HashtagNANO, 1+ Weeks Out

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Looking back on this year’s Nano I can’t say that it was successful for me, but I also can’t say the opposite. I went in with goals, most of which were not met, and I am still okay. After October, there was much weighing on my mind. November also fed my obsession with a book series (I will write more about that in the coming days). This book series held my attention and fed me intellectually and in its own way, spiritually.

I have renewed focus for my two main book projects and hope to begin them in the new year. I would begin immediately, but I don’t need that kind of pressure. Also, I have a few books that I’d like to finish reading before the end of December. I have really taken advantage of my online NY Public Library card for ebooks, finding several that I could not acquire through my local account. Reading isn’t just fundamental; it is also inspirational. My end of year review will include my books read since January.

However you spent your Nanowrimo, it is always the beginning; not the end. When Nano ends, there is more work to be done, and this is probably the first Nano that I’ve “participated” in that has left me in a better frame of mind than previous ones. Once I was able to accept that I would have nothing written for the Nano projects, I was able to release all the Nano tensions that I build up for myself.

I look forward to the new year and to the writing to come.

HashtagNANO, Day 13

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What can you do if you just can’t write? This has been my struggle this Nano. I usually have a time getting started, but this year is different. I have no doubt that part of it stems from our October difficulties.

However, there are other things that can be done to keep your project (I say project rather than novel because my work is primarily non-fiction) moving forward. Here are five.

  1. Outline. What do you have? What do you need? Is there research that needs to be done for your project?
  2. Write vignettes. Get the scene out of your head. No transitions, no history, just stream of consciousness that can be incorporated later on in your project.
  3. Study the history of your subject. My particular book offers some historical perspective and learning the history of the place can give you ideas for storylines in both fiction and non-fiction.
  4. Edit. Re-read. Revise. I know that Nano is for writing and not editing, but if you can’t write…re-read. Something may come to you.
  5. Take a Break. Light a candle, have a cup of tea, read a book. Set a timer for ten minutes and just sit with eyes closed and mind open. Or twenty minutes.

Take the pressure off of yourself. What are some of your suggestions when you’re blocked?

HashtagNANO, Day 9

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While this is Day 9 of National Novel Writing Month, for me it is more like Day 1. To begin, get any information at the Nanowrimo link. It will introduce you to the organization, its philosophy, and how to sign up and keep track of your word counts, daily as well as in totality.


While Nanowrimo focuses on novel writing, I think its pep talks, write-ins, and exercises work with any writing project, and I do use it extensively for my non-fiction writing.
Currently, I am working on four books, in various stages of writing.


The two big ones are (the simply known as) the Wales book and a Labyrinth prayer book.

While both have some bits written, they are really in need of outlining and focus. That is what I plan to do this week. Sometimes writing the goal down leads to its completion; or at least its beginning.


What projects (writing or otherwise) are you working on at the moment? How’s it going?

Writing Resources

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We all have those things, those tools that keep us on task or inspire us or help us in the mundane, every day editing and revision process. And of course, there’s the writing.

As I was writing the Back to School Resource Guide last week, I realized that many of those same items can be used as resources for our writing process.

Currently, my first go-to is a Thesaurus. I use the online one in the previous link. It’s fast, it’s easy, and it has all the words.

Next is a new addition to anyone’s resource list: Dreyer’s English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. I also have his Day-by-Day Calendar which gives you hints and copyediting advice all through the year that you didn’t know you needed until you read it. Both are excellent resources. He is coming out with a children’s version and a second edition is on the way.

My go-to online dictionary is Merriam-Webster, partly because of their longevity and willingness to modernize, but also their sense of humor. Follow them on Twitter.

Need to know what day someone was born on in 1873? Sunrise or sunset? Time and Date is for you.

Need a quotation? BrainyQuote.

When is National Crepe Day? Well, National Crepe Suzette Day is May 6th! Today, in fact is National Noodle Day! How do I know this? National Day Archives.

Need help jump starting your novel? Nanowrimo is for you! It runs November 1st through November 30th and gives you the resources and motivation to write 50,000 words in thirty days.

The only magazine I subscribe to is The Writer. I’ve been getting it for at least two decades, although I have more recently switched to digital only. Saves trees and space in my house.

Drawing Interior Scenes. Even as a young writer, I always drew the apartments where my characters lived. I found it a useful way to assist in the descriptive prose. This manga artist takes it to a whole new level: Manga artist [Haru Amake] shares a genius-level trick to take the headache out of drawing interior scenes

Chromebook Shortcuts

Two of my very favorite organizing tools are Evernote and Business Calendar 2. My links go to the Amazon store since I use my Kindle more than anything else, but both are available in the Google Store and if you have i-products you can check the Apple Store. Both come in a free and a paid version.

Evernote lets you keep information organized in separate “books”. A few of mine are: Quotations, Writing Prompts, A Book of Days (to track holidays), and Travel Notes for on the go.

Business Calendar 2 is the best calendar app I have ever used, and I have used more than a few. I’ve been using it for about two weeks, and it took me a couple of days to see how beneficial this calendar app is to my life!

The free version lets me do everything I absolutely need to do with a calendar/organizer with a minimum of ads. There are a few advanced features that I would like, and I plan to eventually purchase the paid version. In addition to no ads, it will let me multi-pick for deleting agenda items at the end of the day. But realistically, that’s only for my preference. It is completely usable and useful with just the free download.

Is This the End of Writing in Cafés? by Emily Temple. Full Disclosure: I’m writing this right now in a cafe, so I think you know my answer to that question.

I leave you with some inspiring words from Pulitzer Prize and Tony winner, Lin-Manuel Miranda:

Then chase a moment, not a plot.

If a moment’s too big, chase a sentence.

You just need an inch to start. GO WRITE.

Lin-Manuel Miranda on Twitter, circa 2016 (when you can’t find the words)

30 Days of Nano – Day 27

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On this Giving Tuesday, consider donating to Nanowrimo:

Nanowrimo: Why Donate?
Donate to Nanowrimo
I would also ask to consider a donation to the Committee to Protect Journalists. They support freedom of the press and shine light where journalists are arrested, tortured, and murdered. It has been eight weeks since The Washington Post’s Jamal Kashoggi was lured to a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey and murdered for his writing about the Saudi government and royal family.