Monday, October 3, 2011

2011 Goals... how they're coming

So, if anyone remembers, I had four major writing goals for 2011. I have three months left in the year and I still have a lot to do to get three out of four of these goals done.

Goal 1: Edit Shiloh's Children well enough to show my family and friends.
Umm... this goal is definitely not going well. I want to edit, don't get me wrong. I've just been lazy. And confused. And overwhelmed by the thought of editing a novel. Having a lot less school to do this semester might help me to get more done (maybe, hopefully!).

Goal 2: Enter at least 10 writing contests.
Ok, so, I expanded this goal a bit to include work I submit for publication. So far, I have submitted work to: 1) Bastiat Essay Contest (late entry so it didn't count), 2) Awaken the Sleeping Poet Festival (won Honorable Mention), 3) Optimist International Essay Contest (won first place at the District level but did not advance from there), 4) sent two poems to Starsongs Magazine for publication (they accepted one which will be published soon), 5)'s Lyrics Contest (did not win). So, I'm halfway there. I still have five more contests to enter and/or publishers to submit to before I can count this goal as finished.

Goal 3: Win NaNoWriMo 2011 with at least 100 words over the 50,000 words required.
Complete! Actually, I made it with 400 words over the 50,000 words required. Woot!

Goal 4: Finish the first draft of Ten Plagues.
Gee, umm, And I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but I seriously doubt that this goal is going to happen as I haven't touched Ten Plagues since January. I'd rather spend the time writing another first draft on the second draft of Shiloh's Children.

So, there it is. My honest assessment of my 2011 writing goals thus far in the year. I still have three months (and I hope to get a lot or all of this done in that time) but I'm not going to wear myself out over these goals. I made these goals in order to stretch and challenge myself to make writing a higher priority in my life and I think these goals have done that. No matter how much more I get done in the next three months, I'll be happy to have accomplished some of these tasks and learn from them so that my 2012 writing goals will be even more successful.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 tabs

Some random facts about my NaNoWriMo 2011 experience:

Most amount of words written in one day: 10,026 words
Least amount of words written in one day: 0 words (this happened on several occasions)
Cups of coffee consumed during the month: Around 10
Cups of other caffeinated beverages consumed during the month: Too many to count!
People killed in novel: 0
People humiliated in novel: At least 2
Hours of music played while writing: At least 15
Number of times I cheated in word count: None! ...Ok, well, I guess twice. But after I deleted those words, I was still above the 50k line.
Number of different places I wrote: At least 5

Now, I have to get at least one novel edited before I am allowed to do NaNoWriMo again... I better get to work on that if I want to compete in NaNoWriMo 2012. It's a reasonable requirement but I know it won't be easy.

Thanks again!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo - The Final Days

After passing the finish line on July 31 (and then exceeding it by 400 words) I remembered why I love NaNoWriMo so much. The joy of having written so much in such a short time is extremely satisfying. I mean, I wrote a whole novel in one month, for goodness sake. I think I deserve a little satisfaction.

On day 29 I was rather lazy. I wrote a mere 600 words on that day. Day 30 picked up a little. I wrote about 1,000 words (yeah, I know, still not that much). And finally on day 31, I wrote 4,000 words which brought my novel's word count to a total of 50,400 words exactly. In my 2011 goals I said that I wanted to compete in and win NaNoWriMo 2011 with at least 100 words over the 50k goal -- and I did it!

So, you want a synopsis of Neighborhood Watch? You want to know what in the world I've been writing about for the past 31 days? Whether you want one or not... here it is (long over due - sorry!):

Military brat, Adriana Rodriguez, is moving once again just a couple of weeks before she begins her senior year of high school. Her dad's lack of consideration about moving infuriates Adriana... but there is nothing she can do about it. Her father has already accepted the position in a new place and they must move. At first, things are rough. Adriana has trouble making friends, she is still angry with her father, and then to make matters worse, she starts hallucinating... or is she? When an unlikely adventure picks up in her new home, Adriana is caught between her two neighbors. One neighbor is a young, attractive, mysterious guy who talks to Adriana but won't give her the answers she's looking for. The other neighbor, an old, creepy criminal, might be a murderer. But despite all the dangers and surprises, Adriana involves herself in all these mysteries and might actually be happy she moved after all.

Thanks for all the support I was given during July! My parents, my sisters, my friends, and especially my Savior were all a huge help in getting this book's first draft written. Speaking of my first draft... here is a pic of me proudly holding said draft:

50,400 words. 147 pages. 31 days. NaNoWriMo 2011 winner. 

Thursday, July 28, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 28

After such an amazing writing day yesterday (10,000 words!), I wrote a mere 500 words today. But, I'm still on track. Actually, until tomorrow, I'm ahead in my word count.

I have no doubt in my mind that I'm going to win NaNoWriMo for the third year in a row -- woot! I can't wait to pass the finish line in the next couple of days.

Yay for a summer camp that lasts a month, doesn't cost a penny, and provides hours of entertainment :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 27

The most productive writing day I have ever had. My eyes are about to pop out of my head and my fingers are exhausted, but I wrote a total of 10,026 words today. That's one-fifth of my novel. I know... intense. And if that's not a nuclear explosion, I don't know what is.

Word count minimum for today to be on track: 43,333 (total)
What I wanted to write today: 44, 028 (total), 9,000 (today)
Final word count at  the end of today: 45,054 (total), 10,026 (today)
Cups of caffeinated drinks today: At least 8 -- I lost count

A wonderful day as far as getting words written! I wrote six normal NaNoWriMo day's worth of word counts in a mere day and now instead of being behind in NaNoWriMo, I am ahead a whole day. 

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go glue my thumb back on. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 26

I hit 35,000 words today!

Other than that victory, however, the past two days have kind of been lazy. I wrote about one day's quota yesterday and about one day's quota today. Normally, that's great! But when I'm thousands of words behind and need to write two word quotas per day, one day's quota doesn't cut it. But, I am off work tomorrow and (at this moment) cannot think of any obligations keeping me from doing anything tomorrow besides NaNoWriMo. That means it is time for a Nuclear Weekend! (Yes, I am aware that tomorrow is Wednesday.)

What is a Nuclear Weekend? (Don't worry -- it's not as painful as it sounds.)
Usually done on a Saturday or Sunday, a Nuclear Weekend is basically an exercise for building tons of wordcount in one day. The goal is to have three writing segments during the day (morning, afternoon, evening) where you write 40 minutes on, 20 minutes off until reaching 3,000 words per segment. After three segments throughout the day, the work in progress is 9,000 words longer!

If I don't get myself in the chair (futon, couch, lazy boy, or whatever) tomorrow and do this, I might not win NaNoWriMo this year. Although it wouldn't be the end of the world if I lost, it would be kinda sad considering the fact that I'm pretty close.

Wish me luck!

Monday, July 25, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 25

I made my goal yesterday! Actually, I wrote 3,500 words -- woot! I still haven't written anything today, though, and I need to write at least 3,000 words before I go to sleep. We'll see...

As far as the story goes, I'm feeling pretty good. I know this draft is going to be rough -- really rough. But, there's some action, some mystery, some romance, and some drama. I think it will be a decent story when I work out the kinks.

Gotta write now... Bye!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

NaNoWriMo Days 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, & 24

Don't look at me like that! I know I haven't blogged in 10 days. And the reason? Well, I've been behind almost every one of those days. I caught up back on Day 14 and kept on track for a day or two and then I fell behind again on Day 17. It's already 3pm today and I'm only at 29,000 words total and I should be at at least 38,300 words. I'm just a little behind (Ha!). I would really like to write at least two days worth of word quotas this afternoon (3,333 words). I'll blog tomorrow and let y'all know if I make that goal.

I only have seven and a half days to write 21,000 words.

Piece of cake. . .right?

Pray for me. My fingers are going to fall off this time.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 14

I got to my daily word quota today (I am now at 21,667 words)! Things are starting to unravel in my story so that's making me excited to write. It's also the end of week 2. I've read many times in NaNoWriMo emails that the second week of NaNo can be the hardest week because it's slow, you start to doubt yourself, you're behind on sleep, etc. but that things usually pick up in weeks 3 and 4. I can see how true this is! This past week I have had a difficult time writing but now I feel that I'm on my way with the story.

 It also kinda helps that The Office of Letters and Lights came out with It's a site just like that lets you do NaNoWriMo in July or August instead of November. Yeah, it's pretty legit.

I hope everyone is having a great summer no matter what "camp" they may be attending :)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 13

I finally hit 20,000 words!

My character is now sitting in jail and is trying to get out without a ruined record (and without her parents finding out if at all possible). She's always been a "good girl" and so being in jail is probably the worst thing that could ever happen to her. She made a mistake and now she's in trouble. Thankfully, when I write tomorrow, she's going to get out of jail without much harm least much harm happening that night. But the crazy adventures have really only just begun. You see, it's hard to live a normal life when your next-door neighbors are criminals and the neighbor who lives across the street is trying to catch them. Oh, and you're caught in the middle of it all with little information about what's going on. And even though I know that what I have written so far is a bit cheesy, unorganized, and perhaps even boring, I'm excited about what's going to happen in the story tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 12

I am finally caught up! I hit the 18,333 word mark just moments ago!

It's been hard (as I said in my last post) to get myself to sit down and write for the past few days. However, Neighborhood Watch is beginning to pick up in pace. Actually, my main character, Adriana, is about to get herself into some big trouble. And when I say big trouble, I mean the you're-going-to-jail-for-this kind of trouble. Because I am on the brink of that scene, I'm actually looking forward to writing tomorrow. If all goes well, I will have at least 20,000 words by tomorrow night and a main character in deep need of assistance.

Monday, July 11, 2011

NaNoWriMo Days 8, 9, 10, & 11

I haven't blogged the past few days because... I'm still behind. I did pass the 15,000 word mark -- woot! -- but I still need to write another 1,400 words today to be at the bare minimum. I'm having trouble forcing myself to write. I think part of the reason is that I'm writing this novel "organically" (no outline) so I don't exactly know where I'm going. Since I don't know where I'm going, I don't want to get there. Does that make sense? I'm worried I'll make a mess on my journey. I'm hoping that my first draft of Neighborhood Watch won't be a totally crazy disaster. But it probably will. And if it does end up that way, it's only the first draft, right? I can always edit it later. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

I wrote my first "novel" (in retrospect, it's really just a long short story) almost two years ago. Neighborhood Watch will hopefully be my third 50,000-words-or-longer-novel. But, I have yet to even go through the second draft of a novel since I started writing novels. So, I keep telling myself that I can "edit later" but that's a lot easier to say than to follow through with. I told my family, though, that once I am done with Neighborhood Watch that I would not write another novel until I edit a novel. That should force me to get to work in editing because I want to do NaNoWriMo again next year plus I have tons (ok, maybe just a dozen) novel ideas I would love to work on.

How do you get yourself to edit something you've written?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Day 7 is finally over! It was pretty tough getting myself to write today. At one point I actually forced myself to write 200 more words before taking a bathroom break. Yeah, it was that bad. But I finally caught up on my word count by passing the much-loved 10,000 word mark. Yay! Now I just have to do that 4 more times and I'll be good, right? If I write 1,667 words a day from tomorrow on I'll finish on time. But, I'd still like to be one day ahead in word count. I've never done NaNoWriMo in a 31 day period (rather than 30). I must say, I love having that extra day as a cushion. But, I hate to use that cushion at the beginning of the month. Hopefully I'll get that cushion back in the next few days. Does this make any sense? Sorry if it doesn't; it's a bit late and I'm rather tired...

Now if you'll excuse me, my fingers are about to fall off, so... catch ya on the flip side.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

NaNoWriMo Days 2, 3, 4, 5, & 6

My family and I went out of town for the weekend which has caused me to get a little behind in NaNoWriMo. If I don't get to writing I'll be 2,500 words behind tomorrow (not including my daily 1,667 words...). And it's almost 10 PM so I don't see how I can make much progress before I go to bed. Oh dear. But I guess this wouldn't be exciting if I didn't get a little behind... right?

I started reading a book a few days ago called "How Not to Write a Novel" which consist of about 200 mistakes that new (and even published) authors tend to make. The first chapter of this book pointed out a huge mistake I made in Shiloh's Children. "And what was that mistake?" you ask... I'll tell you! Introducing the main character, introducing his/her family members, showing how they interact together, etc. with no actual story line in sight for 50, 100, or even 200 pages. I kinda, sorta did that in Shiloh's Children. But guess what? I know better now! I know now that I need to start with a little more action and leave off all the history and background. I can still use all that history for my personal use but I don't need to put my reader through all that yapping about Shiloh's childhood. I'll have lots of editing to do come August.

Friday, July 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo Day 1

Day 1 down and I'm 2,500 words into my novel. Today's goal (and every day's goal) is 1,667 words. I woke up early this morning and wrote about 1,000 words before I babysat for my neighbor. While babysitting I wrote another 1,000 words. And finally I added 500 more words this afternoon when I got home. My first chapter is a bit cliche/boring but I hope things will pick up once the story gets going. As someone (an author, I'm not sure who...) once said, "You can't edit a blank page." So at least I'm putting something on the page -- I'll edit it later.

Fourth of July is coming up! My blog's new look seems quite fit for the occasion.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Organic vs. Outlined

I attended a wonderful writing seminar last week which was taught by Steven James. He told the attendees that he prefers to write "organically" -- without an outline. He pointed out that by outlining your entire novel, you will try to force your characters to follow through with your outline even if it does not end up matching up with their personality. In other words, when an author begins writing their novel, they don't know their characters well enough yet to predict how they will react to every situation. So, just go with the flow of what seems natural to your characters.

As much as I like his idea, it makes me nervous to try to write a novel without an outline (and without knowing the ending!). For Neighborhood Watch, I have done little outlining up to this point. So, I'll go ahead and continue planning a bit more today but as I write my novel next month I will be open to trashing the outline and just writing what seems natural. Thanks for the advice, Steven James!

Do you prefer writing organically over outlining? Vice versa? A little of both?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Two days to go...

In two days I will begin my third full-hearted attempt at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This year I want to exceed the 50,000 word goal by at least 100 words. 100 words is nothing but the past two times that I did NaNoWriMo I only went 50-something words over the goal in 2009 and only 4 words over the goal in 2010. So this year, I don't just want to make it to 50k but I want to exceed the past two years of my NaNoWriMo word counts.

I have done a little more planning this week on Neighborhood Watch and received some input from my sisters on the plot and characters. I also learned lots of writing info from the seminar I went to last weekend. I'm pretty excited about NaNo this year!

Here's a cover for Neighborhood Watch (No, I do not own the picture) (No, I did not cut her torso off. Blogger took the liberty of adding a boarder to the picture):

Thursday, June 23, 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 Prep

I finally began prepping for NaNoWriMo 2011 today!

The reason I waited until now is because I was trying to decide between four novel ideas. I finally picked one I currently have titled as Neighborhood Watch. I went with this one for two reasons: 1) I have little planning on any of the four ideas so this one had the simplest plot to outline in one week and 2) This novels target age group is 10-14 which means that the plot is not going to be heavy. Last year with Shiloh's Children (a novel with plenty of sadness) I had trouble getting the words out as quickly as NaNoWriMo requires. I think (I hope!) it will be easier this year.

While babysitting this morning my 10-year-old neighbor helped me with a few plot devices. Honestly, his ideas were wonderful and I can't wait to incorporate them into my novel. He seemed pretty excited about the book as well which means he will probably bug me about reading it until I show it to him. That means that I will have to not only write Neighborhood Watch but I also might have to *gasp* edit it.

I am going to a writing seminar tomorrow and Saturday which I'm excited about! Maybe I will get a few tips about first drafts before I start on Neighborhood Watch on July 1.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Lyrics Contest

I entered my fourth writing contest this year! Someone introduced me to a website called and the site has many writing contests each month. One contest,The Lyrics Contest, closes in a few days. I wrote a song and posted it today. There are about 85 entrants right now and I am sure there will be many more before the contest closes on June 18. The winners receive a few goodies from the site. The first place winner is also published in their blog and newsletter.

The song I posted is about God and that may decrease my chances of winning. Also, I am not sure if my song is mysterious enough for them... I'll just wait and see. Hopefully my lyrics will speak to someone who reads it even if it does not win.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Since my last post...

I read at the Awaken the Sleeping Poet Festival. This was a lot of fun! I am so happy that I ended up entering that contest. It was not only a great experience but it has also got me connected with the San Antonio Poet's Association. They have regular meetings and read-ins which I hope to be attending more often.

I sent in two poems for publication. I sent in two poems that I wrote  into Starsongs Magazine (the magazine that published my tritina). I know I said in my 2011 goals that I wanted to enter 10 writing contests this year but I think I will also count regular submissions. In a way, it is a contest. I am competing with every other writer who submitted work to that same magazine. This submission brings my total up to 3 submissions this year. And it's June. Yes, I am happy I turned this in, but I need to get a move on if I am going to accomplish this goal. It has been four weeks since my submission. I should hear the verdict of this submission in the next two to four weeks.

I really got started editing Shiloh's Children. That's right! I have been thinking about what I would edit in Shiloh's Children for a while now but I actually read through it, made an outline, made notes, etc. My next step actually involves using the computer -- yay! Another 2011 goal at work.

I have decided when I am doing NaNoWriMo 2011. I am doing NaNoWriMo in less than a month! On July 1, I will begin my third full-hearted attempt at National Novel Writing Month. I have four different plot lines that I might write next month (I can't decide) and none of them have a whole lot of planning thus far so I have a lot of work to do before then but I am excited about it. Is anyone else doing NaNo this summer?

I'll post a lot more as I continue to submit work, edit Shiloh's Children, and do NaNoWriMo next month.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Reading at the San Antonio Poets Association

Yesterday I had the opportunity to read three of my poems at the San Antonio Poets Association meeting along with six other kids. It was fun but also nerve racking. I found it hard to share my writing to a group, even though they were not judgmental and wanted to enjoy my poems. But it's still difficult (for me anyway) to let other people see/hear my work. Any of you other writers feel this way? I guess it's just something I need to get over because I hope that a lot of people will be reading my novels some day.

At the meeting, I also heard may adult poets read their poetry. I enjoyed them all but my favorite was a couplet which was about the author's dilemma in weather or not to kill a spider that was in her kitchen -- so cute!

Monday, March 14, 2011

District Winner!

I won the club level of the Optimist Club International Essay contest! Yay! If I win the next level, the district level, I get a scholarship. At this point, I am also entered into the International level where the winner of that level receives an even bigger scholarship.

I'm also participating in the Optimist Club Oratorical Contest. I should probably go work on writing that speech, actually. That's later this month. 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Shiloh was a child too, right?

So, I'm thinking about and half-way (make that quarter-way) editing my novel Shiloh's Children. I originally split the novel into three parts:

  1. Michigan -- this describes Shiloh's childhood, her getting married, her having kids, and the tragedy that strikes the family (currently 16,000 words)
  2. U.S. -- describes where the kids are now that they are grown (currently 12,000 words)
  3. World -- the kids go on a trip (currently 22,000 words)
I am having trouble with section one. I could make section one into this huge, gigantic, epic section that goes on and on like old classic books. Or, I could make it super duper short. Or somewhere in the middle. I mean, Shiloh had a childhood too, right? That should be included. But her childhood is not the major action of the book. Yet, it is an important part as to why the major action takes place. I'm leaning toward 20,000 words for this section. It will probably end up being more, though. That is, if I ever stop blogging and start editing! We'll see...

Monday, February 21, 2011


I'm actually going to post something I've written. Something that is actually, well, good. I've posted some excerpts (two) but have never actually put on my blog something I've written that's any good. This is my "Short Story Extension" to a short story called "Xingu" by Edith Wharton. Personally, I love this short story. You need to read it before reading my extension so here's a link: Here is the only synopsis I found if you don't have time to read the whole story (although this does not spoil the ending):
I pick up exactly where "Xingu" ends. I hope you enjoy both the original and my extension.


            My dear Mrs. Roby, I regret to inform you that your behavior today at the esteemed Lunch Club results in immediate extermination of your membership. This was according to a democratic vote. We have previously enjoyed your company but find that this trip you took to South America has changed you in ways that the Lunch Club just does not appreciate. We hope you understand and wish you the best. Signed, Mrs. Ballinger.

            “Can you believe them?” Mrs. Roby asked her husband as she paced the floor. He had just finished reading the short note which forced his darling wife to resign from the Lunch Club which she attended faithfully… unless she was in South America, of course. Mr. Roby was silent. “Well?”

            In truth, Mr. Roby was delighted to put an end to his wife’s participation in the Lunch Club – she had more important things to work on. Yet it is always painful for a relationship to end in melancholy feelings. “Wife, can you really pretend to feel angry with them? You always complain about the Lunch Club upon returning home from a meeting.”

            “Oh, I’m not angry,” Mrs. Roby explained to her husband. “I am simply shocked that in three sentences Mrs. Ballinger would put an end to our relationship and to my participation in the Lunch Club.”

            “She wished you the best,” Mr. Roby told his wife. “And she never stated that you could not continue to be friends.”

            “You must not understand how it is among women,” Mrs. Roby told her husband with gentle eyes. “Word of my membership extermination will spread around town. People will begin to choose sides or avoid both of us. I will not only loose her friendship but could possibly loose others.”

            “Now I doubt that, honey,” Mr. Roby said, putting his arms around her.

            “But what if it does? And what if everyone chooses her side because they want a spot on that “esteemed” club?” she asked, tears forming in her eyes. Mrs. Roby knew in her heart that this was really her fault by bringing up Xingu. But she had enjoyed the cleverness of her conversation while Osric Dane, a famous author, visited the club. Mrs. Roby had described Xingu as if it were a literary device or some sort of novel rather than a river.

Xingu and the amazing South America were always on her mind; the idea of turning Xingu into something more than a river had fallen into her lap during Osric Dane’s visit. But now the trick she played was going to haunt her.

            Meanwhile, Mr. Roby had been thinking a few things over in his head. He truly loved his wife. His happiness relied on hers. He loved his wife so much, in fact, that he would follow her anywhere, even South America. Indeed, he might even lead the way.

            “My dear,” Mr. Roby said, “Please do not be upset. I have some exciting news that I think will cheer you up right away and take away some of your pain,”

            Mrs. Roby dried her eyes. “What is it?” she asked.

            “I have been in contact with Professor Foreland of late,” Mr. Roby said. Mrs. Roby looked confused that her husband would correspond with someone she had worked with in South America but she let her husband continue. “He says that he would love to hire you and that he can pay you a modest salary. I know we have our savings should finances be a problem.”

            Mrs. Roby threw her arms around her husband. “That would mean the world to me, darling,” she said, sobbing into his shoulder. But then she stopped suddenly and looked up into his eyes. “Are you sure you want to give up your career here just for my sake? We would give up your salary, our home, and…”

            “I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Mr. Roby said, a smile on his face.

            Mrs. Roby smiled back as she got up, floated to her writing desk, and began composing a letter.

            My dear Mrs. Ballinger, I am pleased to inform you that my husband and I are moving to South America. I will be working with Professor Foreland and together we will make many scientific discoveries. My husband and I would be delighted to host the Lunch Club or any of its individual members in South America should any or all of you want to truly immerse yourselves with Xingu. Signed, Mrs. Roby

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

More Optimistic

I entered my second writing contest of the year... the Optimist International Essay Contest. That's one more essay done from my 2011 goals. Two down, eight to go. Oh, and I have three other goals too, don't I? I guess I should get to those some time...

I was pretty bummed when I posted about being late and incomplete on January 31. However, I'm feeling a bit more optimistic now (pun intended). Not necessarily because I think I'll win this Optimist International Essay Contest (although if I did, that would be awesome!). I just think two busy, eventful weeks have passed since those two failures and I'm now ready to move forward and try again. 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Late and Incomplete

This never happens to me. Ever. I am never late and I always finish what I start. But both have happened this week.

I turned in an almost-3,000 word essay to FEE for the Bastiat Essay Contest on January 15, 2011. The original due date for the contest was December 15, 2010 and they extended the deadline to January 10, 2011. Somehow, I got confused and thought the due date was January 15, 2011 (the day I turned it in). I never ever turn things in late... but five days late? That's pretty bad. And pretty disappointing. So, after spending a good 50+ hours on that essay over my Christmas/New Year's break, I turned the essay in five days late and it will not be considered for the competition this year.


I have not finished My Holiday Novel on time. I am not quite half-way through Ten Plagues (I am on chapter four of ten). So, even if I wrote all day, it wouldn't be complete. But, I kind of saw this happening at the beginning of January (as you might could tell from my 2011 goals). I will finish the first draft of this book sometime in 2011, though. I like the story and the characters and I'll keep working on it. Not completing a project is rare for me, but this time, it just happened. I wrote about 6,300 words these past three months which is probably about 6,000 more than I would have done otherwise. So, this was somewhat successful but it is still incomplete.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Honorable Mention

You know that post about playing and winning and all that stuff? And ya know how I said I didn't win a place in the Laurel Crown Awaken the Sleeping Poet Contest? But that I was still glad I played? You remember, right? Well, I received a letter today alerting me that I have won Honorable Mention in the contest! Basically, I get to do everything the winners do: read my poem at the contest and have it published in the anthology. I even get a certificate. What I don't get is a trophy, prize money, or a title. But who cares? This will be my second publication and I get to read my poem for a crowd -- how cool is that?

Technically, I mailed in this poem sometime in December of last year so it doesn't count toward my 2011 goals. But, I am entering another contest, an essay contest, in February. Once that essay is in, that will be two contest entered for this year.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Ya Can't Win if Ya Don't Play

Sometime in December I mailed in a poem to the Laurel Crown Foundation for their Awaken the Sleeping Poet Contest. They posted the winners four days ago and my poem was not picked. I would be lying if I said I wasn't just a little disapointed. But, the contest was free entry for kids so I didn't lose anything of monetary value. And, I like to keep the attitude, "Ya can't win if ya don't play". If I had not turned in a poem to the contest, I never would have won. At least I gave it a try.

I am still waiting to hear about the Bastiat contest *fingers crossed*

Sunday, January 16, 2011

My Writing History

I would have to say fourth grade really got me going with my love for writing. I wrote as much fiction as I could that year even if the assignment was calling for a non-fiction piece. For example, we were supposed to write a story about our hero so I started creating this elaborate story about how my dog saved my life... My teacher made me re-do the assignment and write about a real person so that didn't work out to well. But there were many other times that we could write fiction that year so I got my fair share of creative writing in. The next year my English teacher barely had us write at all so my love for writing died down until about seventh grade. I took a writing class that year where about half of all of our writing was fictional. 

In the spring semester of my eighth grade year, I started writing my first novel via long hand in a purple notebook. Once into the story a bit, I began typing it up and would continue to add to it long hand in the car. After about 15,000 words, though, I gave up. It is still an unfinished work that I don't know if I will ever get back to. The reason I gave up on it is simply because of my inconsistent writing schedule (or lack thereof). I would work on my novel several days in a row and then go a month or two without working on it at all.

Later, I thought about doing NaNoWriMo in 2008 with a different story than the one I had started in January of that year but I didn't write more than 1,000 words and gave up on that story too. I didn't actually finish a book until August Novel Writing Month (AugNoWriMo) in 2009 (over a year and a half after I first started trying to write novels) and even that book was only 13,000 words long. It felt good at the time, though, because it was my first completed novel. A few months later, in November of 2009, I competed in and won NaNoWriMo and then had a 50,000 word novel under my belt. I did that again in June of 2010 and was up to three novels.

Writing my two 50,000 words novels made me so happy and made me feel like I was a writer. Now if I sent them to a publisher in current form, the publisher would role on the floor with laughter. But it was fun, exciting, and educational. And now I have three completed novels because of three month-long challenges. Now I'm working on my fourth novel. But one of my 2011 goals is to edit one of my NaNoWriMo novels, Shiloh's Children. I haven't actually started editing yet but it is on my mind often and I will get to work on it soon.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Bastiat Essay

Back from my vacay -- had a blast! Now I just need to get back to writing. Half a month left in My Holiday Novel challenge -- we'll see what I can do with it. I wrote a few hundred words on the trip. Not a whole lot but at least I did something. I am finishing up an essay that is due today for a competition that is about Frederic Bastiat's book "The Law". After today, I'll get back to Ten Plagues.

Frederic Bastiat

Friday, January 7, 2011

Aim High

I am almost done with Chapter 3. I could cut it off where it is but I'm going to try and add a bit to make it a little longer. Right now it's about 1,400 words. The whole book is past 5k now :) Chapter 3 is about gnats - so gross! And Chapter 4 is flies...not a whole lot better. Actually, not better at all. But all ten plagues are awful so, you can't really compare them. I asked my mom which one she would hate the most...she couldn't decide. She finally decided the tenth plague (which involves a lot of death) but all are sad and miserable.

Ahh, vacation coming up! The holidays aren't over yet! And I'm taking my computer to work on Ten Plagues and to work on an essay for a competition. The essay is due by January 15th. After I turn that in I'll have one of ten writing competitions on my goals list complete! I heard on the radio the other day that in order to ensure that you achieve your New Year's Resolutions, you should "aim low". You know what I say to that?
I would like to achieve all four goals I listed on this blog  but even if I only achieve half of them, at least I did that much. Aim for the moon and if you miss at least you land in the stars, right? Aim high! Dream big! But keep everything in perspective.

Again, happy new year! I'm glad it's January.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Bit Behind

*cough cough*

Ok. So. The 750 words a day thing didn't exactly work out. I am now at a word count of 4,375. I wish it were more. Not to mention that I am in chapter 3 of... 10. At this rate, I won't finish the first draft until October 2011. I cannot let this happen! Even if I don't finish the challenge on time I can't be eight or nine months past the proper deadline! Oh dear. I have only just begun chapter 3 but I am going to try and finish it today.

On the flip side, my New Year's celebration was so fun! We went camping from December 31-January 1 at a camp site about two hours away. Some friends from Austin met us there. We just visited mostly and had some s'mores and cider. I was so cold that night in our tent that I didn't get much sleep. But all-in-all, a great way to start 2011.

I'm going to go write now.