17 November 2011

Do what you love vs. love what you do

In 2008 I had the unique pleasure of declaring myself a full-time freelance writer. And I haven't looked back. I love what I do.

Even so, there are difficult days doing what I love. There are difficult projects, snarky (potential) clients, and long days of figuring things out. Not to mention no paid time off, getting health insurance on my own, and sometimes patching income together to make it all work. And there are days when I take on a project or a client I'm not wild about because it has good potential or provides steady work.

And still, when I'm slogging through a less-than-exciting project, I remind myself that even on the difficult days, I'm doing what I love. That's what it's about, isn't it? Perspective?

Yes, it's wonderful to be able to do what you love, particularly as a career. However, it's just as important to love what you do, wherever you are in your life and career.

There are likely to be jobs you don't like, both in and out of your field of study. And when you're faced with a less-than-pleasant job, you have to make the most of your position. If you don't do what you love, find a way to love what you do. Do what you can to make every moment of the job your own and enjoy it the best you can.

And you may just find that, after a while, you'll love what you do, and if you aren't already, you'll be doing what you love!

16 November 2011

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk: the last half of the month

Today is the 16th of November, which means we're officially in the last half of NaNoWriMo, ladies and gentlemen.

I can hardly believe how quickly it's gone by. I hope you've all been able to get big word counts every day and that you've nearly reached your 50,000-word count goal for the month! If not, that's okay. Just keep writing! There's still lots of time to finish. And even if you don't hit 50,000 words by the end of the day on the 30th, you've got lots more writing now than you did on October 31st, so be happy!

I'm not going to lie--the last half of the month has always been the most difficult for me. Your motivation is likely waning, your story may not be as robust as you initially anticipated, and as Thanksgiving approaches, you may be finding less and less time to work on your NaNo novel.

There are things you can do to keep your story moving forward, unusual as they may be.

If you've written yourself into a corner, well...change the architecture. Make it a dream or something. I know, it may be a cheap escape, but that's what revision is for. November is about getting words on the page.

If you've run out of plot, add a character. Or a conflict. Or transport your entire cast to a new location. Crazy, I know. But crazy adventures call for crazy action.

Whatever else you do, just keep at it. Even if you only get a paragraph down in a day, it's a paragraph more than you had yesterday. And it's a paragraph closer to 50,000 words by the end of the month.

You can do this. I know you can. So close this browser window, open you NaNo novel, and keep writing.

Happy scribbling!

10 November 2011

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk: pushing through the mid-month slump

NaNoWriMo is fast-approaching the mid-month mark. Can you believe you've been scribbling for almost two weeks already? Are you at 25,000 words yet?

If you're not, that's okay. The word count goal for November 10th is a little over 16,000 words. And if you're below that, it's okay. Because even if you only have 1,000 words written (or even less!), it's more than you had on October 31st! How is your writing going?

A lot of people start to slow down as it gets closer to the middle of the month. The initial excitement and adrenaline of NaNoWriMo is past, lengthy descriptions of characters and setting are likely already written, and you're getting to the meat of the story. So it gets a little harder to write it.

Keep writing. Keep pushing through, page by page, word by word. If you have to, add more description. Add long, convoluted explanations by your characters. Just keep writing.

It will get better. Because even though the middle of the month can be a nightmare, the end of the month is so sweet! You'll start on the downward slope of your NaNoWriMo mountain. You'll see your word count inching closer and closer to 50,000 and your adrenaline will start pumping again. You can do it. I know you can. All you have to do is keep putting words together today, tomorrow, and the next day. Keep writing.

And then the month will be over. And you'll have written a novel in 30 days.

08 November 2011

Sometimes inspiration strikes inconveniently

Writers across the globe are scribbling furiously this month as they participate in NaNoWriMo. It's a fun adventure, and shows writers that regardless of your schedule or situation, you can make time to write about 2,000 words a day, and focus on a novel to get it done.

I'm not officially participating in NaNo this year, but I am working on the coffee house book. Focusing on one story is good. It lets me get into the characters and story. But, as can happen with writers, focusing on one story leads to a new, shiny idea begging to be written. It's happening to me right now, in fact. I have an idea for a story I think would be fun to write--much more fun than slogging through character biographies and background information for the coffee house book.

What do you do when this happens to you? Do you take a little time to jot ideas down? Do you use the shiny, new idea as a way to break from the WIP when you feel stuck? Do you ignore the new idea until you're ready to write it?

04 November 2011

NaNoWriMo Pep Talk: the first weekend

Today is the first Friday of November, and many of you may be planning ahead as to how to spend your weekend in regards to NaNoWriMo. Have you set goals yet?

Regardless of your word count at this moment, this weekend is a good one to get ahead in writing. It's still early in the month, so energy and creativity are still high. Use them to fuel your word count so you can start this next full week with a positive outlook. If you can break 10,000 words by the end of the day on Sunday, you'll be right on track for the rest of the month.

This is still the exciting stage of NaNo. The honeymoon phase, really. You've been waiting a year to get to this point. Maybe you've even had a story rattling around in your head that whole year, just waiting for November 1st to appear on your calendar so you can scribble away at it. Use that excitement to fuel your word count.

The minimum word count for NaNo is 1667 words each day. That will allow you to end on November 30th with a word count of 50,010 words. But it's just the minimum. If your excitement and energy and creativity is flowing freely right now, and you find yourself writing 2,000 or 3,000 or even 4,000 words in a day, keep at it! And don't use those large word count days to give yourself a day off later. Sure, you can use it that way, but if you stick with the minimum every day, and ignore any extra you do, you won't fall behind. And if you don't fall behind, you'll find it easier to stay motivated.

Keep writing. Set high goals for this weekend, next week, and the rest of the month. Now is your time to write a novel, and I know you can do it!

Happy scribbling!

01 November 2011

A new chapter

I'm venturing away from the writing world momentarily to update you on my personal life. (This will also offer an explanation about the lack of posting over the past few weeks.)

Maggie Smith / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
I am now a resident of Illinois. After a lot of discussion about some things that have been happening in our lives, my husband and I decided moving to Illinois (near my family) was the best decision for our family. I got back to Illinois on Sunday after my dad and I packed and moved our Florida household ourselves. It was quite a task, but we got it done!

We are currently bunking at my mom's house until we find a rental property in the area.

This is a good move for us. It's going to be better in a lot of ways, and I'll have much more time for blog posting (I know how important that is to all of you!). I will still be working full time as a freelance writer for the foreseeable future. I have a few good clients, and a few potential clients I'm working to bring on board.

I'm hoping this change will give me some extra free time I can use for fiction-writing. NaNoWriMo is upon us, and while I won't be officially participating, I will be using the month to work on the coffee house book. I will have the coffee house book query-ready by the end of next summer.

I'm optimistic about this big change in our family's life. It's a big change (especially at the end of fall/beginning of winter), but it's going to be a good one. And I know there will be some good writing that will come from it!

Now that I'm back to Illinois and we're getting settled, I'm going to be starting a new routine. And, at least this month, that routine involves about 2,000 words a day devoted to the coffee house book. How is your November starting out?