Tuesday, October 21, 2014

NaNoWriMo: A Month of Insanity

I was first introduced to NaNoWriMo two years ago. One of my dearest friends convinced me I should do it.

Sure! Why not? Writing a fifty thousand word novel in thirty days shouldn't be a problem. For those who know me well, I thrive on challenges. If someone doesn't think I can do it then for some odd reason this unquenchable drive pushes me to prove them that I can. (Don’t worry, if it is a useless challenge I won’t do it. You won’t find me leaping over Niagara Falls)

It sounded crazy. Writing a novel in one month. How was that even possible? But my dear friend roped me into doing it. I returned the favor by dragging another friend to do it with me.

I had my novel all planned out. I knew how it would turn out, how many chapters there was, what was going to be in each chapter, and how many words per chapter I had to write. November 1st came and I tackled this challenge with everything I had.

My two friends and I did word wars with one another at least once a day when we could. We encouraged each other to keep going. There were a few times when we couldn't think of what to write next. We bounced ideas off one another. It was a complete blast!
Not only were we aiming to finish our novels before the month was up, we were also racing one another. With that in mind we wrote faster, and more often each day.

The deadline was up and all of us finished before November 31st.  I finished November 19th and decided to try to write the sequel in the last remaining days. (I did not finish the sequel)

We exchanged our novels with pride. We had achieved something great! We had completed a fifty thousand word novel in less than a month!!! At the ages of sixteen and fifteen this is a huge feat.

After that first time I was hooked. It became an addiction. Last November I completed my third novel with two hours to spare. (I was dealing with health issues so that slowed me down)
And in April during the Camp NaNoWriMo I wrote three novels. (Don’t panic, that’s not the norm.)

NaNoWriMo is insanity, yet it radiates awesomeness. You get up early and go to bed late, guzzling astonishing amounts of coffee, or whatever drink that keeps you going. It almost seems daunting, for first timers, but after you have completed one I almost guarantee you’ll be hooked.

The next NaNoWriMo starts November 1st. You can sign up here (it’s free!) to keep track of your word count and connect with other WriMo’s. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!

I hope to race alongside you!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Guest Post: Cloud Pictures

Cloud Pictures

Don’t clouds in the sky
Form the oddest things
From babies in cribs
To horses with wings

I could lie down and watch
Clouds float all day;
My mind creates pictures
And stories that way

An old bearded man
Turns into a child
An innocent teddy
Into a lion so wild

A panda stands tall
On its back strong hind feet
Then becomes a small dog
Begging for a treat

The things I can see
The tales I could make
Are so countless
Just think of the time it would take

I think, and don’t you
That when God made the sky
He placed clouds in the air
Thinking of you and I

Don’t clouds in the air
Form the oddest things
Pictures and stories
Oh, what joy it brings.

MacKenzie Long is a seventeen year old homeschooled country girl. She enjoys writing poems, parodies, songs, and novels. Aside from that, she delights in reading, hanging out with her younger sister, Corrie, and playing the penny whistle. 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Most First Drafts Are Rubbish

Out of curiosity, I asked quite a few young writers what they thought of their first drafts. Here are some of their answers:

"Oh my gosh, my rough drafts stink."

"I feel like my first drafts are messy, annoying, and in need of improvement, but I love them anyways. Sort of like children." 

"Yes, absolute rubbish. I hate them all, and then realize they're not as bad as I thought when I read them over. After reworking and polishing, then they're beautiful."

"Man, this is horrible. Just as I expected. Time to make the second draft!" 

I feel like all of them should be rewritten, and they could be a lot better."

Read for yourself, the general consensus is that first drafts are rubbish. Horrible. 

First drafts are called rough drafts for a reason; because they are. Unless you happen to be an outrageously writing genius and can churn out a perfect first draft. (If you are, please make yourself known!)

It's normal to have a trashy first draft. 
A first draft is where I pour my heart and soul out onto paper (or the computer screen if you want to get literal) until I have the story in my head and heart written down.
Then I go back sifting through it and clean out the rubbish. Polish it up. (Also known as rewriting. We'll save that for another post.)

Don't worry or stress out if your first draft is rubbish. Do not fall into the lie thinking that you are a horrible writer, or you can't write at all due to the condition of your first drafts. This leads to miserable thoughts and actions such as: "I shouldn't write at all." And then you might end up throwing your draft out. 

It is what it is. You aren't alone. 

Don't panic; keep calm, it's only a first draft.