NaNoWriMo Approaches! Tips and Tricks!

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  I think it’s safe to say at this point I’ve gotten ‘pretty okay’ at the event. I’ve been registered on their site since 2012, though I didn’t actually participate that year, and have won every year but that first one. I’ve also participated in Camp NaNoWriMo every camp since July 2014 and won every one since the April 2015 session (4). I’ve been down this road a few times so I thought I’d post a few of the tricks and ideas that have gotten me through it each time.

  •     Do NOT edit as you go

    ~ Say you write 5000 words. Don’t let yourself get sucked into the downward spiral of ‘I’ll just edit that real quick’. I promise you, if you’re anything like me you’ll get behind. Don’t. Do. It. It’s not going to be perfect. It might even be bad, but the idea is to get it out. To practice getting that word count, to reach that goal and achieve that. Editing is later, that’s why there are special events in January and February if you want to participate. Don’t do it now.

  •     Do NOT skip a day

    ~ This is especially true if you are new to the game. Get your 1667 words each day. Sit your fine booty in that chair and write. Even if you have to do 200 one hour and come back two hours later for 50 and then before bed squeeze out that last 1400 through bleary eyes (totally speaking from experience here). Get those words in each day, it helps so much! 1667 words isn’t bad, but if you miss a day you need to do 3334 words to be back on track, and that number gets bigger each time you miss a day and don’t catch up.

  •    Take a special day JUST for NaNo.

    ~ In the past I’ve saved PTO days for this at work, or you could do a weekend day. I’ll take a day off, get up early with my husband, see him off, and go treat myself to something from my favorite breakfast joint or cook myself a big one, then sit down and write. I’ll write for a  few hours, reward myself with a book or videos for an hour or so, write some more. Lunch, and back at it. On these days I can get close to 6000 words. Especially if I’ve plotted out my chapters and scenes ahead of time. Speaking of…

  •     Don’t sweat the planning.

    ~ For all that this is a ‘tips and tricks’ post, keep in mind there is no iron clad rule for NaNoWriMo. I always prep for my NaNo, but you don’t have to do a lick of planning. I do a half outline, half bullshit plan. It’s full of stickers, funny sketches, and maybe a few important plot points and character tasks. Everyone is different, some people like to meticulously plan out every chapter. I’ve done that but I always end up flying off into left field talking about werewolves or where someone gets their shoes. You’ll find your groove but don’t stress about the outlines. You may need them, you may not. Try a little of everything.

  •      Have someone to keep you honest

    ~ I am not a cheat. Seriously. But it helps to have someone in your corner cheering you on. I swear I’m the luckiest damn girl in the world, my husband is my world, and my cheering buddy. He reminds me to work, he feeds me when I’m stuck three feet into a kidnapping scene, he buys me little rewards along the way and is the one to present me my winner shirt (we are seriously some of the cheesiest people ever). Find someone who can cheer you on, even if it’s your mom. If you can’t find someone in real life the NaNo forums are amazing. You’ll even get daily pep talks in your NaNo Inbox on the site. READ THEM. They help! Prowl the twitter feed, find that cheer leading squad. The community on this thing is INCREDIBLE. Go forth.

  • Register at NaNoWriMo and keep up with your word count!

    ~ This is part of the bullet above. It helps keep you honest, even if you don’t have someone and allows you to get to those resources I mentioned. It gives you an awesome chart daily of your work, let’s you announce and talk about your work. It’s all around a great experience. One of my favorite parts is the daily pep talks. They’ve had writers such as Neil Gaiman, Scott Westerfield, Kate Elliot, etc. Recently on the 28th, Danile José Older did an awesome one (Check it out). It’s an awesome resource, don’t let it waste away.

  • And ultimately ignore my tips if you have to.

    ~ No one writes the same, everyone is different. These are what has worked for me. Ultimately though this is an art, and no one is the same. So go forth and conquer!

Reviewing and Star Ratings

I’ve been thinking over this system that seems to have been adopted to review books and decided to do a quick look at how I rate things.

I’ve always rated by my gut. As soon as I finish things I picked the number that most accurately reflected my thoughts at that moment. This makes for a lot of editing of ratings but I also enjoy having that record of initial response. I sometimes think that’s just as important in different ways to a thoughtful review. What got me thinking lately is the idea of the arbitrary number. While I know I can’t not put a number on a book in some situations like Goodreads or Amazon I can’t help but feeling like it’s… silly.
Silly at least for a space like this. Amazon and Goodreads both have their own similar but different scale for the stars, and those are necessary to help the authors and books I enjoy, but here I feel absurd giving reviews with numbers. Here I’m trying to tell you what I think, honestly. Do I recommend something? If not why? If I do, then to who and why? Sure I may say something is three stars. Yet I really recommend that as an easy, fun, brain recharge kind of read. I can’t give one number for all the way’s I’d rate or recommend something. That may work for some people but not for me.
So for now, till I adopt a better system, I’ll be simply putting at the top of each review in yellow if I recommend the book. Do I highly recommend it, do I recommend it to certain readers, if it was ‘just okay’, or if I’d steer clear. I don’t gush about books to my friends going on and on about stars and numbers. I talk about if I think they should read something or not. So that’s what I’m trying to adopt here.
Thanks for your patience and sticking with me if you’ve been around – I’m trying to get a bit more consistent with everything that’s going on, and this is a step I think will help!

Small General Update on Things

I have got two small updates for the blog, one good and one not-so-good.

  • Good!
    I have made a Litsy account! I’m really digging the app, it’s like Instagram meets Goodreads. I’m on there under Sarrie. I’m always looking for new people to follow and interact with so look me up!
  • Not so good
    I seem to have mucked up my wrist/thumb. Something is happening where I cannot bend my wrist backwards without extreme pain or really just use my thumb at all. I’ve got it splinted at the moment, which really helps. You’d be surprised just how much you unconsciously use your thumb. Until I got this splint I was randomly bursting into tears because I’d grab something wrong. The splint keeps my thumb and wrist still. If there isn’t any improvement by the end of the week I’m going to the doctor. That means for the blog however that I’m doing one or two prescheduled posts and trying to keep up normal reviews and content. Typing though is kind of tiring, it’s a dull achy pain kind of activity. Not painful but doing it long enough is upsetting.

So small updates on what’s up, hopefully the wrist won’t impact reviews and posting much, and the Litsy is all just fun. Hopefully in the next day or two I’ll do my May Favorites and Roundup post.
Until then!

Ink! But of a Different Variety!

Soooo… I like tattoos. I don’t know if this is news to anyone here but I’m a big fan of them in general. I love art in general, it’s something that can bewitch me easily. So art on skin? That you keep with you forever? Hells yes. Please and thank you.
My Mom and I have always loved watching shows like Miami Ink and Ink Masters. I think for Mom it’s a want to try something new and wild (she’s a bit like me) but not being able to. My Dad is not a fan of tattoos, I’m not sure if it’s combination of a dislike of how they look or religious reasons but he’s never been a fan. Me and Mom though – we’re fans.
So, little ole me, being hooked on tattoo shows (but never brave enough to get one) ended up married a guy who’s dad used to be an tattoo artist. Totally not on purpose of course, but it was a happy coincidence. His parents are both covered in ink, mostly tribal or Indian in nature (both are members of the Cherokee Tribe) but covered.
Last year, for my birthday in June, they hooked me up with my first tattoo, and my matching tattoo with my husband. It’s been a downward spiral into ‘I want a new tattoo’ for months. I’ve gotten a total of three new. What I wanted to do was talk about them since tattoos are a big thing for me now and this blog is a healthy (or is supposed to be) mix of whatever I want it to be.

This is my most recent piece and by far the most painful. My mom’s name is Vivian which is a variation on one of the Lady of the Lake’s names. I’ve always associated the two together since Mom also gave me my love of Fantasy. There is a ruby in the hilt (I’ll be getting colors next month) for my Grandmother who’s name is Ruby. The flowers are day lilies and gladiolas.

These were my first and second. The first – the pixel hearts, is the matching tattoo to my husband. We wanted something geeky and matching but nothing obvious or (I hate to even say this) risky like our names or something. The second is my funny tat. Funny but serious. My whole life is marked, to me, by books and bookish events. What I read or meeting my husband in the bookstore. Things like that. This was also a really hard picture to take with one hand. It’s on my upper left arm, so I apologize for the shitty quality on that one.

So! There you go! A peek into my life and what I’m into. I’m getting color on my Lady of the Lake tattoo next month and the matching tattoo for my Dad on the other leg. It’s a shield, to go with my sword (I’m seriously the biggest dork in the world), because Dad’s name means ‘Defender’.
Who else has tattoos? Any awesome ones?

Changes and New Content

Now that my vacation is over I’ve decided to make some changes on the blogging front. A couple years ago I ran a book blog, purely books and reviews, but wasn’t having fun with it. It closed down and I didn’t start back up till now.
What I’ve decided to do is to find a space on here for everything I love. I love books (let’s get real, most of this blog will be books) but I intend to do a bit of blogging about other things too. Keep it interesting and keep it fun. Ultimately it’s for me and if other people enjoy it then that’s even better. The first change is the name to ‘AllBookedUp’.
I am busy, all the time. Doesn’t matter what I’m doing but I’m staying busy. If I’m not reading or writing, I’m gaming, if it’s summer I’m gardening and if I’m not doing that I’m crafting. Since so far I’ve done garden and books here I’m also going to add in some gaming. Currently I’m back at it with World of Warcraft because it’s been 10 years and I’m still an addict.
So I’m going to try and do a Warcraft Weekend column, at least one post every weekend about topics I find interesting or what I’m up to. Fun times! As I play and do other things I may periodically post during the week for those games, like when I finally finish The Witcher 3 (one day). I am also planning a replay of Pokemon, don’t know which one yet, and I might chronicle those adventures.
I also want to do periodic posts about my craft projects and changes, but as those are bigger and take longer to complete those posts will come more sporadically.
My book content I want to be fresh and unique, I don’t want to stick to hauls and standard reviews. I love comparing classics to current incarnations and I really want to finish my genre exploration on Horror so I’m going to try and put a lot of thought into that content. I’ll do a lot of Tags as they are easy and fun, but I am going to try and keep it more than the standard stuff.

changeisgood
That is our current status and some of the changes to come!