A Behaviorial Look at National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

photo by clickthing.blogspot.com/2008/10/tennish-anyone.html

So right now a lot of writing friends and I are stocking up on coffee, candy, and Prozac, building our bunkers for National Novel Writing Month (fondly known as NaNoWriMo). Only I don’t like coffee, so I make up for it with chocolate. To each her own.

NaNoWriMo is a blitz to write at least 50,000 words in 30 days. (Of course, no, one isn’t writing a publishable book in 30 days, nor is 50,000 words a complete novel in nearly any genre. But that’s not exactly the point, either, so work with us here.)

Considering that at my sugar-and-caffeine-induced perfect zone, I peak at about 1000 words per hour, and that’s not really sustainable — I know a lot of professionals who are quite pleased with 250 words per hour — and considering that normal life doesn’t actually suspend for most of us, you can see the challenge here. So motivation and discipline are big concepts for the NaNo community.

There are lots of ways NaNo writers motivate themselves, but it boils down to several commonly-used terms — small incentives, big incentives, anti-incentives, and rituals.

Let’s look at them from a professional behavior perspective. Continue reading

I Dine with Ninja

Ninjutsu (Naruto) (246375091)

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I talk a lot about Japanese folklore here on the blog, for obvious reasons, but I haven’t talked much about ninja. And ninja have certainly entered national pop culture and folklore, so they’re as valid a topic as any other.

Plus, I got to have dinner with some lately. I don’t mean I dined with students of Bujinkan Taijutsu or other martial arts heirs of ninjutsu skill, I mean the dressed-in-black, popping-out-of-ceilings legend of thousands of movies and cartoons and books. Those ninja. Continue reading

Generations, Brick by Brick

So today’s post is about a field trip to family history.

All Saints, formerly St Joseph's Catholic Church

the impressive entry and steeple

We hopped in my new car and headed up to Logansport, IN. There’s a Catholic church there, now called All Saints since it blended with two other local churches, but it used to be known as St. Joseph’s. It was built in the 1880s, and my great-great-grandfather and his sons handmade each of the 650,000 bricks to construct it. Continue reading

Earth Day, and I’m off to the Northern Colorado Writers Conference

Grass

(Photo credit: DBduo Photography)

So for Earth Day today, I didn’t mow my grass.

Okay, so I probably wasn’t going to mow today, anyway. I have real grass, the grass that was here when the bison were still eating it, and it don’t need no stinking fertilizer and it don’t need no stinking water — during last year’s record-setting drought, it stayed green long past the time when most grass and many trees in central Indiana were dead or dying — and it’s tougher than most mowers. So it takes a bit of mental gearing up to challenge this grass. Continue reading

I Ran for Freedom. And I Didn’t Collapse.

So this morning was the 5K run to benefit International Justice Mission, combating modern slavery. (Yes, real slavery still exists today. In higher numbers than ever, in fact, but thankfully also as a smaller percentage than ever.)

International Justice Mission charity run

Yes, that’s a six-year-old. Ahead of me. Shuddup.

What you have to know is that I don’t run. Really. So this was a really good cause for me to even sign up. I had planned to do at least a bit of training beforehand, but a rotated pelvis nixed that. And that’s my best excuse for why I was able to take a photo of a six-year-old in front of me in the pack. Continue reading

Achievement Unlocked! Goals Met (And Some I Didn’t Know I Had)

Freak Out

This is how I feel, but in a GOOD way, because I’m so excited. (Photo credit: Frau Shizzle)

A while back I wrote a humorous post about goals which would let me know I’d “made it” (whatever that means) in my writing career. Since then I’ve passed some pretty impressive personal milestones, and while I wrote that post primarily for my fiction writing, it would be wholly ungrateful of me not to acknowledge the great things which have come my way thus far in my non-fiction work as well.

Sometimes we achieve goals we didn’t even mean to set, and it’s good to find the joys of these surprise achievements. So here are some awesome things which have really happened, some of which I hadn’t even thought of as goals until I was delighted by them. Continue reading