When and how did you find out about NaNoWriMo? How did it go?

I honestly cannot remember how I found out about WriMo, but I know it was in October of 2003. My first attempt at it was a success and an incredible mind-blower; I’d been a prolific writer before, but now I had proof that I could write 50,000 words in a month. How cool is that?

How many times have you done NaNoWriMo?

Seven times – this year will make my eighth rollercoaster ride.

How many times have you won? If you haven’t won, what was your best result?

I won all but one time. My loss in 2006 was due to having visitors from England in town for two weeks in November, and, as much as I love writing, I loved getting to spend time with them much more. I also didn’t have much of a muse that year.

How did it go last year?

Last year I wrote Ghosts in the Machines, a cracktastic novel about shapeshifting (nonhumanoid) aliens who get stranded on a planet not their own (by space pirates, of course) and encounter feral vehicles that are, apparently and illegally, ensouled. Ghosts is one of the incredibly few NaNovels that I actually finished in November, which was a fantastic triumph for me; I’m working on the rewrites now.

You can even read the first chapter here!

Where and with what do you write?

I can write anywhere, but I am not one of the more adventurous WriMos who writes out a lot – I usually write at home, or at the office if all my work is already done. I don’t write longhand – computers only, please, and usually Wordpad, as it has the formatting shortcuts without all the BS of Microsoft Word. I’ve also had years where I simply posted my WIP on my personal blog without keeping it in a file until it came time to submit it for winnin’.

How do you find time to write?

I do not lead a terribly busy life, so it’s not actually too hard. I write whenever I’m bored and inspired (or when I know I’m behind and need to catch up).

Are your partners, friends and family allies or enemies?

Allies, definitely. I get a lot of support and encouragement from everyone around me – along with the occasional incredulous “you’re doing what in a month?” reactions, which are almost as fun.

What are your strengths, and what do you use to help you get to the end?

Mostly? I type fast. 119 wpm accurately, though considerably less when writing creatively. Still, I can finish the day’s quota of 1667 words in under an hour; I can do 15 minute sprints and come up with some 700 words each time. Those sprints really make the difference when I’m trying to catch up (or make headway), ’cause I can manage between 15 and 30 minutes of solid, break-neck writing before my brain fries and I need to take five.

What are your weaknesses, obstacles and challenges that hinder you from finishing?

I am really, really lazy and inconsistent. Normally, I can make a running start in the first week, and then die off in the middling two weeks. I’ve written the bulk of my novel more than once in the last week of November, once even writing 17,700 words in one day. The middle of the month seems to be great for letting everything percolate in my head and less great for actually pumping out words.

Do you plot/outline/plan or do you write by the seat of your pants? How much have you plotted or how unprepared are you this year?

In the past, I have tried outlining, both detailed and vague, and I have flown by the seat of my pants before. I am definitely a pantser at heart; it’s the 19th and I have no idea what I’m doing this year, nor will I really get a bead on my direction until about three days before November. Some years will knock me in the head with an insistent and wild idea, which I’ll run with, and other years will have me logicking out my best choice for the month – and then years like this will see me twiddling my thumbs until I can’t twiddle no more and have to start typing.

Do you participate in the real life community and/or go to write-ins and meet-ups in your area?

Not really. I’m pretty much a hermit.

What are your writing aids? Special snacks, music, totems, rewards or punishments?

My most important writing aid is music; I am helpless and hopeless without it. Music fuels me, inspires me, directs me, and gives something for the other nattery bits of my brain to focus on. I’m also fond of pretzels and sweet mint tea while writing, though I try not to overindulge too much for fear of consuming nothing else all month. I don’t use punishments nor totems.