Wednesday, November 30, 2011

50K in 30 days - The End of a Tough Nanowrimo

Guys, I have neglected my blog, Twitter, Facebook and almost everything else for the last few weeks. Thanks for hanging around :)

November was a tough month this year. First ever migraine, some panic issues, four days off from my day job due to another illness. Overall, I lost about nine or ten days of writing time to various illnesses and ailments.

Last night, while in Writer Friend's living room, I crossed the 50k finishing line. There are rumours that I may have done a happy dance in the kitchen while Writer Friend continued to type frantically in the other room, but so far these remain unconfirmed.

I learned a lot this month. I learned that, when you fall behind with a goal, there's no sense in deciding all is lost and abandoning it. I wanted to do that very badly when I found myself almost 6k behind target. But I figured I would feel worse if I gave up (I'm an ML, and Nano HQ ask us to try very hard to win to keep our region's Wrimos motivated).

Every time I thought about that almost-6k deficit, it felt insurmountable. There was no way I could make that up. Instead, I focused on making up as much as I could. Some days I just wrote my bare minimum target (1667 per day) and made sure I didn't increase the deficit. Other days, I managed to bash out an additional thousand words. Other days it was an additional 500 words. Slowly, the deficit got smaller.

I'm reminded of W. C. Fields's wonderful line - 'If it first you don't succeed, try, try and try again. Then quit. There's no point being a damned fool about it.'

Sometimes you do just have to give up, when something is genuinely impossible. Sometimes, it's worth hanging on and chipping away.

I'm not finished writing this book yet - I think there is about a month of work left in it, so I'm hoping, with luck, to finish the first draft by Christmas. We all know that writing a book is a long journey. Taking the first steps this November was tough, but ultimately it's been very rewarding.

Also, I had celebratory chocolate. And tonight there will be celebratory dinner. Any excuse :p

So how have you guys been while I've been flicking between Nanowrimo.org, WriteOrDie.com and OpenOffice? Any news? What did I miss? :)

Friday, November 25, 2011

Saying Thanks

Fellow Irish blogger Paul is talking about being thankful today. I agree that, in spite of living in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, it is nice to take some time to feel gratitude, so I'm going to post about that today.

Right now I'm off work sick. This month I joined the reluctant club of migraine sufferers. I'm behind on Nanowrimo. Due to my various health issues, typing is hard - I can't focus on computer screens for as long as usual, and I'm more prone to typos and stupid errors, which makes me feel like I'm losing my mind or my ability to write. It's scary, even though I'm sure it's temporary.

But even in the face of these setbacks, it's important to be grateful for what I have.

I can write. I may be behind with Nano, but I'm also 40,000 words into a new book that I'm really enjoying writing. Yes, I've been quite ill this month and my panic hasn't exactly been great either, but I'm thankful it's nothing more serious! Migraines can be debilitating and are deeply unpleasant, but they can often be managed, and they're certainly less debilitating than a lot of other conditions out there.

I'm thankful for the fact my blog followers haven't all vanished in the wake of my posting famine in the last few weeks.

I'm thankful for all the love and support I have in my life.

Hope all my US friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and that you enjoy a year full of things to be grateful for.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Apologies for being a rubbish blogger

Guys, I've been quiet for a few days. I'm in the middle of a busy week and I am still battling to get my 2500 words a day down (I'm aiming fr 75k this Nano, just for giggles).

And last night I apparently got my first ever migraine, which means a few days of enforced taking-it-easy. My ability to be in front of a computer screen will be dedicated to my day job and Nano, which doesn't leave much time for blogging.


So I'm taking a few days of downtime. I'm going to a gig tomorrow and I want to be well for that, so you may not see me blogging much in the next few days. Looking forward to catching up when things settle down a bit!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Insecure Writers' Support Group - How [NaNoWriMo] has worked for me

See what I did there? My monthly Insecure Writers' Support Group post combined with Nano! I'm a multitasking queen, clearly. . .

I have found Nano excellent for dealing with my insecurity. The Nanowrimo ethos is simple - write without regard for quality. Just write. Write for fun.

For me, this is a great way of burning through insecurity. Yesterday I wrote 3251 words on Day One (official target: 1667. Personal target: 2500. I try to do extra every day so it's not the end of the world if I have a day when I can't write later in the month. In my experience, there is always one). And as I wrote those 3251 words, I wasn't thinking about whether or not they were amazing words. I was thinking 'Oooh, I knew Uncle Max was a book collector - maybe he could have been a book reviewer for a newspaper when he was younger?' and just dumping the new idea right in there. I was getting to know Claire, Penelope, Dot and the as-yet-elusive Sandi. And Uncle Max, of course, although like Marley he was dead to begin with.

It was brilliant fun. This morning I emailed it to Writer Friend (who invented the term 'Bloomsbury' and will be back for a visit soon!) and Paul, just because I had thoroughly enjoyed writing it and fancied sharing it. This is against the Nano ethos, really, and it's very unusual for me - I rarely share before the second draft. But it was just such great fun that I wanted to pass it on.

I haven't re-read it myself, because then I really will get insecure. But as soon as I get a few quiet moments today, I'll be curling up with my trusty netbook and hammering out the next instalment (I believe I'm taking Claire and Dot out for dinner tonight. Luckily, as fictional characters, they are cheap dates). Never mind insecurity. I'm here for the fun.

That being said, Nano is definitely not for everyone. It works for me, it may not work for you. But recapturing the fun is always a good idea, so even if Nano isn't your thing, hanging out on the forums for half an hour may help you to let go of the internal editor (I don't know about yours, but mine is a bitch) and rediscover the fun.

Happy November, guys!