How to Write on Crazy Deadlines (it’s not as hard as it might seem)

There’s something in all of us, I think, that resents a deadline. We steer clear wherever we can, or do something really smart like finish wwaayy before the actual deadline. But as writers, we are doomed to face a lot of deadlines. And there are a few tricks to mastering them so they’re not quite so daunting.


I recently took part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and this was one of the most valuable lessons I learned. In order to write on a deadline, especially one as crazy as 50,000 words in 30 days, you must pace yourself according to the time-word count ratio. Once you enter a place where you are regularly writing a substantial amount on a daily basis, you can actually find yourself in the “zone” of writing more often than not. This was also the case for me in NaNo. The more I wrote, the more I experienced the steady flow of inspiration.


This one is not quite so obvious as the former but can actually help on a lengthy deadline as well as a tighter one. Not only can it help in entering the flow of writing, but it can take off some of the pressure and allow you a day off.


. . . because that can cause serious stress. 🙂 Bear in mind any deadlines you may have in other areas before taking one or more on in writing.


This can be crucial, depending on the project. In something such as NaNoWriMo, your words per day are cataloged for you, and this is essential in knowing how much to push yourself and how much to pace yourself.

Are there any I’ve missed? What are your techniques for writing to a deadline? Share them in the comments so we can help new writers explore all the possibilities of writing armed with foreknowledge!


Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and a Book Update

So, friends, let’s get back to blogging after a substantial break. Christmas can get busy, can’t it?

How was your Christmas season? Show of hands – how many of you received either reader- or writer-oriented gifts under the tree? Like a good book? Or a new notebook? Or a stash of bookmarks just for you? (Do you lose bookmarks as often as I do? I literally lose as many bookmarks as I acquire.)

Movin’ on, let’s talk about New Year’s resolutions . . . or revolutions? 🙂 I haven’t set any yet. *grins sheepishly* I’ll let ya all know. But anywho, resolutions are good. Goal-setting and all that. Anybody making plans for NaNo in 2018? Okay, that is one resolution I’m making.

We covered Christmas and New Year’s pretty quick . . . but I did promise you all a book update, now didn’t I?

It’s been ages since I announced the stage of my portal fantasy novel, but since NaNoWriMo, there hasn’t been a ton or writing going on. I’m going to be taking January to actually finish the second draft of the novel. Eeeppp! Prayers needed, folks, seriously. That and pizza, please??? Or a little ice cream. Or a lot of cold chicken legs. Mmm, those are good. Who else is taking January for a writing surge? Let me know so I can send you some of that pizza and those cold chicken legs . . . or would you rather just the pizza?


Yeah, yeah, I’m rambling. But anyway, I’m also polishing up a revised synopsis, which I won’t actually – probably – release until my critique partner and I go through the second draft together, as I’ll need to garner her opinion on a few plot adjustments.

So there is where we be at this December 27th, 2017-soon-to-be-’18. (Was any of that grammatically correct, I wonder.) What’s up in your world?

Let’s chat! Where are you going this New Year? Any special plans? If you haven’t already seen it or made a plan to see it, you must watch The Man Who Invented Christmas. It . . . is . . . fantastic. If you’re a writer or a Charles Dickens’ fan or just a reader, watch that movie. Seriously.

To Finish NaNo. Wow.

I tackled NaNoWriMo for the first time ever this year . . . and I did it. *takes a deep breath for the first time since November 1st*

I ended up with about 52,000 words, but the last two weeks, after I hit the half-way mark, were torture. I mean torture. Thank God for a day of close to three thousand words near the end that enabled me to write a thousand a day instead of two thousand to keep up.

So, all’s well that end’s well, and I. LOVED. IT.

I’m tellin’ ya, if you’ve never tried NaNo, DO. IT. Nothing has taught me the stick-to-it-ness that this past month has. I learned I can set and meet a goal. That in itself is worth something. Have you ever done NaNoWriMo? Can you attest?

What’s next? Well, of course, NaNo didn’t finish my novel. 50k is awesome, but I need another 30 or 40 to finish this draft. So that’s what I’m doing this month. And next year I totally plan to drop everything and have another go at it. Wow. It was totally great.

But the month of craziness is over. That’s nice. And guess what else I learned last month? It is possible to turn off your inner editor. Completely true. I was forced by the deadline to write without editing. Of course, that is going to require a tad more editing later on, but that is an enormously good discovery.

So we are moving on, NaNo-writers. Any special plans? Tell me what you thought of last month if you were part of the craziness. I love to hear from you guys!

My next post will be a more complete one, in which I will probably talk about the inner editor monster, but right now I have to fly to get back to my home-school work, and there are plenty more words to be penned. 🙂

On to victory, my friend!

NaNoWriMo and an Awesome Autumn Announcement!

Okay, folks, I survived the first four days of National Novel Writing Month. Got a little cross-eyed on Saturday and my word count dropped, but my word count was above where it needed to be on the days prior to that, so it evened out. I’m on track so far.

Are you part of NaNo this year? How is it going for you?

Anyway, I promised an awesome autumn announcement. Ready for it? You may remember I posted a short while ago about some developments on our farm and an agriculture research project I’m working on. Well, this awesome autumn announcement is along those lines.

To keep it short and sweet, our farm is on its way to being fully launched in 2018. We’ve launched our fundraising campaign. We want to open our farm up as an educational, hands-on, community farm. And you can help us! If you would take just a few minutes to visit this link – – and share it with friends and family on social media, we would appreciate it more than we can say. No gift is too small, and simply sharing the project, reaching people we cannot, is a huge gift.

Okay, enough about that. (Although you can also find more info here if you’d like.) A little book update if you missed it last time, I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo with the second draft of my portal fantasy, One Light Shining. So progress is being made on that despite the roadblocks experienced this year.

And since I’ve missed two months of Highlights and Goals, I’ll be getting back to that in January. The new year and all.

And now, I’m off! Be sure to check out the campaign and share it with friends. Meantime, let’s chat – have you ever taken part in NaNoWriMo? Are you involved this year? Are you interested in saving family farms? Such fun this month of Thanksgiving. 🙂

NaNoWriMo Coming to Town!

Okay, a show of hands, how many of you are getting ready for NaNoWriMo this year? I’ve wanted to enter forever, but was never in the position with a WIP that I could do it. But can you guess the reason for this blog post? I’m finally taking part in National Novel Writing Month! *is thankful I like writing at night* 🙂

And, yep, I’m going for the 50,000-word goal. Hey, if I’m doing this at all, I might as well do the whole thing.

I will be taking part with my current WIP, One Light Shining, a YA portal fantasy of which I penned the “first” draft this year. I kind of tried to forget about it, but, yeah, books just don’t work that way. 🙂 50,000 words should give me about half or so of the second draft.

So it looks like I’ll be staying up late, getting up early, finishing schoolwork as fast as possible . . .  Fun stuff like that. Nibbling chocolate. Drinking apple cider. Petting the cats when my blood pressure skyrockets . . .

Okay, so I thought I’d show you guys the synopsis of my WIP, in part because NaNoWriMo kicks off shortly, and in part because, by the end of November, that synopsis is going to look a little different. With rewriting always comes changes. Here goes:

Ties of blood are easily broken.

The words Cade spoke the night he killed his brother. Or . . . almost killed. Nothing haunts him more than the reality that he failed all those years ago to end the raging conflict between the nations. So, when two strangers come through the mysterious portal in answer to an ancient prophecy, Cade is ready to see his brother pay in full.

Wrenched from their modern world into a land of swords, bloodthirsty brothers and a nonsensical prophecy, Katrina and her long-time neighbor and nemesis, Andrew, grope for some kind of purpose in this strange world . . . but on opposite sides of a dangerous border. Spurred on by embittered contempt for Andrew, Katrina is more than ready to join Cade if he takes up the sword against the country of Mithunda. Until her own lust for revenge reveals a side of herself she never knew existed.

In a sea of secrets in which both are haunted by inner demons, Katrina and Andrew are forced to give the prophetic words a closer look, to search for what they truly mean. But the prophecy is shrouded in mystery, and all around them, people are proving determined enough to go to great lengths to see it negated.

And there you have it. Keep this storyline in mind, because I’m going to publish the revised synopsis at the end of November/beginning of December.

And I must know . . . have you ever done NaNoWriMo before? How did you survive? Tips you can share? Let’s chat!