Is this what this feels like?

Autumn has finally started showing up around here.

It’s Sunday evening. And while I can’t say I’m bummed about that, I already miss my weekend. Okay, so technically I’ve been off work since Wednesday so this time off has felt extra good. Nonetheless, I love weekends. How do I get more of them?

This weekend has been weird and also, super productive. Not only did I reorganize the master bedroom and move my gynormous “headboard” (which isn’t a headboard at all) out of my room, but I shifted furniture around, too. I made major changes to my spare bedroom, (mostly) finished decorating for Christmas, and then created an office in the spare room.

I moved from a four bedroom house to an apartment. That second bedroom of mine, here in the apartment, has been a mess of boxes and stuff – for ages. I was also a foster mom with two twin beds and a crib. All of that furniture moved into this apartment with me and has sat there – taunting me, to be honest. Some of the other items piled up in there included kid’s toys and books. It was depressing thinking about it.

But I started working on organizing and didn’t stop until I could set up one of the beds (for now it’s a daybed kinda couch sitch) and move my desk and a bookcase into the room. There’s still more work to do, but I’ll probably leave that until I take vacation time in December.

My writing space will take shape soon enough. I’m happy with how it looks for now.

I kid.

Here’s the thing, I also made beef stew, maple Dijon chicken thighs, and edited/wrote 11,211 words for NaNoWriMo. I’m now at a grand total of 28,149 words edited/written, since the 1st. Where did all of this energy come from? Probably my infusion on Wednesday – in part. I have another one this coming week. If I feel this good before the second one – I’m hoping after #2, I’ll be feeling like a million bucks.

After a busy day yesterday, I made an apple cider margarita, turned on all of the Christmas lights (and a Hallmark Christmas movie), and relaxed with the dog.

It feels good to be productive. Which probably sounds dumb. But when you have a chronic illness and all of your energy goes to the 9-5 job, Monday – Friday – there’s usually nothing left for my personal life. So is this what this feels like? Having energy to accomplish life things? I like it. How do I get more of this energy? 🙂

I hope your weekend has been either super restful or productive! What’s something good happening in your life these days? I would love to hear from you.

A NaNoWriMo Update

a thousand years, elaina avalos, elaina m. avalos,

November 1st was the kick-off of National Novel Writing Month! Here’s a NaNoWriMo update. I dropped off the writing/editing last week for a few days. But I picked back up tonight and edited and/or wrote, 5,515 words. I decided at the last minute to re-write and edit, A Thousand Years.

I’ve written some new content, switched up where the novel starts – and therefore where my protagonist met her love, Graham Ford. I feel much better about where the whole thing is going. With the slow down earlier this week, I’ve only got about 6,000 words written/edited in the last seven days. But if I sustain my daily word count goal for the remainder of the month, I should finish a couple days early (pats self on back).

There’s still some stuff I’m unsure about, but I’m hoping that with the switch-up I’ve started working on, that will work itself out too. Are your participating? Hoes’ the writing (or editing), going?

National Novel Writing Month

Live Oak, spanish moss, elaina m. avalos, chasing hope, lacey mays
Photo by Ashley Knedler

November is National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). I’ve been a NaNoWriMo participant since 2009. But until last year, I never actually finished a project. In 2020, at one of the wildest times for me professionally, I wrote a 51,640 word novel. The words poured out of me. The novel, A Thousand Years, has been varying states of editing for 11 months. I start in on re-write and it doesn’t feel quite right and I start over. It has been weird. I love the story. But it has changed dramatically from what I started writing in 2020.

As I gear up for NaNoWriMo 2021, I have a decision to make (real quick like). Do I focus in on a final draft of A Thousand Years, or do I write Sea Glass Hearts (which I’ve started)? I also have another book – still untitled, about a character named Lacey James that desperately needs to be written. I have until Monday to decide. I thought tonight I’d play around a little with all three and see if my muse catches fire. He’s finicky. So . . . eh, we’ll see what happens.

You can read some of Lacey’s story, here & here.

Sea Glass Hearts excerpts are here.

A Thousand Years, is here.



Writing a Novel – Reaching a Word Count Goal

Last night, I reached my NaNoWriMo goal for November 2020 – by writing 50,000 words on my novel A Thousand Years. I actually wrote 51,486 words in the month of November. It’s the first time I’ve “won” NaNoWriMo though I’ve participated on and off since 2009. On November 2nd, I wrote this post, wondering if I’d really be able to do it this time.

It’s not the first novel I’ve written. But writing a novel isn’t easy. It takes time, it often requires an emotional investment or takes an emotional toll. Last month I made a decision to write quickly and to get it all out – as quickly as possible, not editing or changing anything I’d written on the first go round. So while it’s not the first I’ve written, it is the first that I’ve been so single-minded and dedicated to writing.

The novel is definitely longer than 50,000 words – which I mostly expected. I don’t think I’ll actually finish the novel in the next two days because that’s another 30,000 words I expect to write. I may, however write the final chapter before moving onto the second draft which will add the additional words and chapters I’m missing.

This experience has been a huge accomplishment for me personally. I’ve written so much – so many words in my lifetime – fiction and non-fiction. But I’ve yet to be able to dedicate time nearly every day to furiously reach a goal in such a short amount of time. My first completed novel took a ridiculously long time to write and it’s not what it could be.

So excuse me while I pat myself on the back for accomplishing this word count goal. This book holds a special place in my heart. I hope I can do it justice as I begin working on the 2nd draft in December.

For a few vignettes that can be found in the novel, go here, here, or here. Or the one that started it all, here.

Halfway There – a Novel in Progress!

NaNoWriMo, NaNoWriMo 2020, Elaina Avalos

Yesterday, I wrote 2,434 words bringing me to a total of 26,002 words. I’m halfway there! While I think the novel will be over 50,000 words – the goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000.

I have to say – I will never again return to writing the old way. My first draft is a first draft through and through. As I go, I think of things I’d like to change and make notes for the 2nd or 3rd drafts. I’m getting the overall story “on paper” without touching what I’ve written, with the hope of going back in on the second draft adding more description and some of the writing that I most love to do – to make my characters and locations come alive.

When I wrote Chasing Hope it took me ages (and ages). I’m my own worst critic. I wrote, deleted, wrote some more. Deleted. Edited. Over and over the pattern went. It took me so long. And it’s still not the book I want it to be. I plan on re-writing it someday.

The other thing that slows me down is that I will find myself going down a research rabbit hole when there’s something I need to learn more about, a house I have in mind – as my protagonist’s house, etc. I have tried to reduce that significantly this time. A few evenings ago, I was halfway to my daily word count goal and spent a little time on research. Last night, after I’d reached my goal, I did a little more.

My plan is to spend more time on that for the second draft. Although not exactly research, another issue that needs updating in subsequent drafts is that my timeline is allll jacked up because I’m changing things as I go – as the story makes more sense and comes into greater focus. The main characters both have children. I want the kids to all be younger now that I’ve started working on it, for instance. So that’s one reason my timing is jacked. Part of what will need to be worked out is just that – when I truly want to start this story, how long I want my protagonist to be apart from her love interest, and therefore how old the kids are when the novel begins.

I’m excited to have gotten so far, so quickly. For me, this is a huge deal. I’m celebrating today with Carolina Panthers football, a mimosa, and yeah – writing.