Did you say 50 000 words and 3 books?

writing the shapeshifters

Hello all! Welcome back to this blog… Let’s talk about writing.

November came and went, and so did NaNoWriMo. You know, the challenge where we corner ourselves into writing 50 000 words in one month, and then get pretty upset when that shit doesn’t happen.

This year, I came up half short on the word count — 25 400, was the tally at Nov.30th.

But there’s no problem AT ALL.

The previous book took two NaNoWriMo’s to get to it’s “final” form, so I’m kind of used to taking a really long time in completing a writing project.

I’m currently working on my second novel for The Shapeshifters World. First book took three years in the making and it’s pretty much done. Just a bit of fiddling after the third book is complete, so that I can erase the unforeseens. Yes, I am a detail tweaking maniac, but I intent to produce the best book I can, so… to tweak it is.

At this point in time the status of the situation is:

The Shapeshifters #1 (which has a secret book title only to disclose if I’ll manage to publish) is complete and I’m very happy to have finish it. Truth be told, I did not imagined it could be such a arduous ride. And it is subject to final tweaks, as previously mentioned.

The Shapeshifters #2 (also book title is a secret) is on the way, almost halfway written, on his zero draft. It has diverted from the initial idea plot wise, but these characters have been talking to me… And I will listen! We should listen to our work (tip for future me) before it starts talking in batshit mode and get us stuck on a “and now what?!” type of conundrum.

The Shapeshifters #3 is also growing. Initial plots and plans have altered, and grew a bit, as it should. But this one is a future me problem, so… onward.

So, this is the plan, for now: just keep going.

To be able to write this story has been something very powerful. Time, effort, skills, learning… it all enters the pot before something (a book) can come out of it. I have been playing with some fears, some stories, some happenings, and it’s one hell of a ride home.

To find my Home in my Writing, and make it my Work, is a magical force, made of all the on goings, the smooth, the tempests, the it is what it is moments.

And it’s all worth it.

What have you been writing? Tell me everything in the comments section below!

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Bye and Keep Writing! ✍🏼

Writing is a work in progress… so is rain


Hello all! Welcome back to this blog.

This week I have been working on revising ‘The Shapeshifters’, my current major work in progress. I am trying to work out how to do my first big revision on an english written novel.

I confess, I am quite scared by the task. After all, I have a lot to practice until I find myself content with my english writing voice (does it makes any sense to you?)

But I found myself really enjoying the rereadings of this story. I always find something to revise and correct and even that being the case, I feel quite taken with this story… and by mulling over about the next two books on this series.

My transitional period from NaNoWriMo efforts into revising mode got cut quite short. Usually I take a few months before getting back to a project but, this time, I really didn’t want to lose the momentum. So I got back into revising just a few days after completing this draft.

Quoting from Neil Gaiman’s blog post, which you can read fully here…

neil gaiman

I like to do this exercise also but, in this project, I feel I have been doing it since the beginning, always comparing notes with that first outline and see how I could improve upon.

I know my first outline didn’t have one third of what I managed to build into it on its third draft.

But I’m still not done with it. I want to tweak some details and to build solid foundations for the two books to come.

Paying other attentions to the writing craft

As I mentioned before (in this article here…), I’m experimenting Scrivener for my writing efforts and it’s been very fun. I find it very useful, specially in the writing and editing mode. I’m kind of exploring it as I go, and I am feeling that maybe I found a way to simplify some of my writerly messes.

And, for now, I’m just rereading it and tweaking it like that. Later, it will come the time to thoroughly research all the terms I have been outlining, and test for their consistency and service to the story.

Does it need a big edit or rewrite?

Honestly? I don’t think so… which just adds to the scary part of things.

It would be easier to handle if I perceived big flaws and went about solving them. But if I don’t perceive them does it mean that they don’t exist? Or that I am just not seeing straight? I guess this is just me overthinking… as usual. Or is it?

So this is all a big work in progress. One that I am enjoying thoroughly, even if it gets me unsure on lots of aspects. Now I intent to follow the schedule, keep working on this story (and the others to come), and do my best in building this universe I have been so fond of.

Some life updates…

Also, I couldn’t refrain from writing about our underwater daily life here in Lisbon, Portugal.

It’s been raining a lot, for more than a week now. We are a tempered climate sort of place, and people, and we are usually very unprepared for any real change in the weather. For the last week there have been lot’s of floods, and landslides, and occurrences derived from the excess rain water.

Yesterday, I woke up to water in the middle of the living room. It had been slowly entering the house during the night, infiltrating through the roof, descending the wall and pooling on the floor.

This is a major problem since it keeps raining, and no one will risk going to the roof, to fix the source of the damage. We are doing shifts in tending to the kind of cascading water inside the apartment and just wishing this rain to abade.

It could be worse. There are lot’s of other situations worse than ours. So let’s hope for clear skies and tend to our businesses anyway.

And this is why this post is coming so out of schedule… lot’s of water to clean

Thank you so much for reading this blog. I hope you have a happy and tranquil December.

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼



I tried writing in NaNoWriMo for 12 years

12 years experience

Hello all! Welcome back to my blog.

Have you seen any of the videos “I tried writing like (famous author) for (whatever) days or months”?

It’s kind of a trend on YouTube and I always find them inspiring, educational and fun!

This is kind of a “I tried writing in NaNoWriMo for 12 years”

Today’s article is kind of an overview about the 12 years I have been registered in NaNoWriMo website and all the times I decided to write a book in November.

First, let’s go over some stats:

✍️ I have been registered on https://nanowrimo.org/ since Oct.29, 2010.

✍️ I have entered the November’s challenge for 7 times.

✍️ I have completed the 50K, and then some, for 5 times.

✍️ The website says that I have wrote 343,660 words for NaNo projects.

Is this an impressive count? Nop. I don’t think so. But it’s good to know all of these things.

Let’s go on this memory lane, shall we?

I recall finding this challenge online and starting to mull over it. Back in the day, I had so much fear of being tricked that anything new gave me tons of food for thought.

Contrary to my later developed tendencies, which are to see something fun online, subscribe it immediately, and then ask the questions.

For NaNoWriMo contemplations, I really took my time deciding if I wanted to make an account on https://nanowrimo.org/ and enter the challenge. Back in those days we had to put all our written text on a word counting window, only available on the website. So it was a bit strange to reveal the text like that.

I decided to enter the 2010 challenge, only after I had all my stuff worked out in my head, and was willing to try the 50K in one month.

I registered at the Oct.29 and started writing at the Nov.01.

📣 I would like to mention that I already had one book in the midst of being self-published, which happened in Nov. 2011. And it wasn’t any of my NaNo writing projects.

I remember talking to a few people about this challenge and being quite freaked out about it. But I pulled through and wrote ‘Amria’ a fantasy novel about angels and demons and really bad (and good) people in between.

Amria, with a word count of 63,472, was my debut novel in NaNoWriMo and I quite liked it… so I stuck it in the drawer.

In 2011, I didn’t managed to enter NaNo. Fast-forward to some conclusions, I find that it takes me a good two year period to develop an idea into a book and make it come alive.

But, in 2012, I was back with ‘O Pária’ (‘The Pariah’). I had a full sketch book reeling with characters, and plot twists, and big ideas for a greater universe of… shapeshifters (does this ring a bell?!?)

Then it came 2013. It was a truly shitty year! My life changed so much during that year, and the ones that followed, and I felt so badly that I really tried to write my NaNo novel but just couldn’t do it. 2013 saw the beginning of ‘Road to Nowhere’ but it fell through the cracks of poor planning and not enough mental space to create this story.

Next NaNo novel came in 2018. ‘At risk’ was also a failed experience. Why I thought I could change day jobs, have a toddler in my hands, and be overwhelmed about it all, and still write a book, I do not know.

‘At Risk’ was my first try at writing a sequel for my self-published book… which didn’t happen.

Moving on to 2020, I was back with the proper drafting in place, plans and projects and all the twists and turns of a new fantasy novel. ‘Fire and Ice’ word count was 54,933 in a universe full of vampires and monsters ready to strike back. I loved writing this book, and I still feel it has so much I can expand upon… so it went straight to the drawer.

2021 saw ‘Os Metamorfos’ aka ‘The Shapeshifters’ come to life. In November of 2021 I wrote my second draft during NaNoWriMo. It was a book imagined, planned, and executed in Portuguese. Word count? 50,412.

2022 saw the biggest change of all. During my first Camp NaNo, in July 2022, I started rewriting ‘The Shapeshifters’ but in English. I went with it and after a not so successful Camp NaNo, due to some health issues, I got all in this project, planned and plotted, and managed to write 77,420 words for this book in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

What did this 12 years writing experience taught me?

🪄I have so much to learn it pains me to think about it. This seems the appropriate lesson to put here first. I need to get my bearings on my schedule, and to define better goals, and to devote myself more to this writerly life.

🪄Fear of showing up trumps all efforts. I have the best intentions in regard to my writing but if I am afraid to show up for my writing practice, there are no efforts that can subsist and produce good outcomes.

🪄Go all in. I have been doing this thing, this dance with my writing, for more than two decades (I am almost too good at waiting!). Deciding to write a book and leaving it unfinished isn’t going all in. Deciding to write as a life choice, path, career, and then refuse to do the work isn’t going all in. Go all in.

🪄Work in small increments every day. Have specific goals, and a major goal, and work myself towards every day completion. This challenge is very good to help us set a writing pace.

🪄I need a lot of prep time. I take, at least, two years until I am ready to write a story. There are a few steps, a few long steps I need to work on before I can write a book (or any story). There’s no jumping ahead or ignoring some parts of this process. Not if I want it to be valid for my learning purposes.

🪄I can work in more than a project at a time. I have been doing it for a long time now. And if I don’t count the time (a few years) when I got my life turned upside down, I am able to see that these ideas kind of lived in a parallel form inside my head. It’s just the physical effort of putting them in paper that has to be separated from each other. I can work in more than a project at a time, I just have to be more organised.

🪄These 12 years helped me see that I am here for the long haul. There was no way I would get back to writing, after some of the sh** I have been through, if stoping entirely was remotely possible.

🪄It has help me define my writing goals, setting boundaries for my writing time, focus on my writing projects, and create a space through which I share my writing journey online (I share a lot in Instagram and Facebook).

I tried writing novels with NaNoWriMo for 12 years and it taught me to feel less alone in pursuing my writing goals.

What doesn’t work for me?

💭A sustainable rhythm is imperative if we intent to keep writing. This daily quote requires that I spend some hours devoted to writing… and then life gets in the way, and I am unable to do all the other stuff that helps me stay creative. And this isn’t positive for me.

💭I am a slow writer… reader… whatever. I am. If I speed things too much I end up making stupid mistakes and feeling depressed about it. Having to maintain a great window of time to devote to actual writing doesn’t work for me in other phases of the writing projects. So this isn’t a good thing to adopt out of NaNoWriMo month.

I can’t work out anything more as a downside… Maybe just being nagged by people when I’m unable to attend to their stuff in November. Hey! Sorry (not sorry). It’s called priorities.

I don’t intend to stop entering NaNoWriMo, as long as life permits me to, and I do recommend it. 

Have you entered this year’s NaNoWriMo? Can you share your experience with us?

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼




Don’t let the noise get to you


Hello all! Welcome back to my blog.

So, don’t let the noise get to you…

It has been some intense days here at this corner of the world. Lot’s of noise and inner chatter as usual.

I’ll give you a glimpse…

Christmas🎄 is coming in full speed, which means there’s lot’s of planning and a million of little things to do. Not to mention all the stress related with the shopping🎁 activities.

In these first days of December, I have been trying to rest a bit, because I’m still bothered by a persistent migraine… which really is a pain in the **head** 😅

Also, I find these days are a somewhat transitional period from the NaNoWriMo writing efforts (of 77 600 words) into a ‘what’s next?!?’ phase. And this aggravates me a lot.

And then it is the end of the year phase. Lot’s of reviews, and plans, and other stuff to do… I love to be well rested for planning mode but I figure this year is a no go on the rested mode.

Moving on…

This year I finally got the courage to grab one of my NaNoWriMo winner goodies by Scrivener (courtesy of Scrivener and NaNoWriMo for winning the 2022 challenge of writing the 50 000 words in November). And then I proceeded for installing the software and do the 30 days trial.

I started using it immediately for the project I have been working on, which I called ‘The Shapeshifters’, and I am really loving it.

I’m kind of in a learning process but I can already see the upsides to using this software. I have been hearing so much about it, but I find that I never really grasped what it could do for my writing and editing processes.

I am quite thrilled with it and have already started my editing process for this story.

So… the transitional period got cut really short and on December 2nd I started editing this story☺️

I came across a little quote I took a few weeks ago and it goes like this…

keep it simple

This quote’s context was about the practice of meditation but I figured it is applicable to other kinds of practices.

I have always thought these kinds of things, like Scrivener, were nice to have but quite dispensable. Most of this idea came from a budget tightness that never seems to allow for nice to have’s.

But I’m taking this seriously. I have been writing for decades and I can see this software serving all my writings for different formats and genres.

There is no fixed formula for getting our steps right. No full proof formula to approach our writing practices the best way. No grand scheme that gets us good results.

There are practices, and commitment, and lot’s of work.

All we can expect is to have the courage to look for what works for ourselves. And the insight not to overcomplicate things. And, above all, to refrain from all the noisy channels that keep blaring into our hearts why something shouldn’t be as it is.

It’s better to work with what is. To keep it as simple as possible. And to tune the noise down.

Yes, this is a very complicated time of the year for a lot of us. And we have different reasons for it to be so. I just get to remind myself that I work with what works for me, to keep it as simple as I can, and not permit the bad noise to get to me.

And to renew my commitment with this writing project… now, using Scrivener.

Thank you so much for reading this blog. I hope you have a happy and tranquil December.

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼


December, here I go!… with new writing goals

writing goals

Hello all! Welcome back to my blog. 

Bordering on December, and I’m taking these last days of November for a kind of a pause from fiction writing. I needed a brake.

It’s been a pretty intensive November, with NaNoWriMo (finished at 77 420 words), and doubling my daily word count for the current writing project, on top of everything else I (we) always have going on…

Obviously that, as soon as I took a brake, a big migraine made herself noticed. Four days later, I’m still reeling from some minor symptoms but I’m counting myself as being almost fully okay.

So, this week I have been rereading my NaNo project, slowly, and enjoying it as much as I can. And that’s the goal for the brake days. Nothing more and nothing less.

December will bring a lot more demands on my time so I’ve been thinking about what I want to focus on this month.

Back to the drawing board

I need to get back to the drawing board, again… like I’ve shared here before, on the post Another writing update on ‘The Shapeshifters’ and NaNoWriMo. And even if I feel that I’m stalling a bit (because I do feel that), I had been back to the plans and started working a few things out.

But getting back to the drawing board gave me a sense that I need to advance on the second, and maybe third, volumes of this story, at least in the main views of the whole project, before I am able to finish the first volume properly.

So, this is my number one goal for December: Get back to the drawing board and do more sketches of what I want to compose a bit further down the line (of life).

In September I wrote:

Usually I get a bit overwhelmed with changing rhythms. [And this is the understatement of the year!] But after a few days, I tend to focus on what I can do instead of what I should be doing, and get on with my creative life. And this summer wasn’t any different. – Back to September. Setting goals. Back to Writing.

This is truly a thing for me.

That’s why I usually prefer to do the minimum of transitions from one project phase to another, because I get overwhelmed with the thoughts of all that I wish I could put in, and do better, and work more on…

Sometimes, I forget to rest in between, just to try and avoid this syndrome.

So, my second goal for December is: Stick to the plan. Grab my planning tools and define unmovable deadlines and stick to them.

I already had plans… and plans for plans. It’s just a situation that I have to put them right in front of my eyes, just so I see them everyday.

And how, I wonder, will I manage this?

I’m getting a few ideas…

And these are my writing goals for December.

Hope you’re doing well and participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. If so, how’s your project going?

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

Another writing update on ‘The Shapeshifters’ and NaNoWriMo

writing update

Only five days to the end of November. Only five days to the end of NaNoWriMo. But ‘The Shapeshifters’ is a long way from finished.

I started planing this story, with all my usual twists and turns, but you can read more about it on ‘Hello NaNoWriMo and lots of Shapeshifters‘.

I made plans and then I made a plan for the plans… now I have a new plan. But about the planning stage of this story you can read more in ‘Setting up my NaNo Project and Prepping all the must have’s‘.

If you’ve been following me on social media you already know that I managed to write my 50K for NaNoWriMo on the 13th of November.

I was a few scenes away from the mid point, when I hit the 50K, and I over estimated how much it would take to write this story. I figured I could aim towards 100 000 words, so that I would have a bit of a wiggle room for cutting during editing processes.

Well, this didn’t happened!

I’m very conscious of what I put in when I’m writing fiction. I tend to write in a way that gives just enough details for the reader to imagine the rest, and allow them to make the bigger connections between the information if they want to.

I don’t employ many words in creative descriptions. Purple prose doesn’t captivate me when I’m writing fiction. And I didn’t want to fill it with unnecessary junk just to make the word count. So, no 100K for ‘The Shapeshifters’#1.

On day 23 of November, I already knew I wouldn’t be writing much more than the 77K. Even if I know I have a few more things to add, even entire scenes. But this will not represent 30K of writing. It really isn’t possible to accomplish on the remaining days of this NaNoWriMo… and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

I started getting a bit fretful about this, it’s been a freaky gut turner, but I figured I wanted to study my options first.

Option #1. I could go ahead and start revising the draft.

But this is usually a more slow paced activity and it would not produce the 1667 words per day I needed to put in.

Option #2. Or, I could move on to ‘The Shapeshifters’#2.

But this meant starting another rough-rough draft without having done my due diligences.

And… I’m not emotionally prepared for this!

Another detail, that might seem stupid to you, but it’s important to me, I really wanted to earn all the badges on NaNoWriMo website.

I can now tell you that this will not happen.

First badge: I will not hit my daily count every single day of November, because I already achieved the 50k and I’m not going for 100K anymore.

Second badge: I don’t know if I’ll be able to update the daily count every day, because editing is different from writing.

On the 23rd of November I tried to start editing the draft.

I know it needs a lot of work, but editing is different from fully writing, so I did some editing… 278 words worth of editing.

And on the 24th of November I went back to the drawing board.

I’m starting my edits now and there are some details that need to go in, and some considerations to be done now, if I want to write this trilogy properly.

And I do want to write this trilogy properly!

So, I’m all in my drawing board mood.

drawing board

For now, I’m trying to hold on to my win here. I wrote 77k on a draft in twenty two days. That’s a win.

I did it at a faster pace than I imagined possible.

I had great fun writing and rereading this story.

I identified some must have’s and need to do’s and I’m focusing on doing those.

I’ll be talking a bit about this on this week’s YouTube vídeo. Please, don’t forget to subscribe to VLook and hear all about it.

Hope you’re doing well and participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. If so, how’s your project going?

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼

Using writing challenges to achieve my goals


Why is it easier to do something like NaNoWriMo in order to define my writing goals?

It might seem stupid, or not too professional to use these kinds of challenges to get one motivated to write. But the truth is, we lack structure for this dream we have, and that we want to see accomplished.

And the writing craft isn’t just throwing things on a page. 

Using someone else’s structure for our writing time, which is what these challenges provide us with, help us discover our own way of doing things. And pushes us to show up, every day, for the work we want to see done.

Let’s be honest, if you are anything like me, you’re mostly alone in the pursue of this dream.

Talking from personal experience, I have been doing regular writing efforts for more than fifteen years and the truth is, I can count from the fingers of one hand how many people were truly there, even if just to talk about all of this writing business… Maybe having someone to talk to about writing is the hardest part.

They keep looking at me as if I’m delusional…

And doing stuff all alone is hard, specially if we don’t know what we are doing, and need to find our own bearings first. I had had a messy direction in life, and only started to listen to my heart’s calling not so long ago. And I’m still trying to figure things out.

How to understand our Goals?

To know in our hearts what we want to do, and to put in the work we need to put in, when we don’t know how to do it, and where to turn to, and how to shut up all those little inside voices… and not just the inside one’s… It’s confusing.

And this is how I started to search the web looking for knowledge, and buying books that could serve as my mentors, and writing about this journey, and how all of these resources can help others like myself.

Finding my working processes, and defining my goals, are things in constant appreciation.

Hey! I have just started this blog for my english writing output, and I know I had been stalling for years.

I always had the goal of writing in English, but it took me too much time to show up for it. Why? I guess I was young and dumb… and scared shitless.

How can NaNoWriMo help?

First, it helps because it’s a fast drafting mode that doesn’t allow us to spend too much time doubting ourselves.

Second, because the goal is already set for us. We have a daily word count and to succeed at achieving it we have to produce the 1667 daily words. And no way we will able to skip a few days and accumulate. No. We have to show up everyday or it will go the wrong way.

Third, because it involves one of two things:

  • or you have already prepared your materials, you have a plan, a story, characters and scenes, and whatever more you need to plan this story, and you just show up to write it (which has been my case this current year);
  • or you have an idea and want to produce a fast draft for it, allowing it to contain all the usual mistakes that a first draft requires. Kind of like a very long session of brainstorming, where you have to produce 50K in order to be successful.

Everything else, is setting us up to fail.

Having an outward challenge can gives us commitment and serve as an accountability strategy. 

We know we have to schedule our time in order to fit our two, three, four hours of writing. Without that commitment we just keep pushing it forward until our days run out of that space to write.

Not just NaNoWriMo…

A few years ago I came across a challenge called The 100 Day Project. It was a version of a teaching strategy used by Michael Bierut in his Graphic Design classes on the Yale School of Art.

When a student, Bierut challenged himself to draw one image per day, every day, during 100 days, based on a photograph from the New York Times. This was his own particular strategy to show up everyday to his creative work… and just draw.

When he started teaching, he brought that particular strategy to his classes with major success. 


You can read more about this on the article Five Years of 100 Days on the Design Observer.

Then Elle Luna brought this exercise to the web and it got huge.

I have been aware of this challenge for almost six years and had entered it on three of those years.

First, I started testing it for my arts and crafts projects. On my first try, it didn’t go so well and I didn’t manage to do more than a few days of it. Second time around, I still was trying it out for arts and crafts, and this time I managed to do 100 tag adaptations.

On the third go (started on January of 2021) I decided to do a writing challenge. It went beyond the 100 days and I managed to write everyday, one hour a day, based on a quote that served as a writing prompt. 

This got me my first rough draft of my currently work in progress, which I called ‘The Shapeshifters’.

On the following months, it got me working on all the characters, and plot, and subplots, and twists, and turns. Getting to November, I had a rough draft ready for a second draft.

And now I’m working on the third draft, on 2022 NaNoWriMo. I find that these challenges give me structure for my writing efforts.

And now?

In November, I now know I’ll be writing, which means that the months before I am plotting and structuring. Which means that at the beginning of each year I plan to be creating and imagining some new story… if all goes according to plan.

Is it easier?

It is easier to do something like NaNoWriMo, or The 100 Day Project, in order to define my writing goals. We are powered by a sense of community, while doing our work. And even if we stand alone in all of this writing business, we can lean on a well tested strategy to get us working on our goals.

Hope you’re doing well and participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. If so, how’s your project going?

Please leave a comment and subscribe for more content.

Bye and Keep writing! ✍🏼


References ✍🏼