NaNoWriMo 2018: Resist!


Do you have “writer’s block?” Do you find you’ve lost hours and hours to Pinterest or Facebook when you should have been writing? Do you wander the house doing chores like, dusting the crown moulding? Cause that couldn’t wait another minute, eh? If so, I’d like to introduce you to your nemesis…


Four years ago I wrote a post about this very subject. Resistance is the theme of Steven Pressfield’s seminal work, The War of Art. If you haven’t read it… it is a powerful treatise on identifying and fighting resistance.

I like Steven. He is warm, and generous and reminds me of Joe Biden, often wise, sometimes funny, and once in awhile he comes across like your wacky old uncle Joe…read my resistance post here.

Remember, our enemy is not the lack of preparation: it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of your bank account.

The enemy is Resistance.

The enemy is our chattering brain, which if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self- justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do.”

Steven Pressfield from Do the Work

What I’d like most for you to know is that you can work through resistance. You just need to show up and do the work, no matter what, no excuse. Put your butt in the chair and produce something, anything. That’s where NaNoWriMo comes in, 50 thousand words in 30 days leaves no room for doubt, or time for resistance,

Writing is like any other skill. You need to practice. It needs to become a habit to build upon your previous work. You wouldn’t expect to sit down at a piano for the first time, or hundredth time, and expect to be a master of it would you? Even when you do reach mastery, you never stop practicing. Right?

Whatever level you are at, whether it is the first time you’re putting pen to paper, or you are on your tenth novel, the process is the same. Write. Write some more. Do it again tomorrow.

There you go. What stops you from accomplishing your writing goals is resistance. What stops resistance is doing the work.

“Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.”

Steven Pressfield


Joanna Penn interviewing Steve Pressfield

Steven Pressfield’s archive of articles about Resistance



Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2018

Greetings WriNoShores and other assorted writer friends!

How about a little warm-up to this year’s NaNoWriMo?

Most of you will have found us through NaNoWriMo, but for those you dragged here by a friend or happenstance, and unfamiliar with this awesome event…read this.

Pantser, Plotter, or Hybrid

For those new to the concepts…a pantser is someone who writes on the fly, a plotter makes decision about their story and and characters before they write, and a hybrid is somewhere in between. How you approach novel writing is personal, and takes time to discover.

My advise is to read about your favorite author’s process. Two books I recommend are Stephen King’s On Writing and Elizabeth George’s Write Away. Both are masters in their genres, and attack writing from very different perspectives.

I’m going to keep this post short and poll you on the Facebook Page as to what subjects you might like to delve into, or questions you might have about writing, and NaNoWriMo. Feel free to ask here too if FB isn’t your thing. Or follow us on Twitter.

More info for newbies and prepping for this November event can be found here on the NaNoWriMo website.






2018 Schedule of Write-Ins at Lynne’s House and Sundays at Atomic Cafe with Julia

Here they are…your important dates for 2018!

Tuesday Night Write-Ins at Lynne’s House

Jan: 9 & 23

Feb: 13 & 27

Mar: 13 & 27

Apr: 10 & 24

May: 8 & 22

Jun: 12 & 26

Jul: 10 & 24

Aug: 14 & 28

Sep: 11 & 25

Oct: 9 & 23

Sundays at Atomic Cafe with Julia

Jan: 7 & 14

Feb: 4 & 18

Mar: 4 & 18

Apr: 1 & 15

May: 6 & 20

Jun: 3 & 17

Jul: 1 & 15

Aug: 5 &19

Sep: 2 & 16

Oct: 7 & 21

2017 Schedule of Write-Ins at Lynne’s House and Sundays at Atomic Cafe with Julia

Here are the dates for Write-In’s at Lynne’s House for 2017.
They are the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of the month, 6-9pm.

Jan 10, 24
Feb 14, 28
Mar 14, 28
Apr 11, 25
May 9, 23
Jun 13, 27
July 11, 25
Aug 8, 22
Sep 12, 26
Oct 10, 24

November is reserved for NaNoWriMo. See their website for scheduled write-ins
December we don’t schedule Write-Ins, but check back here for updates and news about any other meetings or write-ins that get scheduled.

UPDATE: Julia is hosting Sunday’s Write-In at The Atomic Cafe in Beverly the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month, 11am-3pm (they open at 8 so feel free to come earlier if you want!).

Jun 4, 18
July 2, 16
Aug 6, 20
Sep 3, 17
Oct 1, 15


NaNoWriMo 2016

Another year has passed, and it is once again time to start planning for NaNoWriMo.

There is a crisp chill in the air here on the North Shore. Rather than autumn feeling like a time of waning I am invigorated by the change of season.  I want to be outside in the  swirling burnt-leaf tinged air, low sun warming my cheeks.

If you participate in NaNoWriMo, this time of year may also bring a slight tremble to your hand and gentle prodding of your brain. Then the pleading begins “Please, let me think of something to write before November 1st!”

Sedate bees float by seemingly lost in the decaying garden. The low cruising geese honk in unison as they materialize over the tree top startling the dog.  I cast about for a plot, a scenario, a tidbit of inspiration.

It is a romantic notion, the muse is. I don’t imagine an unseen entity sprinkling writing dust full of ideas over my head. To me it is work, the enjoyable welcome work of having to think and notice and feel and consider and contemplate. The blank page doesn’t frighten me…apparently finishing does.

This is my 7th year of NaNoWriMo. Another WIP to add to the growing file of unfinished work.  I think a few of them are good. Good enough to finish and put out in the world. Why I haven’t is hard to articulate.

It would be easy to blame the usual writer laments, fear of failure, fear of success, imposter syndrome,  all are valid. Yet, I don’t feel any ownership of them. Which leaves me still wondering, why haven’t I finished? Do I lack the ambition to self-publish?

I thought of not participating this year, or not starting something new. Giving myself the ultimatum “No new novels until you complete one.” But, the process of coming up with a story, imagining what’s next, developing the characters, and words flowing by the hundreds, is the part I like best. I need this part.

I will finish something. It’s getting too embarrassing not to. I was ashamed to admit to someone last week that I have spent the last seven years writing yet having nothing to show for it.

As I watched my friend Satin hand her book over to a buyer, I had my deep pang of jealousy that caught me off-guard. I wanted that. I wanted to be able to say, “Hey, I have a copy of my book in the car, I’ll just run our there and get it for you.”

I’m also tremendously proud of her.  She’s well on her way to her second novel’s finish line. And having had the honor of being an early reader, I know how hard she’s worked to make this one better than the first. Writing only improves with practice, a practice that needs to include finishing and moving on to the next work. She’s my inspiration.

I’m not sure what I’m writing this year but I know as soon as the month is over, I’ll be setting it aside to finish my previous work. No more hoping I’ll be finished by some imaginary date.  May 1st is my deadline to hand over The Illusion of Marriage to my beta readers. I’m trusting you all to hold me to it.




Schedule of Write-Ins at Lynne’s House2016

Happy New Year!
As usual I’m scheduling them 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. Looks like I don’t need to change any of the dates this year. Here it is.

January: 12th and 26th
February: 9th and 23rd
March: 8th and 22nd
April: 12th and 26th
May: 10th and 24th
June: 14th and 28th
July: 12th and 26th
August: 9th and 23rd
September: 13 and 27th
October: 11th and 25th
November: See NaNoWrIMo Scheduled Write-ins
December: None Scheduled.

NaNoWriMo 2015

Oops, we did it again!

Can you believe we have another year of NaNoWriMo under our belts? This is the 6th for me, 7th for Sara, and 12th or so for Sara-with-an-h.

What keeps us coming back?

Each other. At least for me, more than the writing itself, the company I keep has become the greatest compelling force (at least until I finish something).

Seriously, you guys keep me going-kept me going this year. After my sister’s death I did not think I would be up for this. Once we got going though I couldn’t help but find my voice, my story and once again, my writing friends.

I’m grateful for your support and ears and words. The readings at the TGIO Party rocked ! So much talent, so many different stories, so diverse a community-though the commonality of quite a lot of us seeming to have no trouble killing the innocent-that’s slightly disturbing.

To the newbies who joined us this year, I hope we lived up to your expectations. Let us know if there is anything that you would have changed, or if you have suggestions for next year-you will be back-we welcome your input.

Thank you to all the regulars, those stalwarts who continue meeting all year at my house or Plum Island Coffee Roasters.

As usual, we’re taking a break in December but I’ll be posting the 2016 schedule in the coming weeks.

Enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate, but keep writing.

See you in the New Year!





WriNo Camp 2015

“Sometimes me think ‘what is friend?’ and then me say ‘Friend is someone to share last cookie with.'” Cookie Monster

For the second year in a row a few us WriNoShores headed to Maine to spend a long weekend with Sara Leahy at her tiny cabin in the woods.

Rather than give a detailed account of the events, which basically consisted of laughing, writing, imbibing, eating, singing, dancing, and laughing a whole lot more, another aspect of our gathering emerged. An activity that struck me as greatly important–conversation.

We spent much of our time talking, and questioning one another on all manner of life’s little complexities. So much so, it stood out to me as being something rather extraordinary that I needed to reflect on.

I’ve know these women for a few years now, several for five or more and Sara and I are as close as women get to being sisters without sharing DNA. Over this time we’ve built a circle of trust through the shared terror of reading our work aloud. But this weekend there seemed to be a yearning for connection and significant dialogue that was deeper and more palpable and unrelated to writing.

Though we have exposure and access to one another through social media, email, Skype, texting, etc, there is seemed to be a wholehearted desire for one-on-one conversation. To be present and able to react and respond in the moment. Too see the tears, the grimaces, and the hand gestures that accompany retold tales.

Perhaps, the connection through electronics isn’t as sincere as face-to-face, where editing ourselves has become a reflex. We need to sputter and spit and sigh and groan our way through a story to get real in the moment feedback and challenges to our thoughts.

There’s nothing like making each other laugh. I loved the ease with which we spoke, the faith in one another obvious. I held back nothing. I’m sure others were just as candid. Am I the only one who sensed this momentous shift? The deepening of bonds?

I stopped myself several times during the weekend to write about it. Because that’s what we do, write. We examine life through language, through words on paper. We interpret, filter and assimilate into new narratives everything our senses consume. It’s a solo endeavor even when we are together.

That might be why these gatherings–where we are able to spend time talking without our usual distractions–have become so necessary and coveted. We are uniquely ourselves here. Not mother, daughter, wife, employee, just us– friends me share last cookie with.