Nanowrimo 2018 is here, and we should all be writing harder than ever. Check back at the end of the month for more Jobesome goodness.
Howdy y’all! As Nanowrimo creeps ever closer, what are you doing to stretch those writerly brain muscles? I happened to be in a therapy session when my super awesome therapy lady showed me the following list. The purpose is to help people express what they’re feeling or what they’re afraid of, but we both agreed that it would also be a great list for writers working on character feelings! The followed material was not compiled by me but the photocopy had no attribution. Hope this helps a stumped writer get somewhere new!
All my fault
BlamedCan’t do anything right
Can’t trust anyone
Desires were rejected
Didn’t measure up
FrustratedGood for nothing
Insensitive to my needs
LostMade fun of
Not being affirmed
Not cared for
Not deserving to live
Not listened to
Not measure up
Not valuedOpinions not valued
Out of control
Pressure to perform
SuicidalTaken advantage of
Unable to communicate
This is my Happy Planner. For those who care, it’s the middle size available. I chose the Happy Planner over other cool options because the pages are colorful. I got it at Michael’s on sale (you can catch the sales at the ends and beginnings of each year) and I bought extra cover sets on ebay. This is my current favorite cover, and it says, “If you can’t find the sunshine, be the sunshine.” I feel like I do that, or try to do that, for those around me. I wear the brightest colored clothing and hair colors I can find (and I wish other people would too). But maybe I just like it best because it’s got bright yellow on it, and yellow’s my favorite. In any case, you can catch a glimpse of my work desk and the Adventure Time skirt I got on etsy. I buy a lot of stuff on etsy. When you open the cover, you can see all the stickers I’ve placed inside, taped in sheets to the laminated pages.
And that gets us to the back cover. The stickers in my planner take up about 1/3 of the heft of the book. I mostly buy them from all over etsy, but in case you’re dying to know, I’ve included what I hope is a comprehensive list at the bottom of this post. Some of the sticker types I use are filler: rainbows, rainbow hearts, rainbow stars, pink hearts, yellow stars, yellow smiley faces, So So Happy encouragement stickers. They don’t really stand for anything, I just like the way they look, and they take up space and make everything more “filled out” looking. But for the bulk of my stickers, each one represents an action, a mood, something I want to regularly track. So rather than “make a plan” for the day or the week or the month, I actually use my planner as a visually recorded account of what I did/accomplished, and how I was feeling. Since I don’t want stickers for every action I take (poops, for example, which some people wish to track, but I do not) I try to focus my sticker collection on habits I want to encourage myself to keep doing / do more of: exercise, writing, reading, chores. I also want to track things like my period, if I was sick, my mood (I have cry-faces and happy faces and angry faces, etc.) and YES, I do actually write down upcoming appointments and To Do lists as well. Just not maybe to the extent that (actual) planning people do.
Some of my month spreads end up looking gorgeous and amazing. For Nanowrimo, for example, I used extra special stickers to track my daily word counts on rainbow typewriters. So my November month-view ended up extra gorgeous and hyper-focused. Winning! (On the sidebar, Doug’s homework word count, impressive!)
Another month that ended up looking gorgeous and amazing was my February spread, thanks to my awesome and amazing friend Karen, who bought a Valentine’s Day-themed sticker pack for me at Target. I held nothing back, as you can see. (Those little green guys are recyle days and paydays.)
And then there’s the weekly view, which is the bread and butter of this industry. I love the way the Happy Planner breaks the week into seven days and the days into thirds. I use them for 1) before work 2) at work 3) after work. There’s a weekly sidebar on the left that I use for To Do’s. And different planner companies will give you the option, or not, to start your week on Sunday or Monday. Some people want the work week sandwiched by the weekend on either side, like bookends. I’m not about that life. The reason the weekend is beautiful is because it’s two days together, and hopefully, two days off together.
I hope you enjoyed my sticker book, I mean “planner.” It must be a planner, right? It has the word right there in the name… So some of the stickers featured here I bought at the Container Store (these and these). But most of the stickers featured here were made by etsy artists:
Happy Cutie Studio UK
Planner Frenzy New Hampshire
Anna’s Planner Bubble Poland
Planner Studio California
Plan Gorgeously California
Tiny Little Tulip Arkansas
Brianna Nicole Designz Wisconsin
Keena Prints Philippines
Domino 626 Virginia
Once More With Love Canada
S. G. Stationery Arizona
Hello Stickers Georgia
Ashwood Arts Texas
So. How did your Nanowrimo turn out this year? Did it feel easier or harder than previous years? Did you develop any new habits that helped or hindered? Did you meet, fall short of, or exceed your expectations? My worst habit this year was waiting until the last minute to do a daily entry, making it hard to stay awake long enough to write even 100 words (which I’d set as a personal goal based on previous years’ experience). Hence my advice for my future self is: write your 100 words in the morning!
If you love tracking devices (I’m also addicted to the Wii Fit, yes, after all these years) you will absolute adore the way that Nano keeps all the information you give it and turns it into something truly magical.
So, now that Nano is over, we return to being lost in a sea of—no, wait! Did you know that Nanowrimo now offers GOAL TRACKERS and they’re available YEAR ROUND!?!?!?! That’s right. So get started on your next project, whatever it is, and keep using these great tracking tools for all your dreams come true (and for great justice). I’m going into editing mode for December so I set up a goal tracker based on hours instead of word count. I gave myself a goal of 0.5 hours/day. Wish me luck! Let’s do great things together, Writers!
Whatever you did or didn’t accomplish this Nanowrimo November 2017, give yourself a hug, some chocolate, some sleep. It is done. Breathe.
Nanowrimo is a time of solemn peace and reflection… Hah! Just kidding. It’s chaotic, and nerve-wracking, and completely insane! I’ve written about preparing before (in 2016, 2015 here and here, 2014 here and here…) so this time I’m just going to say: do it. You’ll be glad and proud you did. It is 1,000% worth it.
Oh, and take it from me.
The thing I wish I’d done differently was kept up more consistency with writing every single day. After a long night in class or at work, I often felt the idea of writing one or two thousand words would just be too tough. In retrospect I wish I had told myself it would be okay to write just 500 words… Maybe even just 100 words on those days.
My proudest achievement this year was writing every single day, even if it was just 100-200 words on my phone. In previous years I allowed myself skip days and that really put the pressure on. But I found this year that I was motivated by the idea of checking in every single day for that badge at the end with 30 check-ins!
Here are the calendars I made for you:
Here is a totally kickass thing I borrowed from a totally kickass blog NOW NOVEL so go to it and check out the awesome right now!!!
And last but definitely not least, I found this:
Which inspired me to create these: (i love you. you’re welcome.)