A Time For Thanks

Like many I have been blessed this year.

I’m thankful for…

…my families constant support. For my husband who always sees my potential and tells me all the time how proud he is of me. To my children who inspire me. There have been so many times lately when they do without me. They understand when I cannot be there because of my weekend book signings and events. For their unconditional love I am thankful.

…my critique group who have been in my life for almost a decade. They are my weekly support system when I am in doubt of my work. I can count on them for encouragement, to listen and make me a better writer. They are like my extended family. I don’t know what I’d do without them. For their dedication I am thankful.

….my social media connections and friends. It’s my forum to vent, laugh and share. When I’m having a horrible day there is a word of encouragement. When I have something terrific to share someone is adding an emoji or a word of kudos. I don’t know 34,000 people and yet they still connect at one time or another. For my friends on these sites. You are consistent supporters of my work. I know some days you must hate seeing me once again in your feed. For their friendship and tolerance I am thankful.

…for my publisher who took a chance on me. Who believed my stories needed to be published. Who takes the time to answer my million and one emails. With that I hope to make Clear Fork Publishing rich someday! For their patience and open-mindedness I am thankful.

…for my illustrators who brought life to my characters. Andreea who made the characters of Step One, Step Two, Step Three and Four memorable. Bailey’s darling drawings in My Big Tree delights me every time I read the book. She even made a snakes lovable. Sunny’s adorable penguin. Iggy Loo warms my heart every time I look at him. He’s going to be on my Christmas card this year! For their wonderful talent I am thankful.

…for my faith that gives me the strength to overcome my struggles and help me see my worth. For this I am thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving!



Creating My Own NaNoWriMo

Last year 310,095 people participated in NaNoWriMo. “Only about 33,000 people actually finished the challenge and put 50,000 words to paper—that’s just 14 out of 100 people!” Brian Kelms said in his Writers Digest article. I was probably one of the 100. I love the Nano premise, building a novel in a month. They have a great support group, starting with a meet and greet party on October 31st. Then they have Write-Ins with locals and Nano coaches on twitter. I love meeting new writers, but I knew I couldn’t dedicate myself in the month of November. I had too much going on.

Nano helps writers get a novel down on paper. It doesn’t have to be a masterpiece, but a challenge. I didn’t think I could make 1667 words a day, roughly five and a half pages for a whole month. I signed up once and immediately felt like “Oh my, what did I just do?” I knew if I pressured myself to do it against my wishes I wouldn’t do it. I’m stubborn like that.

I had already established a Young Adult novel with twenty-five thousand words, which I couldn’t let go. I wanted to get it all done. I had my beginning middle and end. I needed the beef. I found being on a religious time schedule for the month of November was just too much for me personally. I had a writer friend tell me she wrote through her Thanksgiving meal. Those are the diehards.

So in February of last year, I decided to give myself my own Nano. I wasn’t going to write a new novel, even though I was supposed to. See my stubbornness? I wanted to finish the Young Adult. I gave myself the goal of writing a thousand words a day. In the end, I’d have at least a total of 55,000 words. I started in the morning and take a lunch break. I’d tweet about my numbers throughout the day just for validation. My followers helped in pushing me toward my daily goal. By midday, I’d be almost there. I’d make dinner and eat with the family. Then if I hadn’t met my goal it was back to my desk. If it took me to midnight to come up with a thousand words I did it. I had to meet my mark. I wasn’t giving up. I knew where the story was going so I just had to get it down on paper. Every night, I’d announce to my husband and twitter followers that I did it. And I’d give my word count total. It made me responsible.

I met my goal every day. My story grew and grew. I never went back to revisions. That would come later. It took me about five weeks to complete my young adult novel. Yes, it was a bit past my timeline, but as long as I continued my word count for the day and met my make of 30,000 words in the end, I didn’t care.

I’m impressed with what I had come up with so far. I have to say, I am in love with this novel aimed at high school boys with a little something, something for girls. I’m in the midst of my revisions and can’t wait until it’s truly done.

NaNoWriMo has to suit your personality and if you have the time. Any which way you choose, to gather with a world or for your own person satisfaction, it’s your choice. It’s about finishing and not creating the next New York Times Bestseller. But one could hope, right?

Don’t over think it. Don’t pressure yourself. Do it if you like deadlines. Do it if you like a challenge. Do it because you want to.

Nano on!