My Halo

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareI earned my halo today. I’m an angel! Okay, not really. I donated to NaNoWriMo earlier this evening and now I have my halo on my avatar. Cool, huh? I think so. Though it’s free to participate, NaNo depends on writers, like you and me, to help keep them going. I’m sure there are a few big time sponsors, but when you think about what we can do en masse, just by donating a few dollars, why wouldn’t you donate?

Of course, I didn’t donate my first few years. Last year may have been the first year I donated, and it wasn’t a heck of a lot either. But again, when you think about the sheer size of NaNo, and the number of us that do, we help fund this very awesome organization!

In case you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal for participants is to write fifty-thousand words in one month. It was a bit daunting that first year, but I managed it, and I have every year since. It’s not easy. It takes a certain dedication to getting words down and ignoring that inner editor that begs to obsess over every small detail. It’s only about getting the story down. Editing comes later.

I had always wanted to write a book. I wanted to tell a story, and there were several false starts over several years. The result was always the same. I gave up. It was too hard. I didn’t know how to plan or to outline so I would write a few paragraphs and decided I wasn’t cut out for it.

That changed in 2011. I saw a funny word when I logged onto my computer at work that November 1st morning. On the Trending Now section of Yahoo, I caught sight of Nanowrimo. Curious as to what it could possibly be, I looked it up and I discovered their website. I immediately signed up, though I had no idea what I would write about, and then I got to work.

It took me a week before I figured out what to do and how to write. Slowly the story took shape and I progressed slowly but with a purpose of hitting that 50K mark. By the end of the month, I hit 52,395 words. I was hooked, and I’ve been writing ever since.

That first year, NaNo helped me get through a hard period in my life. It kept me sane and I found that I could write. It’s never easy but the end is well worth the effort. I keep promising that I’m going to publish one of my works, but I’ve yet to get there, but I will.

So I feel a certain gratitude toward the organization and the fevered energy they help inspire. I’ve got a new story in mind, and though I know there’s no guarantee that I’ll cross the goal line for the fifth time, it’s very much what I intend to do. The pace is frantic, but there’s a joy in knowing you’re joining countless others in the mad endeavor.

I urge you to consider joining in if you’ve ever wanted to write a book. The best thing that’s come out of it is that I’ve met a lot of interesting people over the years, people I know I never would have met otherwise. I a blast to participate, and in the end you will have at least the beginning of a first draft of the book you’ve dreamed about writing.

The fun begins at midnight on November 1st and ends on the 30th at 11:59 p.m. Check out the NaNoWriMo website for more details.

NaNo relaunch


Happy Monday! Well, it’s already almost over, but there’s still an hour and a half left until Tuesday begins, at least here in Texas. I wasn’t going to write anything today, but here I am. I’m still under the weather, but I forced myself to go to work. Somehow, and I don’t know how, I managed to work my shift. When I got home, I crashed. I’m still in bed, only getting up to grab a bite to eat.

But enough of my sad little life, the NaNoWriMo site has relaunched! If that doesn’t excite you, well I’m sorry. I’ve had a few ideas of what I want to write, but nothing concrete. On the way home, as I listened to the songs I have on my phone, one came on that I like. It isn’t one of my favorites, and most days I skip it, but I let it play today. While listening, one line stuck out;

 So I wash away stains of yesterday…,
~Forgiveness – Collective Soul 1997~

The wheels in my head began to turn, the idea of heartbreak becoming a much used starting point to my stories. I can’t help myself. It’s what motivated me to begin writing back during my first NaNoWriMo in 2011. I don’t want to give out too many details because I don’t want anyone to steal it, and also because they aren’t fully formed, but it’s enough to get the creative juices flowing. So my NaNo 2015 is tentatively titled Stains of Yesterday.

I’ve already created the novel, and I’m ready to get started. There’s still a chance it may change before November, but at least I have a jumping point. I may start planning a loose plot structure, nothing concrete, just a sketch of what the story will be, where I want it to go, and why. I’m getting excited already!

And if you’re interested, here’s the song, in all it’s 90’s goodness

Mea culpa

I hate to do this, but I had hoped to get caught up on my reading this weekend, but alas, it was not meant to be. I’m going to be late on my book review, which is something I really hate to be. I’ve been feeling under the weather and it’s hitting me hard today. Instead of sitting and reading after work today, which was my plan, I fell onto the couch in a crumpled heap.

I plan to get it written and posted asap, hopefully by the end of the week.

Again, I’m really sorry

Coming home

12079212_10205268603461764_725415955947525686_nLooks like autumn has arrived in the Texas Panhandle. It’s a bit chilly outside, and it’s been raining on and off all day. There hasn’t been a heavy downpour, just a gentle rain along with the quite rumble of some thunder. It’s the perfect lazy day!

Last night, I went to my alma mater, Kress High School’s homecoming game. I rarely go to the game since I’ve been out for going on my 22nd year – yikes! – and I don’t have any children in this school. When I do go to a high school game, I go to Lubbock High, where my niece marches with the band.

So I’m at the game, and not many people are there. It’s a small community and the school only fields a six-man football team. If you’ve never seen a six-man football game, imagine you get rid of most of the line. It’s strange, but it’s also a lot more face paced. If you ever have the chance to see one, I strongly urge you to check it out.

While I’m in the stands, watching my old team get beat, I decide to head to the concession stand for something to drink, hot chocolate or coffee. It was cool and windy, and I thought a warm beverage would be in order. While I waited in line, two of my Class of ’94 classmates found me. It had been over twenty-one years since I last saw them. On the one hand they both looked good. I hope they thought the same about me.

We visited for a while, all thoughts of a drink forgotten. I’m glad we ran into each other, and I hope we get together again soon, but I can’t believe how much they changed in the interim! When I consider where I’ve been since high school, with all the ups and downs, I guess I’ve changed a lot, too.

It’s a shame that you lose touch with people you grew up with. I spent everyday for years with them, and all the others in my class. I haven’t remained close to any of them. Sure, I have most of them on Facebook, but that doesn’t replace actual physical interaction. I realized who much you lose as you move along through life.

I wish more of my classmates could have been there, but I’m not surprised that there weren’t more. I’m more surprised that any were there to begin with. We left a little before the third quarter ended. One of my classmates left to go to work, the other didn’t want to be there alone. Me, and my brother and father, also decided to go. The game wasn’t going well, and we really didn’t have a reason to stay. I just wish I could have bought that cup of hot chocolate.

Quizzaciously? Um…what?

I came across this video while scrolling through YouTube. I’m a big fan of Michael Stevens whose videos on his channel, Vsauce, tackles seemingly random questions. As someone who likes to write, I found this video fascinating. Michael discusses Zipf’s Law, which when talking about language, you will encounter a word proportional to its rank. Which is to say if a word’s usage ranks it as, say 1000, it’s used 1/1000 times as often as the word that is ranked number one.

The video is long, but it’s informative, interesting, and I’m just a geek for random scraps of knowledge. Consequently, the word quizzaciously has only been found used once in the English language, well until this video went up. “Thanks Michael,” I say quizzaciously. Now I’ve used it twice on here. I’m such a fanboy.

Ignore me and just watch the video.