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Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Using the NaNoWriMo Site for Tracking Non-NaNoWriMo Writing Projects

I made an interesting discovery this year: You can now use the NaNoWriMo website to track other writing projects throughout the year, rather than only being able to use it to track progress during regular and Camp NaNoWriMo in November, April, and July.

So this year, following NaNoWriMo, I created a new project for my continuing rewrites after November ended.  I was unfortunately unable to just create a new goal for the same project I'd used during NaNoWriMo, but this works just as well since I had to adjust the word count to eliminate the words for some related writing I did during November that wasn't actually part of the novel.

I am really enjoying this new feature of the NaNoWriMo website.  I like having a place where I can keep all of my writing projects catalogued in one place, and track progress in all of them.  Plus you're able to set an end date for your goal, and the site calculates out how many words you need each day, based on current progress and end goal - just like it does during NaNoWriMo.  I am really looking forward to using this feature more than just during NaNo and Camp.

The one feature I wish it had was the ability to put progress bars on your website or blog.  In the "old days" of NaNoWriMo, there were word count widgets that pulled your word count from the NaNo site and allowed you to share your progress on your blog.  They've since done away with those, but I really wish they still had them, especially now.

For now I'm using a hybrid approach of updating my word count on the NaNoWriMo website to take advantage of the graph and tracking features there, and also using a word count widget I found online some years ago to show my progress on my author blog.

Monday, December 05, 2022

NaNoWriMo 2022 Recap

I have been focusing more on my author blog lately, since I've been working so heavily on my novel, and I realized I have forgotten to update here very often throughout November.  In fact, NaNoWriMo ended five days ago now, and I still haven't provided a recap!

The recap is that I won NaNoWriMo!  It was the most successful NaNo I've ever had, actually.  I had a few big word count days, but other than that I had a constant, daily pace that got me to the finish line on November 30th.  I could have probably finished earlier if I hadn't been determined to continue writing in order, despite needing to do some research in the last week or so.

As I've mentioned in a recent post, I've been planning to keep working on my novel post-NaNoWriMo, and I've been considering how to ensure I make time for it.  I wrote every day in November except for Thanksgiving, so I felt like this year had a good chance of having created a lasting daily writing habit.  And sure enough, I've managed to work on my novel every day in December so far.

Right now it's a little up in the air what will be happening with my other endeavors.  I also wrote recently about contemplating whether I wanted to continue or change my writing services.  My primary client hasn't yet assigned out work for January, and I haven't done any marketing.  I was going to wait until after NaNoWriMo to start marketing again, but if I decide to go that route, I think I'll actually have better luck after the holidays.

In any case, NaNoWriMo 2022 was a grand success, and may have done what I'm always hoping NaNoWriMo will do: Kick start lasting habits and produce lasting changes in my life.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Shifting Scope in Freelance Writing Services

I've come up against a hard question lately.  I know I'm juggling too many things, and I'd like to be able to focus on some of my other projects, such as finishing and self-publishing my novel, and working on building my doll business.

At the same time, I've lost a couple of regular clients over the course of this year.  I am seeing fewer jobs on the freelance platform I'm using, and have reason to believe they're on the verge of going under, which will take with it my last remaining regular client.

I was planning to start marketing heavily and transition away from using said platform once NaNoWriMo was over, but I've been tossing around some other ideas as well.

One possibility is to take a hiatus from writing freelance entirely, and focus on finishing my novel and getting it self-published.  All of that will require a good deal of work, plus I still have some other projects I'm juggling, so I expect not to have it published until mid-year next year.  Taking a break from freelancing would mean one less thing on my plate, which would hopefully allow me to finish those projects sooner.

Another possibility is to change what I do.  Right now I'm building (within the provided software) and writing a website for the stables where I board my horses, and I'm enjoying it very much.  It's as much visual design as it is writing, and I find the combination very satisfying.  I was thinking last night that I'd enjoy specializing in something like that.  Maybe I could offer blog packages or ongoing blogging as part of my website services.

I haven't decided yet what, if anything, I want to change.  I may just keep things the same through the holidays, and give myself some time to think it through before making changes early in the new year.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

The Simon Memory Game of Life

I feel like, ever since Panama started getting better, I've been playing one of those games where you add something every round.  You know, like the Simon memory game.  Remember the lighted button/tone correctly, and next time it adds a new one to the sequence.  And on and on, until you mess up.

That's what I'm doing right now.  Every time I master making time for something in my schedule, I add something new.  And on and on... except I don't get to exit this crazy game, I just have to make it keep working!

Juggling several businesses and projects can require a lot of schedule compartmentalization.  In the months while Panama was gradually getting better and requiring less care, I made a habit of blogging and working on my websites regularly, in addition to my client work.  And as I got a little more time back, I added some doll and photography stuff to my schedule.  Then he went back to his corral (requiring a lot less work) and I added novel writing to my daily schedule for NaNoWriMo.

Now NaNoWriMo is almost over, and I'm planning on continuing to work on my novel daily after November ends.  I do want to try to get this book published in 2023, so I need to keep working on it until it's finished.

But at the same time, I'm planning on adding another new daily thing to my life in December: I want to ramp up my work on dolls and start getting some of these projects done and out the door.  I also need to do better about taking pictures regularly, as that's part of the marketing for my doll business.

I have a lot that I do, and I don't really want to give up any of it, so that means I need to optimize my schedule so that I have time for everything when it needs to be done.  I don't always succeed, but I think I do pretty well.  I've learned some approaches recently that have made it easier, too, which I'll share in a future post!

I hope all of my US readers had a good Thanksgiving and are able to enjoy a long holiday weekend.  Back to work on Monday!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

A Quick NaNoWriMo Check-In

I honestly wasn't sure how NaNoWriMo was going to go for me this year.  After the year I've had and all the struggles with my horse's care, I wasn't sure I'd be able to devote enough time to writing to be successful in the challenge, even with Panama going back to the corral just before November started.

As it turned out, though, I needn't have worried.  I don't know if the past year has taught me better time management skills, or just made me eager to do my own thing once again after six months of being at the barn almost constantly, but I dove right into writing and have been writing consistently every day since.  I've had some prolific days (a few 2,000-word days and one 8,000 word day), and some less prolific days (a few 200 to 400 word days), but I've made sure to write even just a little every day to maintain the habit (and to keep getting the achievement badges on nanowrimo.org for daily updating).

It helps somewhat that I've had a light work month as far as freelance work goes, possibly because of the holidays.  It's allowed me to devote more time to writing.  But I've also been managing my time a little better lately, I think - more on that in a later post.

Right now, I'm at 28,189 words.  That's more than halfway to the 50,000-word goal to "win" NaNoWriMo.  Of course, my personal goal is to finish a round of revisions and rewrites on the novel, so I will soon change my goal to be more reflective of what I actually want my finished word count to be - probably around 90,000 words.

We're halfway through the month, which makes it seem like there's a lot left, but in reality it's only a little over two weeks.  Once NaNoWriMo ends, I'll have to find a way to continue writing and working on my novel while still maintaining my freelance work and my other businesses.  I do want to keep working on this novel, and hopefully get it published this coming year, rather than petering out on it as I've done in the past.  Fortunately, it feels like I've hit my stride this time, so I'm hoping I'll be able to maintain this habit.

Friday, November 04, 2022

NaNoWriMo Whirlwind

Lately my client work has been a bit slow, but that's been just as well, since my entire week has been consumed with NaNoWriMo: Our kickoff party was Monday night, so much of Monday was spent in preparation for that, and I've really thrown myself into working on my novel this week.

The result has been worth it: as of right now, I have 11,682 words.  I think this might actually be a record for the fastest I've passed 10,000 words during November.

I'm enjoying immersing myself in my characters' world once again.  Ruby Ransome is a world I created over ten years ago (I wrote the first draft of the first novel in 2011), but it's been a long time since I've been so deep in it.  I am remembering how much I loved writing it.

I have other things to do in November, of course, but right now I'm enjoying the thrill I'm getting from working on my novel, and hoping I can maintain a good balance of progress on my novel and attention to other things on my to-do list.

Saturday, October 29, 2022

NaNoWriMo and My Changing Schedule

This past week was a rough one, which was part of why I haven't blogged as regularly lately.  My horse Panama went back to his corral on Monday, which ostensibly means that he's better and our lives will be easier now... once we're sure he's settled in and won't suffer a setback, anyway.  So although in theory this week was laying the groundwork for a better schedule, in practice it was rather a hot mess, as we spent a lot more time going to the barn to check up on him.

I am consoling myself that at least next week will be better, in that Panama will require much less of my time.  Unfortunately, next week will also see the start of NaNoWriMo, so that time I'm saving will be immediately dumped into a new bucket.

NaNoWriMo begins Monday night in a big way, with our annual kickoff party.  We always start the party at 10pm, after people have had a chance to do Halloween things.  We have a potluck and socialize for a couple hours with people we only really see in November every year.

Then, once November officially starts at midnight, we start writing.  The entire place suddenly and completely quiets down, and all you hear for the next 90 minutes or so is the clacking of keyboards.  The party officially ends at 2am, but people tend to start filtering out after 1am, usually, and we typically start cleaning up around 1:30 or 1:45.

It means that we typically don't get home until close to 3am, so we also usually take November 1st off work.

Then begins a month-long whirlwind of write-ins.  We have a big new Come Write In partner this year, Barnes & Noble, so I'm holding two official write-ins at local B&Ns during the week, plus my big weekend write-in at a local gaming cafe, and another write-in or two I'm planning on attending in a less official capacity (i.e., not running them).  I'll be doing a minimum of three write-ins per week, and as many as six.

It's going to be a busy month.

For the most part I'm going to try to keep my novel writing to the write-ins, so it does mean that I'll have to carve out time on my own for any day where I don't go to a write-in.  This is instead of my original plan, to work on my novel first every day.  With the exception of a Saturday write-in I might attend, all of the other write-ins take place in the early evening, so it makes sense to spend the earlier part of my days on other work.

I can't believe NaNoWriMo is already nearly here!  As always, I feel supremely unprepared.  Hopefully I can get more prepared in the last couple of days before it starts.

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