Tag Archives: nanowrimo

Sadness in Lovely Vernazza

I’ve been blogging about my fabulous trip to the quaint village of Vernazza in Cinque Terre, showing the breath-taking photos. Unfortunately, last Tuesday, only two weeks after I visited there, the area was hit by torrential rains and subsequent flooding.

Here are some before and after photos of the devastation that they are now having to deal with. Thanks to Dona and Scott for sharing them with me.

Very sad. They have a lot of work ahead of them. If you are in a position to help, please do so.

On an unrelated note, today is the first day of National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo). Although I won’t be going for word count this year, I will be using this as motivation to commit to working on my book for two hours each day for the month of November. It all starts with a commitment and a plan. Are you NaNoWriMoing?

Watch for pictures of Rome tomorrow.


Yeh! I’m a Winner!

I passed my 50,000 word NaNoWriMo goal today at 51,009! It feels fantastic!

I wasn’t sure I could do it, but now I’m so glad I did. But the journey isn’t over for me yet. I still have about 6 chapters of material to finish an entire rough draft of my manuscript. So, I’m going to try to continue my 2000 words per day until I finish those chapters. I would feel remiss if I didn’t.

I’ve truly enjoyed turning off the editor and just getting it all out on the page. But I’m also looking forward to working on some polish of those chapters and am excited and thankful to have help from my fellow writer friends who will read my more polished work: Jen Schile, Jessica, and Emily.

Thanks for your support in this journey. I’m excited to see where it will lead to next.

Lorraine Wilde

Positive Feedback

I’m still kicking ass with NaNoWriMo. I’m currently at 29,169 words, approximately one full week ahead of schedule. I’m really liking the approach, which is to write with little or no editing. Of course that means that the draft I have is quite rough, as Ann Lamott’s Bird By Bird refers to it, my shitty first draft, but I don’t think its all that shitty. So I’m optimistic that I can use December and January to whip these chapters into shape.

I have a couple of writing friends who graciously will be looking over my chapters during that time and they can only improve.

I woke up to a new rejection this morning of my book proposal, this time from St. Martin’s Press’ (one of the big girls) editor, Michele Richter. Calling this a rejection seems like a misnomer though. I think I’ll start calling it a “pass” when it sounds like this one. It’s always hard to know whether they’re just being kind, but I’d like to think there is sincerity here. I met Michelle at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Conference and she seemed like a true New Yorker, not one who beats around the bush to spare people’s feelings, so this pass is very encouraging to me.

I’ll keep plugging away and hopefully will send out my proposal to another round of agents and editors in February or so. I think I’m waiting to hear back from only one more agent from the round I sent out in August.

Here’s her e-mail message in all its glory:

Dear Lorraine,

I enjoyed meeting you very much, and I thank you for sending me EGG MAMA. You do have a fascinating story to tell, and there’s certainly an inspirational aspect, but I’m afraid I’m going to have to pass on the chance to make you an offer. Memoir is a very crowded market, and we’re having to be more and more selective with the projects that we take on. I do think that your writing is engaging, and that someone else will snap you up and give you a happy home. I wish you all the best of luck.

best, Michelle Richter

Not Bad

I’m feeling pretty good today. I’ve officially completed 21,203 words of the 50,000 I need to complete by the end of the month. Fantastic. I’m 7800+ words ahead of schedule. Let’s just hope I don’t hit any walls in the next three weeks.

Meanwhile, I’ve gotten a little feedback on articles I sent out last month.

My parenting article, Weapon Worry, about the dilemma of whether or not to allow toy guns in your home was picked up by a couple of parenting publications in the midwest (hopefully coming out in December). But last week I got a message from the editor at Georgia Family Magazine. I’ll let you read the feedback yourself below, but it seems that I need to figure out how to add more “meat” to the article for some regions where guns in schools are a much bigger issue than in my school district.


Hi Lorraine:

Is it enough that toy guns be brightly colored? At least 54 Bibb County school students and 28 Houston County students were disciplined during the past two years for bringing a real or toy gun into their schools. Both these counties are among the counties served by Georgia Family Magazine. We need an article on the subject, but we need one that has considerably more meat.

Thank you for your consideration.




In my defense, my article didn’t just suggest that guns be brightly colored. It also suggested that each family come up with a routine plan to make sure toys guns don’t end up in school back packs, as well as provided links to parenting guides and childrens books about gun safety. But I feel flattered that she took the time to reply at all and see this feedback as positive. It seems to say that if I could figure out how to beef it up for their region, she might give it a look. I just haven’t decided if I’ll do that or not. At least not until NaNoWriMo is over.  The article took me three weeks to finish because I was so torn up about the subject matter. I’m not sure how long it would take me to make it even better.

I also heard back today from Women’s Adventure Magazine after waiting only about a month. Again, I’m flattered to hear back at all since that’s not always the case. But I was really hoping to hear that they wanted my piece right away. This isn’t exactly a rejection, but definitely not a sure thing. I’ll definitely figure out where else I can send my scorpion story.

Here’s the e-mail and thanks for reading!


Hi Lorraine,

Thanks for the story. I’m not sure I’m able to use it in print, but it’s most appropriate for our summer issue, so I’m going to file it away and take another look as that time approaches. If I’m not able to use it in print, or we decide against it for some other reasons, I think it’s a funr ead and would consider using it online… but I’ll check back with you beforehand either way. Thanks again and have a great day.

-Kristy Holland

NaNo Start

Wow, I really think I can do this. I was nervous because all day there were other things to be done and I didn’t get around to sitting down to write my NaNoWriMo stuff until 5:15PM today, and I’m going to a 7:30 PM movie. But I DID IT! Today, in 1 hour and 15 minutes, I wrote about 2800 words. I’m f@#$ing ahead of schedule!

Yeh for me and yeh for all those other writers out there who are writing like crazy. It felt good.

I worked on chapter 3 in my manuscript. It was almost therapeutic becuase I was writing about a day that happened about ten years ago, the day my mother became a paraplegic.

I’m so excited to take on this challenge and to be diving in to working on my manuscript more heavily. Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Lorraine Wilde

Ready, Set, NaNoWriMo

Tomorrow is November 1 which means National Novel Writer’s Month actually begins.

I’ll be attempting–no I WILL write–2000 words a day of my memoir and/or articles related to it. Of course, on some days I’ll definitely write more. If you do the math, that overshoots my goal of 50,000 words, good or bad, by midnight on November 30. But I’m told this is wise in case there are a few days thoughout the month where 2000 is just not possible.

I’m noticing a pattern. Not only am I doing my own rogue version of NaNoWriMo, I’m also taking an unconventional approach to acheiving the writing goal. I purposely signed up for an all day “Craft Affair” which is one of those 12-hour shut-ins that obsessed scrapbookers do to get caught up. Its perfect for this. It’s on Saturday, November 6th. That day I will write at least 5000 words, and print some family photos for the grandparents if there is any time left over. Three meals, snacks, and beverages are provided, plus there are raffles for great prizes like spa days and gift baskets. The best part is that several of my girlfriends will be there when I need to gab. If you want to join me at this retreat, there is still time to register and it’s only $45. Let me know and I’ll help you get signed up. All proceeds benefit my friend Joann’s kid’s preschool.

Aside from helping me finish the first draft of my entire memoir, I’m also hoping that this will help me implement a more consistent habit of daily writing (perhaps with a lower word count) that I’ll be able to maintain after it’s over.

I like the idea of this challenge because it gives me a pass for an entire month to say no to almost everything else. Again, thanks to Cheryl Richardson, I keep repeating my new mantra, “If it’s not an absolute yes, then it’s a no.”

Of course there are many things I can not get out of. I’ll still have my all important mommy job, I’ll be teaching a 2-hour ecology class once per week, and I’ll continue to take my bootcamp exercise class. But otherwise, everything else will have to wait until December. I hope my friends don’t take it personally that I’m choosing writing over them for one month. We’ll just have to wait and see!

I’ll be posting my total word count here. It’s not to late to join me.

Wishing you all a Happy Halloween and a very Happy NaNoWriMo.

Lorraine Wilde

Gearing Up

I sent out a new article yesterday to parenting magazines that is directly related to my memoir called Origins: Talking to Your Children About Alternative Conception. I’m hoping that it will be picked up by several publications.

I’m also very excited to be preparing for my first National Novel Writers Month (NaNoWriMo). It occurs during the month of November and the sole goal is to write 50,000 words on the page during the month of November. The group and web site are designed for fiction writers, so I’m choosing to participate even though I’m not writing fiction. But I’ve heard many times that good memoir reads like fiction, so I don’t think this is a huge leap.

Fellow writers who have done it before suggest that I shoot for 2000 words per day, which will allow me five days during the month to write nothing if needed. I believe 2000 words is about three or four pages a day. That’s certainly more than I’ve ever written in a single day except when I was being paid by the hour to write over ten years ago.

I’ve signed up on the web site and last night, I organized my electronic files for the nine chapters of my book that I still need to write. I also set up two more files for magazine articles I’d like to write in November.

I also have signed up for a 12-hour scrapbooking event on Nov. 6, although I don’t plan to do much scrapbooking while I’m there. I’m hoping to use it to get a jumpstart on my word count. The great thing about these scrapbooking events is that they provide all three meals and a large quiet work space out of the house. So there are very few distractions. Plus, it’s a fundraiser for a pre-school and it only costs $45. I highly recommend them for getting things done, even things that aren’t scrapbooking or marathon writing.

Through the NaNoWriMo web site I’ve been monitoring others who are also taking on the challenge. I’ve noticed that a majority of the people who are introducting themselves on the web site are college students and high school students who are home schooled. The site does have a scaled back youth version that is very popular. One friend is doing NaNoWriMo with her teen daughter. I love this idea and will consider getting my boys into it when and if they’re old enough and interested.

It’s not too late to join me. If you are interested, simply go to the web site and sign up for free. They appreciate a donation but I plan to make mine afterward. If you’d like to become a guest blogger here during the month of November and write about your experience with NaNoWriMo (or any other relevant topic) please let me know.

Since I’ll be writing every day, I expect to post more frequently on this blog and hope that you’ll enjoy following me through this month-long challenge.

Subscribe now if you haven’t and thanks for reading.

Lorraine Wilde


I’ve had a less productive couple of weeks when it comes to writing. I don’t think it’s connected to my latest rejection, but I’m not ruling that out entirely.

I think its because I was trying to write about a subject that causes me some anxiety. I have been working on a parenting article about whether or not to allow toy guns in the house. Not exactly an earth shattering topic, but for some reason, the subject meant enough to slow me right down. I’ve been motivated to work on lots of other things, but not that. Facebook, exercise, improv, cleaning the bathroom, and writing this blog post all got done instead.

In avoiding my own writing, I was also able to critique other writer’s works, which I found profoundly satisfying. So its a misnomer to say that I wasn’t productive over the last couple weeks, but the writing hasn’t poured out of me as easily as it has in the past.

Productivity in general has never been an issue for me. I’ve always been a do-er. I always have a list I’m working on, usually three or four, and I feel guilty if I spend most of a day lounging and reading.

But recently I’ve noticed that I’m enjoying the time I do have to hang out and socialize in an entirely new way. Now I’m socializing as a writer. When I’m at a dinner party, in a bar, or at the theater, I’m not just there hanging out, I’m taking mental notes as well. I’m studying strangers as if they are characters in my book. I’m noticing what they’re wearing, how they wear their hair, the hint of an accent in their voice, and how they talk to their friends.

So maybe I’ve actually been more productive than I realize over the last two weeks. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the connection (or the absence of one) between toy guns and handgun violence and about what it takes to “describe” a person fully.

In her book, Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott talks about calling around. She says that writers spend a lot of time alone and it can make them crazy. She recommends taking little breaks to call around to learn specific things about the world so that it can be incorporated into your writing. She spent the better part of a day calling wineries to determine that the wire thingy that goes over the cork on a champagne bottle is a wire hood. Then the wire hood appears as the most memorable reference in one of her best selling books.

So maybe, productivity isn’t just about word count or the number of publications, but maybe it’s also about paying attention, even when you don’t know how a particular piece of information will be useful in the future.

I’ll be wrapping up and sending out my piece on toy guns tomorrow so that I can move forward. But I’m going to work hard not to judge the recent days with little writing.

I’m hoping tomorrow will be a fresh start to get me back on track toward actually getting some words on the page. I’m gearing up for NaNoWriMo which begins on November 1st. I’ll be attempting to get 50,000 words down in 30 days. Please let me know if you’d like to join me for any part of this big new adventure.

Lorraine Wilde

Slowing Down

I received a rejection just a few minutes ago from one of the two agents I most wanted to work with. I have to admit I’m a little sad. It seems harder to roll with rejection from someone I let myself get excited about.

Elizabeth Wales was a long shot for me. She’s been in the business for years, happens to be in Seattle, and represents some bigger names. But she got my hopes up when I met her at the Pacific Northwest Writer’s conference because she was the only agent that was also interested in my background as an environmental scientist. Ms. Wales represents several scientists and engineers who write non-fiction books, an area I dream about breaking into someday. Her form rejection e-mail is posted below.

Lynn Price of Behler Publications blogs regularly that writers are too often in a hurry to be found and get their work published. She reasons that this rush compromises quality. I am definitely feeling in a hurry sometimes. I know what I want and I want it to happen now, not two years from now. I’m impatient about lots of things, so why not this? But I have reasons for wanting to make things happen sooner rather than later. How long can I learn about writing and plug along without actually earning a living at it? Most people don’t have the “luxury” that I have at the moment. My impatience is spurred by the fact that I don’t know how long I have the luxury either.

So, I’ll try not to be in such a damn hurry. If I don’t end up with an agent after this round (I’m only waiting to hear from a couple), then I’ll be patient and finish the manuscript and submit to another group of carefully selected individuals. Maybe in February.

In the meantime, I’ll expand my platform (writing resume) by publishing some more articles in magazines, and maybe branching out into public speaking.

I’m still planning to participate in my custom version of NaNoWriMo. Please let me know if you are going to join me in this adventure.

Ahhh, the rejection:

Dear Lorraine,

I enjoyed meeting you at the PNWA conference this year.

After reading Egg Mama, my agency must pass on offering you representation. Because of the amount of client work in our office, we try to make quick decisions on all possible new clients and projects. Our process is ultimately subjective and we do the best we can.

We wish only to encourage you even though we can’t pursue working with you at this time. Thank you for sharing your work with us.  We wish you the very best with your writing. 

All the best, 

Elizabeth Wales

Wales Literary Agency, Inc.

PO Box 9426

Seattle, Washington 98109




Tel.. 206 284 7114