Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

So that was November?

These days every month seems to pass in a flash, but November takes the prize for me this year. Probably because my main focus was NaNoWriMo (a yearly event that challenges you to write a 50,000 first draft of a novel in one month). I’m extremely happy to report that I hit that goal. Yay! And a double yay to my fellow NaNo-ers Jillian and Kit who also came in well ahead of schedule. We rock, ladies 🙂 (nothing like a bit of self-congratulatory rhetoric, ha!)

Working toward that goal was harder some days than others, but what I found interesting was how it kind of solidified my process. I’ve been writing for many years and I’m usually a sit down and just write kind of gal, but lately I’ve noticed that word sprints are my bag. Word sprints consist of setting a timer for however long you want to write (or whatever task you want to accomplish), in my case twenty five minutes, and then not stopping until the timer goes off. Then you can take a short break (five minutes) to get up and stretch, make a cuppa, sweep the floor, you get the drift, before heading back to the keyboard and setting the timer again. It’s worked so well for me and really keeps me focused, so I’ll continue to work this way in the future.

When I wasn’t writing, November has been a month for walks in the local woods. My happy place. I think we’ve had everything weather-wise this month here in the UK – gorgeous sunshine, rain, fog, rain, frosty mornings, rain, and yes, even more rain. And with rain comes mud, mud, and even more mud. Happy days. It was during one very rainy, muddy walk that I discovered my sturdy boots leaked (thank goodness for Black Friday sales 🙂

One day I checked to make sure nobody was around and then had a very happy time amusing myself kicking up leaves as high as I could. Well, it made me happy. It wasn’t long before an inquisitive little girl made her way back from her own explorations to see what her crazy mummy was up to 🙂

Can you spot Vivvy in the photo?

Anyway, I hope everyone has had a good November and taken the opportunity to enjoy the month whatever you have been up to (and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends).

I want to just finish this blog with a heartwarming video I spotted on Facebook this last week. You might have seen it, but here it is below. It’s a mamma chimp reunited with her baby after she thought the baby had died. In reality the baby had been whisked away for life-saving treatment. That is one adoring and beautiful mamma. I admit to shedding a happy tear while watching, and even AJ was clearing his throat a few times. Best with the sound on…

November Madness and Music I’ve Become Obsessed With

Jillian here. Happy November. For those of us doing NaNoWriMo, we’re in the midst of the craziness right now. Last night, I accidently added a zero to my word count, so instead of 22,003, the website had me as 220,003, which is ludicrous. When I tried to fix it, it said I had like negative 199,000 words, so it has been even crazier trying to get it to register correctly now. It even has me as already winning it and that is certainly not true. 🙂 I confess, it is driving me bonkers! LOL

About two months ago, when I was watching an episode of Grantchester on PBS, Robson Green, who plays the detective, was walking around his office singing a little. Someone told me he used to sing with a partner and they were called Robson and Jerome. I had no idea even though I have loved Robson since he was in Wire in the Blood back in the early 2000s.

Of course, I had to find what he sang. You tube has a great selection of their songs and I have been obsessively listening while I work. One day recently, my son asked me who I was listening to and when I told him, he looked them up too. He recognized the Jerome guy from Game of Thrones. I only ever watched two episodes of that show as it didn’t appeal to me, but Jerome was also in Ripper Street which I did like. How cool is it that these guys are so talented? Acting and were also successful recording artists.

Here are links to a couple of songs: What Becomes of the Broken Hearted

If I can Dream.

Update on the bathroom renovation: It’s going slower than the hubs wanted but he is still feeling effects of the cancer treatments and not moving as fast as he wants. He has to rest a lot and has been going to bed super early. I am not stressed about it, but he is. He has also done a few things 2-3 times as he isn’t happy with how he did it the first time or two. He has reset the shower base three times. He thinks he can live with it now. LOL

This week, we honor our veterans here in the US with Veteran’s Day and my friends in the UK have Remembrance Sunday as well. Happy Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks.

I’ll leave you with a picture I took in Rhode Island when my son lived there.

Three Down and One to Go…

…quarters, that is. A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about becoming a passionate planner. The system I use breaks the year down into four quarters, and it’s hard to believe we’re just about to move into the fourth and final quarter of the year. Where has the year gone?

Prior to discovering my inner planner, my writing schedule was a bit hit and miss. Basically it had become a ‘write when the spirit moves me‘ kind of deal, and to be brutally honest, the spirit didn’t move me that much at all!

Anyhoo, that’s all changed, and it’s time to start planning for quarter four. Moving into October means some of my quarter four planning will be geared up to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which takes place in November each year. NaNoWriMo challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel during the month. The aim is to let the words flow and get the bones of the story down so it can be edited and refined later.

To be clear for NaNo, I need to finish the first draft of book one of a new paranormal series by the end of September. Since book two is in first draft mode too, it means that October will largely be editing and revision, and hopefully even working on the third book of the series which is about thirty percent done. I also want to be planning my NaNo project ready to start on 1 November. Depending on how things go with the third book, I might even use the 50,000 NaNo words for this.

Before becoming a planner, I probably would have stressed out at the workload, but now I get to plan it all out using the system developed from working on the original course.

Easy, peasy (she says with her palms together, eyes up to heaven) or it should be if I stick to the plan, and manage to catch a following wind 🙂

Oh, and something else I’ve discovered while working this whole planning deal. Stickers! Oh, how I love them, especially ones with pretty colourful shapes and inspirational quotes. They make a great motivator to get the words done, or any other task you want to complete. Just award yourself a sticker when the task is complete and pop it in your planner/diary. It’s simple, but for me it’s working so I’ll take it.

So, here’s to Quarter 4… Bring it on!

Welcome to My November

Jillian here. I hate to say my life is dull compared to some of you. Laurie with her cider making, Jane with her bike/car adventures, Lavada with her hidden state treasures visits, Kit’s gardening and Tricia’s trip all sound so much fun. I’m here trudging along with the day to day grind. Working the day job and writing on a new story for NaNoWriMo on my lunch hour and at home in the evenings. I was supposed to go to New York City in October but my traveling companion had an emergency arise with her mother in law so we postponed.

My older son is in for a visit this weekend so that’s a very nice thing. He’s always a pleasure to be around. We both have long been Liverpool football fans and usually both watch the matches and text each other while they are being played. This week, at 6:30 am central time, we’ll be up and watching in the same room for the first time in ages. Looking forward to it.

I have a new Christmas anthology out that was a lot of fun to write. I am working on this NaNo story that’s a pretty heavy subject matter and is much slower going as the level of angst is pretty deep. My inspiration for the story is the true experiences of Oney Judge. She was a slave owned by George Washington. She escaped and he never freed her -even after his death, so she technically died a slave even though she’d been living in a free state for years at the time she passed away.

The law in Pennsylvania at the time George was president was that if a slave lived there for six months, that slave became free. A lot of owners removed their slaves just before the time ran—even for a day or two—as that act would start the six months running again. George did the same thing.  It was a shameful time in our history and I’m tackling it in this story. It’s clearly not a romance though she does eventually find happiness as the true life lady did. It’s difficult to write how the slaves were treated as less than human. I can only hope I’m doing them justice.

Happy Thanksgiving to those who celebrate. And bless the families who lost loved ones in WWI as we come up on Veterans Day and the 100th anniversary of Armistice Day. Would that their sacrifices in the War to end all Wars had been true.

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Of Books, Birthdays, New Year, and Football

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Jillian here. Happy New Year! Since last we visited, I had a book release (the weekend of Christmas which was not my choice of dates), a birthday, the passing of the old year and lots of ball games were played. … Continue reading

Whoosh… there goes November…

I hope everyone Stateside had a lovely Thanksgiving. November has gone by in a flash (well, let’s face it, most of this year has done the same), but since I’ve been especially busy, it has seemed the shortest month of the year so far.

First, I’ve been occupied with NaNoWriMo, and managing to keep my head above the sea of words as I battle toward the 50,000 finish line. Although I’ve done NaNo before, this year has been a bit of a struggle. The words haven’t wanted to come and sometimes it’s felt like pulling teeth. But nearly there and just a few thousand words left to write as I type this post. Although the conventional thing to do is to write the first draft of a new novel during the month, I’ve been a little unorthodox and used the 50,000 words to finish a story that’s been around for a few years now, plus written a short novella, and started another one. It feels like I’ve been very productive, but I have to admit I’ll be glad to hit that 50,000 and ease off a bit.

Second, I’ve tried to balance all the brain work with some physical activity.  Walking Ms. Vivvy is always a pleasure and trudging through fields always helps with the creative process, especially with the new voice recorder app on my phone. I often wonder what would happen if someone overheard me dictating into the machine, especially the love scenes 🙂

Then, thanks to a special monthly deal at the local sports centre (ahem* even more special if you’re a senior *ahem) we’ve been trying out a variety of teacher-led classes and also a new venture for the centre, Les Mills virtual sessions. So far we’ve sampled total body tone, fitness yoga, legs/bums/tums, coreX, body balance and sh’bam (phew, that one was a killer). This week it’s zumba, which I’m not too sure about to be honest.

But my real love has to be the adult ballet classes. There was much excitement last week when our teacher introduced some very intense foot exercises, told us we weren’t beginners any longer, and bandied around the words en pointe. That led to much speculation that we would soon be dancing on our toes like real ballerinas. Our excitement was soon dimmed when she introduced a new arm position and said ‘your left hand should be lowered to just above the height of your ‘tutu’. We all went quiet after that, as visions of prancing back to the car park after class while wearing our new ‘tutus’ took on nightmarish proportions. There were cries of ‘not in a million years‘ and ‘I’d never find one to fit me’, amongst other things.  Of course, our teacher was only joking…we hope!

Have a great last week of November …

 

 

 

When Did It Stop Being Fun?

For a while now, I’ve been experiencing an annoying dose of writer’s block. It’s not simply a case of sitting and staring at a blank screen waiting for the words to come, this is a flat out case of not even wanting to go near the computer or notebook. There’s just nothing there story-wise. Zilch. Nada. Nothing. Wikipedia describes writer’s block as a condition “in which an author loses the ability to produce new work or experiences a creative slowdown.” Yep, that’s me. “The condition ranges in difficulty from coming up with original ideas to being unable to produce a work for years“. Yikes. That last part inspired me to take action. So…

I’ve decided to jump off the deep end and have signed up for National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. This, according, to the official website, is “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing” and means that on 1st November until the 30 November, participants are tasked with writing a 50,000-word novel. The essence of NaNoWriMo is Don’t think. Just Write. Well, signing up seemed like a good idea at the time, but now panic has well and truly settled in. But needs must and all that.

I’m not entirely sure what started this downhill slide into writer’s block, but for some reason, the joy of creating stories has left me, albeit temporarily I hope. It makes me long for the old days when, charged with an idea, I couldn’t wait to get to the computer and start writing. They were heady days. So involved was I in the story that I’d go crazy if I was interrupted. I remember once when AJ called me away for lunch and I told him I couldn’t be long as I couldn’t wait to get back to the story to find out what happened next. It seems a long time since I felt that way. So what happened?

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Years ago, I read a really great article by author Holly Lisle called Are We Having Fun Yet? She talks specifically about writing, but her words can be applied to almost everything we  once loved to do but ultimately lost its magic for us. Holly talks about doing what we love simply because we love it. When we first find something that fires us up we throw ourselves into it. Of course, since we’re beginners we don’t always know what we’re doing, we don’t know the rules, but isn’t that part of the magic? We’re doing it simply for its own sake and for the pleasure it brings us. Then we start to discover the ‘rules’ or someone implies we’re not doing it right, and in trying to do it right the magic slowly begins to die

So, during November I’ll be throwing out the rules and attempting to find that magic again. What I write will be just for me, for the sheer pleasure of creating. There’ll be no thought of reader preference, editor requirements, publisher expectations, and not even concern for that insidious little voice that lies deep within and loves to tell me that I’m doing it all wrong. And, if my cunning plan works, I might just might, find that magic again.

What about you? Is there anything you’ve once loved/enjoyed, but somehow it’s lost its magic for you? Is there anything you might be able to do to get it back? I’d love to hear about it. Oh, and please take a couple of minutes to read Holly’s article. I’m sure you’ll be inspired.

November Madness

I’m in the middle of NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month is when crazy people like me take the challenge to write 50,000 words in a month. I know I can do it. I’ve written more than that many times over the years but I do love the madness of November when I have companionship on the journey.

I’m a little behind the eight-ball since I had dinner with my cousin last night when I could have been doing some word count or- gasp- this blog post. I totally blew it all off to see her. She lives about five hours from me in northern Alabama and we don’t get to see each other much so since she was in the next town over for a conference, we had a last-minute dinner date with her and her lovely husband. They are such a cute couple. She is ten years younger than me and has her doctorate in education. She’s very much a happy person and so is her husband. They do my heart good when we’re together. It was a fun evening and we made a vow not to let so many years go by again before we get together.

I love the month of November. It’s such a pleasant one for us weather-wise that I enjoy being outdoors and going to events all over the area. This weekend, I think I’m going to go to a festival in Biloxi- it’s about an hour and a half from here so we’ll see if I actually go or if I decide that’s a good day to get some big word count in for #NaNoWriMo. I’m just as likely to curl up on the couch and read a book, though.

Here’s hoping your November is shaping up to be a great one. IMG_0402