1 Day to 2012 NaNoWriMo – Excitement

The last few days I have been talking about how I had no idea what I was going to write my NaNo story about. Last night I was sitting on my computer reading articles and I saw a suggestion for generating ideas. The suggestion said to do “What If” exercises. What if this happened? What if that happened? I decided to give it a try. By the time I got to the 22nd “What if” I had the idea for my story. I couldn’t believe it was that simple for me. Then, I had problems going to sleep. The story just kept running through my head – all the different turns it could take.

In less than 24 hours the party begins for us Wrimos in the US. Hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are geared up to take part in a phenomenon known as NaNoWriMo. But amazing enough, millions of people have no clue what NaNo is and have never heard of it. I can’t even remember how I stumbled across it 6 years ago. I just know that in 2006 just before I got ready for my very first cruise, and days before the start of NaNo, I was preparing for my first year of trying to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

What an experience it was. It was such a rush. I came up with the idea for my novel while sitting on the deck of the cruise ship one night. If only, if only I was on a cruise ship right now.

Tomorrow morning I will sit at my laptop at the dining room table and type my first words towards my goal of 50,000 words. The beginning of a journey that I’m hoping won’t be too stressful. I will let my significant other and my children know what’s going on. I’m sure they will want to give out ideas that I’m sure will be included in my story somehow.

My weekends will be spent doing homework and writing my story and trying to get ahead on my word count. There will be write-ins all over the world during next month. I probably won’t be able to attend any scheduled write-ins but I’ll be having some of my own. Starbucks, the cafeteria at my workplace, my desk at work, on a notepad during meetings, anywhere I can find a place to write – I will.

I’m so excited…let’s write, write, write, write!

Will I still be just as excited in 10, 20, 25 days from now? Only time will tell.

Make sure you get some sleep tonight because it’s the last you’ll be getting – for 30 days!!!!



2 Days to 2012 NaNoWriMo – Where’s the Inspiration

The nerves are starting to set in. I’m starting to get jittery. I hate feeling like I’m not prepared. But…I’m not prepared so it’s my own fault for feeling this way. Less than 48 hours left for the start of NaNo and I’m not prepared.

What does prepared mean to me? For one it’s having some idea of what my story for the month will be about. The last time I knew what my story was going to be about when starting NaNo, I reached my 50,000 word goal. The other times I went into it without a clue, I never finished. So do you see why it’s important for me to know? I want to finish this year.

I’m hoping that between now and Nov. 1 something will come to mind. A friend of mine told me to write about what I like to read. So does that mean I need to write a Christian fiction thriller murder mystery novel? Now that would be interesting. But I’m no James Patterson – although I love his writing.

It’s not like I don’t have any ideas. It’s more that I have too many. Maybe what I should do, since the point of NaNo is to just get it out of my head, is to start with all my ideas. Maybe eventually one of the ideas will stand out more than the other and that’s the one that will take off. Yeah, I think that’s what I’ll do.

On November 1, I will just start writing. Once upon a time….okay, not really.

But here’s a good look at the ideas that  inspired authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, E.B. White, C.S. Lewis and others.

If only!


3 Days to 2012 NaNoWrimo – Characters

I wanted to talk about characters today because they are so important to your story. I’m sure there are many different ways that people use to come up with characters.

My way in the past has just been to start writing about a character and make up the names as I go along. The problem with this, for me, has been that somewhere later in the story I can’t remember what I called a friend, a neighbor, or even a family member. I then find myself not remembering hair color or other pertinent information about my characters.

I don’t know why I avoid doing some sort of character sketch for my characters. When I see a character sketch, I see how useful it could be and how it just makes sense. But I avoid taking the time to sit down and fill one out…but in the end, I end up losing time because I can’t remember what I wrote before.

For NaNo this year, I plan on using a character sketch. I found a character sketch that I liked off of the Writer’s Digest website from NOVEL IN 30 DAYS WORKSHEET INDEX.

I will at least attempt to fill out a character sketch for a few of my characters. I don’t want to waste precious writing time trying to go back through to see what her eye color was or if he had hair or not.

What do you do to initially develop your characters? Do you make them up as you go along (like I do) or do you plan out your characters extensively?

Right now we are only 2 days and 11 hours from the start of 2012 NaNoWriMo and I don’t have any characters yet for my story. But I’m sure by Nov 1, I will have some idea.


4 Days to 2012 NaNoWriMo – Finding the Time to Write

“Random thoughts appear so often that I keep pen and paper nearby at all times. I never know when I’m gonna be inspired to write but I wanna be ready when I am.”
~ Lea Mishell, Author

Finding time to write has always been a problem for me. I find myself packing so many things into my day and writing always gets left off the list. However, since I have re-committed myself to my writing, I now have to make that an important part of my life.

Most of us are not full-time writers. We have day jobs. We have children. We go to school. We own our own businesses. We have social lives. So where does writing fit in?

For me, I’m going to have to write in the early mornings before going to work. I’d like to hope to get some writing done during the day while at work, but that isn’t always possible. My lunch time is usually spent on doing homework. But maybe I can change my game plan around for NaNo. I always keep scrap paper on my desk to jot down random things for work. But with NaNo starting soon, I wondering if those scraps will be filled with ideas, scenes, and characters for my story.

Writer’s Relief gives some great tips about “keeping the muse going throughout the day” and I plan to use some of them.

When I asked Cammi, a close friend of mine, when she found the time to write her first manuscript amongst the hustles and bustles of life she replied,

“While sitting at my desk at work, different ideas pop into my head, I jot the ideas down on sticky notes (sticky notes are my best friend while writing). Then once I get home, before doing anything else, I immediately sit at my computer while new ideas are fresh in my mind and I begin free style writing. Then I incorporate my previous ideas that I had on sticky notes into the story as I go.”

Everyone who wants to write finds the time to write. They all have their way of making sure it gets done.

How do you fit time to write in your schedule?


Lea Mishell’s books include: Tales from the Lou and Livin’ Just Enough: Rachael’s Story (SistaGirlz)

5 Days to 2012 NaNoWriMo – Writer’s Block

I’m a little late on today’s post. I sat here in front of the computer for hours and didn’t type a single word. I couldn’t think of what to write about. Is that what they call “writer’s block”?

Okay, so that’s not entirely true. I didn’t sit for hours not knowing what to write about. I knew exactly what I wanted to write about today – writer’s block.

What exactly is it and what causes it? I’ve heard a lot of different things. My excuse used to be that I just didn’t have anything to write about or I didn’t know what to write about.

But it wasn’t until this week that I realized the cause of my so-called writer’s block. As I sat in front of my computer screen, wanting to write, knowing what I wanted to write about and nothing was on the screen, it finally came to me.


Afraid that what I’m writing won’t be good enough. Afraid that no one will care about what I’m writing. Fear of getting my true feelings about something down on paper. What if someone sees it and looks at me differently?

I guess that’s why NaNoWrimo is such a good event. It gives you the opportunity to not worry if it’s good enough or not, just get it down.

Throw the inhibitions out the door.

Give that inner critic the month off…with or without pay.

Here’s to no more writer’s block,


6 Days to 2012 NaNoWriMo – References

Amazon’s Writing & Publishing Reference section is a great source for books of all types for story and plot structure, novel writing and getting published. A few books that I have in my own personal library are:

Write That Book Already! The Tough Love You Need to Get Published Now by Sam Barry

How to Be a Writer: Building Your Creative Skills Through Practice and Play by Barbara Baig

On Writer’s Block by Victoria Nelson

A New Guide to Better Writing by Rudolph Flesch

The Fiction Writer’s Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf

No Plot? No Problem! By Chris Baty

The Writing of the Short Story by Lewis Worthington Smith

Although I haven’t read all of these books, I keep them on hand anyway. I have at least browsed through them and may have read several pages. But they are to be used more as references instead of a how-to correct?

What books do you have in your library that you use often? What books have you read that have helped you in your writing journey?


7 Days to 2012 NaNoWriMo – Outlining

I’ve been reading a lot of writing articles lately. There are so many out there that it’s very easy to get confused on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do as a writer. But what I’ve learned is that you truly have to find what works best for you.

I mostly read my articles from Writer’s Digest. There are tons and tons of articles on numerous topics – from ways to fuel your writing to finish your novel in 4 simple steps to your essential synopsis checklist.

The article I recently read, “How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo: To Outline or To Not Outline” was a perfect choice for Day 1 – 7 days to NaNoWriMo. I’ve always wondered if I should outline before starting a writing project. To me, it just seems that if I did, I wouldn’t have to worry so much about getting stuck or not knowing where my story would go next. But on the other hand, what if I don’t know where I want the story to go but instead I want my characters to dictate the direction of the story. How can you outline that?

When it really comes down to it for your NaNo story all you really need to know is:

  1. What’s your story going to be about?
  2. What does your character want?
  3. How will your character get what he/she wants?

Even if you only have a slight idea of these answers in your head (a mental outline), that’s good enough to get you started for NaNo. After all, it’s not about the quality of your novel that matters for NaNo, it’s the quantity. It’s getting to 50,000 words by 11:59pm on November 30.

So figure out what your story will be about. Know where it’s heading and I’ll see you at the finish line.