Wednesday, December 1, 2021

IWSG December 2021 with news on NaNoWriMo, What's Next, and Advent

Before I begin, please note this is a multi-subject post. 
Please feel free to read what you want and skip other parts.

Insecure Writer's Support Group

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is an excellent place to find encouragement for your writing practice, writing profession, and writing moments. Many thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for founding the group with this hop! 

Many thanks also to the co-hosts this month: 

OPTIONAL QUESTION: In your writing, what stresses you the most? What delights you?

This is one of the questions that I almost want to skip because I don't have a definitive single answer. The reality is, I am stressed and delighted by many parts of the writing process, depending on the project. I am delighted by some first draft writing and yet completely stressed by other bits of first draft writing. The same goes for revision, editing, and the last bits before publication.

Generally, though the most delightful and stressful time for me is the day my books go live and published. I'm excited, but also terrified there are terrible typos in there. In fact, there are always a few terribly tenacious typos that make it through to the final publication - even in all the traditionally published books out there. I just don't want them in my books. :)

Stepping Down as the Instagram Volunteer Admin

 This was tough for me. I enjoy Instagram and I appreciate all the encouragement and wonderfulness that is IWSG. However, my health has been an issue for a while now. Between three part-time jobs (I count writing as one of them), volunteering nearly eight hours a week, and my health stuff, something had to give. So, I stepped down and thankfully, Juneta Key stepped up. 

Thank you, Juneta!

And, a big thank you to the entire IWSG Volunteer Admin Team! 

Despite Recovery, I Won NaNo and it surprised me

If you follow me on IG or Facebook, feel free to skip. This is essentially what I shared there.

I wrote more than 50,000 words in 29 days. I honestly wasn't sure I could, given the sinus surgery I had in late October and the sinus headaches I've had since, as well as a whopping bit of Menieres Disease vertigo on Sunday (I had too much salt and caffeine on Saturday). But I did it. And this is how I did it. +I wrote every day for one to two minutes somehow, somewhere.

+I had some Nano Buddies.

+I went to a NaNo Sprint via Youtube, but left when I felt tired.

+I went to a live IG writing sprint with Marissa Meyer, but left when I felt tired. (Marissa Meyer is a local author in my area, and she is the author of the Lunar Chronicles, and many other novels. I don't "know" her but I follow her on IG.)
+If I could, I wrote between 2-5 sessions a day. Again, 1-20 minutes per session, depending on the day and session. +I wrote in my journal and counted that. +I wrote on my laptop and counted it. +I used dictation/talk to text and counted it. +I counted my podcast for my church. +I counted my bits on IG, Twitter, and Facebook toward my word count for the month.
+I rewarded myself for every word written. I congratulated myself. Told myself I was awesome for attempting. (I know this may sound silly, but it made me happy.)
Is it all on the novellas I had hoped originally to write? Nope. Do I feel bad about straying from my original purpose? Nope. Once I realized how hard surgery recovery would be, I threw out that plan and just counted any writing. Somehow, I wrote more than I have at this point in any National Novel Writing Month. Usually, the last day is a scramble, but not this year. I finished early. I am glad I wrote. And it is messy. And I am happy with all of it.


I am continuing to write. The Rayatana 3 book is underway. I am also working on a few other projects and rediscovering my "delight" in writing. 

I am continuing my part-time jobs but with reduced hours.

I am mainly focused on healing up and getting stronger. 

A Note on Volunteering and Why it Matters to Me

I was a Girl Scout who took my oath pretty seriously as a kid and volunteering is something I have often seen as a "duty" of honor and sacrifice.  As a Christian, I have felt incredibly blessed by the love of Jesus in my life, and I have wanted to share that love with others.

Because of this background, I have been volunteering a minimum of twenty hours a year to a maximum of twenty hours a week since I was in early elementary school in a variety of ways throughout the years.

I think volunteers make the world a better place to live in for everyone, and I used to feel I needed to volunteer at church, in my community, and in the world.

My church does go out and do acts of service in the community and in the world - but I am trying to limit myself even with that. The week before my surgery I made chili for a Habitat Build group and that was fun to create, but I was glad someone else collected it and served it because I knew that would tire me out. I have to measure out my energy while I'm healing.

I need to get stronger, which means I need to focus on self-care, which is something I struggle with. I recently discovered The Spoon Theory, which is helping me understand how many spoons I might have to work with each day. 

Slowing Down for Strength

So, I guess that's all to say, I'm slowing down, doing a lot of prayer and soul-searching, and figuring out how to love myself like Christ loves me, to heal and to rest in God's love, and not see it as necessary to go out and immediately do something with that love for others. I have to let it build up a bit, help me gain muscle mass in my body, mind, and soul. I need to rejoice in the love of God in the moment and live with strength, not busy-ness. 

And, so that brings me to Advent, of which today is the first day.


The theme of the first week of Advent is Hope.

Scriptures for Day 1:

A voice of one calling: “In the wilderness prepare the way for the Lord; make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low; the rough ground shall become level, the rugged places a plain. And the glory of the Lord will be revealed, and all people will see it together. For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” – Isaiah 40:3-5


In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. - John 1:1-5


Lord, Thank you for this day. Thank you for your light which shines in the darkness. Thank you for preparing a way for us to see your glory in Christ. We hope and pray for your glory to be revealed and for all people to know you and rejoice in your steadfast love. We place our hope and trust in you. Amen.

I have an advent side project going on, so I will be working on these throughout the month of December this year, in the hopes it will be ready for December 2022.

Hope all is well with you!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!


M.J. Fifield said...

I enjoyed your answer to the stressors and delights question. I find I feel pretty much the same way, where there are ups and downs to each and every part of this journey.

Congratulations again on your NaNo win!!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Like the scripture!
We appreciate all you did for the IWSG and understand why you have to step down.
Well done on NaNo, especially with everything you had going on.

cleemckenzie said...

Great job on the NaNo, Tyrean. Congratulations.

Rachna Chhabria said...

Well done on Nano, Tyrean. I too get anxious when my books get published (but only for some time).

Cathrina Constantine said...

Congratulations on NaNo!!! I am a turtle writing and never considered entering.

Love reading scriptures.

Merry Christmas!!

Tyrean Martinson said...

MJ - Yes, the stressors and delights come in every part, it seems. And Thank you!

Alex - Thank you for understanding. Glad you liked the scriptures.

C.Lee - Thank you!

Rachna - Thank you! And yes, the publication part is just oddly stressful.

Cathrina - Thank you! I think turtle writing works just fine. I just get lost when I turtle through a rough draft, so I "hare" through it, then turtle through revisions.
Merry Christmas!

Madeline Mora-Summonte said...

Well done on the NaNo win!

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year! :)

Tyrean Martinson said...

Madline - Thank you!

Patricia Josephine aka Patricia Lynne said...

Congrats on beating Nano. I'm glad to hear you're taking focusing on yourself and healing seriously. Spoony Theory was something I discovered after my chronic illness diagnosis. Although, I'm not sure I ever grasped counting my spoons so I didn't exhaust myself. ^^;;

Jacqui Murray said...

Volunteering can have an expiration date, as Instagram did for you. Kudos to Juneta. I didn't even know IWSG had an Instagram account!

Jemi Fraser said...

It's always interesting how one part of the process can cause both delight and stress! Part of the fun I guess :)
Make sure you don't overdo - take care of you!

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Taking time to find your place with God (and where He wants you) is important. We'll miss you though.

Congrats on winning NaNo.

Helen said...

I know the idea of NaNo is to 'promote/encourage' people writing books, but I think any writing should count. The more you write the better you become, no matter what kind of writing you are accomplishing, so KUDOs to you! Glad you are getting better in time for the holidays.

Chemist Ken said...

Wow, I didn't even think about how stressful it will be when I finally release my first book. Yet another stressful event to look forward to. Well I suppose it can't be any worse than working on a chapter for a month and realizing it's still crap. Congrats on finishing NaNo.

Jemima Pett said...

Well done for beating NaNo with all the rest going on.

I have an echo in my head of talking to my dad about this, when he was learning to care for himself. Not only did he have to remember to look after himself, when he'd always looked after others, he had to learn to let others get the joy of caring for him. To accept care from others.
Now that really is a toughie. Good luck!

And thanks for all the things you've done for the IWSG. Get well, and write more amazing books... yours have finally risen to the top of my TBR pile for 2022 :)


Natalie Aguirre said...

It's funny how a release of a book can be joyous and stressful at the same time. Congrats on NaNo. Glad you're prioritizing your health and stepping down from doing things that are too much for you.

Diane Burton said...

Surgery is no fun and recovery always takes longer than you think. You've done an amazing job writing in Nov. Congrats on winning NaNo. that's a great accomplishment. I have a great respect for those who volunteer. I was a long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts. Very rewarding. Take care of yourself.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Tyrean - well done on this post ... I loved reading it - excellent. You are certainly helping many and giving guidance to us all in IWSG - all the best, take care and have a peaceful and blessed season - cheers Hilary

J.Q. Rose said...

I've not heard about using spoons to help us in our self-care. Sounds like it has been a valuable way that works for you. Thank you for volunteering in so many ways and praying good health will return to you. Wishing you all the joy of the Christmas season.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Patricia - I'm not sure I'm good at figuring it out either. I've been actually veering toward thinking of my energy level as the amount of battery life I have for the day - like my phone has. Sometimes, I can nap and recharge quickly, and sometimes I do so much it takes me way longer to recharge.

Jacqui - yes, volunteering, like all things, comes to an end, or changes.

Jemi- Thank you!

Diane - Thank you!

Helen - Thanks! Yes, the time slots for surgery were before Halloween, before Thanksgiving, or before Christmas. I opted for having the maximum amount of time to rest before Christmas.

Ken - you're going to do great when the time comes!

Jemima - Thank you! To be on the top of someone's TBR pile - wow! That's cool.

Natalie- Thank you!

Diane - Volunteering can be really fun and wonderful, but it always depends on how much and where it is. Thank you!

Hilary - Thanks!

JQ - Thank you!

newsstand pilgrim said...

Congratulations on finishing Nano, Tyrean! And your commitment to volunteering is inspiring, especially in this new Advent season. Thanks for showing me it's all possible, even if the going is tough.

newsstand pilgrim said...

Sorry, I can't figure out how to get rid of the Newsstand Pilgrim name. This is Julia Quay.