Sodaro's Stories

November 1, 2017

Day one of Gratitude: NaNo start

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:54 pm
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So, I am going to do this again this year, and hopefully I make it all 30. There is just a lot going on, but all of that is something to be grateful for, so I should be just fine.

I move on Friday. I am working a full-time job and a part-time job. I also am planning on getting 2 more projects finished before 2017 sees its closing. No one has ever said I was sane or realistic. So, of course, to add to the mix…is NaNoWriMo (or NaNo) 50,000 words in 30 days.

I woke up this morning at 2, with an idea for a perfect way to start chapter one…but my muse was sleeping, so I put it in Color Notes and went back to sleep. I didn’t think I would get my word count in today…I have boxes to move…work to do…more work to do…so I just thought…okay…just get it started. Start NaNo off…you can get caught up this weekend after you are moved in and settled.

I started writing…and except for my pen dying around page 3, I couldn’t write fast enough. The words poured out of me. I quickly grabbed another black pen whose color was close enough to the dying pen to be a match and kept going. I didn’t want to break the flow…didn’t want to have the magic die and have to face reality of boxes and work tasks.

So today…on day one of NaNo, I am grateful for 1804 words…chapter one of Quarterfinals being done. For this one moment, I am ahead of schedule.


November 14, 2016

Grateful for: Trying New Things

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:05 pm
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Yes, I know…I had to read that one again too…this is MY blog right? And I’m grateful for trying new things? Did I type that right…but yes, yes I did.

In the last few months, I have tried three new things…which is 3 times more than I have tried in most years prior.

  1. Guacamole — most of you who know me, probably know I have an issue with food and textures…and if a food is too busy texturially speaking (it’s not a word, but it should be) I avoid it…add that and it’s a color that reminds me of my least favorite part of babysitting (I am trying to say it without saying it, folks)…and really poor guac never had a chance for me to try it.
  2. Sushi — So take texture issues and add in “unknown” foods and those who know me probably understand why I have avoid this food for 41 years. Words like “raw” and “seaweed” have never been sales pitches for food for me…so, again, sushi never really had a chance with me.
  3. Typing my first draft — So…every paper, short story, poem, essay, novel, etc. I have ever written, I have handwritten my first draft. I love the feel of pen on paper, watching my thoughts appear in ink as my hand moves across the paper. It has been as natural to me as breathing. It also takes one extra step because then I have to type what I have written (or get typed by others, when I can) and this can take time.

The first one I tried because a friend had spent all morning making this beautiful salsa…so colorful and fresh…and it had Jalapenos in it, so I couldn’t eat it. SO when he made guacamole and said, this will be fine because it has no Jalapenos, how could I be that rude and NOT try it. So, I did…and it was amazing!!!!! The texture and the color still bother me…but so much deliciousness.

The second one…well, there are three people in this world who can get me to agree to just about anything…one of them used her powers to get me to go to Chucky Cheese…TWICE…and one of them used his powers to get me to try a Vegas Roll (which was cooked salmon and no seaweed that I could see…and I didn’t ask questions about what was in it…I just grabbed my chopsticks and shoved it in my face.

The third one…a fellow writer challenged me to do NaNo this year…on the computer first. No writing out my whole rough draft. He made the point that I’ve completed NaNo 3 of my 4 years and that it wasn’t really a challenge for me to write a novel since I have 5 of them self-published and like 6 more that have first drafts done. I couldn’t make a counter argument, so I am trying it. I will say it is nice to have the word count done for me, but I haven’t gotten in as good of a writing zone as I do with pen and paper. Also I edit…something I don’t do while I am writing by hand…so we’ll see. I won’t let go of my notebooks…but maybe for other non-fiction projects, this will be an option. I do love options..


November 5, 2016

Grateful for: My pretty books


Whenever I lose sight of what I am working toward (like, for example, when I get a form letter that lets me know the novel was not even looked at by the agent I queried), I look at my pretty books and know that one way or another, I am going to make a living as an author, I am going to claw my way on to the New York Times Best seller list, and I am going to make it.

I have self-published 5 books and am working on #6. My goal is to double my number by next year and have 10 books out at the close of 2017. They are drafts that have been written and have been waiting to be edited and polished.  (Well, all but that last one, that is being written for my NaNoWriMo this month).

I will get there. I am trying traditional publishing as an option. Yes, I am aware of its pros and cons. Yes, like everything else that is important to me, I have done the research. I know other people’s opinions of it, other people’s experience with it…and while I do appreciate people’s helpful advice, this is part of the path I am choosing. I’m also going to continue to self-publish my novels. I always like to have options. But you can count on the fact, that if I have to self-publish every novel and project I have out there, I will. One way or another, friends, I will accomplish my goals.

November 2, 2016

Grateful for: NaNo

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 12:42 pm
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About five years ago, I stumbled across the website for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I was intrigued. A novel in a month? 50,000 words is not a “novel” according to Writer’s Digest magazine, but it is a solid first draft. And written in a month? 30 days? 50K in 30D? Interesting.

The first year my attempt was a mess. I went in with no game plan and figured I could easily get the 1667 words a day. I mean I write ALL the time…it’s kind of my deal. I started of getting 2000 words a day and I was thinking I got this. Then I slowed down. Then I slowed down some more until coming to a complete stop at chapter 12. I didn’t have this. What I did have was Writer’s Block and it was as disgusting as every author has ever described it to be.

I’ve never been an “outliner” for my novels thinking they would imprison my creative spirit with their rigid rules and that was something that had happened far too often already (fer people and fewer jobs can handle me at 100% ME). I am grateful to NaNo because it helped me to appreciate the beauty (and surprising flexibility) of an outline. My outlines are written literally in pencil and are not English teacher approved (sorry “Ms. Sodaro”) but they keep me focused on what comes next and what has to happen “here” for “this” to happen “there.”

I am also grateful to NaNo for it’s ability to help me focus. On my best days, I tend to have a rather sporadic attention span span (picture having 45-60 of your favorite television programs and you keep flipping channels to see what interesting things are going on in each one). That is my brain on a pretty daily basis. NaNo helps me have a primary project to focus on…helping me get a project’s first draft done instead of it joining the pile of about 10 projects I have where the first draft is half done.

So yes…I am grateful for the NaNo challenge as it has made my novel writing process more effective and organized, which I now use on non-NaNo projects as well.

October 31, 2016

It’s NaNoWriMo time again

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 8:15 am
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Tomorrow starts National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again and I can hardly contain my excitement…it is so much fun and I totally geek out for it.

The challenge:

**50,000 words in 30 Days (50K in 30D) (this averages out to about 1667 words/day).

The challenge for me:

**Getting the 50K is challenging with a full-time teacher gig (thank goodness for vacation time and national holidays), but the more challenging part for me is having those 50K words be all about the same project as my self-diagnosed ADD which keeps me bouncing from project to project leaving a trail of half-finished projects in my wake.

What I have learned from previous NaNo’s:

**If I seriously only allow myself to work on only my current NaNo project — I will and have encountered something I’ve only ever heard scary stories about…Writer’s Block. My first NaNo I got blocked on Chapter 12 and wasted half my month.

**As a compromise — My NaNo project is what I work on FIRST each day. After I get my 1667 words, I can go play with other projects.

This will be my fifth year competing in NaNo. To my fellow NaNoers — let’s do this! To my non-NaNoers — see you in December.

October 5, 2016


For some reason, and I do it every year, but I start thinking, “well, time to put this year to bed and get ready for a more productive next year.” NOT this year. No way. No how. I still have lots to do before 2016 ends.

I have two more books to publish this year. First Down is due out this month. It is coming along nicely and I should have no problems meeting my deadline as long as I keep my eye on the prize. I have people helping me from getting too distracted by other projects, so I should be just fine. Stealing Second is due out in December and I have some work to do on that one, but will be fine. (Hat Trick  will be out in March…I give myself a little extra time in the winter months because I know Seasonal Affective will try to show up…

I have only read 10 books so far this year…my goal was 40…so…hmm…well, I will try to maybe double my current count.

I planned to get my blogs to 700…and now I am thinking 650 is a more reasonable goal.

I made myself the promise that I get a new tattoo for every 100 workouts I complete. I am at 57/100 as of today…so need to kick that up a notch as I would like another tatt before this year is out.

I have my project for National Novel Writing Month (NaNo) outlined out and ready for 1 November.Outlined it and let it sit.

I have some pretty monumental changes coming between now and the end of next year, so I definitely need to keep pushing forward and marking things off my list. No time to rest and figure out where my laurels are…

December 1, 2015

My thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2015

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 5:03 am
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So as my 4th National Novel Writing Month comes to a close, I think back on the things I have learned since I started this.

The first year, I told myself for the month of November, I was only going to work on my NaNoWriMo novel and that was it…no side projects, no distractions, not even any writing prompts for other novels. I got blocked in chapter 12 (which is usually my nemesis)

The second year, to not have a repeat of year one, I had multiple projects going in addition to my NaNoWriMo project…and yes, I went from feast to famine, from drought to flood, from desert to ocean…I think you get the point.

Last year, I had my NaNoWriMo novel, but I also had prompts and an outline for that novel, which made a huge difference. Also, I had one other project I would write on to keep the ideas flowing. I finished NaNo and it was a good year!!!!

This year, I had my NaNo novel, which is going strong and I love my characters!!!! I also had Redeeming Trust which I am editing to get to my reader to be able to click send. I thought, no problem, I can just work on both…except that the editing side of my brain doesn’t always want to coexist with the writing side of my brain and my two projects were almost warring with each other as to who got dibs on my time.

I sit here with 37, 848 as my final word count for Don’t Let Go (final for now as I will continue on with the draft in December). So I didn’t get it done. I sit here with 2 more chapters to write on Redeeming Trust  and then typing my edits, getting to reader, to put inside the pretty covers that are done. SO I didn’t get that done either.

So lesson learned. Do not try to get a drafted edited for publication the same month as NaNoWriMo!!! Lesson learned!


November 16, 2015

30 Days of Author Gratitude: 1/2 way through NaNoWriMo

Filed under: Uncategorized — michelle sodaro @ 1:02 am
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so this whole NaNoWriMo challenge is one I thoroughly enjoy (otherwise why would anyone sign on for this??) I have learned so much in the years I have done this and one of the best lessons I have learned is that it works best for me to have another project or “two” to work on in case I get a little stalled on where to go with my NaNoWriMo novel. That is not the problem I am having with NaNo, 2015.

The project for this year’s National Novel Writing Month came to me in its entirety when I visited my d1 ad and step-mom in Florida this past February. So for 9 months, it has been percolating and floating around in my mind and i didn’t cheat. I didn’t start Chapter One until 1 November. I did prompts (From Monica Wood’s The Pocket Muse — a must have for any writer). I created an ‘outline’so I have a game plan (YIKES – NaNoWriMo without a game plan…that is a scary thought indeed.)

Thanks to the percolating and the game plan, so far every time I have sat down to put pen to paper for Don’t Let Go, it has been a matter of just keeping up and getting it down on paper — which is as amazing as is exhausting.

The struggle I am facing this year (other than the ole’ working full time (plus a part-time) job and writing 50K in 30D, is that I am trying to get Redeeming Trust ready for my reader, ready for final read-through, ready to click send. The cover is ready and gorgeous and I just need to get the insides equally ready and gorgeous. Ali deserves no less than the best. So I am behind on getting Redeeming Trust out, but also I am right on time, since I truly believe that all things happen when they are supposed to. I am behind on my word count for Don’t Let Go…but I’m making progress and I will get there…it’s all a part of the journey.

I am grateful for being half-way through NaNo even though I am not at 25K currently, I’m making steady progress on a strong story, so I’ll just keep trucking along.

November 9, 2015

30 Days of Author Gratitude: Cheerleaders

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 2:53 am
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(As much as I love football, I am not actually writing about the short skirt-wearing, pom-pom waving kind of cheerleaders — though they do add an element to football games — so I guess I am glad they exist in the world in general?)

The kind of cheerleaders the author me is grateful for is the kind that cheers me on in my writing (or cheers others on for working on their goals) and it doesn’t matter to me whether they are cheering me on because they have read my books and can’t wait for the next one (LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this question, by the way, and yes, I am working on getting Redeeming Trust  finished up) or if they haven’t read a single thing I have written, but believe in me just the same.

My cheerleaders are coworkers who celebrate my books with me and hold me accountable for my NaNoWriMo word counts. They are my friends and family and ex-students who have heard me say for as long as they have known me “I want to write books — I want to make a living as an author” and are happy to see me taking steps toward that goal and not just dreaming about it.

My cheerleaders are pushing me along with every “like” and encouraging comment.
Sometimes, when I am thinking my life would be easier if I just gave up on my writing…and then my cheerleaders (as their name indicates) cheer me up and get me back to writing. Thank you so much.

November 1, 2015

30 Days of Author Gratitude

Filed under: Writer's thoughts — michelle sodaro @ 11:55 pm
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So this month as I get Don’t Let Go  written for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrioMo) and make myself walk every day that my right knee will allow me to do so…my blog is going to be 30 Days of Author Gratitude. I have definitely learned the benefit of expressing more gratitude for various aspects of my life. Since my blog is primarily about my thoughts as a writer, it seemed only logical to have the gratitude as it related to my author live. Heaven knows I have tons to be grateful for, so it was not difficult to think of things to write about for each day of the month.

So to start my month of author gratitude off to a natural beginning, I would like to express my gratitude for the NaNoWriMo challenge.

Last year, when I completed NaNo with Driven West, a friend asked, “if you CAN write a draft of a novel in a month, why don’t you just do that every month and get 12 drafts done in a year?” I just laughed and said, “Because I like sleep and I’d like to keep my day job.”

I am completely grateful for the challenge of 50,000 words in 30 days; I am also really REALLY grateful the challenge has a start and end date (maybe ever so slightly more grateful for the end date). Keeping up the pace needed by NaNo is as exhilarating as it is exhausting.

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