novels

Book Giveaway

One of my faithful readers, novelist Heather Justesen, is having a wonderful week full of giveaways over at her blog this week.  Check it out here.Balls in Her Court smaller

Heather is the author of the newly-released, The Ball's In Her Court, and she's got another book coming out this summer.  Gotta love that.  Here's a brief summary that I snitched from her website (in the interest of promotion, I don't think she'll get too upset with me):

She's
got a great job, a loving group of family and friends and basketball
skills like you wouldn't believe, but Denise DeWalt's life is far from
perfect, and she's about to come face-to-face with a past she hoped to
leave behind forever.

Twenty-six-year-old Denise thinks she's come to terms with her childhood in the foster
care system, but when her old nightmares return, Denise realizes that
she must deal with her past once and for all if she ever wants to move
on to a brighter future with Rich, the only man who can see past her
former life. As Denise's search leads her closer and closer to the one
person she hoped she'd never have to face again, she begins to realize
that her future depends on just one person–herself.

This
emotional and inspirational love story proves that life is full of
unexpected twists and turns–especially when it comes to facing your
demons, fighting for love, and finding happiness for the future

It is done, it is done, it is done

A ritual from an energy-healing technique that shall remain nameless ends thusly: it is done, it is done, it is done.

This is meant to be the signal that the healing has taken place.  But today I am co-opting it to announce that the novel is done.  Finished, finito, fini, DONE. 

I can hardly believe it.

I can also hardly believe how carefree and energized I feel–ready to tackle new projects, and return to some old ones as well–like organizing my office.  It is bad, I tell you.  If I took a picture of it you would be shocked.

But first it is off to New Mexico for a week.

No matter how painful, and I know it will be, I promise to share the ups and downs of the novel submission process.  Current status: query sent to agent I have personal recommendation for.  Please think good thoughts.

DON'T FORGET THE CONTEST to win a copy of The Midnight Disease.  You have until the end of today to comment on that post and then I will choose a winner, randomly.  And let me just say, as of now, your odds are very good.  So get on over there and make them bad. 

It Is All For the Book

When my kids were little, it seemed like every other week there was a social event I didn't want to attend.  I'm a pretty social person (all these hours I spend alone writing need some balance) but sometimes there were things I just didn't want to do–school parties where all the mothers seemed far more together, knowledgeable and hip than I come to mind immediately.  I was shyer then than I am now, and far less confident.

But I always went to these events.  Always, once even after I'd had gum surgery and was in so much pain I could barely talk.

When I was moaning and groaning about having to go, I would tell myself one thing–it is for the kids.

It didn't matter what I thought, or what anyone thought of me.  The most important thing was that I was going for the benefit of my child and I needed to be there for her/him.  This bit of perspective has actually served me well through the years when I've used it to remind myself what is important in other arenas.

And I've thought about it a lot lately as I wind down the final revisions of my novel (ha! you knew I'd get it in here). 

I'm reworking a crucial bit in one of the last chapters.  By all accounts, I had a problem with this scene.  My critique group recommended solving in one manner.  Other readers had different ideas.  And when I started working on the changes, I knew that neither were right.  However, dumbly, I kept going.  I tore apart that chapter. I kept telling myself that my instincts were wrong and that I needed to listen to others because they knew best.  I was too close to the work, I told myself.  I couldn't see the forest for the trees.  (Those thoughts, of course, alternate with panicked ones like, Who is going to want to read this damn thing anyway?)

Finally, after much heavy sighing, staring out the window, and pacing (all crucial aspects of the rewriting process that honestly don't get their due) it hit me.

It is all for the book.

It doesn't matter what I think, doesn't matter what my critique group thinks, it doesn't matter what my readers think.  What maters is what works for the book.  Period. 

It is all for the book.

That brilliant epiphany cleared the path for magic to happen–a third direction appeared.  A different way in which to solve the problem occurred to me, and it is a stronger, better way.  It is the way that is best for the book.

I had a nutritionist who dabbled in Jungian psychology once, and she would have called this grace.

I am grateful for it.  (And honestly, I really am close to finishing this protracted rewrite.  Truly.  I'd probably have been done with it ages ago if I'd just quit writing about it.)

PS.  Don't forget to enter the contest to win a free copy of the book, The Midnight Disease: The Drive To Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice W. Flaherty.  You can find out how if you go here.

Creating Characters: Mai, Oui, Marcel Proust, I Could Use Some Help

Having some difficulty creating full, true-to-life fictional characters?  Why not let Marcel help you?

Yes, that Marcel, the most famous one of all–Marcel Proust, author of Remembrance of Things Past, the only part of which I remember is when he waxed poetic about Madeleines, the shell-shaped, mini-cakes that melt in your mouth.

Thanks to the wonderful Kate Lord Brown, fellow denizen of Alltop, I found this fabulous questionnaire that purports to be the Proust Questionnaire.  You can answer the same questions that our Marcel did at age 13, and at age 20.  Supposedly. 

In truth, I don't really care if Proust did answer these questions or not.  What struck me in looking them over is how useful they could be for character development.  The questions go way beyond Barbara Walter's famous, "If you were a tree, what tree would you be?" query to delve deeply into such things as:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?

Your favorite virtue?

What in your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?

And more, so much more, all written in that language from another time.  So put yourself in your character's state of mind and take the questionnaire.

Also, head on over to Kate's blog and read the post about the questionnaire.  Its quite clever.

And, one more thing–stay tuned to learn details of the awesome contest that is coming up.  I'll give you a hint.  It has something to do with this site.

Summer, Travel, and the Art of Not Writing

I've been a bit distracted lately, which has caused me to Not Write.

First of all, it is hot.  Not like 90-degree hot.  Oh, no, that's not good enough for us.  We are suffering through 106+ weather, which is hot, hot, hot.  It is so hot that we poor Portlanders don't know what to do with ourselves other than shut ourselves up in air-conditioned rooms–which runs counter to the Portland creed of All Outdoors, All the Time.  So the pug and I are mostly confined to the one small room in my house that has an air conditioner.  And we are so very grateful that we have it or else we would be staying at a motel.  If we were lucky enough to find one that had a vacancy.  As it is, I barely slept last night.

Besides weather, I've been distracted by family.  This is a good distraction, unlike the first one.  I'm fortunate to have two sisters.  (I miss my third sister, who died December 15, 2007, terribly.)  Sis #1 is a former flight attendant who lives in Phoenix.  Sis #2 lives here in Portland and is a fabulous graphic designer, should you be in need of one.

This weekend, Sis #1 came to visit and stay at my house.  We had such a great time!  But great times are not necessarily conducive to great writing.  As a matter of fact, when one is having great times, one can easily forget that one aspires to be a great writer.

Except, here's the deal.  Even when one is Not Writing, one is still writing in some way or another.  And though in many ways I haven't been writing, in many ways I have.  To wit:

The first thing I had to do in advance of Sis #1's arrival was clean the house.  I'm a lousy housekeeper, because most of the time I wander around thinking about writing and can't be bothered with cleaning.  But the one good thing about housecleaning (and its the only one I can think of) is that it gives you plenty of thinking time.  Never underestimate the amount of thinking time that it takes to commit words to paper.  As a matter of fact, I believe the need to think deeply about writing is one of the primary causes of writer's block.  It is hard to think deep thoughts, especially if one has had even a tiny bit too much wine the previous evening, or if one is dehydrated from blastedly hot weather.  So, thinking time is good.  Which probably means I should rethink my plans to hire a housekeeper so I never have to clean again.

Secondly, on Saturday we took a drive up to the wonderful town of Hood River, a wind-surfing mecca on the Columbia River about 60 miles east of Portland.  I love this town.  The main street is full of cute shops, not the least of which is a fabulous bookstore, and great restaurants.  We happened into the Hood River Hotel, an historic landmark, and decided to eat there on a whim.  Good choice–the food was fabulous, very French bistro-ish. 

Travel is excellent for producing ideas, even a minor little day-trip.  I find it all inspiring.  Not only the part about being in a different place or culture, but the part about being in transit.  The motion of driving or flying often seems to jar loose something deep inside (maybe some of those profound thoughts) and I find myself scribbling madly.  That didn't happen this time, but it could have.  Had it not been so hot.  For real, travel forms new ideas in one's brain that may pop up days, months, or years later.

And, now that my sister has returned home and the heat wave has descended upon us, I have spent the last few afternoons ensconced in the one air-conditioned room with my computer.  Have I gotten any writing done?  A wee bit.  Like this blog post.  And some editing here and there.

(Speaking of which my friend Linda Busby Parker has posted an excerpt of my novel, Emma Jean's Bad Behavior, on her blog.  Check it out–just head on over here and click on the Novel Gallery page.)

But I digress.  To return to the point of this post, as writers we are never really Not Writing.  So even if you feel you are Not Writing, give yourself a break, stop for a minute and ponder what other things you are doing that might be contributing to your quest to be a great writer.  I bet you'll be surprised.  And most important–quit beating yourself up about Not Writing already.  The more you beat yourself up about it, the harder it is to get yourself back to it.

The Sinner’s Guide to Confession: Blog Stop

The Sinner's Guide to ConfessionSinners Guide to Confession

By Phyllis Schieber

Today I have the pleasure of hosting a blog stop on Phyllis Schieber's virtual book tour.

Wouldn't it be refreshing for an author to pay attention to women of a certain age (especially if you are a woman of a certain age)?  Well, Phyllis Schieber has!Her novel has been called chick-lit for boomers. The characters–Barbara, Kaye, and Ellen–are best friends in their 50s, all smart, gutsy women who face challenges that are universal to all females, no matter the age. 

In an interview at the blog, Bookshipper, Shieber said, "The women in Sinner's certainly have some of the same problems that women have in their 20s, 30s, and 40s, but these women have far more serious issues to contend with in their late forties and early fifties than the problems that drive 'chick lit'."

What follows is a bit more information about the book.  Be sure to scroll down to find out how to win a free copy.  Nothing better than a free book!

About Sinner’s Guide to Confession:
Kaye and Barbara are longtime friends, now in their fifties. Ellen, who is several years younger, develops a friendship with the other two women years later, solidifying this close-knit group. The three women are inseparable, yet each nurtures a secret that she keeps from the others.


Phyllis Scheiber
About Author Phyllis Schieber (in her own words):

The first great irony of my life was that I was born in a Catholic hospital. My parents, survivors of the Holocaust, had settled in the South Bronx among other new immigrants. In the mid-fifties, my family moved to Washington Heights. The area offered scenic views of the Hudson River and the Palisades, as well as access to Fort Tryon Park and the mysteries of the Cloisters. I graduated from George Washington High School. I graduated from high school at sixteen, went on to Bronx Community College, transferred to and graduated from Herbert H. Lehman College with a B.A. in English and a New York State license to teach English. I earned my M.A. in Literature from New York University and later my M.S. as a developmental specialist from Yeshiva University. I have worked as a high school English teacher and as a learning disabilities specialist.

My first novel , Strictly Personal, for young adults, was published by Fawcett-Juniper. Willing Spirits was published by William Morrow. My most recent novel, The Sinner’s Guide to Confession, was released by Berkley Putnam. In March 2009, Berkley Putnam will issue the first paperback publication of Willing Spirits.

Win A Free Book from Phyllis Schieber – It's very easy to be entered in a drawing for a FREE book by Phyllis Schieber. Post comments on any blogs during the virtual tour and you will have a chance to win a book from Phyllis. One random person will win – but we are also asking visitors to share a secret and one secret will also win a free book. As a bonus the blog owner that hosted the winning comments will also win a book. Share some interesting stories and questions with Phyllis Schieber during her tour – and have a chance to win a book.

For full details about Phyllis Schieber’s virtual tour, visit her tour home page -  http://virtualblogtour.blogspot.com/2008/12/sinners-guide-to-confession-by-phyllis.html

Order Your Copy here – http://tr.im/2x1g

You can visit Phyllis Schieber at www.thesinnersguidetoconfession.com or www.phyllisschieber.blogspot.com

It’s Sunday: Do You Know Where Your Niche Is?

I just found mine.

It wasn't really lost, in the sense that it was something I desperately missed.  It was more like it was buried under the multitude of interests and ideas that crowd my sometimes-mushy brain (too much going on in there!) 

It wasn't even something that I felt I needed.  The experts, however, say otherwise.  It took quite a bit of convincing, and reading a book to get me searching for my niche.  And then, as is so often the case, I found it right under my nose.

Are you ready?

My niche is information about creating a writing life while writing your book or waiting for it to sell. Or, in short, creating a life devoted to writing.  That has a nice ring to it.  Right?

I know.  Duh. Like I haven't been writing about just that already.  But you'd be surprised how difficult it can be to decide what it is exactly that I do.  Because, like many writers, I do many different things.  I'm terrible at networking events because my 20-second elevator pitch goes something like this:

"And what do you do?"  (Woman dressed in killer designer suit with beautifully lacquered nails.)

"Um, I'm a writer."  (Me, in my usual writerly outfit of gypsy skirt and lots of jewelry.)

"What do you write?"  (Killer woman.)

"Well, I ghostwrite.  And I teach writing.  And I coach writers.  And I run a writing program.  And I write this blog that talks about writing.  And then there's my own writing, the novels and short stories."

I'm telling the last part of it to the woman's back–the suit cuts a gorgeous line from the rear, too–because I've lost her.  She is off looking for someone who can tell her succinctly what he can do.

Since I'm not a big fan of networking events anyway, except for one I belong to in LA, I've managed to convince myself I don't really need a niche.  I have now seen the error of my ways and will spend the next year repenting. 

Actually, I'm really happy about this because identifying my niche gives me permission to do more of what I'm already doing.  I'm going to continue writing posts about craft and creativity and how they apply to making a life devoted to writing. 

One of my twitter friends, Mary, asked me to define "writing life" after I proudly tweeted about my niche.   And so here goes.  Creating a life devoted to writing can mean actually making a living writing, supplementing your income with writing, or just learning how to make contacts and attend events relating to writing, even if you don't need to earn a living from it.  A life devoted to writing implies that you make time for it regularly–another thing I talk a lot (some would probably say too much).  Creating a life devoted to writing means that the written word (and you practicing it) is front and center in your life.

So, there you have it, a niche, found.  And now excuse me while I go practice my elevator pitch.

Looking Back, and More Important, Looking Forward

It is New Year's Eve, 2008, the cusp of a new year.

I'm a wildly optimistic person and every year I proclaim that the next year is going to be the best yet.  And, nearly everyone of them turns out to be best in some arena.  It may be very difficult for some people to come up with good things to say about 2008, given the upheavals we've experienced.  Once again turning on my Pollyanna persona, I believe these are necessary shifts we've had to go through–and that 2009 will be better.  I'm excited about our president-elect, for one thing.  And I'm excited about the opportunities for writing in 2009.

Although the publishing industry is in turmoil, it is going to be a good year for writers. Not only will many of us find more time to write because of fewer business obligations, but in general a depressed economy forces us to stay home more–and what better thing to do at home then write?  Along those lines, I have plans in the works to assist you in your writing endeavors next year.

But first, before we get to what's in store for 2009, I present my year in review, along with a list of favorite posts.

Good Things About 2008

1.  My ghostwriting career took off.  I've been privileged to write several books for wonderful clients. This allows me to enter a different world and become the person I'm writing the book for.  Gives me a small taste of what being an actor must feel like.  

2.  After teaching in the program for five years, I became co-director of the wonderful writing program, The Writer's Loft.  Anybody interested in improving their writing skills should take a look at the program.  It is based in Tennessee, but since its a distant-learning program you can live anywhere and take advantage of one-on-one focused mentoring.

3.  I started Bookstrumpet, which is floundering at the moment but had a glorious beginning with many wonderful reviews from various people.  I'm pondering this blog's future at the moment.  One possibility is to incorporate all the material into Wordstrumpet.  Ideas?

4.  Word Strumpet became available on Kindle and at this writing it is currently #12 on the bestseller list in Lifestyle and Culture.  Thanks to all my Kindle subscribers!

5.  I began a newsletter, The Creative Equation, and got some subscribers.  Thanks, guys!  For those of you who don't yet subscribe, you can do so on the front page of Wordstrumpet.  I send it out irregularly and don't harass you with tons of emails about stuff to buy.  But it is the best way to keep up with news about product releases and my plans.  (See below)

6.  I started running and found many commonalities between the practice of running and the practice of writing.  See below for some of my posts about it.

7. I made two wonderful new friends, Rachel, and Mayanna, both of whom I adore.  And I kept up with my old friends in Nashville, too numerous to list here, and LA, and my bestest friend, Suzanne.  I share a love of writing with all of them.  Rachel and Mayanna both started blogs this year and Suzanne really got going on hers.

What I Resolve to Do Better

1. Respond to comments more consistently.   I love, love, love it when you guys comment yet I don't always manage to comment back.  No excuses.  I'll do better.

2.  Be as helpful with your writing as possible.  I want to do more posts on craft and motivation, as these are what the respondents to my survey said they really appreciated.  I also want to do more posts featuring exercises you can use in your work immediately.

3.  Send the above-mentioned newsletter out more regularly.

4.  Fully embrace the possibilities of blogging and allow Wordstrumpet to be all that it can be. 

Favorite Posts of 2008 (Mine and Yours) 

1.  The series on words.  Part one is here, part two here, and part three here.  This seemed to be a crowd-pleaser, and I loved reading the comments about how you find strong verbs and other good words.  We writers are a word-loving bunch!

2.  The series on scene.  Series seemed to be big this year, and since scene is often a point of confusion for writers, this one went over well.  Part one is here, on flat scenes is here, part two on elements of a scene here, and part three on rising and falling action here.

3.  When One is Born a Writer.  This one got so many great responses I did When One is Born a Writer Redux.

4. My posts about running.  Read them here and here.  At the moment, I'm sidelined with a knee injury, but I can't wait to get back to it.

5. The Filtering Consciousness.  An arcane but important aspect of craft.

6.  A Day in the Life.  I'm trying to get better about not devoting quite so much time to writing.

7.  Birdsong.  I thought this was just a little throw-away, but people loved it.  I did too.

8.  The  Character Who Wasn't Dead. Sometimes we writers are kinda dense.

9.  A two-part series on erotic romance.  Part one, on writing it, is here.  And part two, on publishing it, here.

10.  Finally, I resisted this one, because it is multi-parts, and creating all these links is a lot of work.  Plus its almost time for me to get ready to go out.  But I did a whole series on The Writing Bogs that I've since turned into an Ebook called Set the Words Free.  So, here are the links:  part one, part two, part three and part four.  Phew!  I could swear there was another one, but I can't seem to find it.

Looking Ahead to 2009

For the record, my biggest non-blog-related goal is to get a contract for my novel.  Go, Emma Jean!  I know a lot of you are also looking for agents, writing query letters, submitting like crazy.  So let's all communicate and support each other through the process.

Besides the above-mentioned goals, I want to give you a heads-up on what I'm planning, project-wise. My biggest goal is to get my pet project off the ground–the Charlotte Rains Dixon Novel Writing Academy.  Is that not a fabulous and grandiose name?  I adore it.  And its going to be wonderful, a membership site full of lengthy and informative articles, forms, and exercises.  Plus regular teleclasses, videos and all kinds of goodies.  

Realistically, it is also going to take a few months to get off the ground.  So in the meantime I hope to offer a product or two.  Stay tuned–and thanks for hanging around as long as you have.

Happy New Year to all!

The Dream World

"Imagination is sacred and divine–I trust it implicitly."

So said Andre Dubus III at his Wordstock reading last weekend.  Dubus, best known for House of Sand and Fog, read from his latest novel, The Garden of Last Days, which was inspired by the Florida sojourns of the 9-11 hijackers.  After he read from the book, Dubus talked about writing the book.  He quoted Flannery O'Connor, who said, "writing is waiting," to make the point that even when you are staring at the computer monitor, you are writing.  And then he ripped off this line: "You are summoning, almost like a prayer to an angel, the imagination to give you something."

After hearing that line, I was ready to go buy every book the man ever wrote.  He went on the say that if you summon the imagination regularly it will reward you with things to write about.  Someone in the audience asked him how difficult it was to get inside the head of one of the September 11 hijackers, and he told how he resisted and resisted it, that he had no interest in making one of them a viewpoint character.  But then the novel seemed to sputter and fall flat and he was in danger of losing it completely.  He realized that he had to make one of the hijackers a viewpoint character, so he sat and did nothing but read books about the Middle East for five months.

Dubus quoted Mike Nichols, saying that the charge of the storyteller is to share what it is really like to be in the midst of whatever is happening.  In character-driven fiction, you want to establish empathy for the characters, not sympathy.  As a writer, you do this to the point that there is no other.  What you do in writing is to go beyond knowledge of the other to totally be the other.

Interestingly, this is true in fiction, as well as in many other arenas of writing. When you write a press release, there's a certain tone and style that you emulate.  In a much more superficial way, you're becoming the other–the PR pro who knows what will grab attention.  A blog post sounds different than a web page and an article in a newspaper is dissimilar in tone to a piece in the New Yorker.   In each instance the trick for the writer is to figure out the trops and do them.  Be the other.

I was discussing this with Mary-Suzanne yesterday in terms of ghostwriting.  How does a writer get out of their own skin and into the skin of the person who is supposedly writing the book?  Here are some tips (which are applicable to every kind of writing imaginable):

1.  Get Over Yourself.  Clear the gunk out.  Do it however you like, but I think the best way is to write a bunch of crap down on paper.  Set a timer and write out all the petty judgments and grievances and even all the things that are making you happy.  (You may get some ideas along the way, though that is not the point of this.  As an added benefit, you may also improve your mental health along the way.

2.  Enter the Dream World.  Close your eyes, take some deep breaths, center yourself, do whatever it takes to get yourself calm and zen and relaxed.  Listen to music if you need to. 

3.  Start to Observe.  Pull an image of the person you are melding with into your brain.  What do they look like, smell like, sound like, feel like?   Be aware that in making these observations you are still on the outside looking in.

4.  Become the Other.  Now, go a step farther and sink deeper into the character.  Instead of observing the character, imagine yourself actually going into her head.  What does the world look like from inside her viewpoint?  Where is she sitting?  What is the view outside her window?  What does she do when she first gets up in the morning?

5.  Trust Your Imagination.  Remember, as Dubus says, it is sacred and divine.    All you are really doing in this exercise is imagining life through another person's eyes.   And, honestly, what could be more important than bridging the gaps between us?

Top 5 Ways to Prepare for Nanowrimo

I'm not going to do Nanowrimo this year, because I need to focus on the final rewrite (yeah, right, how many times have I said that) of my current novel.  But I'm a huge fan of it and had a blast doing it several years ago, when I "won" by the way.

(In case you live on Mars, Nanowrimo is short for National Novel Writing Month, a project which encourages people all across the globe to write a "novel" of 50,000 words over the month of November.)

But since preparing for Nanowrimo is much like preparing to write any big project, I thought I'd post some tips.  Here we go:

1.  Set a page or word goal.  I figured to win Nanowrimo I would be safe if I wrote 2,000 words a day.  This allowed for acts of god and trips to LA, when I couldn't write every day.  If you aren't doing Nanowrimo,  you might want to set a page goal.  Three pages a day is good.  Doesn't sound like much but if you write three pages a day at the end of a month you have 90 pages, which is 1/3 of a novel. (God, this is such good advice, why don't I follow it?  Because it is much harder to set a specific page or word goal when you are rewriting–some changes are simple, some lead to many other changes forward and back.  Okay, I feel better.)

2.  Get it done first thing.  I like to get up first thing in the morning and write.  If I get going on the novel first, everything else falls into place.  If I decide to work on some other project, like those pesky ones that pay bills, I'll never get back to the novel.  When I did Nanowrimo, my deal with myself was that I couldn't go to bed until I had my word count done.   If I didn't finish in the morning, I had to keep going back to it until I did.  On the other hand, I know that there are people like my friend Tony who prefers to write from 8 PM to 1 AM. Huh.  A different opinion than mine, imagine that.

3.  Prepare, prepare, prepare.  C'mon, you've still got three days.  That's plenty of time.  Nanowrimo rules say you can do as much preparation as you want–as long as you don't write word one until November 1st.  Make lists of plot points, decide on character motivations, figure out what your characters want and what will stand in their way.  Choose locations and make notes about them.  Think about where your characters live and what they wear. What do they do on an ordinary day?  By preparing to write your novel in this way, you are also prepping your subconscious for what is to come–and trust me, those 2,000 words a day will come much easier.

4.  Tell family and friends to go jump in a lake.  No, perhaps it is a bit too cold for that, so tell them to take a hike.  Or rent every season of Friends, or the entire set of the Lord of the Rings and lock themselves in the TV room.  Or perhaps this is the time to tell your wife to finally read Anna Karenina.  The point is to (kindly) get rid of them.  Let them know you'll need time, space and energy to complete this goal that is important to you.

5.  Treat yourself well.  Now, and for the entire month of November.  Go easy on the alcohol (I hate that part) and eat healthy, natural whole foods. Exercise regularly.  My favorite exercise is pushing myself away from the computer desk.  Kidding.  I love to walk, and walking is excellent for pondering plot points.  Do all the things that you know will create energy for yourself.  You need to be alert and full of energy to write those 2000 words a day during November. 

Here's the bonus tip:  HAVE FUN.  Nanowrimo is a blast, and I love that it gets people writing and also connecting in Nanowrimo meetings.  So enjoy it.  And keep me posted on your progress.  Good luck!