Friday, November 2, 2012

Today's Pep Talk rings SO true!

Every day we get an email in our NaNo Mail box with a pep talk from a successful author. Today's message was from Kate Castillo. I hope she doesn't mind that I'm posting it here.
Dear Writer,
When I was 30 years old, I moved to Minneapolis and got a job in a book warehouse. My official job title was "Picker." This meant that I went around the third floor of the warehouse holding a computerized print order in one hand and pulling books off the shelf with the other hand. I put all the books into a grocery cart and I took the grocery cart and wheeled it into an ancient, crabby freight elevator and went downstairs to deliver the order to the shipping department. Then I took the stairs back up to the third floor and started over again.
It wasn't a challenging job. It didn't pay much. I was on my feet all day long. My back hurt. My hands hurt. But I was happy. I was surrounded by books and by people who loved to read them. Also, for the first time in my life, I was writing.
I got up every morning before work (the alarm was set for 4:30) and wrote two pages before I went into the warehouse. And then, when I arrived at work at 7:00 to punch the time clock, I received my daily so-you-want-to-be-a-writer pep talk from a coworker.
Let's call him Bob. (Even though his real name is Gary).
Bob wanted to be a writer, too. But he wasn't writing. Every morning we had the same exchange.
Bob: "How did the writing go?"
Me: "Fine."
Bob: "How many pages did you write?"
Me: "Two."
Bob: "Do you think Dickens wrote two pages a day?"
Me: "I don't know how many pages Dickens wrote a day."
Bob: "Yeah, well let me tell you something, you're no Dickens. So what's Plan B, babe? What's Plan B for when the writing doesn't work out?"
For this question, I had no answer.
I turned my back on Bob, pulse pounding, fists clenched, and climbed the stairs to the third floor and started picking books.
When the alarm went off at 4:30 the next morning, I thought about Bob and that is part of the reason I got out of bed.
It is a truly excellent to have someone to believe in you and your ability to write.
But I think it is just as helpful to have people who don't believe in you, people who mock you, people who doubt you, people who enrage you. Fortunately, there is never a shortage of this type of person in the world.
So as you enter this month of writing, write for yourself. Write for the story. And write, also, for all of the people who doubt you. Write for all of those people who are not brave enough to try to do this grand and wondrous thing themselves. Let them motivate you.
In other words, do it for Bob!
Your friend in writing,
Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo is the author of The Tale of Despereaux (Newbery Medal), Because of Winn-Dixie (Newbery Honor), and a The Tiger Rising (National Book Award finalist). 

While I don't know what exactly was said about All This Time, I do know that it drew enough attention to wind up being mentioned on Lipst!ck A11ey (altered on purpose - like I need a search for that to bring up this blog), a gossip site about everything celebrity. The New Kids forum over there is filled with Blockhead bullies who think they're better than everybody else. I have no time for the site or the bitchy people who thrive on being there. That being said, those women did me a HUGE service: they gave my site more traffic than half the other sources did. Their nitpicking and snide remarks sent people to the story wanting to see what the fuss was about. And honey, did they ever see what it was.

So, to the haters, the bullies and the doubters, the joke's on you. Besides, I don't see any of you with fans, so I must be doing something right. Thanks for the kick in the pants and the attention you gave my "shitty little story."

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNu WhaNow?

This was pretty much verbatim what my hubby said when I told him I was doing NaNoWriMo this year. It's short for National Novel Writing Month.

The concept is simple: write 50,000 words in 30 days. Don't edit. Don't rewrite. Don't waste time reworking the story. Just write. (And, if the posts at are to be believed, let everything else in your life fall to the wayside. Ha! I wish.) On average, it means writing 1,700 words a day (or more) over the course of the month. During that time, I'll also do what are referred to as "write-in's" where I meet with other authors in the area and work on my book. It's like a college study group, but without...well, come to think of it, these involve copious amounts of caffeine, too, so never mind. Anyway, during those write-in's, I'll also be setting personal goals (or have them set for me by our group leaders) which all lead to the final goal being met come November 30th.

So, over the course of the next month, I will be breaking into a realm of writing that I've never experienced before. Up til now, the stories I've written have either been fan fiction or have stemmed from fan fiction with rewritten characters and plot lines. This is totally a carpet ride for me, a'la Jasmine & Aladdin style: a whole new world.

Just days ago, I finished my second book, All This Time and, if I do say so myself, it turned out to be a success. The story has over 7,000 views in two months and I am both humbled and astonished at the life my readers breathed into it. It took about two years to write from start to finish, including a six-month sabbatical when writer's block (and faulty personal plumbing) got the best of me. That being said, having finished a book just four days before the biggest writing binge of my life wasn't the brightest idea I've ever had, but I push through like I always do.

Someday is the title of the book I'm working on for NaNo and is from a concept I came up with on a flight back from L.A. last spring. I won't give away the details until everything is completed and ready to go, but for now, trust me when I say I think you're going to like what I've got coming up next.

I will be blogging sporadically to keep myself from becoming totally absorbed in Someday but don't expect anything requiring great thought, because in true Mel-style, it would appear I can't do anything the easy way. At a doctor's appointment yesterday, I discovered that I may be going under the knife again in the next month or two. Long story short, there's lingering pain from my hysterectomy and the doctor can't figure out what's causing it. I'm not looking forward to another surgery, but if it's what's needed so be it. I guess nothing worth doing isn't without a challenge, so I'll just add it to the list of shit I will overcome, right?

I am hoping that you'll all help hold me accountable both in real life and on social networking. If you see that I haven't posted my word count for the day, ask me about it. If I'm procrastinating, then run me off and tell me to get to work. This goal is important to me, not only personally but professionally as well, so I really want to achieve it. With your help, I can.

Now, considering I've had less sleep than I did in college, I am scooting out of here. Good luck to all my other NaNuWhaNow peeps!