NaNoWriMo: How to Meet Your Goals Over Thanksgiving Break

I want to share a few tips and tricks to get in writing time during the busy - and way too distracting - Thanksgiving break.

I know, you're thinking, "Danyelle, you're nuts! There's no way to get writing done when all the kids are home from break and out-of-towners are invading the house!"

But trust me, there is. Just keep reading.

Tip #1 - Short 15 Minute Sprints

Make it a goal to get a least two short 15 minute sprints into your Turkey Day. If you can get in three, then Wahoo! Choose a location where you can lock the door and no one will bother you. May I suggest the bathroom? You can seriously lock yourself in there and no one will blink an eye that you disappeared for a whole fifteen minutes. Just be sure to flush the toilet and wash your hands before you come back out - or else your secret will be blown. If you have an annoying MIL, SIL, or other family member, you'll find you may want to schedule four or five (or more) 15 minute sprints. They're great for the psyche.

Tip #2 - Hide Your Laptop/Netbook/Alphasmart

This is important for two reasons. #1 - If you hide your writing buddy, then your kids can't get on it to surf the net or use it for an impromptu DVD player. It will be ready and waiting for you to pick it up and sprint it out.  #2 - If you hide your laptop in the location where you plan to escape for your sprints, then once again, your cover won't be blown when family members see you trying to sneak into another room with it.  Hint: If using the bathroom location, I highly recommend putting your laptop in either a drawer or beneath the sink in the vanity. But don't leave it visible! Cover that baby up with a towel. Think like your sneaky teenagers . . .

Tip #3 - Set a Word Count Goal

Shoot for 1,000 words minimum. You can totally do it! If you're a speed demon writer, then shoot higher. But make sure it's a goal that mildly challenges you, instead of knocking you on your butt because you shot too high. It is after all a holiday!

And now, my friends, I wish you all a fabulous Thanksgiving filled with family, laughter, and speedy fingers!  Happy writing!

Muppets Week: Carve-O-Matic

Poor Beeker. He has such terrible things that keep happening to him. But my munchkins think it's hilarious!

Muppets Week: POPCORN!!!

My kids love the Sweedish Chef. They watch his clips over and over and over. Here's another fave.

Muppets Week: The Three Little Pigs

My five year old loves this one. She thinks the brothers are hilarious and she loves when Miss Piggy wacks the wolf.  =)

Muppets Week: Carven Der Pumpkin

My family is totally nuts about the Muppets. At Sunday dinner, our kids were talking about their favorite Muppet Show moments, which led to us getting on YouTube to hunt some of them down. This week, I'm going to share some of our faves. Enjoy!

Up first, my 13 year old son's favorite clip - The Sweedish Chef Makes Pumpkin Pie!

November Family Night Ideas

Some friends have been asking me to post about my family nights. Here's what the Ferguson family will be talking about.

Civic Duty & Election Day
Song: America the Beautiful

Veteran's Awareness Week
Song: The Star Spangled Banner

Kindness & Bullying Awareness
Song: Kindness Begins with Me

American Education Week
Song: ABC's

I'll try to post about the lessons and activities we do, but since it's National Novel Writing Month, I'll be busy typing away on my current work-in-progress. I'd love to know if you use these topics though!

NaNoWriMo: Kicking Off with an Excerpt

Hello fellow NaNoWriMos! I hope you've kicked off the month and are typing away in all your spare time. Remember, those 15 minute speed writing sessions can really ramp up your word counts. According to Scrivener, I'm at about 8,400 words. That's the biggest word count I've ever kicked off with. We'll see if I can keep it up over the coming days and weeks.

And for fun, here's a scene from my NaNoWriMo project, Take Two:

Knock, knock, knock.
 Just ignore it. Roll over and go back to sleep. 

Knock, knock, knock.
Feet touch the cool hardwood floors.
Stay in bed. Don't go downstairs.

Knock, knock, knock.
It's so dark. What time is it?
Lightning flashes, illuminating the hall clock.

Knock, knock, knock.
Who could be here at this time of the night?
Go back to bed.
It's so cold.
Don't answer the door.

Knock, knock, knock.
She’s at the door.
Don't open it!
Go back to bed!

Knock, knock, knock.
But they aren't leaving.
What if they wake up Michael?
Her hand reached out and grasped the cold doorknob.

Knock. Knock. Knock.
Don't open it!
But I have to.
Slowly, the door swung open.
Cold wind assaulted her, blowing her hair in her face and pushing her long nightgown to twist around her legs. Two men in uniforms stand on the porch.

“Mrs. Thomas?”
What do they want?
Why are they here? 

“There's been an accident”
Iciness trickles through her, freezing her feet in place. The night becomes distorted with swirling darkness.
What are they saying?

“I'm sorry. Your husband had fatal injuries.”
Numbness begins at her feet and works it way up. Everything around her shifts, fades, and becomes darker.

“Your husband is dead.”
Closer and closer, the darkness comes toward her.
Is it possible to feel any colder? Is this what death feels like?
Total blackness creeps in to consume her.

“No! Jeff!” Jennifer cried as she sat up, surrounded by the dark of night, gasping for air. 

Jeff. The dream. Again. Will I ever stop reliving that night? Leaning over, Jennifer turned on the bedside light. She took his picture from the nightstand, then turned and wrapped her arms around the pillow and sobbed. 

Jeff, I miss you so much. Why can't you be here? I need you. 

Memories of their time together filled her mind. Jeff's laughter after he would sneak up behind her, Jeff wrapping his arms around her waist while she washed dishes, and being held in those arms at night when everything was quiet.

I need you to hold me again.
I need you to help me. 

Remember when we were dating and our friends would tease us about our names? Jeff and Jenn—oh so cute together. Remember that winter night when your roommates were being boisterous so we threw on our coats, grabbed blankets and sat on the outside steps so we could read our scriptures together in peace? Now I can't remember when the last time was that I opened the book.

Yes I do. It was the night you died.

Oh, Jeff. I can't be strong without you. I can't do this alone. Why aren't you here?

Sobbing even harder, Jennifer rubbed her face from side to side. Glancing up, she saw Jeff's favorite picture of Christ tending His flock of sheep.

Why, God? Why did you take him from me? He was doing what you wanted him to do. He went to that church meeting. He obeyed. Why did you let him die? I know you could have stopped it.
Don't you know how much I need him? Don't you understand that Michael needs his father to be here? Jeff should be here to go to his t-ball games, to play hide and seek like we used to, to hug him and love him. Now Michael's only memories of his father are the stories I tell him.

Don't you love us? 

What did I do to make you punish me this way? I just want Jeff. I want him back.
Why, God? Why?

My life's empty without him. Why did you take him from me?


Over and over, the unanswered question repeated in her mind until the darkness of sleep took over again.

I know the formatting is funky, but hey, it's a copy and paste from Scrivener.  =)  

How are your projects coming? 
If you post an excerpt from your book, please leave a link in the comments so I can come check it out!

Happy writing!