Guest Blogging at

If you’ve ever faced revision of a first draft (hello, that’s all of you NaNoWriMo folks, right?) you might find my guest blog at Savvy Authors useful. In How do I Make Sense of This Hot Mess? I reveal a road map for revisions, focusing on the first five things I look at when I’m faced with the wonderful mess that is my first draft.

Please stop by Savvy Authors and let me know what you think are the first things to tackle in a revision!

Happy Holidays, everyone!



NaNoWriMo – I need help!

Yesterday was the halfway point of the month and while I’m not halfway to my 50K goal yet I am so much closer to it than I was two weeks ago.  Currently I have almost 13K words.  I’m having all the usual issues with making time to write… there’s that life thing.  The “sick”  count for the month is son 2, husband 1, and I’m still waiting for the laundry and kitchen fairies to show up and take care of those chores.  And if someone could figure out how to lock my TV so it won’t turn on until my writing is done for the day, I’d pay good money for that gadget!

Then there’s the weather thing.  The November Nor’easter as they are calling it made a mess of everything last week, including a 15 hour power outage.  Ever since we rode out hurricane Isabel I have a very hard time focusing on much of anything except the trees on a windy day.  Usually I make a point of getting out of the house (the wind only bothers me at home) but the rain was so awful, my couple of forays out ended quickly.  The day job must be attended — fortunately it’s part-time.  The critiquing biz is going gang busters (and I’m loving it!).  And my writing buddy who provides an external check on my wandering and procrastinating by meeting up with me several times a week to write, has the audacity to leave town for part of this week.

So, with all that going on I’m in need of some concrete ideas for keeping myself focused on the task at hand (that would be writing 50K words this month). 

The best one, so far, is to arrange to write with someone else outside of my house.  I have a hard time dragging myself out when I don’t have anyone to meet, and then it’s waaay too easy to procrastinate or find other, easier things to do (like write a blog post!).  Other than that I’m at a loss.

Do you have any tips or tricks for keeping butt in chair and fingers on the keyboard?  I’d love to hear them!  I can use all the help I can get!


It’s time for NaNoWriMo!

NaNoWriMo2009I’m participating in NaNoWriMo for the third time this year.  We kicked it off here in Williamsburg with a write-in at a local B&N cafe.  Eight of us were there and lots of writing was accomplished!

I meet regularly to write with a friend I met two years ago at my very first NaNo write in.  We both find the structure of making an appointment to meet and write keeps the procrastination demons at bay.  This is probably the single most important thing that has come out of NaNoWriMo for me.

I’ve yet to “win”.  50K words in the month of November is truly a challenge, not just because it requires a committment to write regularly, but because there is so much else that happens this month (including, this year, my son waking up with the flu this morning).  The past two years I’ve done well — 35K+ — but I didn’t really commit to the 50K.  This year, though, I’m committed, and my friends are helping me keep my eye on the prize.

What prize?  A completed first draft.

I hate first drafts.  I love revising.  So getting through a first draft is the hardest part of the entire process of creating a book for me.  This way I get to sprint through the hard part with lots of people all over the words pushing me to keep up my word count, pushing me to keep my fingers moving, pushing me to create without editing, without questioning.  It’s all about getting those 50K words on the page.

The real prize is that I’ll give myself December to catch up with all the things that fall by the wayside this month while I put my writing front and center. Then, come January, I get to tackle my very favorite part of writing a novel.  I get to take the SFD (**itty First Draft) and craft it into a compelling story.  What a way to start the new year!

If you haven’t joined the madness of NaNoWriMo, it’s not too late.  Check out and sign up for free.  Then plant your butt in the nearest chair and get to work.  Your first draft could be finished by November 30th!  What are you waiting for!

NOTE: The NaNo site is REALLY slow this first week or so of the challenge, so be patient.  If you can’t get signed up right now, start writing.  In a few days you can make it “official” on the site.

Now go write!


Do you NaNo?

Do you NaNo?  I suppose I should really ask, do you participate in this crazy enterprise called National Novel Writing Month

I had heard about it for a number of years and in  a moment of extreme dementia last year, I signed up to write 50K words in one month.  And not just any month.  November! 

Now, for me, this is not only the month of Thanksgiving and crazed Christmas shopping, it’s also the month where we celebrate our son’s birthday, darling daughter comes home from college for a whirlwind visit, and we travel down to my parents’ home for the holiday.

Could they have picked a worse month?  Okay, December would probably be worse, but (to quote Gray’s Anatomy) seriously.  Seriously?  November? 

Amazingly I completely a first draft in that frenzied month.  Granted it was only about 30K, not the target 50K and my books usually come in around 100K, but that was a respectable first draft for me.  And I wrote it in 30 days.

Have I mentioned that I’m a really slow writer?

I have not finished that novel, in the sense that it has not been sent off to my agent, but in the course of six months it went from a glimmer of an idea to a third draft.  It’s now sitting on my file cabinet at about 300 pages.  It still isn’t ready for the light of day, and honestly, I’m not sure what to do with it, so I’m employing that age old technique of letting it sit.

But I wrote the first draft in 30 days… in November.

Are you up for the challenge?  I am.  I’m taking the plunge once again.  Honestly, it was exhilerating and I discovered that even in my small town there is a strong contingent of NaNoWriMo die hards.  I made a new writing friend last year.  I proved to myself that I could write fast when given the proper encouragement.  And I love the little widget on my NaNo home page that I can update every day and watch the little blue line reach for the 50K mark.

So, why don’t you join me in this writerly madness?  Go to the National Novel Writing Month site and get set up as an author — did I mention that it’s free? — then set me up as your friend – LaurinW – and we’ll egg each other on to that 50K finish line.


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