life, NaNoWriMo, writing

Winning!

2014-Winner-Facebook-CoverI am officially a winner of CampNanoWriMo! Woo!

I actually finished off back on June 19th, but it’s been a busy week and I couldn’t ‘confirm’ the win until just yesterday.

It feels surprisingly good, like perhaps I’m getting better at this whole goal setting thing. I’ve already sent it out to some readers and feedback so far has been good – this novella will be published towards the end of the year, and I can’t wait to share it with you all!

It’s a rather more ‘fun’ read than a lot of my work, so I’m looking forward to showing you all a lighter side of me 😉 I can do funny! No-one dies! Well, not really… Okay, not going to say any more because it’s just a novella and I don’t want to give too much away just yet.

Can’t wait 🙂 This story had me laughing out loud as I rewrote it, and I really hope that those who read it will do the same. More on that at a later date.

Hope you’re all having a good month! Not long until August is upon us now 🙂

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authors, life, NaNoWriMo, writing

Camp Update, and an unexpected rant.

Well, it’s now halfway through the month and for the first time in ages, I am on track. Actually, I’m ahead of schedule!

I know, I’m a little shocked myself 😉

My editing muscles are well and truly flexed at this point, seeing as that is mostly what I’ve been spending my writing time on this year. I feel like I’ve fallen into a rhythm with it and this makes me happy, but also nervous. I’m making great progress (and, if I wasn’t studying, or editing for others as well, I would be done my own novella by now, and onto the next), but at the same time I’m wary of the ease… I am not sure I trust myself, and there is an underlying sense that I can’t be doing a good enough job.

I think this is tied into the myth that writers must bleed for their art, they must SUFFER in order to create great stories. I don’t really buy into that belief – after all, so much of the first draft at least feels like I’m riding a rollercoaster and I LOVE rollercoasters. It’s like getting a shot of adrenaline or being able to feel every ounce of the worlds wonder, it’s blissful, intoxicating. Better than almost any other high.

But just because I don’t buy into all those myths about what it takes to be a writer – you must drink a lot of coffee and/or alcohol, you must stay up into the wee hours of the morning bleeding words into your preferred writing tool, you must be crazy/have a muse/talk to yourself/get intense bouts of writers block/spend three days finding the right word to describe a situation, you must struggle with your words, and suffer for your art, you have to be a starving artist, and in general, it seems the belief is that the more you struggle (not just with those words, but with life in general) the more emotion, impact and weight will be present in your story – it doesn’t mean that somewhere under the surface I feel like they might be true.

Because maybe I’m just doing it wrong.

Well, I call bullshit.

Yeah, some writers drink coffee and load up on booze or drugs, but that’s not a prerequisite. Not all writers have muses, or mental health problems, and not all writers are night owls who forsake human contact. Not all writers bleed, or struggle, or live entirely inside their head – hell, I am far too rooted in the real world, in my legit every day problems and getting the kids fed, educated, and geared up for a life following their own passions to possibly indulge (yes, I said it) in the myth of being a writer. While there are some truths in those myths, they are not the foundation, core, or bottom line of being a writer. Yes, sometimes it’s a struggle, but there is always that joy in words, in making things better, in crafting a world and putting it on the page to share with others. I don’t have time to wail about the challenges, or indulge in writers block or adopt a struggling artist persona.

I have time to write.

I put words on a page. I make those words better, and in the near future I will publish those words. And that makes me a writer, not any of the other stuff.

And I’m not going to buy into those myths on any level. Not anymore. I’m doing just fine.

This wasn’t going to be a blog post about writer myths or struggling for your art, it was just going to be a quick update to say – hey, look! I’m actually doing stuff and it’s going really well! As is the case with blog posts though, these things seem to morph.

By all means, enjoy the things you enjoy, struggle with the things you struggle with, but I would kind of like it if people quit buying into this writer mythology, it’s not glamorous to be depressed or to abuse our bodies by consuming too much alcohol/coffee/drugs/depriving it of much needed sleep. It’s not aiding our creation. Wouldn’t it be better if we could be happy, thriving, and loving our work? I know that’s the ideal I’m going to be working towards from now on.

*For the record, I know lots of wonderful writers who don’t buy into the ‘writer’ myth. They are awesome people, and write awesome stories, and they don’t need to have dramatic lives or desperate struggles in order to do so. These people are far more productive than many ‘struggling writer’s because they use their energy to actually do the thing we’re all meant to love so much. Write.

NaNoWriMo, writing

I keep saying I’m not going to, but…

2014-Participant-Twitter-Header-2Yup. I did it again. Despite flopping big time at the April CampNano, and NaNoWriMo last year, I’ve gone and signed up for the July round of camping.

I know, I know…

But this time it’s different, I swear. This time they have personalized cabins!!! A large part of my dropping out in April was due to the fact that my cabin was pretty quiet and I wasn’t getting any kind of ‘fun’ vibe going on. They’ve finally implemented a system where you can hand pick your cabin mates, and let me tell you – it’s going to be a joy writing alongside these peeps. I’m really looking forward to it.

Of course, back in April I also didn’t have anything that I desperately wanted to work on, which was problematic. This July, however, I have a plan! I’ve got a Christmas themed novella that needs revising, and I am going to take this month to knock it into shape – I’m super excited because I’m planning on releasing this in time for Christmas this year! Fun! Yay!

Now, there is every chance that once again I will fail – but right now, anything that helps me move forward is an opportunity I’m going to take. At least with camp you can adjust your goals, and there is a lot less pressure than November. Anyway, it’s July, and I have writing to do! Might as well try and ‘win’ something else while I’m at it 😉

life

Allons-y!

doctor whoWell, April is here and with it a month of challenges. This post (A for Allons-y) kicks off the first day of the A-Z blogging challenge, and Camp NaNo also begins today.

Right now I feel vastly unprepared for both, but that’s okay. It will be a rollicking month and we’ll take each day as it comes. I’m down with that.

So, why Allons-y? Well, it starts with A… and, it means ‘Lets go!’ which felt like a great sentiment with which to start the month. But also, because I’m a massive Doctor Who fangirl, even though I came late to it.

In fact, I fell in love with the Doctor in Season 5, when I was up in the wee hours of the morning, feeding my newborn baby. The seasons always come later here in NZ (or at least, back then they used to), so it was fairly early on in Matt Smiths’ time as The Doctor. I was instantly hooked, and set it up to record the series so that any time I was awake in the night the Doctor could keep me company.

It was my thing, my special show. Back then Hubby wasn’t interested in watching it, so once Natalie started sleeping better, and I no longer had that span of time in the night to watch I would take Doctor Who nights as my down time, the kids in bed, Hubby on his PC, and me on the couch in peace, escaping the real world for an hour.

I loved having it to myself, but I also love that now I get to share it. Having watched 7+ series with my husband, and lots of specials with my girls, I can see it’s becoming a family thing. And I couldn’t be happier about it 🙂

writing

An idea, I haz it!

Sometimes you get ideas at the strangest times. This probably isn’t one of those times.

Yesterday morning when Ivy and I were working on one of the modules for her ‘Becoming Human’ anthropology class, I was struck with the memory of an idea I’d once had. The video had just been giving us information on a woman who supposedly had given birth to 69 babies back in the mid 1700’s, and it brought to mind a story that I had begun writing at some point last year, and never followed through on. Naturally, it features a mother. (One day, my stories might stop centering around mothers).

I felt that instant jolt of ‘OH!!!!!’ and then once I’d finished helping Ivy study I went and dug out the file for the story, buried so deep that I had to use the search function to find it. The idea needs a lot of fleshing out, so I’m really excited to spend some time doing that this month, and I’ve signed up for the minimum word count (10,000) over at Camp Nanowrimo with the intention of writing the bulk of it in April. My first assignments aren’t due until May, so it *should* work out. 10K isn’t too much, and with luck this will run on the shorter novella side of things.

I knew something would crop up 🙂 For the first time in ages I am really excited by research and world-building, and it will just be so nice not to be editing or revising for a bit!

Uncategorized

Winner!

I did it! Successfully managed to write to my goal of 20,000 words for the month, which means I ‘won’ Camp NaNoWriMo. Feeling pretty happy about that, though I didn’t quite finish writing the novella which sucks a bit. I thought I would finish it yesterday but ended up spending the entire day in bed with a crippling headache. I have codeine now though, and am actually capable of functioning a little (yay codeine!).

August is lined up to be another busy month. It’s ‘The End is Nigh‘ over at Kiwiwriters and I need to finish the first draft of Shell & Bone, and then make the beginning of Burn as good as the rest of it before submitting. And then I think it’s back to revision on ‘The Way the Sky Curves’. Which I guess makes it a month of novellas. Will be super nice to have them all at the next stage of writing though, and puts me well on the way to completing my goals for the year.

How was July for you? And what are you planning for August?

Uncategorized

Going Camping

Last night I had a fun catch up with some of my writing group: Google hangouts + wine + writer friends = total win. Somewhere between the middle and end of my 2nd glass of wine someone mentioned Camp NaNoWriMo and it sounded like a terribly good idea. 

I mean, I DO want to write the second novella in this series next month. I might not have done an outline yet, but there are ideas there… I’m sure I can find time to jot some more notes down before June ends and July rolls around. 

So, yes. I signed up. 

I’ve stayed clear of most things NaNo for a few years now, unable to really manage the larger goal of 50K in a month with small kids exerting their tyrannical will on me. Of course, the beauty of Camp NaNo is that you can set your own word count goals (I’ve put mine at 20K), and still be considered a winner. I’m actually kind of excited! I really need to kick another first draft out and writing alongside my group will be awesome fun.

Are you going camping in July?