Getting Personal #267: NaNoWriMo 2021 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo November 2021!

Welcome back! Here’s my recap of NaNoWriMo 2021. After skipping out on NaNoWriMo in 2020, I was determined to make it happen this year. And, boy, was it worth it!

As of November 1, 2021, I had 20,986 words written.

Personal Goal: Write at least 20,000 new words for book #3, but let’s see what happens.

Full disclosure: Never in a million years did I think I would ever reach 50,000 words in a month.

Day 1 – 1,786 new words, one untimed session and three timed sessions totaling 45 minutes.

Day 2 – 2,089 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 3 – 1,919 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 4 – 1,686 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 5 – 1,948 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 6 – 1,793 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 7 – 2,229 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 8 – 1,688 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 9 – 1,639 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 10 – 1,686 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 11 – 1,687 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 12 – 1,738 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 13 – 1,891 new words, 50 minutes writing time.

Day 14 – 2,102 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 15 – 1,835 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 16 – 1,846 new words, 45 minutes writing time.

Day 17 – 1,835 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 18 – 1,799 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 19 – 1,857 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 20 – 2,010 new words, 75 minutes writing time.

Day 21 – 1,631 new words, 35 minutes writing time.

Day 22 – 1,662 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 23 – 1,596 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 24 – 1,617 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 25 – 1,718 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 26 – 1,726 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 27 – 1,573 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 28 – 1,603 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 29 – 1,752 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Day 30 – 1,854 new words, 40 minutes writing time.

Total for November 2021: 53,795 new words.

Current word count: 74,781 words.

Final Thoughts

Holy shit, I’m just blown away. I’m still stunned that this actually happened. I won NaNoWriMo! For the first time ever!

For those who may be curious, I hit 50,000 words on November 28th.

I went back to my old blog posts. The last November session I participated in was 2019, and I wrote 25,101 words during that session.

I doubled my output for this one. Wow!

My friend Ren continues to be a huge cheerleader for me. They are amazing!

I stuck with my plan from Camp NaNo and sat down every single day before starting work if possible, and then definitely after dinner until I met or exceeded my daily word count.

I’m also a Google Docs convert now.

Al chuckles that he always heard the din of my fingers on the keyboard for 30 days straight. It’s a beautiful sound.

I hope to finish this first draft for certain during Camp NaNoWriMo April 2022, if not sooner than that. I’m excited to continue Camp NaNo in April and July, and then work toward beating this goal in November 2022. This is the book I started during NaNoWriMo 2014. I have several other novels in various stages!

Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Adventure Time: Busch Gardens Williamsburg for Lane’s “Boo-chlerette” Party! (Williamsburg, Virginia)

I had a blast at Busch Gardens Williamsburg this weekend for my little sister Lane’s “boo-chlerette” party! It was Britney Spears’ themed and we had so much fun!

Lane wanted to ride two specific rides: Finnegan’s Flyers and Verbolten. I passed on the Flyers, but Verbolten was fantastic!

The rest of the day, we hung out and enjoyed the decorations around the park.

In separate groups, we did the “Nevermore” haunted house in the old Curse of DarKastle ride in Germany. Holy moly that was scary!

We had a great day, and Lane really enjoyed herself. We got lots of compliments on our shirts. Yay, Etsy!

When we got back to Lane and Ashley’s house, I was able to play one round of “Dream Phone” with the girls before I left to go home.

It’s a lot like Clue, but without the murder. Thanks, Sterling, for bringing it!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Getting Personal #246: Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021 Recap

Image Credit: NaNoWriMo

Welcome back! Here’s my recap of Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021. This was my seventh Camp NaNoWriMo session. I did participate last July, but I did not write a recap post. I was mentally burned out last fall, so I skipped NaNoWriMo 2020 in November.

As of April 1, 2021, I had 44,617 words written.

Original Goal: Write 10,000 new words for book #2.

Day 1: 45,299 words (682) – 15 minutes

Day 2: 46,582 words (1,283) – 26 minutes

Day 3: 47,256 words (674) – 15 minutes

Day 4: 47,948 words (692) – 15 minutes

Day 5: 48,744 words (796) – 20 minutes

Day 6: 49,716 words (972) – 30 minutes

Day 7: 50,496 words (780) – 20 minutes

Day 8: 50,569 words (73) – 30 minutes

Day 9: 51,276 words (707) – 20 minutes

Day 10: 51,276 words (0)

Day 11: 52,230 words (954) – 25 minutes

Day 12: 52,356 words (126) – 5 minutes

Day 13: 53,045 words (689) – 15 minutes

Day 14: 54,246 words (1,201) – 30 minutes

Day 15: 54,965 words (719) – 20 minutes

Original Goal Met!

Total word count: 10,348 new words.

Created second goal in NaNoWriMo, in hopes of finishing the first draft by the end of April.

Second Goal: Write 20,000 new words and finish first draft.

Day 16: 55,795 words (830) – 25 minutes

Day 17: 56,094 words (299) – 45 minutes

Day 18: 56,714 words (620) – 1 hour

Day 19: 57,845 words (1,131) – 40 minutes

Day 19: 58,294 words (449) – 10 minutes

Day 20: 58,882 words (588) – 20 minutes

Day 20: 59,451 words (569) – 10 minutes

Day 20: 59,977 words (526) – 15 minutes

Day 21: 60,621 words (644) – 15 minutes

Day 21: 61,312 words (691) – 15 minutes

Day 21: 61,532 words (220) – 5 minutes

Day 21: 62,026 words (494) – 20 minutes

Day 22: 62,389 words (363) – 10 minutes

Day 22: 62,833 words (444) – 10 minutes

Day 22: 63,322 words (489) – 15 minutes

Day 23: 63,917 words (595) – 15 minutes

Day 23: 64,832 words (915) – 20 minutes

Day 24: 65,791 words (959) – 20 minutes

Day 24: 66,000 words (209) – 15 minutes

Day 24: 66,481 words (481) – 10 minutes

Day 25: 67,140 words (659) – 25 minutes

Day 25: 67,627 words (487) – 15 minutes

Day 25: 67,798 words (171) – 5 minutes

Day 25: 67,984 words (186) – 5 minutes

Day 26: 68,350 words (366) – 10 minutes

Day 27: 69,045 words (695) – 15 minutes

Day 27: 69,372 words (327) – 10 minutes

Day 27: 69,917 words (545) – 10 minutes

Day 27: 70,640 words (723) – 15 minutes

Day 28: 71,250 words (610) – 15 minutes

Day 28: 72,089 words (839) – 20 minutes

Day 29: 73,046 words (957) – 20 minutes

Day 29: 73,539 words (439) – 10 minutes

Day 30: 74,397 words (858) – 20 minutes

Day 30: 74,955 words (558) – 15 minutes

Day 30: 75,221 words (266) – 5 minutes

Second Goal Met!

Total word count: 20,256 new words.

Overall Total for April 2021: 30,604 new words.

Current word count: 75,221 words.

Final Thoughts

I’m super proud of myself. I tracked my progress every day on blue Post-It notes, and I plan to do something similar going forward. I took most of the month of May off from working on this, but I’m determined to call the first draft FINISHED by the end of June. After that, I’ll print it out and start the first true pass of editing.

I also have to thank my friend Ren. We met through the NaNoWriMo group on Facebook, and struck up a friendship through Messenger after that. She started streaming on Twitch during April, and participating in her streams and writing sprints is one big part of my success for Camp NaNoWriMo April 2021. I appreciate her continued encouragement, along with Al, my family, and other friends who have cheered me along in this process.

The key for me is to sit down, whether it’s before work, after dinner, or when I can’t get a scene or dialogue out of my head, and set the timer on my phone. No distractions whatsoever. I’m super proud that I only had one true zero day during the month! Breaking it up into chunks of time has helped me so much.

After I finish this first draft, my plan is to work on book #3 during Camp NaNoWriMo in July. It’s the project I started during NaNoWriMo 2014, so stay tuned for an update on that project on Facebook every day in July, and then a recap post like this in August.

Have you done NaNoWriMo in November before?

Have you done Camp NaNoWriMo before?

Let me know what you think!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #95: “Camp”

I fell in love with this book within the first few pages. I was enveloped into the world of Camp Outland, and I felt so sad when it ended and I had to say goodbye to Camp and the characters in it.

The way Rosen crafts his characters is amazing. They all have names, and personalities, and interests, but they could also be people that you know in your own life. That’s how real he makes them. I found myself coming up for air in my hammock on my porch a few weekends ago, not realizing I’d read 200 pages already.

The story of Del and his adventures at Camp are fun, silly, and amazing. The friends he’s met, and the one that he’s determined to fall in love with, are all unique and precious. I love the counselors, too, and their stories. To go along with Del on his quest is a wonderful journey with so many emotions wrapped up together. I laughed, I cried, and just adored this book.

I can’t wait to read it again. This will stay on my bookshelf forever. It’s marketed toward ages 14 and up, but I believe that everyone should read this book. There are so many real-life lessons that are wrapped up in this adorable love story, told at an amazing place that I think a lot of people wishes had existed many, many years ago in the real world.

Thanks to Mike Holtzclaw for another excellent recommendation.

5 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #94: “Courtney: Friendship Superhero”

I wasn’t surprised at all when I powered through Courtney’s second book on Monday night before bed.

This book opens in the last few days of school of the 1985-1986 school year. The Hands Across America event is held, raising money for hunger and homelessness.

Courtney goes to the arcade, and continuing to work on her Crystal Starshooter character and levels of her video game. She meets a new friend, Isaac. He’s an even better video game player. Courtney eventually learns he’s also a talented artist.

As she navigates the waters of family and friendship, Courtney learns that Issac has an illness called HIV. Requests for privacy turn into anger about keeping secrets. Courtney feels like her friendship with Sarah, her best friend, is falling apart.

This book expertly navigated the fears of HIV and AIDS in 1986. I immediately drew parallels between Isaac and Ryan White, a teenager in Indiana who contracted HIV in 1984 through contaminated clotting factor that he received for hemophilia.

Courtney learns several lessons about true friendship along the way, even though she gets entrenched in the fight over Isaac and the local residents wanting to keep him out of school. How awful that these families and children faced such horrible discrimination, just like Ryan White and his family did.

The fun part of the story is when Courtney discovers the first Pleasant Company catalog, and falls in love with Molly McIntire!

I’m not sure if there will be more Courtney books, because American Girl revamped their book line several years ago. They changed the original six-book format to two longer books. This one covers the summer, fall, and winter of 1986.

However, I’m inspired to re-read Ryan White’s autobiography, Ryan White: My Own Story, and learn more about the 1980s. I was born in 1988, so I’ve always been intrigued by events that happened around the time I was born, and things that happened before I started forming core memories.

5 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #6: The Ebony And Fire Writing Club – What Projects Are You Working On?

Welcome back!

Buckle up, friends. Expect a post about The Ebony and Fire Writing Club coming to you every week for the foreseeable future!

I’m so thrilled with the reaction and support that I received earlier this week when I announced that I was joining the club in my Writing Adventures #5 post. If you’re interested, contact Tiana or Phoenix!

Here’s the link to Tiana’s newest post: The Ebony and Fire Writing Club: What Projects are you Working on?

Here’s the link to Phoenix’s newest post: From The Ebony and Fire Writing Club: Tell Us What You’re Working On!

Also, here’s the link to the main club page: The Ebony and Fire Writing Club

Here’s my details!

My Current Writing Project

I’m currently editing my draft of “Experiences From Camp.” This is the novel that I started during my first-ever NaNoWriMo in November 2012. It took 6 1/2 years, but I finished the first draft on March 30, 2019. I’ve sent it to several people to read and critique since then, and I’ve received some really good feedback.

For Camp NaNoWriMo April 2020, I printed out the first draft, threw it in a binder, and went to town with a blue pen and hot pink Post-It notes. Now, coupled with the reader feedback I’ve received so far, I’m translating it into a second draft on the computer. Once the second draft is done, I’ll send it back to my readers. I have set a deadline of sending the second draft to my readers no later than June 30, 2020.

Writing Advice

You don’t have to write a novel! You may enjoy writing poetry, fan fiction, blog posts, short stories, or free verse. It doesn’t have to end up as a book or something published. As long as you’re writing, that’s amazing! You have a gift. And, since you’re on WordPress, you’re creating!

I recently wrote a short story for a contest, and I had so much fun! It was a great way to stretch myself and actually submit something.

What are you working on?

If you feel comfortable, tell me what you’re working on in the comments! I’ve always enjoyed supporting others and being a cheerleader.

Stay tuned for another Writing Adventures post, coming soon!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Adventures #5: The Ebony and Fire Writing Club

Image Credit: H.R. Phoenix

I’m embarking upon a new adventure! It’s been well over a year since my last Writing Adventures post, but this one is special.

Here’s the link to Tiana’s original post: The Raven Writer’s Accountability Club

Together with Phoenix, she’s starting a club of writers. It’s so exciting!

After her original announcement, they changed a few things. Here’s Tiana’s update post: Announcement! The Ebony and Fire Writing Club

Here’s the link to Phoenix’s post: New: Join the Ebony and Fire Writing Club Now

If you’re interested, click on either one the Ebony and Fire Writing Club posts, and comment with your name.

The idea is those who want to participate will do a weekly post about the progress they’ve made with their work.

Tiana and Phoenix are also setting up donation pages through Ko-fi (Please note: This part is completely optional, it’s not a requirement to join) to give club members special access to writing advice, tips, tricks, and inspiration.

I’m really excited to participate! I’ve admired Tiana since she started her blog, and I’m looking forward to getting to know Phoenix better, along with the other club members.

What about you? Have you joined any blogging clubs or groups? What abour on social media?

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Book Review #86: “The Ocean at the End of the Lane”

My friend Cynthia sent me a copy, along with a beautiful letter telling me how much she enjoyed this book. I’d heard of Neil Gaiman for years, but never read any of his books until now.

Some nights, I read multiple chapters. However, most nights, I slogged through one chapter and then went to bed. I almost gave up on this book about four chapters in.

I’m so glad I didn’t.

This book renewed my interest in fantasy. Gaiman is a master storyteller and world-builder. There were several events and plot points that I considered to be violent and unsettling, but I think that’s me, my personality, and this being my first introduction to Gaiman’s writing.

Even though I slogged through a chapter or two more often than not, it’s likely because of how immersive Gaiman’s world is from the get-go. You’re right next to the protagonist, unnamed, his family, and the Hempstocks the entire time. I put the book down once or twice and realized that I, in fact, was not in the English countryside with the characters. You’re immediately invested in every detail.

The imagery is profound. It’s fitting that he used the word “ocean” in the title – This book is like an ocean. Its never-ending words and story, lapping over you like constant waves. And it’s a good thing. It’s hard to put it down after one chapter, and the chapters are shorter than I thought they would be. It keeps pulling you in for more.

If you’ve read fantasy before, this is a treat. It will take you away, and not spit you out until the very end. It’s beautifully written, almost lyrical or song-like.

If you haven’t read many fantasy books, I’m not sure this would be a good place to start. Gaiman is a great writer, but he’s very heavy. I experienced multiple emotions while reading. It’s very dark, but it’s dark for a reason. However, that’s not a bad thing. It’s award-winning for so many good things.

In the end, this book was a good one for me to read. It came into my life at a good time. Reading Gaiman is almost magical, and I was sad when the book ended, because it ended.

4 1/2 out of 5 stars.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #239: August WIP Writing Challenge BIRTHDAY BASH

August WIP Writing Challenge Birthday Bash

Image Credit: Didi Oviatt

I love Didi’s WIP writing challenges!

Here’s the link to her August challenge:

Hunter was feeling low. He really didn’t like birthdays.

As he wallowed, his phone buzzed.

Happy Birthday!

Hunter managed a small smile. Bethany was so kind. And, unfortunately, Hunter had the hots for her.

As he composed his reply, more texts came in. Hunter’s heart rose out of his stomach, ever so slightly.

People really do care, he thought.

I do have friends.

Then, a puzzling text from Lizzie came in.

Hey baby, wanna meet me at the arcade tonight? It’s half-price!

Hunter shook his head. He loved how Lizzie tried, but sometimes, she tried too hard. And she knew full well how much he hated his birthday. But, she wanted to pull him out of his misery, in whatever way she felt like could work.

Hunter smiled slightly, contemplating his response.

From Lizzie: Baby? Are you okay?

From Belle: Happy Birthday, Hunter! Hope you’re doing something fun tonight!

From Bill: Enjoy your birthday, dude! Can’t wait to celebrate soon!

Irritated, Hunter nearly threw his phone against the wall. That’s how the last two got broken.

He thought better of it. Pacing the room, he only texted Lizzie back.

Sure, sweetie. The arcade sounds like fun. What time?

Lizzie responded within seconds.

6:00. And don’t be late! 

Hunter drove the 10 miles to the arcade, lost in the music. He smiled a bit wider, excited to see Lizzie.

At 6:02, he walked into the arcade. Lizzie greeted him with a long kiss, a flick of the tongue, and then she took his hand and rounded the corner.

“SURPRISE!! Happy Birthday, Hunter!”

Hunter’s eyes went wide, and then filled with tears. Everyone was there – Lizzie, Bethany, Will, Belle, Bill, Robert, Adam, and a few others.

“I’m definitely surprised. Thank you.”

A man of few words, Hunter felt his heart lift higher. He hugged Lizzie tightly, whispered his thanks, and was simply overwhelmed.

As Bill raised the toast of soft drinks to another trip around the sun, Hunter’s smile grew wider.

“Well, friends, this is the first birthday where I haven’t felt miserable. Thank you, Lizzie. Thanks, everyone. Now, let’s shut up and play some games!”

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Prompt #238: “Imagination Plantation: European Vacation”

I was nominated for this writing challenge by Kristian, the lovely author of Life Lessons Around The Dinner Table. Thanks, Kristian, for nominating me!

Here’s the link to Kristian’s post, where I was nominated:

The challenge, Imagination Plantation, was originally created by Nova, the amazing author of Nova’s Namaste 365 Online.

4 Simple Rules:

Write me a short paragraph about what’s happening in this image.

Create a pingback to this image.

Tag three bloggers.

Reuse this same image 🙂 Let’s see how many stories can come from the same one.

Kristin shivered as the plane landed. As she turned off her iPod and listened to the final announcements of the flight attendants, she felt her right hand being gently squeezed. It was comforting.

“K? Are you okay?”

She smiled, squeezing his hand back.

“Yeah. I think so. My stomach always drops when planes land.”

Brennan smiled, hardly believing they had just landed in Germany. Their first time overseas.

As Brennan stroked her hand, Kristin’s thoughts drifted toward the cities and towns they would be exploring for the next 10 days. She was always nervous during plane trips, but for some reason, she was incredibly nervous about this trip. It was odd – She hadn’t felt this nervous around Brennan since the very beginning of their Camp experience. That was years ago.

She started to relax as their Uber left the Munich airport and headed toward the German countryside. The weather was absolutely beautiful, very unseasonable for the middle of August.

Brennan noticed Kristin had drifted off, her head laying on his shoulder. He smiled as his lips grazed her forehead. He caught a glimpse of a sleepy smile.

He took in the sights. It was about a 30-mile drive from the airport. There were so many trees – Far more than he’d ever seen in Texas. The amount of foliage and nature was rivaling Camp in Maine, and that was hard to top. He was in awe the entire drive. There were rivers, bridges, cathedrals, and stunning architecture. It was almost overwhelming. He was a little sad Kristin was missing this, but he thought it better she sleep. They had the next 10 days to take in everything. Germany was just the beginning.

The Uber driver easily navigated the steep, gravel-lined hill toward their first stop. Brennan’s smile grew wider. He remembered how excited, positively giddy Kristin was when she’d found it on Airbnb. It looked like a castle in the photos. And, in real life, unfolding before Brennan’s eyes, it was true.

“Hey, Kristin … Sweetheart?”

She groaned slightly, yawned, and opened her eyes.

“Yes, Brennan? What is it?”

He kissed her forehead, and then brushed her lips.

“Welcome to your castle, darling. Let’s start our European vacation.”


Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂