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During the 11 Other Months

Just remember that Dumbo didn’t need the feather; the magic was in him. – Stephen King.

For those of you who don’t know (and who are you if you don’t?!) Dumbo is a Disney movie about a baby elephant with very large ears. Dumbo is teased by the other elephants and befriends a mouse called Timothy. Timothy tells Dumbo he would be able to fly with his ears but Dumbo doesn’t believe him until Timothy produces a “magical” feather which will give him flying abilities. Dumbo flaps his large ears, and is able to fly. At the climax of the movie, Dumbo loses the “magical” feather, but instead of falling, he learns that the ability to fly was always within him and the feather was just the guide to get him to where he was always capable of being.

Think of NaNoWriMo as the feather. You have the ability to write a novel, it’s built within you. But it’s not always easy to start if you don’t know how. Sometimes it’s nice to have a guide, to have something taking you by the hand and showing you the way. That is what NaNoWriMo is. NaNoWriMo isn’t the novel, it’s the power that makes you believe you can do it.

Back in 2003, when I started NaNoing, I wrote all the time. I wrote (bad) poetry, and short stories. I had whole notebooks full of snippets of ideas, random paragraphs, and stanzas for poems. I had doodles as I worked things out and ideas mapped out for somethings. I loved that. I loved carrying around a notebook full of random creative thoughts. So what if most of them didn’t pan out to be anything – it was fun. (I still have those notebooks in a box somewhere. They’re great to read.)

But as I got older, and NaNo became an ingrained part of my life, I stopped writing so much. I no longer write short stories because I struggle to come up with short and sweet ideas that can be wrapped up in a few thousands words. (I definitely don’t write teen angst poetry but I feel that’s more my age than my writing ability.) My writing ability seems to be entirely focused on full novels. Considering I don’t plan that much in advance, it’s strange that that’s how my mind works. But not only do I find I’m more leaning towards novel writing now, I find if I try and write in any sort of depth or for length of time at any other time of year other than November, I fail. I find I don’t have the drive, the desire to write during any other month.

In many ways, NaNoWriMo is my magical feather

Of course NaNoWriMo is a nice little bundle of novelling. It gives you everything you need. You get a timeframe to write, a deadline to meet, supporting people from all over the world, pep talks from real authors, and lots of metaphorical cookies and poking (and real, if you go to write-ins and that’s how your region is inclined). It’s perfect! NaNo wraps you in this neat little writing world, and it’s amazingly awesome.

After 11 years, I find the rest of the year is a little less coloured when it comes to writing.

But sometimes I find myself saying “I can’t write outside of November”. Well, why not? Apart from the community, what’s really stopping me? I can obviously write, and I can obviously write a novel in a month. So I’m using the wrong phrasing. I “can” write outside of November, but part of is me choosing not to. I think part of me is scared of trying without the feather.

But you know what? Right now, it’s totally okay to cling to the feather. Cuddle it, name it. Embrace the feather. It is teaching you what you weren’t ready to believe. But in December, when it goes missing, you can still fly.

Just spread those wings.

And They’re Off!

National Novel Writing Month - Press Start

For Cinderella, midnight signalled the end of the ball, for NaNoWriMo-ers, it’s the start of an adventure! For the UK, that adventure starts NOW!

Famous author, Tom Clancy who sadly passed away this month, said “The only way to write, is to write.” And that is what November is all about. It’s not about editing, it’s not about wondering if you need another layer of subplot, it’s not about spelling your character names right every time or knowing what their birth sign is, or whether they like carrots. It’s about writing and writing and more writing.

It’s about getting the words on the page and leaving them there. It’s about opening up the floodgates in your mind and watching the magic pour from your brain through your fingers and onto the keyboard or page in front of you. It’s about watching your ideas and your ideas only come to life before your eyes.

It’s about realising what you can do when there’re 100,000 people doing it with you.

It’s about taking a leap of faith and just going with it. Even if you are like me and haven’t really a clue what you’re going to be writing this November, it doesn’t matter. Because over the next few days and week, you’ll work it out. And you’ll watch yourself work it out and be amazed that it’s you doing that. You’re going to surprise yourself on many levels, and even on the days when the words won’t come, you’re still going to feel pride for what you’re doing.

You’re going to join in the word sprints online, or join the write-ins and social events in your local community. You’re going to discuss ideas on the forums, or procrastinate heavily with like minded people. You’re going to create fictional worlds with wonderful people whilst getting to know equally wonderful people in the real world.

You’re going to be caffeinated, sleep deprived, and prone to scribbling a few words here and there just to keep your word count up. You’re going to be on a month long roller coaster filled with highs and lows, sharp corners, and graceful gliding lengths. You’re going to feel a little crazy. But that’s totally okay. Because we’re all a little bit crazy with you.

This November, is your November. And you’re going to make it amazing.

Every year, thousands of people sign up to NaNoWriMo and don’t start. By writing even a few words, you’re already ahead of many people who don’t.

One of my favourite Stephen King quotes is: “The scariest moment is always just before you start.” Well, right now, it’s gone midnight. The final moments of October have vanished. The final dreaded minutes of waiting for something to happen are gone. That scariest moment is very shortly going to be buried under piles of prose as soon as you type the first sentence.

So, what are you reading this for? Go write!

Happy Novelling Wrimos!

 

NaNoWriMo Countdown: One Week. Fiendish Fancies.

With only seven days to go (yes, you read that correctly), it’s time to make sure you are all set for the month of novelling ahead of you. In my three week countdown blog I talked about making sure you were fully prepared for November. One particular mention was that of snacks and drinks and easy food. With Halloween just around the corner (and a stolen title from Mr. Kipling’s Halloween themed French Fancies), I thought I would cover some of my favourite quick foods for this November.

1) Chocolate Mug Cake

Ingredients:Chocolate Mug Cake 1

– 4 tablespoons of self raising flour
– 4 tablespoons of hot chocolate powder
– 1 large egg
– 3 tablespoons of cooking oil
– 3 tablespoons of milk

Chocolate Mug Cake 2Equipment:

– Large mug
– Fork/whisk

Add all ingredients to a large mug and stir thoroughly. You’re looking for a smooth, thick mixture. One mixed, place mug in microwave for 2 ½ – 3 minutes (time depends on power of microwave). To test if cooked through, slide a clean knife half way into the cake and remove. If it’s clean, it’s cooked! If it comes out with batter stuck to it, pop the mug back into the microwave for another 30 seconds.

2) Pizza cupcakes

Ingredients:Pizza Cupcakes

– Pizza base mix
– Pasta tomato sauce
– Grated cheese
Equipment:
– Cupcake tray

Pre-heat oven to 180C.

Add water to the pizza base mix to create a ball of dough. Add water carefully, kneading the dough as you do. If you add too much, have some plain flour handy to mix in. Once you have your dough ball, roll it out on a flat surface. Cut out circles of dough and place in the cupcake tray. (If you have cookie cutters handy, these would be ideal. We used the lid of a blender to mark out the circles.) Make sure you have enough dough for both the base of the cupcake, and the lid. Don’t be afraid to re-ball up the dough, then roll it out again for ease.

Pizza Cupcakes 2Add 1 ½ – 2 tablespoons of pasta sauce to each cupcake. Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese on top of the sauce. Place the dough lids on each cupcake, pressing slightly along the edges to seal (use a dab of water around the edge of the cupcake to help seal the lid). Please cupcake tray in oven for 12 – 15 minutes.

Note: pizza cupcakes are HOT when they come out of the oven. Leave to cool for a few minutes before consuming.

3) Cereal

Ingredients:Coco Pops

– Your favourite cereal
– Milk

Equipment:

– Bowl
– Spoon

This is one of the most obvious but under-rated quick meals. A large bowl of cereal is perfect for when you’ve come in from work, have 1,667 words to write, and you realise that yet again you forgot to go shopping. I half lived off cereal last November. Stock up on a variety and don’t be afraid to heat up the milk first for that glorious warm feeling inside.

And as it’s NaNo, you’re allowed your favourite every time. Coco Pops is my choice.

So there you have it! Some say November is not the month to be experimenting with new things in the kitchen. I say – take a break from one creativity for another. Your brain needs food, too!

 

Please Write Me This November

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I, as I imagine lots of others did, received an email on October 16h from from ‘[My] Novel’. It begin:

“Dear Burgeoning Novelist,

I’m writing to tell you I need you. That’s right, I’ve been swirling around in the breathtaking labyrinths of your unconscious mind for a while now, and I’m itching to leap into the world. The only way I can come out, though, is if you commit to writing me in November.”

I think I just got guilt tripped by my not yet formed novel.

As a seasoned pantser (that’s someone who writes “by the seat of their pants” rather than planning it out) I don’t really tend to think about my novel much before November. I have a working title, a one line plot idea, and the first name of a character (not even my main character – just a character) which I gained from answering the question “What is the first sentence of your novel?” on the unofficial NaNoWriMo Facebook group.

Okay, tell a lie… as I wrote that, I decided said character will die in the first two pages. So definitely not my main character.

Last week I woke up in the night and my brain switched to NaNo. Probably because from the bed I can see my thick folder of notes and the printed version of We All Fall Down sitting on my desk. (Now that IS guilt tripping me as I haven’t done any editing in two weeks.) In my sleepy state, it began ticking over ideas.

I’m creating a fictional town in England to base my novel in. I’ve done fictional worlds before but never a fictional town in the real world. I decided I’m going to do this properly. Usually I just dive in, write, and then have the horrific task of remapping my novel to make sense afterwards. We have a huge whiteboard which I plan on accommodating for November and I plan on drawing a map of my fictional town as I go along.

When I woke up, I decided my town was going to be centered around a cemetery. I then decided it would be circular, and then my brain threw out that the plan of the town should be related to the Wiccan Wheel of the Year. I feel back asleep at this point.

I’m not even sure I could incorporate the Wheel of the Year into a town map, and if I could, it would take a LOT of planning and I don’t think I could link it to my plot idea. However, I did really like the idea of having the layout of the town related to my idea, rather than just a randomly built town.

(I was also impressed that I remember my thoughts when I woke up the next morning.)

Right now, it’s hard not to think about your upcoming novel – pantser or not. It’s hard not to feel it clinging to the edges of your consciousness, peering over the edge with wide eyes, giving you a nervous little smile. It’s waiting for your permission to climb up and run about in your mind. Come November 1st, you’ll be pulling that little novel up to your level and you’ll be running with it. Hell, you’ll be taking it sledging and rolling in the snow with it. This is your new best friend.

So, yes, please write your novel. It will be sad and lonely without you. Do this whether you know your only poor unsuspecting character will die soon or not. Listen to your mind when it gives you ideas, and listen to your novel when it calls to you on November 1st.

Eight days and counting.

When Life Takes Over

Life gives you lemons

I had one of those days yesterday which was full of ups and downs. I walked into work to find an email from a parent thanking the company, but me personally, for her daughter’s summer experience, then got some bad news at lunch, then spoke to a friend on the phone in the afternoon who I haven’t spoken to in months, then my Friday night plans turned out to be a little disappointing and I got soaked on the way home. Then I had pizza and chocolate chip cookies for tea, which fixes everything.

On the days when life just decides that you need a bit of a rollercoaster ride (and I actually love rollercoasters, but they tend to make me sick), it can be hard to focus on what you want to be doing. After the bad news at lunch, I spent a couple of hours attempting work but kept getting completely side-tracked and then irritated that it took me five minutes to do a 30 second task. Luckily a friend appeared on Facebook chat and kept me company for the rest of the afternoon.

As we get closer to November (and therefore NaNoWriMo), I feel it’s important to brace yourself for Life. No matter how much you plan your writing schedule, something is going to come up and stand in your way. It could be something as small as walking home in the rain and getting in not wanting to do anything but curl up under a quilt with your favourite movie, or something huge that just blocks your mind of all other thought. But it will happen. Of course, something amazingly happy could happen which involves your schedule going completely out of whack as well! Last year, my boyfriend and I got together smack bang in the middle of November. There are few things more distracting than a new relationship. (This year he gets the delight of living with me during November.)

The big obvious distractions in November are the upcoming Christmas and Thanksgiving (for the American Wrimos). I learnt earlier this week that Thanksgiving is November 28th this year. I do not envy you, my fellow American Wrimos. I’m sure Thanksgiving is a wonderful time, and I would love to experience it, should I one day make it to the Night of Writing Dangerously one year, but at the same time I would not like to loose precious writing time that close to the end of November. And of course with Christmas comes the pre-Christmas parties, which for some reason aren’t always held in December.

My biggest Life distraction in November I can foresee, and plan accordingly. My birthday lands on November 27th. That night is already out, as we have gig tickets. The weekend before is also out as I’m going home to visit my family for four days. That’s basically five days right there that I either won’t write at all, or won’t write as much as I should do. Then November 29th is payday, and therefore will be my birthday celebration with friends from work. Essentially, if I’m not at the very least on target by November 21st, I’m going to have a frantic November 30th.

But not everyone has the luxury of seeing the big events coming up. I’ll re-emphasise this nearer the time, but plan for the days that you can’t see coming but will inevitably come. The days when you’re ill, the days when work or school dumps a major new project on your head, the days when friends or family need you more than your writing does. Therefore, write more than you need to when you can. That buffer of extra words will be needed. Trust me.

And just generally, when life smacks you around the head without warning, find the little things to keep going. The little things will help you get back on track.

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone

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I am your typical introverted writer and reader. Often my ideal Friday night is a good book, a mug of hot chocolate, and a movie I know backwards for background noise.

But every so often I get the urge to do more with my life. I live in London but don’t know all that many people. I feel that’s not right. This is a big city, there’s lots to do, and I should have options on the nights when I don’t want to curl up and read. So, I recently signed up to MeetUp.com – a website of groups to join where you can meet like minded people. On Saturday night I bit the bullet and signed up to a pub quiz meet up for 20 something year olds (the group is actually called ‘20somethings’ – does what it says on the tin), which took place last night.

There is something to be said about going outside your comfort zone. There’s the nerves, the anticipation, and the excitement. There’s that slight adrenaline rush as you take the final step, and the surge of pride that you’re conquering something.

NaNoWriMo 2014 is 7 ½ weeks away (I know…). If it’s something you’ve never done, then you may be feeling part of what I describe above. Hey, even if you have done it before, you may still feel it! In my eleventh year (!), NaNo is very much part of my comfort zone now. It would be much weirder to do the year without it, and probably more stressful (odd as it sounds) to not have NaNo in my life. But, for many, it is a huge jump from the comfort zone circle. Or square. Or decagon. Take your pick of shape – it’s your zone.

In some ways, parts of writing are going out of your comfort zone, too. Typing the first sentence of a new novel is always a leap of faith, even for the seasoned writers. No matter how much planning you do, taking that first step is always going to require a deep breath beforehand. And then there’s the genre. Do you write about something you’ve not written before? That’s always a bit nerve-wracking. What about something you struggle with? Do you focus on it or avoid it?

I remember in my second year at university, one of my creative writing tasks was to write a dialogue heavy piece. I have always disliked writing dialogue and will fall back on description when I can do, rather than transcribe a conversation. I remember feeling unhappy that I was being forced to do this, But at the end of the day, I was there to learn, so I took a breath, stepped out of my zone, and tried to write a comedic little piece geniously called “The Tea Argument”. It wasn’t anything inspiring. If I remember rightly, it was supposed to be just dialogue but I still had to slip in a few paragraphs of description every few lines. It wasn’t very good, but I do remember feeling proud about it at the time! (I still dislike dialogue, but I can face it much better than I could a few years ago.)

I think it’s healthy for the soul to do something new, something scary. I believe it was Eleanor Roosevelt who said “Do one thing everyday that scares you.” Everyday may be a bit much, but the feeling is there. I recently read this article on exactly this. It said that whilst it’s good to expand your wings, every so often you should retreat to your comfort zone to take stock on your new achievements, and relax with something familiar knowing that you can do whatever you want. 

Take the leap, do something new. Skydive, smile at the cute stranger on the bus, write in a genre you have never tried before. Go and meet strangers in a pub quiz in Shoreditch.

(For the record, I had an amazing night. I spoke to someone out of choice within five seconds of walking into the pub, and found myself approaching people during the course of the night just to say ‘hi’. It was a lot of fun anyway, and I came away feeling very happy and pleased that I was able to just be sociable with complete strangers without waiting for someone to approach me first. I wasn’t the quiet girl sat in the corner. I made friends who asked if I was attending the Friday night event as well. I was out of my comfort zone, and it felt good.)

The Hardest Thing in This World is to Strive For Your Dreams

I have a vivid memory of myself when I was 8 or 9 years old. I was standing in a corridor in school and determinedly thought to myself about what I was going to do once I had finished primary school. I was going to go to high school (at age 8, I didn’t realise this was compulsory), then college, then university, and then I would become a published author. It was somewhere around this ages I wrote my first short story (available to read here).

It’s now 18 years later and I have achieved all but the last of that list. And it’s the last item, which is my dream and therefore has been the hardest thing to reach for. Why? Because the only person I really have to motivate me is myself. I’m not harming others, or giving happiness to others if I do or don’t get published. This is something to do solely for myself, and I think that’s what makes it hard. Not because I don’t feel I don’t deserve it, but because there’s no outside drive to push me into it.

Recently my boyfriend and I began the nuts exercise regime called ‘Insanity’ (Google it). It’s essentially 6 days a week of a 40 minute intense aerobics session and you end up dripping sweat afterwards if you do it properly. After the first two days my calves hurt so much I had issues walking up and down stairs. As we’re doing this in our flat, it would be easy to say we’re not going to do it one day ‘cause we’re both tired. But with the two of us doing it, we’re encouraging each other on the days when one of us feels less than enthusiastic about it. So far, we’re doing amazingly well. If either was doing this on our own, we wouldn’t be still going.

This is why I believe NaNoWriMo is such a great thing. Because no matter where in the world you are, you can connect with other people doing the same insane challenge through the power of the Internet and can get the support, the encouragement, the cheers, whenever you need them. Having people around you doing the same thing you are I believe helps you to achieve what you’re trying to do because it’s easier if you know someone is going through the same thoughts, problems and who understands how you’re feeling.

Going back to my 8 year old dream – I still want to be published. I have a novel in the process of being edited. But I haven’t edited in so long. I come up with a ton of lame excuses as to why I haven’t edited. The last time I looked at my novel, I had left it a few months and couldn’t fully remember the story prior to where I was up to. Rather than back track a bit, I decided to leave it. And now the situation will be worse.

With editing, I have a completely different mindset to writing. Writing I can do anywhere, especially if I have a pair of headphones with me. But with editing, I need to be in a room by myself, with a spacious area for spreading out notebooks, post-it notes, pens, etc, and the space to pace the floor when I’m thinking or working something out. (I’d probably be thrown out of a coffee shop if I kept jumping up to pace between the tables.) This means, I only have myself to fully motivate me, and it’s a struggle.

What do you do when you need to motivate yourself? There’s nothing I particularly want right now which I can offer myself as a reward, so I’m thinking more along the lines of withholding things I enjoy until I park myself at my desk and flippin’ well edit the thing!

Gracefully Stepping Down

On Thursday night I made what was an incredibly hard decision to make.

I decided to stop striving for 100,000 words this November.

You may have noticed the complete lack of blog posts the last week and a half. If you’re used to seeing me on the forums, you may have noticed my complete absence from those. My time management this November has tanked. Completely and utterly. My word count stuttered, including days where I didn’t write at all. I kept telling myself that there was time, I could catch up, that writing 6,000 words a day every day around a full time job and a social life was perfectly do-able and normal.

I was wrong.

It’s a week to go until the end of November and as of Thursday night, I was 21,000 words behind my personal goal. If I didn’t write yesterday, that would jump up to almost 24,000. The sheer size of that number scared me to the point that I couldn’t write. I felt too pressured to even get the words down. I started avoiding writing. I told myself I had the time off work and I deserved the rest. At 11:30pm on Thursday, I knew I was defeated by my own ambition. I’d written 144 words that day and was more concerned with checking Twitter than trying to get more words down. When I looked at the time I knew I would use to write over the next few days (train journey, write-ins, etc) and worked out what I could expect word count wise to write during those times, I wouldn’t even hit 70,000.

The only way for me to do it would be to throw myself into my novel and push myself until I was out of energy and even then still keep going. And I could reach 100,000 that way. I’d drain myself completely, but I could do it.

But this weekend I’m home visiting my friends and my family ahead of my birthday next Tuesday. I’m here to relax, take a couple of days off work in the process, catch up with my people here in Manchester and generally enjoy myself. I can’t do that if I’m freaking out over my 100,000 word goal. So, I decided in order to celebrate my upcoming birthday, in order to spend quality time with my family and friends, I had to gracefully step down from my target, rather than go down flaming on November 30th when my brain melts.

However! At 8pm on Wednesday evening, I did pass 50,000 words. For the 10th year in a row. And I am epically happy about that. No matter how many NaNos you do, passing that golden number always gives you a rush of adrenaline and a feeling of sheer job and accomplishment.

And even without reaching my insane target, I’ve still had an amazing 10th year of NaNoWriMo. I’ve joined a whole new region, continued to ML, reached 50K with a full time job and without taking time off to hit that mark, and made some great new friends. There are definitely worse ways to spend your 10th year of NaNoWriMo! And as I finish writing this post which will go live in the morning, I’m sat in my old region of Manchester, surrounded by old friends and new faces, discussing dressing one of the current MLs as Rudolph so he can pull someone around an ice-rink in a sleigh.

It’s been a brilliant year overall.

But d’y’know what?

I may try for 100,000 again next year.

Because ultimately, the madness that NaNoWriMo creates inside you never really goes away.

Remember, Remember, the Fifth of November

Happy Guy Fawkes Night for all my UK readers! If you’re going to firework displays and bonfires tonight, remember to wrap up warm and stay safe! Eat a toffee apple for me!

(For non-UK readers, Guy Fawkes Night is the celebration of the foiling of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guy Fawkes planned to blow up the Houses of Parliament by stacking barrels of gunpowder in the cellars and tunnels below, but was caught before he could do the dead. We now blow things up in celebration of him not blowing anything up… *pause* We’re odd like that.)

I am spending Guy Fawkes Night at a write-in (and busily avoiding the whole Oxford Street area of London as Robbie Williams is switching on the Christmas lights and I have better things to do than be crushed by 30,000 squealing fangirls).

In other news, we are a SIXTH of the way through November! (Scared?)

So, how’s the novel going?

That’s a horrible question, isn’t it? How’s the novel going… badly, if you’re asking me! I have whole sections that I’m wincing as I write because I’m just pushing for words and I know that it’s a horrible scene that has no right to be there, but it adds 500 words so it’s staying. The whole first 2,000 words will be scrapped and re-written when it comes to editing. On the other hand, I’m neatly tying up various parts of my vagueish plot ideas and I’ve just jumped ahead five days in the story which means, FLASHBACKS! We love flashbacks because they’re a great thing to throw in when you’re running up against a brick wall.

My friend pestered me the other week to have a “starring role” in my novel. I said he could have a cameo, take it or leave it. He accepted. We had this text conversation on Saturday:

Friend:      “So tell me more about my character. Does he die?”

Me:              “Yup! He’s been living in a dumpster for a week when we meet him, thinks he’s a spy for MI6, and gets killed by a flying shovel.”

Friend:      “Wow. I don’t know how to react to that.”

I laughed a bit too much at this point. That whole scene is going to provide me with a good couple of thousand words, if not more, AND the character brings an important piece of information to other characters attentions. So it’s not an entirely pointless scene! Yay!

Let’s ask a nicer question:

How’s the word count?

I hope that’s a nicer question. By midnight tonight, you should be on 8,335 words. Don’t worry if you’re not, it’s only November 5th, there’s PLENTY of time to catch up! Personally, I am doing very well! (It’s my blog, I can brag if I want to.) I’m aiming for 100,000 words this year so I need to be on 16,670 by midnight. I passed 17,000 last night so I’m a day ahead! Fantastic! It’s always nice to have a buffer of some description. It helped that I spent the weekend doing very little, other than writing and pretending to write (procrastination is thy middle name).

If you’re struggling a bit with word count, just keep going. Write whenever you have a spare 10 minutes, join in some word wars on the forums, or follow the official NaNo Sprints Twitter account. Trying putting on a song and writing for the length of that song, or hold off checking Facebook until you’ve reached a certain word count. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the words build up!

No matter where you are right now, you’re doing fantastic. Keep writing!

Remember, remember, the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason, and plot.
There is no reason why the gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

It’s the Final Countdown!

I just spent a few minutes trying to type out the little “d’d’doo doo” bit of the next part of that song and then I admitted defeat and gave up. It’s not easy! But now you all have it stuck in your head so my work here is done.

In some parts of the world, NaNoWriMo 2012 has started.

Isn’t that scary?

If you’re in New Zealand, Australia, Japan, China or nearby countries (sorry my world knowledge is severely lacking) how is it going? Reached 1667 words yet? Have you reached more? Are you still writing?

Here in the UK, we have just over two hours until kick off. That’s just over 120 minutes. That’s really not a long time. I’ve just set up my Scrivener project for my new novel. It has a title and I’ve made several blank files to split my novel up into and I’ve created a file for a character list and another for a timeline. I’ve decided that I’m not writing in chapters this year (I’ve always written in chapters but those chapters vary from 1,500 words to 10,000 and the chapter breaks tend to be in horrible places). Instead, I’m going to write roughly 5,000 words in one file, then move to the next one. It seems odd, but I’m essentially ensuring that if one file corrupts, I’m only losing up to 5,000 words, rather than everything. (I’d be backing up as well, obviously, but you can never be too cautious!)

I doubt that last paragraph made sense to anyone but me. I apologise. I’m a little giddy in anticipation of November.

I’m also in the process of doing a ton of laundry so I don’t have to think about it for the next week, and after posting this I’ll be tidying and cleaning my room. Especially my desk, which has become a general dumping ground for everything I own.

If you have time before NaNo starts, I recommend you do the same. Your Future Self will thank you most graciously when you’ve torn between writing or ensuring you have clean socks.

I’ve been watching the official @NaNoWordSprint team on Twitter go for it all day with Wrimos who are already writing. It’s made me increasingly excited. The wonderful people running that Twitter have given me energy to get through the day. If you’re reading: you guys are awesome. Truly. You got me through a long day and are keeping me eager to stay up until midnight.

I want to say “I’m ready” but are you ever truly ready? Even in my 10th year NaNoWriMo makes me nervous. It’s still such a huge leap of faith. Of commitment. But even with the nerves, I’m excited for the challenge of tackling it alongside a full time job. It will definitely be a different experience. I’ve told far too many people that I’m trying for 100,000 words this year. I’m going to reach 100,000 or lose a hand trying.

Remember, whether you write 500, 5,000 or 50,000 words this November, you will end up with more than what you started with.

You will be a winner.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain

So, LETS GO WRIMOS!

Bring on midnight.

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