I wrote a novel.

I did it. I wrote a novel.

It’s a sloppy first draft that needs a lot of revision. There are sections that need to be totally rewritten. It’s not ready to submit for publication yet. It needs a lot of love. But… I wrote it.

Right now, it’s just shy of 54,000 words.

23 chapters.

100 single spaced typed pages.

There are developed characters. There is a consistent storyline. It feels amazing, honestly. I’m quite proud of myself today. Continue reading

5 Year Blog-iversary!

Exactly 5 years ago today, as a first-year grad student in the midst of some serious soul-searching, I started this blog. I was twenty-three and I was craving a new life in a new city.

My very first post was simple, but pretty mystical at the same time. A wonderful human being who had way more life perspective than me bought me a coffee in a gas station, and that gesture motivated me to be a kinder person… at least for a week or so.

Since then, I’ve written about a myriad of things.

Five years later, here we are. Still blogging. Even though my posts are inconsistent in length, topic, and pace, I made a commitment to keep this blog alive, and it is a happy place for me and a real source of comfort.

I’ve always looked to writing as my outlet. Usually, what I write is private. I’ll write about  my writing process (hello NanoWrimo posts), but I won’t often share what I’m working on. And I journal – that’s how I make sense of messy thoughts – but I don’t share that, either. When I journal, I can write anything. When I blog, I have an audience in mind. Hello, you.

I’ve continued to write occasional posts about strangers. I have this odd fascination with the concept of strangerhood and friendships. Mostly, though, I write little periodic updates on my day-to-day life. The coolest thing about the blog, I think, is how it spans time. I’m not the most active blogger. I went through a point last year where I wrote daily for lent. I’ve since hidden most of those posts – I’ve hidden a LOT of posts, actually, for various reasons – but the bones are still here.

I don’t have anything epic to say – I just wanted to chronicle this date – 5 years of blogging! For some perspective of what a big chunk of time that is, here’s a picture of me when I was five:


Mallory is the cute one. I’m the one with the cool glasses griping her hand because I was afraid of kindergarten. Actually… maybe this was first grade. So maybe I’m 6. This is what my blog will look like in another year.

Happy Blog-iversary to me!

NaNo WriMo

Inspired my one of my best friends, Tiffany, I’m participating in NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. …See?

  • National
  • Novel
  • Writing
  • Month

Here’s how it works: You start a novel from scratch. You write. A lot. Every day for the month of November. It’s intense, but at the end of the month, you have a solid complete draft of an entire novel.

It’s probably not going to be a very good novel because, well, it’s a first draft written in 30 days. But it’s going to be a whole complete novel.

This will be a first for me. I try to write for an hour a day, but let’s be honest, it doesn’t happen every day. I’ve been working on the same novel and the same story line for well over five years now. And while this is not uncommon, and this piece may very well become a real masterpiece in time, (let’s hope…), it’s not there yet. Without a solid plan with goals and deadlines, this is how writing tends to go.

I was tempted to “cheat” and use this month to work on the same piece I’ve been working on forever… but I decided to follow the rules and start flat from scratch. I think that’s better.

So far it’s going pretty well.

I just started writing yesterday. I made up the name for three characters. Underneath each name, I wrote a list of 2-3 people I know who have basically nothing in common, and then I pulled personality traits and experiences out of each of them to build the skeleton for each of my three characters. Then I fluffed them out by adding a few key details that connect them to the same storyline.

And then I just started writing.

I slapped a title on because I had to – Surpassing Clevenger. For now, I’m calling this an “Adventure” genre, but it’s really a Young Adult Adventure. I’m writing on my own computer and not sharing my work with anyone (right now), but I love the community pages because if I want to go meet up at Panera and write with other Tallahassee writers, I can.

I enter my updated word count every day so I can see how close I am to reaching my goal of completing a novel by November 30th. You can keep track of my progress here: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/nicolejmu09/novels/surpassing-clevenger/stats

Today it says:

  • Your Average Per Day: 1,854
  • Words Written Today: 2,594
  • Target Word Count: 50,000
  • Target Average Words Per Day: 1,667
  • Total Words Written: 3,709
  • Words Remaining: 46,291
  • Current Day: 2
  • Days Remaining: 29
  • At This Rate You Will Finish On: November 27, 2014
  • Words Per Day To Finish On Time: 1,597

As you can see, I’ve written 3,709 words so far. It’s 10:30AM on the second day. I’m aiming for 2,000 words/day because I know there are going to be days when I can’t do that (like when I’m in Chicago for work for four days…) but I’m going to try my best to squeeze out a paragraph or two even on the busiest most inconvenient days. If I miss a day, so what, you just keep going.

I just love the concept of ticking away a little bit at a time and making small steps toward a large goal. Bret is doing it with his dissertation. Since there’s a lot of writing going on in this household already, I’m happy to jump on board with a project of my own.

I’m excited to see how it goes. Wish me luck!