Sunday, October 30, 2016

My NaNoWriMo Survival Kit

The end of October looms, a nearly naked branch poised to let its final leaf fall. There's a smell to it—cold and faintly death-like—all that summer beauty rotting into a crunchy path that we track into the house no matter how hard we try not to. Ten cords of firewood were delivered in a manure spreader and dumped in front of our barn. Half of it remains, waiting to be piled. We'll get to it eventually.

There's been a constant fire burning in the wood stove. That's a smell I can embrace—though it dries the air so much I'm afraid my skin might split if I crack a smile.

Winter is coming. 

And so is NaNoWriMo.

And both of them are making me feel a little uncomfortable.

I don't have time! I don't have time for snow and I don't have time to write 1,667 words a day.

But the snow comes no matter our protest and those words...well, they'll get written—or at least they'll be given the old college try.

Because, like snow, once you've danced in the glow of a freshly rewarded NaNo victory, you know you have to do it again—no matter how much it hurts; no matter how your fingers ache or Jack Frost tries to ice over your inspiration—you get out there and post your footprints on Instagram because even in the pain there's something terribly beautiful to be discovered.

I tried to say no. I reminded myself that I have a magazine to finish editing, proofs to get approved and finals to be sent to the printers before the 21st of the month. I have two extra evening work meetings throughout November PLUS I've been invited to a Gilmore Girls Year In The Life viewing party and there's no way I'm missing that!

What I've decided is this: NaNoWriMo is worth it. Even if I fail.

Since the launch of Blank Spaces I've done very little fiction writing. I've played with some short stories and posted some chapters on WattPad but I haven't poured myself into something that can become...something.

Do you see?

I need the pressure to reignite the fire.

So I signed up. I have a very loose idea to use as a jumping off point, but honestly I have no idea what I'll be writing about. But that's part of the fun. If I can stick with it, I'll have a 50,000 word novel by December. It's a little bit magical, isn't it? Something from nothing. That's one of the things I love about writing.

The title? The Path That Takes Us Home.

What is it about? *shrugs* But it'll probably be amazing.


SO, to help motivate/inspire myself, I've pulled together a little survival kit that will get me through this Month Of Being A Crazy Person...

Nanowrimo Survival Kit

  1. My laptop, happily equipped with Scrivener—THE GREATEST WRITERS TOOL OF ALL TIME—seriously!
  2. Headphones which will pump the blissful white noise of a coffee shop into my ears, courtesy of Coffitivity—THE MOST HELPFUL APP OF ALL TIME!
  3. A notebook that will travel with me everywhere I go for 'attack' moments of inspiration.
  4. Pens to accompany said notebook.
  5. Fingerless gloves. Trying to type with cold fingers is awful. I believe in being prepared!
  6. Candy. It's obvious why, isn't it?
  7. Mug & Tea/Coffee. So I haven't tried the tea pictured. I'm not a real lover of herbal options but CLARITY sounded like something I could use a lot of...
  8. My planner, to check off the days.
  9. Some motivation to hang by my desk. Because everyone needs a little 'You Can Do It' every now and then.

Not pictured: 
  1. A door - I need to be able to shut myself into my writing room and get to it, undisturbed.
  2. Frozen pizza. You didn't think I'd be cooking did you? 
  3. Slippers and heavy sweaters. I accomplish nothing if I'm not cozy!
There are other requirements, like saying no to other extracurriculars or instructing the children in the proper manner that they truly understand AND actually become cheerleaders in the whole process—but more than anything, it's about focus. 

And it's about turning off Netflix.

Do you think I can do it? Pop over to the NaNoWriMo site any time during November to see my progress {or lack thereof}. And if you feel up to the challenge, sign up and give it a try—we can encourage one another along the way.

Wish me luck! 

Monday, October 24, 2016

We're Moving To Sweden!

Life isn't interesting enough, is it? We have to go and throw in some crazy plan to keep things...well...crazy. As we sat at the dinner table a few weeks ago Zander announced our future: Let's move to Sweden!

"Okay," I said. "But why?"

"They pay kids to go to high school."

"Awesome! Tell you what, you go do some research. Report back the cost of relocating, flights, shipping our stuff, buying a new car, how much we could make on the sale of our house and the probability of it selling fast enough...and if it all checks out we'll go! Easy peasy!" 



He has yet to present his findings. I think he's all talk.

There is something appealing about it all though...but I do wonder...would IKEA instructions still come with an English option?

Monday, October 3, 2016

I'm Not Rich Yet

September is over. Just like that. How rude! Everywhere I look, it's 'pumpkin spice this', and 'let's go on a fall colour tour' and I'm just sitting here mourning the lazy days of summer when time felt manageable and dreams were more exciting than overwhelming and I'm mad because I have to wear socks.

The moment school kicks back I feel it like the rear legs of a bucking horse — it just knocks me down. I don't sleep well, I drag myself to work {wishing I was still in pajamas and slippers}, I stay up too late, and I want to do too many things.


I'm SO excited about what's going on.

Blank Spaces Magazine digital release

The first issue of my brand new magazine was released on September 1 to a great response. People have been so gracious and encouraging and actually buying it - which is incredible. It was {and continues to be} a huge risk. The return for the hours {days/weeks/months!} of work will not allow me to quit my day job and pursue my publishing dreams full time {and, let's be honest, that is my ultimate hope — that this pretty little vision could grow into a sustainable venture that allows me to chase my heart without being tied down to a job that turns my attentions from what I really want to do} BUT I'm having such fun seeing it all come together, I'm meeting some incredible people, and I'm so excited for the potential future it has.

Do you even understand what it's like to have people believe in your vision???

Yeah. It's pretty alright.

I wish I had adequate words to express the moment I actually held the first copy in my hands. Because the whole process was so foreign to me, I really had no idea what to expect. I did my research and I made intelligent choices but I was relying solely on the support of The Internet, and I don't know if you know this, but The Internet is FALLIBLE!

I had a list of what was important to me and a quality product was right at the top. I wanted thick paper. I wanted a glossy finish. I wanted crisp images. I wanted something that someone would feel good investing their hard-earned money into. I wanted more than a newspaper but less than a book. I wanted something that was as pretty in real life as it was in my head.

My list was no small order.

I had a dream that my shipment arrived printed on tissue paper and bound with staples. I have never been more scared. I felt the pressure of all those trusting contributors and all the beautiful people who pre-ordered sight-unseen — what could be more devastating than crushing my own dreams as well as theirs with a less-than beautiful product?

But then it arrived. Live and in colour and NOT in my dreams, and I was so overcome with relief that my hands shook as I flipped through the pages. IT WAS JUST SO PRETTY!

I have no regrets. I feel empowered and confident enough to get the second issue out for December 1. And I think, if I can just figure out how to get it into the hands of the right people, it's a project that could grow and grow into something really special.

I am practicing boldness. I am reaching beyond my comfort zone to wave it in people's faces. I just assigned a deadline to a Toronto Book Awards finalist who will be sharing her writing journey in the December issue! {True story! That really happened! Who am I??? A big-time magazine publisher, that's who! Ha! I promise to stay humble! Cross my heart!}

So thank you to all of you, because if you're here right now reading this, you were probably here when I announced this crazy venture back in May {good gravy, I can't believe it's only been four months —this has all happened SO fast!} and that means you've stood by me through it all and are here to greet me at the other end...just in time for it all to begin again.

{If you feel left out and want to snag yourself a print copy, I'm including the shop link at the bottom of this post. Because SHAMELESS PROMOTION! It's the only way to get anything done — and without sales, I can't keep the machine going. If you just want a digital copy, send me an email and put [BLOGREADER25] in the subject line and I'll give you 25% off the digital price just because you support me here ❤️}

What I really need right now is a marketing genius, a distribution guru, one million dollars, and a personal barista...because, well, you know...

Blank Spaces - September 2016
Blank Spaces Magazine: Blank Spaces - September 2016
Volume 1, Issue 1 of Blank Spaces is a celebration of Canadian talent, featuring the work of artists—writers, painters, photographers, poets, etc. We are continually accepting submissions.
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