NaNoWriMo, writing

Failing at NaNo and why that’s fine by me

I’m guest posting over at Kiwi Writers today about why I’m failing NaNo and fine with it. In that post I mentioned that at day 4 I realized I didn’t want to be writing a new draft.

So what am I doing instead?

Finally settling down to edit Sun-Touched, that’s what. This novel has been sitting around for long enough and I am well and truly ready to get it out into the world. Once the fog of my last assignment had cleared and I realized that I was finished with study for the year, it hit me that the main barrier to revision I’ve had in 2013 has been study, so, now that study is done it’s time to get back to it.

I’m going to be spending the next couple months kicking this into shape, and then hopefully I’ll have time to edit The Way the Sky Curves afterwards. Β It would be amazing to get to March next year and have two things I can shop around while I complete my final year of study.

Part of me really wanted to write this new novel, but if I keep focusing on drafts, I’m going to get to the end of next year and not feel like I am any further towards my goals. It’s kind of scary, but also incredibly amazing to be working on getting things ready to submit. Am certainly feeling no regret whatsoever for ditching NaNo πŸ˜‰

For those of you still cranking out the wordcount – you rock! Keep up the good work. And for those who, like me, have falling off the NaNo wagon – don’t beat yourself up over it, just keep writing πŸ™‚

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Drowning the voices of the past

It’s Monday here in New Zealand, and yesterday I reached 50,000 words on Sun-Touched. It’s funny because last weekend I hit 40,000 words (I’d written 5k in a week and was really proud of myself) and M said to me ’50K next weekend!’ and I replied something along the lines of ‘LOL’. 10,000 words in one week? That was ridiculous. I mean, sure, I was steadily increasing the number of words I was writing a day, but 10,000 in one week?

So I’m actually quite surprised to be sitting at 50K. I mean, that’s half a novel. I’m halfway, and the writing is only getting easier. I’ve decided that I while I love the shiny new ideas, and the planning and day dreaming that happens before you start writing a new novel, while I adore the freshness of new characters and a new world, what I love most is when I’m in the thick of it all, when all the threads I’ve put into play are intertwining and leading me inexorably towards the end of the novel.

I can’t see me doing 10K every week – I do have study and family and all those other things to think about – but it’s nice to know that when I put my mind to it, I can knock out a lot more words than expected. I’m firmly in ‘the habit’ now, and sitting down to write 500 words is no longer hard.

A key to getting back to the place where I can write more in the day has been letting go of the past. There has been a voice in the back of my head going ‘you used to write 1.5K a day, every day.’ It’s a loud voice that drowns out the other ones that tack on ‘you only had two children then, one of them a newborn,’ and ‘you weren’t studying then,’ and ‘you were getting a little more sleep back then too, ya know?’

Finally, I kicked that loud voice to the curb and introduced a new one which says something along the lines of: Life happens, and there are only so many hours in the day. You love to write, so make time for it, but quit being so hard on yourself!

This week I have had many 1k+ days, a 2.5k day and even a 3k day. And there are no voices in my head telling me that I’m not doing enough. I’m in love with my story, and relaxed about my output. And I know, more than anything else, that I’m the only one who can write this novel. And it’s awesome.

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The best kind of habit

Is the one that saves you, and right now, that habit is my writing.

It’s been a long time since I have sat down day after day and clocked in my word goal. Even though I am a huge advocate for making a daily habit of writing, reforming that habit can be so very difficult. I think I am finally there. Which is actually kind of amazing.

These last few weeks have been really hard on our wee family, we’re all a little emotional, and a little fragile. Some of you will know whats happening, and others won’t (it’s not something I’m going to blog about! Sorry!), but on the days when I feel like I’m in quicksand up to my chin, Sun-Touched has been the rope around my waist, the thing keeping me from slipping further. Sitting down and losing myself in my novel is the best kind of escape I can have right now – even better is the fact that I can expel some of my raging emotions into my characters.

So, progress is good. Super good! Pushing through that last block was vital to my current pace, as was hashing out some kind of outline (though a few points have switched places since then). And since the 19th of Feb, when I hit 30,000 words, I have added over 8,000 to the novel. Considering my daily goal is only 500 words, that’s pretty impressive πŸ˜‰

Writing is one of the best things I can do for myself, and I’m so pleased to be back in the habit of it. The release it gives me, the portal to another world that it opens, saves me from the crushing thoughts in my head on a regular basis.

I’m sorry for not blogging more regularly, or having more interesting things to say – but at least you know I’m pouring my words into my novel! Hope life is treating you kindly, and that the words are flowing for your story as well.

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Weekend’s progress so far

It’s only Sunday morning so I can’t give the final version of what happened for me – but I can make some really good predictions that I know without fail will happen. I think that’s the nice thing about setting goals and knowing you can achieve them.

Yesterday I finished reading through Ayden, and I love where it left off, it should make it really easy to slide back into it on Monday. Which strangely is tomorrow! It came around pretty quickly, but I no longer feel nervous about getting into the writing of it.

I was thinking about my progress for it over the next month or so, and realizing that if I only manage 1,000 a day, and I estimate it needs another 70,000 to get the first draft finished, then I need 70 days.

I also realized that I don’t have 70 days.

I have 60 days til I am due, and while there is a good chance I’ll be late, 10 days over is all they are willing to let you go, on my 70th day I’d be giving birth at the latest.

Now that’s just not going to work for me! lol so with that in mind I have no option put to push my word per day goal back up to 1,500. This should mean that I will finish the first draft in about 47 days, give or take a little. At least this estimation has me finishing this draft before baby arrives, and even allows for the off chance that it comes early.

It can be a scary thing to realize that your time is running out. There are only a finite number of days that this child can stay within me, and I don’t really get a lot of say in when exactly it’s going to make it’s arrival – and don’t get me wrong, I cannot wait to have it out in the world with me, to see it, to hold it, to shower it with love and introduce it to it’s father and big sister (and extended family) – I am well aware though that it’s going to shake up my routines and displace my goals, at least for a little while πŸ˜‰

I want Ayden completed before then. It will mean that I’m not leaving lots of loose ends floating around, or cutting off writing this story for a second time, it deserves better than that.

So yesterday I also read through the short story, got some feedback from Chibi about it, and started rewriting. It all happened a little earlier than expected because I had the time and space, and strangely enough the enthusiasm for it despite the fact that I don’t love the story!

I like the way it’s coming out better this time, I have more clarity about where I am going with it and hopefully that comes through. Either way it’ll be done by the end of the day and I shall post it off tomorrow.

Oh and I also made notes on the dream…I spent heaps of time thinking about it yesterday and even this morning it’s clinging in there, and I am looking forward to a time next year when I can hash out the details for it and make it into a novel.

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It’s Friday night!

I’m having a hard time believing that it’s the end of the week already – time is really flying by right now, even though I’m not really ‘busy’ as such, the days just keeping ticking by.

I got the short story finished today, and it’s ok, I’m feeling pretty ‘meh’ about it, but we’ll see how it looks on Sunday and go from there. I ended up writing over 2k today now that I think about it – which isn’t really bad at all, certainly more than I expected to do. It means that 500 words need cutting, but I don’t imagine that will be too hard at all.

Other than that I didn’t do a lot – started reading through Ayden some more and printed off a sheet with September’s Zing Things details for me to fill in with an idea. Am hoping that I can get that out of the way tonight which will leave me clear with just the reading and some final planning details to cover for the weekend.

I may be free and clear to begin writing Ayden before Monday even rolls around, but am going to stick with that date – I’ve already shifted it once in my mind and Monday is really not that far away in any event.

I’ve been struggling a little bit lately, noticing pain in my fingers and hands, waking up several times a night with pins and needles in them and apparently its part of the joys of pregnancy – carpal tunnel!!! I was dreading this, and had a feeling that it would develop, and am relieved to learn that in most cases it seems to magically disappear once baby is born. Fingers crossed that its the case for me as well because I don’t know how I would cope if it wasn’t. In the meantime I am looking into some software which will allow me to write by speaking and we’ll see how that works out. I’ll do whatever I can to ease up the achiness, as long as it means I don’t have to stop writing.

With that in mind, and my increasing fatigue, I have gone back to the drawing board and decided on a new ‘words per day’ goal for the writing of Ayden. It was 1.5K for the last few projects, but I don’t know whether I’ll be able to sustain that as I get closer to the end of the pregnancy, so from Monday I’ll be working on achieving 1,000 words a day and trying to push over that for as long as I have the energy to do so. Along side that I want to see whether I can work through minor changes on 3 pages of Lifelines. It’s still a fairly big goal, but two different types of writing activities so hopefully they will mesh well with each other.

Less than nine weeks now til my due date. It’s not all that far off really, and there is still plenty to do before I’m ready to have this baby.

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Productivity

Today was a lot more productive than I had ever imagined it would be.

Not only did I complete the plan for this short story (the only real goal I had), but I managed to write 1,565 words on it as well – I had no intention of getting that far, I would have been happy with 500. But once I got started it all just seemed to flow out really easily, and so I kept going.

I know I could write more, but I’m also really aware that I am feeling super sleepy, and I want to give this story my best. After stepping back into it from being away for well over a year, I can’t see why I’ll have any problems slipping right back into it tomorrow.

It feels good to be underway, the story is 3.5K now, and I don’t know, am guessing that it will be under 7K total by the time it’s over with – I’ll know better tomorrow after the next couple of scenes. It’s been exciting to see it growing and developing and know that there is a complete story there just waiting to be written.

The beauty of planning really – I have my little plan and I can just work my way through it, not having to pause to wonder what happens next. It’s a nice little story, well at least I think so πŸ˜‰

I should definitely be finished this story before the end of the week, and we’ll talk about my plans for what comes after this tomorrow.

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86.7k

I didn’t feel like writing today… lol I was getting other things organized and it felt great to have them out of the way. Then I rested, and when I got back up UG I felt sapped of any energy I’d been reserving for writing.

Regardless, I pushed on and managed my 1.7K today. I almost feel like I should write more but I really just want to go to bed.

I know that part of the reason it was so difficult to get into was because I knew that today was the day Nick showed up, there was no longer any putting it off, no more things to happen before then, everything was said and done and it was Nick time.

And I was really worried I wasn’t going to pull it off, that it was all going to fall down around me and go to pot right about now. And hey, maybe it is – but if so, I can’t tell just yet. I THINK it’s going ok, I’m determined not to stop and assess it until it’s done and left to sit for awhile anyway.

It seems slightly ridiculous that for 85,000 words or so there was is man who has been the driving force for my MC to take the actions she has, to run, to hide, to freak out/worry/stress and be anxious over, and that he has only just showed up in the story as an active character, not one remembered, talked or thought about. I mean, he is well worth the worry. He’s hospitalized people she loves in order to get to her, she had real reason to be freaked out, and now he’s here, and the chaos has begun.

Except that it doesn’t feel like chaos, and maybe that’s because this time I know what’s going to happen, it’s all planned out, and I just have to try and pull it off to the best of my abilities. I think under older circumstances I probably would have wanted to stay up and write the whole thing in one go, make sure that it all flowed etc. But I don’t feel the need – I know I’ll be back tomorrow, I know what’s going to happen next, I don’t have to sit here and follow it through just to see what happens.

It’s an interesting thing really.

And it really looks as though that 90K estimate was a reasonable guess. Four days left to reach the end of the rewrite – something pretty major would have to come up to prevent that from happening (and no thank you universe, that was NOT a challenge of any kind).

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82,627

I did manage to get my 1.5k out in the end, just over actually. And I am pleased with the way it’s coming out.

We’re into the last day! I made an executive decision to skip the rest of the day I was on and jump ahead – when it came down to it, nothing was going to happen during those scenes anyway, so likely they would have ended up getting cut. Most of the scenes til now have had things in them which moved the story forward in some way or another, but I really feel that any I’d come up with to fill in that half day would have been just that – filler. And I don’t want just filler.

I think that is something I’ll have to watch for when I do read through. As part of the reason for the rewrite was to increase the word count/level of detail/character depth/relationship development, there are a lot of new things in the story and I’ll need to make sure that each and every scene serves a purpose and isn’t there just because I felt the need to write about everything that was going on.

Man, I just realized that if I write 1.5K a day then I’ll be hitting 90K in 5 days time! Bang on target for the end of the month – if I want to finish a little before hand I’ll have to spend more time writing in the next few days.

I really feel like I’ve done very little over the weekend and today, despite the fact that I was writing. I’ve certainly not been pushing myself, or working hard to get to the end of the story. I think I am a little worried about how long it might take me to pick up a next project, and whether I can continue to write 1.5K a day from here on out.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

For now, I am dead tired, so I’m going to go and watch this movie and try not to fall asleep (its 2 and a half hours long…. lol wish me luck). I can tell I am going to be sore and tired tomorrow, I over did things today, and you always have to pay for that.

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A holiday

I took one yesterday. Despite my morning post talking about making the most of the time we have available πŸ˜‰

I did get 700 words written before heading out for the morning, along with the dishes and all that other good stuff. Then I had to get some blood tests taken and was required to stay at the lab for an hour (glucose test), I’d forgotten to bring pen and paper like I intended to, so read a book that was sitting in the back of the car and actually got quite hooked on it over the space of the hour! lol

All good though. I went into town after that and shopped, but came home empty handed as usual. There is a severe lack of shops with maternity wear in this town, or rather, maternity wear within a price range I can handle – so I’ll just keep making do for now. Really must get on with finding some patterns and making some clothes!

I came home, and didn’t write. I had lunch, and then played guitar hero for about three hours of the afternoon. Lol, I didn’t realize I would have so much fun. The first time I’d played was the night before and I just couldn’t seem to get the hang of it – but yesterday I did all the songs first time through! even ones I didn’t know. So I’m almost finished the game on easy mode, I just have one more song to do and the final boss to beat.

I don’t often take the time to indulge like that when I get the chance. Normally when Ivy is at preschool I’m working on household stuff, writing, browsing the net, making lists and being organized. Hell, I’ve not even been taking naps when I could have been! So to just play a game, have a little fun, was really nice. I might even decide that from now on half of my fridays are going to be pure holidays. Where I go back to bed and read a book, play a game just for fun, or something else, who knows, there are numerous holiday like activities I could be doing. Things which don’t involve working on the projects I always have lined up.

Despite the obvious ‘not writing’ I was doing, I still managed to write 2k yesterday. We’re not quite up to where Nick comes in, but in the morning that’s all kicking off, so I might even get to it today, you never know. My total count is at 78.5K, which means there is only 11.5K to reach my goal of 90,000 words in the rewrite – at this stage I think that’s going to be pretty close. Things happen pretty fast after ‘tonight’ in the novel is over with. There is just one more day left, and while a few things happen and it’s all action and go, it’s still only one day. I’ll have to sit down and map out the days events in hard copy so that it’s easier to refer to – sometimes my mind wanders a little and I’d hate for that to happen when I’m so close to the end.

Wow, I am so close to the end.

The excitment hasn’t hit yet, and the temptation to move onto something else has completely disappeared. The other stories know I’m getting to them, so they aren’t banging impatiently on their respective doors in my mind right now. I think maybe they are quietly waiting to see who I’m going to choose next.

Now I can only hope that all this good work and habit forming doesn’t all fall apart once this rewrite is complete! lol

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Saturday

Managed to get my 1.5 out yesterday, though it felt like it took me ages. While I am used to writing with Ivy in the house and sometimes Simon, having two extra bodies changes things a little. But it got done, and yay! Today should run a little smoother with the writing anyways, I get to cheat and steal bits from the original draft and as it’s a more intimate scene with my FMC and MMC which is always fun.

I was looking at my word count just now (56,529) and thinking oh yeah, so I’ll be at 58K today and then holy cow, by tomorrow night I could very well be sitting pretty at 60K.

It’s kind of a cool thing, but also a ‘wow’ thing as well, because it all really does seem to have gone by so fast. And what’s more…. where I am now? It’s 4,000 or so words MORE than the original draft, and I am nowhere near done. In some ways it seems a little mind boggling to think there was that much of the story that I’d missed out on first draft – but then I’m well aware that I write short and expand later, or at least have done in the past and am working to try and correct that πŸ˜‰

It’s a beautiful day today, but man, so cold, inside and out, though the chill is probably starting to ease off outside now. It will linger inside until later in the day because of the way the house is positioned.

Other stuff: We went out for dinner last night with Kerryn and Mark, it was really nice! Been ages since we’ve been out anywhere, and we went to Steak Out – you really can’t go past a good steak lol. Ivy was… well, Ivy, lol not as badly behaved as she can be, as always full of noise and having a hard time sitting still for so long. Makes me cringe at the thought of the trip over to Rotorua on friday….

Ah well. We got home pretty late, but Ivy was still up at 7, actually 5 minutes after 7 she called out to me, but I was waiting… I happened to wake at 650, lol which is generally the time she calls out. 15 mins? does that count as a sleep in, even if I wasn’t sleeping? Anyway, I’d gotten a fairly early night so it wasn’t too bad.

And now… its 839am, and I should really get into some writing for the day before everyone else wakes up. Ivy is watching the sunday morning movie on disney playhouse, she she’ll be occupied for an hour or so.