Camp NaNoWriMo July 2019: Week 2 Progress


Camp NaNo continues on, and I continue to write. And, mostly, to have a good time with it!

Somehow week 2 is always the hill I have to get over. I’ve written before about my week 2 struggles, and this month basically remained true to that. My word counts this past week weren’t as high as week 1—although they remained higher than the bare minimum. It doesn’t feel like I’ve slowed down, but the numbers don’t lie.

Like the previous week, I budgeted my words for one day off and still managed to stay ahead. What I forgot to take into account were the plans I’d made with friends that took up an entire day. Instead of one planned day off, I ended up taking two days, one planned and one unplanned, off. As of yesterday, I’m officially behind on my word count. On the other hand, because I was a bit ahead, I don’t need to write an astronomical number of words to make up the difference, and I expect that I’ll be able to do that and once again get head so that I can still find one day this week to give my brain a rest.

Right now the balance of writing and not writing feels almost as important to me as the actual writing. On the one hand, I want to participate in this fun event and I want to finish this manuscript. On the other hand, I love my husband and I love spending time with him. I don’t want to give up one for the other—that wouldn’t be fair to either of us. Finding those ways to meet my goals and not give up all my social or family time has been an ongoing challenge, but I also think I might be getting better at it: writing during my lunch time so that all my time at home isn’t taken up trying to meet my goal, and taking time not to write have definitely made me a happier writer.

Speaking of writing during lunch: that continues to be one of my best ideas. I don’t always manage it, and sometimes I don’t bother at all (my writing group meets Thursday evenings, so I usually wait and do all my writing at the meet up) but when I do, I’m always glad that I did. There are writers out there who make time to write in the tiny cracks during their days: in the few minutes between when they wake up and when the kids wake up, during the commute (hopefully on public transportation, but I suppose a driver could also be using a voice-to-text or otherwise recording themselves speaking), while their kids are at various lessons, etc. But I’ve tried that, and I find it difficult to get back into the headspace when I don’t have a lot of time. That 30 minute lunch break is probably the shortest possible time that is really useful to me.

  • Weekly Word Count: 10,929/11,298
  • Current Word Count: 10,929/25,000
  • Manuscript Total: 48,181/80,000

(Small note: I realized the other day that my manuscript total isn’t a wholly accurate number. There are sections that I’ve counted as words written that I’ve then crossed out so I could rewrite the scene. In fact, I’ll be doing that today during my lunch break because the last thing I wrote didn’t quite work. If I had to guess, I’d say there are somewhere around 1,000 to 1,500 words that probably shouldn’t be counted in that total—and certainly not more than 3,000—but since I count the words as written, I won’t get a more accurate total word count until I start typing this beast up.)

I expect this coming week to be somewhat difficult. In the next day or two I should enter a section the details of which I’m somewhat fuzzy on. I know where my characters need to end up, but connecting what I’ve already written to that next part is likely to give me a little trouble. This is the part of the story I basically skipped over in the last draft, so the next chunk will be completely new to the story. I might take the time to do some brainstorming, but I might also just write with some vague ideas and see where the story leads me.

And so we go ever onward!

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Camp NaNoWriMo July 2019: Week 1 Progress


As it turns out: I love Camp NaNoWriMo. Maybe not as much as I love NaNoWriMo in November, or maybe I love it differently, but I do love it. Camp NaNo reminds me of my early years on the internet, when I hung out on LiveJournal and communicated with my friends in the way we all loved best: through text. We blogged, sure, but we also shared stories there. Fanfiction and original fiction, it didn’t matter, because we were doing the thing we loved, we were writing. I’m still friends with some of those people, and I have the fondest memories of that time in my life.

My cabin for Camp NaNo is a bunch of friends I met through an online writers group. I haven’t met any of them IRL, we’ve only chatted through the group Discord server. But we’re all doing that same thing we love: writing. And we’re all cheering each other on. In that way, it feels a lot like those golden days of LiveJournal.

Unlike years past, when I’ve attempted to write new projects during Camp NaNo, this year I’ve used Camp NaNo to rewite a novel. This year is also the first time I ever won a Camp NaNo. Coincidence? Maybe, but it’s also possible that rewriting/editing during Camp NaNo is a more doable thing for me, and that’s now something I know and can investigate further, so not only did I write a bunch of words, I also learned something about my ever-evolving process. And there’s always NaNoWriMo in November to dump words into a new project.

So far my plan to write during my lunch breaks has worked wonderfully. The task of hitting my daily word count feels so much more manageable when I sit down after work and already have 200-300 words. Right now I’m in the middle of my plot, all kinds of things are happening and I’ve been able to get higher word counts than the bare minimum—which certainly helped when I didn’t write at all on the 4th. I’ll keep doing that as often as I can since I know that my momentum is likely to slow down later in the month, and a buffer will hopefully help me win and let me do it without undue stress.

    • Weekly Word Count: 6,248/5,649
    • Current Word Count: 6,248/25,000
    • Manuscript Total: 43,500/80,000

Looking at that last number right now, I’ve just realized that this draft is now longer than the entire first draft of this book, which was a little over 41k words. That draft had the main plot structure pretty well established—the bones were all there—but didn’t have a lot of descriptions or sub-plots. Or, well, any of those things, really. It was missing all the connective tissue and the organs and the… Ok, I probably don’t need to continue that metaphor; you get it. This manuscript is growing into something that resembles a real book, and I am so incredibly thrilled with my progress on this draft. Go me!

In this coming week, I’m going to continue my lunchtime writing. I’m going to continue to hit word counts as a high as I can to maintain that buffer. I need to update my day-by-day notes for this book (which is to say, I need to update the notes that tell me how many days have passed in this novel so I don’t do anything too weird with time). I also need to make some notes on the Big Things that are about to happen so that I have a better idea of how and when those things happen.

For now, I guess I’m just going to keep writing, writing, writing!

How’s your Camp NaNoWriMo going?

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2019 Second Quarter Reading

We’re already halfway through this year! That seems impossible to me—but then I guess my understanding of time passing has always been strange. There are still six whole months in this year left, but I still feel like I’m running out of time in 2019. And there are still so many things I want to do in this year!

Since the last time I posted about my books, I’ve started working again full time, and so I thought that I would have read less books in the second quarter of the year than I did in the first. But in the end I managed to mostly catch up with myself, and I feel pretty good about that. (This is partly because I squeezed in some novellas, which are obviously quicker reads, but I’m counting it all the same.)

21. » Sorcerer to the Crown (Sorcerer to the Crown 1) by Zen Cho
22. White Stag by Kara Barbieri
23. ◊ Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
24. Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy 1) by Emily A. Duncan
25. » Storm of Locusts (The Sixth World 2) by Rebecca Roanhorse
26. Getting Wilde (Immortal Vegas 1) by Jenn Stark
27. Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson 12) by Patricia Briggs
28. » Her Royal Highness (Royals 2) by Rachel Hawkins
29. » Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
30. Kings of the Wyld (The Band 1) by Nicholas Eames
31. » A Princess in Theory (Reluctant Royals 1) by Alyssa Cole
32. » A Duke by Default (Reluctant Royals 2) by Alyssa Cole
33. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
34. Bloody Rose (The Band 2) by Nicholas Eames
35. The Women’s War (Women’s War 1) by Jenna Glass
36. » A Prince on Paper (Reluctant Royals 3) by Alyssa Cole
37. » Once Ghosted, Twice Shy (Reluctant Royals 2.5) by Alyssa Cole
38. » Can’t Escape Love (Reluctant Royals 2.6) by Alyssa Cole
39. Seven Blades in Black (Grave of Empires 1) by Sam Sykes

My nonfiction reading slacked off this past quarter. I’d like to say I wasn’t sure why, but I remember starting a few of the ones on my list and just not getting pulled in the way I was with the books I read last quarter. In the next three months I’d like to catch up with that somewhat, especially as I keep adding nonfiction books to my TBR list. Eventually I’m going to have to read some of them, right? Or else the list will just keep growing forever…

I am going to be doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month, and I usually slow down a little on my word input when I’m pushing so hard for word output. I’m going to keep an eye on that this month and try not to slow down too much—and I do have a plan to help with that, so we’ll see if that plan works.

So far I feel pretty good about my reading for the year, and there are still so many books I’m looking forward to reading!

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Thinkin’ About: July ’19 Camp NaNoWriMo


Summer camp. But with writing! Once again I’ll be plunging headfirst into the month-long writing frenzy that is Camp NaNoWriMo.

In April I was still looking for a job and had all the free time that wasn’t spent applying for jobs to write. But at the end of May I became a productive member of our capitalist society once more, and am now at a full-time job 5 days a week. This will obviously affect my writing time and output, so I’ve set July’s goal with that in mind at 25k words. It’s less than my original goal for April, but it’s a goal I managed to accomplish that month. Ideally I will exceed that wordcount, but at least I know it’s a target I can hit.

To get to 25k words, I’ll need to write about 807 words per day.

Right now my plan is to do some writing on my lunch breaks at work, as well as when I get home. Normally I read while I eat my lunch, but I also read before I go to sleep, so cutting out my afternoon reading won’t mean cutting out reading entirely. There isn’t a convenient cafe I can slip off to and write during those lunch breaks, but there is a park only a block away. Weather permitting, I may end up taking my food and my notebook there for some uninterrupted writing time.

One thing I have learned from my recent NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo wins is that sprints and the Pomodoro Technique is a great way for me to get out the words. My version of Pomodoro-ing is perhaps less rigid: I put on music, and tell myself I only have to write until the end of the song. Most songs are 3-4 minutes long, which is such a small amount of time that my brain almost automatically goes, “Yeah, we can do that.” But 9 times out of 10 I find that by the end of the first song, I’m on a roll and I end up writing for longer than 3-4 minutes. By the time I look up, it’s usually been about 20 minutes, and I can take a mini break! I’ll be applying this modified Pomodoro Technique a little more strictly to my writing routine in the coming month (which is to say: I’ll be keeping those mini breaks mini, possibly by using a timer). Hopefully that, plus my lunchtime writing, will make 807 words every day a breeze.

Overall, I’m excited! I didn’t get nearly as many words written in May or June as I wanted (“Best laid plans…” etc. etc.), but I’m hoping to start Camp NaNoWriMo with 40k words already written on this manuscript, which puts me at 65k—or more?!?—by the end of July. My current word count is just over 36k, which means I have some writing to do before the end of the month, but I think I can manage that.

To anyone else attending Camp this July: Good luck and happy writing!

P.S. There’s a book post coming soon too, for my second quarter reading.

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019: Week 4 + Wrap Up


I did it!

I pushed myself the last week and wrote 8,727 words in the last six days alone, and validated my count last night at 25,070 words written in the month of April. That’s 25k words on this rewrite, and I am so pleased to have gotten this far so quickly.

Of course, the work still isn’t done. As I texted a friend who was helping me stay on track: Now I get to… keep going… But I’m actually looking forward to that. I’m looking forward to continuing this story; there’s still tons of cool stuff that hasn’t happened yet! Things I’m looking forward to writing. And I’m looking forward to eventually finishing this draft. That’s the most exciting thing I still have to look forward to.

Things I learned this Camp NaNoWriMo:

  1. I’m still struggling with descriptions. Sometimes I remember to go back and add those descriptions, but not always. I’ve already made a note to myself that this is something to watch for and add where needed when I’m doing edits on this draft later on.
  2. I also struggle with putting my protagonists against each other. I struggle to write that sort of tension—between two of my protagonists who may not entirely get along for whatever reason—in a way I don’t struggle with when pitting my protagonists against my antagonists. I don’t feel like I’ve quite nailed it in this draft, so that’s also something that I’ll work on when I’m doing edits later.
  3. Sometimes you have to give your brain a break. And that’s part of the writing process too. Look, brains make basically no sense. They’re our greatest tools, but sometimes tools break or get dull or otherwise need some repairs or need to spend some time not in use. What I’m saying is, don’t break your brain by forcing it to keep going when it needs a rest. You won’t be doing your brain or your novel any good. (Caveat: Yes, obviously sometimes you do have to push past mental blocks or other mental nonsense that keeps you from writing. Knowing when it’s just a block and when it’s really time to take a break is probably a skill we could all develop and hone.)
  • Final Word Count: 25,070/25,000

I’m already planning on doing July Camp NaNoWriMo as well, and will set my goal at 25k words. (And yes, you can expect me to blog about it again, I hope you’re not getting tired of reading about NaNoWriMo and my experiences with it.) I expect that in May and June my writing will slow down a little bit, but I would really like to write 30k words in those two months combined (about 15k words per month). That would bring my novel to an even 80k words, which is my goal for this draft.

So now, onwards!

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019: Week 3 Progress


“Best best laid plans of mice and men often go awry.” Well, ain’t that the truth. If you’re keeping track of my word count (and I’m not sure why you would be, but I suppose you could be?), you’ll probably notice that I did not hit those high word counts this past week that I intended. I did spend some time beating myself up for this. I’m a failure, I thought. I’d been doing so well, I’ve been keeping up with my word count and my outline and writing (almost) every day. But now I’ve failed. I’ve failed this novel. This is where it all falls apart.

But then I remembered one important thing: brains are liars. That helped some.

Then Camp NaNoWriMo sent out an email that helped even more.

We’re just about halfway through the month, which means it’s officially time for a Goal Check Gut Check!

Never done it before? Here’s how to perform a Goal Check Gut Check:

  1. Go to your Camp project and look at your target goal.
  2. Ask yourself one question: “Does this goal still feel good? How’re you feeling about it, oh-gut-of-mine?”
  3. Revise your goal if your gut is telling you that it needs an adjustment. Maybe this means raising your goal to push yourself to even greater heights! Maybe you need to lower your goal because this month has been stormier than anticipated. It’s all about making your creative goals work for you.

It reminded me that one of the best parts about Camp NaNoWriMo is being able to set your own goal, and being able to change it—up or down—when your plans don’t go the way you think they will. “The best laid plans” and all that jazz. This morning I adjusted my goal, setting my target at 25,000 for the month instead of 30,000. Rather than beating myself up about it, rather than being resigned to meeting a smaller goal than initially hoped for, rather than any number of harmful thoughts I might be having, instead I’m psyched. Once again I have a goal that I know I can meet, but that will still be challenging.

At my last check in I admitted that I had a day when my brain just refused to brain, and then a day where I recovered from being unable to brain. Those were two lost writing days. This past week I lost another two: On Friday I straight up forgot to write. I was getting in bed that night when I remembered that I hadn’t written that day. On Saturday I went to a wedding, which was an hour’s drive away, and spent most of the day before that getting ready for the event (both physically and mentally). I remembered as I was getting in the car for the drive that I hadn’t written yet for the day. I shrugged it off.

These things happen. And that’s ok.

What matters is that you keep going. Those days aren’t failures; they’re just a different part of the process. You keep going, keep putting words together into sentences, keep stringing sentences into paragraphs, and eventually those paragraphs become chapters. But you don’t get any of that unless you keep going.

So for now, I’m just going to keep on keeping on.

  • Current Word Count: 14,650/25,000

(Full disclosure: There’s a last step in the Goal Check Gut Check process, which I omitted because it’s not particularly relevant to me personally. YMMV.)

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019: Week 2 Progress


Camp NaNoWriMo continues. In the past, Week 2 is usually where I’ve fallen off course for Camp. Life might get in the way, or I might just lose the motivation and self discipline to keep going. While my second week started strong, I did lose some steam towards the end. My challenge now is to keep going, despite the fact that I hit a speed bump.

There were two things that threw a bit of a wrench into the works this past week.

  1. I didn’t notice until it was too late that I skipped something in my outline, and I’d moved forward a few thousand words. I couldn’t just write a new scene and add it in, because of how I’d written what would have come after. So I either needed to go back, write the scene that I’d skipped, and then also rewrite a significant portion of what I’d written after so that it would fit, or I needed to rework the plot and outline to fit the thing that I’d skipped into the novel in a later place than I’d originally planned. On the other hand, the thing that I’d skipped, while necessary to the plot, had originally felt awkward. Like, say, it was in the wrong place. So I stopped writing and replotted. The thing that I skipped is going to work better now, and I can feel better moving forwards towards it.
  2. If you’re keeping track of the numbers at home, you’ll notice that I’m a little behind. Last Friday was a bad brain day. I could barely make myself summon the willpower to get out of bed. I didn’t want to do anything, even things I knew normally made me happy. Saturday wasn’t quite so bad of a brain day, but I wasn’t back to 100% either. No words got written either of those days, which is obviously not ideal. But Camp NaNo isn’t quite the same as NaNoWriMo: while I’m only accountable to myself during both events, Camp NaNo’s flexible goal means that I’m not only accountable to myself, but I can be gentler with myself than November usually is. In this case, that meant giving my brain a rest the same way you give I might give my body a rest.

I also realized that starting my daily writing at 10pm usually means that I’m not going to make my word count, and so I probably need to write earlier in the day. This is a time management issue. I’m not always great at managing my own time wisely, so this will be a challenge as well. On the other hand, figuring out what the problem is can be more challenging than actually fixing the problem, and I’m hoping that will be the case here. I’ll start taking steps towards fixing that issue right away.

Over the next week I’ll be upping my word counts to try and make up the missing days of writing. Despite being behind, I’m still feeling pretty good about this project. I still love this novel, and I’m still excited about telling this story. Maintaining that feeling—the love for the novel and the characters and the story—is just as important to me as getting out the words in a timely manner.

So is writing every day (or as near to it as my brain will allow). Part of the magic of NaNoWriMo—and so of Camp NaNoWriMo too—is that it’s a chance to build a habit of writing. I don’t believe that writing every day is necessary to Being A Writer. There is magic to be found in the down moments: the daydreams and the eureka moments when you’re doing something mundane like cooking. But I do believe that Being A Writer does mean putting words down on the page. The process doesn’t stop with those eureka moments or the daydreams or the brainstorming of the intricacies of your plot. Maybe the process never stops. But it certainly includes putting words on a page.

  • Current Word Count: 11,835/30,000

Keep putting those words down on the page, my lovelies. That’s the only way the story gets written.

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Camp NaNoWriMo April 2019: Week 1 Progress


Well! So far I’m trucking right along and am right on track! This is a pretty cool thing for me, as I’ve never made it very far in a Camp NaNoWriMo before. But then, before last November, I’d never won a NaNoWriMo before either. I feel as though I’ve crossed a major hurdle: now that I know I can finish a novel, the challenge lies elsewhere. (The challenge is probably plot related, honestly.) I suppose those moving goal posts can be a bitch if you let them, but for the moment I choose to be happy that I’ve gotten past one really big obstacle and can focus on the next one.

This Camp NaNoWriMo I’m focusing on steadiness. Yes, I could have set a time goal (e.g. 30 hours spent on this project) but I wanted a word count goal to track specific progress within the novel. So while my target daily word count is relatively low, the ultimate goal is for me to be writing every day. And I am! A few days have had lower word counts than target (Thanks, brain, you’re so helpful!) but with a lower target, I can make up the words the next days without too much extra effort.

In the first week I’ve also been learning to love this novel again. Last year I pulled out this same novel and resolved to start revising and editing it. But when I looked at what I’d already written, I just completely hated it. Nothing had quite worked the way I wanted it to. There were too many holes. I didn’t know what was going on in the middle of the novel. I gave up then because I really didn’t even want to look at this novel. So I put it away, and I worked on other things. And by the time I picked it back up again this January, I didn’t hate it quite so much. I got myself a notebook and did some major brainstorming for this novel. And sometime in the middle of the planning, I remembered why I’d wanted to write this story in the first place.

And, bonus! All that planning is paying off, since I can write the story without also making it up as I go—something Rachel Aaron talks about in (yup, you guessed it) 2K to 10K. To paraphrase: figuring out what needs to happen to move the story forward in the most dramatic and exciting fashion is already difficult, so if you can not do it in the most time-consuming way possible (in the middle of writing) it’ll be easier to keep momentum moving forward. So far, all the planning and prepping I did has proven to be the best thing I could have done for this novel.

Two things I’ve learned during Camp NaNoWriMo so far:

  1. I tend to leave out descriptions. So far it’s been mostly descriptions of people and places. (And maybe a little bit my MC’s feelings and emotions.) This has meant that I’ve been going back and adding the descriptions that are missing, which is working out fine. I’m not sure if I leave the descriptions out because I forget about them as I’m writing, or because it’s almost easier to add them where they go after the fact.
  2. When I get stuck, it’s usually because there’s something I don’t know. The last time I got stuck, I stepped back and asked myself what was wrong, and I realized that I didn’t know how the conversation I was trying to write was going to go. So I took a step back and thought about that for a few minutes. And when I went back to it, I mostly knew where I was going again. I just need to remember that when I get stuck I need to figure out what piece I don’t know yet, and more often than not, just identifying what I don’t know helps me figure out how to start moving forward again. Still, remembering that is often the hard part.
  • Total Word Count: 7,063/30,000

I’m having a really good time with this rewrite and Camp NaNoWriMo experience! I can only hope my second week goes as well as my first!

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2019 First Quarter Reading + April Camp NaNoWriMo

It’s been a little while since I’ve been around here. Last year I had a plan for posting here once a month, with the results of my reading efforts, and then somewhat more frequently when NanoWriMo rolled around so that I could share my progress. This year, I wasn’t so sure I wanted to post a list of what books I’ve read—though of course I still plan to blog this year’s NaNoWriMo. But without a plan, I also know I was likely to abandon my blog through neglect.

So here I am, with the books I’ve read so far this year, and a plan that will get this blog through the next year.

  1. The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future by Ryder Carroll
  2. A Discovery of Witches (All Souls Trilogy 1)* by Deborah Harkness (reread)
  3. Shadow of Night (All Souls Trilogy 2)* by Deborah Harkness (reread)
  4. The Book of Life (All Souls Trilogy 3)* by Deborah Harkness (reread)
  5. » Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians 1) by Kevin Kwan
  6. The Winter of the Witch (Winternight Trilogy 3) by Katherine Arden
  7. The Wicked King (The Folk of the Air 2) by Holly Black
  8. » The Monster Baru Cormorant (The Masquerade 2) by Seth Dickinson
  9. » In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
  10. Affliction (Anita Blake 22) by Laurell K. Hamilton
  11. Wild Things (Chicagoland Vampires 9) by Chloe Neill
  12. The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking
  13. The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons 1) by Jenn Lyons
  14. An Easy Death (Gunnie Rose 1) by Charlaine Harris
  15. » The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy 1) by N.K. Jemisin
  16. » The Broken Kingdoms (Inheritance Trilogy 2) by N.K. Jemisin
  17. » The Kingdom of Gods (Inheritance Trilogy 3) by N.K. Jemisin
  18. Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell
  19. The Near Witch by V.E. Schwab
  20. Art & Fear: Observations on the Perils (And Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles & Ted Orland

Last year, I gave myself permission to reread as many books as I wanted. It was my way of doing research; I was rereading books I loved with the express purpose of finding out why I loved them. Sometimes I wasn’t as successful, but sometimes I was. This year I have two goals in mind for my reading:

1) Read some nonfiction books. I tend to stay in my lane almost exclusively when reading, mostly because I love reading fantasy. But I know it’s good to expand one’s horizons, so with that in mind, I’m adding some carefully selected nonfiction books. And so far I’ve really enjoyed them! I’m not limiting the number of nonfiction books I read, but at this point I’m averaging about one every month. Considering most years I read zero nonfiction books total, even one every month feels good to me. Those are marked above with a ◊ (even though those long titles should be a dead giveaway).

2) Read some more diverse books. It’s not that I’ve intentionally read books by primarily cis, white authors, it’s that I wasn’t intentionally making the choice not to do so either. So this year, I intentionally went and found books that I already wanted to read that were written by people of color, people of non-Christian faiths, people of non-heterosexual orientations and books that feature those things as well and moved those books to the top of the TBR. Those are marked above with a ». (I already read primarily female authors, but that’s less a conscious choice than it is the fact that ladies happen to write the books I want to read.)

My Goodreads Reading Challenge for this year is set at 80 books. I got through 82 last year, so I think 80 is a goal I can meet and hopefully go beyond this year.

I’m also starting Camp NaNoWriMo today. My goal is to write 1,000 words per day, which is about three pages in the notebook I’m handwriting in, for a total of 30,000 words in April. I’m finally starting the rewrite of a novel that I’d previously written and finished. 30k words in one month maybe isn’t quite so intensive as November NaNoWriMo, but it’s still a hefty chunk of this next draft, which is the important thing. I spent the first quarter of the year brainstorming and plotting and even outlining, so I have a much better idea of what I’m writing this time.

And I’m excited!

I’ll be documenting the process here just like I will with November NaNoWriMo (regular NaNoWriMo? just NaNoWriMo?) and with July Camp NaNoWriMo as well. Which… yeah, should mean that I’ll be somewhat regularly here through the rest of this year. If you’re doing Camp NaNoWriMo this month, good luck!

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My Year of Rereads: Oct/Nov/Dec Review

Well, October ended up being a light reading month. I think it was because it was supposed to be a heavy NaNoWriMo prep month. But that… didn’t happen as much as I would have liked. And November was NaNoWriMo, during which I basically did nothing except write. (You can read about my NaNoWriMo prep and progress here.) In December I tried to catch up as much as I could on my reading, but at the same time I think my brain is too cold to decide what I want to read.

72. The Lost Sister (The Folk of the Air 1.5)* by Holly Black

This was a short little teaser, to hold us over until The Wicked King released. It was nice to learn a little more about the sisters and their relationship from the perspective of the other sister, but I’m still looking forward to reading the next book in the series.

73. A Companion to Wolves (Iskryne 1) by Sarah Monnette & Elizabeth Bear

This is a comfort read for me. I’ve probably read this book six or ten times since it was published, and it continues to be a favorite of mine. I should have been paying attention to exactly what I love about this book and what makes me reread it about once a year, but I love it so much that I wasn’t paying attention at all. I was just enjoying it.

74. The Phoenix Empress (Their Bright Ascendancy 2)* by K. Arsenault Rivera

I loved the first book in this series, and this book is no exception. At the same time, I was about 70% of the way through this book when I suddenly realized that this book wasn’t going to get quite as much done as I thought. That’s mostly all right, as there’s another book

75. Kingdom of Ash (Throne of Glass 7)* by Sarah J. Maas

There’s something about the last book in a series. All the rest of the books have been leading up to this, the final showdown. The author has built everything up, and up, and UP, and now that’s about to pay off. This book delivers on that. If there are any parts of this book that are slow, I honestly don’t remember them. The whole book just seems to barrel forwards with all the momentum of the six previous books, and it felt like non-stop action from the first page to the last.

76. Diamond Fire (Hidden Legacy 3.5)* by Ilona Andrews

Nice little bridge between the first trilogy starring Nevada, and the second, forthcoming trilogy starring the next of the Baylor sisters, Catalina. I’m looking forward to seeing what sort of shenanigans Catalina will get up to in her own books, and this was an excellent teaser.

77. A Queen From the North (Royal Roses 1) by Erin McRae and Racheline Maltese

I didn’t know that I needed modern royal romances, but apparently I do. I loved this book, and the premise. I reread this because I realized that there’s no news on the sequel the authors have announced and I needed more modern royal romance. I am really looking forward to the sequel!

78. Time’s Convert (All Souls 4)* by Deborah Harkness

This book felt like a novella, even though I think it’s the size of a novel. The three main books were loaded with plot and plot twists, which made them suspenseful in their telling. There was no suspense in this book. I had complete faith that all the characters involved would come through, their troubles only momentary. That’s not to say that this wasn’t a delight to read, because it was! Marcus and Phoebe are characters that I wanted to know more about in the main trilogy, and it was nice to spend some time with them and learn more about them. The author has said that she’s working on other novels about other characters from this series—last I heard, we were getting a novel that would feature Phillipe heavily, which is would be amazing—but honestly anything by this author is sure to be delightful.

79. 2K to 10K: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron

This is probably my favorite writing book (though honestly I haven’t read many) but this reread was specifically focusing on how to work some of these techniques into my own writing. I even marked up my copy of the book, highlighting sections that I thought would be the most useful.

80. Morrigan’s Cross (The Circle Trilogy 1) by Nora Roberts
81. Dance of the Gods (The Circle Trilogy 2) by Nora Roberts
82. Valley of Silence (The Circle Trilogy 3) by Nora Roberts

Look, sometimes I just need a little romance, and Nora Roberts is my fave. It’s possible that these books were the first Nora Roberts books I ever read (or at least were some of the first), so these books have a fair amount of nostalgia for me. These three books are ones that I haven’t reread before, and the first time I read them was in 2007, so it’s been a while. I chose to reread these ones now because the ones that involve magic are always my favorite, and because I’ve been toying with the idea of writing a something that leans a little heavily into the romance genre, and I wanted a reminder about how that could be done. There’s something to be said for the formula that a romance follows, and how that formula can be changed and adapted to fit the sort of romance a person might write. It’s definitely something I’m looking forward to playing with.

2018 didn’t end quite as strongly as it began, but that’s ok. I feel really good about the books I read last year, and the things I may have learned while reading—which was at least partially the point.

I think this rereading experiment was a success. I didn’t quite read as many books as I hoped thanks to the last few months of the year being… weird, but that’s ok. I wanted to beat my previous record—87 books—but 82 is still pretty impressive. This year I set my Goodreads challenge to 80 books. I don’t know if that’s ambitious or not, but right now it feels doable. The list I’ll be drawing from this year is… longer than the list from last year.

This year I happen to be starting with some rereads for no real reason other than “I want to” and I’ve given myself permission to not feel guilty when I reread books now. But as soon as I get through the books I’m rereading, I’m looking forward to diving into some new books.

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