Saturday, November 29, 2014

NANOWRIMO - One Day Left!

I'm done with NaNo but still feeling the pressure for those are still working hard at becoming winners themselves. Just keep writing, just keep writing.....

So, what am I doing now that NaNo is over for me?

Sure, I could have kept going and really padded that word count but I knew my mind would need a break from such an intense creative process and I do have other interests beside novel writing.

One of those interests is my other blog, Ten Penny Nails - yes, a blog about nail polish. It's been sort of neglected this month because of NaNo but come Monday, it's back to regular posts there, too. If you like nail polish like I do and haven't checked it out, I am formally inviting you to do so.

Now that the commercial is out of the way...

Not sure if I've mentioned it here or not but I have signed up for a course in copywriting. Yeah, I've mentioned it but I'll be starting that course on Monday - I think. It's a self-paced kind of course so I can start whenever I like and take my time if I wish. But since I'm looking to copywriting for financial support while I become the next J.K. Rowling, I think I need to take it a little more seriously than that.

Ok, maybe the J.K. Rowling reference was a bit over the top but as I know I've said before, I'd rather dream big and get half of it than dream small and get all of it (Joyce-ism - If you know Joyce Meyer, you know what I'm talking about).

Actually, I am being serious. Just the thought of going back to cube life makes my stomach hurt, my head ache and my spirit want to crawl into a hole and hide out until I come to my senses. Been there, done that, moving on now. Cube life is no longer an option for me. If I do need to find a job, it will be part time and it will be doing something that doesn't involve a cubicle of any kind.

But that's not going to be necessary. I know I can do this copywriting thing. I've only read part of the course and haven't even started the guided part of the course yet and already I'm recognizing copy in my everyday life. You know those letters you get in the mail that offer you products and services and explains why you need it and need to get it now? That's copywriting. Maybe you don't respond to something like but lots of other people do. And it's not just sales letters. It's pretty much anything you read online, in a newspaper, in a magazine, even the blurb on the back of a book is copy. This blog is copy.

See what I mean? Copy is everywhere.

Want to know what else is copy? That query letter you slave and fret over for days, weeks, months - hopefully not years - before finally working up the nerve to send it out to an agent or publisher.

There's the side benefit of learning to be a copywriter. That query letter is us selling ourselves and our newly polished novel to that agent or publisher we've been dying to work with ever since we began to put words on paper - or computer screen. The query letter is the first thing we write that they see. It's their first impression of us. I want to make it a good one and I believe what I'm going to learn will help me to do just that - sell myself and my novel. Then you'll see a published work from P.L. Thompson. Or Penny Thompson. Haven't decided yet who I'm going to be as a published writer.

Where am I learning all this? American Writers and Artists Inc. - AWAI. Their website is packed with all kinds of information and it was free to join the site. I pretty much purchased the course right away so I can't speak to what they offer for free. I watched a free webinar on the Writer's Digest site, which is where this whole thing really started for me.

Whew! That was a lot of copy I just wrote. I will be practicing the skill here so fair warning. I know I sound like a commercial for AWAI - or maybe sales letter would be a better way of putting it - but I am excited to get started on this new career path. No more cube life! Just the freedom to work as much or as little as I want. Sounds like a much better life to me.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

NANO UPdate - Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

So, as you can see by the new little doo-dad on the left, I just won NaNoWriMo! YAY!!

Yes, I was going to wait until Saturday to validate my novel but I've got so many things going on now, I just needed this part to be over with for this year.

No, I did not finish with a completed first draft but I do have about half of the novel in first draft and the rest in synopsis. I'll  know where I left off when I get back to it.

For now, though, I need to decide which of two projects will now benefit from my attention. I'm leaning toward one, my friends are encouraging me toward another.

The one I'm leaning toward is one I've been writing since 1995 and is finally in a place where I'm happy with the the plot direction and much of the writing, I just need to make some minor changes for continuity and basically finish revising the thing so that I can pass it on to some beta readers for the final polish.

The other one is also in the same place but with fewer words. It was intended as a novella while the other one is a full sized novel. Lots to consider in the next few days.

I have also begun a course in copywriting. I'll be signing up for an online version of the same course as soon as some funds show up in my checking account. I have to say that after reading through a bit of the first part of the course, I really think this is the direction I'll go to bring in some stable income while I continue to pursue that all important publishing contract.

As the second week of unemployment continues, I'm still positive about my situation and confident that I will soon be making some decent money at this new career of copywriting. It's an interesting line of work with loads of possibilities and opportunities. I can set my own schedule - potential income is only limited by the amount of hours put in. I am my own boss - I was going to say I no longer have to please a demanding boss but then I've met me so....yeah, that's not true.

I'm excited and a little daunted about this new career I've chosen. Ok, a bit scared would be a more appropriate term but I'm going to do this. I know I can be good at it and it will mean I don't have to go back to 'cube life', as a friend of mine calls it.

Still, the idea that I may never find myself back inside an office building with a regular working schedule, sick time, vacation time, work piling up on a desktop that I can no longer see the bottom of...kind of weird, I must say.

Deep breath. Life is all about change. Those who can adapt will find life a little easier to take. I plan to be one of those individuals. Who knows? You might even one day read an article or book about my experience.

Anything is possible if you believe the impossible can happen.

Friday, November 21, 2014

NANO UPdate & A Bit of Rambling

With a week left to go on NANO, I am on track for the win and might even finish early now that I have lots of time for writing. But does that mean I'll be writing all the time? Probably not.

I already knew that I wrote best in spurts. I'd write for a bit, finish a scene and then move on to something else while I considered what to write next. I do confess that I really thought that if I was ever blessed with the opportunity for all day writing sessions, it would be ideal. Truth is, that's not really the way it works. At least, not yet for me and especially when my characters deviate from the outline as often as mine tend to do.

I'm sure I'll eventually get into a comfortable routine with my writing. For now, though, I've given myself permission to just relax. Pretend I'm on vacation for the rest of the year. I'm still going to write, though. I do believe that a writer must write every single day or risk losing what little ground was conquered the day before. I can easily lose that familiarity with my characters if I don't spend time with them every day. Going back to a project after a long absence means spending a bit of time getting reacquainted and remembering where I left them in the story.

So, yes. I will still be writing on this rest of the year vacation. In fact, I want to spend the time getting into that routine I mentioned and figuring out when my best writing time will be. Despite once being an overnight kind of writer, I think mornings are going to be my best time. Get it done and out of the way before the rest of the day begins. Even though I'm no longer going to an office every day, there is still non-writing work I can now do on a daily basis.  Housework doesn't get done all by itself and I think I might just cook more now that I have the time.

I can also devote more time to blogging and maybe even earn some extra income from it. I'm still looking into that aspect. I have also found another resource that might help bring in some of that extra income - a guided study in copywriting with the potential to have the start of a client base at the end of the course. Copywriting might just fill in the gap between loss of employment and my first best seller. Yeah, I'm dreaming big but why not? As a well known preacher has said, I'd rather dream big and get half of it than dream small and get all of it. And if you know Joyce Meyer, you'll recognize that Joyce-ism right away.

Sure, there's a bit of anxiety lurking in the shadows. I no longer have a regular income. That alone could send me over the edge but it doesn't. If the financial side of this endeavor doesn't meet the need in time, I can always find something part time and might do that anyway. I have a friend who quit her day job to write full time and has found a part time job that she really enjoys. She is much more relaxed and happier now. Perhaps I'll look that direction some time next year.

For now, though, adjusting to a life free of the 9 to 5 grind requires my full attention. I have to remind myself every day that it's ok to live an unstructured life for the moment. Structure will come soon enough.

Monday, November 17, 2014

A Different Kind of Update

Something happened for me today that most everyone would probably consider to be a bad thing but for me, it just means I can now put plan B into action.

Today, I was let go from my job of 24 years and I have to say that I couldn't be happier. It did happen a little sooner than I thought it would but that just means I get to call myself a full time writer much sooner than expected. I really thought I would end up leaving under my own steam and forgoing a severance package. So glad that I didn't have to do that. 

Sure, it's bit on the scary side with a lot of important details still to iron out but just to be able to spend more time doing what I love makes this a lot easier to take. In fact, I was a lot happier about the whole thing than the people who were giving me the 'bad' news. I told them, my plan B has been in place for a long time. I was just waiting for the right time to put it into action.

What is that plan B?

For starters, I will finally be able to treat my writing as a full time job and get that writing done during my optimal writing time, which used to be late at night but now I can give it an entire morning, at least. I will set a larger word count goal for the day - probably just double what it is now and see how far that takes me. I think 4000 is a pretty good goal to shoot for but I intend to be flexible with it. If, for instance, I need to play chauffeur that day, I might lower it a bit. I live with my parents (another reason I'm not freaking out about this) who are in their mid-70's and have lots of appointments to keep. My dad doesn't like to drive in bad weather so me being home is an answer to that particular prayer.

I do have to finish and win NANO first, though. Then I will shift focus back to the project that is nearly through third draft state. I'm hoping to get it up on Amazon before the end of the first quarter of next year. 

This also means that I no longer have to deal with the stress of a full time job that I had come to dread going to each day. Not the job itself, so much, but the environment in which I had to perform that job. Don't get me wrong. I worked with a lot of incredible people. I will miss them terribly but I hope we can remain in some kind of contact. 

No, it was the stress of things going on in the background that made me wish and wish that I had another option. Things I could see coming down the road but had no way of getting confirmation that what I was seeing was correct. I even said in a survey that I didn't mind staying until the bitter end. I just wanted to know when that bitter end would be. If I had only known that day would be today and surprise, it wasn't really that bitter. 

So, tomorrow, when my alarm goes off at 7am, the first day of my full time writing career begins. Here's hoping it's the first day of a wonderful rest of my life.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

NANO Update

The first week is over. I broke 16,000 on Friday. Didn't get a chance to write yesterday - ok, I was slacking but I needed a day completely off from work and writing.

I have been averaging over 2000 words a day so far - including the days I didn't write, of which there have been 2. My NANOWRIMO dashboard says I'll be finished early if I can keep that average up, which means I now have to write everyday in order to do that. And I will.

The first non-writing day happened because of the twist my story took away from the synopsis/outline I had in place. I was able to rework the synopsis/outline to accommodate, knew where I was headed again on Friday and then another twist happened. After breaking the 16,000 mark, I decided to spend the rest of my writing time that day once again adjusting the synopsis/outline.

I guess you could say that even if you do have a synopsis or outline before beginning to write, you must be prepared to see that change. Unless you are so thorough in your synopsis/outline that you've thought of every possible twist and turn that story could possibly make. I'm thinking that would take a long time and the actual writing would probably never begin.

So here's to writing a synopsis/outline to give a general direction but be willing to take a few side trips along the way. The writing experience is much more fun when that happens.

Monday, November 3, 2014

NANO Update!

It's day #3 of NANO and I've already posted over 10,000 words. I know, right? Kind of hard to believe it myself but there it is.

I have to admit, for someone who has resisted outlines for so long, the one I did for my NANO project has really come in handy. I'm not sticking to it completely but close enough that I'm well on track with the story so far.

I have identified a few scenes that will need to be written during revisions. I've done some synopses I can refer back to when the time comes and yes, I am counting those toward my word count. They were written during NANO so...Scrivener allows me to add pages of text together so it's been pretty easy to insert the scenes where they need to be and continue on. Speaking of which...

By the way, if anyone else is participating in NANO this year, feel free to post your word counts in the comments. And let me know who you are on the NANO website. I'm PennyT18. We can be writing buddies. I know I'll need the encouragement later on when the going really gets tough.

See you there!

Saturday, November 1, 2014


So, the madness has commenced. I have over 3000 words already. Taking a bit of a break while I regroup. Something new popped in as I wrote so the outline has already seen a deviation. But it seems it might be an interesting twist. We'll see as we progress.

Writing while not editing is a challenge. I have done minor edits. There are a lot of names I need to come up with, though, as well as fleshing out that little twist that happened - in the first chapter, no less. But that's the joy of writing for me. I have a plan but then I also have characters and they sometimes have their own plan. Gotta go with the flow sometimes.

I'm hoping to end the day with 5000 words having been written. Want to make a nice dent in that 50,000 word goal within the first two weeks so that if there is a lag in the second half of the month, I'm still on track.

That's the plan, anyway. I'll keep updating every week with my word count. If I can keep it up, I may even see 75,000 words at the end of the month. What I'm working on was supposed to be just a novella but with the new twist, it may well be a full size novel before I'm through with it. We'll see what happens.