I know I’m a writer because . . .

Hey, all!

I’m reposting this blog post from 2 years ago, when I finished NaNoWriMo for the first time. I thought it was a fun trip down memory lane, and pretty much the entire post is still accurate and true. — Enjoy! (And leave me some comments about how you know you’re a writer!)

As National Novel Writing Month drew to a close, the good folks at NaNoWriMo asked us all to answer one question.  Interestingly enough, the question was more complex than I originally thought.  In thinking about my answer, I decided to add a new blog post for all my followers. Currently, I have none, but that’s neither here not there.

What’s important is that I not only survived NaNoWriMo, I also “won” by writing 50,000 words in the month of November. Technically, I wrote 60K, and honestly, I’m still beating myself up for not having actually finished the novel.  Neurotic writer behaviors aside, it was a great first NaNo experience! I’ll get back to finishing the novel tomorrow, but tonight I wanted to contemplate their very important question.

I know I’m a writer because:
  1.  I feel all kinds of wrong when I’m not writing.
  2. I have a baby names book but no children and no plans for children.
  3. I’ve Googled enough weird crap to get myself on a government watch list for life.
  4. The only sprint I’ve run this year was with @NaNoWordSprints.
  5. I’m unfit to function in society, unless it’s a fictional one.  If I need to choose a fictional one, it could take me years to narrow it down.
  6. I don’t care as much about publishing my novels as I do about writing them. It’s not that it wouldn’t be nice to be published. It would, but I’m going to write them either way.
  7. I have horrible insomnia, otherwise known as an overactive imagination paired with night owl tendencies.
  8. I mentally edit everything I read from novels to emails to grocery lists. (Yes, I’m constantly judging everything you write, even your texts!).
  9. I talk (angst) to my friends and family about writing, and they look at me like I’ve finally gone off the deep end. . . They’re right. I usually have gone off the deep end.
  10. I’ve used semicolons correctly; I felt totally justified in doing so.
  11. I know a lot more about epic antagonists, tragically good deaths, and anxiety-inducing love triangles than I have the right to know.
  12. I wake up in the morning and suddenly hate my current novel. I tell myself how stupid it is and how poor the writing is.  By the second cup of coffee, I’m ready to scrap it and move on.  Then, by lunch, I somehow hate it just a bit less. By snack time, I’m in love with it again, but by dinner, I’m ready to run it through a shredder for permanent execution.  Then, by wine-o-clock, I’m determined to sleep on it before I make any rash decisions, and as I crawl into bed, exhausted, I suddenly know what needs to be written, added, or edited next, in order to salvage the story. . . I get back up.
  13. I’m personally responsible for the coffee bean and tea leaf shortage of 2013.
  14. I easily have 10 blank journals, 30 ink pens, and a billion post-it notes by my living room chair at any given moment.
    1. Oh, my God! Where is the pen I need? I can’t write with these other 29 pens. It has to be that specific one! I only need that one.
    2. Gasp! I’m out of blue post-its? How can I survive with only six other colors? Oh, the horror!
  15. I absolutely hate to start editing, but once I start, I love getting so caught up in the story that I forget I’m editing and have to go back through a whole section.  It’s even better when I make myself laugh or cry.
  16. I suddenly say something intense that my character just has to say.  Then I realize I’m in the middle of a busy grocery store aisle, and everyone is staring at me.
  17. I get so caught up in writing that I either don’t hear the buzzer or tell myself I’ll get it in a second, but instead I burn my dinner for the hundredth time.
  18.  I send a manuscript out to my beta readers. Then approximately three days later, I totally freak out, tell them all not to read any of it, and sit down for a fourth, extremely frantic round of editing, before sending another revised version to all the readers . . .yet again.
  19. The next novel I write might be a quirky realistic fiction, or maybe I should work on that fantasy I’ve been thinking about, unless I want to go ahead and try horror, but I did sketch out some notes on that paranormal story already. . . (Update: I’ve written dystopian, Sci-Fi, fantasy, contemporary, romance,  and paranormal so far, but for NaNo2015, I’m tackling a YA Fantasy!) 
  20. I wish Santa would bring me Scrivener and a small, travel laptop for Christmas. I swear, I’ve only killed a few people this year, and they were all fictional. (Update 10/28/2015: I bought Scrivener for half off after finishing my first NaNoWriMo, and I’ve never looked back. I would never want to write without it!) 
Please feel free to share any thoughts in the comments or on Twitter through @BAWilsonWrites
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Outlining For NaNoWriMo

The outlining bug has bitten me, and I’m trying to get settled for NaNoWriMo.  In the past, the method to my madness often included putting up post-it notes all over my walls and pantsing between them. I decided to take a more thought-out approach this year. I outlined the first 13 chapters last week. Then I promptly had second thoughts,  so I set those aside and started all over again last night. I figure once I do that about 4 more times, I’ll be par for the course.

Anyway, I haven’t had much time to update the blog, but here are some pics from my character development pages. There’s still work to be done here, but I am making headway. Some of these characters have already changed some or might not appear in the story much (or at all) anymore, but they’re still part of the world, regardless:

2015-10-13 11.36.09 2015-10-13 11.36.15 2015-10-13 11.36.23 2015-10-13 11.36.26

2015-10-21 18.51.03  2015-10-21 18.50.50

2015-10-13 11.37.14 2015-10-13 11.37.22 Continue reading Outlining For NaNoWriMo

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#WIPmo Goals for Week 1

As if joining NaNoWriMo wasn’t enough, I’ve jumped in on #WIPmo too! Check it out here: Ami with an I

Below are my goals for week one, which ends on Sunday, November 9. Each week, we will set goals and answer new questions. I decided to post my #WIPmo comments and goals here for additional accountability.

#WIPmo Week 1 Comments: 

1. Twitter Handle: @BAWilsonWrites

2. Writing Goal: I will write 2.5K per day on my NaNo novel and edit at least 1 chapter from my previous novel based on CP notes. Since Sunday is day 9, that means I need 22.5K by the end of Sunday on my NaNo novel (which is all I focused on the first four days–currently at almost 13K), and I need to edit 9 chapters of the Space Fantasy (starting from chapter 4, so I’ll get through CH 13). This seems like a lot, but I’m not working most of the week, which seriously helps. I want to get ahead now, as it will get harder.

3. What you’re working on: YA Dark Contemporary (Yeah, I totally made that genre up, because I’m not sure what genre fits it best yet.) Etta lives to log on and escape the ugliness of her life, but online, no everyone can be trusted, including Etta herself. (Okay, that’s the worst description ever, but I’m not going to take time to fix it now.)

4. Writing Where/Wear Of Choice: I like to write from my recliner or lying on the floor with my dog. I usually wear my gray yoga pants or fuzzy pj pants and a cozy, worn out t-shirt or long-sleeved tee. However, I’m visiting my mother this week, so I’m writing in her living room (and she rarely stops talking to me).

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NaNoWriMo Update: The Story Concept

Well, it’s NaNoWriMo time again, and this year I promised that before I started to write a new novel, I would type myself a basic note or description of what the novel was going to be about. My hope was that it would help me find focus during the writing process, and after I write a novel, I have a terrible time summarizing it. This would definitely need some tweaking before it could be used for anything other than a description of my novel on the NaNo website, but so far it’s doing its job. I’m using it to find focus as I write what is turning out to be quite a dark and twisty novel. Sometimes I have to stop writing just to take a deep breath and regroup, because this one is weighing heavily on me. 

Seventeen-year-old Etta lives to log on. She’s so deeply entrenched in the world of social media that she has no time for the so called “real world.” It’s all fine by her, since in her real world, she’s only ever been a victim or completely invisible, and it’s hard to tell which is worse.
Beat down, put down, hated, and ignored, Etta craves the positive attention of her online friends. With a constantly absent and traveling father, an always working mother, and an older sister who can barely stand the sight of Etta, life at home is barely more tolerable than at school, where she’s bullied by students, ignored and hated by teachers, and way too visible for comfort. However, when logged on to her InvisiblEtta profile, Etta can be anyone or anything she wants to be. Nobody can hurt her, nobody hates her, and anyone who tries can be quickly blocked. She thrives inside the anonymity, until she posts a Tweet that goes viral, and her whole world changes.
InvisiblEtta becomes highly visible, resulting in an invitation to appear on her favorite talk show. She quickly declines, in order to maintain her invisibility, but the absolutely gorgeous IncurableFanboy takes notice of the exchange, blatantly flirting and drawing her into his dark, fast-paced, and exciting world. Etta’s daily life quickly begins to revolve around her new online boyfriend, until her older sister finds out and freaks out. When Etta refuses to believe that IncurableFanboy would lie to her about anything, her doubtful older sister reaches out to the talk show host for help. The show digs into Etta’s life and online profiles, trying to convince her to appear, in order to face the truths about who IncurableFanboy really is. After much pressure from her sister and mother, Etta agrees, hanging onto her belief that IncurableFanboy is the boy of her dreams and suddenly worried if she could ever be the girl of his. Unfortunately, IncurableFanboy’s real identity is the least of her concerns, because what the show unexpectedly reveals about Etta and her online profiles leaves her counselor in shock, her family in denial, her community reeling, and the whole world gasping. When faced with her own ugly truths, she’s left with only two choices: stand up and bare her soul to the world or cut and run.
Also, check out this fun NaNo website cover that was designed for me by a NaNo artisan: 
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Top 5 Things Learned in My First 2 Days of NaNoWriMo

As a newbie to the magical, exciting land of NaNoWriMo(National Novel Writing Month: http://nanowrimo.org), I’ve found one extraordinarily important aspect to being a NaNo participant, is that you must become painfully and embarrassingly aware of the many ways in which you waste time and avoid writing.

In honor of all those who, like me, can’t find enough time in any given day to finish their current novel or get through yet another round of editing but somehow sent 7 Tweets, accidentally made another batch of cookies that aren’t part of the health plan, and watched the Blacklist, then spent another thirty minutes debating with your mother whether the husband really is good or evil (probably evil, but
I so desperately wish he was good), here’s both a list of the Top 5 Things I’ve Learned In My First 2 Days of NaNoWriMO and the most poorly constructed paragraph length sentence I’ve ever seen or written in my life.
Note:  This technically should be a classic Top 10 list, but apparently I lack follow through.
  1. As soon as you are ready to focus and write, absolutely everything that can go wrong will.
    1. Evidence A: First, I dumped dinner into the crockpot in the morning to save time later.  That was a great idea, until I dumped the crockpot right onto the kitchen floor.  Guess what? Crockpots actually do shatter, especially lids. Anyone for a serving of chili with a side of shattered glass and some dog hair from the floor?
    2. Evidence B:  Second, I got organized and packed the car for the region’s first write-in. Then, my car wouldn’t start. It’s still dead. 
    3. Evidence C: Next, I settled in to write at home with my adorably large chocolate lab.  He got excited and hit my incredibly large drink with his extremely powerful tail, and it spilled all over my laptop and outline. 
    4. Evidence D: Lather, rinse, repeat: Determined to prevail and let my laptop dry out, I decided to break out my laptop from school.  It popped up my school email automatically, and I discovered I had emails from over 30 of the 110 8th grade students whose first research paper is due Monday.  Two hours of reading papers, giving advice, and answering emails later, I remembered I was supposed to be doing my own writing. 
  1. The NaNoWriMo website is there to help and support you, but it can quickly turn you into a creepy stalker. 
    1. NOTE: Perhaps nobody replied to your new thread, because they’re all off writing their novels, like you should be. . . 
  1. It’s really frustrating to discover that the harder you try to use different words, the more you just find yourself just using certain ones, really repetitive ones that you just don’t feel like you can live without, over and over and over again.  I mean, really, I just want to get my points across, but I really can’t seem to just do that.  If I could just figure out what I really wanted to say, maybe my novel would become just what the world really wants. 😉 
  1. NaNoWriMo = National no reading month, as I can’t seem to read someone else’s story while writing my own.  I’m too worried it will influence me and what I write.  Alo, if I read something really awesome while working on a novel, then it can lead to crippling writer’s block, onset by my own personal doubts and insecurities over my own writing.  “If I can’t be that awesome, why am I even bothering to write at all?” I often ask myself after reading an amazing novel.  The answer? It’s impossible to become awesome, if you won’t even try. 
  1. I’m exhausted, but I know I can’t quit now.  I promised you 5 things. Now I have to sit here and pick through my brain until I can figure out what to write next, while my dog gets to go to bed.  Now, replace “you” with “NaNoWriMo” and “5 things” with “1,667 words,” and that pretty much sums up how I’ll be spending the next 28 evenings. 
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