Sorry for being MIA – Have a Fabulous Turkey Day!!

thanks

Just wanted to drop a line or two or a few…

Sorry for being MIA. I have been working on NaNoWriMo and updating more on Instagram (@carolblakesessums) than anywhere else lately.

I will be more present and updating more regularly to the blog come January. December will be even crazier than November with Christmas and revising/polishing my book, so if I don’t see y’all on the blog, hopefully I’ll catch you on Instagram or I’ll see you back here in January. I haven’t forgotten you or the blog, so just know you are loved and special and thought about and I hope you have a fabulous, fun, filling Thanksgiving with all your favorite foods, family and friends! That’s a lot of F-words! The good kind! Believe it or not, I did not actually plan it that way. Ha! Just one o’ them things…

Go out there and make some memories. Don’t forget to take pictures!

*smooch*

Love ya,

Carol

Nanowrimo 2016 – Time to lose our minds

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“Are you crazy?”

“No, I’m a writer.”

“Om…isn’t that the same thing?”

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Join us, one and all (children and teens included), and join in on the intense month of intense writing. Get your writing frenzy on! I’m ready! *coffee in hand*

Foolproof Method For Finishing Your Novel

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Sit. Yo. Ass. Down. And. Write.

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The Latest…

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Not sure exactly how I did it but I did it.  While working my 36-46 hours a week, chasing after a busy teenager, managing to clean our filthy house (with a lot of help from Hallie!), and mowing a few acres each week, I somehow got in the writing time I needed to work on my novel, and run a contest for a couple of weeks!

My goal was set pretty low for this camp, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to put time in each and every day.  My original goal was 10,000 words.  My final count was…wait for it…

15,864?!

Once I reached a bit over 9,000, I stopped counting.  Then, on July 31st, I checked it and yup, I exceeded my goal.  Yea!  I’m sure much of it was rambling.  You know how I do.  I get caught up in it and ya can’t shut me up.  You know I ramble.  Kinda like I’m doin’ now.  Anyway…

So, that’s what I’ve been up to.  Working hard on my novel.  Got the character name I was looking for!  Thank you, my friends out there, for participating.  That was really fun!  Hopefully, I will finish this novel within the next couple of months.  That’s the plan anyway.  Was planning on finished by the end of August.  We’ll see.  I’m gonna try.  Got a little bit to finish.  Then revising, revising, revising.

Just sticking my head in to say hi, I hope you are well.  I know I haven’t been on the ole blog much but, well, by what you can see above, I’m pretty busy these days.  Perhaps I’ll get back to posting more on a daily basis when I’m finished with the ole book.

Squishes and smooches!  Love yooze guys!  xoxo

So how ya been?  What have ya been up to?  Tell me everything!  *cup in hand and eagerly listening*

Taking a Break From Things

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I believe I’ll be taking a break from the “Up to 12 Words Challenges” for a little while.  I am trying to finish this novel and I need to cut out some of my extras for just a little while.  I will post from time to time as the mood strikes me and let you know I’m still alive, see if y’all are still alive, and let you know how things are going.

I will be checking my Facebook Writer Page that you see to your left on a daily basis, since this contest (involving my upcoming book) will be going on every day from July 15 through the 31st, so if you’re participating in the contest, I’ll probably be talking with you each time you submit a name.

So, just a little heads up.  I’ll be checking in at least once a week to post.  This will probably go on through August and maybe a bit longer.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

I wish you all well and talk to you soon…

*smooches*

 

Photo courtesy of shutterstock.com

Animal Crackers in Your Soup, or Nah?

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“A successful book is not made of what is in it, but what is left out of it.” ― Mark Twain

__________

Don’t you totally agree?  Information left out leaves more room for the imagination to fly off in many varied directions.  Ultimately, even the sky isn’t the limit.

As a writer, do you find it hard to leave stuff out?  Do you feel you have to tell the reader every single thing you’re thinking or the characters are thinking?  Are you afraid they’ll miss something?

We should give readers (imagineers) more credit.  I don’t know about you, but I love to read a novel where much of the details and backstories are left out.  For one thing, it leaves more room for another number in the series but it’s good to let the reader think and imagine for herself/himself.  For another, too many details and too much backstory and you can lose the reader in less than a minute and that’s never good.

I don’t know why Shirley Temple’s song, “Animal Crackers in my Soup” came to mind when writing this.  I suppose because I saw the commercial advertising her greatest hits a while back and the song stuck in my head — it’s a bit catchy, isn’t it?  And no, I don’t think I’d like animal crackers in my soup.  I think it’s a bit much.  I’d like to taste my soup.  I think it’s better with leaving a bit of the additives out.

Maybe just a little cheese.

Which Kind of Writer Are You?

George“I think there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. The architects plan everything ahead of time, like an architect building a house. They know how many rooms are going to be in the house, what kind of roof they’re going to have, where the wires are going to run, what kind of plumbing there’s going to be. They have the whole thing designed and blueprinted out before they even nail the first board up. The gardeners dig a hole, drop in a seed and water it. They kind of know what seed it is, they know if planted a fantasy seed or mystery seed or whatever. But as the plant comes up and they water it, they don’t know how many branches it’s going to have, they find out as it grows. And I’m much more a gardener than an architect.”
George R.R. Martin

__________

I used to try to be the architect.  I thought, ‘With all this planning and knowing, surely it will be better thought out, better organized and in the end, a better story.’  Ya know what happened?  I realized it wasn’t truly who I am.

I had written out all these outlines, all these interesting colorful characters, their names, their personal stories, backgrounds, drew out the scenes, the sounds, the fragrances in the air, the certain feel to the place, how I felt being there, what’s to happen in order to get here and there, blah, blah, blah.  Ya know what that did to me?  It robbed me of living in the moment of each individual character and scene.  It robbed me of living the story.

Life, no matter how much you want it to be, is not going to be planned out.  Or it might be planned but it will turn out differently.  Sure, you dream of the house in the country, the white picket fence, the 2.5 children, the adoring helpful husband that will always be by your side.  You plan out the wrap-around porch, the porch swing, the hanging plants, right down to the kind of grass you want in your front yard.  The truth is, not all those plans are gonna pan out.

I think a novel should be the same way.  It should be lived moment by moment.  At least for me.  I want to be in the moment and I want to breathe in that aroma that fills the air when one of my characters is baking gingerbread or chocolate chip cookies.  I want to get choked up when someone beloved dies suddenly and unexpectedly.  I want to be surprised.  Yes, surprised by whatever may occur in a story, even as I’m writing it.  I want to laugh.  I want to be heartbroken.  I want to be terrified and petrified when the hairy scary monster demon thingy is trying to eat my face off.  I want to be angry when one of my favorite characters gets killed off.  I want to feel the love and crush one character secretly holds for another.  I want to be swept up in the rapture that is complete ecstasy.

I gave up trying to plan every detail of my life.  After I got the two main ones, those are my mashed p’taters.  The rest is gravy.  I gave up trying to plan every detail of my book, too.  I think I’d rather live in the moment and be surprised, myself, how it all comes together in the end, if it ever does end.  Ya know how those sequels go.  Yup, I’m a gardener.

What are you?  A planner or a pantser?  An architect or a gardener?  😉

To Camp or Not to Camp

Camp Nano, that is.  Camp Nanowrimo to be exact.  Contemplating my final decision on this and jotting down my thoughts as I decide.

Have I signed up, yet?  Yes.  Some of you may know me well enough by now that I like to bite off a bit more than I can chew.  I come from this kind of stock.  My mother is the same way.  Stubborn.  Hard-headed.  Doesn’t listen.  Goes off in 20 directions at once, full throttle, no stopping until your body or brain stop functioning properly, or both.  We always have too much on our To-do lists, although I take the lead with the list making, as I’m a diehard-write-it-all-down in a planner or small note pad/ledger list maker.  I even do the sticky notes.  All over the place.  Partly, because I’m senile and I’ll forget 10 seconds after I thought of it.  Anyway, I digress.

I signed up with the best of intentions.  Yes, I know where the road of good intentions lead.  Thing is, I get so super-duper uber excited when I think about the 31 days of juicy and delicious chaotic manic creative insane hair-pulling sleep-depriving writing frenzy.  As if I don’t have enough on my plate right now causing sleep deprivation.

I worked from home for a year.  I needed more money fast so I got a law office job from hell.  Worked with Satan’s minions for what, 1.5 months?  And really, that was too long.  I was desperate.  What can I say.  Turned up my work-at-home contracts and got my rear in gear and got myself out of hell.  Sort of a long story but I can save that for another day.  So now, one contract here.  One contract there.  Another to begin today or tomorrow maybe.  A fourth to start Monday and I’m working my fingers to the bone.  I have an option for a 5th contract but I really do need to get some sleep at some point.  Even my laptop can’t handle the pressure.  It’s falling apart and it’s only a year old but then my kiddo did step on it, so that might have something to do with it.

As you can see, my conundrum is too much work and not enough play nor sleep nor sunshine makes Carol a dull girl and exhausted.  So, my goal for the following  7 days will be to decide which contracts to keep and which to maybe set aside and put on hold until I need them again.  I will establish my work hours for 8-10 hours per day M-F instead of 12 or 18 hrs and I will make (yes, I said make) the time for my creative outlet.  When I don’t make time to write, I become this sad, angry, tired, feeling old sort of person who’s all about work-work-work.  I mean, I make time for family, just no time for me.  I know when I do the Camp Nano thing, I still feel tired and feel a little old and honestly, dragging around like a zombie sort of person but there’s more excitement and fun and wonder in the midst of my bedraggledness (yeah, I just made that a word).

So, okay, I’ll do it.  I will make a plan.  And hopefully stick to it.  And I will participate every day during Camp Nano in July and try to find 5 minutes to hang out with my cabin mates, but not gonna promise on that one.  Not enough hours in the day.  Know what I mean?  And I’ll try to make more time for my blog.  Remember when I posted every day?  I need to get back to posting at least once a week.  We’ll see what happens.

Oh, and I found out a few days ago that you can request some of your previous bunk mates and/or camping friends from other bunks to join you in your cabin this go-round.

If you happen to be carvin’ out time to do the Camp, as well, shoot me a message here or at camp.

http://campnanowrimo.org/campers/carol-blake

And good luck to you in all your endeavors whether you join us at camp or not.

Lata!

-Carol

*squishy hug*

Another Day, Another Nano Second

NaNoWriMo!!!  Updating as to my progress, dear peeps, on my Nano novel for day 1 would be 1,717.  And for day 2 is 1,789.  My goal was actually 2,000 for each day, but I suppose if I want to reach 50,000 by the end of day 30, I’m good with 1,667 per day.  So, it’s all good.  I’m slick.

And as for more fun leeetle badges I’ve earned: – I feel like I’m in Kindergarten and I’ve gotten some gold stars  😉

forums_earned-e3863af9f4596de78c97ff64d21cc334Earned by posting in the forums

Earned by adding a writing buddy                     buddy_earned-da0801a58ce490354527765c1227e27d

Earned by updating my word count                          word_count_earned-41b6c14606d42e35148a66e52f0a017d

Yea!  So far, so good.  I will do my utmost to plant my butt in the chair every morning, apply fingertips to keyboard, allow my mind to take flight and soar with the wind on the wings of imagination and type till I can no longer feel my fingers, and reach for at least 1,667 words per day but try to go for the gold of 2,000.  If I don’t make it, I’ll settle by at least reaching that finish line, no matter what place I come in.  The main objective here is to work on it daily and actually reach 50,000 by November 30.  But ya know, if I can do the hardest part, I can certainly do the rest.  Ya know?  Planting that bootie in the chair?

At least I’m not gazing at a blank white screen.  I have something to work with, even if my eyes are glazed over wondering what comes next.  I have my coffee freshly brewed, I can smell that fantastic rich earthy goodness, and I can always pour in a bit of liquid courage if I feel the need to add a little more color to my imagination.  😉  I haven’t tried that yet.  Hmmm.  That might be a tad interesting.  Usually, it’s just coffee or hot tea, but I’m thinkin’ a little sumpm sumpm might just be the ticket.  Whatcha thank?

So, here’s to us, to you, to me, to all the Nanos out there that are typing their little hearts out – we can do it!  We will do it!  We got this!  Let me know how you’re doing.  Leave a comment, add me as a writing buddy, message me on Nano (carol blake) and we can cheer each other on!  Go Gerry!  Go Lynn!  Go Anya!  Go wordtender!  Go Kritter!  Y’all are ALL that AND a bag o’ chips!  With a side o’ slaw!

😉

Nanoo Nanoo to NaNoWriMo

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If you ever watched the television sci-fi sitcom Mork & Mindy, you’ll know where that phrase originated, which was a greeting and farewell by the much loved alien from planet Ork.

For those unfamiliar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is held Nov 1-30 every year.  They also offer Camp NaNoWriMo, held in April and July of each year, I believe.  NaNoWriMo challenges writers of all genres to participate in this 30 days of complete frenzy, chaos, frazzled nerves, sleepy eyes and fingers to come up with 50,000 words.

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They ask for quantity over quality, meaning you think and type as fast as you can in the amount of time you are given to come up with a novel.  When you reach the 50,000 scrambled and scribbled words, you submit no later than 11:59:59 pm Nov 30.

You can then choose to edit, reorganize, rewrite, find an agent and a publisher and become a beloved published author of your new book.  This is how some famous authors actually got their start.  Did you read the book Water for Elephants?  Or watch the movie?  That book was conceived as a result of the author shakin’ it up with NaNoWriMo!

Well, I’m willing to give it the ole college try and participate in this, write at 0’dark:30 every morning, as well as work a full time job (although it’s at home, but still busy busy), take care of my child, manage to cook once in a while, attempt cooking for Thanksgiving, try to start getting ready for Christmas and let my house fall into ruin for these next 30 days.

Not only am I working on a bit of fiction that I started back in April (even tho, technically, the rules ask for you to start a new book), I also have a work of non-fiction/self-help/Christian in process for which I started this month.  Yes, go ahead and call me crazy.  I will be working on these books simultaneously, although the only one I will submit to Nano will be my fiction work.

I will do my utmost to post on my progress as well as update with the badges I’ve earned during the month.  If I fail for lack of time in my schedule, then I will surely update toward or at the end of November.  Gonna be insane around here.

One day, I’ll even make the time to go update my 101 things list.  😉  But, for now, I’ll post the badges I’ve earned so far.

profile_earned-4f671c12ad364d699c3070d46f896d0d[1](I earned this by filling out my profile in Nano)

region_earned-90fa06f68977400424beeca2abdb4fdc[1](I earned this by choosing a home region)

novel_earned-56af087fbf57e3beee4b034211d4e5f0[1](I earned this by creating my novel)

Do you write?  Do you love it?  Why not join us?  Putting it off to a day in the future when you will have time?  Well … when you think like that, the time never arrives.  Do it now.  Write the book.  As Nike says, “just do it.”  Then, at the end of November, you can look back on your accomplishment with pride and joy and say, “I did it!” or “I wrote a novel!” or “I started my novel!” or “I’m nearly finished with my novel!”  Then, take it from there.

I’m determined to actually finish this fiction work (rewriting, revising, editing, polishing, proofing, employing my Beta readers, taking their suggestions and thoughts into consideration, polishing and proofing yet again, and then send queries to agents & publishers) all by the middle of January 2014.  Hopefully, the non-fiction will be finished by the middle of December or January, as it is considerably shorter.

And to all of you participating, I will cheer you on.  Let me know so I can cheer you on personally.  Go GERRY!!!!  Go LYNN!!!!  Y’all rock!  We gonna rock it togetha!!!!  And if y’all want to cheer me on during the month of November and onward, as well, I’m up for it, as we all need encouragement, support and cheerleaders in our lives, don’t we?

Rock on wit yo bad self!  😉

BTW, if you are looking for a writing buddy, look me up on Nano as Carol Blake.