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Adam Wik
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So how do you define physical fitness?

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Have you checked out our Cincinnati Fall Recipe Week yet? If not, today's offering from Cincinnati Nomerati is a great time to start.

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Fantastic advice from Leo. I'm about 4,500 words into the challenge so far here on day 2.
My Tips for NaNoWriMo Novel Writers
It's November, and that means tens of thousands of writers like you and me are churning out sci fi and erotica novels at a breathtaking pace. It's NaNoWriMo time!

I'm doing it for the third time -- I was successful in 2006, and then was ambitious and wrote 110,000 words in 2009. I'm not worried about making it this year, but just focused on having fun.

For those doing it for the first time, or those who haven't made it to the finish line yet, I'd be honored to share a few tips that work for me. Note that every writer is different, and I share this only for information purposes, not as strict guidelines.

1. Write early. Yes, I know some of you are night owls, but this works wonders for me. You don't have to wake up at the crack of dawn, but if you can get the bulk of your writing done before you do anything else, you'll increase your odds of success. That's because those who wait until later might have other things that come up -- work stuff, family stuff, personal emergencies, unexpected social outings. I recommend writing when you first wake up for as long as you can.

2. Write more than the minimum. If you write the same number of words each day, you should be writing about 1,667 words per day. Trouble is, not every day is the same. Some days you have special occasions (Thanksgiving parties?), other days unplanned things come up. So shoot for more than the minimum. I've found that 2,000 is a better minimum, and more is even better.

3. Take walks. I find it better to think things through. I don't like to outline every single thing, and would rather let things flow, but if I can take long walks and think about my characters and the situations I put them in, it helps me to get a good flow when I actually sit down to write. So mornings are my writing time, but afternoons are walking time. Running also works well.

4. Pick up details and dialogue. When I take walks, or go out anywhere, I like to look for good details to add to the novel. And dialogue overheard on the street. It's fun to fit some of that in.

5. Clear distractions. Turn off the Internet when you write. Sure, you need to look stuff up sometimes. Write the things you need to look up in a notebook or a text file, and look them up later. It won't kill you to not know how many people you can kill when your villain threatens to bomb Shanghai. Turn off your mobile devices too.

6. Don't edit, let it flow. Your words don't have to be perfect as you write this month. In fact, they don't even have to be very good. That's what December is for. For now, just write anything, let it come out. Don't get stuck on perfection.

7. Use the forums, but later in the day. The NaNo forums are great for support, for ideas, for challenges. But they can also be a time-waster. So do your writing first, and then go to the forums. Only go to the forums before that if you get desperate, and even then try to solve it on your own first.

8. Go to Write Ins. If there are any write-ins in your area, go to them. I didn't do it in my first NaNo, and did in my 2nd, and it was much better the 2nd time. It makes writing a social act, which is a rare and beautiful thing. It also makes the whole month more fun. Don't worry if you're shy -- most writers are. We don't judge.

9. Stop reading writing advice. Including this advice. It just gets you bogged down in what others are doing, rather than actually writing. So go, write. And have a blast. This month could change your life.

And at the risk of sounding contradictory (I do that a lot), I'd like to ask other writers: what works for you?

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I've found a new challenge! I'll give you a hint, it's going to involve a lot of writing...

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Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I think this looks ridiculously fun?

Anyone do anything for Sweetest Day?

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If you're not doing these six things, then you're not learning your target language as efficiently as you could be...

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If anyone's looking for an invite to Fitocracy, let me know.

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The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know

1. Thou Shalt Not Simply Trot Out thy Usual Shtick.
2. Thou Shalt Dream a Great Dream, or Show Forth a 3. Wondrous New Thing, Or Share Something Thou Hast Never Shared Before.
3. Thou Shalt Reveal thy Curiosity and Thy Passion.
4. Thou Shalt Tell a Story.
5. Thou Shalt Freely Comment on the Utterances of Other Speakers.
6. Thou Shalt Not Flaunt thine Ego. Be Thou Vulnerable. 9. Speak of thy Failure as well as thy Success.
7. Thou Shalt Not Sell from the Stage: Neither thy Company, thy Goods, thy Writings, nor thy Desperate need for Funding; Lest Thou be Cast Aside into Outer Darkness.
8. Thou Shalt Remember all the while: Laughter is Good.
9. Thou Shalt Not Read thy Speech.
10. Thou Shalt Not Steal the Time of Them that Follow Thee.

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Benny the Irish Polyglot has introduced a new language learning tool called Learning With Texts. It's definitely worth checking out if you're learning a new language.
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