Archive for January, 2015


NaNo Reflection

January 26, 2015

Every November writers around the world collectively participate in a free on-line program, attempting to complete a 50K word manuscript. Developed as a non-profit organization, the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) offers tips, resources, a buddy program, and a place to chart your progress. Their mission statement states:
National Novel Writing Month organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

Writing in groups is not my forte, but last fall I decided to try it. I registered for NaNo and diligently added my daily word count to the website.

I did not reach NaNo’s goal of 50K words per writer, but I didn’t expect to. My goal was to blast a rough draft and create a working manuscript to redo and redo and redo. That, I achieved. I know my characters and am now wandering the pages with them, tossing challenges and obstacles their way.

NaNo isn’t for everyone, and I was hesitant to try. But I’m glad that I did. If nothing else, I exercised my writing and used the month as a practice. Writers must train like athletes and musicians. Baseball players don’t step up to the plate and hit a home run the first time, nor do musicians sit at the piano bench and play Mozart without practice. Everyone needs to head back to the keys and work.

If you’re a writer, write. Every day. Programs like NaNo, books with prompts, and workshops are great avenues to jumpstart one’s writing, but the most important part of writing is to write. If a doing a daily word count helps you focus, then count. If editing a page before writing another engages you, then do it. And if working with other writers in a collective arena inspires you to push forward, then by all means, consider doing NaNo next fall, but in the meantime, continue to write. Every day.


Best of 2014

January 5, 2015

In the spirit of last month’s year-end, best of lists, I’m doing my own top ten YA favorites that I read in 2014. Note that not all these titles were published in 2014 (although most were), but rather, I read them in 2014.

In no particular order:

I’ll Give You the Sun: Jandy Nelson
The Butterfly Mosque: G.Willow Wilson
Noggin: John Corey Whaley
Reality Boy: A.S. King
Two Boys Kissing: David Leviathan
Tease: Amanda Maciel
Belzhar- Meg Wilitzer
The Ocean at the End of the Lane: Neil Gaiman
Fangirl: Rainbow Rowell
Pointe: Brandy Colbert

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