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It’s #NaNo Prep Time! What Will You Be Writing? | #nanowrimo #nano2019

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Is it time yet? Is it time yet? Now?

Yes—it’s time to start thinking about and prepping for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, or NaNo), which starts November 1.

I went to an informational meeting for my local group (we’re too small to have an online group, we’re stuck in a greater regional group for now) last night and set my goal—to write a 50k novella that’s both a sequel to the Ransome Trilogy and a kickoff of my new Ransome’s Legacy series. Right now, it’s tentatively entitled The Pirate’s Ransome.

Are you participating in NaNo this year? Do you have your story idea yet?

August 2019 #Challenge: Morning Pages & Evening Story Time | #amwriting

Monday, August 5, 2019

I’ve been saying for a couple of years that “someday,” I’ll get Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way and work through it to see if I can regain my love and passion for writing. As Karamo Brown taught us in an episode of Queer Eye: Today. Not someday.

Because of the way I have my planner set up, my “months” go by weeks (Monday — Sunday), which means that for me, August started today (Monday, August 5) since days 1-4 of the month were included in my July weekly planner spreads. So my August challenge will run from Monday August 5 through Sunday September 1.

I have two main goals for these four weeks:

  1. Work through The Artist’s Way.
  2. Spend at least 30 scheduled minutes each evening working on a story (writing, developing story or character ideas, etc.).

The main thing I’ll be doing daily from The Artist’s Way is the practice of Morning Pages. And, although I did mean to start morning pages today . . . well, you know what the say paving roads with intentions leads. But I do have the book sitting here, staring me in the face, reminding me all day that I have a date with it tonight.

What Are Morning Pages?

Morning Pages are three pages of longhand, stream of consciousness writing, done first thing in the morning. *There is no wrong way to do Morning Pages*––they are not high art. They are not even “writing.” They are about anything and everything that crosses your mind– and they are for your eyes only. Morning Pages provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand. Do not over-think Morning Pages: just put three pages of anything on the page…and then do three more pages tomorrow.
(Cameron, Julia. “Morning Pages.”)
[See also, “Why By Hand?”]

Evening Story Time
While the exercise of coming up with a fiction-related idea for each day of last month was a great exercise, it still didn’t motivate me to actually start writing. So this challenge will be broken down into a few goals that will, hopefully, lead me to actually start getting into writing a story. The first goal is to narrow down my multitude of ideas into two or three that really interest me (one day) and then spend the rest of the week fleshing out the ideas: writing a longer story summary, creating/casting characters, doing some research if warranted, and other foundational tasks. Then, by the end of this first week, I will decide which story idea I want to work on for the rest of the month, and I will focus on it during my scheduled creative time each evening (currently scheduled for 9 PM Central each evening, but that may be adjusted on evenings when I have events/plans). This may mean actually writing scenes/chapters, it may mean writing character backstories, it may mean world building. It doesn’t matter what the task is, as long as I spend at least thirty uninterrupted minutes focused on it.

A Return to Regular Blogging
While I didn’t mention this above as a goal for August, since it’s not fiction-writing related, it is writing-related in general. Another goal I’ve set for this month is to blog at least twice each week. So be sure to keep me accountable on that one!
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What’s Your Challenge for August?

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Works Cited:

Cameron, Julia. “Morning Pages” Julia Cameron Live, 2019, juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/.

Cameron, Julia. “Morning Pages: Why by Hand?” Julia Cameron Live, 4 Oct. 2012, juliacameronlive.com/2012/10/04/morning-pages-why-by-hand/.

July Idea Per Day Challenge Results! | #amwriting

Saturday, August 3, 2019

I did it! Thirty-one fiction ideas in thirty-one days!

An Idea Per Day | Copyright 2019 by Kaye Dacus

Now… in the spirit of full disclosure—I didn’t actually write down an idea every single day. But I didn’t allow myself to get more than two or three days behind before getting caught up. And it’s amazing how much easier the second or third ideas were to generate once I’d already written one down. (You know, that whole “priming the pump” thing.)

Some of the ideas are totally new and random. Some are extremely short. Some are ideas for existing secondary characters (James Ransome from Ransome’s Quest, Pax Bradley from The Art of Romance) and some are for settings/series ideas in progress (stories set during the Peace of Amiens, 1802-1803, featuring Royal Navy heroes). In the last week or so of the challenge, ideas were inspired by the book I’m currently reading (for that very reason): To Marry an English Lord. In rewriting an existing story idea (see this teaser I posted), I came up with what I’m calling my Kiwi Prairie Romance series (three story ideas right now set in New Zealand in the late 1800s).

Not only was it a fun challenge, but it also kept the need to think creatively and come up with fiction ideas near the top of my mind daily. It also helped that I intentionally set out to do this longhand, since I was without my personal computer for two weeks during July waiting for the fan to be replaced! (Thank goodness I at least had my work laptop, since I do work from home, to be able to earn my daily bread.) In fact, being without the personal computer for that long probably turned out for the best. Even though I wasn’t able to blog as regularly as I’d hoped, I was more likely to pick up the Ideas notebook and start writing something down instead of what I usually do in the evening—which is waste time online while binge-rewatching favorite TV shows on Netflix.

Tomorrow, I’ll post my challenge for August, but for now . . .

Did you have an idea-ful July? Is this a challenge you could see yourself doing in the future—even if just for a week? What’s your writing challenge for August?

An Idea-Seeding Example | #challenge #amwriting

Friday, July 19, 2019

I mentioned in a previous post that I look for creativity-seeds when coming up with these daily fiction-related ideas when nothing original comes to mind. I wanted to show you an example of what that looks like.

On Sunday, I was having trouble focusing, so I went to my Sounds Interesting list on Goodreads and started reading the back-cover blurbs of the books there. (A process I explained in even more detail here.) I landed on The Pirate Prince by Connie Mason. The first part of the blurb reads:

She was a jewel among women, brighter than the moon and stars. Her hair shone like newly minted gold, and her skin was as smooth and iridescent as an exquisite pearl. Her lips were lush and pink, made for kissing. She was a pirate’s prize, yet he could not so much as touch her.

Why did this blurb stand out to me? Because it offended me (as an author and lover of historical romance) in all its cliche-ness. So I let myself react to it viscerally:

She was not a jewel among women—she was as dull as a cloudy sky. Her hair did not shine like newly minted gold—it was a balance between the colors of dirt and potting soil. Her skin was not as smooth and iridescent as an exquisite pearl—she had visible freckles and moles and suffered a skin ailment that made scaly patches that were itchy, dry, and painful. Her lips were not lush and pink, made for kissing—her mouth was asymmetrical (top lip much thinner than the bottom, as if they’d come from two different mouths), and her top lip disappeared almost completely on the rare occasion that she smiled; the corners had a permanent downward turn, discouraging conversation, much less kissing; and it was a mouth known for expressing her opinions about whatever topic struck her fancy. She was no man’s prize; yet once he met the stubborn, independent old spinster, he couldn’t get her off his mind.

Have you ever seen/heard a story blurb that inspired your own creative idea?

Has It Been an Idea-ful Week? | #challenge #amwriting

Sunday, July 14, 2019

My computer has been at the repair shop since Tuesday (fan needed to be replaced), but I’ve still been sticking to my idea-per-day challenge.

So, although I’m having to post this from my phone, I still wanted to stay accountable and check in to see if anyone else is keeping up with the challenge.

Seeding Creativity | #ideaperday #challenge #amwriting

Monday, July 8, 2019

Another post, another photo to show that I’ve been sticking to my Idea Per Day challenge for July.

Because of traveling and recovery from traveling/vacation, the ideas still aren’t flowing freely. But I have decades’ worth of stuff saved on my computer that makes really great seeds for ideas—from actual story ideas I’ve jotted down before to my casting book and even to blog posts I’ve shared here before.

Now that I’m home and my schedule is back to normal, my next step is to work on making sure that I’m going this at the same time every day. The plan is to have the notebook sitting on my bedside table to do it just before bed each night, since that used to be my most creative time for writing to see if I can get that back.

In the meantime, I’ll just keep making sure that I write down one fiction-related idea per day . . . even if I do have to search for some seeds to get started with!

Where do you find seeds for your ideas?

Have You Had an Idea per Day? | #challenge #amwriting

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Happy July 4! Just in case you didn’t realize, it’s July 4 all around the world. Here in the U.S., we’re celebrating Independence Day. I’m *really* looking forward to having to keep my dog calm during the hours of neighborhood noisemaking with firecrackers and other things that go boom. (I’m kind of surprised, actually, that it hasn’t already started now that it’s 1 PM!)

But I digress . . . (Yes, it’s a holiday from work and I’m scatterbrained—which really has nothing to do with its being a holiday. Welcome to my world.)

July Challenge: One Idea per Day
On Monday, I posted my personal creativity challenge for the month of July, which is to purposely come up with and write down one fiction-related idea each day of the month. I’ll freely admit . . . I had to start by going back through decades-old files on the computer and reading a whole bunch of old, vague ideas and story starter in order to start getting the juices flowing. But it worked!

Handwritten Story Ideas | July Challenge | KayeDacus.com

And not only do I have an idea for each day of the month so far, I woke up thinking about the idea I’m going to write about today. Again, it’s one that goes back to something I came up with a long time ago. But it’s a story idea. It’s fiction-related. And it made me wake up thinking creatively. So, even after just three days—it’s working!

Have you had an idea each day so far this month?

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