Tag Archives: Nanowrimo

Counting Down to Christmas

November has come and gone, and I thought I would never finish my novel. Well, I didn’t finish it, but I got to 50,000+ words and I promptly stopped writing. I never thought I’d get there. True, this year’s draft is probably the crappiest of them all, but I don’t care. Right now I’m content to having the unfinished draft of Song Bird residing in the deep recesses of my hard drive, never to see the light of day until I finally sit down and figure out what the story is really about. Because right now, I have no idea. :P

The novel I still want to finish is 2008’s and I must really, really sit down and finish that. :)

On another note, it’s December! December is my next favorite month after March, for obvious reasons. I love that Christmas is just around the corner, I love that December means cooler weather, and I love that December means the year is ending and we’ve got a new year coming. I’ve been feeling extra cheerful ever since yesterday, and I’m betting it’s the holiday season.

Of course, there’s another side of Christmas that I’ve been feeling a lonely chill to lately…but nah. I don’t want to think about that. :P

So Christmas! This means:

  • Christmas shopping – more people to give gifts to, and I’m glad the other people are so easy to give gifts to now. :P
  • Christmas stories – Wordplay will be revived!
  • Christmas readings – Did anything ever stop me from reading
  • Christmas eating – of course. I feel a bit guilty for being too lazy to go to the gym today, though (eep). Definitely not the best way to lose weight, folks. :P

Of course, Christmas means more than that, but allow me to be caught up in the festivities for now. :)

So I just thought I’d drop in and say hi. Now that NaNoWriMo is out of the way, it’s time to get busy with other things I have put on hold. I should start doing that now. So happy December everyone!

Long November

It’s true. November is the longest month of the year.

I apologize for the lack of posts here. With the book blog, NaNoWriMo and real life, my hands are full. Everyday is just me, reading, working and writing, even if I absolutely do not feel like writing. I labeled 2007 as the hardest year in my NaNoWriMo history, but I feel that this year is the worst so far.

Oh well. No pain, no gain, I guess?

I’m still fighting for this novel. So while I do, I thought I’d share this pep talk I sent last week — probably the most honest one I’ve ever sent.

My Novel Sucks – a pep talk from Tina (tinamats)

I knew as a kid that I wanted to be a writer, ever since I “met” Elizabeth Wakefield in Sweet Valley Kids. She was my first writing inspiration, and I am pretty sure she was the one that made me start writing stories even if I never read any of her stuff. I was all set to take up Journalism in college, but I got sidetracked when I was introduced to the wonderful world of HTML and web, so I took the geeky path and graduated college with a degree in Computer Science.

I did not abandon writing in college, though. I joined our school’s literary folio, but quit two terms later because I couldn’t do the residency and I always felt out of place among them. I wrote a few short stories, but I took my own sweet time writing them, except of course when they were semi-autobiographical — with that, it was almost like word vomit. For other attempts at literary work, I totally sucked.
Earlier today, I managed to reach 20k words in my novel. I forced myself to write, write, write and close other things that would make me slack off until I reach that magic land of 20,000 words before Monday came. Then I made a mistake at taking a break and reading some excerpts of the other Wrimos here posted on their profiles. Then I came to a sad realization.

My story sucks.

This entire attempt at writing a retelling of a fantasy story sucks. Really and truly sucks.

And because I chose to stick to the story, that I chose to stick to writing this, it just follows that I also suck.

Depressing, yes?

Here’s a confession: all these years I have been a Municipal Liaison for the region, I have always felt that I was one of the worst writers in the region. No joke. I like writing, yes, but I feel that I lack the formal training, the vocabulary and sometimes even the imagination to be a real writer. Sometimes, during chats and write-ins, I feel lost about the things people talk about. I have to double check the dictionary to understand some words that I feel I should have known before given my reading habits but it never stuck. Sometimes I feel like my novels can never compare to what you guys write. I feel like I’m the most boring person in the world, using the same words over and over again with long sentences and sometimes a bad grasp at grammar. Sometimes, I feel like my words do not carry enough weight, that it’s not exciting and no one will ever look at whatever I wrote, except for friends who get bored and ask me for things to read that are my own.

Yeah, I suck. Continue reading Long November

Who says I'm wasting my time?

It’s been three days since NaNoWriMo started, and even I am surprised at the lack of posts I have about it here. I’m not really sure why I’m not posting about it, really. Maybe it’s because I’m just plain busy (which I am), maybe I have no plot to talk about (partly true), or maybe I’ve just decided that I’ve blogged enough about it and I don’t need to really blog about it again (I’ve blogged about it here, anyway). It’s no secret to anyone who’s been following my blog (and the four, five who read this regularly) — I love NaNoWriMo. I cannot stress that enough.

So it kind of breaks my heart when I read some articles like this (and I kind of hate that I’m linking it, but I guess I have to) that slams something that has made my November for the past six years happier and crazier, and has allowed me to meet some of the most inspiring people I’ve known. Truth be told, the article kind of depressed me a bit, and wonder about how people can be so harsh about something that makes people of all ages write? What’s so wrong about attempting to write  a novel in a month?

And then I started to read the comments. Then I felt better because I realized that I’m not alone in feeling indignant. Misery (well, if you can call that misery) does love company! :P

Before I even heard of NaNoWriMo, I’ve been writing a lot. I wrote short stories, I had plots for novels and even some nonfiction books. I dreamed of being a writer, and I dreamed of seeing books with my name on the cover in the bookstores, but I got sidetracked by real life. In college, I attempted to write but I hardly finished anything because I always felt they weren’t good. I wasn’t brave enough to keep writing and I never had a looming deadline to give me discipline to write everyday. It was typical “One Day Novelist” syndrome: “One Day, I’ll write a novel.” When is that day? Whenever.

I think the most important lesson that NaNoWriMo has taught me is there’s never a perfect first draft. I’ve read blog posts of some of my favorite writers and other popular authors nowadays and they all say the same thing: the first draft is always ugly. I take comfort in that and despite all the screams of my inner editor, I write. I write for myself, I write for the people in my region who look up to me as their Municipal Liaison. NaNoWriMo has taught me the beauty of allowing myself to make mistakes and just keep going, because I know I can always go back to it later if I want to, after I have finished it from start to finish. The important thing for me right now, as a writer, is to get them written.  What was that I always tell our Filipino participants? Oh yeah, this one: don’t get it right, get it written.

And isn’t that what all writers should really start with? Even just wannabe writers who decided to jump and join the fun? Hello, fun?

And just a little rebuttal to the author of the article: I believe NaNoWriMo is not just a celebration for writers, but also for readers. Granted, not even 10% of the NaNoWriMo novels written in November gets to see the light of publishing day, but hey, I doubt these people who join NaNoWriMo are not readers, too. There may be a small percentage of non-readers there, but I’m pretty sure majority of those who join and enjoy the challenge and actually finish and return are readers, too. Perhaps they may not be the readers that you think (you know, those who read novels that are written by the authors that you also approve of), but they still read. And isn’t that really the point of it? Would you rather that people do not read if they’re not reading the “right” novels? In the same vein, would you rather people not write if they’re not writing the next great (insert your nationality here) novel?

I know I’m probably writing a bunch of crap this month about mythical creatures and Orlando vacation packages, just like I’ve done for the past six years, but at least I’m writing and I’m enjoying it. I’m not letting a pretentious article from someone who’s probably never even tried joining NaNoWriMo to discourage me from doing something that I love.

December, December

christmastreeAh…December. How excited I am to see you.

Seriously. November has got to be one of the most difficult months I’ve had this year for some weird reason. I hate that NaNoWriMo was involved, but sadly, it was one of the things that kind of made me want to scream too.

I hate that I’m complaining, but I mean how was it, that my office laptop and ID would just break down one after the other? What’s up, world, why are you picking on me all at one time?

And I hate that I’m complaining about the little things that I’m complaining about are just small petty things — little inconveniences! Why am I complaining about this when I didn’t even complain (as much as I would have) about what happened to us in the flood? Is it the perspective thing?

I don’t know. But still, I’m really glad November is over. It really felt like the month had it in for me. Today I woke up feeling strangely optimistic. I got a pretty good workout done, my laptop is now working fine and I will get an ID replacement by tomorrow. And the weather is just perfect, too.

So maybe it’s just one of those months?

I’ll post about NaNoWriMo again after the TGIO party this Saturday. And if you could spare us some time, please, can you pray that we get the venue? I’m getting zero response from our contact and it’s already on Saturday and I’m panicking already and…

Breathe. Breathe. You’ll get the venue. If you don’t, you’ll find another one.

But Lord, please give us that venue. Please? :D

Yes, prayers. We need that.

I need prayers. I hate to admit that I haven’t been praying that much again. :( I hate that the flood got me praying almost all the time but when I have recovered (I think), I stopped again. I hate this inconsistency. I hate that I am too lazy to pray when I am not too lazy to go to the gym or do other things. I hate that I am afraid to hear what God has to say to me, because I’m afraid that I might not like it. Talk about being disconnected. What I hate the most is that I seem to be getting used to this kind of lifestyle, the one that isn’t rooted in prayer. :(

I can see how messed up my life has been in the past month, all of a sudden.

So December, I really am excited for you. Maybe this month I can take it slow (sort of) and focus on the things that are important. Like rebuilding my spiritual life and my prayer time. And spending time with family and friends. Going on vacation (Coron in two weeks! I need to shop — but no Dansko for now, I don’t think I can bring that to the beach!). And taking care of myself. And enjoying Christmas.

Maybe this month I’ll find a way to appreciate 2009. But that’s for another post.

ETA: Okay, I just realized that I don’t know why I added that Charlie Brown Christmas tree image. I guess I just want to have a picture in this post. Which reminds me — I resume designing next year. Wish me luck. :)

Sweet, sweet victory

NaNoWriMo 2009 Winner!


After a month of trying to get time to write, of almost burning out, and wishing November is over, I finally hit 50,000 words last night. 50,047, to be exact.

*weeps with joy*

This has got to be the sweetest NaNoWriMo victory yet, and the longest time I had since I tried to reach the goal. 2007, which was also my not-so-good year, had me reach 50000 words by November 28, and that had a lot of word padding in it, while the rest of the other year except for 2004 had me writing breezily and almost effortlessly (yes, I even wrote about acne treatment in my 2006 novel — and it’s part of the story). This year, I am actually almost finished with my story. :D

Ah victory. Finally.

Now for TGIO.

If you’re not yet done, don’t give up hope! You still have time! I believe in you!


I thought I didn’t have an excerpt to share, but I thought I’d share this part because this was totally unplanned. I never thought I’d include Facebook in my novel, but I ended up doing so — my character was sort of stalking, but without the gps. If ever I do edit this manuscript, I don’t know if I’ll include this part. Haha.

Anyway, I’m still 6000+ words short, and I’m planning to cram it all tonight. Sooo I should be writing, like now. Which I will do. Like, now.

So excuse the randomness of this post, and the blah-ness of the excerpt below — totally unedited, so don’t be surprised if you find something that did not make sense there. :P Excerpt after the cut!

Continue reading Excerpting

Burn Out

BurnoutI think it’s with 2009.

I’ve always been excited for November, because of NaNoWriMo. I blogged about it a couple of times before November came and everyone knows how excited I am for this year’s novel-writing madness.

But why do I feel like running away whenever I have to deal with anything about this in November? Why can’t I wait for November to end? Why would I rather check school alert systems than do anything about the novel?

I’ve been feeling really out of it lately, and it’s really making me guilty for not being into the entire noveling spirit. Maybe it’s the fact that I have so many things to do? Maybe it’s the flood. Maybe it’s post-traumatic stress. I don’t know.

Don’t get me wrong; I love my Wrimos. I love their enthusiasm, and their excitement. I love the fact that we have more than 50% newbies and I love my volunteers as well. And I want them to have fun this year, but I feel like I’m not doing a very good job in doing so. And it’s making me all sorts of guilty.


It’s not only me but I feel like there’s other people having a harder time in NaNo this year too. I don’t know what’s in this year, but I really have a feeling it’s 2009.

There’s one week left in November, and I’m only in 34K words, and there’s still a bit of things to plan. But I still can’t wait for November to end. I can’t wait for this year to end.


Friday the 13th

Hello, it’s Friday the 13th again. Have you got into any trouble today? Or have you experienced anything out of the ordinary? I’m not superstitious, but anything could happen today.

Nothing really special happened today, except I woke up and found out I have my period. Too much information, I know, but this made me realize why I have been so moody/emo/stressed the past few days. And probably why I’m not losing too much weight for the past two weeks. :/ I hate it that I can’t predict when this is coming because of the irregularity, because sometimes I can’t figure out if what I am feeling is something hormone related or not.

But in other news, other than work deadlines and NaNoWriMo, life’s pretty quiet. Christmas is coming, and the chill in the air and the beautiful weather is enough to cheer me up. I’m still kind of wary of rains, and every time I see or read or hear about anything related to Ondoy, I get the shivers. Our Palawan trip is pushing through and I need to shop for clothes. I’m loving dance class at the gym, even if I’ve been dancing the same thing for the past four weeks. I can do dance class and combat class one after the other, which is a huge improvement. I need to lift heavier weights to shock my muscles so it won’t go on maintenance mode because I still have 15 lbs of fat to lose (so much, I know). But I’m glad that I need to wear belts again, and my clothes fit me better.

Last weekend I went to a team building for work and I did a lot of things I’ve never done before. There was an obstacle course, and we had to cross a hanging bridge, cross a tight rope and then crawl in the mud. I wasn’t too nervous about the first and third things, but the second was scary. However, I ended up being more scared of the hanging bridge and doing a lot better with the tight rope. Interesting. But I think I wouldn’t have done it if I haven’t been exercising. At the end of the day, I also went zip-lining and it was awesome. Yay for being active?

Look who's crossing the tight rope.
Look who's crossing the tight rope.

This weekend, I’m going to try to have a stress-free weekend. I will go out with some friends, spend time with family and write. I wish I can share an excerpt for you guys from my novel, but I don’t think there’s anything share-worthy just yet. Maybe next time?

Oh, but I’m doing fantasy next year. I swear.

Anyway, I better finish this work I have pending on my computer and also write a bit more, before I save this novel and back it up with the free online backup I know. Have a great weekend friends. ♥

NaNoWriMo 2009: Week 1

With all the hoopla of the flood and all that, I almost skipped National Novel Writing Month this year. I know I have been talking about it before everything happened and I was really excited about it even if I have zero plot…but after the flood, I didn’t feel like writing.

But of course I had to pull myself together. If I were just a normal, official participant, I could have skipped this year and do it next year instead. But I’m not. I’m a Municipal Liaison for the Philippines for NaNoWriMo and not participating this year also meant that there would be no one to handle the region for 2009.

And I feel like I owe the Pinoywrimos a good year despite what happened.

So…two weeks after the flood, we met, planned and now it’s November. How fast time flies.

One good thing about the flood is I actually found a plot. I’d have to thank my best friend Toni for his experience during Ondoy that felt like a perfect scene in a novel. Of course I’m putting a flood in the novel. It seems…fitting.

This year’s title is Keep the Faith, under Chick-lit (what’s new? :p). I suck at writing summaries, but here’s the basic blurb of my novel for this year:

What would you do if the life you knew is washed away?

Faith Alvarez is set for life: she has a job that doesn’t feel like a job, awesome friends and a boyfriend that she’s wants to spend the rest of her life with. Her family can use a bit more improvement, but she’s not the one to complain about that with how her life is going. There’s nothing else she could have asked for…until God pulls a Job on her.

When Faith’s boyfriend breaks up with her on their second anniversary, she thinks nothing else could get worse, until other things are thrown her way. She gets paired up with one of the most immature people at work and loses her work partner to a newbie who intends to show her up. She hides from her friends who wouldn’t understand what she’s going through, and her mom starts calling her again insisting she quits her job and get a higher-paying one.

Faith knows she’s strong enough and she has God to hold on to in times of crisis, but how much more can she take? And what if God decides that it’s not yet enough? Will her she be able to keep her faith and believe it will pull her through?

I’m recycling characters from my (still unfinished) 2006 NaNoWriMo novel. This is set about two years after the 2006 novel (still deciding if there will be a story in between that, like maybe Meah trying to pay off some student loans, but let’s see), with Faith as the central character. The storyline is actually based on Job’s story. I know it’s kind of overused already — much like Hosea and Gomer — but honestly, I don’t care. I don’t think this will see publishing light (not yet, anyway), but I want to write this story down. To exorcise some demons, or something like that. :P

To be honest, I feel like I’m too slow in writing this year as compared to last year. I remember hitting 5000 on my first day, but this year, I barely reached halfway. I’m way beyond my word count quota, but the slowness of my pace is something new. Then again I have more work this year…so it’s a different story.

I do have a different feeling with this story, though. I managed to outline a bit more this year and I actually have a pseudo-outline up to Chapter 8! That is so new. I kind of have a feeling that I will be able to actually finish this novel by end of November and not leave it hanging like three other works in progress I have now. That gives me some hope. :P

I’ll be posting some excerpts and character guides or whatever novel related information here sometime soon. But right now…I really have to work. I’ll squeeze in some writing time later. ;)

Plot Holes

Day 25So. Let’s try this again.

I’m going to have the first volunteer’s meeting for NaNoWriMo Philippines 2009 tomorrow afternoon, and I am quite excited about it. I have a couple of ideas in my head right now (which I should start writing down after I finish this entry) about what to do for the Wrimos for this year and I hope I we could pull everything off. It is the region’s fifth year after all.

But there’s another thing I should be preparing for November is my own novel. I still have absolutely no plot that I am really interested in investing my whole November in. Oh sure, I have a few ideas here and there, but I’m not sure if they’d hold for thirty days in November or I’d end up hating it the way I hated used to hate my 2007 novel.

Someone give me a plot?

Thanks, inkygirl.com
Thanks, inkygirl.com

So let’s throw some ideas in the air, shall we?

  • IDEA # 1: A sequel of my 2008 novel. I’m thinking the sequel would be something like, I Am Dating (And Everybody Knows) or I Am in a Relationship (And Everybody Knows), and it tells of Ruth and Ian’s relationship (oops, spoiler over there). It’s a tempting idea…but I haven’t even finished the novel yet so why am I planning to write a sequel? And it kind of reminds me of the Ashley Stockingdale series…and I bet there will be a third part for this if I push through with the sequel. Something like, I Am Engaged (And Everybody Knows). Haha…but why not?
  • IDEA # 2: I thought of reviving my 2006 novel, but writing from a different character’s perspective. The 2006 novel is in hiatus right now but there was this new character I was supposed to introduce and is supposed to have her own story. It’s supposed to be based on Jonah’s story in the Bible, and would be set a couple of years after my 2006 novel. It’s something to think about.
  • IDEA # 3: Young Adult again, and it’s an idea I’ve been trying to play with in Wordplay every now and then. It’s about this girl who used to be a leader in her youth group but disappeared because of some sort of scandal with her partner and her best friend. She goes away for a year, goes back to the country and attended college where another chapter of the youth group is very active. She tries to stay away from them, but she gets caught by her roommate wearing a youth group shirt and won’t stop bothering her about it. She comes back but she’s wary because of what happened a couple of years ago.I really like this idea, but I’m not so sure if it would hold. I mean, writing the group and the setting should be easy because I’m practically basing it from the things I used to do in college but I’m not so sure if I can pull of a brooding girl and pair her up with a guy who might need some slight acne treatments and who will bring her out of her shell. Huh, this storyline reminds me a bit of a Sarah Dessen story…and I am not surprised. Haha. Let’s see.
  • IDEA # 4: There’s still Ibong Adarna remix that I’ve been planning for ages but cannot think of a good storyline to follow for this. Besides, after some research, I realized that I didn’t like the ending of Ibong Adarna. Heh.

I’m stuck. I’m still browsing through the forums’ Adopt a Plot threads, and there are some interesting ideas, but I’m still not sure about it.

Maybe it’s just because I’m not in a conducive environment? Maybe work is just totally getting in the way. I need a fresh environment! I need to people watch! I need to read books outside of my genre! Maybe I need to try something from a new genre so spice things up? I need to…

…get things together. *facepalm*

Come on, inspiration! I need you!