Need some #Nanopals for the rest of the year?

January 25, 2013

One of the coolest thing to come out of the ‘Now What?’ tweetchat last week was something that a few people started talking about just as the scheduled chat was breaking up and the OLL peeps were leaving – a way for writers to stay in touch for mutual support and critique exchange.

A few different names were tossed around, and ‘Nanopals’ stuck. 🙂 There’s been a nice bit of chatter ever since then on the #Nanopals twitter hashtag, and Wrimo TinyPterosaur has stepped up as an organizer, founding the Nanopals blog, laying claim to the @Nanopals twitter handle, starting a forum thread for Accountability buddies over at Nanowrimo.org… and probably other stuff that I don’t know about yet, because I’m not stalking a tiny pterosaur or anything. That would be weird…

But I love the idea of Nanopals, and I’m going to keep hanging out in the hashtag TweetChat whenever I can, cheering fellow writers on, and looking for any cool ways to get involved in this community. Because we all do need some writing pals when the excitement of Nanowrimo has faded out into the ‘Now what?’ stage.

Speaking of twitter handles, I’ve got a little news. My twitter handle has been updated from @ChrisKen0 to @ChrisKelworth . More about that coming soon!

 

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Massive Twitter #Nanowrimo chat tonight; don’t miss it!

January 17, 2013

Just a quick note today, early so that it isn’t reaching my friends and followers too late.

The great folks at the Office of Letters and Light are doing a Twitter chat about revision and publishing this evening; Jan 17th, 5 pm Pacific time, which will be 8pm for me over here in Ontario. You can search for Nanowrimo-related tweets with this search link, or follow the hashtag conversation via TweetChat.

I’m not quite sure what the chat is going to be like, but I suspect it’ll be fun and probably informative! Hope to see you tweeting there.


The San Francisco Post

November 16, 2012

Okay, I’m in San Francisco, yay!

Getting here took a bit longer than I hoped. I drove myself to the Buffalo airport for the first time – had the usual last-minute getting delays and maybe a 25 minute line at US Peace Bridge customs, so I didn’t get to the airport as early as I hoped.

But the plane from Buffalo to Chicago was delayed too. I was worried about missing my connection – the flight from Chicago to San Fran was supposed to leave at 6:15 local time, and the plane from Buffalo touched down around six, then took at least five minutes to taxi in to the gate. Once I got up the jetway to the gate desk there was a nice gentleman who looked up my connecting flight number, and told me my gate number in C concourse, and I was off like a shot, running down those moving sidewalks, down the connecting passageway from B concourse to C concourse, struggling not to yell at people who were just standing in the way. It was around 6:17 when I got to the gate desk in C concourse – was I in time?

Was I ever. The plane to San Francisco wouldn’t be taking off for more than 2 hours. 😦 So I wandered up and down C concourse, got a personal pepperoni deep-dish pizza, (which I wasn’t impressed with; maybe I shouldn’t have picked the vendor with the lowest price,) then went back to the waiting area for my flight and tried to write, only got a few hundred words done before they started boarding.

We landed in San Francisco maybe ten minutes to eleven, pacific time, and after waiting for my carry-on, (which I volunteered to gate-check in Buffalo) at the baggage claim, I made my way over to the BART station in time for the 11:30 train into the city. Coming out of the BART station near my hotel, looking around for the street my hotel was on, a large black guy came up to me, asked me what I was looking for, offered directions, and then asked for some money to get food with. I pulled two dollar bills out of my wallet and he seemed upset that I wasn’t willing to go up to three. His directions included a wrong turn too.

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Donation Day and what Nano means to me.

November 14, 2012

Well, it’s Donation Day over at National Novel Writing Month; in fact, it’s nearly over, but the donation fun has not been sold out. You still have a chance to win some of the hourly prizes, and the Office of Letters and Light is going to be releasing a special cover song in thanks for donations of over fifty thousand dollars today. And they still need more to cover the cost of putting on such a fabulous world-wide writing event!

I don’t have as much free money to donate around as I have in some previous years, and I’ve already donated two hundred to get into the Night of Writing Dangerously dinner, but I scraped up another twenty-five to join in the Donation Day fun. I didn’t win the hourly prize I had my eye on, but that’s alright.

In conjunction with Donation Day, Nanowrimo is asking people to tweet about ‘what Nano means to me’, and that got me thinking that what it means to me is probably too much to fit into 140 characters.

For one thing, it means all the friends, both at home and around the world, that I’ve met through Nano. I’ve always been shy in public situations, and I actually remember that the first time I went to a local Nano write-in, I sat at the next table and then left before the two MLs (chatting to each other) realized that I was a writer. But bit by bit Nano pulled me into the social side, and this year I’m the Co-ML, welcoming every wrimo to the write-ins and loving it!

On another level, Nanowrimo means something deep about the universal power of story-telling and how it draws us all together.

So best of luck to all you Nano-ers out there as we approach the half-way point in the month, and donate if you can! 🙂


V is for Video Diaries

April 25, 2012

The Script Frenzy A-Z challenge so far…

One of the highlights of Script Frenzies are the little video clips that the staff at the Office of Letters and Light film and post on the website, talking about their own struggles with their scripts, to encourage the rest of us and start conversations on the discussion board. Here are some of my favorite videos from this year…

Some ‘Young Writers Program’ Script Frenziers made their own trailer for the event, which is pretty cool!

Lindsay does a little demonstration of script formatting in action! The script equivalent for the video is here.

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Spotlight on Chris – if I had Five million dollars…

March 23, 2012

The reflection challenge continues…

If I won five million dollars in the lottery – well, for one, it would be a bit surprising that I’d even play the lottery, but let’s not dwell on that now. And figuring out just what I should spend the money on would probably be very stressful if it did happen, but I’ve come up with some ideas that I can share with you, that will hopefully tell you a little about me.

I’d give big gifts of no-strings-attached money to my immediate adult family members, to spread the wealth and the stress around a little.

Arrange somewhat more modest presents for my nieces and nephew, plus college funds.

And smaller gifts for more distant family, ex-work colleagues, (yeah, I’d quit the job,) writing buddies, and casual friends.

Make a special charitable donation in memory of my father.

Look into setting up a scholarship for science fiction and fantasy writers wanting to attend any kind of workshop or course, but not able to afford the tuition or other expenses.

Some other charitable donations – I’m not quite sure who I’d give to, which is something that bears thinking about even in the absence of lottery winnings.

Go on a world tour – I want to see Chicago, New York, Paris, and Rome for sure. Other destinations To Be Determined.

Buy myself a nice (but not flashy) new car, and maybe a condo in Toronto.

Consider investing in a small press – I wouldn’t want to set one up myself, but if I find somebody who I really think could do well in publishing with some seed money, I’d want to be able to provide some.

Put a lot of it into savings for later – so that I could work on writing or other projects full-time without needing to work, travel more, spoil myself a little with impulse buys – and get the max donation level for every Office of Letters and Light event for many, many years.


Another Grant Faulkner interview! This one is more official than mine.

January 27, 2012

Following in my footsteps to tell the world more about their new leader, Lindsey Grant, program director for National Novel Writing Month, put up an interview on the Office of Letters and Light blog about the OLL new Executive Director, and Chris Baty’s heir in spirit, Grant Faulkner.

So check it out to learn more about Grant’s book-stacking habits, his beloved mannequin head, and the coolness of 100 word story! And if you haven’t yet, you can read my interview with Grant today too.


Big OLL Interview with Director Grant Faulkner

January 9, 2012

Well, it’s taken a little longer than I hoped, but the time has finally come to share a very special interview. I hope you all enjoy the chance to get to know Grant Faulkner, the new Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light. Grant is taking over for Chris Baty today, leading the organization that runs National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy, and I’d love to wish him a great first day!

What did you want to be when you grew up? Were you dreaming of becoming an accountant, a lawyer, a fireman?

Other than a brief dalliance with wanting to be Batman at the age of 3, I always wanted to be a writer. I think it’s somehow genetic. I remember staring at the pens and paper in my local bookstore with fetishistic delight as a boy and wanting to buy them all. I asked for a diary with a lock on it for Christmas when I was 5, and I’ve since purchased all sorts of different pens and journals and notepads.

My father is a lawyer in Oskaloosa, Iowa, where I grew up, and he always saved an office for me in case I decided to become a lawyer. I loved going to that office as a child and penning what I thought would be wildly successful novels. I was fortunate that my parents didn’t push any profession on me and have been wonderfully supportive of me as a writer despite the choice of such a precarious profession.

How did you end up on the Office of Letters and Light board? Were you asked by Chris Baty?

I’ve always looked for ways to marry my personal life as a writer to my professional life, which can be a challenging thing to do. I’ve been lucky because I’ve been able to work as a journalist, an editor, and a writing teacher, and then I landed at the National Writing Project, a non-profit dedicated to improving the teaching of writing in the nation’s schools.

Chris has always been so inspirational to me on so many levels, so I reached out to him to see if he could help me further my career and deepen my knowledge of nonprofit management by recommending nonprofit arts organizations who might consider me as a board member. He ended up asking me to consider the Office of Letters and Light, which was a dream organization for me on every level—wonderful programs and a fantastically intelligent and fun-loving board and staff. I simply can’t believe how lucky I am to work with such amazing people.

How many times have you participated in Nanowrimo or Script Frenzy? How well did you do?

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Stringing Words Day 1: Monthly project threads

December 3, 2011

One minor announcement first – I’m going to be posting a special interview with somebody who’s a part of the Office of Letters and Light and afiliated with Nanowrimo. Look for it in the week leading up to Christmas! And I’m taking suggestions for question ideas. Is there anything that you’d like to know about the people who make Nano and Script Frenzy happen? Leave them in the comments or email to chrisken zero at gmail dot com. If I use any of your questions, I’ll send you a digital cookie, and my heartfelt thanks.

And now, some more great stuff about the Stringing Words community! I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to get to twelve days of Stringing Words in December, but I may give it a try!

Today, I’ll focus on the monthly project threads. It’s a simple idea, but I’ve found it a powerful way to motivate myself. At the start of the month, you list some goals that you want to reach, and then, through the month, you cross off whatever you’ve finished, mark incremental progress for something that you’ve done halfway, make changes if your priorities have altered, and chat with other people in the thread, talking about what’s been easy, what’s proving tougher than you thought, and cheer each other on. Overall, it’s a lot of fun, and I’ve probably got a lot done over the past few years just because I put it on my monthly to-do list.

So – is there anything on your December to-do list? Or are you just relaxing and recovering from November?


The next leader of the Office of Letters and Light!

November 21, 2011

Like many people who went to the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco last night, I thought that the ‘big news’ was going to be the fact that this was Chris Baty’s last year as the Executive Director of the Office of Letters and Light, the non-profit that runs Nanowrimo, Script Frenzy, and the Young Writer’s Program.

I don’t know about anybody else there, but I was very excited about an announcement that Chris made in the middle of his moving thank-you speech – naming Grant Faulkner, board member of the Office of Letters and Light, as his successor, and thus our new Fearless Leader.

I don’t know much about Grant. I managed to get a moment to congratulate him at the dinner, and even got my picture taken with Grant and Chris Baty. But he seems cool, and like a reasonably good choice to follow in Chris’ footsteps, even if he also reminded me a little of Adam Baldwin, who wouldn’t really be the kind of guy I’d ask to lead me into 30 days of creative craziness.

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