On the cusp of NaNoWriMo 2013, approximately 20 people gathered at the Portsmouth Public Library this evening to get advice and inspiration from published authors and past NaNoWriMo participants. This is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo, but I always find helpful tips at these gatherings—tips that pop into my head as I stare bleary-eyed at the words of my novel as they fill the screen at at a pace altogether too slow for my liking.

My third NaNoWriMo year!
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NaNoWriMo, you really took it out of me this month; my everything hurts.

But man, was it worth it! I can’t believe I actually finished—writing the last 13,556 words in under 6 hours this evening and finishing 35 words over and with 10 minutes to spare before midnight!

I totally won, two years in a row. (proof here)

Good night, November.


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Well, I hit 12,000 words about an hour into Writer’s Cafe at the Portsmouth Public Library today. My NaNoWriMo 12k word count milestone reward was another Wordle:

Ahh, how the mighty wallaby has fallen! I mean, it’s still ONE of the top words, but considering my story, I feel much better having “tree” be the top word. It really is the main character.

I think my stats this year are decidedly behind where they were last year…

At word count: 10,836

But hey, I’m making progress. Ommwriter is helping for sure, with the blocking out of the rest of the screen. Distractions are my #2 struggle this year… behind #1, which is the beck and call of the television. I tell you, man, I’ve been putting in some serious hours at work over the past several months, and it only ever gets busier and busier. And the longing for burying myself under the covers and watching that day’s Ellen, or catching up on Parks and Rec or Dexter (see above Wordle for some not-so-subtle fan/character naming) or … any number of mindless, humorous, and entertaining things on a screen that DOESN’T stare back at me demanding WORDS, MORE WORDS! Stay strong, Crystal. We can do this.

Hang in there, you fellow NaNo-ers!

And if you have any particular inspirational-y type quotes, or videos, or articles, etc., I’m a junkie for them when I’m tackling a writing project. I mean, click over to my Inspiration page, watch those two videos, and tell me that doesn’t inspire you to create a productive and creative space for yourself! I’ve pretty much taped John Cleese’s advice to my wall in chunks above my character snapshots and plot tidbits.

That strip of papers above the trim is John Cleese advice

I kept it blurry to keep the MYSTERY of my novel alive… intrigued? Muahahaha!

Okay, back it it. Two hours more to hit 15k…

Happy typing!


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Just in case you’re wondering what my novel is about in terms of which words I use the most, here it is!

Created on

Yup, that DOES surprise me. No, my novel is NOT about wallabies. They aren’t even the main characters. But apPARrently, that’s what I’ve mostly mentioned so far as far as word count goes. Huh. Very interesting.

Thanks to the Portsmouth Public Library, I’m at a write-in right now. Not a huge turnout today… I think having to postpone the kick-off party last week due to Hurricane Sandy really put a damper on the excitement. Not that that could have been helped… though I wish they had rescheduled it! Oh well.

Can’t wait for a Kaffe Vonsolln-sposored Tuesday! Dunkins is great and all, but Vonsolln has better pastries. And in regards to coffee, I had three cups before I arrived here, and I’m a one-cup-a-day, MAYBE two cups if it’s THAT KIND of day, kind of girl. So, I’m already jittery. And I’m drinking Dunkin’ coffee, which is like the worst of all in terms of jitters. I may have to go get a bottle of water and a ham sandwich soon to mitigate the blood sugar/caffeine crisis my body is in right now.

Um, so apparently my word count should hit 10,000 today… 10,002 to be exact. Uhhhh… I’m at 4,292. So:

Ohhhhhh we’re (almost) halfway theeeeerrrrre!

More. Words.



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I’d like to take this time to thank a few apps, without which my NaNo-ing would not be possible—or, at least, without which I’d get much less done, in a much longer timeframe.
First, the newest discovery of mine, from a fellow NaNo-er on Twitter: OmmWriter! Here are my first four paragraphs, as they appear when I’m typing:
In case that’s too small to read, I’ve posted these 1st four paragraphs as my excerpt on my NaNo profile.
Super minimalist, right? A mere wiggle of my cursor brings up this:

This screencap made possible by the wonderful Skitch, of course.
Such a slick interface! Features that disappear when unnecessary, leaving you with just your words. But that’s not all, folks! One of those controls is a music note, which gives you, in the free option, three different ambient types of noise (they suggest you wear headphones, which of course I do while writing anyway), and let me tell ya, it’s pretty neat! There are also keyboard noises, which are somehow different from a keystroke click… I don’t know how to describe it, but it sounds delightful. Something about the slight noise of typing, and the absence of noise when you backspace makes you subconsciously want to JUST WRITE, which of course is the whole point of NaNoWriMo!
Of course, if you, like me, need a change of audio pace, say hello to Rdio!
Listen or subscribe to my NaNoWriMo playlist here.
Rdio is a wonderful app. I actually have the paid subscription, so I never have to hear an ad and I have unlimited streaming on my laptop, online at work, on my phone while driving or anywhere else. It’s astounding how much music there is available. I run across artists every now and then who choose not to have their albums made available for listening (why, Metallica, WHY?!), but for the most part, I can hear anything I want anytime, which is wonderful for a muscially ADD person such as myself. I’ve NEVER been able to pinpoint a fave genre…
For writing, I prefer mostly non-lyrical music. Last year I almost exclusively wrote to Hans Zimmer’s Batman movie scores. Of course, I was writing about Bat Man last year, so that was super fitting, but in general, movie scores are wonderful because they embody drama and spur one to write without the distraction of words. Through another fellow NaNo-er on Twitter, I recently was turned on to Alexandre Desplat, who did the stunning score for The King’s Speech (which is currently making me tear up and want to watch the film right now again…) and scores for lesser-known films like Harry Potter (teehee, I kid, I kid.), The Queen, and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Okay, so the third NaNo helper isn’t so much an app as a program, I think: OpenOffice. I don’t have Microsoft Office (I have mixed feelings about that… It would be nice to have for compatibility reasons, but BOOO MICROSOFT PROGRAMS BOO.), so this is my spreadsheet interface. And boy, do I love me a spreadsheet! What do spreadsheets have to do with NaNoWriMo?
Now, the tracker on the NaNoWriMo site itself is actually pretty good, but I don’t know if it had that many stats last year… or if I just really wanted to be able to see how far behind my overall word count I was (Row J above), which they don’t show online… but I do like to see concrete evidence of my progress. It’s a compulsion.
Whelp, as you can see above, I’m doing WAY better today than I was yesterday (which registered ZERO on the word count side), and Day 1, but I’m still a couple thou behind where I need to be today to stay on course… and I’ve got some pretty exciting events coming up in the next week or two (including Mozcation, speaking at a Portsmouth Chamber small biz breakfast event on Twitter, and Digital Portsmouth) that might set me back on my word count, so I’m-a get back to it!
Thanks for tuning in, folks, and may the Muse be with you!
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NaNoWriMo diet

This is apparently what my dinner looks like when I studiously attend to my writing goals instead of life as I normally conduct it… Um, I think I need to do a Ramen and cold cuts run tomorrow on my way home from work.

Oh, and I’m sure you’re also dying to know what a real live novelist wears:

NaNoWriMo wardrobe

Until the next time I find the laundry supplies, this will likely be my novelist uniform. Glamorous, right? As Ray Bradbury said, “Have fun with your writing. Don’t be self-conscious and superintellectual.” I think what he’s really saying there is: wear flannel snowman pants, More Cowbell thirts, and stripey fuzzy socks, since that’s really the best way to be comfy while clacking away idealistically at your keyboard. At least, that’s how *I* read it.

I have changed my Facebook cover…

…although I have determined that Facebook is NOT the platform for NaNo fellowship and updates. Obviously, Twitter is the best NaNo platform, second being the NaNoWriMo website itself (which was in various states on over capacity last I checked—yay, writers!) but just in case you wondering, Facebook isn’t easy to integrate into your NaNo-ing. First of all, I discovered to my great ire this morning that you canNOT “Pin to Top” on a personal page. Also, Facebook doesn’t really suport PNG files, so my word count widget is stuck on “76 words” now (so really, actually, it’s totally fine that I couldn’t pin in to the top…). Anyhoo, I’ll stick with Blogger for people to find out if I’m still alive and how I’m doing (check out that widget on the top of the right column! It’s totally up-to-date!), and Twitter for human contact on my writing breaks.

Oh boy, y’all… I’m sort of psyched about my concept. It’s a bit nebulous right now… the plot is really missing, but I have a Pinterest board for inspiration (check it out for clues! comment below with your best guesses!) and a growing Rdio playlist for atmosphere. That’s all the hinting I’ll do right now, though… only 366 words in and it’s after 9:30pm already! Sheesh!

Goal of the week:



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Oh, just look at me… so young, so full of hope and the promise of more words! I was 25 days into NaNoWriMo last year when I took this photo… little I know, then on the precipice of finishing what was inarguably a work of pure genus, that it would be September of the following year and I’d still have that same draft, unable to cut anything that would remove the few early plot holes that came of “pantsing” the whole novel.

It’s currently just over a month away from NaNoWriMo 2012, and … the sight of this photo terrifies the ever-livin’ outta me.

My apologies in advance to the universe for becoming a complete hermit throughout November. Send green tea and more Batman soundtracks if you must; other than to selfishly accept such offerings, I shall be unreachable.

Here’s to another month of frivolity before the November of Delirious Solitude!



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Oh hey, how’s it going?
Me? Not much, why?

Oh, I forgot:

I’m off to get a celebratory pint, but let me just, if I may before I leave you, state that this whole experience has been amazing!
My novel has a beginning, a middle, and an end! There are a ton of plot holes along the way, but I know what it’s ABOUT now! So when I get to the revision process, which I might not do until January… I will be able to rewrite sections and streamline and make it all make sense.
Huzzah! I love books.
The End.
Or is it?…
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