When and how did you find out about NaNoWriMo? How did you go?
I spotted it on Shirl‘s blog in 2004, and Hubby suggested I give it a whirl. I was totally unconvinced I could make it, and terrified of going to the St Louis write-ins because of all the strangers, so I did it all alone, visited the forums a couple of times, and made it through.
How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?
This year will be my sixth NaNo, I’ve done it every year since 2004
How many times have you won? If you haven’t won, what was your best result?
I have won every year.
How did you go last year?
Last year felt like my best story yet, I had a fun time travel story, and wrote "The End" at a write-in at the Crooked Tree coffee shop with the St Charles crew, an awesome group to novel with.
Where do you write and with what do you write?
I write in two places, one is hidden in a conference room at work, the other is at home at my desk. I write on my Mac laptop using the Pages program.
How do you find time to write?
In November I give up knitting and spinning yarn, and my lunchtimes are devoted to churning out a thousand words in a spare conference room at work. Then I come home and do another thousand words.
Are your partners, friends and family allies or enemies?
Hubby is not only an ally and fellow wrimo, he created the Word Count widgets and progress reports that let thousands of wrimos keep an eye on their progress, and their region’s progress and challenge other writers and regions in word wars. He says I ignored him my first year, so he joined up for 2005 and we went to the write-ins together. NaNoWriMo is much better if you get to know your region and go to the write-ins.
What are your strengths and what do you use to help you get to the end?
I am scarily disciplined. I will sit and block everything out until I have my thousand words for the session. I’m not above slotting in a favourite poem or quote from a book if I’m having a hard time making the word count.
What are your weaknesses, obstacles, and challenges that hinder you from finishing?
I write staccato, short sharp sentences and lots of them, which isn’t always the best feel for my story. I’m a morning person so I’m all out of brainpower by 10pm. This year will be a challenge because I go to karate class twice a week and I’m gearing up for my purple belt test, which requires practice.
Do you plot/outline/plan or do you write by the seat of your pants? How much do you plot or how unprepared are you?
I MUST outline and plot and research and read and outline some more. I carry around a sheaf of papers and index cards with characters names and backgrounds, the NaNoWriMo folder on my laptop has pictures and articles and files of plans, I absolutely could not do this without knowing where I’m going. Sometimes you end up with a kidnapping at sea that wasn’t planned, but it all works out. I have never had to resort to inexplicable ninjas turning up in my story.
What are your writing aids? Special snacks, music, totems, rewards or punishments?
I set out a series of small bribes for making the big milestone word counts, and I won’t allow myself to knit until I make word count for the day, which is a big motivator.