Wordy Wednesday: November Eighteenth

So, um… I accidentally wrote 8.3k today.

Isn’t it funny how that happens? Like I started out the day 3,000 words behind. I’ve been putting off writing since Sunday. And that extra time I had this morning to write? I spent it catching up on The Flash.

But I was sick of being behind, and so disgusted with myself for letting it happen AGAIN–so after my morning class I headed to a coffee shop, plopped myself down at a table with a medium hot caramel apple cider, and wrote for three hours. Went to my next two classes, then trooped over to Noodles & Co. to grab dinner and write for another few hours.

And now here we are, at 9:00 PM, and instead of being 3,000 words behind, I am now 4,500 words ahead.

What I’ve been writing all day is crap (really, what I’ve been writing all month is crap), but I keep reminding myself that that’s okay. That I just need to get this terrible first draft out, then I can make the novel actually halfway decent in rewrites. That I need to write this terrible first draft in order to even have a chance at writing a decent second one someday.

I’m falling in love with these characters, with this world. I am slowly but surely figuring out what makes it all tick. It’s the most exhilarating feeling, right?

And because of that, I am itching to keep going. I want to finish this thing so I can go back and make it shine.

But I also know it’s time to close the Word doc for the night. I don’t want to burn myself out, especially this late in the month.

But still: I’m really grateful for days like today. It’s days like today, when the words fly from your fingertips (even if they’re crappy words), that make all the other days spent trudging through them instead worthwhile.

This week’s Wordy Wednesday is a poem.


The rain coats my lungs
like a protective skin—
breathe it in, the mist
and the damp—
let it drown me one delicious
drop at a time

With every ragged, rushing breath,
off to somewhere else oh-so-important,
please let the world slow down,
slowly, slowly,
a drop at a time,
until it’s turning slow enough
to make sense
of everything that has been happening
and everything that is coming
for once, for once, for once

A stop for something warm to drink,
and a stop for a lecture I cannot pay attention to,
and a stop for a world I need to build,
my own private world to build—
I get to decide how fast it spins

Life is a story of letting go,
but this is one time
I get to hold on


Thanks for reading!

Goal for Today: 1,000 + 3,000 (from Monday)
Overall Goal: 30,000
Current Word Count: 34,514


NaNo Day 17: Grilled Cheese and Harry Potter

It’s been a good day.

My creative writing instructor liked the short story I turned in last week (it’s an old one, but it was still nice seeing the “excellent” scrawled at the end); we’re studying Guillermo del Toro in Mexican cinema; the bookshop I work for got a shipment of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings paraphernalia that I got to help unpack; my choir class had our first rehearsal with the orchestra we’ll be performing with at this semester’s concert; and now I’m eating Panera tomato soup and grilled cheese while waiting for my last class to start.

Oh, and I’m listening again to the Finding Neverland cast recording. Because apparently I’m addicted to this thing now. (I blame Hannah. She was listening to my favorite song from it last week and now I CAN’T GET THE FREAKING THING OUT OF MY HEAD.)

Here, I’ll ruin your life with all the beauty and magic as well:

The one bad thing about today is that I didn’t end up getting any writing done yesterday–and, as always, this Tuesday has been way too hectic to get any writing in. So I do have those 3,000 words I owe in NaNo hanging over my head.

On the upside, my morning class is postponed tomorrow, so I should have like an extra half hour at least to write? And who knows, maybe I’ll get a chance to pump out 1,000 words tonight or something. (Although: We’re watching a Stephen King movie in my last class tonight, so who knows. I had plans to write after watching Apocalypse Now for this class last week, but instead I called my mom crying, because I needed to see my dog, because THE DOG IN THAT MOVIE.) (It should be illegal to harm animals in films.)

Goal for Today: 0 + 3,000 (from yesterday)
Overall Goal: 29,000
Current Word Count: 26,181

I’m off to class. ‘Later! I hope your day is going well, as well! (If not: Hang in there! Tomorrow will be better, right?)


NaNo Day 16: #Lyfe

Today’s another boring day, as far as having things to blog about. Went to class, made lunch, backpacked* courses for my final semester of college, did some homework, went to another class–where I took a pop quiz–, bought groceries, did some work, ate dinner, did more work, and now I’m about to start on more work.

At some point today, I also need to write 3k in NaNo. But that’s going to have to wait for after finishing this reading for Mexican cinema. And the assignment due tomorrow for my honors thesis. And these budget proposals. (And possibly finishing Carry On, because this book is weirdly addictive?)

I’m really happy with my life right now. I’m doing things I’m passionate about and that I never thought I’d actually get to do–

But yeah.Things are also a little crazy right now.

Here’s to real life and following dreams and how sometimes that means not having much time for anything?

Goal for Today: 3,000
Overall Goal: 29,000
Current Word Count: 26,181


*For anyone whose school doesn’t use that term: I picked out classes and put them in this holding pen thing on the university website so I can register for them more quickly in a couple weeks when registration opens (aka: the University of Michigan’s version of the Cornucopia bloodbath portion of the Hunger Games).

NaNo Day 15: Pause

This has possibly been the least productive day in the history of least productive days.

So far today I read like a hundred pages of a book for fun, watched endless cooking videos on Facebook, got my Book Creators post up (which really just involved pressing the publish button), critiqued a couple of essays for friends, got my NaNo writing done for the day, aaand… that’s basically it. I’m yet to even glance at my homework. Or work on any other work, for that matter.

On the upside: bumming it for a day can be nice?

Either way, I’m back to the grind tomorrow. Here’s hoping I haven’t put myself too far behind on things.

Goal for Today: 1,000
Overall Goal: 26,000
Current Word Count: 26,181

Anyone else hitting pause on life at the halfway point this month? I think we all deserve a good nap.


NaNo Day 14: Slowly But Surely

So, I don’t really have anything interesting to share from today. I didn’t end up getting any writing done last night. (I was still so asfknakrsnlkrn over everything that I just read Carry On and listened to the Finding Neverland cast recording until I fell asleep, which even then took about a billion hours.)

BUT I have been writing almost nonstop since I woke up this morning, so, a tally of today’s accomplishments:

  • Wrote a blog post for The Book Creators! (Will be going up probably tomorrow?) It’s about NaNoWriMo and recycling ideas.
  • Wrote my first blog post for [art]seen, the blog I’m now contributing to at my university! It’s a preview of Mockingjay – Part 2.
  • Ate three slices of leftover Jet’s pizza while watching an episode of Jane the Virgin! (I’m finally on season 2! That’s an accomplishment, right?)
  • Took a shower after realizing AFTER I hugged my dog that she’d rolled in poop! Yayyy.
  • And, last, but not least: Wrote 5,000 words in Time Travel Heist Story! Which means I’m caught up again and also now HALFWAY THROUGH NANOWRIMO!!

I’m off to have a dance party for one and to get ready for the birthday party I’m going to tonight. I hope your day’s been going all right and that the NaNo gods are treating you kindly.

Goal for Today: 2,000 + 3,000 (from yesterday)
Overall Goal: 25,000
Current Word Count: 25,070


NaNo Day 13: No Words

Hey there. It’s been a long, long day and there are a lot of people hurting right now, so today’s post is going to be a short one.

I haven’t had a chance to write yet today, but I’m hoping to get in my 3,000 before I go to bed. In the meantime, I spent the day at a career forum, then hung out with friends and family all evening.

But just… There are no words for the things happening in the world right now. I’m so sorry, to everyone affected. No one should ever have to deal with the attacks in Paris, or the earthquake in Japan, or all the racist acts at Mizzou lately, or anything else.

Sending prayers to anyone who might need them tonight. And am so grateful, at the least, for the good stories coming out of these tragedies, like the Parisian cabbies who turned off their meters to help get people home safe and the way Facebook has been helping people find out if their loved ones are safe.

There’s still good in the world. It’s important to hold onto that.

Goal for Today: 3,000
Overall Goal: 23,000
Current Word Count: 20,035


NaNo Day 12: Let’s Do This Thing


I can’t believe I get to type those words. I got on a roll and ended up writing about 3,000 words yesterday, when I only had a goal of 2,000–then I accidentally woke up over an hour before my alarm was supposed to go off this morning, so I ended up pulling out my laptop and cranking out another 1.5k before class, which brought me up to where I’m supposed to be by today.

Which means that for the first time since NaNoWriMo 2015 began, I AM NOT BEHIND.

I am dying a little inside from relief.

Now I just need to keep up this momentum for the next couple weeks and I might just survive this month.

In the meantime: tonight at 8 PM EST is our monthly Ch1Con Chat on Youtube (info and watch link here), tomorrow I’m spending the day at another career forum on campus (this time on the entertainment industry), and in between I have about a thousand and one budget breakdowns and grant proposals to write (yay asking people to pay for me to do fun things).

I’ve got a half hour before Ch1Con Chat starts though, so I’m going to take this opportunity to eat something yummy and take a breath.

(Then maybe I’ll do a little more writing later? I’m so pumped up right now, I feel like I could run a marathon.) (Or, you know, actually run at all.)

Goal for Today: 1,000 + 500 (from Friday)

Overall Goal: 20,000

Current Word Count: 20,035 <– LOOK AT THE PRETTY


Wordy Wednesday: Afternoon Sunlight

So yesterday was as busy as Tuesdays ever are this semester, so I didn’t get a chance to write. However, as usual, I also didn’t have any writing planned for the day, so I’m at least not any further behind now.

I haven’t gotten any writing done yet today, but as soon as I get my work done for the day, my plan is to hit that Word doc. The goal for today is to write 2,000 words, plus hopefully dip into the 1,500 words I’m still behind.

In the meantime, this week’s Wordy Wednesday is another poem.


Sunlight warm through worn,
dark jeans, legs stretched, toes pointed,
just to feel the delicious pull—
the strain that comes with forward movement:
this is what lazy afternoons look like,
watching Netflix on the floor,
a crewneck snug around my shoulders and
my world pulled tight around me

This place where I live—
this is what makes it home


Thanks for reading!

Goal for Today: 2,000 + 1,500 (from Friday)

Overall Goal: 19,000

Current Word Count: 15,504


NaNo Day 10: Interview with Ariel Kalati

Yesterday I ended up doing homework (and extra-curricular work) (and work-work) until around 9:00 PM, at which point I ACTUALLY GOT TO WRITE BEFORE ELEVEN O’CLOCK AT NIGHT.

It was a beautiful occasion.

I’m still so tired from staying up late writing all last week that I ended up conking out a little before midnight, so I didn’t end up spending a ton of time NaNoing last night. But despite that, I still got a little over 2,000 words written, putting me at 15,500 overall (and only 1.5k behind my goal!).

It’s funny how I’m now excited about a word count that is still behind where I should be at this point. Like, “I could be 5,000 words behind, but instead I’m only 1,500! PARTAYYY.” Oh well. It happens.

Anyway: Like the past couple years, throughout November I’m sharing interviews with other writers competing in NaNoWriMo in order to give a broader perspective of the event. (Also to just let you meet these fantastic humans, because I adore them.)

Today’s interview is with Ariel Kalati, my favorite pizza enthusiast and this year’s associate online administrator for Ch1Con. Here we go!


ariel kalati reading

1. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name’s Ariel Kalati. I’m a nineteen-year-old sophomore at Sarah Lawrence College, studying creative writing and French. I’ve wanted to be a writer ever since I learned to read and so far I’ve written four or five novels, depending on whether you count that terrible one from seventh grade. My main interests are Harry Potter, Parks and Recreation, eating food, and sleeping.

2. You’re a NaNo rebel this November, meaning that you’ve taken on a writing challenge, but it isn’t the traditional “write 50,000 words of a novel in one month” one. What are you doing instead? Why did you choose to do this?
This month I’m doing “NaNoEdMo,” which is a thing I made up. I’m trying to edit 50 scenes of my book in 30 days. Since the NaNoWriMo website doesn’t work with this, I’m using the website MyWriteClub to track my progress. The reason I decided to do NaNoEdMo instead of NaNoWriMo this year is because I’ve been working on this book for almost four years and it’s about time I finish editing it instead of starting an exciting new project. Basically, I’m being responsible, and it’s weird.

3. Can you tell us about your novel?
I cannot, actually, because I suck at summaries. But I’ll try. It’s about magic aliens, some of whom want to kill all humans and some of whom do not want to do that. Two human teenagers get involved in this issue because of a prophecy and wishes and stuff. It’s slightly less cliche than it sounds.

4. In addition to doing your rebellious NaNoWriMo this year, you’re also a full-time student, involved in extra-curriculars, interning remotely, volunteering as Ch1Con’s associate online administrator, and more. How do you balance so much at once?
I’m not really sure. It involves a lot of last-minute panicking, multitasking, and naps. Too many naps.

5. Any tips for revising a novel?
Well, if it’s your first time revising a novel, I have some semi-bad news for you, which is that you’re probably going to have to rewrite the entire thing. But the good news is that writing is fun and this time you already have the basic skeleton so it’ll be way easier than the first draft was. I recommend creating a separate file where you have a detailed outline of your whole book so that you can look at the structure of the plot and find where to remove stuff, where there are plot holes, etc. I’ve never made it past the Giant Rewriting Do-Over-the-Entire-Book edits so I don’t have any tips for regular, line-edit-y revisions.

6. Quick: what is your #1, go-to snack food for when the writing (or revisions) get tough?
Depends on if I’m at home or if I’m at school. At home, I tend to go for a spoonful of Nutella. At school, I do not have Nutella, so I usually go for one of my school’s croissants. They’re basically like a stick of butter in bread form.

7. And last but not least, where can we find you online?

I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Pinterest. I also have a blog at arielkalati.blogspot.com that updates weekly.

Thanks for letting me interview you again this year, Ariel! I always love seeing your answers.

Goal for Today: 0 + 1,500 (from Friday)

Overall Goal: 17,000

Current Word Count: 15,504


NaNo Day 8: Writing Playlist

We won the game yesterday! Also I got a picture with the Michigan Storm Trooper: 

And it made it up on the Jumbotron!



Altogether, a very cool time yesterday. (Literally, when you consider the fact I was shivering so hard by the end of the game that my body ached like I’d just done a hard workout.)

I don’t have much time to write today, thanks to two meetings, some family stuff, and the homework I’ve been putting off since Thursday. But I’m going to try to get at least my scheduled 2k in and maybe I’ll magically even catch up a little more as well? I’m starting the day at 10,500 words, after writing about 1.5k yesterday, so I am slowly heading in the right direction. But this NaNoWriMo continues to be a hard one.

On the upside, it’s been pretty easy to find music that’s easy to write this novel to. So: I’ve put together a bit of a playlist.

Without further ado:


Mozart’s Requiem

As I mentioned in this Book Creators post, we’re learning “Requiem” in my choir class this semester. The piece and the story behind it are both so eerie and powerful, and I’ve been using them a lot for inspiration.

The Great Gatsby (2013) Film Score

I’m not a fan of this adaptation of The Great Gatsby, but I do really love its score. Composer Craig Armstrong really captures how the story is all about desperation and bittersweet sadness and want. These are some of the things I’m also using to guide Time Travel Heist Story, and listening to this score always gets me in the right mood.

When I’m not actively writing, but just trying to get into the right head space, I also listen to a lot of, like, more normal music. A few examples:

Lana Del Rey’s “Young and Beautiful”

Pretty obvious one, but this song (for obvious reasons) captures the same kinds of emotions as The Great Gatsby‘s score. Also, Lana Del Rey’s voice is haunting and absolutely lovely.

Ellie Goulding’s “The Writer”

My NaNo focuses on three friends and this song applies to all three of them in different ways. They’re all desperate for the others’ attention and to be understood and valued for who they are. Ellie Goulding captures that kind of desperation really well here.

Alesso’s “Heroes (we could be)”

This song’s a little more upbeat, but still very full of that longing feeling. (After all, it’s “we could be heroes.”) It captures the more positive notes of this MS really well.

David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium”

Clearly I have a thing for the music of 2011. Also hero-related songs.

This song is kind of angry and amped up and confident, and it fits what I’d like my characters to become well.


Do you write to music, or use it to get into the right mood for writing? Do you have anything specific you’ve been listening to for your NaNoWriMo project? Wanna share?

Goal for Today: 2,000 + 2,000 (from Friday) + 1,500 (from Sunday)

Overall Goal: 15,000

Current Word Count: 10,534