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Notes Notes

9 days ago
Except for the Thank Goodness It’s Over Celebration on Wednesday (12/5/17) at the Chateau at 6:30 where we have Tea and Cookies and celebrate our achievements, NANOWRIMO 2018 is now in the books.

As a team, we were spectacular! You ALL simply ROCK MY WORLD!
Some of our Highlights include:
• Butte Montana finished as #6 in the WORLD! We were #1 in the state of Montana! (last year we were #13 in the world so this is a HUGE change!)
• We had 13 team members surpass the 50K benchmark – that’s 54%! The National Average is 22%.
• Our winners crafted 86% of all of the words our team wrote and we wrote LOTS! Our team closed with 778,065 words crafted towards the stories that only we can tell.
• We had 4 people who signed up and never launched (less than 2500 words) so our adjusted average words per writer were 38,903. That’s up 742 words from last year!

More than anything else, we learned something about ourselves, our commitments, our drive and determination, and just how powerful a team of like-minded creative souls are to giving us encouragement and support. It was an AMAZING November. I hope that all of you will consider writing with us all year with the Copper Quills (facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ButteNano/) and that you will all be back again next October when we launch and start back into another NANO adventure.

If being a part of NANOWRIMO is something you would like to do, please let me know ASAP as this region will be looking for an ML for 2019 – 8 years is my limit…

Wishing you ALL the very best the rest of 2018 has to offer and an abundance of opportunities in 2019-

Your Faithful ML~~~
Debi
12 days ago
Come On my Fellow Buttians!
It’s the last couple days of NANO and I KNOW you can either finish this challenge with the WINNERS prize, or at least add more words to your count and make this a year of your personal best. Here are three steps to finish NANO2018- This process is “R.U.N.” All you have to do to finish the race is run.

R- Renew. Reinvigorate yourself and Remember that taking time for yourself is always important but it is even more important when you feel like everything is ticking down and closing in upon you. When we take time for ourselves to step outside of the chaos we see how small our problems really are. We can relax. We can find respite. We can do what we love, like write stories. We can just stop time and be at peace within ourselves, and by doing this we will have a renewed strength to face this last stretch of road at full force.

U- Understand others. It is very important like I said to take time for yourself but you are still going to have to be around others a lot this season and this can get stressful, especially when the last thing you want to do is listen to others problems. Yet, by listening to others and learning to understand them we not only become more compassionate and peaceful beings, but also we teach ourselves the importance of working together. Through this we learn that we are not alone in our struggles and it makes facing them not so hard. It allows us to continue because as we cheer others on toward the 50K finish, we will have our own cheer squad helping us to finish as well.

N-Nobody is perfect. Know this. Never give up. Try your best. Necessities first. If it is not a necessity, then it ought not to be a stressful priority. It is easy to worry about work and school and life but by keeping our focus upon what we really want to accomplish we remove the mental clutter and organize ourself to make the last final push.

If we just R.U.N. we will finish Nano 2018 as strong as when we started it.

I BELIEVE IN YOU!!!!! KEEP WRITING!!!!
Debi
19 days ago
HAPPY THANKSGIVING.

Thanksgiving can be a time of straight-up existential crisis for writers. Many of us are in the final throes of NaNoWriMo—For the love of Valhalla, do I really have 20,000 more words to go?!—while many more of us are teetering on the edge of panic about the impending holiday chaos and the prospect of interacting with relatives.

But Thanksgiving is also a time to stop and appreciate the things you care about, to express gratitude for all the whosits and whatnots that keep you ticking and typing.
So put down your pen—put it down, I know it’s hard… there you go. Take those fingers off the keyboard for just a moment, and ruminate on all the people and things that make “Writer” one of the most epic honorifics anyone can achieve.

1. Feeling “the flow.”
Some call it The Muse. Some call it The Flow. Some call it roarin’ out words onto the page with the velocity and fire of the DragonBearDruid you just devised from that treasure chest you call a skull.

Whatever you call it, you know what I’m talking about, and it feels great. Pause to pay respects to the way it feels when your synapses and phalanges are singing the same story-slinging song… Unless you’ve got your groove going at this very moment, in which case, I take back what I said earlier: Pick up that pen, fire up that keyboard, and get writing!

2. The support of the writing community.
This might be the most important of all. Where would we be without our writer friends, our critique groups, our fellow conference attendees, our allies in scribbling and pitching and agonizing over those stupid scenes that just won’t cooperate?

No one understands your passion, pain and bliss as deeply as other writers who are, like you, struggling to spew their thoughts onto a page in a way that sounds at least vaguely coherent. Take a few seconds to speak or tweet or email your gratitude to the folks who are right there with you on this hero’s journey.

3. The editors and beta readers who help you improve your writing.
When your antagonist’s dialogue is drab and cliché, who tells you to try again? When you repeated the word “subtle” five times in the same paragraph, who unsubtly buys you a thesaurus? When your inconsistent pacing makes your heroine face-plant into a clumsy climax, who helps you tie her thematic shoelaces?

Whether it’s a spouse, a friend, a critique partner, or a professional editor, stop to salute those red pen-wielding, mixed metaphor-slashing, darling-slaughtering sadists you trust to whip your manuscript into shape.

4. Literary agents who represent and advocate for you (and give great publishing advice).
Any writer who’s found a literary agent to represent them, review their pages, or simply offer helpful insights about the querying and publishing process knows that agents are author advocates through and through. They read and review and strive tirelessly toward the success of writers both veteran and undiscovered. Spend a moment thanking an agent for all they do.

If you haven’t found an agent yet, keep in mind that so many agents out there are just waiting to fall in love with your story. And—even if you’ve chosen an independent path—more still are delighted to share their knowledge of the industry with anyone who takes a moment to ask for it.

5. Achieving your writing goals.
It doesn’t matter what you write—novels, articles, short stories, poetry, screenplays, obscure interpretive contemporary art shows. When you finish a work-in-progress, you’ve brought something legendary and singularly you into the world. You imagined it, you poured yourself into it, and you brought it to life.

That. Is. Damn. Impressive.

And even if you haven’t completed anything yet, you wouldn’t have started if you didn’t know that you could, and that in itself is worthy of endless admiration.

Take a moment to be thankful for your own practical magic that allows to you make something from nothing, for the mental acuity to craft it and polish it into something you feel proud of, for the courage and perseverance it takes to put words on the page.

You rock, you dreamer-creator-wordsmith-worldbuilder-writer. You. Rock.

And finally, be thankful for pie. Because pie is great and goes really well with your manuscript.
Happy Thanksgiving

22 days ago
So You Can’t Be Bothered Writing Today? Try This…

So you want to write.
You’ve got plenty of ideas.
But, you just can’t start.
(Or perhaps you can start writing, but then you quickly run out of steam and can’t get going again.)
I get it.

Several years ago, I decided to enter a flash fiction competition. I spent two months writing a three-hundred word story.
(Yes, that’s an insane amount of time to devote to a small piece of writing.)
I had entered this competition several times during the past few years, and I was convinced I had a good story, that I knew what the judges wanted.
I was full of it.
I didn’t win but… I was delighted to find my story was short-listed.
Then, I faced a problem.
I didn’t want to sit down and write anything new, and even though I had some ideas, I couldn’t start.
I wasn’t motivated to write.

If this has ever happened to you, don’t worry.
The backstories of successful writers and creative people are filled with early risers, night owls and craftsmen and women who all felt demotivated at some point in their careers.

Here are five ways you can get motivated to write:

1. Associate ONE Place With Writing
Irish novelist, John Banville gets up early every morning leaves his house and travels to an apartment in Dublin city where he spends the day working on his novels. He says:
“I live in Dublin, God knows why. There are greatly more congenial places I could have settled in – Italy, France, Manhattan – but I like the climate here, and Irish light seems to be essential for me and for my writing.”
You might not be able to afford an apartment solely for writing – and I agree with John about the weather – but you could carve out a quiet space in your house, in a coffee shop or even the local library. Associate that place with writing and nothing else and you’ll slip into your creative groove more easily. There, you can work on your strengths. Just remember to leave a tip.

2. Search for a New Writing Routine
On the other hand, perhaps keeping a strict writing routine is causing you to feel demotivated? Or what worked for you in the past no long fits with the demands of day-to-day life. The novelist Anne Rice – she of Interview with the Vampire fame – used to enjoy writing late at night. When her son was born in 1978, that all changed. Small children and keeping late nights don’t go hand-in-hand. So, Rice began writing during the day and early morning. She says:
“It’s always a search for the uninterrupted three- or four-hour stretch”
Your search will take you to unusual places, if you let it.

3. Obsess About Your Progress
I’m a little obsessed with productivity, and I can tell you, what gets measured, gets managed, and what gets managed, gets done.

Ernest Hemingway knew the value of measuring his progress. Even though he drank late into the night, he still rose each morning at first light to write for several hours, before anyone could disturb him. He tracked what he wrote on a board next to where worked so as “not to kid myself”. I don’t recommend the drinking but alongside tracking your word-count, record how long you spend writing.

Why?
Well, sometimes the hours you put in the chair are as important as the words you lay out on the page. And that’s enough to keep motivated.

4. Get Your Blood Pumping
If you’re really struggling to get motivated to write a story or finish a book , stand up, put on a pair of trainers and go outside. The Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard wrote early in the morning before setting off for an afternoon walk around Copenhagen. Then, he returned to write in the evening.
Charles Dickens was another prolific walker, often putting in 20 miles in a single day. There was a man who could have done with a pair of trainers.
Often the best ideas arrive when you’re doing something different from writing.

One Sunday afternoon in July, I was 10 km into a 15 km run through a local park. I was half-way up a trail and covered in mud, when I thought of a break-through for a non-fiction book I was struggling with. I had to stop running and dictate the idea with my phone because I was afraid I’d forget it.
When I got back to my desk, I felt motivated to write for several hours that night.

5. Ask: ‘Are You an Amateur or a Professional?’
Tough talk time:
If you’re an amateur writer or a hobbyist, it’s okay to take a break or to give in to feelings of demotivation because hey, there are better things to do…
Checking Facebook, catching up reality television, cleaning the bathroom tiles with an old toothbrush…

If you’re a professional writer, it’s your job to keep on going when you want to do anything but.

So, don’t give up. The American novelist John Cheever was a consummate professional. He rose each morning, put on his only suit and got into an elevator with the nine-to-five crowd. While everyone left for offices, Cheever took the elevator to the basement of his apartment complex. There, he stripped to his underwear and wrote for the day. (John’s job didn’t come with a dress code).

Know That It’s Ok
It took me a little while to start writing again after that flash fiction competition. What did I do? Well, instead of writing more flash fiction, I started a much longer story about a rich brother and a poor brother who trade places. And the potential of that new idea helped me get motivated to write.
Creative people of all levels, you, me and John Banville included, feel demotivated sometimes.

Know that, it’s ok.
The trick is to know how to handle feeling demotivated so instead of losing a week or months’ worth of writing time, like I did, you get yourself going, get yourself writing and forget what problem is.


Bryan Collins is a staff writer for Forbes Magazine ----
25 days ago
Writing can be a struggle. But for most writers, the writing isn’t the hard part.

Come on, think about it.
You don’t struggle (too much) over how to spell words or use proper grammar. You know how to put a reasonable piece of content together.
It might need to sit overnight for that final polish, but you aren’t a beginner learning the basics anymore.
The killer is starting.
You get bouts of blank page syndrome, where you stare at the screen and type out a few sentences before hitting delete.
You have a stack of half-finished stories because you never hit the groove while writing them.
If you could just sit down, put your fingers to the keyboard and write … well. That would be heaven. You’d find your pace, fall into a steady rhythm, and hit the finish line before you know it.
Let’s see if we can get you off to the races.

First step: Find the time
I bet this sounds familiar to some of you: You get an idea, sit down to write, start that first sentence … and your kid hollers at you. Or your partner comes home from work and wants to spend time with you. Or your email keeps filling up with client stuff.
Your rhythm is interrupted. Your train of thought is lost. And when you settle back down to write?
Your smooth writing flow is gone with the wind, my friend. Sayonara.
No one writes easily when they’re being distracted and interrupted. Distractions crush your creativity. You need a quiet time to write — a time where your kid won’t holler, your partner won’t come home from work, and your email won’t light up every three minutes.
You need a window of writing opportunity that stays wide open — and that can’t be shut by someone else.
Now, don’t tell me that time doesn’t exist. Kids and partners eventually need sleep. And there are as many slow periods in a day for email as there are peak hours.
Commit to finding that time. Wake up 30 minutes early every day. Stay up an hour later than usual at night. Send your partner and the kids to grab an ice cream — your treat. Figure out how to carve out the time you need so you can make it your sacred writing territory.

Second step: Get some space
Imagine a master archer about to pull his string and release the bulls-eye-winning arrow on his target. He’s determined, he’s focused, his arm draws back ….
And his elbow bumps a wall.
He tries to shift his feet, but there’s a table in the way. It’s a little dark too, so he squints to see the target … it’s at a bad angle. He should really tilt his head. Of course, now his wrist is all flexed backwards and his elbow lifts again — bump. There’s that wall …
This poor guy would have to be a pretty crack shot to aim well, considering how awkward and uncomfortable he is standing cramped like that. If you were judging his competition, you’d probably tell folks to clear out the stuff and give that guy some room!
Do the same for yourself. Give yourself room to write.
Many writers slouch in chairs that don’t support their backs (they may even write in bed), tapping away at tiny keyboards in poorly lit rooms that force them to squint. They’re usually bumping elbows into something too, like the arm of a chair. Their heads are forward, their shoulders are hunched, and their wrists … well. Carpal tunnel syndrome, anyone?
This isn’t any way to get serious work done. Come on.
If you’ve carved out time to write, go the distance and carve some space as well. Find a brightly lit room that makes you feel good about being in it. Get a good desk for your computer, and sit straight in a proper chair, with no arms to bump into or rest elbows on.
Be comfortable as you write — so that your writing becomes a comfortable pleasure.

Third step: Build your zone
Musicians warm up before playing. Actors get into character. Parents read bedtime stories. Olympians and professional athletes follow routines that are almost compulsive.
Why don’t you?
No one can do anything well when they’re coming into it cold. You need to warm up and get into the rhythm before you can write something amazing.
Sure, it might work once in awhile when you’re inspired. But it’s an illusion to think writing cold will produce a consistent flow of awesome.
Professionals in any field develop a warm-up routine. A good routine puts your mind in the right frame to write well. It lets your brain know what to expect, to predict what’s coming.
And what’s coming is you, writing.
Build a routine that you follow each time you want to write. For example, go for a 15-minute walk. Or listen to two rockin’ songs as you set up your laptop on the porch. Make a cup of tea or coffee. Put on your special writing hat.
In other words, decide on a few specific actions that you repeat consistently as you make your routine a habit.
Then sit down and write. Anything. Even if it’s garbage for the first few weeks.
You’re training your brain and teaching it that these steps always lead to writing. It takes time to make it a habit, but eventually your brain will become accustomed to following the pattern. It will learn that break + snack + walk = time to write.
It will put you in that optimal frame of mind for writing automatically.
Here’s my routine, just to give you an idea of how this works:
I have a coffee and clear out my email so that I can ignore new ones for an hour or two. No stress. Then I break my mental state from “email processing” by getting up to walk around for five minutes. I loosen up, relax and step outside for a few breaths of fresh air.
Within 10 seconds, ideas for noveling start flowing. It never fails. My brain knows that coffee, email, walk, and fresh air = writing. And when I sit down to write, my brain is ready to hand me the words I need.

You can use these three easy steps to find your writing zone and build an environment conducive to great work too. All it takes is time, space, and a little preparation — and you’ll be on your way to finishing that stack of unfinished chapters before you know it.

You still have 14 days to get those words in. I believe in you!
Keep Writing!!!!!
Debi
28 days ago
We’re all guilty of procrastination at some point—usually for tasks that rank low on our happy list, like scheduling a root canal or cleaning the garbage disposal. Writers are especially familiar with procrastination, a close cousin of writer’s block.

Whether you’re feeling guilty that your writing “interferes” with your day job and family obligations, your novel has stalled midway, or you simply can’t face the submission process (and the rejection that comes with it), fear not! Even if you’ve detoured into I’ll-Do-It-Tomorrow Land, here are some tips to help get your writing heading in the right direction again!

8 Ways to Conquer Procrastination and Get Your Writing Back On Track

• Reassess your goals. Are they realistic? If your goals are too lofty or unattainable, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Change broad statements like “Get to 40K by November 15th” to more manageable (and realistic) tasks, like “Focus on 1700 a day,” or “ Write 10 – 12 paragraphs each day” maybe even “Write this dialogue scene and the outcome.” A series of small successes can get the ball rolling!
• Do the worst task first. The longer we put off a task, the larger it looms in our minds. Many writers find that getting their least favorite writing chore out of the way first helps them move more quickly to the more fun, creative endeavors. Unless you are hyper vigilant OCD, you don’t have to write the story in order – you can bounce around a bit.
• Or do your favorite task first. Some authors start off with a task that primes the pump, like dashing off some poetry or working on a short story, before tackling something more difficult.
• Change things up. When you’re stalled, changing things up can jump-start the muse. If you can’t jet off to a tropical island for the winter, try rearranging your office, exploring a new park/restaurant/writing group across town, or simply setting up your writing area so you are looking out a different window. Change your view!
• Find inspiration by reading. Delve into some old classics, or explore some brand-new, buzzworthy novels! You will be seeing other options for piecing words together.
• Use freewriting or visualization. Stream-of-consciousness writing can generate new ideas or develop a vague concept into something concrete. Creating a vision board can also help authors visualize and focus their writing goals. This is especially good when trying to describe things.
• Share your work. If you’re stuck on a particular piece, have someone you trust (or members of your writers group) review your writing. They may have a new perspective or advice that helps you get moving again.
• Above all, be flexible and self-forgiving. Sometimes, LIFE just gets in the way of writing, no matter how hard we try to stay on track—and that’s okay.

Well Begun Is Half Done. —Aristotle

Professor Tim Pychyl, an expert on procrastination, urges people to just get started. “First, once we get started…we perceive the task as much less aversive than we do when we’re avoiding it. Second, even if we don’t finish the task, we have done something, and the next day our attributions about [ourselves] are not nearly as negative. We feel more in control and more optimistic. You might even say we have a little momentum.”

SO…..

Write. Write when it hurts. Write when it feels good. Write when you want to. Write when you don’t. Write when you have a direction. Write when you have no idea where it’s going. Write when you want everyone to see. Write when you want to keep it to yourself. Above all, write for you.

50,000 words? You are more than capable of this – you are all the way to SUPERHERO!

I've got pom-poms waving and noise makers at the ready --
Debi
about 1 month ago
We are 33% of the way through NANO and we still have people who made the pledge to themselves to write a novel and have yet to put pen (or pencil) to paper.

I know it's hard. I know it's frightening. I know it takes work. You knew all of that as well when you convinced yourself that you can do this and I STILL BELIEVE YOU CAN. Yes. It’s that simple. Just Believe.

Maybe you won’t hit the 50K. I don’t know if you will or you won’t; but here’s the thing, YOU DON’T KNOW IT EITHER.

Henry Ford lived his life with the philosophy of “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t – EITHER WAY, you’re right.” So what’s it gonna be?

Here is a video that I encourage you to watch. The speaker does NANO herself. She’s a Brit – I’m sorry about the language so if you are offended by bad words, this one isn’t for you. HOWEVER, if you need to blow your butt into gear, she’ll help you get there. Just write. Just do it. Don’t be your own biggest obstacle to achieving a goal you’ve set for yourself.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mCPBjayFHO0

You KNOW you’ve got this…
Debi
about 1 month ago
Welcome to the start of Week 2 of NANO!

For most of us, week 1 is exciting! We’ve been chomping at the bit to get going, we have a story idea in mind, some cool characters to play with, and at least the start of a plot like to push us into this new adventure, this new world. NANO recommend that you are somewhere between 11,000 and 15,000 words. As a writer it feels pretty darn good.

Then Week 2 hits us. Week two is the meat and potatoes of your story; action, conflict, characters who are plotting and planning on how to control their world. For whatever reason, your word count may still be on target, but the story just seems to slow down as you flesh out spots to help the reader visualize the scene. The initial frustration of this month long challenge starts to sprout. You’ll hear yourself AND others muttering about stupid characters, lame plot, dumb conflict, etc… Well, here is where I need to jump in.

That voice…. that dissenting, annoying voice? Yeah - that one…. that isn’t your inner editor because you locked him in the closet with a loaf of bread and some peanut butter at the beginning of the month. This voice is a new one and it’s your Inner Critic. Oh he is a ruthless one, he cares nothing for the flashes of brilliance, or the dogged determination that you have shown. Your Inner Critic is a mean spirited BULLY and he (or she) needs to go away.

You can’t put him in with your Editor because you would take the chance of letting the Editor out and then all your fingers would do is delete while your lip curled in disgust. So you have to try a different approach. This week, the VERY FIRST TIME you hear the Inner Critic, I want you to grab a NEW envelope. and I want you to write the worst sentence you can think of on the inside of the envelope. Make it sappy or convoluted or just outright awful then set the open envelope by your writing station. When the Critic shows up, grab him, stuff him in the envelope, seal it, and then in multi colored crayons, or pencils or sharpies, write positive statements to yourself on the outside. Use dollar store happy stickers if you have to.

In week 2, your Inner Critic is the crusher of your creative, writing, soul. If your Inner Critic is still too much of a pain in the envelope, thrashing around, fold it up and put it in another envelope and send it to me. I’ll keep them confined… I have a fire pit that enjoys burning up the negative little creeps!

You are DAZZLING, CLEVER, MYSTERIOUS, VERSATILE, ERUDITE, ELOQUENT, PROFOUND, ENIGMATIC, COMPLEX, and COMPELLING! In short, YOU ARE HOT STUFF! So don’t let anyone, including that darn critic, to tell you otherwise!

Write that story -- You CAN do this!
Debi
about 1 month ago
It's SAVE YOUR WORK SUNDAY!!!!

EVERY SUNDAY, and EVERY Thursday throughout this month (we will be trying to remind you) to Save your work to a Jump drive, or to email the work you have completed to yourself. By doing this, you will make sure that the worse case scenario is that you will only loose a couple days of writing in the case of a computer crash or the EVIL VILLAIN MURPHY (you know, from Murphy's law...).

Trust me -- take 5 minutes tops and protect your work.... You think me later!

Keep writing my Peeps -- We just hit the list of BEST PLACES IN THE WORLD TO WRITE! Take some pride and keep going. Your Stories are BLOOMING!

I love hanging out with Creative genius'!
Debi
about 1 month ago
DOUBLE UP DONATION DAY --

I know that we told you that joining and participating in NANOWRIMO is free. That IS true. However, the Office of Letters and Light (the non-profit that is the funding source behind NANO) each year does a Double Up Donation Day and that day is TOMORROW, Saturday, November 3rd. What that means is if you CAN afford to make a tax-deductible donation to the cause in the amount of $25, you can get the gifts as if you made a $50 donation (or if $50 then gifts from $100….etc). This money keeps the servers that host:

Over 600,000 Adult Participants
In over 950 communities WORLD Wide
90,000 students and educators
5,500 school classrooms and after school writing programs AND
That, my friends, is a HUGE challenge. And they do it year after year.

Those servers and the software and the people to keep it all running smooth cost money.

IF you can donate, I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. You will immediately see a little gold halo around your profile picture and be a part of the greater good. $25 is LESS than a dollar a day for this program to continue into the future.

THIS YEAR, the goal is to raise $150,000 on November 3rd... What do you say? Can you help?

Mark your calendar for tomorrow and let’s make some serious donations!

KEEP Up the EXCELLENT work!

Debi
about 1 month ago
HERE IN BUTTE-----

We cheer each other on -- this is not a competition against anyone other than the calendar and the number of words. My novel is not diminished because you wrote your novel; the world NEEDS more stories.

For each write in if you cannot make it (physically) to the event, you can participate via a remote status. We will have a thread for EACH write in so that you can log in with your starting word count, your ending word count and then tell us HOW MANY words you crafted during the dedicated writing period (AKA WORD WAR). Most of these writing sessions will be either 60-minutes or 90-minutes because, statistically, most of our writers hit their daily word goals in that time.

HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE? I know, I sit at home and I don't hit those numbers in 60 or 90 minutes -- there is MAGIC that happens when we all come together - a synergy of energy and creativity (even in a remote setting it is transferred through your computer). That means, if you want to achieve this goal, make your writing time sacred and especially commit to the nights we have Write-In's and Remotes scheduled. I promise you, this DOES work!

DON'T EDIT - You have all of December and January to do that. You do know that our brain has two hemispheres - 1 is creative and 1 is critical -- they are like feuding siblings and can't be in the same room together, let alone work on the same project together. Embrace the creative Sibling in November - shower him/her with love and affection, talk positive and believe. You can make it up to the critical sib next month!

Get your favorite place ready tonight, because tomorrow we make STORIES!

I love you all --- you can so do this!
about 1 month ago
Hello Butte!

We are 11-days away from being able to start NANO-2018. We’ve had our first prep meeting and all of us are starting to put a focus on our writing. Some of us are comfortable KNOWING that we are Writers – artistic beings and creators; and some of us are newly awakening to that idea. No matter where we are right now on that sliding scale, we need to embrace our individual creators before November 1.

I found this pep talk by Grant Faulkner from his new book “Pep Talks for Writers - 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo. I hope you take the time to read and understand what Mr. Faulkner is trying to tell you. You are exactly what you think you are!

I BELIEVE in you~

Debi



You Don’t Need Permission to be a Creator –

Each year I talk to hundreds of people who have perfected a peculiar and disturbing art form: the art of telling themselves why they can’t jump in and write the novel of their dreams.

“I’ve never taken any classes. I don’t have an MFA.”

“I have lots of ideas for stories, but I’m not a real writer.”

Or worst of all, they say “I’m not the creative type.”

I call this the other syndrome; as in “other people do this but not me.” We’ve all been there, right? We open up the pages of a magazine, and we read the profile of a magnificently coiffed and coiled artistic being – a twirling scarf, moody eyes, locks of hair falling over a pensive brow. We read the witticisms and wisdom the celebrated artistic being dispenses while drinking a bottle of wine with a reporter one afternoon in a charming hamlet in Italy. The artistic being tells of creative challenges and victories achieved, and then drop in an anecdote or two about a conversation with a famous author, a good friend. There is a joke about a movie deal that fell through, then an aside about the one that won an Oscar. There’s talk about a recently published book, which called to them and gave them artistic fulfillment like no other book ever has.

And, as we sit in our house which is so very far from Italy, and we look across the kitchen, over the dishes on the counter, to the cheap bottle of wine from Safeway, and the phone rings with a call from a telemarketer, just as a bill slides off the stack of bills, we tell ourselves, “Other people are writers. Other people get the good fortune to be born with a twirling scarf around their neck. Other people get to traipse through Italy to find a fantastic novel calling them. Other people get to be who they want to be whether it’s through family connections, blessed luck, or natural talent. But that’s not me. That’s other people.”

And you know what, we’re right. The life of an artist is for others – because we just said so, and in saying so, we make it true.

But here’s the rub. Even after negating our creative potential, we’re bound to wake up the next day to the tickle of an idea dancing in the far corners of our mind, a memory that is trying to push the door open, a strange other word that is calling us. We wash those dishes, we pay that stack of bills, we drink that cheap bottle of wine, but we know there’s something else – we know there’s something more.

And there IS something more. There’s the creative life. You don’t need a certificate for it; you don’t need to apply to do it; you don’t even need to ask permission to do it. You just have to claim it. You might not wear scarves in Italy, but you can make your own version of the artistic life, no matter where you live, or what demands of life you face.

It’s not always easy, of course. There will be naysayers, those people who think it’s silly or trivial to be a “creative type,” those who think it’s audacious or pretentious for you to write a novel, those who think you can’t do it because you lack the qualifications. You’ve decided to escape the mire of your creative slough, and sometimes that threatens others. But you’re not embracing your creativity because it is the easy path. You’re doing it because you have something to say. And no one gets to tell you that what you have to say doesn’t matter, because it matters to you.

The arts don’t belong to a chosen few. Quite the opposite: every one of us is chosen to be a creator by virtue of being human. If you’re not convinced of this, just step into any preschool and observe the unbridled creative energy of kids as they immerse themselves in finger painting, telling wild stories, banging on drums and dancing just for the sake of dancing. They’re creative types just because they breathe.

And you are a writer just because you write. There is no other definition. Don’t fall into the common trap of hesitating to call yourself a writer if you haven’t published a book. It can easily happen. Agatha Christie said that even after she had written ten books, she didn’t really consider herself a “bona fide author.” You earn your bona fides each time you pick up a pen and write your story. So start by telling yourself you’re a writer. Then tell the world. Don’t mumble it, be proud of it, because to be a writer takes moxie and verve.

Your task as a human being and as an artist is to find that maker within, to decide that you’re not “other”, you’re a creator. Honor the impetus that bids you write – revere it, bow to it, hug it, bathe in it, and nurture it. That impetus is what makes life meaningful. It’s what makes you, you.

TAKE THE PLEDGE: First, tell yourself, “I am a creator.” Then tell someone else. Tell them you write. Tell them why writing is important to you. You don’t have to tell them your story. Just be proud to call yourself a writer. Practice asserting it.



------- a Pep Talk by Grant Faulkner, 2017
about 1 year ago
Except for the Thank Goodness It’s Over Celebration next Wednesday (12/6/17) at the Chateau at 6:30 where we have food and drink and cookies and celebrate our achievements, NANOWRIMO 2017 is now in the books.

As a team, we were spectacular! You ALL simply ROCK MY WORLD!

Some of our Highlights include:
• Butte Montana finished as #13 in the WORLD! We were #1 in the state of Montana!
• We had 17 team members surpass the 50K benchmark – that’s 53%! The National Average is 21%.
• Our winners crafted 90% of all of the words our team wrote and we wrote LOTS! Our team closed with 1,189,337 words crafted towards the stories that only we can tell.
• We had 5 people who signed up and never launched (not even 1 word) so our adjusted average words per writer were 37,167. That’s up 3,000 words from last year!

More than anything else, we learned something about ourselves, our commitments, our drive and determination, and just how powerful a team of like-minded creative souls are to giving us encouragement and support. It was an AMAZING November. I hope that all of you will consider writing with us all year with the Copper Quills (facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ButteNano/) and that you will all be back again next October when we launch and start back into another NANO adventure.

Wishing you ALL the very best the rest of 2017 has to offer and an abundance of opportunities in 2018-

Your Faithful ML~~~
Debi
about 1 year ago
How and when do I validate my writing project to win?

Once you've hit your project goal for NaNoWriMo, make sure to validate your project to officially join NaNoWriMo's winner's circle.

Typically, you are able to validate your project to win starting on the 20th of an active event month and through the end of the month. The closer to the deadline, the longer it takes to run the validator. PLAN AHEAD!!!!!! Here is HOW to do it!

On NaNoWriMo

Hover over your word count at the top of the site, then click "Claim your official win!" (You can also find a text link on the dashboard in the "My Novel" panel.)

Copy the entire text of your 50,000-word novel and paste it into the validator box.

Click "Validate."

Questions? Here is the official LINK:
https://nanowrimo.uservoice.com/knowledgebase/articles/329176-how-and-when-do-i-validate-my-writing-project-to-w
about 1 year ago
It’s NOVEMBER 29th….. Do You Know Where Your Novel is?

For those of you that have crossed the 50K challenge goal line, CONGRATULATIONS!!!!! You are AMAZING!!!!!

For those still writing -- YOU CAN DO THIS! It isn’t easy, but you know that you have the drive, dedication, and the ideas to make it happen. Besides, if it wasn’t for the last minute much of the discoveries in the world would never have been made or discovered. Necessity is the mother of invention and all that other stuff. I BELIEVE in you! KEEP GOING!

There are still 37 HOURS left! We NEVER quit!

Just because we can BRAG, our little region made the top 20 writing areas ON the GLOBE! That means we are not just in the middle of Nowhere -- We are on the MAP!

Cheering and wishing you an abundance of new words-

Debi
about 1 year ago
YOU HAVE 5 DAYS LEFT --- 5 full days!!!! What are you going to do with them?

I posted this pep talk last year as well but I think it deserves repeating: Tortoise or Hare -- it doesn't matter!

The famous story of a race between a rabbit and a tortoise ends with a moral: "Slow and steady wins the race". Is this moral actually correct? I mean, this story recommends to be Slow & Steady. I think the moral should be "Never underestimate your competition". Don't you think the original moral is wrong?

Here's my take! In life you need not be a genius to achieve success. What you need is focus; rather than focusing on how strong your opponent is, focus on your own strength and do things in your own way, at your own pace rather than trying to emulate others. Even when you outdo your previous best, that's also a success. And always play to your strengths. NANO is much the same.

But the story continues, the hare was disappointed at losing the race and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfident, careless and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to finish. He won by several miles. The moral of the story? Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady.

However, not everyone can be fast and consistent -- especially with NANO. That takes planning or at the very least the hard core drive to plop your butt down in front of a computer or notebook and scribble out a story that needs to be told. It may mean that you give up fun things to do, in order to get done in 30 days. With NANO, your competition is the calendar and it is going to get to the end no matter what you do to try and stop it!

Finally the story doesn't end here. The tortoise did some thinking this time, and realized that there's no way he could beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. He thought for a while, and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping with his self-made commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed — until he came to a broad river. The finishing line was a couple of kilometers on the other side of the river. The hare sat there wondering what to do. In the meantime the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking and finished the race. The moral of the story? First identify your core competency and then change the playing field to suit your core competency. In otherwords, within the perimeter of the 30 days, set up your time and space to encourage a win.

There are more lessons to be learned from this story. Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures or setbacks. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could. In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort. Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both.

So, if you have already crossed the 50K line, (or are darn close to doing so) be a team player and cheer on the rest. If you are still working towards the 50K mark, KEEP GOING! Change your direction, employ a new time or place to write, PLAY TO YOUR COMPETENCIES!

Your story needs to be told and ONLY you can tell it in your very unique voice. We've got 10 full days to get this done!!!!!!

I’ve got the pom-pom’s out and an on the sidelines cheering you on!!!!!!
You have SOOOOOOOO got this!
Debi
about 1 year ago
The HALF WAY MARK -- Or close enough...

We have passed the halfway point of the month and are solidly into the third week of NaNoWriMo. I’m going to split this post into two parts. First I am going to talk to all of you who are kicking ass and taking names. You are doing great. I hope you are half as proud of yourselves as I am of you. You have met every challenge the month has thrown at you and have found a way to make your word count anyway. Maybe you got a cold or a flat tire or you just really wanted to blow off writing to go to a movie. But you are still on top of your story, humming along at a fantastic clip and ready to hit 50,000 words after Thanksgiving. Take a minute to pat yourself on the back. Hey, maybe even brag a little at your stellar writing prowess. Now get back to writing, those words aren’t going to magically appear on your page.

We have passed the halfway point of the month and are solidly into the third week of NaNoWriMo. I’m going to split this post into two parts. First I am going to talk to all of you who are kicking ass and taking names. You are doing great. I hope you are half as proud of yourselves as I am of you. You have met every challenge the month has thrown at you and have found a way to make your word count anyway. Maybe you got a cold or a flat tire or you just really wanted to blow off writing to go to a movie. But you are still on top of your story, humming along at a fantastic clip and ready to hit 50,000 words after Thanksgiving. Take a minute to pat yourself on the back. Hey, maybe even brag a little at your stellar writing prowess. Now get back to writing, those words aren’t going to magically appear on your page.

All right, this one is for the rest of the group that didn’t really how hard it was going to be to write 1,667 words a day for thirty days. Maybe you have written a grand total of 100 words and are staring up at the mountain of words and it makes you want to go take a nap, have a cup of tea, or drink beer and watch movies all afternoon. I understand. Maybe your life has gone sideways and November just hasn’t been your month. That’s OK. You can still do this.
I don’t have any doubts in my mind that you can all hit 50,000 words by the end of the month. But, if you’re way behind, you have to really want it. You have to be willing not to go see that movie or go to the bar or play video games. If that’s stuff you aren’t willing to give up for the next twelve days, then it might be time to readjust your goal for the month. That’s totally OK. Pick a goal you can meet and then bump it up a little. So you think 5,000 words is reasonable for the rest of the month. Super. Set your goal to six thousand and see if you can’t blow it out of the water.

Regardless of whether you are ahead or behind on your word count, some of you may be worrying that your story just isn’t working. Maybe you just hate it. I know I have spent most of the month cursing my stupid story and wishing I was doing anything but writing it. Around this point in the month I think I’ve made a massive mistake and should just pack up my pencil and go home. Who was I kidding? This story is too hard or complex or just more than I can manage to write. Someone else, some better writer, should write it instead. Surely my idea would be better off in those more accomplished hands.

But then I read somewhere that a story chooses the person to write it. It may be a bunch of codswallop but it’s an idea I have grown to love. Just like the wand choosing the wizard in Olivander’s shop, a story could choose the writer. No one can write the story in your head except for you. That story appeared in your brain through magic or divine intervention or through a confluence of events ranging from what you ate for dinner last night to your favorite book as a child mixed with a hint of that song you got stuck in your head when you were in second grade. Whatever the reason the story came to you and it’s your job to get it on the page. I can’t do it for you. No one can pry it from your brain and plaster it on a page. It’s up to you. Without you, your story dies.

Whether you kicking ass this November or looking to recalibrate your expectations, remember that your story needs you. You’re the only one who can make your idea come to life. You’re a writer, dammit! And writers don’t leave stories stranded. So get back in there and keep writing.


about 1 year ago
When Life Gets in the Way

This pep talk is not for the people on track with their novel, and not for those fantastic souls who have already won. This talk is for those who don’t think they’ll win this year.

There are times, when I stop and look at all the things I have to do, that the only thing I can think is that there is no way I am going to be able to finish everything on time. I like to accomplish what I set out to do. That overwhelmed feeling, like there is no way I can succeed and I’m going to have to let somebody down is the worst feeling I ever have to combat. It makes me want to give up. But, after I take a moment to scream and breathe and vent to friends, I realize that giving up is not an option.

So I sit back at my desk, and I do what I can. If you’re behind, here are some tips for catching up:

Sketch out a dedicated time to write and stick with it. These middle of the month days are crucial.

Write in your spare moments. Standing in line at the grocery store, while you’re waiting for the food on the stove to cook. You’d be surprised how 50 words a dozen times a day will add up.

Cut back, but don’t cut out your relaxation time! Being too stressed will only make things worse.

In fact, it sounds counterproductive, but sometimes you need to step away from the desk and do something completely different. Don’t write. Don’t think about your writing. This is a day to recharge your batteries, and I’ve often found that by taking a day like this, I write more afterward than if I’d pushed through and slowly petered out.

Get out of the house. If you can’t fall back on your regular distractions, you’ll have no excuse but to write.

Come to the Live and Remote scheduled Write-In's (Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday)! If you need that extra push, we’re here for you.

Do what you can, and don’t beat yourself up about what you think you should be able to do. Whatever words you get are amazing words added to your book! It's MORE than you had last month.

Just keep writing! You have SOOOOOOOO got this!

I BELIEVE in you!

Debi
about 1 year ago
Hello My Darling Buttians!

Just because I know you like to be kept informed, Butte is #11 in the top 50 writing places on the globe (even with 2 places were their stats are wrong). We are SOOOO close to cracking the top 10...

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK and WORD COUNTS!!!!!

~~HUGS~~
Debi
about 1 year ago
Pro Tips from a NaNo Coach: Help! I’m 10,000 Words Behind!

NaNoWriMo is well under way, and whether you’re at 5,000 words or 50, you may feel like your word count—and your morale—could use a little boost. Today, author and podcaster Mur Lafferty reminds us that NaNo isn’t just about reaching 50K:

So you started strong, and then fell off. Or something came up. Work happened. Car broke down. Cat got pregnant. Neighbor died. Life happens.

Or, maybe, you JUST found out about NaNoWriMo and thought it was a great idea—but then you looked up, saw it was already November, and are kicking yourself about missing the grand launch.

Oh well. Might as well quit. You can’t possibly catch up. But next year, right? You will totally be there.

Hold on there, camper. Just listen to me for a second.

The stated goal of NaNoWriMo is to make it to 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s what the event is on the surface. But in reality, it’s so much more.

NaNoWriMo gives you permission to write whatever you want, at whatever quality you want. No one cares how good it is; you just need to get some words down. It gets you moving, gets you writing, and moving toward that feeling of accomplishing a heck of a lot of words.

And here’s the deal: whether you write 50,000 words in November, or 5,000, those are words you didn’t have last month.

If you quit now, because you’re behind, or you’re starting late, or you’re discouraged, then there are many words you won’t write just because you feel the event has moved beyond you. Don’t let that stop you!

Confession time: Last year I didn’t hit 50,000 words. I was stressed out because of travel and current events, and only made it to 45,000 words. Some might say AUGH, YOU GOT SO CLOSE! But I didn’t feel regret, or even failure, at all. I wrote 45,000 words that I didn’t have in October, I got a good way into a new project, and I was very proud of myself.

You can move forward with your project if you’re on word 5000, or word 0. Write as much as you can every day. You can be involved with the community, you can go to an event, you can update your word count, you can still participate in NaNoWriMo. If you want to do the math and figure out how you can write 1667 + (missing words / days left) a day, do that. Or you can write 500 words a day and look proudly on those 15,000 words at the end of the month. Fifteen thousand words. That is a solid start to a project that you didn’t have before!

If you quit because you don’t think you’ll get those 50,000, then you won’t even get those 15,000. Or 10,000.

Don’t look at this as an all or nothing, like if you don’t hit 50,000, then you’re a failure. That’s simply not true. Whatever you write today, you will have more words than you had yesterday. And that’s the whole point of this.

I’ll be honest: I’m traveling to a wedding this month, hosting Thanksgiving, going to multiple shows, and doing a daily podcast to support my patrons who are attacking NaNoWriMo themselves. Will I make the 50,000 words? I honestly don’t know. But that uncertainty isn’t going to stop me.

What I do know I will have a lot more words at the end of the month than I have now. And that is a win in my book.

Mur Lafferty is a podcaster, author, and editor. She has two podcasts on writing: I Should Be Writing and Ditch Diggers. In 2017, her book based on ISBW came out, with the same title. When not supporting writers, she co-edits the Podcast magazine Escape Pod and publishes science fiction and fantasy with Orbit Books and Serial Box. Visit her website at murverse.com.
about 1 year ago
Pep Talk from Brian Jacques

Dear Writer,

Never write just for yourself. Allow me to explain. There are countless would-be authors, with shelves and cupboards packed with deathless prose that will never be published. They think it’s good, but do other people? I’m not just talking about loving family members, and best friends. I mean the world at large. What I’m saying is, think of the audience, the class, the age group, for whom you’re writing. If they could enjoy your work, then you’re on a winner matey.

Read the stories of authors you admire, study them, analyse them maybe. But never copy them. Reading helps you to develop your own personal style. When you have that, then you’ve made it. However, authors are born, not made. Again I’ll explain. The spark must exist, with learning, and experience, it can be kindled into a flame, nay, an inferno in certain rare cases. If you don’t possess the initial spark, then a teacher may lend you a match, this can ignite a fire. Though I do find that in many cases, without that first God given spark, a tutored interest tends to fade after awhile. Then who knows, mayhaps you find your own, different, talent. To paint, dance, act, or be brilliant at something miles from writing.

The advice I continually give to young writers is this “Learn to paint pictures with words.” Not just once upon a time, but… In the long secret dust of ages, beneath a blue forgotten sky, where trade winds caress the sun bleached shores of unknown realms… See, as much as there are words in poetry, there is a poetry in words. Use it, stay faithful to the path you have set your heart upon and follow it. How many times have you heard someone say. ‘Oh I’m going to write a book someday!’ Meet up with them again on that nebulous “someday”, my bet is that they’re still talking about it.

Do it! Start now! Don’t make excuses to yourself, that’s the easiest way of admitting failure. There’s nothing wrong with a touch of modest ego to go with writing talent. I never attended college, or university. I had the most basic education that an Elementary School in a working class dockside area could provide. I left school, with no formal education at the age of fifteen. So (here’s my little bit of ego). Look at me now baby! You are living in America, one of the worlds greatest countries. With superb education, devoted teachers, awesome libraries, and everything they entail. With all that, imagine what you could achieve!

You know, you’ll disappoint me, if in a few years time, I’m not standing on line at a bookstore, waiting for you to sign my copy of your book. Come on, all it takes is you, and determination, self belief, and of course, the flame, which came from that first tiny spark.

Your pal,

Brian Jacques
about 1 year ago
WOOT WOOT WOOT!!!!!

It's DAY 4 and Butte JUST made the top 50 places to write on the GLOBE!!!!!! YOU ALL ROCK!!!

Remember to keep your word counts up to date and we'll stay there as well.
What an AWESOME accomplishment to reach in the first week.

How many days can we sustain it?

Debi
about 1 year ago
Hello To the MOST AWESOME Writers in ALL of Wrimo-land!

You have started and are moving into Day Three so your end-of-day goal should be 5100 words and THAT will give you your FIRST “N” on the tracker board! You can SOOOOOO do this. Tonight we have a REMOTE Write In that will occur in the forums (info will be in there by noon today - if the edit button doesn’t work, just do a reply to your original post - there seems to be a minor glitch). The BIGGEST thing is to KEEP WRITING! Just keep putting words down on paper - even if you are stuck, force yourself to push through because it’s priming the pump for something amazing to come out. You can edit in December but I promise you that in all the words that you think are drek, there will be brilliant, shining, perfect little gems that make you sit back and go “WOW! I really AM a writer.”

I know that in all the media and info we have distributed, we told you that joining and participating in NANOWRIMO is free. That IS true. However, the Office of Letters and Light (the non-profit that is the funding source behind NANO) each year does a Double Up Donation Day and that day is TOMORROW, Saturday, November 4th. What that means is if you CAN afford to make a tax-deductible donation to the cause in the amount of $25, you can get the gifts as if you made a $50 donation (or if $50 then gifts from $100….etc). This money keeps the servers that host:
Over 575,000 Adult Participants
In over 914 communities WORLD Wide
80,000 students and educators
5,000 school classrooms and afterschool writing programs
That, my friends, is a HUGE challenge. And they do it year after year.
Those servers and the software and the people to keep it all running smooth cost money.

IF you can donate, I STRONGLY encourage you to do so. You will immediately see a little gold halo around your profile picture and be a part of the greater good. $25 is LESS than a dollar a day for this program to continue into the future.

Mark your calendar for tomorrow and let’s make some serious donations!

KEEP Up the EXCELLENT work!
Debi
about 1 year ago
Hello My Peeps!

It's snowing and blowing and the PERFECT day to be inside starting your NANO project. I wanted to share a pep talk with you from 2014 -- I hope it rings true with you the way it did for me.

Hope to see you tonight!
Debi

Pep Talk from Chuck Wendig:

Imagine being allowed to do something you’re not supposed to do.

Imagine you’re given the keys to a mud-bogging Bronco, or a dune buggy, or a Lamborghini. And then, you’re pointed toward a field. A soccer field outside a high school, or maybe just a wide open grassland. Nobody there. No kids playing. No animals frolicking. In fact, right now, nobody is here to see you at all.

You have total freedom to rev the engine, slam the pedal to the floor, and gun it through that field. You can do donuts, spinning the car wildly about, flinging up mud, leaving tracks that look like the calligraphy of an old, mad god.

You can slop mud on the car. You can get out and dance in the grass.

You can do whatever you want.

This is not something we’re particularly used to, as adults. My toddler gets it. He isn’t fenced in by the boundaries of adulthood—which, okay, yes, that means he doesn’t necessarily know not to shove a ham sandwich into a whirring fan (instant ham salad!) or not to climb the tallest thing and leap off it like a puma.

But it also means he doesn’t know why he can’t just pick up a pen and start drawing. It means he has no problem grabbing a blob of Play-Doh and creating whatever his fumbling little hands can manage. It means that he’ll grab a Transformers toy and half-transform it into some lumbering robot-car monstrosity—and when an adult might say, “No, no, it’s like this or it’s like that; it’s a robot or it’s a car,” he’s like, “Uh, yeah, no. Go back to your tax forms and your HGTV, stupid adult, I’ve just created a Frankencarbot and you can go hide your head in the sand-swept banality of grown-up life, sucker.”

His entire creative life is the “Everything Is Awesome” song from The LEGO Movie. Because he doesn’t know what he can or can’t do. He doesn’t know about art or form or criticism or any of that. He can do whatever he wants. (Ham sandwiches and fan blades aside.)

And you can do whatever you want, too.

The blank page is yours. Cast aside worries over art and criticism. Imagine a land without rules. Imagine that nobody has ever told you that you cannot or should not do this thing. Those people were wrong. Forget those voices. Because, for real?

It’s an empty field and you’ve got the keys to a freaking Ferrari.

It’s a white tablecloth and you’ve got ketchup, mustard, and relish.

It’s a blank page and you’ve got all the letters and words you need.

Rev the engine and take the ride. Paint with all the colors the condiments at your table allow. Create whatever robot-human monstrosities your mind cares to conjure. Crack open your chest and plop your heart onto the page.

Right now: just write. Donuts in an empty field.

Leave your mark.

Chuck Wendig is the author of the Heartland Trilogy, the Miriam Black series, and The Kick-Ass Writer.
about 1 year ago
It's ONLY EIGHT HOURS until the Monkey Barrels of FUN starts..... Are you ready?

Gearing up to Novel-
Debi
about 1 year ago
It’s the Last 72 Hours before the Kick Off…..

Pink Floyd, Jim Croce, and The Chambers Brothers have all composed wonderful classic rock songs about our friend and enemy: time. You can’t look at it, hold it, or examine it; time exists without form. Yet, time is incredibly valuable. For every day, and for the whole month of November, time will be prevalent in the minds of any would-be indie author racing for the finish line during NaNoWriMo 2017. So how to make the best use of the time you have for writing? I’ve summarized some of Chris Baty’s great ideas.

A Study in Thirds

It all starts with planning. In the final week of October, try logging everything you do over the course of a day. Identify everything according one of three criteria: Need, Delay, and Avoid.

Some Things Must Be Done

You shouldn’t avoid certain daily necessities during NaNoWriMo. Our days are filled with a laundry list of mandatory tasks, including laundry. And personal hygiene, feeding the cats, feeding the baby, cooking, cleaning, shopping at the supermarket…you get the idea. Put off what you can, but give yourself permission and time to do the essentials!

These tasks should not be avoided or delayed, or things get ugly. Let’s say that author Bill stops showering and uses that time to write. Other local authors may use his lack of hygiene to their benefit. Imagine the following phone call.

Local Author John: “Hey, Bill. I hope you’re coming to the write-in tonight.”

Bill: “Wouldn’t miss it.”

John: “Good. Because I’m writing a scene that takes place in a foul-smelling bog. And Susan is up to a scene where some survivors find some rotting food.”

Bill: “I’ll bring my thesaurus.”

John: “We don’t need a thesaurus. We just need a quick whiff of you. Then you can leave.”

(Sorry for the tasteless jesting, but I couldn’t resist.)

Some Things Can Be Delayed

Yes, there are some tasks that should be done, but let’s face facts, putting them off for a month isn’t going to bring ruin to your life. Does the trim in the living room need a fresh coat of paint? So what? The house is not going to collapse for want of paint. Got some wood that needs to be stacked? It’s outside and drying out anyway. Does the back of the TV need to be dusted? No, it can wait. The TV will not explode from dust (although unattended Penguins on the Tele have been known to go up in smoke).

The Things to Avoid

Study your list of daily activities. Look at the amount of time spent watching TV, commenting on humorous Facebook memes, Twitter, watching YouTube videos, or online shopping and gaming. If you’re going to implode because you’ve missed an episode of The Big Bang Theory or Once Upon A Time, use your DVR and watch it after you’ve done some honest-to-goodness writing for the day. Regard it as a reward for a job well done.

Consider Yourself Armed With New Knowledge

Come November, I hope you sit your butt down and get some serious NaNoWriMo writing done. If you don’t, you’ll never achieve your goal.

And Now for Something Completely New

I’m now going to reveal how to personalize your NaNoWriMo 2017 project, get into your personal “Comfy-Zone” and enjoy your writing instead of feeling pressured.

Let’s Get Personal

I’m sure you have a laptop and/or a desktop. However, you’ve been using them for a while now. You should acquire (and I heartily recommend this one) a new thumb drive or external hard drive for saving your writing.

As you may know from experience, writing involves more tools than computers and other electronic goodies. There’s nothing like having a small notebook and a pen on your person at all times. You have a few days left, go and purchase those items. After all, you’ll take firm ownership of your writing project and make it more personal. Of course you do not have to spend a proverbial arm and a leg for these items either. Just make sure you don’t use them for grocery lists. They should have only one purpose.

I’ve Got the Time if You’ve Got the Place

You don’t need a laptop to write outside your home (although it’s nice to have one). If you have a notebook, you can write anywhere. Coffee shops are a great place to park and pump out some verbiage. Remember, you must keep your NaNoWriMo writing project special. Therefore, once you’ve picked a foreign nesting area for writing, don’t go there unless you plan to write.

The Company You Keep

Although NaNoWriMo is about your novel, the idea started from a dozen would-be authors in San Francisco. There’s an element of group camaraderie baked into the idea. Make that coffee shop time to write and hang out with other NaNoWriMo indie authors. You’ll learn how others help to refuel and recharge your creative batteries. Just bear in mind that you’re there to write or have a “write-in”, not to have some author group therapy session.

During the “Timed Word Wars” please be courteous and keep noise and chatter to a bare minimum. Once the alarm bell rings, we all sort of talk at once!

If you don’t have other authors in your area, you can always use the NaNoWriMo Forum site for finding writing buddies.

Have you used any of these “Comfy-Zone” strategies before? Going to try them now?

The final countdown is ON!
Debi
about 1 year ago
Hello Again Butte Peeps!

We are 1 skinny little week away from being able to START writing the novel we've been dreaming of and focusing on. With that in mind, I professionally STOLE this article from Lit Reactor Magazine (an article by Robbie Blair). I hope it helps you during this last prep week.

Keep doing the homework and getting ready --

Debi

12 Vital Preparatory Steps for NaNoWriMo

Thanks to the Office of Letters and Light, November poses one of the greatest challenges for writers: drafting an entire novel in one month. With a 50,000 word threshold, NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) completion represents dozens of hours of work. To be sure, the challenge shouldn't be taken on lightly—which is why October is the perfect time to start preparing. Here are 12 vital preparatory steps for nailing NaNo this year.

1. Decide Your Level of Commitment
Fifty. Thousand. Words.

Many initiates into NaNoWriMo fail to realize just what that means. It's easy to think back to that one time when we wrote a 15-page paper in a night, or that day of binge-writing that added 30 pages to a novel. There's a great difference, however, between a single binge session and the sort of consistent, substantial writing that's required for NaNo.

It's a great project. An impressive accomplishment. A good way to get that writing habit ingrained. But it is not easy. Decide now if you're ready for this. There's no way you'll conquer this challenge if you aren't committed to it.

2. Clear Out Time in November
Once you've decided to tackle this project, you'll need to figure out where you'll find your writing time. During November, you'll learn to write in a variety of tight timelines and awkward positions—while waiting for a friend at a cafe, while sitting on the bus, or when your boss is away. You'll be doing yourself a great favor if you also manage to clear out solid chunks of time.

Setting aside specific writing time is especially important in the first week of November. If you fall behind in the first week, you're doomed. If you get ahead, the momentum will carry you.

3. Let People Know
You can give yourself a motivational boost by being public about taking this challenge. More importantly, your friends and family should probably be warned that you're going to be a hermit (and sometimes a rather stressed hermit) during the month of November.

4. Get Started on the NaNoWriMo Website
The NaNoWriMo website has improved immensely over the last few years. These days, it includes a blog, forums, help pages, and much more. It's free and simple to get started, so why delay? Get over there.

Whether you've written a novel before or not—whether you're a NaNo newbie or veteran—writing 50,000 words is no small feat.

5. Get Connected with a NaNo Community
The best way to connect with a NaNo community is to find one in your local area. Look at this list of regions to find which group is closest to you. If you can't find a WriMo community in your area, you can hunt down online support via the NaNoWriMo forums, the Facebook group and official page, Twitter, or even through LitReactor's forums.

The major benefit of being connected with a WriMo community is that it provides you with opportunities for “write-ins,” where you're surrounded by other people who are dedicated to writing. Online write-ins can also be found via the web sources mentioned above.

6. Organize Your Team
Beyond whatever WriMo community you get involved with, it's useful to have a close-knit group who will help you. Know other writers? Enlist them as part of your NaNo writing squad. Have a spouse, partner, or best friend who doesn't write? Ask them to be your cheerleader this November.

7. Lay Out Your Ideas
There is no one “right way” to prepare your ideas. Some people like detailed outlines of their work, while others prefer free-writing a few paragraphs about their core plot points. Pick whatever method works for you. At the end of the day, the reason to lay out your work right now is that it gives you time to daydream about your plot and get pumped about your novel.

8. Flesh Out Your Characters
The more developed a character is in your mind, the easier it will be to move your plot forward organically. While there are plenty of ways to get a better sense of your character, this in-depth character questionnaire was built with NaNoWriMo in mind.

9. Develop Your Setting
Think about where your story will be set. Is it a fantasy world? If so, it's a good idea to make any core decisions on the religions and magic system of that world. Is it a story taking place in Chinese opiate dens? Then do your research in advance.

Don't be so detailed that you paint yourself into a corner, but don't put yourself in a position where you'll need to take a major break to answer core questions about the world of your story.

10. Get Into the “No Edits” mindset
Editing is fine if it helps you keep your novel on track, but finding the “right word” should be left for later. This can be tough, so I'll try to put this even more bluntly:

Be prepared to write crap.

I firmly believe that every writer has about a thousand rubbish pages in them. Before you get to anything good, you have to get those pages out of your system. At the equivalent of roughly 200 pages, the 50k words for NaNo put you well on your way. If that's all NaNo accomplishes for you, it's worth it. There will be plenty of time to edit after November is over. For the duration of NaNo, however, just focus on giving yourself materials to work with in the future.

11. Put Together an Emergency Kit
Caffeine. A favorite playlist. Chocolate. You get the idea. At some point, you'll be ready to break under the pressure of this month-long writing marathon. Give yourself a resource to help you out of those difficult situations.

12. Get Pumped
This is an awesome project. Whether you've written a novel before or not—whether you're a NaNo newbie or veteran—writing 50,000 words is no small feat. Beyond being an accomplishment in and of itself, it also helps you network with fellow writers, develop a writing habit, and get your creative wheels spinning. NaNo may be hard, but it's well worth getting excited about.

BELIEVE. YOU. CAN. DO. IT.
about 1 year ago
Hello Butte!

We are 10-days away from being able to start NANO-2017. We’ve had our first prep meeting and all of us are starting to put a focus on our writing. Some of us are comfortable KNOWING that we are Writers – artistic beings and creators; and some of us are newly awakening to that idea. No matter where we are right now on that sliding scale, we need to embrace our individual creators before November 1.

I found this pep talk by Grant Faulkner from his new book “Pep Talks for Writers - 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo. I hope you take the time to read and understand what Mr. Faulkner is trying to tell you. You are exactly what you think you are!

I BELIEVE in you~
Debi

You Don’t Need Permission to be a Creator –

Each year I talk to hundreds of people who have perfected a peculiar and disturbing art form: the art of telling themselves why they can’t jump in and write the novel of their dreams.

“I’ve never taken any classes. I don’t have an MFA.”

“I have lots of ideas for stories, but I’m not a real writer.”

Or worst of all, they say “I’m not the creative type.”

I call this the other syndrome; as in “other people do this but not me.” We’ve all been there, right? We open up the pages of a magazine, and we read the profile of a magnificently coiffed and coiled artistic being – a twirling scarf, moody eyes, locks of hair falling over a pensive brow. We read the witticisms and wisdom the celebrated artistic being dispenses while drinking a bottle of wine with a reporter one afternoon in a charming hamlet in Italy. The artistic being tells of creative challenges and victories achieved, and then drop in an anecdote or two about a conversation with a famous author, a good friend. There is a joke about a movie deal that fell through, then an aside about the one that won an Oscar. There’s talk about a recently published book, which called to them and gave them artistic fulfillment like no other book ever has.

And, as we sit in our house which is so very far from Italy, and we look across the kitchen, over the dishes on the counter, to the cheap bottle of wine from Safeway, and the phone rings with a call from a telemarketer, just as a bill slides off the stack of bills, we tell ourselves, “Other people are writers. Other people get the good fortune to be born with a twirling scarf around their neck. Other people get to traipse through Italy to find a fantastic novel calling them. Other people get to be who they want to be whether it’s through family connections, blessed luck, or natural talent. But that’s not me. That’s other people.”

And you know what, we’re right. The life of an artist is for others – because we just said so, and in saying so, we make it true.

But here’s the rub. Even after negating our creative potential, we’re bound to wake up the next day to the tickle of an idea dancing in the far corners of our mind, a memory that is trying to push the door open, a strange other word that is calling us. We wash those dishes, we pay that stack of bills, we drink that cheap bottle of wine, but we know there’s something else – we know there’s something more.

And there IS something more. There’s the creative life. You don’t need a certificate for it; you don’t need to apply to do it; you don’t even need to ask permission to do it. You just have to claim it. You might not wear scarves in Italy, but you can make your own version of the artistic life, no matter where you live, or what demands of life you face.

It’s not always easy, of course. There will be naysayers, those people who think it’s silly or trivial to be a “creative type,” those who think it’s audacious or pretentious for you to write a novel, those who think you can’t do it because you lack the qualifications. You’ve decided to escape the mire of your creative slough, and sometimes that threatens others. But you’re not embracing your creativity because it is the easy path. You’re doing it because you have something to say. And no one gets to tell you that what you have to say doesn’t matter, because it matters to you.

The arts don’t belong to a chosen few. Quite the opposite: every one of us is chosen to be a creator by virtue of being human. If you’re not convinced of this, just step into any preschool and observe the unbridled creative energy of kids as they immerse themselves in finger painting, telling wild stories, banging on drums and dancing just for the sake of dancing. They’re creative types just because they breathe.

And you are a writer just because you write. There is no other definition. Don’t fall into the common trap of hesitating to call yourself a writer if you haven’t published a book. It can easily happen. Agatha Christie said that even after she had written ten books, she didn’t really consider herself a “bona fide author.” You earn your bona fides each time you pick up a pen and write your story. So start by telling yourself you’re a writer. Then tell the world. Don’t mumble it, be proud of it, because to be a writer takes moxie and verve.

Your task as a human being and as an artist is to find that maker within, to decide that you’re not “other”, you’re a creator. Honor the impetus that bids you write – revere it, bow to it, hug it, bathe in it, and nurture it. That impetus is what makes life meaningful. It’s what makes you, you.

TAKE THE PLEDGE: First, tell yourself, “I am a creator.” Then tell someone else. Tell them you write. Tell them why writing is important to you. You don’t have to tell them your story. Just be proud to call yourself a writer. Practice asserting it.

------- a Pep Talk by Grant Faulkner, 2017

about 1 year ago
WOOO HOOOO!!!!! IT's FINALLY HERE!!!!!!

NANO 2017~ Can you tell I'm just a little excited about this? Our FIRST PreNANO Prep session is in 10 days!

OKAY, so this note has a couple purposes:
1) To send you all a big HAPPY WELCOME to the NANO Butte Region. I am thrilled that you are here and there are some fun events lined up for you. Kelsey (K.D.Chase) is my Super Secret Squirrel Ghost ML this year so feel free to direct any questions to her as well -- she is more tech savvy than I am.

2) To give you all the new scoop on the CHANGES that happened to Montana over the summer in the NANOWRIMO land. Jean moved to Oregon over the summer but she PROMISED to be in here in the forum to cheer all of you on and visit. In our world, Buttians can be from anyplace as long as they want to play here.

In this region, the SINGLE goal is to help keep all of you inspired to reach the 50K finish line BEFORE 11/30/17. We are your cheerleaders (waving pom-poms and doing high leg kicks and other cheerish things). We can't do it for you, but we'll be there to celebrate every milestone!

There is very little that compares to the feeling of accomplishment when you hit that 50K mark and know that you did it! It's not an easy feat; and that is why, statistically, only 25% of the people who start will finish. With the right support, encouragement, number of write-in opportunities, and caffeine, we have found that we can boost that number to over 65%. But, wouldn't it be COOL and AMAZING if Butte actually hit 100% in finishing? We'd be legends in the NANO global community.... okay, so maybe I'm a victim of gross exaggeration and I know you've told me eleventy-million times not to exaggerate. But it's hard not to when I'm this excited!

Since MONTANA is the 4th largest geographic state in the union NANO Brainiacs decided to split us up into some smaller bits. That means that there are now several regions in Montana: including one JUST for Butte and SW Montana. That's where you are right now.

So welcome to your NEW HOME REGION. Explore. Converse. Share. Participate. WRITE like you plagiarized it! But mostly come on in and be part of this hectic, frustrating, brain-sucking, inspiring, creativity-boosting, self-motivating challenge. WE KNOW you can do this! We have GREAT FAITH in you!

JUST DO IT!

HUGS to you all!
Debi

Calendar Calendar

Meet your MLs

Debi Hall Winner!
  • Joined October 23, 2011
  • Role Municipal Liaison
  • Location Butte, MT

About us

It's been said that "Butte is a drinking town with a history problem" and we like it that way. So here we are, rest of the world, come on in and stay a while. We will share a story or two and listen attentively and support you as you write yours.
24 novelists • 778,065 words written • 32,419 average wordcount • $135.00 donated

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