Friday, November 30, 2012

The Power of Words

I realized near the end of my novel that the big kicker at the end that would allow the good guys to win was the power of words. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't help but just sit there for a minute and smile. You really shouldn't ever underestimate the power of words. Not only do they allow us to express and share, but they allow us to create and mold, and in the case of hundreds of writers this month, words allowed us to come together. Hundreds, even thousands of us teamed up this month to tackle what many people, including published authors with big names, would say was insane and even impossible. Well I am here, and so are so many others, to say that we proved them wrong. To people on the outside it may seem that I sit at home by myself all day with nothing to do, but they couldn't be more wrong. I've never had so many friends in my entire life, and none of us are really ever alone, because no matter where we live, or what time it is, somebody else is online too. NaNoWriMo brought us together, but it was our common goal and the luck that led us to the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook that really knit us all together so tightly that I doubt we will ever pull apart. 

There are only a matter of minutes now before midnight comes in my time zone and NaNoWriMo 2012 is officially over. For many of my friends it has been over for several hours and they are already bustling about in the sunshine, or taking the chance to get some much needed sleep. I hope they are going for it. We all deserve to sleep in. We more than deserve it! I also have other friends who will still have a few more hours to enjoy this blessed month after it has officially ended for me. This month hasn't just been full of  a bunch of furiously written words and ridiculously worn out cries of "I don't think I can make it." It has been thirty solid days of encouragement, hardships, heartache, loss, understanding, hope, longing, anger, despair, love, learning, growing, becoming, creating, bonding, juggling, laughing, crying, rejoicing, and so much more. I don't think I have ever been happier with a month in my entire life. Not only did I accomplish something that few think is possible, but in the process I made so many close and dear friends who I believe will stay with me forever. 

On this final day of NaNoWriMo there has been much celebrating, cheering, and furious writing until the very end, as well as several people posting their sentiments regarding the group of friends that we have formed. One post in particular brought me so much joy that I wanted to share it with you, courtesy of it's brilliant author, Serenity Wever:

"As I sit here, celebrating my victory, I can't help but think... This is my third year of participating in NaNoWriMo, but this is my first year to truly experience it. I am mind blown and in awe. It was such an honor to be able to write with all of you. I've had so much fun this November that it's absolutely amazing. Every day after work I'd look forward to running home so I could sprint and catch up on everyone elses progress. You were all the greatest writing buddies I've ever had. We did something more than just write this November, we created a community bond together by one common goal. For one brief moment we were like Gods. We forged together with blood, sweat and tears a universe of each our own.

"We, who are all from different backgrounds, made something beautiful... We have done something that most people will only say they will do. We weren't the "Oh! I want to write a book!" person. We DID. Whether or not you finished, you accomplished more in one month than many have in their whole lifetime! We've all suffered from malnutrition, writer's block, uncooperative muses, dont-talk-to-me-im-writing syndrome, and temporarily have become hermits. But we did it together! Everything from Random Starbucks Guy to Tameka flipping tables to Eric Kovach the Untaggable (thankyouforlettingmeturnyouintoameme) who suffered many painful deaths in the name of our art (Heather!)

"There are so many more of you I want to give shout outs too, but my brain is so... mushy right now! Kimiko the amazing, who was able to join late and completely own this challenge! Great job! Sian who was great at boosting everyone's morale! Brendan Sta and his creepy spiders! So many more people, not enough memory space in brain or energy in fingers to thank them all! ♥

"This has been a great experience for me, and I will miss you all!

I will be looking for all of you next NaNo!" 

You know what the greatest thing about all of this is? It doesn't end here. And guess what else? It never will as long as there are two writers around to support each other. Never underestimate the power of words. Never underestimate the power of your words and what you can do with them. You can change lives. You can change the world. And guess what friends? That's not just a possibility. We've already done it! We've done it together. 

- Heidi Nicole Bird

The End For Real

I am proud, and a little bit teary-eyed, to announce that I have officially finished my NaNoWriMo novel for this year! I finished Through the Paper Wall yesterday around 4:30pm, and even though I have officially won NaNoWriMo five times now, this is the first time I have ever finished the story in November, so really, for the first time, I wrote a novel in a month! That's a pretty darn cool thing to say! The final word count ended up being 56,386 and I don't think I have ever been more proud because I really had to fight for this one.

So what's next? Well, today is the last day of NaNoWriMo, which many of us can barely believe. I'm really pretty darn sad about it actually because after this point a lot of people stop hanging around the Facebook group until next year and people lose momentum. I'm not throwing in the towel though! I am dedicating my day to cheering other people on! So far I have had quite the time comment-bombing ever thread and comment that I can find that either announces someone winning or someone furiously sprinting to the end. It is so much fun! I hope you'll join me in congratulating and encouraging everybody!

Today I also have another goal: start editing. I know that a lot of people say you should put your novel aside for a few weeks, and I normally would, but I need to start now. I can feel it. I need to start working while the entire story is still fresh in my mind. I think I'll be able to catch plot issues better that way.

So, while I am off editing away I have something exciting for you to stand around waiting for [insert sneaky smile and side glance here]. I have created my book cover for Through the Paper Wall and I couldn't be happier! It was completely designed by me with some helpful comments from a few fellow writers and I am so proud! I am just waiting to clear up the permissions, copyrights, etc. issues, so stay tuned! I'm really hoping that it all works out!

Moving my story from the "Works in Progress" to the "Editing Board" tab,

- Heidi Nicole BIrd

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Author Interview!

Hey everybody, this is just a quick post, but I wanted to share this with you! I was recently interviewed as an author and the "article" came out today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Aftermath

Well hi there! It seems that I have taken a sort-of break now that I've hit the big ole' 50K mark. However, I do still need to finish my story. I have been working on it, but not much. It is time to get back to the grind and finish this baby up!

In the meantime I just wanted to let you in on some awesome new . . . MOM WON NANOWRIMO! That's right! I always knew that she could! There was much jumping up and down and cheering and singing to "We are the Champions." It was amazing. And now the two of us have matching winners certificates, and soon we will have some snazzy matching winners t-shirts as well. Fun fun stuff!

Also, I am very much looking forward to our local TGIO party this Saturday. I'm still crossing my fingers that Mom and I can make it because I also have a concert that night, but we're gonna do our best! We have some people we'd like to check back with and find out how they did. We also have a guy who needs to know that he did indeed end up being the villain in Mom's book. He'll be thrilled.

Keep on writing! I'll rejoin you shortly after I do some researching for a new laptop.

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

For the Win!

Dear lovely people, it has arrived! I have officially written over 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo 2012!!! Unfortunately we cannot validate and get all of our awesome winner regalia until November 25, BUT I am as still an official winner! This is my fifth time doing NaNoWriMo and my fifth time winning! This song feels extremely appropriate right now, and I have been dancing around and singing to it for a while now:

It was all far from easy, let me tell you! There was much "rising up to the challenge of my rivals" this time because I was so lost for a few weeks! I mean, check out this funky graph!

Pretty crazy, right? I am proud to say that I never got behind, but look at how many days I skipped and didn't write anything! There are only a couple of places where I wrote for more than one day in a row. Pretty weird for me. Though, I have to say that this graph also points out something awesome. There were only 12 days that I worked on my story, which means I met the word goal in only 12 days! Wow! Despite the fact that I have won earlier in the month before, that is a new record for me if you just count how many days that it took. That comes out to an average of about 4200 words per day. So cool!

This NaNoWriMo was such a growing experience for me! It was so interesting to write for a younger age group than I am used to and to combine so many other different things, like for most of the time I had basically no girl characters until the end. For a long time I thought there was no way I'd ever try to write for this age group again, but now I think that I probably will. Once I got the story back to a place where I enjoyed writing it, things just rocketed away from there. It was only last Friday that I had the breaking point where I suddenly knew what was going on, and the only days that I did any writing after that was yesterday and today, which gave me a combined number of 17,921 words for the two days. Wow! 

One of my very favorite things about NaNoWriMo is doing the dares that Tavia dishes out each year. This time around I sort of took one of her dares before she even dared us! This dare was to try writing your novel in a different genre for a couple of days. My novel this year started out much like a general juvenile fiction book, and I intended it to become fantasy much sooner than it did. In fact, it fought to not be a fantasy at all, but I dared to change the genre and the result was three furious days of writing that brought me to victory! I am still working on finishing up the story, so maybe when "Tavia's dares part 2" comes out I'll be able to fit one in for real.

I am far from done with this story, let me tell you! Through the Paper Wall has been my hardest piece of work, but also one of my most enjoyable, and I can't wait to finish it up and get on with editing. This one I plan to self publish, so I can get a taste of what that is like.

Whether you have reached that daunting 50K goal yet or not, keep on writing! You never know what will happen or where it will take you!Maybe your mom will randomly show up to congratulate you with a fruit tart when you reach your goal like mine just did, even congratulating me on my ridiculous 10K word run yesterday in an effort to overtake her word count. Thanks Mom! See you in the winners circle!

Happily resting with 50,273 words, 

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, November 19, 2012

The End in Site

Okay, there is a definite change to the world of my NaNoWriMo, and here it is presented for you in meme and awesome lyrics! Pardon me for the quick post, but I am going back to my novel. Enjoy!

A little message for the 50,000th word of my novel:

Rocketing away with 42,659 words,

- Heidi Nicole Bird

P.S. Mom's word count has been topped! For now anyway.

The Home Stretch

Okay, I lied. Who are we kidding, I am super competitive! I am still furiously trying to catch up to my Mom and stay ahead of my former roommate. Things have changed though. Last Friday I did a bunch of sprinting and I came up with something like 47+ major breakthroughs! No lie. I actually have a fantastic story with some super interesting and awesome things that I can't wait to write about. I also now have a villain. YES! Life is so much better now! It is gonna be a crazy stretch, but I am going for this!

Sorry for the quick and short post, but I'm heading back to my book, which I finally enjoy writing!

33,789 words,

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Maybe for Real?

So, I told you a few days ago that I was back in the game, and that was true. For about a day. The very next day I didn't write anything, yet again, and then the next day was Sunday, which is my day off. Sheesh, I am really not getting very far in this year's Nano am I? I am happy to announce that I did force my way through almost 4K though.

This year is just really weird for me. I am dealing with several new circumstances with this new book that I have never tried before, and I can't really say that I am a fan. I doubt I will be writing another book like this one, or at least not one this long. I really do think that this book is meant to be much shorter, considering the age of my audience, so it has really been difficult to stretch it out. Luckily since it shouldn't be this long I'll have no problem deleting a lot of the really bad stuff that I have written so far. Ick! Really, that is how I feel about a good amount of the words I have managed to get down.

So, for the rest of November I will keep sticking it out. If there is one thing that I want, it is to never start a NaNoWriMo and not finish it. I don't think I could deal with the knowledge that I "failed." Now before you lecture me for saying that not reaching 50K is failing, I KNOW! I am a strong believer in the idea that getting even one word down towards Nano is a "win." For me personally though, I never want to say I didn't reach that 50K goal.

Ever since I started doing NaNoWriMo in 2009 I have had a fierce competition with my former roommate, the one who got me started in the first place. She beat me in 2009 by about an hour. We both finished on Thanksgiving, and I just so happened to spend a little more time with extended family than she did that year. Ever since then I have come out on top first. I fiercely hold to this competition! To add to that, my Mom decided to try her hand again this year. After all this time of telling her she could do it, she is really doing it this time, and I fully believe that she is going to finish in grand fashion. This however puts me in a funky situation, being a four time Nano veteran ('09, '10, '11, August '12). She started off with a daily goal of 2,500 words. I normally would do this much in a day or more, but like I said, this year has been crazy difficult for me. I have this mad desire to finish before, because . . . I JUST HAVE TO!!! You know? It's like a rule!

Yeah, I know I am kinda crazy. I think I am working towards letting go of all of that. After a while the 1,667 daily word count wasn't even a challenge for me (on a good day I can get anywhere from 1200-2000 in one twenty-minute sprint), so the competition has been fun. This year though . . . I have reached the point where I would really rather be working on my other WIP and editing my books that I know are close to publishable. And so, I will keep on writing, but I am not going to make a big deal about how much I write. I am not worried in the least that I won't win. Writers of NaNoWriMo come in all styles and speeds. A bunch of my friends have already crossed that 50K finish line, which is pretty insane. I crossed that line right about this time of the month last year, but I had a lot more going for me that time.

So, a summary of all my mumbling up there: I'm not gonna keep aiming for the daredevil finishing date like I usual do. I'm settling for a more casual NaNoWriMo, in which I will come out on top word-count-wise, but I will also take the time to work on publishing my other books.

Keep going people! No matter how you choose to do it, we are gonna make it!

Hem-hawing around with 23,962 words of who knows what,

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Friday, November 9, 2012

Back in the Game

Hey there people, just wanted to give you a quick update on how things are going Nano-wise! I am officially back in the game! Yesterday I was ready to smack my writer's block in the face, and somehow I succeeded! A part of this may be that I finally turned on my writing music (Owl City) for the first time this Nano season. DUH! Why hadn't I don'e that earlier! I have no idea. It really is very strange of me. Anyway, once I turned it on I pulled off a spectacular 7000 word day! Woohoo! It is about freaking time!

Another reason why I think I've made it past my block was because for the first time ever I decided that I am going to force the story to go the way that I planned for it to go. This is also really weird for me, and I am hoping that the whole thing doesn't crash and burn at the end. So far things are going well though, so who knows? Now I am very much back on track and I actually know what to write! It is a glorious feeling.

Also, just an update on my previous novels. I have been waiting around for answers from some publishers regarding my novel entitled "Ontario," and it has reached the point where I could hear from them any day now. This is super exciting, right? I can't wait to hear back. One of the publishers I have already decided not to go with, so I am really just waiting on one. If that publisher declines my manuscript then I plan on self publishing, which I strongly believe in! In the meantime, I have randomly decided to send it in to one more publisher who responds very quickly, so wish me luck on that! We'll see what happens.

Sitting around at just over 20,000 words,

-Heidi Nicole Bird

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Super Duper Sludge

Don't worry people, I haven't thrown in the towel yet! I am still here! Though, this has been one heck of a second week. I've never had one like this! I did manage to get 1,040 words out last night, so it isn't a lost cause, for sure, but I still am just not feeling it this time around!

Since I have not written anything today yet, I thought I would send you the link to my first ever author interview that I did a little while ago, thanks to one of my good friends and fellow writers. Check it out! It is a little bit out of date, but I still think it is cool :) Tell me what you think!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Monday, November 5, 2012


Okay guys, here we are at the forefront of week two and I am already feeling like I don't want to write today. WHAT?!?! This isn't supposed to happen until week three, grrr. Maybe my day off of writing made too much of an impression on my brain waves. Or maybe I am slightly afraid because I have no idea what is going to happen next. Maybe it is also because I feel weird today. I think I am voting for a combination of the three.

I am really in a strange sort of place in my story right now - a place where I don't think I have ever been before. I don't usually worry about my stories if I don't know what is coming, but this time it is different. Depending on what happens next this could become a whole lot more difficult than I bargained for.

Fear not, though. As a seasoned NaNoWriMo veteran giving up is nowhere close to being on my agenda. I'll make it through today just like I have made it through so many other ones that cramped my style, even if that means writing an obscenely low amount of words.

For those of you who are writing for NaNoWriMo, or for something else entirely, how is your project going?

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Nano Just Showed Up

So, it is late, well not really that late because if I moved my clock back an hour for Daylight Savings it wouldn't even be 9:30 yet, but nonetheless I am wiped out and eyeballs are burning. Either way I wanted to check in and give you an update on my novel.

Today was another successful big number day - 4,124 today, bringing me to total of 12,727. I find this pretty awesome considering that the goal for today was only 5,000 and I wrote nearly that much today! Saweet!

Despite these awesome numbers I did run into a glitch today. See, there's this occupational hazard that comes with the way that I choose to write. I believe that the the characters guide the story and the story writes itself. I've always allowed the story to shape where it goes and I don't usually fight it. Last year I had a great big huge fight with one of my MCs though. Man, I did not want the story to go in the direction she was taking it, but there was nothing I could do.

The same sort of thing has happened this year, except in a much bigger sense. The bump in my literary road is so large this year that I am sort of at a loss right now (lucky that I am ahead, right?). The characters in my story haven't just changed plot, but they have also, right before my very eyes, changed the entire genre of the story. What? Well this is new. Really new. Now I need to figure out what in the world is going on.

So, we will see what happens from here. I've had a few suggestions from my muses as to where the story is now going, but I can't seem to pinpoint which options is actually the right one. Maybe my day off tomorrow will be helpful. I never work on my novels on Sundays, which is all at the same time exasperating but really nice. Who knows what Monday will bring? You know as well as I do.

- Heidi Nicole Bird

NaNoWriMo Meets Multitasking

So there's this long running joke that goes along with NaNoWriMo that for the month of November you give up everything that does not have to do with your novel. Except that in many cases it really isn't a joke at all! Many loads of laundry and dishes, and many showers are pushed back until the end of the month, as are other tiny details such as grocery shopping and making time to acknowledge your other family members.

Even if you are a fast typist you feel the press of time during November and all of us try to fit in our normal lives along with the daunting challenge we had just taken head on. Usually this works well for me. I've managed to be a full time student and go through finals for my past three Nano's and I've also had all sorts of things going on, such as a job one year and a little day called Thanksgiving that is really about five days long in my family.

While the hundreds of thousands of are off writing sometimes we have to multitask. Maybe that just means plowing through your word count as quickly as you can while the baby is sleeping, or maybe that means tying in your sleep because if you don't do both at the same time you won't get either! I was definitely multitasking today, but I didn't plan on doing so. I am a furious fan when it comes to Utah State University football and basketball, and of course since it is Fall I have both to deal with. I just so happen to have both happening today. I had it all planned out - write before the football game and during half time and then more afterwards.  Well it sure didn't happen that way! I ended up writing before and right through the whole game. I am honestly surprised that I managed to crank out 4K while listening to a football game that I was very much invested in! So, while I was sprinting away, I was also doing this:

Of course you just read all of my posts backwards, but you get the idea. Props to my writing friends for being worried about me going astray! That is what writing friends are for!

So, it is a Saturday in November, which means you are bound to have something going on. Were you doing any multitasking today? Or did you stick it out all the way, solid as a rock? If you did, you are amazing. Way to go writer!

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Glorious Thing Called a Sprint

And so here we are nearly at the end of day two of NaNoWrimo. At least for me. Some of my friends are already on day three, which is crazy and awesome all thrown into a jar at the same time. Today really didn't go as planned, that is for sure. I had it all planned out that today would be another high word count day, but I really didn't think it would happen in the way that it did!

Every morning there are certain things I do. Exercise, read scriptures, eat breakfast, do some cleaning, etc. Today I ended up sleeping in, and once I had done all my usual things it was something like noon already. It was already noon and I didn't have any words down! Jeepers!

Have no fear though, I sat myself down and started to plunk out those words, starting and running some sprints as I did so. I had a good amount of words in finally. Awesome! So then I took a break because I had to make a menu for the week and go grocery shopping. Might I add that I paused my story at a point where my MC was also grocery shopping. Coincidence? I think not! That is the cool thing about being a writer. You live what you are a writing, or in other words you live what the characters are making happen.

By the time I had gone shopping, made dinner, and everyone had gone their ways I was wiped out. I only had 2,784 words for the day! (Yeah, yeah, I am an over achiever, I'll admit it). That was, until I was perusing the NaNoWriMo Facebook group and reading posts, which led my weary and dried out eyes to fall upon a poor soul calling out for an immediate sprinting partner. Who was I to say no? I, one of the most furious lovers of nano sprinting? And besides, it was only a ten minute sprint! I could do that.

And so we sprinting, and it was glorious, and I was proud to have a few more hundred words to add to my work count. Not a minute after that sprint ended one of my new good writing friends asked if I wanted to embark on a daring journey, "one last sprint" for the night, she called it. Okay, so I gave in, and we started without establishing how long we were going to sprint for. When I asked she suggested thirty minutes. THIRTY MINUTES!!!

Thirty minutes may not seem very long when it is the amount of time you will need to prepare dinner, or to drive to see a super awesome fireworks show, but to me in that moment thirty minutes seemed like the expanse of eternity! But, being the avid sprinter that I am, I agreed, throwing out a few words about how I didn't know if I would last.

Amazingly enough, I did. We finished our sprint and much to my happiness my two spontaneous sprints had put me up nearly 2000 words! And so I am now finishing the day off with 4,767 new words, giving me 8,603 for my grand total!

And so, my dear writing friends, whether you are doing NaNoWriMo or not, allow me to let you in on a not so recognized thing: word sprints are glorious things! In fact, I believe they are literal gifts from heaven. Write on people! Write on.

- Heidi Nicole Bird

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Final Countdown

Okay, so last night I was sitting at my computer, straining my eyeballs, baring blinking, and staring down the official count down on the NaNoWriMo home page, as many of my fellow writers did in their own places and time zones. I'd been hearing all night about my friends starting and how they had started off the new year with a bang, and it was finally going to be my turn. I seriously was barely breathing, I kid you not! As soon as that counter hit "0" BAM! I was off like a rocket! It was intense! It was a very appropriate moment for this song to be playing in my head:

I can not even tell you how wonderful it feels to be at this again! Earlier this year I wrote my first novel that was not for NaNoWriMo and I did Camp NaNoWriMo in August, but neither of those are even close to the same thing. There is just something about the real deal, doing it in November with hundreds of thousands of other people, all over the world, all of us trying to achieve that goal, that dream, of finishing a novel.

I was so proud as I was typing away like a maniac to know that for the first time my Mom was upstairs doing the exact same thing. She did Nano with me two years ago, but she didn't end up finishing and she has never written at midnight. It was a big deal. She is upstairs writing again as we speak. She is off to a great start!

I am also proud to say that I am very happy with what I have done today as well. I didn't spend a ton of time writing today, but I've ended up with a total of 3,836 for the first day. SCORE! Very proud indeed. It is definitely a great feeling to start out more than a day ahead. I am very blessed to be a fast typist and in my last 20 minute sprint I pulled off a rocking number of 1,146 words!

There are always some bumps in the road, and I am sure that this is going to help me out later on, especially in the doldrums and sludge that we all encounter each third week of NaNoWriMo. I swear, it is unavoidable, even for people who have been rocketing ahead. It is a good thing to be prepared, that is for sure.

I was a little worried about NaNoWriMo this year. The past three years that I have done Nano were the only ones I've done it and for each year I worked on a part of a trilogy, and this year is the first that I have done Nano with new characters. That was daunting to say the least. I've had the same characters along for the ride every time before this, and now I've got some new players of the game. I'm also tackling a new age group, which has been interesting, but that challenge has been fantastic! I am very happy with how things have gone so far, and I look forward to the rest of what promises to be a fantastic month! I'm definitely feeling one or more of my notorious 10,000 days coming some time in the near future!

So, are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? If you are, I would love to hear about it! Also, good luck! Even if you aren't ahead of the game from day one you can still make it to the finish line on top!

- Heidi Nicole Bird