And then life happened

So, it appears that I wasn’t too far off with saying that I probably won’t make target this year. After the first four days’ fantastic progress, I was stoked. I suddenly had this moment where I thought I’d maybe be able to get to 50 000. Then, I had one of those days where everything just interferes…and the day after that I got a blasted stomach virus that had me in fetal position for three days. Looking at the normal NaNoWriMo target for today (20 000 words), I nearly choked.  I think I’m sitting on about 7500 at the moment.

Nothing like kicking them when they’re down, is there?

Well, at least I knew this year would work a little differently. My current target for the end of November is 20 000 words. I’m fairly sure I can make that. I just have to kick myself out of the pity-my-poor-cramping-self mode so I can get going. Who knows? If I get back up to speed, I may even kick my mommy-doing-NaNoWriMo target word count’s butt. What a happy thought. Just writing that has made me feel better.

As a side note: Remind me to write about my pole dancers vs zombies dream sometime…

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Setbacks

I took part in NaNoWriMo in November, but I never finished. No, it wasn’t just the usual: I gave up. I went through a really rough time when my cat was poisoned and died. She had been part of the way I wrote and actually contributed more than I had realised when she had been around. Every time I even thought about writing, I would crumble and cry uncontrollably.

It took me a month and a half to finally gather the courage to write without her. And then I could only work on pieces that contained no emotional content.

In the end, I had stopped my NaNoWriMo attempt at ±32 000 words. I was still perfectly on target at that point. If I had been able to keep going at the same pace, I’m sure that I would have succeeded in writing the required 50 000 words in 30 days.

Now, at the end of December (2012), I am about to go into labour and there is just no way I can predict how much I will be able to get done in a day. It might sound silly to someone who has never been pregnant, but it is really not easy to concentrate or gather enough motivation to write more than 300 words in one go anymore.

I’m super uncomfortable. I can hardly walk half the time (read up about “symphysis pubis dysfunction” if you think I’m exaggerating). My porridge brain is also pretty bad at the moment. My husband’s been laughing himself silly at the strange spoonerisms and incoherencies I have been committing. This is hardly conducive to meaningful writing.

It looks like I’ll have a pretty full schedule once my baby settles into a more predictable routine next year. I’m hoping to start getting back to about 500 words a day in April. So, the blog will probably also be very quiet until then. *sigh* Such is life, n’est ce pas?

NaNoWriMo, here we come!

The countdown has started and soon writers taking part in NaNoWriMo will fall off the map for 30 days. Kick-off parties are being held and preparations are being made in the form of notes, notifications to family and friends, acquisition of writing aids (like snacks, music and writing buddies) and extensive mental preparation.

At my local kick-off party (go see pics at a fello WriMo’s blog), I met some of my fellow writers in the Pretoria (South Africa) region. Some were very vocal, some were very quiet and some were those gems of people who actually went to a lot of effort to welcome old and new participants. I now have a Writer’s Block sitting on my desk (okay, fine, it’s sitting on my calligraphy box on my desk), two plot bunnies (a blue origami bunny I folded myself and a plush bunny I actually won), my inner editor – soon to be incarcerated – and a tiny, noisy stress ball.

One of the most useful things I got was the little inner editor stick girly (you will see her in the feature pic). How on earth is this little googly-eyed ice lolly stick supposed to be of any help, you ask? Well, first off I need to explain the concept of inner editors.

The inner editor is that part of any writer that nitpicks about everything from spelling, grammar, character inconsistencies to plot holes. The sad part is, for most writers, this inner editor is a crippling, mean-spirited critic telling them that their work is terrible and that they should do the world a favour and just stop writing. And because this inner editor is a part of you, it knows exactly how to get you down in the dirt and keep kicking you where it hurts.

So, to make sure that my inner editor does minimal damage to my word count during November, I’m going to make a little cage for the effigy I have been provided with. Every time I start going back and changing things I suddenly realise don’t make sense or make the story sound stupid or are unusable for some other obscure reason, I will look at my incarcerated inner editor and smirk at it. In the words of Silver Knight Gothic (Dragon Hunters), I shall tell it firmly, “I do not fear you, ugly thing! My heart is pure as a freshwater spring!” and simply continue writing.

Best of luck to all the WriMos out there!

NaNoWriMo

So, National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner. Every year in November, this organisation encourages writers (and aspiring writers) from across the world to attempt writing a whole book in one month. Having had contact with writers who have attempted this before, I have been put under the firm impression that this challenge is not for sissies.

Writing 50 000 words in 30 days is a massive undertaking…especially if you have a life that is notorious for happening at you a lot. Some writers do this in their spare time. Some writers dedicate every waking moment to it. Some simply write to write. Some write to make progress on novels they have been planning for a while.

However you look at it. It is a massive achievement to have written 50 000 words in a month. It comes down to writing 1666+ every day for 30 days. 1666+ might not sound like a lot, but if you want to write anything resembling an actual story, you might run into some difficulties in filling that quota. Just ask some of the veterans and look at the amount of ‘beat the block’ kind of links on the main page, and you’ll quickly realise that very few writers don’t get stuck.

I might just be idealistic, but I hope to use this year’s NaNoWriMo to get my writing habit firmly settled and to prove to myself that I can, in fact, write a 300 000-word novel in less than a year.

Good luck to all the writers taking on NaNoWriMo this year! May your fingers find their way on your keyboard and may your ideas flow like the mighty Amazon. We can do this!