Greetings from the NaNoWriMo finish line!

NaNoWriMo is officially over!  I actually did really well this month, as you can see from my graph.  I started off the month a little behind on word count, but then I got ahead and pretty much stayed ahead the entire month.


It also amuses me that you can really tell where the weekends fell throughout the month.  Most of the write-ins I went to were clustered around the weekend (Friday night, Sunday afternoon, Monday evening, and Tuesday evening).

I was also pleased with my badges this month.  I missed the badge for updating 30 days in a row, since I decided to take last Saturday completely off (even knowing I'd miss out on this badge), as well as the donation badge (just didn't have the money this year).  But I really enjoyed the process of watching the badges rack up all month.


I hit 50,000 Wednesday night and didn't blog at all on Thursday.  I did blog a little last night while at my last write-in of the year.  Today I'm finishing up the post I started while I was there (this one) and hoping that the habit of blogging daily or almost daily will stick with me beyond November.

How did NaNoWriMo go for everyone else?

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By Katharine Swan On Saturday, December 01, 2018 At 9:02 PM 0 comments

Down time

I guess you can probably tell by the mood of my last post -- which I actually wrote Friday and scheduled to run on Saturday -- that I was getting overwhelmed and burning out a little.  The burnout actually culminated on Saturday, and after I got done babysitting that morning, I actually went home and took the rest of the day off.  I read, napped, watched TV, and worked a little on my dolls.  It was a lovely break.

I had intended just to nap and then have a productive later afternoon and evening, but after reading and napping I just couldn't get my engines started again.  I often have trouble with breaks for that reason -- it's always hard to get back to work again afterward -- but I think this time, I just really needed the break.

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By Katharine Swan On Tuesday, November 27, 2018 At 8:58 PM 0 comments

Career decisions

I have a problem, and I don't know how to solve it.  Or rather, I do know how to solve it, but I don't know if the solution is feasible for me.

Lately I've been feeling pretty overworked and stressed.  Between freelancing, babysitting, nannying, barn chores, administrating a busy Facebook group, and my other hobbies, I'm busy all the time.  It's rare I have time that's not scheduled at least once over.  So my secret wish coming up to Thanksgiving was to turn down all the invitations, stay home, and spend the day sleeping and reading.  It's just been so long since I've had a real day off, especially a day to read.

Of course, I didn't get that.  I had so many invitations and felt obligated to pick one of them.  And the rest of my day filled up too, predictably.  I don't regret it, as part of my plans answered the birthday wish of a friend's little girl who wanted to ride my horses and the other part meant I got to spend some time with family, but it still means, as usual, very little time to myself.

The solution is, obviously, to schedule less for myself, but I don't know if I can.  Alternatively, I could try to manage my time better, but I'm already cramming everything in so tight, I'm not sure how much more efficient I can get.

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By Katharine Swan On Saturday, November 24, 2018 At 1:00 PM 0 comments

Live-blogging from the museum write-in

I'm sitting here at a write-in at the museum, with a big rolling white board blocking the sun from falling on my screen.



We have some really great write-ins that we do every year.  The weekly Friday night write-in at Perkins is always one of my favorites, of course, since that's the year-round continuation of a write-in that originally started during NaNo 2011.  I've also organized a great write-in on Sunday afternoons/evenings at a local gaming coffee shop, and they've become a fantastic supporter of our region, as they've been hosting our kickoff party as well.

We usually do a couple of big events, too.  For example, we did an eight-hour write-in this year, where we wrote from 3pm to 11pm last Saturday.  We had about 25 people at that one.

The overnight write-in at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, famous for being the basis for The Shining, is also always a hit.  We didn't do it this year because it takes a lot of planning and all of us MLs were unusually busy, but we did it the previous two years and it was great.  The first year we had eight people crammed into two rooms in the original hotel, and the next year it had exploded to nearly 30, for which we rented out three condos above the Stanley.  But it's still not my favorite.
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By Katharine Swan On Friday, November 23, 2018 At 2:56 PM 0 comments

NaNoWriMo mid-month reflections

NaNoWriMo has been going quite well for me this month, especially considering I went into the month with almost no preparation or planning.

Most of the personal writing projects I've worked on this month have been blog posts, and the vast majority have been for one blog I've been trying to get started.  It's been good for that blog because I needed to build up a bunch of content to get it off the ground, but I need to spread it out a little better between my various writing projects -- I have plenty else that needs my attention.

One of the things that I think has helped my word count immensely is including pictures in my word count.  I used the "a picture is worth a thousand words" saying to determine my word count, but I think it's appropriate because of the time it takes to set up and take pictures, normally taking several of them before settling on the best.  And the particular blog I've been working on is a subject and format that does well with lots of pictures, so assigning word count has been beneficial and a good way to level the playing field (it's much easier to rack up word count writing fiction than it is writing blog posts or other nonfiction).

Even so, I've been super busy this month, so the vast majority of my word count has been on weekends and at write-ins.  I've been attending several write-ins a week: the two I organize on Fridays and Sundays, and one organized by one of my co-MLs on Tuesday evenings.  There's also an unofficial writing group with a friend Wednesday nights.  I try to get a little done during the week, but it's usually only a token word count, with the sole purpose of updating every day.  There was one day where I literally wrote a single word before getting distracted and busy.  But I wrote that word, darn it, so I updated with it!

But anyway, unless something drastic were to happen, I don't see myself failing to finish NaNoWriMo this year.  I'm hoping I can continue the habit of writing every day -- even if it's only one word! -- after the month ends!

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By Katharine Swan On Sunday, November 18, 2018 At 5:19 PM 0 comments

I would prefer not to

Who here has read Melville's shorter work, Bartleby, the Scrivener?  I read it my last semester in college for a special class in my English degree.  I remember my professor, who was stepping down as the English department chair, saying that he wondered if Bartleby's words, "I would prefer not to," reflected in any way how Melville was feeling about writing.  After all, he had poured his heart into Moby Dick only to have it poorly received.  Wouldn't that make a writer feel like saying, "I would prefer not to?"

I've been thinking about those words a lot lately.  I've been really busy, and with my freelancing relegated to evening, sometimes I'm too tired after a long day to spend my evening working too.  Sometimes, honestly, I just don't want to.

Sometimes I would prefer not to.
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By Katharine Swan On Wednesday, November 07, 2018 At 12:58 AM 0 comments

Plans for my blogs

Once upon a time, I had a healthy network of my own personal blogs.  I had perhaps half a dozen that I updated regularly, almost daily, and one in particular (my wedding blog) that earned me some nice pocket change in ad revenue.

I miss those days.  I miss the pocket change too, but I especially miss the blogging community.  It's been replaced with other social media, of course, and probably more easily monitored social media if we want to be honest, but I miss the writing aspect of blogging over other outlets such as Facebook.
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By Katharine Swan On Monday, November 05, 2018 At 6:00 AM 0 comments

Katharine Swan is a full-time freelance writer with more than 5 years of professional writing experience. In addition to maintaining several personal blogs, she writes a variety of online marketing materials for clients, including company blogs, articles, and press releases. In her free time, she spends time with her horse, reads, and writes fiction.

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