I decided to make a writing commitment this month. NaNoWriMo is an incentive to get more writing done. The November project asks us to write 50,000 words and regardless of the word count to get going and write.
This year, I spent much of summer and early fall out foraging, gathering and drying edible plants for classes, salve making and to renew my own herb supplies for winter. It’s been time consuming but fun and I will share more as this month rolls along.
For now I have a novel to dig into as I continue to crack acorn shells for their meat and peel chestnuts to grind into flour. My main character knows plants at least some before she was removed from her community. She’s alone now in the forest sitting in the stillness. Yet, she must go through the motions of drying acorns to have acorn flour for winter use and others for survival. She’s found chestnuts a plenty. In the not so distant future they will be gone due to a blight that wiped out most American chestnuts from our eastern forests. Will she be strong enough to handle the changes about to come? Will her knowledge of medicine from the plant world survive generational shifts in her community and those of her relations?
Dried herbs are in glass jars. Wait, a pot of tea has brewed. Gotta get my cup of tea as I put words on paper. Wonder what my characters are doing today?
In the meantime, my next blog will continue my fall foraging series. Enjoy. Judith
I decided to participate in the NaNoWriMo writing challenge and push the envelope, get out of my comfort zone. I had a dream recently that showed me part of the title of my second book. So I decided to get the dust off some journals, organize my space and dig in. Not sure what else to add except we are given great writing advice. I participated in NaNoWriMo July Camp two years ago and it helped me over come a block I had, needing some impetus to move my book, At the Garden’s Gate, forward. I added great chapters, kept focused and I reached my goal of 30,000 words by the end of the month. In the traditional November challenge the goal is set for us: 50,000 words. Here’s a sample of our first pep talk: Work on your factory and more by Gene Luen Yang.
Works for me. See you in December unless coming here and writing even more proves irresistible!
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. © all rights reserved. Including photos.
As some of you know I have been busy with book promotions. It seems like a daunting task. However as I read Divergent this summer, a young adult novel by Victoria Roth, I looked into the meaning of daunting and dauntless as descriptive words.
Daunting: intimidates through fear while dauntless is brave, invulnerable to fear or intimidation. I had to revise my description of book promotion to a dauntless proposition. While not totally invulnerable to the fear of the unknown, like Tris, I do it anyway.
New writers are learning the trade of selling books from the ground up. Many of us come into writing from passion, eager to write our story, tell our tale. We sense that the world changes we are a part of have changed the nature of our experiences and changed the face of publishing. Instead of waiting for agents to call and collecting rejection slips, we now have a chance to publish and for many of us we have a chance to see our stories in the hands of readers. We claim the power of storytelling whether overcoming trauma in many forms, to telling tales of murder and mayhem. It doesn’t matter the genre, most are popping with new authors who tell outstanding stories whether fact or fiction.
We have created a renaissance of creative works flowing into our mainstream of activity and consciousness. I, for one, have been a bibliophile and the choices out there are many and easily available. Resources to support the process flourish. Editors, illustrators are easily found and often affordable. Printing presses can help.
I haven’t been as focused on this blog as I would have liked. We have a very active APSS group here in CT. We get invited to craft shows, expos, libraries, book stores and more for book signings. Each venue is a chance to talk to our readers, get an opportunity to hear what they are interested in and how our story may impact them. It’s also been a chance for me to get to know other Connecticut authors. The writing styles differ. The approaches are as varied as we are. The resources shared are worthwhile, helpful and credible. It’s been a moving experience. Though I still get overwhelmed by what I don’t know I keep moving forward and am taking advantage of the advice given.
This year has been a year of dauntless growth. Tackling the webinars of information, learning something every day about self- publishing, reading and reading even more to sharpen marketing skills. The gift for myself has been speaking engagements, discussing the holistic concepts of body and soul and the interconnectedness we share with the earth has been magical.
It is said that when we follow our passion, the universe answers. Each step is just as important as the next. I accept it all.
I had a dream recently to get going on my next book. I intend to take advantage of NaNoWriMo in November, a national challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. It could be a daunting task but I chose to view it as a dauntless one. I will keep you posted.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener. © all rights reserved.
My poem: An Ode to My Body
was selected for publication in camelsaloon.com’s tribute to women for International Women’s Day. Women, we create, wear many hats, bring forth children, are one half of the human species. It’s great to see and hear our voices raise up in so many ways. This issue is rich with diverse perspectives, photograghy and insight. I hope you will enjoy it. Please write a comment on their site. It is so appreciated.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener.
Writer’s Camp NaNoWriMo is a writers challenge and inspiration. I highly encourage it for those of you thinking about writing… signing up and making a commitment to write 30,000 words became the bugle call in the morning that nudged me to pad and pen. Pressure and excuses came in like a marching band playing loudly and reminded me to step up the pace and get it done.
I am glad I challenged myself to complete a project. I felt stuck and wanted this camp to be an impetus to just write and see what the break through would be. Sure enough a chapter came together and then another one and another and before I knew it I reached my goal of 30,000 words for the month of July and earned a badge!
While virtual camps are fun I do miss the camaraderie that my writers group offers though. Folks like you and I writing, exploring various forms of creative expression, the frustrations and the joys of seeing something accepted for publication or successful self publishing. Hugs are good when success is achieved! Wishing my cabin mates the best!
What’s the next step? Stay tuned for announcements of two books I have in the works. My next goal is to get them published by the end of this year or sooner.
To the folks at Camp NaNoWriMo: thanks for the encouraging words, s’mores of encouragement, boatloads of tips and help rowing when the arm and hands got tired of rowing seemingly upstream some days. It was fun. Now let the revisions begin.
Enjoy your day. Judith
I met a writing goal last week. 6000+ words before my weekend began. I don’t want to get behind because if I let too much time pass that little canoe could easily sink with excuses!
Here I go with another camp story.
Several years ago I attended a Wilderness Survival Basic Skills Week up in Maine, in April. Chilly but sunny we slept in a tepee, cooked our own food and learned various skills. Four women arrived fully prepared with suitcases and camp gear but no or improper knives. First lesson, have the right knife and keep the knife with you at all times. Folks who love this stuff know the wild so well they might challenge themselves leaving for the wild forests with only the clothes on their backs, a good pair of hiking boots, a knife in their pocket and nothing else. The two men who were our instructors for the week were very patient with us and had a great sense of humor.
One of the highlights of the week for me was the wild food meal we prepared before we headed out the next day to the deep mountains of Maine to put our skills to use.
1. Roasted dandelion root tea: We drank a lot of roasted dandelion root tea. First thing in the morning a pot brewed. Deep chocolate brown, bitter rich beverage got the day going. We added that to our evening wild food meal. Dandelion roots are typically gathered after the first frost in fall. Roots are easy to dig, washed and then chopped into small pieces and left to dry. Once dry, they are placed into a coffee grinder to get a coarse ground and then put on a cookie sheet in a fine layer. They are left on a low oven till roasted
2. Dandelion buds: Its easy to find dandelion buds in early spring before or when the first flowers appear. The leaves rise up in a rosette pattern. Moving leaves aside one can easily see the buds and pick them. Back in the kitchen, we sauteed an onion, a little garlic in olive oil. Once the onions looked clear we added the buds and let them gently steam. In a few minutes they were ready to serve. Delicious though a little bitter that the oil and onions complimented.
3. Cress was easy to find in the fields around the school grounds. Crisp greens, picked before dinner and added to our salad were simply good. No chemicals were found at this school. We knew what we were picking and the freshness cannot be compared to store bought lettuces. We added fresh dandelion greens and flowers to our salad too. The secret to blending all the flavors and textures is to use these foods in small amounts and chop up into small pieces. My wild salads at home included romaine or a decent bib lettuce which helped the palate get used to the delectable “weeds” added in.
I have to say our wild food dinner was feast. Simple fare mostly gathered from the wild nourished us. Of course the company was great and humor added the right spice to our evening.
Got any stories? Would enjoy hearing from you. This week I will feature another aspect of gardening with a tour of Michael Judd’s edible landscaping.
Enjoy your day. Judith