My NaNoWriMo Journey

Hello, Readers!

Ahhh, it feels good to be back. I know I sort of disappeared off the face of the earth for a bit there, but a hiatus was needed and now I’m ready to get back into the swing of things!

And by the way (since it’s better late than never), Happy New Year, friends! I don’t know about you, but 2019 has me pretty excited. 🙂

Anyway, we’re not here to discuss the new year today. No, no, today we’re here to talk about my NaNoWriMo journey. This is a bit of a long one, so grab some popcorn and let’s get started! 

(In case you are unaware, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which takes place every November. During this month, thousands of writers from around the world commit themselves to write 50,000 words in 30 days – or in other words – a novel in a month.)

In 2015 I participated in NaNoWriMo as a part of the Young Writer’s Program – and I failed.

In 2016 I participated again – and won with my goal of 25K.

In 2017 I tried for the big 50K – and had to quit because I was so overwhelmed and busy.

This year I was more determined than ever to get 50K – a word count I had never reached before.

Throughout the entirety of November, I was sitting at my laptop writing whenever I could.
Some days I wasn’t feeling it and only wrote about seven words, but still I made sure to at least write something every. single. day. 

Was it hard? Totally.

Worth it? Without a doubt.

The first few days I was staying ahead. Things were flowing beautifully, my chapters were averaging around 2.3K words, and I was writing over a thousand words each day. I was sure I could keep up my streak.

And then I slacked off for one day…
Then another day…
And before I knew it I had lost my streak and found myself thousands of words behind. It seemed like no matter how many words I’d write, I was still falling behind.

And the doubt began to creep in that I could even do this. Especially when my story started to get more confusing and I began to feel lost in my world, unsure of where to turn.

So finally I typed out a long crazy ramble, trying to figure out where my story needed to go (the problems of a pantser – AKA someone who doesn’t outline) and even after that I was still confused.

But the days were flying by and I knew that whether I knew where I was going or not, I needed to keep writing.

I participated in word sprints with fellow writers all day each day – something that kept me going no matter what. I’d have a slow one around 100 words in 15 minutes and then I’d have a great one with 600+ words the next 15 minutes.

I think my best sprint in November was 800+ words in 20 minutes – and I’m pretty sure I did that twice. (If only I could write that fast all the time!)

Before I knew it, the last weekend before NaNo ended had come. I had just a few days left and I realized I was over 10,000 words behind. Needless to say, I was stressed out.

Those last few days I wrote longer and harder than I ever had before. I was staying up till 2AM each night, drinking several cups of coffee a day, snacking, and I had practically glued myself to the couch. I was writing thousands of words each day – my personal best being over 9,000 words in less than 24 hours.

The last day of NaNoWriMo I started off with an overall word count of 41,325 words. I had to reach 50K by midnight.

Was I scared? Yep.

Did I doubt myself? Yep.

Did I reach my goal?

YES!!

By the grace of God, the endless support and encouragement of family and friends, and a whole lot of persistence I managed to reach 50,134 words before 9PM on November 30th.

I’ll never forget that feeling – what it was like to see I had reached 50,000 words. I’d gone places with my story I hadn’t expected, experienced highs and lows, tears and frustrations, doubts, insanity, loss of sleep… but through it all I managed to push through and meet my goal – marking my longest written project in my 4 years of writing.

I hadn’t expected to cry if I won, but when I did… the tears just started pouring out and there was no holding them back. This was something I’d worked so incredibly hard on and the joy and satisfaction of my success was too great for me to express any other way.

Tears of joy, relief, satisfaction, surprise, pride… I just couldn’t believe it. And I still can’t.

NaNoWriMo was one of the hardest challenges I’d committed myself to and though it was painful and frustrating in so many ways, every bit of it was worth it in the end. And I can’t wait to do it again this year. <3


NaNoWriMo really is an amazing learning experience. This past November I learned:

1. I seem to work best without a plan.
2. Allowing my characters to take over the story and lead me where it needs to go is amazing.
3. I literally can not resist adding romance to a story.
4. I can write much faster than I thought I could.
5. I can be disciplined to write daily – even if it’s just a sentence.
6. Word sprints and coffee are lifesavers for a writer.
7. I can write while I’m sleeping. (Yes, this happened around 2AM one night. I woke up and realized I’d still been typing and things entered my story that didn’t even make sense.)
8. Even when I’m crazy exhausted and starting to lose my mind, I can still write coherently (even if I can’t speak coherently)
9.You don’t have to know what you’re writing, just write it. (you’re gonna rewrite it later anyway)
10. I can write a novel in 30 days.

Let's Talk!

Did you participate in NaNoWriMo? What was your word goal? What did you learn? 
Bonus: How did you spend your Christmas and New Year? 

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Why I Like Writing 2 Stories At Once

Hello, Readers!

I’m one of those writers who find it a good idea to work on more than one story at a time. Others would disagree with me and think you should just stick to one project. They’re definitely not wrong, but I’ve found that method doesn’t work for me.

For me, writing a story can take anywhere from a few months to a year (depending on how much I procrastinate), so naturally during that process I am going to have new ideas for other stories. I try to ignore them, but there always seems to be that one idea that is just begging me to develop it more. It’s always in the back of my head pleading to be explored and yearning to be brought to life. I try to ignore it as much as possible, but then finally those pleas grow so loud that I have to set my project aside and give this new story seed some water, sunlight, and a little tender care. By the time I’m done, I’ve got a fully blossomed book idea and I have to write it.

But oh, what about my other project? I’ve already neglected it this whole time and it’s withered quite a bit. How am I supposed to work on both?

If you’re like me, here’s a few reasons why you should have two stories going at once:

First of all, it’s important to know which of the two stories is going to be your main project and which will be your side project. If they’re both thought of as a main project, you’re going to find it difficult to switch off between them. But having that one project which you spend most of your time on is important as a writer.
Your side project will be the one that probably isn’t outlined quite as much – the one that you just work on once in a while to give yourself a break.

You know how when you’re working on a single story for a long time, pouring all your creativity and mental energy into it… you just really start to burn out? Maybe even get a little bored? And let’s not even mention the stress…

Having another project to bounce to makes it so much easier to prevent burnout and it keeps your creativity flowing. You get to dig into your well of inspiration and pour it into something different for a bit – which I love having the freedom to do! It’s nice being able to work on something entirely different without the stress and just…let your characters lead. 😉

Now, if you bounce to your side project and find it hard to work on that, too – don’t worry! You may really just need a break. Writing is tough work, after all and it’s natural to need a break from time to time. (I’ll probably address this in another post soon.)

Obviously this won’t work for every writer because not every writer is the same. We’re all on the same pursuit, but we have different ways of reaching our destination.

So if this sounds like it will work for you, give it a try! Don’t be afraid to try something different, just make sure you do what works best for you. 🙂 

Let's Talk!

Do you work on more than one story at once? Why or why not? 

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Heart of a Pirate – All About My New WIP

Hello, Readers!

Some of you may already know about Heart of a Pirate.

Some of you may be completely confused.

Well, don’t worry because this post is going to answer your questions…

What is Heart of a Pirate?

Adrian isn’t sure where his loyalty lies anymore…

The pirate’s life is all he has ever known – pillaging and plundering, drinking and gambling – but the longer he goes on living this way, the stronger his guilt grows. He’s sure this is all wrong, but he’s been in this lifestyle for 20 years – how can he give it all up?

Still he begins to slack in his duties and distance himself from the others, but the behavior does not go unnoticed by Cael who is not so forgiving a captain.

Matters only get more complicated when Adrian happens upon Heather, a young woman from his past who is everything he’s ever needed.

Torn in two, he struggles to conceal Heather’s identity from his merciless brother and the truth of his own identity from the woman he loves.

What would Cael do if he knew the reason Adrian was always disappearing? And how would Heather react if she knew who Adrian really was?

Why am I writing this?

You’re probably wondering why I’m writing Heart of a Pirate when I already have True Colors I’m working on. 

But have I ever told you that I started out writing pirate stories? For at least 2 years they were my favorite thing to write and I think really kicked off my love for writing. 

I’ve been wanting to write another pirate romance for a while now and during my long break from True Colors, I started to develop this story. 

I was planning to put it aside once I picked up True Colors again, but I’ve actually found that it’s refreshing to have a brand new story in the works at the same time. I mean, let’s face it – I’m writing True Colors for the third time – I know it like the back of my hand.
Heart of a Pirate, however, is uncharted waters (pun intended) and it’s so amazing being able to create something new while at the same time developing something old. <3

Snippets

(it is not guaranteed that what is posted below will make it into the final draft)

“I apologize, brother. I should not have betrayed you.” It was almost as if he had no control of the words that came out of his mouth because when he said them, he felt his stomach tie up in knots. Everything about that sentence felt wrong and he tried to shake it away. His loyalty was to his brother – his captain.
Cael scratched his beard and then gave a curt nod. “Don’t let it happen again.” He moved close to his ear and said in a dark tone, “Next time I may not be so forgiving.”

How had he allowed himself to come to this? He’d allowed himself to lose the most important thing a man could have and now… now he was truly nothing.

Images

*images in collages were found on Pinterest.If you are the owner and would like me to credit you or remove them, let me know and I will do so immediately*

Well, that’s about all I have for now. I would share some more snippets, but… I had written 4 chapters and then I realized I wasn’t happy with the way it was going, so I just started rewriting and I don’t have anything new to share. *sheepish grin* You can definitely expect to be hearing more about this story, though as well as more about True Colors (which I just handed over to alpha readers :O )!

Let's Talk!

What are your thoughts on Heart of a Pirate? Which character do you find most intriguing? What are you writing or reading right now? 

P.S. What would you like to see more of on here? Writing? Books? Lifestyle? Let me know in the comments below! 

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Appreciating Our Mistakes

Hello, Readers!

We all fail sometimes. We all make mistakes. But it’s through these failures and through these mistakes that we learn how to do better.

As a writer I have made many mistakes. From writing all around perfect characters to writing super cheesy scenes where my characters are laughing for no reason (don’t ask), I’ve made a lot. 

I tend to look back at my old stories and just cringe over how horrible they are and wonder how on earth I used to share them with people. Like, honestly – what was I thinking?

But now I’m trying to look back at those cringe-worthy stories and appreciate them. Because the fact is, I loved writing those stories. And if I hadn’t made all those mistakes, I wouldn’t be where I am now in my writing. I wouldn’t have learned how to create good characters or how to write meaningful scenes.

The same goes for anyone. We all make mistakes and while we might beat ourselves up over them, I think it’s important to look back at those mistakes – those failures – and really appreciate them. Because that’s how we learn. 

We never start off doing something perfectly. We have to fall and mess up now and then. And when we press on despite those failures, that’s how we improve. 

It can be frustrating – especially after trying so many times, but the important thing to remember is that you’re learning. And if you give up, you’re never going to know how you can soar.

So dear reader, don’t give up. Don’t waste your time complaining about your mistakes, but rather work to make them right. You have the potential, so keep trying no matter what. <3 

Talk to me!

What are some mistakes you've made? How did you learn from them?

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”
Hebrews 12:11 (NIV)

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Interviewing Sawyer + Some Quote Images From True Colors

Hello, Readers!

I have had some requests to share more from my novella, True Colors, so today I have a character interview and some quote images at the end of the post. I think you’ll enjoy it! 🙂

Thank you so much for joining me today, Sawyer. Would you mind telling the audience a little about yourself?

W-well, my name is Sawyer and I live in Shano. I’m 19 and I’m really – *spills glass of water all over the floor* – um, clumsy. Sorry about that.

Alright, thank you, Sawyer. Let's get into the questions.
Who is the person you most enjoy on your journey and why?

Well, Alina and Astrid are both nice, but Astrid is kinda quiet and annoyed a lot because of Connor. I’d say Alina. She’s really nice and pretty funny. She radiates happiness and life and she believes in me, which is something I really appreciate. 

Who do you dislike the most?

Uh… *looks around to make sure Connor isn’t nearby* That would be Connor. I don’t know what his problem is. He’s like a volcano. He punched me in the eye for no reason and he yells about everything. I don’t think he likes me, but whatever. I don’t want to be friends with him anyway.

What is your greatest fear?

*sighs* That I’ll always be clumsy and afraid…

How would you like to die?

I’ve never really thought about dying before…but I guess I’d like to die doing something right. I don’t know what, but since I’m always making stupid mistakes and don’t seem to get anything right, I’d like to die having done something right. I don’t know it sounds kinda dumb…

What is something you really love?

Other than gardening? *clears throat awkwardly* I know it sounds dumb, but I really do like gardening… I get teased a lot for that. But I really like hanging out with my family. They’re pretty great.

Thank you for joining us, Sawyer! I'm sure we all look forward to seeing more of you around here.

Now who is ready for a few quote images from True Colors? I had so much fun making these – I think you’ll like them! 😀

This last one looks like a poster to me… I kind of want to print it out… XD

Talk to me!

What did you think of Sawyer? What are some questions you’d like to ask my characters? Which quote image was your favorite? What would you like to see more of on JaclynnMarie?

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An Inside Look At What Writers Go Through

Hello, readers!

When I wasn’t a writer, I know I always thought of writers as very inspiring people who were super wise, never had a problem thinking of stories, and thoroughly enjoyed the writing process.

But as I slowly became a writer myself, I soon realized that all of those ideas were so far from the truth

You may think we have it all together, but really…. we’re lost.

You can often find me lying around the house moaning and groaning because things in my story aren’t making sense, laughing like a maniac because my characters aren’t obeying my outline (therefore not heeding my commands), and maybe crying because the story feels like such a mess and I don’t know how to fix it.

We’re writers, right? Don’t we always want to write? Isn’t that all writers do, anyway?

How I wish it were so! 

There are more days than I’d care to count when I simply do. not. want. to. write. It’s like pulling teeth just to get me sitting at my desk, my laptop turned on, and my document opened. Can’t I just go watch my favorite show? Please? 

It’s not that I hate writing – I love it! But there are days when it’d be easier to get me to wash the car than to sit down and write. And that’s all because writing is hard. 

*screams* 

That’s me going through writer’s block. 

Whenever going through writer’s block you will find me a very different person. I quite literally go insane, become slightly depressed, and honestly have no idea what to do with myself. I feel so lost and like I have no brain. Writers block attacks me often and it is most certainly a form of torture, but as long as no one has any powers to possess poor, unsuspecting writers with writers block, we should be okay…..I think. O_O

It’s crazy just how true this, but I mean – when we’re writing we are becoming our characters. They really are a part of who we are.

If I write a character’s death I can become very depressed and my heart will ache for the rest of the night.

If I’ve been writing a lot of fight scenes, you’ll find me more serious and grumpy afterward.

If I wrote something super awesome and powerful, I will be completely giddy and hyper. You’ll think I just had way too much sugar than should ever be consumed in one sitting.

So the truth is – we writers don’t have it all together. We’re not all-wise and constantly full of inspiration. We often shout and scream and wail and cry, but in the end – wait why am I quoting Downton Abbey?

We also don’t always know what to say and have to use dictionaries, thesauruses, and the like to help us mold our sentences to the best that they can be.

Writing isn’t easy. It takes discipline, patience, and a lot of emotional energy out of you. But even with all the pain and tears of writing it is a beautiful thing that brings a smile to my face and makes my heart soar.
It’s something I love doing and something I will never let go of. <3 

Talk to me!

Were any of these facts new to you? What has been your perception of writers? And if you’re a writer, how do you relate to these facts? Do you have any more to add?

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