Nano-Mania Speech Notes

Posted by mindy on 11 November, 2011
Category Toastmasters

Here is are my notes and essay used for the speech I gave on my experience with NaNoWriMo. I didn't get through all of the content because of time constraints (5-7 minutes limit), however the essay is worth sharing and reading.

Speech 2- Organizing Your Speech – Introduction

Mindy is a part-time student of WITCC. She has chosen to major in English and hopes to transfer to the University of Iowa. In her spare time Mindy is devoted to her works of fiction. She has been creating a variety of fiction stories since her early teens. While her chosen genre is young adult; she’ll occasionally add a cup of romance, a side of science fiction, or a spoonful of the paranormal.

Mindy’s speech today is titled ‘Nano-Mania’

Speech 2: Nano-Mania

Thank you ‘Madam / Mister Toastmaster and fellow Toastmasters’ Today I would like to share with you my evidence that writers are not only crazy but possibly boarder on insanity. And I’ll share my personal story with NaNoWriMo 2007 in what my friends and I have come to call ‘my month from Hell.’

November – this is the month that for many brings images of holidays, family gatherings, and warm fires in the hearth. For a select group of writers it is a time of isolation, caffeine over-dosing, and casting off avoidable tasks. This is the month of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month.

The challenge, for those insane enough to try, is to achieve 50,000 words in 30 days.
If you have decided that yes, you are indeed crazy enough to attempt this insanity there are a few important steps you need to take before November 1.
- step one register at the official website
+ This is where you will be communicating with other participants
+ Receive motivational messages from the pros
+ And uploading your words to get them counting.
- step two decide what you’re going to write
+ The genre isn’t important; most writers choose the various options in fiction.
+ The story can be new and fresh or old and dusty from your ‘writing trunk’
+ Any story will work so long as it has not been previously published.
- step three prepare yourself
+ This is a grueling challenge so have your blood pressure checked
+ If necessary seek professional mental health therapy
+ And don’t forget to clean the coffee pot.
In 2007, after caving to the goading by a friend and fellow writer I entered this challenge without following step three and then some.
- I registered an account at
+ I subscribed to receive the Pep Talk e-mails from the pros.
^ I discovered names like
~ Kelley Armstrong a Canadian writer of young adult stories of the paranormal and supernatural.
~ And who isn’t familiar with the name Piers Anthony? It surprised me to see his name on the ‘Pep Talk’ e-mail from the pros.
- When it came to deciding what to write I dusted off my writer’s trunk.
+ I chose an old manuscript that had been tucked inside for years.
^ It was an untitled, young adult fictional manuscript
^ Most importantly, it had not been published.
So there I was on November 1, 2007. My coffee pot was clean, the mugs were snug in the cabinet, and the milk was fresh in the fridge right beside the five pound container of coffee grinds. I thought I was ready, boy was I wrong.

I was not prepared by step three. I wasn’t even aware there was a step three.
On October 31, I barely slept a wink in anticipation. I was revved up and ready, just waiting for the next day.

When I finally did wake up and came to my senses, I brewed my coffee and got write to work. I didn’t know it at the time but I was about to enter the days of insomnia and caffeine overdose.

It was pretty smooth sailing that first week. I was doing decent on my count. Granted I wasn’t happy with what was coming out but my fellow contenders kept telling me ‘don’t worry about the grammar, content, and flow, it’s the word count that matters.’

They must have been holding to that or something else. By the end of the first week I could check the boards and see people reporting in claims of word count. Now, 5k to 7k I might believe but I was seeing claims of 10k, 20k, and even a few 25k or more. It’s the ones that reported reaching their 50k that really made me suspicious. It got me thinking ’50,000 words in 7 seven days? I don’t think so…”

I was around about 10,000 words myself, flying on pure caffeine, with nothing else to do. I was so loaded on coffee I couldn’t sleep if I wanted to. My arms and legs would tremble. And my poor cats; they were treading around me like I had lost my mind. And to be honest, I thought I had too. Today I ask myself ‘what was I thinking?’

And then the worst possible thing happened. November 17, I’m on the verge of reaching 25,000 words and my computer gets a virus. Forget the overdose on caffeine this was the virus from hell. I don’t know what the name of it was I just know that it went after my Microsoft software. And it was systematic about it too.

I went from caffeine high, to panic mode, to crisis mode, to the ugly cry in a matter of hours. It’s like Oprah once said ‘The ladies know what I’m talking about when I say the ugly cry and believe me it ain’t pretty.’

Time, forget it, all I could focus on was my word count and getting my computer fixed. She wasn’t completely down, I could still get on the internet. My thanks go to the service rep at Dell for putting up with me. He sent the discs and I got my computer back.

In closing- anyone willing or interested in taking up this challenge should, before beginning, make certain that their computer is in peak performance. Perform maintenance with a system clean up, defragging, and above all run a virus scan. I wouldn’t want what happened to me to happen to some one else.

Click here for the evaluation

Evaluation of Speech on 9-13-11

Posted by mindy on 14 September, 2011
Category Toastmasters

Speech Title- NaNo-Mania

Topic- NaNoWriMo and my experience with this challenge:

Here are some of the things my evaluator wrote in the book:

Speech Outline:
The Opening- 'good transition'
The Body- a little weak
The Conclusion- be stronger.
Overall evaluation-

Speech Value: (was the speech interesting and or meaningful to the audience?)
(5 /5) Remark- used the word of the day- GREAT, good opening,

Preparation: (Did the speaker research / rehearse the speech?)
(3/5) Good visual description, coffee, computer maintenance, 50,000 words in one month

Organization: (was the speaker logical and clear?) (4/5)

Body: (Did the speech flow smoothly, was there appropriate support material?) (3/5)

Conclusion: (Was the conclusion effective?) (3/5)

Transition: (Was the transition appropriate and helpful?) (3/5)

What could the speaker have done differently to make the speech more effective?
* What is fiction? What is 50,000 words?
* What to you want this speech to do? – Comparison, tell a story, call to action, encourage?

What did you like about the presentation?
Great vocal variety- interesting topic- talking chaos! “Crying that ugly cry”
24,994 words – that is ok w/me!

I wish I had a video recorder. I would have recorder both the speech and verbal evaluation. There was so much more to what she had said than what was written.

My thanks to everyone who gave their support.