Every day you write, you are a writing winner!

nanowrimo completion certificate
Here’s my official NaNoWriMo completion certificate. If you “won,” be sure to get yours too!

Now concludes NaNoWriMo. If you wrote 50,000 words this month, you officially win. If you didn’t, that doesn’t mean you lost. Did you write more than you normally would have? If so, you win!

Now, for some last minute housekeeping: Have you completed your NaNoWriMo profile page?  If not, you should. I would especially like to see you share an excerpt from your project so I can read it. Also, be sure to “buddy” me while you’re there! Continue reading “Every day you write, you are a writing winner!”

Blogging, Flash Fiction

Who’s up for a 200 word piggy back ride?

Mandy Webster NaNoWriMo stats
Here are my latest NaNoWriMo stats. It lies about how many words I’ve written today. I just haven’t added any more words to my NaNo project.

I finished NaNoWriMo Tuesday, and guess what? I haven’t stopped writing since! Today, I am joining a writing challenge hosted by Chuck Wendig over at the TerribleMinds blog. It’s a five part challenge in which participants will collaborate to write several flash fiction pieces 200 words at a time.

To participate, this week you should write the first 200 words of a story and post it to your blog. Then head over to TerribleMinds (where you can also find full details of the challenge) and share a link to your post. The next week, you will choose another author’s first 200 words (maybe even mine!) and write the second 200 words of that author’s story. The following week, you will choose yet another story and add an additional 200 words of your own, and so forth, until you have written a total of 1000 words on 5 different stories.

Sounds like fun, right? Okay, so here’s the first 200 words of my story: Continue reading “Who’s up for a 200 word piggy back ride?”

Memoir, NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: A final push for the finish line

Mandy Webster nanowrimo stats
This is my first NaNoWriMo attempt in which I have managed to get my word count above the daily goal and keep it there.

I was just sitting here looking at my NaNoWriMo stats, trying to figure out how many words I want to write over the next two days so I can finish by Thursday and have nothing to do for the rest of the week (unless I want something to do) aside from grading papers.

I only need about 6,000 more words. One thing I’ve learned this month is that 6,000 words in one day is totally doable, especially on a day when I have something to say. And when do I not have something to say? Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: A final push for the finish line”


NaNoWriMo: Right on track!

My current NaNoWriMo stats
These are my current NaNoWriMo stats as of posting.

Ba-ZING-Ga! I just caught up! It’s official. I just updated my word count on the NaNo website, and it told me that, at this rate, I will finish by November 30th. Right on time! W00t w00t! My next goal is to get a couple thousand words ahead just in case. But I can do this. I just did ten day’s worth of NaNoWriMo in four days. This is a cinch!

How goes NaNo for you? Continue reading “NaNoWriMo: Right on track!”


Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo

Writing: Just DO it already! | Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s Day 7, and I have changed my mind. I am doing NaNoWriMo after all. There’s nothing like waiting a week to decide you want to write 50,000 words like everyone else. I have been sitting here reading blog posts about everyone else’s NaNo projects and feeling jealous. And making excuses for why I couldn’t do it too.

Then I got an idea. I finally looked myself in the computer screen and said, “Shut up with the excuses already. Sit your ass down in that chair and start writing.”

So, I am doing it. I am starting NaNoWriMo today, seven days in, and on my birthday, no less. Continue reading “Getting a late start on NaNoWriMo”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!

a picture of an apple pie
As summer draws to a close, it’s time to start thinking about apple pies and second drafts. Time to harvest the fruits of our labor!

Today is the official last day of summer. The time has come to wrap up the Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I am feeling *super* productive after completing this challenge.

For those of you who did not complete your first draft, that’s okay. Did you keep writing anyway? That’s the important thing. As long as you keep writing, you will get there eventually. Keep at it!

A few of you have contacted me to let me know when you did complete the first drafts of your novels. Congratulations on a job well finished!

If you are like me, Anne Lamott, Stephen King, and a myriad of lesser-known writers, your first draft is probably… WELL… “Shitty.” Continue reading “It’s time to wrap up our summer writing challenge!”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!

black walnut tree
Have you looked outside lately? Mother Nature keeps reminding me that summer is almost over. These black walnuts will be on the ground soon.

September 21st is the last day of summer, as well as the official last day of our Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge. I don’t know about you, but I feel good knowing I have written an entire story from start to finish. Now, on to revisions!

After letting my first draft simmer for a couple of weeks, I finally sat down this week and started working on my second draft. Many famous authors (Stephen King comes to mind) say your second draft should always be shorter than your first. They advise cutting out unnecessary words, which is great advice. But I don’t think that is going to work for me. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 12, Time to revise!”

Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 6 | Breaking the rules, starting a new project

"Writing", 22 November 2008
I actually had a very productive writing week. | “Writing”, 22 November 2008 (Photo credit: ed_needs_a_bicycle)

This week, I am breaking one of those fundamental writing rules. You know the one about how you should finish one project before starting the next? Yeah, well, I totally broke it.

My existing work in progress (WIP) seems hopelessly stalled at the moment. I know what the problem is. My focus is too broad. I need to start cutting, but I can’t decide where to start. I decided to do some experimenting with a simplified story line to gain some perspective on my problem. Next thing I knew, I’d mapped out an entire new novel project and written a first chapter to go with it.

Yes, I broke the rule.

At least I am writing again. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 6 | Breaking the rules, starting a new project”

Memoir, Write Your Novel this Summer Challenge

Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 4

word count work in progress
This is the actual word count for my work in progress.

I haven’t added many words to my novel this week, as I have spent much of this writing week engaged in weaving. It’s all because of this one very important character who suddenly popped up around page 150. I think he is important enough that he needs to show up sooner. So, I’ve been reading my way through my first 150 pages looking for opportunities to include him in the action.

On one hand, I think this could be a second draft activity, as it is keeping me from writing forward in my story. On the other hand, this character is important enough to the overall story that I think I need to spend some time getting to know him and seeing how he interacts with my protagonist. Thus, the time spent weaving him in. Continue reading “Summer Writing Challenge Check-in: Week 4”

Random Rants, Random Writing Rants

And this is why I should vary my headlines

Photo of newspaper headlines about polio vacci...
Perhaps I could put a bit more thought into my blog post headlines. | Photo of newspaper headlines about polio vaccine tests (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Random thought:

I just noticed my last two blog posts both ran with headlines that began with the words, “This is why…”

Should I write a whole series of “This is why” blog posts so it appears that I did it on purpose? Continue reading “And this is why I should vary my headlines”