Day 8: 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep

Day 8: 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep

Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh

Starry Night, by Vincent van Gogh

I have a migraine and can’t write much, so for today I’m sharing some quotes from Vincent van Gogh that I find inspiring.

“I long so much to make beautiful things. But beautiful things require effort—and disappointment and perseverance.”

“I keep on making what I can’t do yet in order to learn to be able to do it.'”

“For the great doesn’t happen through impulse alone, and is a succession of little things that are brought together.”

I have a bit of a story idea I’m turning over in my mind. I wrote a couple of paragraphs as a story opening earlier this year without knowing where it would lead. A line came to me so I started writing. I might work off that more. The idea of writing a whole fantasy novel next month scares me, because I feel like I can’t do it and it won’t be any good and it just won’t happen. But I think it would be good for me anyway, so hopefully I can get some ideas planned out and conquer another novel!

Day 7: 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep

Day 7: 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep

2017 NaNoWriMo Participant

I didn’t have a chance to write a post yesterday, but I was thinking about writing a lot, if that counts for something! I realized that I’ve still been letting fear dictate the story, and even genre, that I planned on writing. I was trying to go for a story I thought I could write in a month rather than write what I really want. So I’ve decided on a genre change. Fantasy is what I really want to write the most, so fantasy it is. The same things apply. It’s still fine to write a bad story!

One hangup for me has been not wanting to write about something in the world I’ve been building if I didn’t know it’s what I wanted for that world. But it doesn’t matter! If I write a rough draft and decide I want details to change, well, that’s what the other drafts are for.

I love what Neil Gaiman has to say about mistakes:

I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.


Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.


So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.


Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.


Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

I need to stop letting perfectionism and fear keep me from writing. I need to write, and need to write from the heart without being afraid of making mistakes. I’m trying to figure out how to let myself do that and write a whole novel next month. I have a few vague glimmerings of ideas for stories. As I let those simmer in the back of my mind, I’m finding some of my favorite high fantasy stories to read again as inspiration. I have a couple of fantasy worlds (which may end up being different parts of the same world; I’m still not sure) that I’ve started building, and I may use one of those. Or I might pick a fairy tale to retell. There are so many possibilities, and really, it won’t be wrong. It can be whatever I want, so why fear failure? As I try to find my story, I’m trying to let myself relax, lock up my perfectionist, and just write beautiful things because I love it. And I need to write.


Day… 5? 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep!

2017 NaNoWriMo Participant

Today is day 5 of Write 31 Days, but we’ve been sick, so I skipped a couple of days. Only post 3 for me. I’ll just call it day 5.

I have an idea that’s starting to develop I might turn into my novel. I had the idea a couple of years ago to do a series of different Christmastime stories relating to Secret Santas, so I’m considering starting on that. I’m liking this idea, though I don’t have a whole lot yet. The other ideas I’ve had so far are for stories I don’t want to use for NaNoWriMo.

I think some of my best writing has been when I just write, but for NaNoWriMo, I need to do more deliberate planning. I’ve kind of tried a variety of methods, though haven’t stuck with much for long or figured out what works best for me yet. I do like Bullet Journaling, so I’m reading through the NaNoWriMo Bullet Journaling group on Facebook for some ideas. I have a DIY traveler’s journal with Moleskine notebooks I like to use for notes, as well as Scrivener. I do most of my writing in Scrivener, though I also use Google Drive and Notes to write on my phone when trying to get word count up.

I keep getting overwhelmed by not knowing what I’m going to write, or just the crazy idea of actually writing a WHOLE NOVEL in just one month. So I remind myself it’s fine to write a bad novel. In fact, I’m going to plan on it! It’s not going to be amazing the first time around, and that’s fine. I’m not going to write an amazing novel in a month, but I can manage a bad one. It can be made amazing later. And really, even if it isn’t, that’s fine too. It’s a good experience, and writing a novel is good for me even if I don’t ever do more with it. Having actually done it once before is great for my confidence. I know I can do it now.

So the big advice for today: Write a bad novel! Don’t let fear of writing a bad novel stop you. Write it anyway. It can be made better. Just get the story out.


Day 2: 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep

2017 NaNoWriMo Participant

Today I ordered a 2017 NaNoWriMo shirt! The one year I won, 2015, I bought one, and I think it actually contributed to me winning. I think the financial investment of buying the shirt made it feel like more of a commitment to me, plus wearing every two or three days was a good reminder and push to write! I actually wasn’t a big fan of how the shirt fit, so this year, I’m going to rework the one I bought to fit me more comfortably. So stay tuned for that post! I also created my novel on the NaNoWriMo site. I still don’t know what I’m writing (though I had some ideas today!) so I just put “TBD” as the title. But I created it, which is the first step on there! I’m going to flesh out this story idea a bit and see if it might work. It’s a Christmas story, which is fitting for this time of the year, so we’ll see!


Day 1: 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep

2017 NaNoWriMo Participant


It’s October 1, which means only a month until NaNoWriMo! I decided to do Write 31 Days in October to help me get into the habit of writing daily, as well as be more intentional about preparing for November. My topic for the month is 31 Days of NaNoWriMo Prep. Some days I’ll write about something I do that day, and sometimes it will be something I’ve already done. Sometimes I might even share a vignette or micro fiction as I start planning my novel! As of today, I have no idea what my novel will be about. I think it will be set in my fictional small town, in modern days. I’m not sure though. I have some fantasy stories waiting to be told as well. Hopefully as I start planning I’ll figure it out!

One of the first things I’m focusing on is comfort and ergonomics. I got an ergonomic keyboard, which I’m starting to use now in an effort to adjust to it before November. It’s strange to get used to, but I think it will be much better for me in the long run! I have joint pain and some health issues that make typing difficult, which has been an obstacle for me during NaNoWriMo in the past. But hopefully this will make things easier. I’m also starting to organize my desk and surrounding area so I can get it all as easy to use as possible before novel writing time. I’m going to put favorite books, writing tools, and whatever else will be helpful on the shelves right next to the desk. Writing a novel in a month isn’t easy, and I want to help myself out as much as possible! Writing this series will push me to do more planning and preparation. It’s too easy to put it off, then not be prepared come November 1. Tune in tomorrow for the next post! I’m trying to decide on subscription options. I do have a newsletter subscription which I haven’t yet used, so if there’s interest in that, I might start sending out weekly updates that way. In the meantime, I also will be sharing these on my Facebook page, so follow me there if you want the updates!



Bees are the theme around here right now. I homeschool our two little boys, and we’ve been reading a lot of spring-themed books. The boys love bugs, and bees are so cool. I’m reading Chalice, by Robin McKinley. It’s one of my favorite Robin McKinley books (okay, so that list includes most of her books, and there are none of hers I dislike) and would make it on my all-time favorites list too. I even love this cover for Chalice. It’s so pretty. I first read the book on Kindle, but bought the paperback afterward because I loved the book and cover both so much. Chalice is about Mirasol, a beekeeper, who has become Chalice for the land where she resides. She and the new master of the land, who is different and feared by many, have to work to save their land. It’s a beautiful story.

Chalice, by Robin McKinley

Two of our favorite picture books right now are The Bee Tree, by Patricia Polacco, and The Honeybee Man, by Lela Nargi and Kyrsten Brooker. The boys are also enjoying Usborne’s 1001 Bugs to Spot. We have a great library system!

The Honeybee Man

I’ve also been planning and working on inventory for an Etsy shop. My vision is to make knitted products, mostly fingerless gloves, inspired by story and legend.You can follow my knitting account on Instagram @lindnorknits. This is my current project, using a honeycomb pattern.

honeycomb glove

I’m working on the second glove now. They will probably be named Telling the Bees, and I think the research on that folklore is going to inspire a short story! My health has crashed again recently, which took a toll on my writing. I’m hoping to dig in to some short stories soon though.

Edited to add: I did mention the Etsy shop idea in my last post! I thought I had, but when I did a search for “Etsy,” it turned up nothing. Apparently there was a typo, which is why I couldn’t find it. Oh well! Going to fix that now…


Down to the Wire

It’s down to the wire now on finishing up Camp NaNoWriMo! By the way, do you know where the phrase “down to the wire” originated? It comes from horse racing, back in the late 19th century when they used to string up a wire across the finish line to help determine the winner. The horses would race down to the wire. I thought it was a sports term of some sort, but couldn’t remember for sure. I find information like that fascinating.

So. Down to the wire. Camp ends in 5 days and I’m way behind. It’s not too terribly much left to write really, since I kept my word count goal at the low number of 12k. But I haven’t written for about half the month and have been fighting a nasty cold and allergies, so I came into today with about half my word count left and less than a week to go. I almost gave up this afternoon. But then I didn’t. I started getting all these ideas and decided I wasn’t going to let this beat me! It’s Camp. Unlike November’s NaNoWriMo, I don’t have to write a novel. I can write whatever I want, so I’ve worked on about 8 different writing projects today. Words!

Other big project in the works: I’m going to start an Etsy shop! I have a lot of health struggles, and don’t have the strength and energy to do a lot. But I find when I feel bad, I enjoy knitting while reading books on my Kindle. So I decided to combine my different loves and I’m going to start an Etsy shop for knitted things with names, and sometimes patterns, inspired by stories. And read while I knit! I love it. My plan is to work on building up supply over the spring and summer and officially launch the shop probably late summer. I did already make a custom order for a friend, and might try to do more similar things. And if I have enough ready earlier, I’ll go ahead and put them in the shop. So that’s in the works!

I’m currently reading “You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost)” by Felicia Day and “In the Labyrinth of Drakes” by Marie Brennan. I love Felicia Day and her book is a really fun read. It’s her memoir, but not your typical memoir. It’s funny, I can relate to a lot of it, and it’s very encouraging to me right now too. And hilarious. Coincidentally, the Marie Brennan series is a fictional memoir, but it’s about dragons. I’m loving that series too. I’ve discovered some wonderful books so far this year, and added quite a few to my list of favorites. That list is only a mental list right now, but eventually it might get written down. Check out my Goodreads profile if you want to see more of what I’m reading!

Also, I’m so glad I had this post in Scrivener, because something crashed as I tried to post and the draft wasn’t even saved. Always back up your work! *creeps away to backup everything written this month*


Classified Ads: Spider

I’m reading over some of what I wrote during Camp NaNoWriMo last year in hopes of inspiration (or maybe just in procrastination). This is one of my favorites so far:

Large Spider. Free to any home. Must pick up from my living room. Eats small dogs and large rats. Must be gone today.


Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again! April 1, which kicks off the first Camp NaNoWriMo of the year. I set my word count goal for the month at 20k words, and I’m beginning a new novel. I’m pretty excited about it, and can’t wait to see where it goes. I have a loose idea of the story, but don’t know a lot of the details, so I’ll be figuring it out as I go. It’s about an exiled sea prince and a baker from a village on land. I’ll probably work a bit on other projects as well, but this novel will be my main focus. The working title at the moment is The Sea Prince, but that’s not going to be the final title. It’s set in a high fantasy world, one in which I’ve already started a few stories. I’m looking forward to exploring that world more and seeing where this story leads!


What I Learned from Camp NaNoWriMo: Take 2

After April’s Camp NaNoWriMo, I blogged about things I learned from the experience. July’s Camp was very good for me too. The summer has been a lot crazier and more stressful than I anticipated, so I ended up only going for 10k words in July, instead of the 25k I had thought I’d attempt. That was definitely the right choice, because I barely got out my 10,000 words. But I did make it! It was a little doubtful that last week, but I ended up with a total of 10,003 words the last night.

With no time for planning beforehand, and not a lot of opportunity for writing in July, I had to make it up along the way. Among NaNoWriMoers, it’s known as pantsing, flying by the seat of your pants. As I wrote in the previous post, a lack of confidence is my biggest obstacle when it comes to writingCouple that with perfectionism and you have a death sentence for productivity. I had to lock up my inner editor, silence my inner critic, and just write, whatever I could get out. I worked on various projects I already had going, plus started a couple of stories for a fantasy epic world I planned on eventually starting. I hadn’t really started the world building yet, but I had an idea and started. So I have a couple of characters writing first person narratives about their experiences. First person is easier than third when you have no idea what the characters are named! I didn’t want to name characters until I figured out basic language ideas for the world, and didn’t see really starting for a few years. Apparently that plan changed!

I also found some fun writing prompts in the NaNoWriMo forum that got me a lot of words too. Such as this bit of a story inspired by the first line prompt, plus a prompt including a trunk with some of the items I included:

In hindsight, taking candy from a stranger might not have been the best idea. It all started when I bumped into the fellow waiting on grandmother’s doorstep. He offered me a peppermint, just like grandmother used to give me, and I couldn’t refuse. Those eyes looked so sad, as sad as I felt. After a moment of silence together on the porch, I finally got the nerve to ask more. “So how did you say you knew grandmother?”
“Oh, we, um, worked together years ago. This was hers.” He motioned to the large trunk he was sitting on. I hadn’t noticed it before then. I just assumed he was sitting on a chair of some sort.
“What’s in it?”
He gave me a mysterious look, or at least tried to. “We best get inside before I show you that.”
After a few minutes of huffing and puffing as I tried to pull the trunk inside, I finally got the bright idea to call the butler for help. Because let’s face it, I’m not in the best shape, and the old dude wasn’t much help. “Jeeves!” He’s old too, but much more fit than either of us were at the time.
The butler appeared, quickly and silently as ever. “You called, sir?”
“Yes, could you give me a hand with this trunk? He says it’s grandmother’s and I need to check it out.”
“Certainly. However, I can’t imagine your grandmother ever owning such a distasteful piece of luggage.”
I grabbed one end of the trunk and motioned to the other. Jeeves lifted his end and we carried it into the front hall. After setting down the trunk, Jeeves brushed off his gloved hands, looked disdainfully at the trunk, and strutted off. I’ve tried to point out his strut, but he insists that he doesn’t do anything as low as strut.

I knelt down next to the trunk, and the old guy knelt next to me. I turned to him and held up my hand. “Wait. Before we go any further, I have a question for you. Uh, who are you?”
“Well okay then. Let’s get this opened.”
I turned back to the trunk and tried to pull it open, to no avail. “You don’t happen to have a key, do you?”
He held one up.
“You could have given me that earlier.” Boris was quite the interesting person. I took the key and inserted it into the lock, turning it with not a little effort. The lid creaked so badly as I wrestled it open, I was afraid it would break off before opening all the way. Once I got it stuck open, I found myself hesitant to look through the contents. I carefully pulled up some previously black fabric, which turned out to be a heavy cloak. The disturbance caused a flurry of smells to attack my nose. Dust, mold, and peppermint are not the most pleasant combination.

Wrapped up in the cloak, and I can still hardly believe it myself, I found a few sticks of dynamite. I almost dropped them in my shock, then realized just in time that dropping them would be about the worst idea possible at the time. Short of a match, of course. Which I actually found beneath the cloak, a whole box of matches, in fact. Along with an old, dirty pocket watch, that would probably be considered vintage, some costume jewelry, and an abundance of peppermints scattered throughout the trunk. What on earth was grandma up to decades ago?

That’s completely unedited so far, so don’t judge too much! Also, it’s another example of a project I started in first person from the perspective of an unnamed character. I have too many characters to name now!

So July was very good for me in letting go of my perfectionism in my writing. I think it will help me a lot long term and make it easier for me to write more. I’m already thinking ahead to November’s NaNoWriMo. For the first time, it’s not a question in my mind of if I will write a novel in a month. I fully intend to do it and believe I will. That confidence will go a long way toward me getting the novel written. It might be crazy and ridiculous, and absolutely horrible, but that’s okay! Editing can come later.  That’s something I’m working on with the writing challenge this month too. I haven’t planned much for it, and I’m mostly just making it up as I go along. I’ve written down a few key words relating to some of the prompts, and I’m developing some backstory for the characters as I go, but it’s mostly just spontaneous. The hard part is restraining myself to only three sentences! Each day, I feel like four would be so much better, and of course, can think of what I want to say in four sentences. But three? It’s tough! As my husband likes to say, constraint drives creativity, so hopefully this will push me to be more creative! Follow me on Instagram or watch #writeastorychallenge if you want to keep up with the challenge.