Wordlost

November is my favorite time of year. It is, in a word, NaNoWriMo–that is, in four more words, National Novel Writing Month. And while it’s only my 13th time participating, the organization is now in its 20th year. The premise is simple: write a 50,000-word novel in November.

The challenge, however, is hardly simple: November is also the onset of winter holidays, the shortening of days, the advent of colder temperatures, the mad dash to teach all the content, the mad dash for students to learn all the content in preparation for finals, and November comes at the tail end of the semester when energy is already low and hard to muster.

But since 2006, NaNoWriMo has been my passion: It is, so I’ve often told myself, the one time each year when I selfishly put my writing before all other obligations and write. Each year I win NaNo, I continue to assure myself that my dreams of being a writer are within reach.

And since 2012, I’ve been mingling my passion with NaNo with my passion for the mythology I’ve been constructing since I was about ten years old. This coming-together has been at times the most exciting opportunity, and at other times, the worst.

In short, my wordlust has turned to wordlost.

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Speaking in Tongues

I kept thinking, after I wrote about my doubts in writing the sequel to Starfall, and I decided finally to go for it: On November 1, I began writing. And even with a couple days encumbered by sour and bitter feelings, I’ve written a few thousand words every day since. In fact, I expect I’ll hit 50,000 words today–but the story is still far from complete, and as I predicted back in 2012, it’ll need a third book to finish this tale.

(What can I say? Tolkien made trilogies fashionable.)

And then, just a few days ago, I decided to try my hand at mapping out the world–and my first attempt came out pretty well, if horribly off scale (catch it after the jump).

Then I realized: once you have a map, you’ve gotta start naming things.

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the Novelist’s Dilemma

November approaches.

It’s no surprise, dear reader, that I’m a busy man: not only am I plowing through my first year of teaching (and all the lesson-planning, classroom-managing, relationship-building chaos that comes with that) I’m also attempting to balance being a grad student and still having something of a personal life (filled with a new relationship and lots of Pokemon).

It’s more than I can say in one breath, that’s for sure.

So comes NaNoWriMo. That one month a year I’ve pledged to the author inside to make writing my number one priority. Except lately I can’t even write for my blog.

What am I to do?

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The November Novelist

National Novel Writing Month. If I’ve written about it once, I’ve written about it a hundred times (or at least annually since I began blogging). It’s the one time each year I allow my writing to take center stage (how’s that for mixing metaphors?)–often, though reluctantly, at the expense of my other obligations. So far, I’ve won NaNoWriMo every year.

And this year will make ten consecutive wins. If I manage to make it.

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From Cookies to Life

What My Experiments with Baking Have Taught Me About Life

Or: I want to talk about cookies, so let me make it a metaphor.

I like cooking (and I like eating what I cook–most of the time), but like blogging, being in school (and often over-committing myself), it’s not something I get to do as often as I’d like–so when the opportunity to cook arises, I jump at it. Team potluck? Let me try my hand at salmon casserole, spicy chicken dip, or cranberry kugel. Need a dessert for a bake sale or snack at the meeting? Let me make a hundred oatmeal cream cookies (those were a hit! and they lasted for months, great snacks between classes!), gluten-free black bean brownies, or red velvet cake batter cookies. My mouth is watering at the memories!

So I’m going to a friend’s housewarming party tomorrow night (no spoilers, Katie, stop reading) and I decided I wanted to surprise her with some made-at-home cookies!

But sometimes baking doesn’t always go so well.

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Vote! Vote! Vote!

November brings both horror and delight–this one more so than usual on the horror part, but that’s a scary story for another campfire. Today I’m focused on two other things: NaNoWriMo and Midterm Elections.

So this post is a simple request: First, vote. And if you scroll a little further, you can even look up your voter information. Second, send me a writing prompt here.

If you can only do one, VOTE. But at least, I beg you, do one.

Wanted: Inspiration

National Novel Writing Month is one week away and I’m pulling my hair out, writhing on the floor, and scrambling between the rooms in my head to figure out what I’m going to write. I dream of telling stories that change the world–stories that impact a reader, share with readers an experience they won’t forget, and forge the kind of relationships I recall building between book bindings as I grew up and discovered who I wanted to be.

And I’d like to invite you along on this journey.

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