USA :: Texas :: Collin County

Notes Notes

almost 2 years ago
We're coming down to the wire. Some of you may be 5K behind, 10K behind, 25K behind, 50K behind. Some of you may have already sped past the finish line and enjoy the marathon. The 30th is on a Friday this year. For Monday-Friday people, that means there's no work after the last day of NaNoWriMo.

Which means that if you want to show up at my house in sweatpants or pajama pants and your favorite beverage to hunker down and do the last few word sprints of the month all the way to midnight, you might not have to get up as early in the morning.

Even if you might not reach the 50K this year, the most important part of NaNoWriMo is getting those words on the page. I want you to get as far as possible by the time midnight comes around, so whether you're going to win, whether you've already won, or whether it's just not in the cards, I want you to write those last few hours. In my house or joining us virtually. Just keep writing until midnight.

I recommend that you double-check your time zones so you don't miss the deadline by a technicality, prepare for the site to be slow or down near the midnight hour, and write about 500 words over 50,000, because the validator doesn't count words the same way your word processor does. And be sure to get your donation in for the month to get that nice shiny halo and keep NaNoWriMo going.

We're almost at the end, folks. We can do this!
almost 2 years ago
Everyone's feeling it. I'm feeling it. The good feelings that come from taking a new idea and tackling the pure potential of a novel have all popped away, leaving behind a long, hard slog. You're almost halfway through the month, and you still have a whole other half to write. It feels like forever, and each word doesn't flow like it used to. You're not sure if this was the story to tackle, if this was the idea to spark, whether any of this was really worth it.

This is not the time to stop.

Ideas are potential. They're pure. They're unfettered by any one media. You experience them as a movie, a TV show, an audiobook, and the printed page all at once. Everything in your head is beautiful and golden. And then you start writing. And discover that writing goes a lot slower than your brain. That what you're thinking of isn't translating the way you hoped. And that starting momentum just doesn't continue on its own. An object in motion only stays in motion in a vacuum, but we're not in a vacuum. We have bodily functions and obligations and expectations, and all these variables will try to slow you down.

Just because it feels like it's not working, just because you're not as excited as you were in the beginning, just because it isn't coming out like you thought it would doesn't mean that it isn't working. This is how it is. This is what NaNoWriMo teaches best. To keep up the discipline. To recognize that how you're feeling is not necessarily what's true. To realize that you won't always be working under optimal conditions. To remember that all momentum slows down. It's up to you to put in the time.

But if you need to switch the story, if you need to switch the scene, if you need to kill someone, if you need to start over, and you're absolutely sure of it... do it. Why not? Just don't delete. It's all word count. NaNoWriMo is about writing. So just keep writing. Carry on, my wayward son. There'll be peace when you are done.

And we can help. With pancakes.

This Friday is the Night of Typing Furiously. It was original planned as an all-night event. We were ambitious. It mostly winds down around 3-4 AM. But from 9 PM on November 16 to around 3 AM on November 17, we'll be back in the back room at the Denny's at University (281) and 75 for a hardcore write-in to give your word counts a much-needed boost. There will be sprints, and there will be prizes. It's a good time to catch up to 25,000 or pad your word count for when the holidays come and other things might distract.

Remember, despite our word sprints, NaNoWriMo is a marathon. Take care of yourself. Drink water. Don't overdo the caffeine. Eat healthy things. Get some exercise (I like to write standing). Stretch. Sleep. Then start again in the morning. It's not the most romantic hobby or occupation in the world, but even in the midst of the slog, you can still be proud of what you've accomplished.

Your Humble ML out.
almost 2 years ago
I hope you're getting a lot of good sleep, engaging in healthy habits, and stretching daily in preparation for NaNoWriMo, which starts in just eleven days. In eleven days, the insanity begins. In eleven days (and this is the third time I had to correct my spelling of eleven), you embark on a line-by-line journey to 50,000 words that have never existed before. But you'll make it so.

Write-ins are designed to ensure you're not going on this journey alone, because quests are always more fun with companions. And we have some wonderful write-ins in store for you. If you have a few of your own, come by the forums or the North Texas Rough Writers FB page and let me know. I'll put it on the calendar.

Getting to Know You Party: We're going to meet at the Corner Bakery at Preston/Park on Sunday, October 28, 2-4ish pm, to meet each other without the pressure of word goals to get in our way. We'll enjoy some sandwiches, talk and commiserate about plotting and pantsing, and get ourselves into the NaNoWriMo headspace while getting to know our travel companions.

Midnight Kick-Off: We'll meet at the Denny's on 75/University (281) October 31 at 11 PM to kick off our word count at midnight to get a head start on the month. It's like being a night owl and an early bird at the same time.

Kick-Off Continued: Not much for the night life? Join us at the Barnes & Noble Kitchen at Legacy West from 6-10 PM on November 1. Wine and word counts. Does it get any better than that?

Night of Typing Furiously: It's time for Denny's on 75/University (281) again, this time on Friday, Nov. 16, from 9 PM to 3 AM the next day. It would be an all-night thing, but I don't think we've ever managed that long. Mid-month is about when the word counts start to flag, so this is a great chance to give yourself another word count boost. With pancakes.

Sprint to the Finish: I wasn't able to host an all-day writer retreat this year, but I will be able to host this year's Sprint to the Finish on November 30 evening for those this close to making it who need a quiet place dedicated solely to the achievement of the 50K word count goal before midnight. I'll add my address to the event closer to November 30.

You ready?
almost 3 years ago
I'm so very proud of everyone. Through rain, through hunger, through mighty feasts, demanding family members, plot holes, fanged plot bunnies, pitfalls and bear're still here. And you're almost there.

We don't have any place scheduled for the Sprint to the Finish, but let's hunker down tomorrow night and meet on Facebook ( to share our progress and encourage each other to the 50,000th word. Set your own write-in if you like, wherever is close and comfortable for you (and post it on FB in case someone else wants to join you), and type your little fingers off. Have breakfast for dinner at Denny's, go to McAlister's or Corner Bakery for sandwiches, caffeinate at a coffee shop, stack pillows all around you at home, whatever inspires you to write. Take a screenshot of your last words, a picture of your celebratory dessert or drink, or a selfie of you while you collapse in exhaustion. It's a Virtual Sprint to the Finish!

A few housekeeping issues:

1) Don't forget to copy/paste your words into the NaNo counter, because it may be different from your word processor's word count. I know mine is about 200-300 words behind, and I had to write a few more paragraphs for the NaNo counter to validate it. Putting in the word count is not enough. You still need to validate!

2) Don't forget to donate to NaNoWriMo. We love doing this every year, and we want to make sure more and more people can continue to do this through their infrastructure. Please spare a few dollars in their direction.

3) The Thank God It's Over Party is this Saturday, Dec. 2, 4-6 pm at the La Madeleine at McDermott and 75.

See you on the other side!
almost 3 years ago
We're almost there, folks. Just three more days until the last day of NaNoWriMo 2017! Some of us have already crossed the 50,000-word mark, some of us can taste it, and some of us feel like that finish line is way too far away to reach. But as most of us Rough Writer veterans love to tell, retired ML Erin wrote 12,000 words on the last day at Susan's potluck Sprint to the Finish. We all rooted for her at the house and on FB. It was epic.

And it just so happens Susan's hosting a Sprint to the Finish potluck at her home on Nov. 30, from 5 pm to midnight. Who knows? We may have another story to tell. So bring yourself, your computer, a snack dish to share, and your determination to win this thing, because the victory lap is worth it. She lives in Wylie, so you can PM Susan Pitman on Facebook or kitykity here on the NaNo site for the address.

We have a few other write-ins set for Wednesday as well to push you closer to the finish line, at La Madeleine, Parr Library, and Cafe Bohemia.

As for the TGIO Party, we usually have that in January, but the momentum's usually fallen out by that point, and December's pretty booked once you get into it. We're going to try something different this year and have the Thank God It's Over Party before all the December madness, on Dec. 2, the La Madeleine at 75 and McDermott, 4-6 pm. Don't worry - while you're encouraged to bring an excerpt to share, we really just want to get together and celebrate/commiserate, to ask where you go from here, talk about writerly things that solitary writers don't usually get to talk about with each other, take a breather between NaNoWrimo and the holidays.

I love you guys, and I know you can do this. Let's finish this!
almost 3 years ago
I don't know about you, but somewhere around the middle of the month, I hit the writer's equivalent of the Swamps of Sadness (Neverending Story reference, for those unfamiliar). I slog deeper and deeper into the morass while my productivity, motivation, and self-esteem plummet. What are we doing? What madness is this? What made me think I was supposed to be doing this? What's the point? The end is just so far away. Are we really only halfway through the month? (And if it's the neverending story, there IS no end!)

Let's face it, the Mid-month Slump is upon us. This is where the drive and productivity that comes from starting a new project gets used up, and suddenly writing 1,667 or more words a day starts becoming WORK (perish the thought). What's more, now that you've got the creative juices flowing, other ideas have or will start popping up in your NaNo-garden like weeds, promising you that you'll have that spark of inspiration that you had at the beginning.

The lawns of creativity are littered with dead flowers, because you were too busy picking the weeds.

That metaphor makes absolutely no gardening sense, but you get what I'm saying.

There will be time in the other eleven months for you to take on all these other ideas. Keep a file or a notebook where you can jot down your concept/plot ideas. But as long as your present NaNo story is still bearing fruit--albeit not as bountifully as before--stick with the story you have. It is normal for the euphoria of a new story to die away. You're probably not going to experience it again until the end of the book (and sometimes not even then!). It's normal for even a good story to feel like work once the first week or two goes by. Writing IS work. It's good work. It's worthwhile work. It's satisfying work. But it's still work.

But if you're struggling to keep up momentum, never fear. We have several events this weekend to get you through that slump and give you an extra word count boost before the holidays whisk you away in a chaotic whirlwind of feasts, family, and tryptophan (yes, there's a biological reason you feel so sluggish after a Thanksgiving meal).

First, we have the Night of Typing Furiously this Friday night, 11/17, for the night owls at the McKinney Denny's (University/75), starting at 9 PM and going on till 3 AM (or however long you want to hold out, but I'm mostly dead by then). This is one of the mainstays of the NaNo month, and there shall be plenty of word sprints and prizes. Plus, pancakes=brain fuel, because science says so.

Then we're going to turn around on Saturday, 11/18, and have a Mini Writer's Retreat at my house (address at our Region) for the day birds from 1 PM to 9 PM. There will be drinks, snacks, more word sprints and prizes, plenty of places to park your butt, pizza or grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner (take a side for one or the other in the forums), and a chill, comfortable atmosphere to bump your word count. You can come at any time during the afternoon and evening and stay for a couple hours or for the whole darn thing if you want.

We did this last year, and it went really well. Due to timing issues this year, it ended up right after the Night of Typing Furiously, but what are we writers, if not mad as hatters?

We also have so many other opportunities the rest of the month, too. I'd really like to thank all our wonderful participants for stepping up with their own write-ins. We have so many to choose from from all over the NTX-sphere, some that I even manage to get on the calendar, but check out our FB page, because spontaneous ones pop up all the time: If you haven't joined us at one yet, I totally recommend it. If you're nervous or shy, really, you don't have to say a word. I didn't for the whole month when I first joined the Rough Writers.

Thank you, and keep on keeping on, friends.
almost 3 years ago
Hey, everyone! Just two and a half more days until lift-off. Hope you have your notes ready, your caffeine well-stocked, and your do-not-disturb signs hung.

We're having our official kick-off party on Oct 31 11 PM-Nov 1 2 AM to launch some midnight word count at the Denny's in McKinney, off University (280) and the Central Expressway (75). You're welcome to come in costume! If you want to, you can arrive a little early to get a food order in (remember, it's helpful to buy at least $5 worth of food per person and tip your waitress well, because we want them to keep liking us).

We'll be meeting in the back room, and the reservation is under Beth's name (shout out for the woman of the hour, because I was having phone trouble). Introduce yourself and your novel, and if you're having trouble coming up with last-minute, we'll have a nice bull session until midnight, when we'll gather all our superhuman powers and CREATE!

It officially goes until 2 AM, but many of you, like me, have work in the morning, so I'll scram around 1 AM, and I doubt they'll kick anyone out if they want to stay later.

There are some additional write-ins on Wednesday, Nov 1, if you can't make the kick-off. Parr Library has a write-in 6-8 PM, and my La Madeleine Wednesday write-ins start up, so I'll be there from 6-9 PM.

Remember, if you have any write-ins you'd like me to add to the calendar, you can either PM your humble ML or add a comment to the write-in thread in the forums.

Good luck, Rough Writers, and see you on Halloween!
almost 3 years ago
The whole North Texas area is getting together this Saturday for pre-writing Kick-Off shenanigans. If you're not part of the DFW region, you probably didn't get the email, so I'm going to shamelessly copy/paste what they sent, because it's good, and I'm not attempting to claim credit. (Plagiarism is bad.)

"We call you to join us at the Kick Off party this Saturday the 21st of October! At the University of Texas at Dallas from 10:30 am to 2 pm! We have summoned great wordsmiths to teach us their ways that we might learn from them how they have overcome the Pro Crasti Nation. Then we must reconnect with our long lost allies. Yes we must seek to bring back the Plot Bunnies!

Join us to meet:

Russ Linton

Russ Linton has done a lot of stuff in his life. Philosopher, stay at home father, graphic designer, cryptocurrency miner, and yes, even government agent. But what he enjoys most is imagining fantastic places and exploring them through unique, and sometimes odd, perspectives. A bugman acolyte raised by human monks on the edge of an eternal storm? Check. A powerless hacker punching above his weight class in a world of superheroes? Double check. If you’ve come looking for more of the same, well, that’s one thing he doesn’t do. Most of all, he likes to invite others along for these journeys. Hop aboard. No telling where he’ll take you next.

Keith Goodnight

Keith Goodnight was born in Dallas, TX and attended Rice University where he obtained a Ph.D. in Biology, specializing in Animal Behavior. He began work on his science fiction universe while still in high school, and kept working on it all through the years when he was supposed to be working on something else. He published his first novel, The Child, in 2013 and currently works as an instructor in the Writers Path program at SMU.

J Kathleen Cheney

Kathleen Cheney taught mathematics ranging from 7th grade to Calculus, but gave it all up for a chance to write stories. Her novella “Iron Shoes” was a 2010 Nebula Award Finalist. Her novel, The Golden City was a Finalist for the 2014 Locus Awards (Best First Novel). Dreaming Death (Feb 2016) is the first in a new world, with the books of The Horn coming out next, and then the sequels to Dreaming Death in 2017/2018.

Sara-Meg Seese

Sara-Meg Seese is a graduate of Ursinus College, where she earned her B.A. in English Literature “way back when a liberal arts degree was still a valuable commodity.” After graduation, she toured for more than fifteen years with an international Christian repertory theater company, racking up thousands of performances in English, German, and Spanish. The New Jersey native finally stopped traveling and put down roots in the DFW area in 2005. A pastor’s kid twice over, she has written and produced a number of plays and skits for local churches, and had a monologue published in a nationally-distributed magazine. Sara-Meg hones her writing skills as a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and Trinity Arts Writers Workshop. She has achieved the level of "Distinguished Toastmaster" in Toastmasters International twice! She has two cats, Sparkles and Peanut, volunteers in her church’s children’s Sunday School classes, and dotes on her nieces and nephew long-distance.

Come to the Kick-Off to join in the live auction of the Plot Bunnies. Each and every one of them needs a home. They have heard our calls for help to bring back the words to the region and they are back to inhabit the plot holes and fill them in as needed that we may continue writing."

Your humble ML wants to go, but her ability to do so is 50/50 at the moment. A moment of silence for the loss of certainty.

Next on our list is what we want to do for our official type-as-much-in-one-hour-as-possible Kick-Off Party after midnight on November 1. Because it's in the middle of the week, we have the option of doing our official Kick-Off Party on that Saturday or Sunday during the day. Paradise Bakery never minds a crowd of laptopped people, which is always in our favor. Potbelly is also a good place to chill and eat cookies and good soup.

But we can also do something Tuesday night to get us revved up, type like mad after midnight, and skedaddle with our first few hundred words in place. There's also a write-in that Wednesday at La Madeleine that we could use as the Kick-Off, and though we wouldn't be able to use the back room, if we're courteous, we should be fine right outside the back room and out of the main diners' way. We can always do a virtual write-in that night, with word sprints and prizes to share on the Facebook page.

I am hopelessly indecisive, so if you have a preference, drop by the forums and share your opinion.

Have I mentioned I'm a pantser?
almost 3 years ago
Hey, Rough Writer Wrimos!

It’s been a late start for me this October, but I’m committed to help give you a good experience next month. (I’m solo-MLing it this year, so please be kind. Volunteer deputies are not out of the question.)

It’s still my favorite month of the year, and I love sharing it with everyone.

This is the time celebrate the return of the souls of the dead to earth to celebrate with their living loved ones. This is the time to give thanks for your blessings. This is the time to stand in lines and bemoan how early the holiday season comes along and how empty your bank account feels afterward.

Most importantly, this is the time to take the Viking by the historically inaccurate horns and get ready to tackle that most sacred of literary journeys—writing a novel. (So many mixed metaphors. Sorry, not sorry.)

Whether you’re a professional or amateur, whether this is your fourth time, your fourteenth time, or your absolute first time attempting such a feat, it’s YOUR time. Believe me, you’ve got superpowers inside you that you never knew you had.

You can leap over massive plot holes in a single bound, type through word sprints faster than a speeding bullet, soar through the Googlesphere to find the most obscure facts to pad your word count. You’re so strong and your skin is so thick, you can kick that inner editor out of your bunk and get the dang words on the page. You can see right through plot twists, bust through writer’s block, and plot or pants like nobody’s business.

And with the power of teamwork, we’re going to make it through this exhausting, awful, wonderful, amazing month.

Now, to business. Y’all are all encouraged to hang out in our wonderful North Texas forums, where you can bask, groan, wail, gnash your teeth, and offer encouragement to your heart’s content:

We also have a Facebook page that’s modestly active all year round:

Now, I have some standing write-ins that I do throughout the year, which include Paradise Bakery (121/Preston) every Sunday from 3-6ish pm and Wednesdays at Le Madeleine (Park/Preston) from 6-9ish pm. I intend to continue those through November. I know some of our Frisco writers have some regular writing times as well.

We’ll definitely do a Night of Typing Furiously at the McKinney Denny’s in the middle of November, a kick-off at midnight on Nov. 1 so we have a nice springboard for our word count (suggestions are welcome), and a Sprint to the Finish (TBD). Last year, I hosted a mini writer’s retreat that I’d like to repeat, but that’s still up in the air.

The various North Texas communities are also trying to get together for a kick-off here in October, Saturday, Oct. 21, at the UTD campus, which is located next to major highways for easy access. There’s a whole thing, with a reception at 10:30, speakers, and an auction. I hope to have more information for you on this soon.

We want y’all to feel free to set your own write-ins, though, because your humble ML has many superpowers, but being in multiple places at once is not one of them, and I’ve got an 8-5 job that I must unfortunately attend on a regular basis, so daytime write-ins and multiple weekday evening write-ins won’t be my forte.

If you have a write-in you want to host, remember the Trifecta of Awesome (2 out of 3 is usually acceptable)—Outlets, Wifi, and Caffeine/Food. Then share it on the forum thread so I can put in on the calendar (once I figure out how that thingamajig works).

Now, come on over to the forums and introduce yourself and your future magnum opus. Get to know each other.

And remember, with great power comes great responsibility. Get those mighty pens ready. November is coming.

Calendar Calendar

Meet your MLs

Lunalelle Winner!
  • Joined October 2, 2004
  • Role Municipal Liaison
  • Location Plano

About us

Welcome to the official NaNoWriMo home for the North Texas Rough Writers!
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