Young Adult Dystopian Author

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Are you singing that song in your head? I am!

For those of you who read that title and were immediately inspired to grab warm fuzzy socks, a rich and creamy mug of hot chocolate, or go out and frolic in the snow, that’s nice, but I’m not posting about Christmas.

For me, I want to skip down the street singing that classic song and perhaps give a little twirl, but the desire to celebrate in such a frivolous way doesn’t come from presents or eating too many cookies and anything else I can shove in my face. No. That giddy feeling is reserved for the month of November because of a little something called Nanowrimo.

Nanowrimo is a magical global non-profit organisation which has the power to transform normal people like me into real life actual writers. I know wholeheartedly I never would have finished my first manuscript, Compliant, if it weren’t for this plucky little group filling me with inspiration and convincing me I could do it.

Writers around the globe take the challenge to write 50 thousand words in one month. To put this challenge in perspective, the State Series books average 80 thousand words. There is no real prizes or awards if you win, simply the satisfaction of knowing you did something awesome.

I started participating in Nano (what the kids are calling it) in 2014. I noticed in the 3rd year it wasn’t quite as exciting for me, and I realized I needed to set additional goals as I already knew I could write 50 thousand words in a month. Last year, my little extra nudge was to actually leave the house and interact with real life humans while I wrote. I liked the humans. I also left the house this year and did even more write-ins than the previous year, but that wasn’t my 2018 sub-goal. I heard from the other humans last year that people in Vancouver like to try to double or triple their word count.

I knew if other people had done it, I needed to do it too. I set my sub-goal sights high for the season. If you read my last post, you will already understand I was extra inspired to write lots and write it fast! Did I make it? No. No I did not. Did someone else I know here write over 150 thousand words in about three weeks? Yes. What is the moral of this story? There isn’t one. I just wanted to tell you I wrote just over 76 thousand words and I’m okay with that. I have people who beat me, people I tied with, and people who ate my dust!

Why did I tell you this pointless story? Because I decided it might help to keep me accountable. I would like to start sharing my word count with you each month to make sure I don’t slack off. I may have a history or a pattern, if you will, of writing like crazy in November, April and July (I’ll explain those months in another post) and then just having a lot of excuses the rest of the year. If I have to tell you what I wrote and the number is lame, it will totally shame me into going faster (theoretically).

I’m going to be honest, December 2018 is not the right month to start this level of sharing, but I’m doing it anyway. As I’m a little burnt out from November and you know, the holidays and such, my expectations aren’t high but that word count will be higher than nothing, which is what I have done in every December past.

What does this mean for the State Series? I hope the first draft of Beyond, Book 4 (oh yes, it is exactly what it sounds like, stepping outside of the dome) will be finished this week. Why didn’t I finish it already you ask? I may have written a 15 thousand word short story for something I can’t tell you about yet (I know, I’m cruel).

However you do or do not celebrate in December, I want to wish you safety in your travels, lots of yummy foods, and lots of love.

MJ Kaestli

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