National Novel Writing Month 2016

October brings changing colors and falling leaves. Some of us are old enough to remember the smell of burning leaves. Even now, there’s the joy of raking up a huge pile of leaves, only to run and jump into it.

Pumpkin spice coffee is everywhere. It’s a month of changes, of leaving one season behind and anticipating the delights of the next one.

For some of us, October means it’s time to get serious about our writing. November is only a couple of weeks away, and November means National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.


What Is NaNoWriMo?

In essence, NaNoWriMo is a put-up-or-shut-up event for writers. It’s the month when anyone who has ever considered writing a novel can do so in a supportive atmosphere. As it says on the web site:

The NaNoWriMo season is officially dawning! No good launch is accomplished alone. Thankfully, there’s a whole crew of writers setting off to explore creative universes with you this November.

In hundreds of regions around the world, NaNoWriMo’s Municipal Liaisons are leading writing events to help your novel soar. Make sure to check your regional calendar to find an event near you!

The emphasis is on quantity, not quality. The idea is to complete your novel as a rough draft, and then go back later and edit it.

By concentrating on words, you’re encouraged to simply write your story; punctuation, spelling, grammar—all of that can wait until you’re done. For me, that takes a huge load off my shoulders, as I’m the kind of writer who agonizes over every single word, comma, period, phrase; by ignoring everything but the words them selves, I’m free to simply tell the tale.

You’re Not Alone

As romantic is the image of the lonely writer’s garret, in NaNoWriMo you don’t work in a vacuum. There are local and regional support groups to help you. And it’s not a competition. There are no trophies, just the sheer satisfaction of knowing you’ve finally done what you’ve always promised yourself you were going to do: write your novel.

A Special Offer From Literature and Latte

Scrivener is a complete writing studio wrapped up in a single program. I can’t overstate how much it has helped me in my writing. And you can download and use a free NaNoWriMo version to use to write your novel.

Here’s the offer:

Special Trial Version
Scrivener’s trial normally runs for thirty days of use, but so that you can start using Scrivener before NaNoWriMo begins without worrying about the trial expiring part-way through November, the special NaNo trial available on this page will run from the moment you start using it all the way up until December 7th. So you can download it, get used to its features, use it for your writing throughout November, and if you like it you can buy Scrivener at a discounted price using one of the special offers below.

What are the special offers?

50% Discount for All NaNoWriMo 2016 Winners
If you achieve your 50,000 words to become a NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner, you will be eligible for a 50% discount off the regular license of Scrivener (which is normally $45 for the Mac version and $40 for the Windows version). Details will appear on the Winner Goodies page at the start of December.
20% Discount for Everyone Else
Even if you don’t reach your target this year, you can still get 20% off the regular price of Scrivener by entering the discount code NaNoWriMo the coupon code text field of our online web store.

No More Excuses

So there you have it. If you’re finally ready to write your novel, hop on over to the NaNoWriMo web site and get started.

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Filed under NaNoWriMo, writing

It’s Grocery Shopping Day

And for me, it’s a time for decisions. But first, some background:

I recently moved into my new place. And where before I had two rooms plus a kitchen and bath, I’m now renting a room in a house. I have a bedroom, and share the rest of the house with my landlord. Except even that’s not correct, because he also has one semi-permanent friend staying over, and another one who drops by every two weeks or so and stays sometimes for a couple of days, and sometimes for a week.

All of which add up to a very crowded refrigerator and freezer.

I use the bottom drawer of my dresser for storing things that don’t need to be refrigerated, but there are times when I don’t even have room enough in the refrigerator for a gallon of milk, much less a six-pack of hard cider.

Still, it’s better than living under a bridge, especially now that winter’s on its way. The temperature dropped to 44°F/6.6°C last night, and it’s not expected to get above the mid 50s today.

So when I do get to the store, I’m going to pick up some French bread, pizza sauce, and all the rest of the makings for a couple of French bread pizzas. Sure, it’s easier to buy them frozen and stick them in the oven, but I want my own recipes, not someone else’s. Mozzarella is a given, but maybe some Gruyere as well, caramelized onions, pear slices, spinach and bay leaves.

Oh…and I’ve also got a dynamite recipe for spinach and ricotta calzones I’ll be sharing with you a little later in the week.

Did I say French bread? Forget that: pizza is Italian, so I wonder why nobody ever talks about Italian bread pizza. The store I’m going to makes excellent Italian bread, and so I’ll be making Italian bread pizza!

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When a Connection Isn’t a Connection

My Windows Control Panel says I’m connected to the Internet:


But Firefox keeps telling me

The connection has timed out
The server at is taking too long to respond.

It’s been this way off and on all day. I wonder if the fact that the connection is over satellite has anything to do with it—it’s also been raining all day.

It also affects my iPhone and iPad, although I can connect via my phone if I turn off Wi-Fi and turn on Cellular Data.

Either way, it’s a pain.

One of the ironies is that my laptop is 3 inches from the Wi-Fi modem, and my iPhone is about a foot away.

Regardless, it’s a nuisance.

A Few Solutions

Wait for the problem to resolve itself.

Take my laptop to the public library.

Or get off my lazy butt and take it downstairs, where Ed doesn’t seem to have any problem with his connection. So maybe it’s just something about my room. After all, it doesn’t seem to matter whether or not the modem in my room is on or off—I just turned it off, and I still have a connection.

Or I could copy my entries to a flash drive and upload them from a different computer.

Anyway, it’s back to the drawing board. I’ll let you know what I find out.

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Finally, the Password!

I moved into my new room on Saturday. Today, by calling on my all-but-forgotten networking knowledge from former jobs, I was able to discover the WiFi password for the house. (Yes, I had already got permission from my landlord/roommate.)

So I’m all set on my iPad and iPhone; still looking for a desk or table for my laptop. Until then, I’ll use my iPad for my blogs. And while it does a wonderful job, it’s not a replacement for a computer. At least this generation iPad isn’t.

Staceys iPad Pro, however, comes pretty close. At least it will do everything she needs to do, so I guess that does make it a replacement for her broken Macbook.

Writing – or rather typing – on the iPad is slower than on a laptop. But I think that’s a plus, in that I truly have to think about every word I use. I haven’t mastered the art of typing with two thumbs (not that I’ve even tried), and so I use one hand to hold the iPad and the index finger of the other to type. Slow going, but my SwiftKey predictive keyboard helps considerably.

 So that’s today’s news. Now I think I’ll treat myself to a nap!


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The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

I had a slight delay in posting: I got locked out of my blog account. It seems I had forgotten my password and exceeded the limit for trying to guess at it. I was finally able to reset it, but it took a few days before (1) I was able to use it to log in and (2) have the “You’ve Exceeded The Number of Login Attempts” fairies to reset themselves.

Anyway, all is good now. In fact, things are better than good! I’ve found a place of my own. I knew that staying with Stacey was only temporary, and Craig’s List came through for me again. It’s only a room in a house, with two roommates, but I’ll have privacy when I need it, and peace and quiet when I want to write, with no dog to distract me.

But don’t misunderstand: I love Fyona and think she’s the best dog in the world, but when I’m trying to write and she comes to me wagging her tail, I can’t resist. I’ll spend 10 minutes petting her and playing with her, and lose my train of thought.

My new landlord said he’s open to me moving in sooner than the October 1st date he put in the ad; I’m thinking of this Saturday as the day.

Stacey and I will both breathe easier when I’m gone, and we’re not constantly tripping over each other. It’s been great seeing each other, but she spends her day in her room, and I spend mine on my laptop on the kitchen table, both of us in self-imposed isolation.

So that’s where things stand with me right now, and they continue to look brighter.

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Filed under moving