Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Days 20 & 21, total of 39,585 words

I had to combine the totals for the two NaNoWriMo writing days, since Day 20 on Sunday, Nov. 20 wasn’t a writing day at all. More like research and staying in touch with my writing project, a sequel to The Lost Town based in Singapore, MI during a major selling event, Christmas through Lowell.

For the third day in a row, I was stationed inside the Lowell Area Historical Museum, Industry & Retail Room with the Cutter Factory sleigh, selling books with six other vendors. Although we had a ball and enjoyed good sales it was exhausting.

I had a clear view of the Strand Theater’s playbill from who knows when that actually inspired me. Check out the feature photo.

By now, we know each other’s sales pitches by heart.

“Are you readers?” I ask. “Do you like to read?”

“No, I don’t have the time,” was the overwhelming response.

“My earrings are two for 10,” Ashley Thompson said.

And so on.

“I have postcards from Lowell,” Bruce Doll said.

“Would you like to buy a candle?” the candle kid said.

NaNoWriMo Day 21

I logged in a total of 1,600 words trying to get back into the swing of things. You would not believe what a two-day break from writing does. It puts you out of touch with your own story, and with the characters, you have created. It takes forever to get back into the zone of the book.

To be continued..

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NaNoWriMo 2022 Day 16

Christmas through Lowell this weekend

I will be at the Lowell Area Historical Museum, station k, 325 W. Main St. from Friday afternoon through Sunday, Nov. 20 with my books from the Shifting Sands series.

NaNoWriMo continues

The adventure to find the lost city of Singapore continues with an average daily log-in of 2,000 words. I find that it is optimal to keep up the pace of the story, and not lose the storyline.

Any extremes above or below that count, are just that, extremes that will catch up with you. We discussed this in yesterday’s Halfway NaNoWriMo Breaking Point Podcast with authors Jean Davis and Vera West. Check it out.

The word build-up of 3,000 words tends to dwindle away if you slack off the next day. Trying to make up for the required 1,667-word daily login is almost impossible. It’s a big chunk of text.

Here is the Halfway NaNoWriMo episode

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NaNoWriMo 2022 Day 13 & 14

Rough Seas

Total words logged in 31, 165 on Monday, Nov. 14.

No, smooth sailing through these two days filled with focused writing. After I got over the halfway hump on Friday and Saturday, the ride on the NaNo 50k word roller coaster got bumpier.

It must have coincided with the drop in temperatures in West Michigan as we chilled down, and the skies got cloudy. Our driveways are now lined with stakes with snow in the forecast.

So I introduced the Tower of Breese into the story about the search for a lost town. That helped to further establish the enemy. However, I got stuck again on Monday morning and added another layer to one of the protagonists deepening the conflict.

What’s the next step? The protagonist has several options and doesn’t know which road to take. I should map it out for him on the beat sheet plotting method.

Christmas through Lowell 2022

Setting records this year the tour has 61 locations and I am on one of them, station k on the CTL tour map aka Lowell Area Historical Museum in downtown Lowell located at 325 W. Main Street.

In my other role as a reporter for The Lowell Ledger, I wrote like crazy on a Sunday afternoon about the upcoming Christmas through Lowell tour this weekend, Nov. 18 through Nov. 20.

Christmas through Lowell, Nov. 18 through Nov. 20

In my role as the Director of Operations for Moravian Sons Distillery, I am going to our first meeting of the Michigan Craft Distillers Association at DeVos Hall in Grand Rapids. I am psyched. There will be a bunch of other distillery newcomers.

In another role yet as the producer and host of For the Love of Books Podcast, we will bring you insights in the special episode “Breaking Point” about getting halfway through NaNoWriMo.

I can’t wait for authors Jean Davis and Vera West to share their insights because you can still jump on the NaNo ride.

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NaNoWriMo Day 10

Likely the last 70-degree day this season, so I got right on it writing in two sessions: in the early morning session, I took a walking break to the Franciscans, then I wrote more for a total of 2,426 in the late morning session. I had to wrap it up after the second break at the Arrowhead Golf Course. My brain refused to function anymore. I stuffed myself with a nut mix and chocolates.

I drove back home through the orchards that always calm me down.

The story is on its way to the first big surprise nearing the top of the first climb on the roller coaster plotting method.

The word total since the challenge started on Nov. 1 is 22,570 words. I wish I could have written more, but the body and the mind are smarter than I am and stopped me.

Today, we’re stilling peaches from Mason Apple Orchards in Belding. Thank you, my friend, Lynn. This is the third stilling run of the season.

To be continued…

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NaNoWriMo Day 8

It’s a big day today that started off with the total lunar eclipse of the moon known as the bloodied moon. We can see the next one in three years.

The Blood Moon Lunar Eclipse

Blood moon, Lunar eclipse

NaNoWriMo Day 8

I started writing at 8 a.m. and moved the adventure further ahead after flipping back to the beat sheet method. After the lunch break on the trail, I wrote in the afternoon logging in 3,217 words for a total of 16, 867. I wish I could have written more. But it is what it is. Grateful for this productive day.

Morning effects

General Election Nov. 8

Now we’re getting ready to vote at our brand new township hall. And then it’s Taco Tuesday or Mardi Taco; we haven’t decided on a specific joint yet. It seems like all the local restaurants got away with Taco Tuesdays.

Done at 6:22 p.m on a beautiful Tuesday evening. I voted as the 776th voter in the overcrowded Vergennes Township hall. The rewards were excellent at Ripple on the Flat in downtown Lowell. We had Midwest tacos and I had a Cochinita taco with a Hemingway cocktail.


Have you voted yet?

Voting in Vergennes Township.

All in a day’s work.

Feature photo: Morning above our tree line.

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NaNoWriMo Day 7 Week 1

In the first week of NaNo, Day 7 I logged in a total of 13,650 words. On top of that, I wrote for the Lowell Ledger logging in 1,841 words with stories about Milo’s Consignment, Station Salon Celebrates 10th Anniversary and the Lowell Arts Artist Market. That would put me at 15, 491 more like my buddies. Writing is writing, my buddy Diana says.

Lowell Ledger stories gallery for Nov. 9

Stay tuned for these stories in the upcoming issue of the Lowell Ledger

In the NaNoWriMo 50k word challenge, we met our nemesis on the first climb of the roller coaster plotting method. I am still thinking about switching to the 15-beat sheet method, but on the other hand, I like the tension of the unknown.

Blast from my communist past in former Czechoslovakia

Nov. 7 was another mandatory holiday, when we paraded with lanterns in the streets of Gottwaldov, now Zlin, to celebrate the Soviet holiday of their October revolution known as VRSR.

Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia. I will write more about this when I have time.

The October Revolution, also known as the Bolshevik Revolution or (according to the communists themselves) the Great October Socialist Revolution,[2] abbreviated VŘSR or Great October, was the second phase of the Russian Revolution of 1917, following the February Revolution. 

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NaNoWriMo Day 4

Even though the clouds moved in, we still held onto the upper 60s with rain in the afternoon. The November weather definitely made its mark on the start of NaNoWriMo.

Like on a real roller coaster, I pushed the story forward with a jerk to the ‘Singapore is Ours’ declaration by the protagonists and left it with a new chapter opened. I logged in 2020 words. Again I like the number, but I wish I could have pulled off more.

I am going to flip back to the beat sheet plotting method rather than the roller coaster, which is more like a labyrinth. This morning it led me to these dead-end streets and side streets.

In my other role as a journalist, I am working on a story about a hometown salon celebrating its 10th anniversary. The salon survived the Covid horror and competition from other salons.

You can buy my books locally at Shabby Chicnanigans next to Curtis Cleaners and Bettie’s Pages on Main Street just in time for holiday shopping.

Thanks Michelle.

Shabby Chicnanigans opens next to Curtis Cleaners

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Day 3 NaNoWriMo 50k challenge

Roller coaster plotting method

It’s day three of National Novel Writing Month and the temperatures steadily hold in the upper 60s, even reaching 71 in the afternoon in West Michigan.

I wrote happily this morning 1,708 words not banking any extras for rainy days aka holidays. I have introduced the inciting incident into the story which made my heart beat faster.

Inciting incident

Exactly as depicted in the roller coaster plotting method. With sweaty palms and a racing heart, I stopped before the steep climb and went for a walk to alleviate the pressure of excitement.

There is something about the roller coaster plotting method that keeps you on the edge, just like on the real ride. You hold your breath and wait for what happens next.

Last year I used the beat sheet method. But I’ve learned both from my podcast author guests and from meditations that change pushes you forward. It was the jerk I needed as I reverted back to my most productive time, morning writing, and afternoon reporting.

I inserted a long break in between so it doesn’t feel like I am working all the time. The afternoon visit to the Lowell Arts Gallery was a sheer pleasure. Janet Teunis made it easy. I felt like back at home with the other artists setting up.

The sun is setting now so I should head back.

More tomorrow.

Long road ahead.

November reruns of spring and summer episodes of For the Love of Books Podcast

Nov. 3 Nikki Mitchell , Nightshade Forest

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Day 1 NaNoWriMo

It’s Tuesday, November 1st in Michigan. My dashboard is showing 64F.

I attended All Saints Day mass at St. Patrick’s in Parnell at 7 a.m. The general store across the street wasn’t even open yet.

But I managed to run into an old friend who was already grumpy.

“Nothing has happened yet,” I said. “You can’t be grumpy.”

“Yes, it has,” he said. “I woke up.”

This was the first day of National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo 50k word challenge. I logged in 1,777 words because I like the number plus it was 100 words more than the required 1,667 daily log-in word count.

For the first time ever, I ate my lunch on the porch in the November sun in West Michigan after I got done writing. I will savor that forever.

The lovely day ushered in a mix of emotions that a new project always carries. I even managed to walk the trail listening to the creek. The creek was bubbling its song undaunted by the fall. I threw a few rocks to listen to the sound of the rock entering the water, and measured the depth by the hollow sound.

Our fifth grandchild Henrik celebrated his first birthday today. I remember last year’s tension about the unknown of NaNo and the new grandbaby. Nothing has changed, the tension is the same.

Some guys are showing off water skiing in November in Michigan. Heck yes, that’s cool.

You rock. Happy birthday, Henrik. Love always.

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How to survive NaNoWriMo 50k word challenge ending up with a rough draft of a novel


That is the million-dollar question that today’s panelists authors Jean Davis, Vera West, and Emma Palova will attempt to answer. There is not a one size fits all guideline to win the 50,000-word challenge coming up in November.

At times, the challenge reminds me of final exams in college, when you had to pull it all together in one month, and in four different subjects. As authors, we each have a different approach to getting it done. I like to have some kind of pillars to rely on kind of like a suspended bridge, not necessarily a full-blown outline, but rather a synopsis as Davis suggested.

Davis has been participating in NaNo for 17 years, which has increased her productivity immensely. Out of that, she won 15 times. West enters every year but does not always win. So far, she has won once.

“For me, any progress is better than none,” she said.

True, if you enter and get 10,000 words written, that’s 10,000 words more than you had before entering.

These experienced NaNoWriMos offered invaluable tips in the special episode: Have two projects in the works in case you get stuck on one, and work hard in the honeymoon phase at the beginning before exhaustion settles in.

Don’t go back to fix anything, keep moving forward even if you don’t like the way the story is evolving; you might not like it two hours later either.

“There are two ways to go about it,” Davis said. “First you can outline that you have to write 1,667 words a day, secondly you can just work on something like I do.”

Whichever way you pick, just stick to your commitment.

Find out what to do when you do get stuck. And we all do, indeed.

Sponsored by Doc Chavent and The Lowell Ledger