NaNoWriMo 2022 - 30 days, Work Stuff

And the Answer Is …

If you haven’t read my “The Line Has Been Drawn” post – go ahead. I’ll wait


To recap: I work in healthcare. It wasn’t my first choice, hell, it was NEVER a conscience choice at all, it was just something I fell into. I won’t rehash my history in healthcare in this post, you can read about my (mis)adventures here, but suffice it to say, I never had aspirations to work in healthcare. I needed a job and at the time, ObamaCare happened and in an effort to protect my family and make sure we all had health insurance, (because my husband is self-employed and health insurance for a family of four was CRAZY expensive), I figured the safest place to work at that time was healthcare.

I started as a scheduler and I loved it! I scheduled for three neurosurgeons, we have nine in our group, and whenever someone saw one of the doctors that I “took care of” needed to check out, they sat at my desk and I scheduled them for whatever the doctor wanted.

Then, about two years into it, the director of neurosciences decided that we needed to combine some jobs and duties and suddenly I was told, “we need you to be an MA or I’m afraid you’ll have to find another job.”

Surprise! I became an MA. I have never had formal training, I haven’t gone to school for this, I learned everything I know now on the job. I did end up passing my certification exam in 2016 and now I’m a certified medical assistant, or CMA for short.

The journey has NOT been easy. It’s like being plopped down into a foreign country and then expected to speak the foreign language and interact with the locals like you’ve been doing it your whole life.

A lot of tears were shed but I not only did it, I EXCELLED. I’m quite proud of myself, to be honest.

Around the time that the scheduler job morphed into a medical assistant job, the hospital starting making the annual flu vaccine mandatory; it had been a choice up to that point. Kevin and I talked and I AGONIZED over what to do as I did NOT want to take the vaccine. It’s not that I’m against vaccines, per se, I’m just against a vaccine that may, or may not, be what is needed for that season’s flu strain. It’s a crap shoot, let’s be honest. Yes, “experts” can make educated guesses but most of the time, they are wrong – so very wrong – and the current flu vaccine is not only not effective, it’s really not necessary.

At least, for healthy people such as myself. I do not have any co-morbidities and I do not take any prescription drugs. I pride myself on seeking the most natural remedies possible for whatever that ails me and if that doesn’t work, then I make different lifestyle choices.

It never made any sense to me to willingly subject myself to be injected with God knows what.

But my choices were limited: get the vaccine or lose my job.

Those are some pretty crappy choices.

But I had a family to protect. The thought of not having any health insurance terrified me. What if something happened? We could potentially be bankrupt because healthcare costs are insanely high.

So, I took one for the team – the team being my family. I got the vaccine. I hated it and I was angry about it, but I did it to protect my family. But I refused to allow anyone in my family to get it, even though the hospital highly encouraged it.

Stupid me. I had no idea filing an exemption at that time was even an option. I didn’t really learn about filing an exemption request for a few years and by then I thought, why would they grant me an exemption now when I’ve allowed myself to be jabbed for the past several years?

I wasn’t happy about it, I didn’t really believe in it, but I did it because I wanted to keep my job and and I felt like I didn’t have much of a choice.

Sound familiar?

Fast forward ten years later to COVID.

I was hesitant from the get-go about the COVID shot. I never truly, seriously entertained the thought of taking an experimental jab and the more I looked into the vaccine and noted all of the inconsistencies, the bribe attempts then the coercion I knew there was no way in HELL I was going to allow them to inject me; I resigned myself to losing my job because my health was WAY, WAY more important than some job.

And I loved my job – I truly liked the people I worked with. I felt confident in my abilities and I knew I was very good at what I did. I would be sad but I knew there was no way I was going to agree to this madness.

But I was encouraged to file a religious exemption. And was denied. And then, a co-worker, who felt the same way as me and was in the same boat as myself, filed an appeal and she was approved.

So, I did the same and to my UTTER surprise, my appeal was granted. I did not have to get the COVID injection but I had to agree to take a COVID test weekly. (Which was recently canceled – I don’t have to test weekly anymore! Woohoo!)

I got to keep my job but I was made to feel like a low-class citizen and often singled out because I was one of the “unvaccinated” people.

It sucked. But I got to keep my job so I endured it.

I was so relieved that the hospital approved my religious exemption for the COVID vaccine that I went ahead and got the annual flu vaccine. I didn’t want to but I was afraid to rock the boat so I stuck my arm out and got the damn thing.

And then two weeks later, I experienced Vertigo that lasted about four days. It was hell. It was so bad that I went to the ER. You can read about that here. Though the ER doctor said nothing about this being a possible side effect from the flu vaccine, Kevin and I were convinced that it most definitely had something to do with it.

And that was the point where I knew I would never take another flu vaccine again. I should have fought it from the very beginning and just got another job, but I didn’t and now I felt stuck. I’ve been living with a black cloud over my head for the past year dreading October when it would be time to get the annual flu vaccine again.

I even went so far as to take an online class and earned my Legal Secretary Certificate as a plan B in case I wasn’t successful in my exemption request. If I lost my healthcare job, fine, I would find a job in legal – I’ve always wanted to be a paralegal anyway.

I polished up my resume. I bought a nice blazer at Goodwill to wear for my interview outfit. I was ready for whatever happened.

I submitted my religious exemption request on September 9, 2022. The deadline to submit the request was the end of September and the deadline to get the flu vaccine was October 31st. I wanted to get this process over with. Give me an answer. I’ve been waiting and dreading this for 12 months – I didn’t even care that much anymore, I just wanted an answer so that I could move on with my life.

Weeks went by – no answer. I emailed human resources at the end of September to make sure they had received my exemption requests, (I actually submitted both a religious and medical exemption request because, why not?), I wanted to make sure they had received my exemption requests before the deadline to submit them. I knew they had to have them, I hand-delivered them to Employee Health but I wanted to cover all my bases.

September ended and October started. Still no word.

Mid-October arrived – still no word.

Okay now I’m getting pissed. Stop dragging it out, first of all, and secondly, it’s rude. If you’re going to deny it, I’d like some time to submit an appeal. Not to mention the people I work deserve an answer, too. We can’t expand the department until we know if I’m staying or leaving. Everyone was waiting with bated breath.

My manager kept asking me if I heard anything and he finally contacted HR to ask about it. “It’s still out for review,” he was told.

Finally, HR called me on my work phone. They wanted to let me know that my medical exemption had been denied but that my religious request was still pending.

I wasn’t surprised. I wasn’t expecting them to seriously consider the medical exemption as there was no proof that the flu vaccine from last year prompted my Vertigo but again, I thought I would give it a try.

Another few weeks go by .. nothing. The deadline to submit my resignation comes and goes – still no word. Since the deadline to get the vaccine is October 31st, the deadline to turn in your two weeks was October 17th. I talked to my manager and he advised me to hold off on submitting my resignation as he talked to them and he was “confident” they would approve it.

(Which tells me that he, and E. the provider I work full-time for now, appealed my case to the hospital. Which is very humbling that they went to bat for me).

So. I didn’t turn my notice in and my manager assured me that if they denied my request they couldn’t penalize me for not turning in my resignation late because it wasn’t my fault they hadn’t notified me in time.

I was beyond caring at this point. Just make a decision already! OH. MY. LORD.

The last week of October starts and still no word.

Finally. FINALLY, October 27th rolls around and I finally get an email from HR. It’s not a denial but they want to know why, now, when I’ve gotten the flu vaccine in years past, I refused to get it this year. What had changed? And the deadline to respond to this request for more information was October 28th – THE NEXT DAY.

Because of course.

But it was a fair question. And one I was prepared for.

Luckily, we didn’t have clinic that day so I was free to really focus and concentrate on my response. Kevin offered his two cents and after a few hours of drafting, this is what I came up with:


My visit to the ER shortly after being injected with the flu vaccine in October 2021 forced me to take a long, hard look at my mortality, beliefs and convictions. Though there is no way to prove this incident was directly caused by the vaccine, it prompted me to seek religious counsel and prayer to seek guidance. I have evolved and spiritually matured over the past year resulting in a stronger religious conviction regarding my body’s natural immunity and I do not wish to interfere with this gift from God. My relationship with God has strengthened over this past year motivating me to make substantial changes in my day-to-day life and practices. As the physical world changes and our bodies age we make adjustments to accommodate those changes. The same can be said and applied to spiritual and religious beliefs.   

I do not prescribe to any medications and I consistently seek natural remedies for any ailments.  God created our bodies and I trust in His creation and design and trust my body to heal and protect on its own.   

It is my sincerely held religious belief that the Holy Scriptures exhort us to make wise decisions and by making wise decisions it will keep us healthy and add years to our life.   


Proverbs 3:1-2, 8 My son, do not forget my instruction and let your heart guard my commandments, for they will add to you length of days, years of life, and peace … this will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.   

Proverbs 4:5-10 Get wisdom! Get understanding! Do not forget and do not turn away from the words of  my mouth. Do not abandon her and she will watch over you, love her and she will guard you. Wisdom is the principal thing, so get wisdom; and with all your purchases, purchase understanding. Exalt her and she will lift you up; she will honor you because you embrace her. She will place on your head a wreath of grace; she will present to you a beautiful crown. Listen, my son, and receive my words, and the years of your life will be many.   

My deeply held religious belief is that we are to love our neighbor as ourselves. Before we show love to others, we must love ourselves. Loving ourselves includes taking care of our health and not taking unnecessary risks with our health.   


Mark 12:31 Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.   

I cannot, in good conscience, and in accord with my sincerely held religious faith, take any influenza vaccine. In addition, any coerced medical treatment goes against my religious faith and the right of conscience to control one’s own medical treatment, free of coercion or force. Please provide a reasonable accommodation to my belief as I wish to continue to be a good employee and a valuable member of the team.  

Thank you for your consideration.  


I received an email response shortly after submitting this and was told I would hear back from them by the end of the business day. That was at 3:30 PM.

This was it, the moment of truth. All of my worry and fretting this past year led to this moment – it was time to sink or swim. I would either have a job on November 1st or I would be submitting my resume on November 1st. Which would it be? Which road would I travel?

I stayed until 5:00 PM.


I went home with mixed feelings: apprehension, nervousness, agitation and annoyance at yet another delay.


I have to walk by Human Resources on my way out of the hospital to get to the parking garage. When I passed the office the lights were out and the office was locked. I gave up hope getting an answer that night.

Once again, I felt like I was being jacked around.

I get home, get changed, pull up my work email on my home computer and text my co-worker who wanted to know if I heard anything.

I fixed myself an egg sandwich and as I’m sitting back down at my desk, I noticed I have an email.

Here we go, the moment of truth. The moment I would find out if I would continue my career with healthcare of if I would be forced to start over in another industry.

I closed my eyes, said a quick prayer, and opened the email.

I quickly scanned the email … and the word granted caught my eye.

My breath caught and I forced myself to slow down and read it from the beginning.


Dear Karen,

We are writing today in response to your request for exemption from _______ universal influenza employee vaccination program.

Your request for exemption has been granted. Please note _______ may require individuals to reapply for exemption based on changes to the influenza vaccination policy.  

Now that your exemption request has been approved, we will provide an accommodation in light of this exemption. Accommodations are determined on an individual basis and depend on several factors including the essential functions of a job, interaction with high-risk patient populations, and ability to work under varying levels of supervision.

In all accommodations, employees will be required to mask when on _______ property. Additional accommodations may include a change in work settings; possible work restrictions; and being moved to an alternative role if working with high-risk patients. 

_______reserves the right to take any necessary and appropriate steps, including but not limited to, imposing alternative influenza prevention measures and accommodations, to ensure that individuals do not pose a direct threat to the health or safety of others in the workplace.


And there you have it. All of the worry, doubts, fear, and uncertainties of this past year resolved in one small email response.

I have mixed feelings. For one, I’m honestly surprised they granted my request. I know they have denied others in the same boat as myself. Perhaps they knew I wasn’t bluffing since I have submitted my resignation in the past. Obviously, I’m relieved. This is the EASIEST way out – I don’t have to apply, interview, learn something different and deal with new people, but on the other hand, I’m sick of walking on eggshells with this job. I’m tired of agencies trying to decide what’s best for ME and MY body. I’m tired of jumping through hoops to maintain my position. I almost wish they would have denied it just so I don’t have to worry about dealing with this issue at some point in time because let’s be real, this issue will likely come up again, if not every year – do I really WANT to deal with the headache?

Only time will tell.

So. The vaccine saga is over for now.

But I will continue to have a backup plan, just in case.

Thanks for reading.

NaNoWriMo 2022 - 30 days

My Story in Thirty Days


Welcome to November.

Wow – 2022 is nearly over.

Guess what time is is? It’s time for NaNoWriMo.

Which I won’t be participating in this year, at least, in the traditional sense.

I’m so out of practice writing that there is no way I’m ready to start writing fiction again. I want to get back into writing but on my own terms, starting with this blog.

My intention is to post something on my blog every day in November. Who knows if it will happen but that’s the plan for right now. I apologize if I overwhelm your email inbox but I need to challenge myself to get back into it. Time is ticking; I’m losing track of time.

I’ll try not to post a novel about my life every day, but I warn you now, there will be some political posts – how can there not be with everything crazy going on in our world right now? But I promise to be as fair as I can when evaluating the current state of affairs and if that’s not your bag of tea, please skip those posts.

Yes. A decision has been made regarding my career. My life path has been determined and I no longer feel like a worm squirming on a hook anymore. I will explain all in tomorrow’s post.

For now – I hope you’re doing well and as always, I appreciate the time you’re taking out of your busy day to visit my inner world.



I tried guys, I really did. I started out strong and about three days in, I just couldn’t summon the creative energy to keep up. Work has been BRUTAL. I’ve been working 45 (ish) hour weeks and I’m just brain dead when I get home. Then, on the weekends, all I want to do is watch mindless YouTube videos, read or nap. I can’t be bothered to write anything creatively. I can’t even be bothered to write anything for this blog.

I also have bouts where I feel woozy and it’s hard to focus on words as they start bending and become distorted and I’m afraid I’m going to have another Vertigo attack so I get off the computer and rest my eyes. (Also – to be fair, I stare at a computer all day at work, too, so there is a lot of eye fatigue going on).

So. I’m tired of stressing about it. NaNoWriMo is supposed to be fun and it wasn’t – at all. I don’t need the extra stress in my life right now so I’m officially calling it quits for NaNoWriMo this year.

I have some ideas for another project that I’m brewing in my brain but I’m done making empty promises. If anything comes from it, I’ll let you know, otherwise, if you don’t hear anything, it was yet another fail in my life.

You know, it’s funny, but I take GREAT pride in excelling in every other aspect of my life EXCEPT writing. Why is that? I know I’m scared of failing, maybe even scared of succeeding. Writing is so near and dear to my heart, like a child, that I can’t stand the thought of people criticizing it. Well, my creative writing, that is. The stuff I write on my blog is simply … me. Take it or leave it – I am who I am. But when it comes to creative writing – I freeze up. And I don’t really know why, truth be known.

And it frustrates me!

I don’t know if I’m making sense. I’m tired, as usual. It’s late, I’m having trouble keeping my eyes open, let alone making sense of my thoughts right now. Suffice it to say, I’ve thrown in the NaNoWriMo towel and I’m moving on.

However, I hope YOU’RE doing well. And learning a lot about your own writing in the process. I think that’s one of the biggest NaNoWriMo wins, in my opinion, the fact that you learn and grow as a writer. Me? I’ve learned that I don’t do long projects. I get so bored with anything over 5000 words. I need to stick to short stories, I guess.

Anyway, good luck if you’re still in the game! I’m cheering you on from the sidelines!


NaNoWriMo Warm Up – Day One/Two

Hello NaNoWriMos!

Day one is done – how did you do??

I ended up writing 2,736 words. Part of that word count was updating my November Reflections post that you’ll read at the end of this month, but the majority of that was on my NaNoWriMo project, “For the Greater Good.” I don’t think I’ve mentioned my project on here, before. It’s a Dystopian Fiction story and OF COURSE, it’s about the current vaccine madness and cult, (be honest, it’s a cult following at this point in time), but with a sinister twist. I’m excited about writing it, but because I was down for the count with my Vertigo episode for nearly a week, I didn’t have time to actually outline anything so here I am, again, participating in NaNoWriMo by the seat of my pants.

It makes it way harder to write this way, but it also makes it fun and exciting, too. I wrote my prologue yesterday – it just sort of came to me, but I hated every part of it, even as I was writing it. It took everything I had to actually get through it and I will definitely NOT be using it for the “final” product, if there is a final product.

But no worries. I got some words down and I’m just sort of muddling my way through this and there will inevitably be a few false turns here and there, I just wasn’t expecting to have that happen right out of the gate.

I’m counting my blog and my project in my word count because let’s face it, writing a blog post IS writing and I use writing in my blog as a warm up “for the real thing” so yes, I’m counting this with my word count, too. I don’t know if this makes me a NaNoWriMo Rebel, but that’s how I roll – I do what I want!

In case you’re curious, I’m writing on the SmartEdit Writer software. This is a FREE software and to me, it’s set up like Scrivener though to be fair, I’ve never used Scrivener so I’m not sure how accurate that statement is, but I’m liking it so far and did I mention it’s FREE? No, this is not sponsored, but if you’re looking for a writing software, you might check it out and if you do, let me know how you like it. I would like to buy Scrivener at some point but we’ll see. If SmartEdit Writer is working, why go with something else?

I also LOVE writing sprints on YouTube. Watching these makes me feel part of a writing community and it motivates me to write something. Yesterday, I watched/wrote with the Word Nerds.

You can find a hodge-podge of various writing sprints at Devin Cutting’s YouTube page. If you haven’t tried a writing sprint, I highly recommend it. It’s really fun and you really do feel like you’re in a writing group and not entirely alone.

If you would like to chat with me you’re welcome to send me a DM on the NaNoWriMo website – my username is take2max – and I’ll be happy to extend an invitation for the private chat room. My group is at this link – I don’t know if it will work if you’re not signed into the NaNoWriMo site, but you’re welcome to try.

I wasn’t planning on writing anything today but I’m in the mood to write and I might as well take advantage of that enthusiasm while I can. I think I’m sufficiently warmed up and ready to write. I’ll post a small excerpt from “For the Greater Good” from yesterday. Fair warning: keep a barf bag close by.

I’m working on Prologue #2 today. And if I hate this one as much, then I will continue to write until I get it right. This will be good practice for me and give me a chance to get to know my main character, Nashe, a bit more.

Let me know how you’re doing!

Excerpt from NaNoWriMo project:

Nashe cracked her eyes open. She blinked. Had she lost her sight? Why was everything so dark? She stared up at the ceiling and took a moment to adjust. What happened? Where was she? Why was she lying on a cold, hard table? She tried to move her arms.


Her arms were strapped to her sides.

She tried to move her legs.


She could feel straps around her ankles.

She inhaled a shaky breath. “Don’t panic,” she mumbled as she forced herself to remain calm so that she would have the wherewithal to think.

She turned her head from side to side. She could just make out shapes in the shadows. To her left, was a long sink, it looked deep, like a sink you would see in a science lab. She could make out cabinets lining the rest of the wall next to the sink.

She turned her head to the right. She could just make out the shape of a large window, only it was boarded up and completely dark leading her to believe it was either night outside or the window wasn’t really a window to the outside but a window to an observation room.

That thought caused her to nervously squirm.

She winced as she lifted her head from the table to look toward her feet. Nausea rolled in her stomach as her head swam, a pressing headache knocking at her temples. She concentrated on breathing deeply and forced herself to open her eyes once more. She saw a door with a shade drawn over the window.

She put her head back down on the table and stared at the huge light directly above her. She could feel her heart hammering painfully against her breast bone. She clamped down on her fear and inhaled sharply before exhaling a shaky breath.

She tightly squeezed her eye shut. “Focus,” she whispered. What happened? How did she get here? More importantly, how can she get free? She began to squirm to test how tight her bindings felt. She was able to move her legs somewhat, but her arms didn’t move an inch.

“Breathe,” she muttered momentarily succumbing to the tendril of fear that coiled around her throat and tightly closed her eyes. She took a moment to still her frantic heart and focused on breathing in through her nose, then out through her mouth.



NaNoWriMo 2021 Playlist

Here is my NaNoWriMo Playlist. These are songs that make me think of my story. Whether that’s the title of the song, the song lyrics or just the general mood of the song. You might be able to guess the direction I’m taking my story just from some of the titles.

I love closing my eyes and listening to music. It really inspires story ideas – I highly recommend it.

Anyway, it’s another fun tool in my NaNoWriMo toolbox – and something else I can cross off my Preptober checklist.

It was a chilly 40 degrees this morning – Fall is finally here!

I’m currently brainstorming and working out character kinks – stayed tuned!

Remember, you can find me on the NaNoWriMo website at take2max if you want to message me or join my Write Away group! Let’s support each other during this writing challenge!


Preptober: Time Management

So I’ve been daydreaming about my NaNoWriMo project. I know the kind of story I want to write and I have a pretty good idea who my protagonist is. Which is a win for me because I usually don’t have any idea what I want to write, which of course, means I have no idea who my characters are and then NaNoWriMo comes around and I’m left floundering.

It’s a Dystopian Fiction story. I mean, if you’ve been reading about my work struggles in healthcare these past few months, you won’t be surprised by this. It will also give me a chance to vent my frustrations and air my “conspiracy theories” as well. It will center around a vaccine but my vaccine will be a lot more nefarious and the “United” States of America actually secedes and is at war with each other. Sort of like Hunger Games meets Dr. Fauci kind of story.

I figured out my writing schedule – sort of. Here’s what I have:

Let me talk through my calendar with you.

Mondays and Wednesdays are clinic days with Dr. M. I have to get to work pretty early on those days so writing in the AM is OUT. No way that’s going to happen. I put AM on a few Thursdays and honestly, I don’t know if that’s going to happen either as I will have to get up at 4:00 AM to write an hour before getting ready for work. We’ll see. The bottom line, I want to get at least 1000 words on those days. There is simply NO WAY I’m going to have the energy to write any more than that. My brain is already taxed, I won’t have anything left over for the story.

Which leaves the weekends. As you can see, I plan on writing the bulk of my words on Saturdays and Sundays. You will notice I have 4000 words on the 11th, and the 15th. I have some time off from work and I’ll have more time to put in more words those days. I hope. We’re actually planning on taking a short camping trip so we’ll see how much writing I actually get in on those days.

Overall, if I stick to the plan, (And let’s be honest, I probably won’t), I will have written about 54,000 words by the 28th. I left the 29th and the 30th free because I will likely need some extra time to catch up – it’s my cushion, if you will. Of course, the 25th is Thanksgiving and no writing will be done that day.

I bought Natalia Leigh’s Preptober workbook. If you would like to buy it you can get it here. She has it set up so that it’s a donation-based product, meaning you can pay whatever you can and think it’s worth. Technically, you can get it for free, but Natalia has worked hard on this workbook and offers a version of it every year so she deserves some compensation for it.

She also posted a video of her working some of the pages and I enjoyed working my pages alongside her. It also gave me some additional ideas for my story as well. You can watch that video here.

Anyway, one of the pages in the workbook is my writing schedule.

You can see, at a glance, what my day looks like and when I plan on writing. Again, the weekends are set aside for writing and on the week days I will try and do some writing after work. I planned to relax right after I got home from work so that I have time to eat, watch a few videos, rest my eyes, (cat nap), and then I should have some energy to write a few hours after that before bed. I think the key, for me, will be knowing WHAT I need to write during the week. So I really want to stay on top of my outline so that I can sit down and actually write something as opposed to just staring at a blinking cursor. This will be the first year I’ve really done outlining  so we’ll see how that goes. I just don’t want to waste those few hours and be as productive as I can possibly be.

I’m taking Thursday evenings off to decompress and recharge. And Saturday nights are reserved for the Right From Us podcast that Kevin and I film together.

And in case you’re curious, yes, you’re reading the schedule correctly. I get up at 5:00 AM every day, get ready for work, then I take some time to cool off, relax and chill before actually finishing my routine and going to work. To me, it’s worth getting up an hour early in order to relax and fully wake up before heading off to work. I could try and get in a few words in that time period but again, it will depend on where I am in the story and whether I have anything to write.

I also filled out the Self Care Bingo page in Natalia’s workbook. This is a game of bingo where I do various activities to decompress and once I get a Bingo, I will reward myself. With what, I don’t know yet. But some of the activities on my self-care bingo page are:

  1. Read
  2. Go for a walk
  3. Take day off
  4. Lie in bed and listen to music (this really helps with story ideas)
  5. Watch YouTube
  6. Blog
  7. Buy one Starbucks coffee (Fall tradition. I love Starbucks products but can’t stand the company and the fact their coffees are so expensive, so, one it is).
  8. Podcast
  9. Buy a protein drink (a nurse at work told me about a protein drink place nearby and I want to try it out).
  10. Meditate
  11. Nap
  12. Camp

Anyway, that will be fun to “play” and will force me to relax and recharge which you honestly need during NaNoWriMo because the experience is really fun, but intense.

I’m now going to focus on starting my outline and trolling Pinterest to start boards for my characters. I did that last year and it was fun to put a face with a name.

I’m also Take2max on the NaNoWriMo site if you want to look me up. Once you find me, go to groups and you can join my Write Away group. Writing is lonely and it’s fun to have someone to talk to throughout the experience.

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, what are you doing to prepare?


It’s Time for Preptober!

NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is an annual writing challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November, for those of you that may not have been aware of it’s existence. (NaNoWriMo also offers Camp NaNoWriMo every April and July. The camps are more laid back as far as “requirements.” They are just another tool to add to your writing toolbox to try and motivate you to write).

Here’s a good article to read if you’re waffling on whether or not to participate in NaNoWriMo.

Preptober is a term someone clever came up with to prep for NaNoWriMo during the month of October.

First of all, you don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo if you don’t want to. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. But let’s face it, writing is lonely. And I personally need something to motivate me to write, whether it’s this blog, or my bullet journal because I’ve had a bad day and I need to VENT and PURGE my thoughts and feelings because doing so in real life could cost me dearly. *ahem*

You could prep … any month you chose to.  You are the king, or queen, of your castle. There are no rules.

First things first, what project do you want to work on?

  • Novel
  • Short story
  • Poetry
  • Non-fiction
  • Autobiographical
  • True Crime
  • Blogging
  • Other

Whatever you write, whether you’re published or not, YOU’RE A WRITER. If you can put words to paper and make them coherent and/or interesting, then you’re a writer. There are no requirements to this challenge, if you want to write and you’re up to a challenge, then you’re in.

You don’t have to be writing a novel to participate in this challenge. Maybe you want to write several blog posts. Or poems. Or your life story. Or short stories. (I did that one year for NaNoWriMo). Whatever writing project you want to do, you can participate in NaNoWriMo. It’s not about writing a novel, it’s about writing in general. It’s about pushing yourself to do the thing you’ve always said you wanted to do. It’s about unleashing your creativity and shutting down your inner critic. Your inner critic can be released at the end of the challenge. For now, it’s just you and your imagination. This challenge gives your creativity permission to be run naked and wild through the sunflowers.

(Figuratively speaking, of course).

Secondly, when you plan your writing, do you want to use:

  • The Synopsis Outline (a one/two page summary of your story)
  • The In-Depth Outline (the detailed outline that most of us [or me] run from)
  • The Snowflake Method (you expand your story, little-by-little)
  • The Bookend Method (figure out the beginning and the end and free-write the middle)
  • By the Seat of your Pants or Pantsing (little to no planning – you just start writing)
  • The Headlight Method (plan, write to the end of the plan, see where it goes, plan, write …etc)

I’m sure there are other ways, but these are the most common.

It’s important to know how you plan on writing before you actually write. For me personally, I love the pantsing method. I love to see where my characters take me. And they often take me to surprising places. It’s fun and I thoroughly enjoy it.

However ….

I inevitably get to a point in the story where I have no idea where it’s going, how it’s going to end and does it even make sense at this point? I then get frustrated/discouraged and just chock the whole project. This is why I love short stories because I can write to the point where I get stuck and then, well, it’s a short story, it’s SUPPOSED to end, right??

I’d like to flex my writing muscles a bit this go around. I want to combine both the bookend method and the headlight methods. I want a start, a general ending, and then loosely plan the chapters, allowing my characters to take me somewhere, but at the same time, put up road signs for them to follow along the way. I could write a full outline but ZzZzZzzz .. it sounds so boring. But then again, I said I would NEVER outline, in any form, a mere ten years (minutes?) ago, so, don’t hold me to that.

Anyway, enough about me. Let’s get to the Preptober stuff.

I’ve participated quite a few times in NaNoWriMo over the years, I’ve won a few years. But I never plan ahead and by the time the proverbial gun goes off at the starting line, I’m left in the dust blinking in confusion. Where to start? So. In an attempt to avoid that feeling, I want to actually be as prepared as I can be this go around.

Hence, Preptober.

Because I’m a big child at heart, I like to make things fun. So when I found this Preptober Bingo placard, I couldn’t resist to share it with you guys.

You can find more fun cards at Ink and Times. (I put the free space on there. I figured, free space equals one day off to decompress). The site even offers ideas on what to put on your Bingo card. For example here are the ones that caught my attention from the site and from this site that I think will work for me:

  • Update NaNoWriMo Account
  • Logline and Tagline
  • Brainstorm Your Plot
  • Brainstorm Your Subplot(s)
  • Bookend Beginning
  • Bookend Ending
  • Get To Know Main Character(s)
  • Get To Know Supporting Character(s)
  • Get To Know Villain(s)
  • Get To Know Setting(s)
  • Find Location Inspiration
  • Find Character Inspiration
  • Create Inspiration Board
  • Write A Synopsis
  • Creating A Writing Playlist
  • Research Important Need To Know Facts (1)
  • Research Important Need To Know Facts (2)
  • Find Writing Groups
  • Preptober Workbook

I want to work toward some sort of reward, and I will DEFINITELY reward myself if (WHEN) I win NaNoWriMo, but for now, it feels weird to reward myself for prepping. (Yay! Good job, Karen! You prepared for your challenge!) Uh … no.

But, I thought it would be fun to make prepping for NaNoWriMo more fun. Feel free to copy this for yourself, if you like.

Here are some more helpful resources in planning for NaNoWriMo.

What is NaNoWriMo? And How to Win in 2021

Helping Writers Become Authors has a good section on how to outline for NaNoWriMo.

I plan on using the SmartEdit program as my writing software of choice. I’ve been liking it so far and best part – IT’S FREE.

If you Google Preptober and/or use the #preptober hashtag on Twitter, you will stumble across many more resources – the ideas are endless. These are the rabbit holes I tend to get sucked into (hence the reason I gave myself two research days because I loves me some research, ya’ll!) and if reading over these ideas and resources doesn’t inspire you then … I’ve got nothing else.

I’ll try and remember to update you on my Bingo card throughout the month of October. I’d like to post excerpts from my NaNoWriMo project in November, too.

I think my biggest challenge won’t be the writing part – I can write/type fast and make my characters do/say all sorts of stupid things, no, I think my biggest challenge is going to have the energy to actually write. Working 40 hours, making time for family, holidays, and you know, SLEEPING, and then finding the energy and time to actually write something …. that’s going to be hard. The few years I won NaNoWriMo I wasn’t working so …. that should tell you something.

We are also planning a short camping trip in November, which we plan on vlogging, so it will be challenging to find time to write while doing that, too.

Anyway. I hope this information was helpful and that I’ve given you some places to check out and poked your writing beast.

By the way, my Wrimo username is Take2max if you want to look me up on the NaNoWriMo site and friend me. I even made a writing group on the NaNoWriMo site called Write Away if you want to chat. (Search for that name when you go to your NaNoWriMo account under “groups.” Send me a note and I’ll send you an invite).

I freaking love this time of year!