll probably never revise or really work with again.  The story is fun and pretty easy to write, so when I do get a bit of time for NaNo, the words come easily.

To be honest, I'm eager to get back to my coffee house book, as well as brainstorming a few other ideas I've had (although my coffee house book is the priority project beginning December 1).  Once NaNo has passed, I'm going to spend December tweaking my website, working on my new and improved writing goals and schedule, which will be broken down month-to-month as well as week-to-week.  Then, beginning January 1, 2010, I'll be jumping full-force into fiction scribbling (when I'm not playing the role of a Fforde Ffan, that is).

I really think 2010 is going to be an exciting year for the Coffee-Stained Writer!

*For info on my family abbreviations, go here.

19 November 2009

18 November 2009

Keeping a personal journal

You already know it's important to keep a writing journal, but you may also find it helpful to keep a personal journal.

The purpose of a writing journal is to keep track of ideas, background information, bits of dialogue, setting, or whatever else that might be useful in your writing.  The purpose of a personal journal, however, is different.  People keep personal journals to remember what's important in their personal lives: relationships, events, thoughts, people, etc.

(Continue reading)

November 18

New character time:
Description, background, quirks.
Should pad my word count.

17 November 2009

Writing prompt a la Cassy

Oh happy pig. So content as you wallow, far from sorrow in the deep cool mud. Roll. Delight yourself with the rich dark liquid. Never take pause and give thought to what lies ahead. A white marble counter top. A glistening knife poised mid-air. Possibilities may be endless, but don’t matter. Now matters. Now makes sense. So dip piggy toes in the froth while you can. Soon is a distant thought. Soon has no meaning.

Writing Prompt Response

My heart sister Dana has decided to use this week's writing prompt.  Apparently, my word choices tempted her too much.

Be sure to meander over to the cantina and check it out.

If you decide to use a writing prompt, post it on your blog and link it to me, or send me your scribbling and I'd be happy to post it here!

November 17

Dear NaNoWriMo,
I think we need to break up.
It's not me. It's you.

16 November 2009

Why television is helpful to writers

Nathan Bransford has an informative and fun post up about publishing that's definitely worth reading, if not bookmarking.

I bookmarked it.  You should, too.

Shifting my writing focus

I love freelance writing.

I love that I can write about different topics and work with different clients.  I love that the pieces I write are shorter so I can jump around when I write.

But my heart will always be in fiction.  And I've been really neglecting my fiction pieces lately.

NaNoWriMo has reminded me how much I really love writing fiction, so beginning on January 1, 2010, I will have a new and different set of writing goals for the year.  I am shifting my writing focus back to fiction where it belongs.  I will still be doing freelance, of course, but the bulk of my writing time and energy will be devoted to getting my coffee house book back on track, as well as making sense of the other ideas floating around in my head.

If I can write a novel in November for NaNo, there's no reason I can't get my coffee house book written and edited (or at least in the editing phase) by May 2010.  So that will be my goal, and when I sit down to create my writing goals for 2010, that's what I'll have in mind.

And in the meantime, I'm filling pages by breaking up compound words, not using contractions, adding flashbacks.

Happy scribbling!

Your mid-month NaNoWriMo pep talk

Half the month is over already, and you should be about halfway through your novel.  If you're following the writing plan that gives you the goal of 1,667 words a day, you should be at 26,672 words by the end of the day today.

I'm here to tell you, though, that no matter what your word count, you're doing great!

(Continue reading)

Having trouble boosting your wordcount?

Take a hint from InkyGirl!

NaNoWriMo Day 15

Debbie Redpath Ohi is posting a new comic every day for NaNoWriMo.  Thanks for the encouragement, Debbie!

This Week's Task List


  • Finish up articles to send to a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo


  • Start working on next set of articles for a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo


  • Continue working on next set of articles for a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo


  • Continue working on next set of articles for a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo


  • Finish working on next set of articles for a client
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo

November 16

It's "manic Monday."
Can I get paid for NaNo?
That would be awesome!

14 November 2009

12 November 2009

Writing in public

During November, writers are out in full force.  Between official write-ins and free time to write, it's likely that coffee houses and bookstores are home to "WriMos" every day.

Whether you decide to go to any of Orlando's write-ins or just go somewhere and write on your own, there are  a few things you need to keep in mind before you set up your laptop (or open your notebook) and boost your word count.

(Continue reading)

November 12

Dear NaNoWriMo,
Why am I so addicted?
I love you. Love, Me.

11 November 2009

For those at home and overseas...

...for those serving, those who have served, and those who gave their lives in service, I thank you.

And for those who love those who serve, thank you

I know (first-hand) that soldiers aren't the only ones who serve.

Keeping track of projects

Every writer needs a filing system.  Between research, queries, samples, and archives, it helps to have a system to keep track of everything.

And just as important as keeping track of the things you've written is keeping track of the things you are writing. That's why every writer should also have a system to keep track of active projects.  Not only will it help you to know what you're working on and what you need to work on, but it will help you to keep your clients updated on your progress.

(Continue reading)

November 11

Yesterday's hurdle
has been overcome today.
New hurdle today.

10 November 2009

10 on Tuesday: things that can wait until December

  1. your other project
  2. your reading list
  3. cleaning your closet
  4. catching up on TiVo (or Hulu)
  5. your blood elf priest
  6. updating your Facebook status
  7. sending out Christmas cards
  8. dusting
  9. Tweeting
  10. everything else!

November 10

My M. C. is stuck.
My plot is in a corner.
Should I start over?

09 November 2009

How to pad your NaNoWriMo word count

The first week of National Novel Writing Month is over, and the second week has begun!

If you are keeping up with your minimum word count, you should have 13,336 words written by the end of the day today. If you have been excited about your story and had some time to write this weekend, your word count may even be higher than that.

(Continue reading)

This Week's Task List


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Continue addressing Christmas cards for PWT
  • Continue working on set of articles for client


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Continue addressing Christmas cards for PWT
  • Finish up set of articles for client


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Finish addressing Christmas cards for PWT
  • Begin stamping Christmas cards for PWT
  • Set of articles due to client
  • Begin next set of articles for client


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Continue/finish stamping Christmas cards for PWT
  • Work on set of articles for client


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Work on set of articles for client


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Work on set of articles for client


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo

November 9

I sat down to write.
And now the sun has come up.
What day is it now?

08 November 2009

07 November 2009

06 November 2009

05 November 2009

04 November 2009

03 November 2009

Silencing your Inner Editor

The goal during National Novel Writing Month is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. To do this, writers have to set aside their habits of writing well and simply get words down on the page.

It's a difficult thing to do, but once you're able to set aside your need to reread your work as you write it, it's a skill you can carry to your freelance career, as well.

[Keep reading]

November 3

Are you writing fast?
This is NaNo honeymoon.
Take advantage now.

10 on Tuesday: ways to boost your word count

I'm sure you'll use these techniques more as it gets closer to November 30th and your word count needs padding a little, but I'm offering it now just in case.

Good luck!

  1. Don't use contractions.  Instead, write them out ("do not," "I will," etc.).  It gives you one extra word each time you would normally use a contraction.
  2. Separate compound words ("some thing," "any way," "night stand," etc.).
  3. Use full names of things and places rather than shortening or abbreviating.  This is especially useful for things that would normally be named using an acronym.
  4. Omit hyphens.  Use spaces instead.  ("Mother in law" instead of "mother-in-law")
  5. Use more "formal" writing to add words.  For example, instead of saying "She wrote formally so she could pad her word count," say "She wrote formally in order that she could pad her word count."
  6. Go into as much detail as you can.
  7. If you're writing third-person limited or first-person, let your prose have a little of a stream-of-consciousness vibe to it.  Let your characters ramble (internally and externally) for a while.
  8. Introduce a new character, and describe him or her while employing #6 and #7.
  9. Take your characters to a new place and employ #6 and #7.
  10. Add flashbacks.

02 November 2009

NaNo NaNo Rah Rah Rah!

I hope not, because I haven't got a mop (or a mop dog) to shake for ye.  But I'm here to cheer for all you NaNo sufferers participants!

Remember: you can do this.  You will do this.  You'll doubt you can do it, at some point, but doubt doesn't mean you won't cross the finish line on November 30th waving a fistful of fifty thousand words.  You will.  And then you'll need treatment for all the muscles pulled by your disbelieving grin of total success.

If you need some words o' wisdom, here they are:

1.  Keep energy drinks to hand.  Lots and lots of energy drinks.

2.  Eat good food.  Fifty thousand words require plenty o' fuel.

3.  Never give up, never surrender.

I'll see you along the route.  I'll be the one in the Goth Cheerleader outfit.  And I'll be there to greet you at the finish line.

Here's to a fantastic Week One!

All Souls' Day

Today is All Souls' Day.

According to About.com's Catholicism site:
Often overshadowed by Halloween (October 31) and All Saints Day (November 1), All Souls Day is a solemn feast in the Roman Catholic Church commemorating all of those who have died and now are in Purgatory, being cleansed of their venial sins and atoning before entering fully into Heaven. The importance of the feast was made clear by Pope Benedict XV (1914-22), when he granted all priests the privilege of celebrating three Masses on All Souls Day: one, for the faithful departed; one for the priest's intentions; and one for the intentions of the Holy Father. Only on a handful of other very important feast days are priests allowed to celebrate more than two Masses.
All Souls' Day is not a holy day of obligation, but many use this solemn feast day to remember their friends and family members who have gone from this life.

Prayer for Eternal Rest:
Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

This Week's Task List

NaNoWriMo has begun.  (Good luck, everyone! And be sure to head over to the cantina for a break from time to time! Dana's a great cheerleader...and bartender.)

Since this month is different in the office, I thought I'd change things up on my task lists this month, as well.  If it works for me I'll keep it.  Otherwise, I'll go back to the way things were.  Enjoy!


  • Write at least 2,000 words for NaNoWriMo (I only got 1,400 words yesterday.)
  • Work on the Christmas card envelopes for Mom-in-law's office
  • Write a NaNoWriMo piece for Examiner
  • Write at least 1,600 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Work on the Christmas card envelopes for Mom-in-law's office
  • Write at least 1,600 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Finish up the Christmas card envelopes for Mom-in-law's office
  • Write a non-NaNoWriMo piece for Examiner
  • Write at least 1,600 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Write at least 1,600 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Write a NaNoWriMo piece for Examiner
  • Write at least 1,600 words for NaNoWriMo
  • Write at least 1,600 words for NaNoWriMo

November 2

WriMos excited!
(Maybe from the coffee buzz?)
Lots of time to write!

01 November 2009

All Saints' Day

Today is All Saints' Day in the Roman Catholic Church, a holy day of obligation (although since All Saints' Day falls on a Sunday this year, the Mass for All Saints' Day will take precedence over the regular Sunday Mass).

This feast day is a beautiful one.  It gives the faithful the opportunity to celebrate all the saints we pray to every year.  From St. Therese of Lisieux to St. Anthony to St. Francis de Sales, there is someone in Heaven who can intercede for us in every area of our lives.

According to Catholic Online, All Saints' Day started as celebrations of martyrs of the Church.
In the fourth century, it was common practice to mark the anniversary of a martyr’s death at the site where he or she was martyred. But there were more martyrs than days in the year — and many were martyred together in groups. In order not to miss anyone, it became necessary to establish a general memorial. In the ninth century, Pope Gregory IV declared Nov. 1 as the day for the entire Church Militant (those on Earth) to honor all the Church Triumphant (those in Heaven).

My husband and I are going to an evening Mass today to celebrate the feast day, and I'm excited about it.  I pray to saints throughout the year, and this will give me an opportunity to thank them for praying for me and watching over me.

More than any other saint, I find myself praying to Mother Mary, especially since Bean was born.  She was a mom, and her life as a mom was much more difficult than mine will be.  If she could maintain her patience and grace in the midst of all she went through, I certainly can do the same in my life.

And as I've grown closer to Mary, I've learned why the saints are so important to so many of the faithful.

How you find the saint and connect with him or her doesn't matter too much (although I'm sure it does to you).  Sometimes it will be a saint whose life reminds you of your own.  Other times, it will be a saint who has qualities you admire.  Or perhaps a saint whose patronage or heritage is important to you.

Yes, they intercede for us and pray for us, but they also provide examples for us.  You find a saint you connect with, and strive to be like him or her.  The saint becomes a sort of spiritual advisor, a friend, and someone you can count on in your faith life.

I think saints are more "accessible," too.  Of course we pray to the Lord, but the saints were, at one time, just normal people.  That's encouraging to normal people like me.  Kind of the way people like to see celebrities in sweat pants with no make-up on, I guess.

What saints are you celebrating today?

Prayer Requests

This week, please pray with me:

As always if you have any prayer requests you'd like added to this post, feel free to add them as comments, or email me.  You can also add unspoken and/or anonymous prayer requests.

Peace be with you!

November 1

Clock hands point straight up.
Keyboards everywhere: active.
Writing commences!

Happy Scribbling!