NaNoWriMo2015 Journal

What Did You Love About NaNoWriMo?

This question was posed by Julie Russell in this post: 

What did you love about NaNoWriMo this year?

I crossed the 50,000-word mark on November 21. 50,133 words to be exact. My first NaNoWriMo challenge. It took me four years to build up the courage to jump all-in, and I’d have put it off for another year had it not been for an encourager from Twitter who called me to the mat. Thank you, @Archimage. 

I Grew
I love that NaNoWriMo seemed like an insurmountable task before I started. I love that it seemed even more daunting about 10 days in when I felt like I’d most certainly spewed all the words I could about my selected story. I love how the hunger to write swelled up inside me and pulled me out of bed at 4:30am almost every single day. I love that the days I met with toughest wringing of my brain forced me to dig into deep, emotional places to feel every letter of my words as I typed them. I can honestly say I’d have never found these words or these places I am capable of writing from without this push.

I love that it seemed like all the conditions of life had to be in place first, but realizing there’s not a single drop of truth to that. The only condition that truly had to be in place was my desire to make it happen, and will to ensure it did. I love that life happened along the way. I love that I ended up with a really weird pile of embarrassing, but very honest words.

I Made New Friends
Friends new and existing came from all over the internet to cheer me on. And I got to cheer others on. It really was like my first marathon experience, running along a strenuous course seeing hundreds of strangers smiling and encouraging me forward. I had no idea that such an amazing, supportive community existed behind this challenge, but participation got me watching the #NaNoWriMo hashtag, which introduced me to all the wonderful struggles and progress others were making. Once I’d discover someone, I’d start reading other stuff they’d written, learning about their perspectives and who they are. There are some beautiful people out there writing beautiful things.

Doorways Opened
A lot of ideas happened while I was writing — a beautiful bonus effect of pushing creative boundaries. I have been doing small monthly challenges for a full year now by breaking things down into tiny, doable pieces. My reason for doing this has been to explore the boundaries of the things I use as excuses and the things that scare me. The challenges are meant to tear down walls, grow and change and try new things. I’ve done everything from writing one sentence a day, to writing for 30-minutes a day, to little fitness things to doing various 30 and 31-day vlog challenges on YouTube. Taking on NaNoWriMo was BIG. If this were running, it would be like running a mile a day for a year then doing a full length marathon and afterward, running *just* a mile each day isn’t enough anymore. I’m working through what this means for me in 2016, I may spend another year figuring that out but either way, I feel changed and a little tired, but I’m hungry to push myself in new ways.

I Took a New Perspective on Fear
For a very long time, I’d put emphasis on things like overcoming fear, pushing through fear and being fearless. The more I thought about it the more I realized I was putting a lot on energy into fighting nature. On Day 04, I wrote a post in my daily NaNo journal titled, “Fear, My Friend, We are Doing This.” I realized that my effort to overcome fear was feeling more like an exhausting wrestling match and I’m not really interested in being a pro wrestler. Fear was consuming good time and energy, and even when I faced the “fight” valiantly, it was still very expensive in terms of energy. So I decided instead, to make friends with my fear and invite it along for the journey. The moment I made that mental shift, Fear was like, “Ok, cool, let me get my shoes.” Fear didn’t block the doorway anymore. I’m not fearless, but I’m much stronger than I thought I was.

That’s a summary of what I learned by participating in my first-ever NaNoWriMo challenge. What an enormous amount to gain in thirty days. If you like to write at all, I recommend participating. Here’s a link to my first post announcing my intent to participate, if you’re interested. Whether you win or don’t quite make it, you WILL grow from the experience. And there’s a whole community of amazing, brave, kind people out there ready to encourage your every step if you allow them to.


Roller Skates and Writing

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 25 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
Today was low-key but busy with a lot of little things that made the day fly by. I ended up using my morning writing time to catch up on some reading. Also peeked in on several new NaNo-ing friends to see how they're doing and drop some notes of encouragement. I realized at 6 pm this evening I'd completely skipped my Day 25 post, so here I am catching up on it at 8:30 pm. Every time I experiment with my morning writing time, I wish I hadn't. That's probably a good sign that writing is the thing I need to be doing when I start my day. Hooray for validation!

Super cool thing that happened today, my daughter had a birthday party to attend at the skating rink. Skating used to be one of my favorite things as a kid. I don't think I've been to a skating rink since I was 15 years old. It was magical inside, I'd completely forgotten how great these places are. \o/ Might have to visit a little more frequently.

Nice and brief today. Happy to have written, even if only a small bit.

Write ON, friends!




A Challenge to A Challenge!

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 24 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
Lots of questions in the past 2-3 days about my 30 and 31-day challenges from new friends I've met through NaNoWriMo, and through folks I know from the Web/iOS/Dev/Design community.


I started getting consistent with them in December 2014, with 31people31days (A writing exercise in gratitude. No editing, posted whatever I had done within 30 minutes of early morning writing.) I had done a variety of trial-runs leading up to that, experimenting in early 2013-2014 with things like 5-day challenges and 10-day challenges, inspired by Dr. B.J. Fogg's - HUGELY USEFUL. My first full 30-day challenge was 30days of #TIL in June of 2014.

These challenges planted seeds for me and grew into a hunger to take on more, and to make the challenges a little more uncomfortable every time. NaNoWriMo had been an out-of-reach goal for me since 2011. The smaller challenges were not 100% about NaNo, but committing to and completing a NaNoWriMo challenge represents a HUGE milestone of progress for me as a writer, and as a person who is working hard to grow and improve my life every single day.

So then. Instead of answering more of the awesome questions (thank you, keep 'em coming, I will answer them all either directly or through future posts!)
I will ask YOU a question:


If you're interested but not sure what to do, or where to start, my friend @bradheintz and I put a simple guide to starting small over at: TINYCHALLENGES.COM

[Your answer here] 

Do it! You know you want to. <3




I Wonder If...

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 23 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
I finished my NaNoWriMo Challenge on the 21st and I’ve committed to continue my daily journal & self-portrait series through the end of the month. The two days since crossing the 50,000-word mark have been a vastly different mindset for me. I’ve been struggling with my own mind again, though. I love writing, I love writing more than ever. I feel like NaNoWriMo changed me in a lot of ways. But, here’s what I’m talking about…

I used my morning time to write an outline for a new talk I’ll be giving in February. I made good progress, completely ignored word count. I woke up an hour later than I would have if I were still writing for that mighty word-count, though.
My inner monologue reprimands me for being lazy, "Get up and write! What are you doing sleeping 'til 5:30? You're wasting time!"

I didn't take my self-portrait shot until almost 4pm. Much later than normal.
"Slacker," says my mind.

And here I am writing my daily journal post at 6:20p PT. Half a day later than usual. 
"You're falling apart! What is going on with you?!" My mind gets so upset at me sometimes.

Maybe I should take a break? Maybe I should rest? Maybe I should set another word count goal?

Ugh. I wonder if I just started thinking too much all over again.  ;)

Still Moving Forward

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 22 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
I slept in today. I can relax now, but I can not stop. The sun came up without me, I missed it by about 20 minutes. I let the girls stay up late on non-school nights, I call that a parenting-hack that has a bunch of benefits including long, quiet Saturday and Sunday mornings. I started some online holiday shopping. I had coffee. I reflected on my NaNoWriMo journey and read through a handful of questions I received through my blog+email+Twitter+Facebook+Medium. Even though I met the 50,000-word goal there are still 30-days in the month of November, so my challenge-within-a-challenge (daily journal post + self-portrait) still has a few days to go.  
Today I'll answer a few of the questions I received about my first-time NaNo experience:


It feels amazing. Tears of joy actually came out of my eyes, I didn't write that in for dramatic effect. If you've followed any of my posts in the last 6-12 months, or if you've seen my motivational conference talk, "No Excuses" (aka: "Do or GTFO. There is no Try.") you know how badly I've wanted this and for how long. In May of 2013 I set out to change EVERYTHING in my life after the most severe case of burnout I hope to ever cross paths with. I had a list of excuses stopping me from doing things I wanted to do, and I used smaller challenges to hack through the excuses because excuses - although they feel like pretty damn real reasons sometimes - are total bullshit. I broke things down, overcame one fear, one obstacle at a time until finally there were no more excuses to stop me from DOING this. The reward of accomplishment feels AMAZING every time. 


Now I keep going. I am still very invested in my 30 and 31-day challenges because they push me to try new things, in new ways. I'll relax a tiny bit and shift my focus to finishing out my other November challenge, which is 30-days of journaling and self-portraits. In addition to that, it's time to prepare for my December 31-day challenge. I'm not sure yet what that will be. But as always, anyone interested in joining along can and should! 

I also have a lot of work to do on the outcome of my NaNo end-product. It's a mess. I've received a lot of great advice on what to do next and when, which I am grateful for. I'll trust my guts on the matter and if you follow my stuff, you'll know when it's being addressed again. ;)


Yes. But, I quite literally spent a year + "training" for participation through my smaller monthly challenges. NaNoWriMo hasn't been the only purpose for my monthly challenges, but it was certainly one of the bigger objectives I had. The key for me in knocking this out was 100% about making the time to write before my "real" day began. I tried messing with time pockets and things I'd read that worked for other people. Every time I gave a little slack in my routine it completely messed up my ability to carve out time anywhere else in the day. It's not an easy challenge, and not one I took lightly. Once I committed I was all-in.  This is an incredible, respectable challenge and if you love writing, I highly recommend it. Before the month is over I'll reflect on some of the huge things that I learned from by participating in NaNoWriMo2015. 

I'd love to hear YOUR stories and/or answer more questions, too! 




So... I Did It!

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 21 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
4:30am - Alarm clock went off. I hit snooze. I laid there thinking about how very tired I was. I convinced myself that because it was Saturday, the kids would sleep late, and I was only two good writing days away from hitting the big 50,000-word objective, I could sleep a little more. I re-set the alarm clock for 5:30am. 

5:30am - Alarm clock went off. I hit snooze. I laid there thinking about how very tired I was. Snooze alarm went off. I got up and reminded myself, "I've come this far and if I really, really want this, there is only now. Right now."

I stumbled to my writing table. I grumbled to myself about how much writing I could already have done if I'd stuck to my routine. I wrote. It felt great. The house was really quiet today,  so around the time I would have normally stopped to wake kids, pack lunches and start the morning 'momming' routines, I kept writing.  I didn't stop. Until Zia came in. 7:34 am. Word count: 49,111. Too close to stop. Made quick breakfast for Z, told her what I was doing and how close I was to finishing and that I needed to focus. She sat quietly eating her breakfast. (Zia is never quiet.)
I wrote until 8:26a, asked Zia if she wanted to help me validate my word count.
Copy. Paste. Zia pushes the validate button...

Tears. Laughter. Hugs. Celebration. 

So. That happened. And now, I keep on writing. Because I'm pretty sure this is only the beginning. 

Today's Stats:
Started: 5:46a PT
Stopped: 8:26a PT

I wrote a total of 4,676 word today.
Total word count: 50,133  \o/

Had to Hide the Word Count

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 20 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
Today’s writing was funny. I started with excitement because I know how close I am to 50k words. I spent a little time yesterday going through all my pages looking for some new points to extract and elaborate upon. I set out some trigger-words in case I got stuck. The funny thing I noticed about today was that I kept checking the word count. A lot. I don’t normally do that until I’m feeling like I’m nearly done for the day. Today it was like that thing when you’re waiting for food in the microwave and you watch the clock count down. One. Second. At. A. Time. Watching a clock might be the only occasion in life when it feels like time moves super slowly. I felt like I was typing with such flow and ease then I’d glance at my word count and realize, all that typing was only 100 words… so, I’d type some more. Then I’d look again, "jeez only 100 more words? Really?"

I did finally hide the document word count. If I’ve learned anything across this journey toward 50,000 words it’s to stop thinking so much about it. Just write. And I WROTE. And wrote and wrote. I wrote until the words were done coming out for the morning. THEN I turned the word count back on. I blew past 45k today. \o/

Letting go feels great. It takes practice, at least for me, but when you really let go and allow words to happen, they do. What an amazing concept, right? Exactly how life works. Get out of your own way and incredible things can happen.

My fireplace lit the room until the sun joined in brightening the place up. I looked up and out the window a few times to peek at the colors of the sky during the sunrise. The kitties ate their crunchy kibble in the distance. All these ambient things have become such a beautiful and comforting part of this whole challenge. No matter the setting, it's the writing that feels the most amazing. My heart REALLY loves the writing. 

Today's Stats:
Started: 4:41a
Stopped: 6:00a

3258 words today :o
Total word count to date: 45,457

Screenshot 2015-11-20 07.15.15.png

Struggley, Squeezy, Hard-to-Write Day

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 19 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
Today was the biggest struggle for words. Dare I say it, the hardest day of the challenge so far...

It can get a little bit daunting to be so close to the finish line and suddenly feel the word-tank running out of fuel. 

Today felt like a lot of brain-squeezing until maybe the last ten minutes, where finally something clicked and I had a good amount to say that I hadn't already said. I think. Either way, words happened and that sparked a pretty great notion that it's OK to say what you've already said in this draft because maybe you'll look back at it later and realize you said it way better in one place than in another. Or more clearly. Or in a way that makes you say, "YES! THAT is what I was actually trying to say!"

Then I realize I'm thinking way too much about this. 

"Work. Relax. Don't Think." I keep reminding myself to repeat those words. And don't stop writing. 

Today's Stats:
Started: 4:47a PT
Stopped: 5:57a PT

2127 words
Total word count: 42,199

40,000 Down

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 18 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
It took a bit to get into a groove today. I'd write a paragraph, sit and stare into the darkness outside, write another paragraph, stare off some more... I cycled like that for about 4-5 paragraphs then the sit/stare part was really long. I started reading back through some of my early pages, hoping to find a little spark that would ignite something more. And I did! And it did... and I wrote for a solid run until I saw my word count pass the 40k mark. I still had a few thoughts to squeeze out and I know from doing this for 18 days now, there is a pretty big discrepancy in my Pages word count and the NaNoWriMo official word counter. The NaNo counter is the one I use to measure progress with, but it always comes up about 60-100 words shorter than what the Pages word count shows, so I always push just a little further than my goal. 

Someone asked a week or so ago what I'm using to write with. I'm using Pages. I know it's not some pro writing tool but I've poked around with an assortment of writing tools and apps in the past, there's always some learning curve to it that gets in the way of my actual writing. And I've never stuck with anything long enough to get past the learning curve of it, so here I am. Pages. On my lil MacBook Air. It gets the job done. ;)

Today's Stats:
Started: 4:40a PT
Stopped: 6:22a PT

I wrote 1945 words today, pushing me just past that 40k mark. \o/
Total word count: 40,072

Flash Floods of Consciousness

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 17 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
Today was definitely more a stream of consciousness kind of typing, but the words came pretty effortlessly. I had a lot to say. Just like Rocky the cat. I wrote today with only one stop to investigate why Rocky the cat had so much to say this morning. He quieted down a few minutes after I talked to him. I presume he was hungry, but maybe he just wanted someone to acknowledge they were listening to him tell his kitty stories. I was concerned our conversation would wake everyone up. Adrian the cat sat quietly near my left arm while I typed. He likes to stare out the window and watch the sunrise with me. Cats are kind of awesome. 

I feel strangely guilty about stream of consciousness writing in my NaNo challenge. It feels like I am veering off topic too much, or like it shouldn't count. It feels like my daily journal should be the place for that. I've had 4 different people remind me that my daily journal posts do not count in my daily word count. I remind them that I know this, and I've kept my journal posts completely separate. But my streams of consciousness are occasionally more like flash floods of consciousness, plowing down any sort of defined path and running amok. I suppose what matters is that the words are flowing. 

I know that sometimes it's more important to get the words out than to think about what the words are. Letting go of everything you know about how things are supposed to work is a huge part of this challenge. Letting go is the key.

I'm getting so close to that 50k word mark now I can taste it. Flash floods away - Let's rock this NaNoWriMo-ers!

Today's Stats:
Started: 4:44a PT
Stopped: 6:00a PT

1969 words today, bringing my total word count to 38,127.
(Wait... only 11,873 words remain. Did I math that correctly?!)

Absorb What it Feels Like

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 16 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
Writing. Indoors. Fireplace. Coffee. Loved ones sleeping. Safe and sheltered from the 45°F + wind that is happening outside. I love this.

In June of 2013 I wrote this amongst my "What's Important" list: 

"Spend every possible breath with people I love, doing things I love."

Even on the days like today where I'm more mentally distracted from my writing, I can't call this an off day. Simply being able to do what I'm doing right now is an amazing gift. The cold is out there and I'm in here starting my day doing something I love, surrounded by people I love. I want simply to absorb what it feels like to live a moment inside a goal I'd set for myself. 

Today's Stats:
Started: 4:53a PT
Stopped: 6:16a PT

Exactly 1800 words today.
Current total:  36,158  Woo-HOO!

Kind of Like Magic Eye

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 15 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
I'm back in my home and life that surrounds what I'd call "the typical day-to-day". Today was another mark in new experiences through writing. \o/
Yesterday I spoke of secret doors and I contemplated whether I should feel grateful that something like that happened during this writing challenge (which I totally do!), or if I should be sad that more haven’t opened since the one big one. I wrote those words from a hurried state of mind, from the chair of a hotel room workstation, thinking more about all the other things I needed to do before catching my flight home. Today I realized that the secret doors might always be there for the opening if your mind is focused enough to see them. Maybe the doors aren’t even secret, maybe they’re more like those Magic Eye posters where you have to look at them in just the right way to see the image. The more you practice looking at those things the easier it becomes to focus in the right way, and to see what has been there the whole time. 

I was present today. It hadn’t occurred to me that maybe writing and the secret door I spoke of had more to do with my presence of mind than anything else. Forcing yourself to hit a 50,000-word goal within 30 days is a really respectable reach. As a first-timer, I imagined all the struggle and obstacles that might arise. While I definitely considered the incredible learning experience I would gain from participating, I really had no idea what to expect. To be perfectly honest, I imagined my growth in this first NaNoWriMo experience would come mostly from a lot of failure throughout the challenge. Thus, I thought that by doing a little extra work to capture everything through a separate daily journal, I might be better prepared to actually succeed next year. But once I committed and started doing the work to keep up, magical things started happening. I started and suddenly failure was no longer an option. Starting has pushed me to find a way to make it work rather than remind myself I can stop at any time. Writing for a word count has pushed me to think about things from a fresh perspective. To not only understand those remarkable words from Ray Bradbury, to “Work. Relax. Don’t Think.”, but to live them. 

This challenge, and very specifically today, has reminded me that while I will continue experimenting and doing many, many other things from day to day: writing is the right path for me to be on at this point in my life. I feel electric!

Today's Stats:
Started: 4:43a PT
Stopped: 6:53a PT

I wrote 3966 words today! 
Current total: 34,358

Secret Doors

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 14 (A 1st Timer’s Journey)
I woke at 7:00a ET this morning, eager to get to my writing in before catching my flight home. Today was pretty good, but I feel like I'm writing at a surface level JUST for the word count right now. I *think* that's OK, but it feels weird. Like my mind doesn't want to push harder.

I had that one day where everything that came out felt layers deeper than maybe anything I'd ever written before. It felt like maybe I unlocked some secret door in my brain that I never knew was there... and I've not found any more secret doors since. Maybe I'm really lucky to have opened a secret door at all, and instead of wanting to open more I should be really grateful that I unlocked the one. Maybe the gamer in me wants to level up more, faster, NOW! :)

Anyway. I did my writing this morning, also doing this post before the airport dash. THAT feels great. <3

Today's Stats:
Started: 7:41a ET
Stopped: 8:58 ET

2171 words today! Current total is 30,392.
(Holy macaroni, that means only 19,608 words to go!)

Between DisneyWorld and Fallout Shelter

An image that represents a lot of extracurricular "life" happening during my NaNoWriMo challenge.&nbsp;

An image that represents a lot of extracurricular "life" happening during my NaNoWriMo challenge. 

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 13 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
OK. So, I have another confession. As of about three days ago, I've become addicted to an app/game called Fallout Shelter (available on Android and iOS: ) It's a great time killer when you're waiting in Disney lines or riding the park transport buses. Be warned, if you're into these sorts of games this one is sick-addictive. So, here I am trying to keep up with one of the most important challenges of the past five years of my life, and I'm surrounded by all the most fun things in all the world (er... my world, anyway) GAMES and DISNEY. There's also work and conferencing, but those I can swing. I return to momming duties when I get home, the kiddos are with their dad and not missing school (they missed school when I spoke at Disneyland Hotel last month.)  ;)

I made a very deliberate decision to skip writing yesterday, but I have to be honest, I missed it SO MUCH. I felt sick about not doing it. All day it was in the back of my mind, "I didn't write today!" It broke my heart a little bit. So today, I did my writing FIRST. I also caught up on work things, and THEN I poked at my silly game while getting ready to go back to Disney for the last day of my trip. We return home tomorrow. One more day of skewampus schedule before I can pick the routine back up in my warm and cozy home. 

Today's Stats:
Started writing 7:45a ET
Stopped writing at 6:19a ET

I wrote 2082 words today, bringing my total word count to 28,221. \o/


I Didn't Write Yesterday

Me (left) and Ken (right) snapshot from the ride Spaceship Earth at EPCOT,&nbsp;DisneyWorld.

Me (left) and Ken (right) snapshot from the ride Spaceship Earth at EPCOT, DisneyWorld.

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 12 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
I’m not sure if it’s because I expected it and willed it to happen, or if I knew I had enough words in “the bank” that I knew skipping a day or two would be OK, but I didn’t write yesterday. (Those are both kind of the same thing, huh.)

We stayed out pretty late experiencing DisneyWorld on Wednesday night. Did I mention Food & Wine Festival? Waking in the morning was hard, I had a good deal of work to do before we headed out to the parks. I made a very conscious decision Thursday that I would skip on the writing in exchange for work catch-ups and Disney-fun.

Was it worth it?
It might be too early in the NaNoWriMo challenge to tell. The good news is I broke 25k words on Wednesday, and I really missed writing first thing in the morning. Not doing it reminded me how much I truly LOVE doing it. I’m on track to complete the challenge and I’ve not lost the momentum in my guts to finish this. Maybe a day or two off is actually a really good thing, but I’m leaning toward writing even the tiniest bit if I can over not writing at all. It makes my mind and heart feel better. ❤

Today's stats: 
Did not write - current total remains at 26,139

From a Giant Chair in a Hotel Room

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 11 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
Day one at the hotel in Orlando. I sat in a big chair in the dark (I know, it's light in the photo, I waited until daylight to snap the pic), with those black-out shades closed so that I didn't wake Ken with the light and my tap-tapping on my keyboard. I stuck to my normal time zone time, but it's much later here so I'm typing this journal post with a good deal of a hurry under my fingertips. 

I'll do my talk today, in just a couple hours. The nerves always set in right before I do a talk. *Gulp*
This morning I jumped around a lot in my writing. I kept it in one chunk at the end of my giant NaNo "manuscript" but topically, I jumped through about six different blocks of thought. 
I'm going to keep this post super brief, I need to get myself readied and downstairs so I can find where I'm going to be speaking and get checked in and all that good stuff.

Have a beautiful day, more tomorrow!

Today's stats: 
Started writing at 7:40a ET
Stopped writing at 9:12a ET

2038 words today, bringing my current total to 26,139

On The Road Again

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 10 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
Another travel day. This journal post is happening in-flight. I had a portion of my regular writing time window available this morning before I needed to shift focus toward gathering things and heading to the airport. I cranked out what I could and decided to feel good about it even though I'd really hoped to get a couple hundred more words out.

This is the week I've been anticipating with some concern in regard to my NaNoWriMo challenge, and the reason I've been trying to stay just a bit ahead on word count. I'm speaking at a conference in Orlando, which means I'm in a different time zone for the better part of the week and my attention needs to be on the conference. It's a talk I've done quite a few times before (one of the benefits of people requesting older talks - yay!) so it's ready to go, no last minute changes or rewrites like there would be with a new talk. But there are 1000 other places my attention needs to be.

Part of me wonders if it'll be possible to get any words out this week, and part of me feels confident I can keep my morning writing rhythm going despite the time zone change and goings-on. I also realize it's kind of lame that what I am considering a "rough patch" in my writing challenge is... going to DisneyWorld. So no complaints here!

What I'm learning about participating in NaNoWriMo, is that it is a labor of love. It's something you do while navigating through your regular day-to-day. You make time for it however and whenever you can. I know for me, every day of this challenge is fun and a little mysterious and scary. Will I hit my word count? Will I have any idea what to write today? Or tomorrow? Where will I be when I write tomorrow?

Who knows. I'm learning as I go and doing my best to keep it fun along the way. If it's not fun, there's no point. Write ON, friends!

Today's stats: 
Started writing at 4:40a
Stopped writing at 5:18a

1577 words today, bringing my current total to 24,101
I feel pretty good about where I'm at overall. (And there are two more hours of this flight which seems pretty prime for more writing.) 

Like a Marathon, but for Writing

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 09 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
After yesterday's emotional sprint of writing, I wasn't sure what to expect out of today. Yesterday pushed me deeply into space I definitely wouldn't have gone into if this 50,000-word goal didn't exist.  I would have considered myself almost ready for editing. Which now makes me laugh out loud. Silly amateur. Hehehe. ;) Yesterday's "deep dive" also gave me all these new avenues to flesh out. Today's writing flowed pretty well, overall.

I made the comment to someone that this is the writing equivalent of running a full-length marathon. Especially for me, as a first-timer. When I ran my first full-length marathon, I started out the gate a little too quickly even though I knew better. Then I found my stride somewhere around mile two or three. There was the thrill of seeing each mile marker and knowing you'd just put one more mile in your pocket and were that much closer to the finish line. There were all these things along the way, rest stops, aid stations for refueling, a community of people cheering us on from the sidelines, encouragers in the race with you... You learn just what you're made of, and what you're capable of.

Day 09 for me is like mile 09 in my first marathon. I'm doing well, not quite half-way through but I've got a good pace and my mind feels alive. Who knows what the miles ahead have in store. All I can do is keep running, trust that I've trained well enough for this, and believe I'm going to make it to the finish line.

Today's stats: 
Started writing at 4:43a
Zia visit: 5:24a
Stopped writing at 5:45a

2185 words today, bringing my current total to 22,524
Feeling pretty good about this.

Is This a Travel Hangover?

#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 08 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
I made a very deliberate decision last night when I went to bed. I decided that since tomorrow (today) is Sunday and my kids are at their dad's house, I would go to sleep without setting my alarm and wake whenever my body decided it wanted to wake. 

I woke at 2:30a. This is way too early. I checked my phone for emails and social media murmurings, turned on a movie (which is how I like to fall asleep), drifted back to sleep some time later. 

I woke at 6:20a to the light clamor of pots and pans and other kitchen things and the smell of something delicious being prepared. I pick my kiddos up at 5p this evening, I smiled and just laid there, knowing I had alllllll day to write my words. 

I ate breakfast. I prepared the top half of myself for a video call with friends I'm working on a side-project with, I filled the time between checking website stats and researching another idea I recently had -- which sounds semi-productive but what I'm actually saying is I was procrastinating on writing my NaNoWriMo words. I'm typing this journal post today BEFORE having completed my writing sprint for today. I'm doing it all backward and proving to myself that I absolutely need my little pocket of 4:30-6am morning time to do this. I hoped to write more yesterday, but kind of knew early on that the 1305 words I wrote in the morning was going to be it for the day. I'm always super exhausted after I speak at a conference, and I'm always super exhausted after I fly on a plane. Silly me for thinking I might have enough ambition to power through any of that so late in the day. The good news is NOW I KNOW. I know what I need to do to succeed here for absolute certain. And I still believe I can do this. 

I'm going to go and write my little heart out now so that I have some stats to share. ;) 
---Later the same day---

Today was a bit wobbly until I sat down and started writing. Once I did, my heart poured out and out and out. NaNoWriMo is pushing me in ways I hadn't expected. Now that I'm beyond the surface layer of getting the basic outline drafted out, I'm digging very deeply into my own emotions and memories and feelings. THIS is writing! I always feel like I put a lot of heart and feeling into my writing, that is exactly why I love writing so much, but when you pick a moment, or a person and really dive into the depth of detail, it's a truly moving experience. All this stuff that comes from inside us... I'm floored. I'm excited to see what happens tomorrow.

Today's stats: 
Started writing at 12:15p
Stopped writing at 2:05p

3029 words today, bringing my current total to 20,339 (I'm so in this!)


#NaNoWriMo LOG: DAY 07 (A 1st Timer's Journey) 
I'm headed to California this morning to speak at CocoaConf-San Jose. I had to cut this trip a little short, doing a same-day out and back, offering the closing keynote at the conference in between flights. I'm a little sad I didn't get to go out on Thursday as originally planned, parenting responsibilities took priority and required a little schedule rearranging. Ultimately, it's all working out. And, I was able to get 1305 words out this morning before I had to pack up for the airport. 

I learned two things about today:

  1. Today is #NanoSelfieDay2015. I didn't realize there was such a thing until an email happened this morning, but a part of my journaling project has been to include a daily "selfie" so I'm covered on that front. Hooray!
  2. Today is Double-Up Donation Day, an all-day opportunity to write, inspire one another, and support NaNo nonprofit programs. Double your word count, double your donation, double whatever you see fit to double. I'm not sure I'll get double my words in today, but there's no harm in trying if I can squeeze a bit more out on my return flight home, for now I need to keep my head in the "I'm about to give a talk in a few hours" space. With the 1305 words I wrote this morning, I'll feel pretty good even if I don't push more words out before the day's end.

I took a few minutes yesterday combing through my content thus far, and extracted a few headers to elaborate upon. I also had an excellent handful of comments from yesterday's post with tips and pointers and things other NaNoWriMo-ers have done to succeed at this challenge. I LOVE the support that has come through this community. 

Extra thanks to @Archimage again for the continued encouragement. And extra special amounts of gratitude for my boyfriend, who makes me breakfast while I'm typing away at my word count, drives me to/from the airport, and who supports and encourages every single crazy idea I have (in addition to about 1,000,000 other tiny things that amount to me being the luckiest friggin' girl I know.)

Today's stats: 
Started writing at 4:40a
Stopped writing at 5:23a
Got a ride to airport
Flew to San Jose for conference
Wrote more on the flight (To be continued?)

1305 words (so far), bringing my current total to 17,310