Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

KarPaiTwenMo: Turbulence

KarPaiTwenMo: Turbulence by Karen Gadient

Turbulence – Created with Adobe Photoshop. This is the tenth of twenty pieces from my NaNoWriMo-style month-o-artwork. Some of the styles are more traditional and some of them are wholly digital, but it was challenging to create twenty share-worthy designs. Hope they’re bringing a little color to your day!

Painting is just another way of keeping a diary. — Pablo Picasso


Filed under Art, Blogging, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, KarPaiTwenMo, NaNoWriMo, Quotes

KarPaiTwenMo: Omega

KarPaiTwenMo: Omega -- Artwork by Karen Gadient

I’ve pulled together twenty pieces of art in a month. If this were NaNoWriMo and I’d written 50,000 words, I could call myself a winner. *toots horn*

Much like my NaNoWriMo novels—I’m not entirely thrilled with the quality, even if the ideas work. I only like half of the artwork I made; the other half is draft zero and would be cut in editing. Art and writing have a lot in common.

Still: I’d do it again. I’d do NaNoWriMo again too.

Because—thing is—these marathon events remind you of what you can do with your time when you set your mind to it. And you get a deadline, which is key. Plus, telling others that you’re doing something drives you to complete the task.

All good stuff.

I’ll share the artwork (minus the ones I’ve already posted) in a the next bunch of blog posts instead of all at once—because, hey—having content ready will help me stay sane in December. ;) All of the pieces are pretty large, but until I decide on a company for printing, they’ll remain blog-width here.

Whether you wrote or painted, made music, danced, cooked, crafted, or built robots (totally awesome) or whatever hobby you enjoy—I hope you had a great November and know this: I consider you ALL winners. Cheers!

Added note: I’m happy with what I created this month, but some of it needs more work to be what I envisioned. No different than early drafts of a novel—no different than NaNoWriMo. And, so: that’s why I don’t like all of my paintings this month—yet. With editing, I’ll love them.


Filed under Art, Blogging, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, KarPaiTwenMo, NaNoWriMo, Painting

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Four

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Three: Atmosphere by Karen Gadient

Color is the fruit of life. — Guillaume Apollinaire

Between my computer having problems and my own creative indecisiveness, artwork in the final stretch of November has been a slow process. I paint one thing, hate it, paint another, like it that day, hate it the next, and try again.

With NaNoWriMo, no one has to read your novel at the end of the month. With this painting thing, I’m all too aware I’ll be sharing. I promised I would. So—I overthink and sigh and meh. Now that time is running out, I’m starting to accept that some things might have to be ‘good enough’ and that’s okay.

I’ve discovered a bit about what I like to paint and how much I love vibrant color. Too much, probably. But hey—color makes me happy. More in a few days!


Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, KarPaiTwenMo, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Quotes

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Three

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two: Ice Floral – Digital Artwork by Karen Gadient

Wow. Is it the third week already? Yep.

I did a lot of artwork this week and knew I needed to post something, but I wasn’t sure what. Then, Suzy mentioned seeing flowers in the last painting I shared. Which was cool, since I love flowers.

There are a lot of florals in the stuff I did this month, but they’re not exactly still life. Some of them are a bit of a mess, since I’ve experimenting with fractal-ish things and symmetry, yet quite a few of them are floral.

So… although I was going to share a painting, I’m instead sharing a digital artwork that started out meant to be ice crystals and morphed into a strange floral design. Creatively (ha ha, right), I’m calling it Ice Floral (for now).

Yeah. I need another cup of coffee. Or tea. Mm, tea.

Hope you’re all having a lovely and productive November!


Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, KarPaiTwenMo, NaNoWriMo, Nature, Painting

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two, Part Two

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two: Green Fish, Yellow – Digital Artwork by Karen Gadient

Green Fish, Yellow – Completely different style of painting, but one I really like and want to share. Created with swift brush strokes in Corel Painter, I meant it to be the movement of fish so fast that you don’t catch their eyes. Abstracts can be different things to the viewer than they are to the artist. What do you see?


Filed under Art, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, KarPaiTwenMo, NaNoWriMo, Nature, Painting, Sea

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two

KarPaiTwenMo: Week Two: Sanctum - Digital Artwork by Karen Gadient

I didn’t realize how I’d feel once the holiday season started creeping in. The mall is already playing Christmas music and it’s not even Thanksgiving yet. It’s actually bad enough it’s Thanksgiving when you’ve lost someone close to you.

Anyway, I’m not making more posts about how sad I am. I’m sad. No surprise. Grief sucks. Also no surprise. I’m not fishing for sympathy comments.

However, if you want to comment a funny joke, I’m all ears. Sillier the better!

Speaking of jokes… let me share one straight from my dentist’s office—my dentist, by the way, is amazing and will cure your fear of dentistry if you have any—so if you’re the Phoenix area, check them out—they may also have kittens. Yes, kittens. Well, cats. Our two little kitty boys were fostered by my dentist, no joke. She still has their momma. My dentist is awesome.

Wait. The joke!

A mushroom walks into a bar.
Bartender: We don’t serve your kind here.
Mushroom: Why not? I’m a FUN-GUY.

You may have groaned, but I’ll bet you’ll pass that one along. ;)

Oh, artwork. Yeah, it’s been like pulling teeth (OMG ANOTHER DENTIST REFERENCE) but I made five more pieces of art. Once again, I hate three of them. I’m glad I have more time to pull together a show of twenty.

However, I did love two of them. This time, so that you can actually see the detail, I’m sharing just one of them. I’ll probably post another soon. This is my second favorite (hey, gotta save something to show you later) and created entirely in Adobe Photoshop, which isn’t common for me, but go figure.

I call it ‘Sanctum‘. It’s an alien gateway/throne/dunno. I created it for a wonderful friend of mine (who has no blog to link to) who adores all things alien. Someday, the mothership may return for us. I hope they bring cookies.


Filed under Arizona, Art, Blogging, Cats, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Holiday, Inspiration, KarPaiTwenMo, Life, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Pets

KarPaiTwenMo: Week One

KarPaiTwenMo: Week One

While everyone else has been writing like mad, I’ve been muttering at the canvas. Much like during NaNoWriMo, I’ve found myself making a mess. Chaos is fine for NaNoWriMo, at least for me—since no one ever sees that draft. As my dear friends will tell you, I’m pretty stuffy about sharing Draft Zero of anything. I prefer to stew and edit for a few years.

This artwork thing, though—I went public with this crazy idea and now I have to share a piece or two every week. In fact, the goal at the end of November is to share all twenty and even stick them up for sale.

Therefore, I’ve been finding it hard to like anything I make. I start over and make another one, then growl at that and so on. And so on. So, here I am at the end of the first week and I have five pieces. Only I’m not thrilled with three of them.

So I’ll share two. Maybe next week, I’ll share more than two. And larger, although the originals are all 11 x 14 inches. Oh, but you’ll see them all by the end of the marathon. Pinky swear.

Hope all of you doing any kind of writing/painting/editing/running marathon this month are having lots of success—or at least a bit of fun. Go, go, go!


Filed under Art, Blogging, Color, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Friendship, Graphic Design, KarPaiTwenMo, Life, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Writing

KarPaiTwenMo: My Painting Marathon

KarPaiTwenMo: Karen Paints Twenty in a Month

After much pondering and meditation on my emotional state and current drive: I’ve decided not to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. Yeah, I know I’d shouted about how I would. But, like I said in my last post… writing isn’t where my heart is right now. Grief will bring unexpected things; for me, my outlet has been painting. After all, it’s what my mother spent her time doing.

Don’t get me wrong. I love NaNoWriMo and I love the community there. I encourage any of you inclined to write to give it a try at least once. Seriously, it’s awesome fun. But this year, I’m doing something else.

Oh yeah, I’m not slacking out here. I’ve decided to do a PAINTING MARATHON.

Goal: completing 20 paintings (5 per week) in the month of November.
Rules: all must be at least 11 x 14 inches or larger. Also: colorful. Idea is that at the end of November, I should have a nice collection of colorful artwork that I can put up as my new portfolio, all large enough to be printed and framed.

Trick is: half of what you’ve seen here isn’t nearly as big (outside of commissioned artwork, which can be very large, even if the final product is only printed book-sized) and designed solely for the blog or only for online viewing. Larger paintings take longer—I’ll be clocking a lot of hours to pull this off.

So… this idea is crazy. And yet perfect for an art version of NaNoWriMo.

Karen Paints Twenty in a Month: KarPaiTwenMo!

Yeah, that works.

The first paintings will be shown once the first week of November ends. Same goes each week. Show-as-I-go for each painting would make-me-crazy. Even NaNoWriMo participants aren’t required to do anything along the way except update word count. I’ll write a few updates on the painting process as I go.

Hope those of you who expected me to write aren’t too disappointed, but I’ll strive to bring you some bright and interesting visuals. Cheers!


Filed under Art, Blogging, Color, Creativity, Decisions, Journal, KarPaiTwenMo, NaNoWriMo, Painting, Writing

Trippy Trees

Trippy Trees by Karen Gadient

Yet more trees. Hey, I love trees. This time, I present the psychedelic little brother of a previous post. Created with Corel Painter and Photoshop.

I really need to start thinking about NaNoWriMo, although my heart isn’t in it this year. I’ll do it anyway. Somehow. Haven’t written much since my mother passed. She always loved my artwork best (my mother was the artist and my father was the writer) and so I’ve been focusing more on art for the last two months. I have no idea how to get in the mood to write again. So far, the plan is to drink a lot of coffee and sit down at the keyboard and hope words happen.


Filed under Art, Color, Digital Artwork, Family, Journal, Life, NaNoWriMo, Nature, Painting, Writing

Jump In: NaNoWriMo and Imagination

Zuzamele in Blossoms by Karen Gadient

Artwork: “Zuzamele in Blossoms” | Zuzamele, the first daughter of the Exalted Sovereign of Mahanizeh, disappears after leaving her eighth groom alive on the first year of their joining—an anniversary that traditionally allows royal grooms to relinquish their lives gratefully in the Rite of Delivery. Mahanizeh officials quickly announce her capture and imprisonment in Avizhdolin, but rumors flourish of her escape to Ruhizeya aboard a celestial freighter.

Oh hey—did you know NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming? Yep, less than a month. As I have in previous years, I’ll be participating. Are you?

Zuzamele may not be the story I’ll be writing in November, but it could be. You see, that’s the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo: you can use anything your mind thinks up and run from a single paragraph (I wrote the above details on a whim after I created the artwork) well into an epic tale.

Jump in. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun and make a mess. Scatter ink everywhere and watch the magic trip into life. I make new friends every year during NaNoWriMo (my user name is Keyrover). Hope to see you there.


Filed under Art, Creativity, Digital Artwork, Fantasy, Friendship, Imagination, NaNoWriMo, Portrait, Science Fiction, Sketchbook, Writing

The Value of NaNoWriMo

Character Artwork: Version Two - for NaNoWriMo 2012, Karen Gadient

I didn’t win the Powerball. Pretty sure you didn’t either. Bummer, right?

However… last night, I “won” NaNoWriMo for the second time. This novel(la) was more of a struggle than the one I did last year—due to less laughs and more doom—but I reached 51,071 words and crafted a decent ending.

My main character (yep, that’s him in this post’s image) went through a lot of changes as he fought his way through the story. He began as a teenager and ended up a grown man, much faster than he’d expected. And, although he may live for another hundred years, he still still has a lot of galaxy to save. I’ll return to him for a rewrite/edit and maybe a sequel.

Still, I’m glad to finally put NaNoWriMo aside and begin editing the novel I finished just before NaNoWriMo began. Those characters never got out of my head throughout all of November, and it was like having two people in the room with you, talking while you were trying to work!

“You really writing that? It’s creepy. Come back to us. We’ve got flying cars!”

NaNoWriMo Banner

This year, I saw a lot more banter online regarding the value of NaNoWriMo. Plenty of hate along with the love. Valid points on both sides.

I agree that not everyone “has a story in them” or is meant to be “a writer”. I agree that too many people submit/self-publish their “masterpiece” without proper revision, editing, and general professionalism.

Doe NaNoWriMo encourage this?

No. There will always be people who are naive, disillusioned, misinformed, or think that rules don’t apply to them.

I’ve been one of those writers. It was only through years of reading and failing and getting smacked on the head by professionals that I realized I wasn’t pouring magic from my fingers. Same goes with my art and design work.

As Alanis Morissette once said: you live, you learn. I’ll never stop learning. Or failing, I’m sure! I’m human. But I’ll keep doing what I do because I love doing it.

Sure, the online bookstores are full of junk. But there are gems too. Some of those gems even began in NaNoWriMo. Only those writers re-wrote, edited, got beta readers, and enlisted the help of professionals for the final product.

My favorite example, of course, is my best friend Natania Barron and her fantastic book Pilgrim of the Sky, which began in NaNoWriMo (although it went through plenty of changes before publication). I’m proud to get the blame for planting a wine-soaked seed for another book in those worlds, featuring one of my favorite characters, Joss Raddick. Mmm-hm.

Natania speaks of writing and NaNoWriMo, and shares some of her story.

Participate in NaNoWriMo. Have crazy fun with it. Get the short draft done. Then prepare to spend a lot of time fixing that draft before forcing it on others, if that’s your plan. Be proud you got the thing out of your head and onto the paper.

As my friend Katie cheered to me all this month: YAY YOU!

NaNoWriMo encourages people to give something a try—and to give themselves a chance to create something awesome. In a frenzy, without censorship. It’s so freeing. It’s a wonderful mess. It’s dreaming awake. For me, it’s embracing my inner child and remembering what it was like to hop in a sack race. It’s pure fun, even if no one ever reads it, and even if you don’t “win”.

That’s why I’ll keep doing it, year after year.

My favorite pep talk from NaNoWriMo this year, by Nick Hornby.

Congrats to all of you who did NaNoWriMo this year. And congrats to all of you who dare to create, no matter what you bring to life or what month it is.


Filed under Creativity, Friendship, Imagination, Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Finishing a novel and starting NaNoWriMo

Finishing a novel, starting a novel. NaNoWriMo 2012.

Journeys: my alphabetical post for ‘J’. I just took one and I’m about to take another. Whew, man… I really thought I’d have more time for this stuff. Between work, family, and unexpected migraines, it’s been a little crazy.


I finished another novel. This one is a normal size. In fact, it’s a little small and will need work in the next draft. Screen capture is in the banner for this post: 72,197 words. I tend to run long and I really made efforts not to do that this time. My first novel was *goes to check* …146,338 words. Yeah, that one needs trimming. With explosives.

Today is one of my favorite holidays: Halloween! I shall go a-haunting. After that, things will haunt me instead: lack of sleep, too much caffeine, voices in my head, and words, words, words!

Rosencrantz: What are you playing at?
Guildenstern: Words. Words. They’re all we have to go on.

Yep, its’ NaNoWriMo time!

Whether you like it or you hate it, it’s a great excuse to write.

I’m still in that place where I’m sad to finish a story and here I am about to start another one. As I said in my last post, it’s like drugs. No point in quitting or cutting back or I’ll have rebound issues just like any other stimulant.

For NaNoWriMo, I’ll be headed to another planet. Chaos. Lies. Creepy stuff. Plus my usual abundance of existential dilemmas. Not quite sure how it’ll end up. Doesn’t matter, because it’s all about the journey.

Guildenstern: Who decides?
The Player: Decides? It is written!


Filed under Life, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Have you ever been experienced?

Psychedelic Colors. Writing is my drug of choice.

Another alphabetical post: this time for the letter I. Given the last few weeks, I’m choosing intervention, because I probably need one. I’ve got this writing addiction, you see. Only—like many of us with a serious writing habit—I’ve got all these other things that I’m also supposed to be doing.

So, I guess I can throw insomnia there too, because I’m willing to lose sleep to maintain my writing addiction along with my real-life responsibilities. And I’m cool with that. No need for a therapy session; you can put away your touching letters. I can handle this myself. I’ll keep the phone close.

“Did you happen to bring any candy?”

I’m guessing there’s quite a few of us addicts out wandering the online realm right about now, because the big showdown of “who can do the most hits the fastest” is just around the corner: NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), where the goal is to write a 50,000-word (approximately 175-page) novel in 30 days.

Hell yes, I’ll be participating again this year. You can find me here.

“How are you preparing? Outlines? Synopsis? Notebooks of character bios?”

Not this year, my friends. See, this year I’ve got a novel to finish by the end of October. Self-imposed obsession.

Hey, hey… I said I’ve got this. Dude, I can handle it. Well… barely, with all the other things on my list, but who needs sleep when you have caffeine?

“Here’s the first of the day, fellas! To ol’ D.H. Lawrence.”

Can you tell I’m finishing a book that’s a little heavy on drug culture? Anyway, I’ve got about 5,000 words left on this book and then I’ll hop the NaNoWriMo train.

I’m diving in on November 1st like it’s a rave. Crank that bass, yo.

Oh yeah. You’re a writer too? Yeah? Been doing this a while? First timer or not, man—I’m telling you, once you try it… you’ll be hooked. Writing is not just a party drug. As Jimi Hendrix might say: it’s an experience.

And all of us writers want to be experienced. Our stories, given to others to explore. Part of us, in the hands of the world. Or just into the heads of a few people who matter to us. It’s all good. But you only get to see if you mellow out and follow the pretty colors to the story you want to read. Just enjoy the trip.

I know, I know you probably scream and cry
that your little world won’t let you go…

30 days. Go on. You never know what you’ll discover inside your mind.


Filed under Imagination, NaNoWriMo, The Unknown, Writing

Discovery, not perfection, is the goal

Pen and note paper

I like to write in longhand often. Today, I’m cracking open a new Moleskine. As much as I love Moleskines, I think I might soon have to switch to cheap notebooks—not so much because of the cost, but because of the pressure I feel to write perfect stuff in a Moleskine.

I learned a lot from finishing NaNoWriMo, but the most important thing was to loosen up and write crap. I was surprised that a good deal of that frenzied garbage I thought I was writing turned out to be brilliant—or at least useable.

My 30-day novel (51,000 words of drug-tripping parallel-universe sci-fi) lit up my mind more than I’d expected. The sheer speed of a 30-day book (my last book, an epic at 148,000 words, took years) forced me to shut off my inner editor and just enjoy writing.

So, I’m looking at this fresh Moleskine today. I vow to scribble, blotch, and dogear this thing. OCD tendencies have no place in notes and early drafts. Rules are (sing along!): make it messy and make it fun—no editing until it’s done.

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Filed under Creativity, Imagination, NaNoWriMo, Science Fiction, Writing

Reaching the finish line

He started to sing as he tackled the thing
That couldn’t be done, and he did it.
— Edgar A. Guest, It Couldn’t Be Done

NaNoWriMo Winner Stamp

I’m now a first-time NaNoWriMo winner. 50,232 words. My finished novel(la) is one of those bad first drafts that I wouldn’t dare show a soul, but I’m proud of it all the same. NaNoWriMo is really about giving yourself permission to just write and not stop and judge.

It was a difficult month to take such a task on, given that I was out of town enough that it was more like 20 days than 30. Still, I quickly learned that I can write a lot more in a day than I’d ever thought. Some days were over 4,000 words. I’m going to try and keep up a similar writing schedule now that November is over. Maybe I’ll even try an artwork-a-week idea for the times I need a break from words and want to go visual.

Things I discovered while NaNoWriMo-ing that are useful with any kind of goal:

  • Surround yourself with like-minded folks. When you’re all driving toward a goal together, the trip is a lot more fun.
  • Realize you don’t need hours to get things done. Ten or fifteen minutes here and there, if you focus, can accomplish a lot.
  • Find inspiration. Yep, that might mean carving out a little time to read or go for a walk or listen to music. Odds are you’ll return fresh and with new ideas, thus making the time well spent.
  • Tell yourself you can do this and imagine it done. Don’t doubt you’ll reach your goal. Only focus on the positive.

Congratulations to those of you who won this year and also to those who made the attempt, whether you finished or not. Here’s to the year ahead—may it be filled with good news and great things!


Filed under Creativity, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Thoughts on NaNoWriMo

Coffee and Laptop

This month I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 words in 30 days. First time I’ve participated. So far, so good. It’s mid-point and I’ve hit 30,000 words. What’s more, I have actually grown to love the story I’m creating. I admit, I didn’t expect love on such a deadline, especially since I usually outline and plot far in advance and I didn’t do that this time because I signed up at the last minute. But I think it’s essential that you fall in love with your story when doing NaNoWriMo, otherwise it’s going to be struggle to keep going.

I’m discovering that the best thing about writing a book from beginning to end in a month is that you’re forced to ignore your inner editor and just focus on writing without doubting yourself. Editing is for another month!

Although it’s long, 50,000 words is more novella than novel. Still, I think it’s important to get to the end on 50,000 words (or just slightly over). There’s a satisfaction in that, plus you’re going to fill it out and cut it up once the month is over. That’s when it will really grow and change into a true novel.

So, how do I keep up the pace? Two things have helped me greatly:

  • Setting a timer and writing in sprints. I personally use the Pomodoro technique and write in 25 minute sprints. In that time, I generally write between 600 and 800 words. Takes a big bite out of that word count!
  • Thinking in scenes instead of chapters, and writing lots of scenes. Scenes can be divided into chapters later.

I’ve made many awesome new friends while doing NaNoWriMo. We’re all plugging along at our novels together and that’s really the best part. So many of us tend to write in isolation and this shared experience brings us together as a community. It reminds us of our connection. We don’t have to go it alone! And when November is over and the words are all written, we can still encourage one another and grow our friendships along with our novels.


Filed under Creativity, NaNoWriMo, Writing

Painting fiction into life

Painting of a character from my NaNoWriMo novel for 2011

I’m currently working on my NaNoWriMo novel (or novella, if I actually stop at 50,000 words). I’m writing a near-future/alternate-universe sci-fi tale. I’ve noticed some of you create your book cover as inspiration as you write. Instead of a cover, I decided to paint one of my lead characters as I imagine her so far.

Good luck to those of you doing NaNoWriMo this year!

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Filed under Art, Creativity, Imagination, Sketchbook, Writing

Where do you start to write when you’re inside the writer’s block?

Inside the writer's block. A doorway out.

As we’re coming upon yet another NaNoWriMo, countless people are preparing to spend November madly writing 50,000 words and hoping those words resemble a novel at the end. It’s hard to know what to write about, especially with that kind of deadline.

This is an exercise I do to relax–a meditation of sorts–which can be used as a starting point into a story idea. At the very least, if you try it, you might have a little fun with your imagination.

You’re in a room without any windows or doors. It’s a colorless and soundless cube, and you’re all alone. You can’t see yourself, but you know you exist. You know this room is yours, and that it’s really a gateway to many places. And so, you create an exit.

A door, a window, a hatch, a hole… whatever portal you’d like. You can see it clearly form where you willed it. You go to it and through it.

Now outside of the block, your senses kick in. You’re in another place. It could be just outside your house, or in another country, or even during another time or on an entirely different world. Looking down, your body reflects wherever you are, as you’re dressed for the occasion, although you could be any gender or race, or not even human at all.

Others are approaching. Something is about to happen.

This is where your adventure begins. Write.
You’ve got your character’s feet. See where they take you.


Filed under Creativity, Ideas, Imagination, Writing