NaNoWriMo for Me: Ten Years Later…

We recently hosted a vendor booth at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce's Net90 Marketplace. Here I am with our giveaway prizes.
We recently hosted a vendor booth at the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce’s Net90 Marketplace.

On Halloween in 2007, I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo on a whim; I was inspired by my friend Lesley, who was also participating in NaNoWriMo then. I completed my first novel that year, thanks to NaNoWriMo.

Ten years later, in 2017, I am sitting out of NaNoWriMo in a rather bittersweet way.

Over the course of these ten years, I have participated in the annual write-a-thon seven times, winning (aka writing at least 50,000 words) three of those years (2007, 2008, and 2010). Even though I see that several friends are participating in the event this year, I still am sitting out this year.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing anymore: I’ve professed before that writing will always be my lifelong passion. However, I am writing daily as I work on Hashtagitude and its clients: writing constantly, writing more pointedly, with my marketing acumen sharpening day by day.

At the end of the day, my creative writing suffers a bit. Even with this blog, I have rarely updated over the last 2-3 years. At the end of the day, I have few words left in me to write.

But, to celebrate that joyful excursion into the world of NaNo (and, an homage to my friend Lesley, whom I only just recently learned passed away three years ago), I am doing something else for the month of November: I am doing daily Instagram Live broadcasts on my personal Instagram for five minutes.

Since going into business for myself in 2012, I haven’t been as vociferous about my life outside of my career and my businesses. So, on these daily broadcasts this month, I will be talking about various aspects of my life that are NOT business-related; just so, you can learn more about who Helene is.

I plan to broadcast about 8:30am/9am on weekdays and perhaps around 10am or so on weekends (all Mountain Time). The replays will stay up for 24 hours, so you will be able to tune in throughout the day.

I hope you will join me on this month-long journey.

My Official NaNoWriMo 2014 Announcement

Official NaNoWriMo participant. Click the banner to add me!
Official participant. Click the banner to add me!

I’d been sitting on the fence about participating in NaNoWriMo this year. Last year was the first time I sat out voluntarily since I began my NaNo-ing in 2007. I sat out last year because I was struggling with money and didn’t feel that writing a novel would be a wise decision with my time. In many ways, I felt FOMO (the fear of missing out), as I watched my friends tweet out their word counts excitedly and rejoiced over crossing the 50K line.

I didn’t want to miss out again this year, but I also felt trepidation over what to write. The last time I won NaNoWriMo, crossed the 50k word count, was in 2010: I won that year mainly because I had my local group of NaNo friends who were rooting me on and planning out write-ins around San Francisco. We did word sprints together via Twitter and really kept each other motivated.

Since I was new to Denver in 2011 when I participated, I didn’t know many people here. I went to the kick-off party and felt out of place. Even though I established a small write-in on campus at the University of Denver (I was a student there at the time), I didn’t cross the finish line. In 2012, I overhyped myself that October and, when midnight November 1st came, I sat down at my laptop and drew a big blank. I walked away from NaNoWriMo that year without even starting my writing.

Anyway, despite these past several years of inaction/not winning/etc., I am jumping in again this year. I already had a few friends reach out, encouraging me to try again; yesterday, my long-time best friend (been friends for 25+ years now!) texted me and said she wanted to finally jump into the NaNo craziness this year. So, she is my reason to give this crazy marathon a chance again.

I yet to have a novel idea to start off the month of November, but I have a feeling I will be ok. After all, when I first participated in NaNo in 2007, I started writing with no idea how that novel would be like; to this day, it is my proudest work and the one novel I am focusing on getting published first.

Hope to see you participating in NaNo as well. If you need a writing buddy, you can find me on the website as heriko.

NaNoWriMo Madness

Yes, I’m dipping my feet into NaNoWriMo this year. I know I am crazy for doing this, especially since I am swamped with grad work.

But, well, I feel like it’s a yearly fever for me: I never found momentum when starting on novels in other parts of the year, or even in participating in sister programs, Script Frenzy and Camp NaNoWriMo. That motivation, that camaraderie just wasn’t there.

And then October and November roll around and the online world goes frantic for NaNoWriMo. I feel the energy and I want to be part of it! I feel if I don’t participate, catch the fever, and revel in the insanity, I will be left out.

So I join in. Again and again.

I went to the Denver Kick-Off Party last night. The wireless network was not working too well for me, so I left early. Still managed to reach my Day One quota shortly after midnight. And, this year I actually did more preparation than in past years. I’m a half-planner, half-pantser now. Not bad: progress is progress.

I’m relieved to find a few other graduate students here who are participating in NaNo. Good to know I’m not the only one! We’re planning on having a write-in this weekend. Sure hope it works out.

Updates Are All I Have: NaNo, Podcast, OWOP…

Freshly made pancakes. No relation to this post at all. Just a picture for fun.

Nobody ever said graduate school was going to be a breeze. And I never doubted that either. But wow, I have neglected this blog for the past month. Luckily, I have kept a semi-regular schedule for My International MBA podcast episodes at least. Saturdays seem to be the best day to get material out.

I’m well settled into my apartment. Feng shui help from Catherine Grison is in the final stages, so soon I’ll take pictures. It takes awhile, mainly because I need to rearrange my priorities a lot.

I thought Camp NaNoWriMo would be all the “NaNo-ing” I’d do this year, but I’m going to go ahead and do NaNoWriMo next month after all. I can’t help but get sucked in every year. I have more prep material for my novel, but alas, it all sits and gathers dust as the month of October whizzes by…

One Word, One Picture (OWOP) did pretty well for three-fourths of the year. I decided that I would end my OWOP adventure at the start of September because my picture-taking had dwindled…and then came school. This month I’ve started back with near-daily picture-taking again, but I’d rather re-start OWOP in 2012 than pick up where I left off.

Speaking of 2012: anyone want to join in with OWOP next year? Let me know: helene at helenekwong dot com

Mid-Month Announcements: Progress on the Podcast, but…NaNo?

A Wintry Tokyo Road, 2004.

It’s already mid-July. Why does time seem to fly by so quickly? So, just to update you all on my progress I mentioned two weeks ago:

  • My International MBA has been pretty smooth sailing for the time being. Episode 5 today! Also, definitely helps that I’ve received more material from DU since the beginning of the month, so there’s much more to report on. Please visit & tune in when you can 🙂
  • Camp NaNoWriMo novel is…going slowly. But surely. The past two weeks have been a little dramatic in the real world, and just so much info coming my way for school. Well, I’m still interested in my novel. Just gotta pound out the words. Aiming for 70k words this time. According to Rachelle Gardner (literary agent), fiction word counts average 80K – 100K.
  • This coming Tuesday, will begin featuring my short stories in audio form. I tried to read my first story, “Tight Jeans“, as a test run but it sounds too awkward to be read out loud (well, at least by me). That may be a sign for me to go back and revise this story, which was written three years ago (my, I was so young back then, ha).

Hoping there will be more progress revealed by the beginning of August. Hope all has been well in your world, everyone!