Archive | November 2011

NaNoWriMo 2011 – WINNER – And Lots of Thanks

2009 – Italian Infatuation – WINNER

2010 – The Dating Project – WINNER

2011 – The Man of My Dreams – WINNER

This is such a sweet post to be writing. Because I’m a WINNER again! AGAIN! Woop! I don’t think I’ve ever had such a consistent record of finishing something.

As I said in my last blog, at 6pm on Monday I had just over 7K to write to get to 50,000 words. At 9pm on Monday, I STILL had that many. A few sprints with some of the NaNoLondon guys (no ROW80ers were available) got me 4k in 2.5 hours. I couldn’t believe I’d got so many (although I had aimed for 5k, but that was for the whole day, not when I was starting after 9pm).

That left me with just over 3,200 for Tuesday and today. So manageable. However, I wanted to finish early. I’d planned to finish on Monday, so I COULDN’T finish today, it had to be yesterday.

I went to a write in last night at 6. The plan is write for 45 mins, chat for 15, then another 45 min sprint, then get chucked out the cafe cause they were closing. I figured I’d write most in that time, then go home and finish the last few words.

Did that happen though? Not exactly.

In the first sprint I wrote 1,400. That meant, in the last one, I had to write 1,800. That was NEVER going to happen in 45 minutes. Would the people at the write in believe me though? No. Hannah and Claire were adamant that I was going to finish.

So I started.

And wrote…

And wrote…

I cut out speech marks. I ignored the red lines of incorrect spellings. I ignored bad grammar.

With 5 or so minutes left I think I had 500 words. NOOOO! I wasn’t going to do it.

With 1 minute left, I checked my word count… 50,027.


I have a feeling it’s going to have to be edited A LOT (rewrite of the whole scene maybe?), but that doesn’t matter. I did it. Woop! I couldn’t help a little yelp of excitement (obviously) which got me a round of applause from everyone else. Woo! That is the way to win NaNo!

Oh, no. That wasn’t quite the way to win. Going for cocktails afterwards – THAT’S the way to win!

I’m now going to sound like I’ve won an award – I’ve some people to thank, because I’m not sure I’d be sat here a winner without a little help. (In no particular order)

The ROW80 sprinting people. Em and Lauren, this is mainly you, but everyone else too (I don’t have Twitter access to chase it back to see who, but if I sprinted with you – I mean YOU!). Although I couldn’t always join in, the ones I did, were so helpful. I liked the accoutability too – having to tell people how many I wrote in half an hour stopped me from messing about in that time.

The NaNoLondoners – Jenn and Claire, you are amazing MLs. You organised some great events (still gutted I missed the night long write in! I calculated if you keep doing that on the last Saturday of the month, I should be able to come in 3 years – when boyf celebrates his birthday the weekend before!) – Hannah – you got me through those last words, thanks. And everyone else I met at write ins, NaNoRilla and the kick off party. Can’t wait to celebrate with you all tomorrow and Saturday!

Laura – technically you fit in with the ROW80ers, but you need a special shout out for being my buddy and helping me through. especially a very well-timed text urging me through. Here’s for keeping each other on track for the next month.

@McPete – my other half. Thanks for talking me into doing it again this year, for lending me your laptop (and sometimes carrying it home), for giving up your PC games for a month while I was using said laptop, and for not complaining too much for living in a pigsty for the month. I promise now I’m done I’ll start cleaning and cooking and hey, you never know, ironing (although don’t hold me to that).

Seriously, guys you all rock. My success is your success (only, it’s mainly mine, ha ha).

This is my NaNo graph for this year. Compared to the last two years, I pretty much stuck to where I was supoosed to be – only dropping lower by about 3.5k a couple of times – but only for a day!

So what’s next for December? Well, I had a plan, and it got turned on its head the other day.

My goal was to finish The Man of My Dreams. That was all I wanted from December. Due to a certain person and event, my goal is now goalS and much, MUCH more. I have writing goals, blogging goals, exercise goals, and eating goals. I don’t have time to go into them today (silly 1 hour only lunch breaks) but I’ll explain all tomorrow.

Thank god for ROW80 allowing flexible goals. My new goals blog is here.

Well done everyone who’s ‘won’ NaNo.. and see you next year…?


NaNoWriMo – The Last Three Days

Possibly more exciting than NaNo (only possibly though), I’m currently sat in the new Canada Water (suburb of London) Library. It’s so nice. Well, so far, I’ve only really registered and then sat at a computer. I’ve heard there are 40,000 books here. 40,000. That’s awesome. It’s obviously new and clean and just exciting. Except for the constant noise of childern crying and stuff. Ha.

As we still don’t have the internet at home (I know, we will sort it sometime soon – I’m told anyway), I’ve been set a challenge by the boyfriend of coming here after work a few days a week and blogging. He tells me I don’t blog enough (like writing 1,667 words a day gives me that much free time to blog), which I kind of know. It’s an idea. I used to sometimes stay behind at work and blog, but work’s been so terrible recently that at 5.30 I’m outta there. So maybe his idea is a good one.

Boyfriend may not be getting anything he wants in the near future – he’s just pointed out a book on the nearest shelf to us (implying I could get it) ‘Creative Writing for Dummies.’ Hmmmm. Yes, a little insulted! Although if there’s other writing books on the same shelf… Funny how without looking I found a computer right next to the writing books 😉

Ok, back to the task in hand – NaNo.

Remember last week, I had all these great plans for writing in the last week? The plan was 3k on Thursday, 5k on Friday then 2k today (having the weekend off for boyfriend’s birthday). That would take me to a win TODAY.

Yeah, um. That didn’t happen. On Thursday instead of going home after work, I went for work drinks. And got, well lets just say drunk. Not sure if it describes it well enough, but it’s what we’ll go with. I went home and tried to write… but the red squiggle under at least half of the 100 words changed my mind. Friday I was really hungover and didn’t even turn the laptop on. Damn.

I’d always planned to have the weekend off, but woke up on Sunday just feeling tired. At 2pm I put on Twitter that it would be good to get a 5k day in, and enough people told me I could do it that I decided to give it a go. Until the hangover kicked in an hour or so later. I got 1k in like 2 1/2 hours. Not great. But I persisted on and off, then at about 11pm I got a proper ‘second wind’ which took my total for the day to 3057. I am so ridiculously proud of that.

My plan for today is another 5k, then 2 tomorrow. That means I will win tomorrow. The problem with that is that it’s now 5.30pm an I’ve done nothing. Oops. Still, all I need is a good  run and I can do that in no time… Uh… At the end of the day though, I only really NEED to do 2.5k for the next 3 days and I win. I can’t believe I’m saying this but 2.5k is pretty easy to get in (as long as I don’t do anything after work other than cook and write).

Do you remember the beginning of October, when ROW80 Round 4 began? I planned for 500 words a day and was worried about getting it. 2 months later I’m saying another 2,000 on top of that is doable. How things change.

I’ve also decided on my plan for the next few months.

Usually after NaNo, I stop writing in December. I think I need the break after the 50,000 the month before. It then takes me another 6 odd months to properly get back into it – not great for getting novels finished! This year is going to be different. In December I’m going finish ‘The Man of My Dreams.’ I’m then going to give it a month’s break in January, but not stop writing then. I’m going to write short stories and stuff. I think I’ll probably go back and use a load of old Fiction Friday prompts or random word generators to give me ideas (prompts work pretty well for me).

In February I’m going to pick ‘The Man of My Dreams’ back up and edit the first three chapters in 6 ish weeks. Then… At the end of March… I’m going to try to find an agent. Yep, I’m going to start submitting it to agents. Eek. Agh! MAAAHHHH!

I’m scared. But, if I’m going to do it… I need to make a start. I think 2012 is the right year.

It shows how much I like ‘The Man of My Dreams,’ doesn’t it. I’m confident about it, and do think (having not read any back though) it’s the best thing I’ve written. I guess if you constantly improve, something I’m writing now is bound to be better than something I wrote 2 years ago.

Anyway, if I’m going to get 5,000 words in tonight, I need to crack on with it. Plus, we all know I NEED to go and look at books. I’m surprised I’ve survived half an hour in a library and NOT looked at them already.

How’s everyone else’s NaNo/ROW80/other project going?

NaNoWriMo – The Last Week

Well, the last 8 days anyway. My plan is to finish on Monday. I don’t know why, but it is. However, my plan was to write 6k over the weekend and I managed about 3k. Sigh.

That and a poor performance on Monday night meant I was 800 behind yesterday. That sucked. But I went to a write in last night, and almost caught up. I just need to get an extra 170 in today and that’s me back on track. Back on track to finish on Wednesday (30th) though. If I was to write everyday I’d need 2,249 words a day. BUT I don’t have the weekend. The boyfriend is 30 on Saturday, so I’m taking it off writing. That means I need to get 3,374 a day.

Oh. That’s quite a lot (I only just worked that out – I’m actually surprised).

Well, it’s an idea. It might work.

I’ve got both Friday and Monday off work. Friday is mainly to make a birthday cake for my other half and other birthday type things. Monday is to spend a day with him (and t o visit the new library, but I only just found out it was opening then). I’m sure I can squeeze out more than normal those days, so that I don’t have to do that many today or tomorrow (I’ll still aim for it though).

My boyfriend pointed out the other day, that I haven’t had any major writing days. The most I’ve written in 1 day is about 2,600, a lot yes, but not a MASSIVE amount.

In year one, 3 days away from 30th, I was on about 32k. I was convinced I was going to fail, and was gutted about it, even though it really wasn’t my fault. I’d had an operation and stupidly been under the impression I’d be able to do lots and lots of writing. In real life, I was actually really ill for most of the two weeks I was off work, so got very little writing done. Still, I was gutted.

Along to my rescue came my boyfriend. He was convinced I could do it. 6,000 words a day, that was nothing (that was a whole lot – I’d never written more than about 2.5/3 in one day). I needed more convincing though, so he said if I ‘won,’ he’d buy me a Wii.

Obviously that was quite a good incentive. That day I wrote 7,000. The day after 6,000 then the following 7,000. I finished NaNoWriMo on 30th November with about 50,200 (or something).

Moral of this story? I can finish on Monday. Maybe I should stretch myself and have a 6k day on Friday, or even Monday. I know I can, so why not? Hmmm. Maybe.

I think I’m about to get stuck though. Like I said I’m at about 36k. That’s pretty much halfway (I’m round about aiming for 70k, a respectable length for a first novel in the chick-lit/romance genre). I know what’s going to happen in the last 10/15/20k. I’m just not too sure what is going to happen NOW. I really need to jump about 2/3 weeks, but don’t think that’s what I want to do.

I’m going to start struggling soon. And that soon might be tonight.

I’m semi tempted to just skip onto the next big bit, then go back at the end and add more in. But, I really like doing it in order.

Agh! I don’t know. But I’m sure I’ll work it out!

NaNoWriMo – Halfway There

Just a very quick blog here because I want to leave work ASAP, but as I’m thinking about it, a ROW80 check-in on time would be good (if not a complete surprise to everyone reading!)

I also feel I HAVE to blog, just to spread the news – I’ve caught up! Yay! Last night at the write-in I hit 25k. Wooop *dances round in the corner* It was such a relief to get there. What it means is that everyday for the last 5 days I’ve written over 2.3k. I’m well impressed with that.

I’d really like to keep going with that many. Tonight is going to be a struggle because I’m tired and in a little pain (just girly ones as I like to call them, nothing horrendous) so after making dinner, I doubt I’m going to feel like writing. But I WILL make myself. I can’t spend so much time catching up, just to go and fall behind on the next day. No, I WILL make 1,667 words tonight. I just hope I can make more.

I’ve just remembered Em and Lauren do a 7pm (British time) sprint for an hour. I’ve not been in for ages to do that, but I think I can hear it calling me tonight. That should get the words in. Woop!

Hope all you WriMos are doing well, and you too non-WriMos!

Another Late ROW80/NaNo Check-in

Honestly, I promise sometime to get the internet at home, and therefore get my Sunday check-ins on the correct day. Well, that, or think up more excuses over missing them.

NaNo is going… well. I find it hard saying good or well, when I’m still behind, but I’m behind because of my lack of effort last week, the last three days have been awesome.

I had Friday off work to go to my cousin’s in Cambridge for the night. She was busy in the morning, so I didn’t go until after lunch, which left me  the morning to write. I looked on the NaNo site and a load of people were doing an 11-Hour Challenge – writing for 11 hours. I wish I had’ve had 11 hours to join in, but didn’t. Some people were doing 11,111 words (all 11 related because of it being 11.11.2011). Again, no way. Some 11 pages. Nu-uh. So, I created my own 11 challenge – 1,111 words from 11am on 11.11.11. At 11.02 I started (after the 2 minute silence I took for remembrance day – even though I was alone) and wrote for about half an hour – getting the 11,111. Yay. I’d already done some, so my total for Friday was 2.3k.

Saturday was NaNoRilla (guerilla novelling around London). A group of nearly 30 of us walked around London writing in different places. This year, I decided NOT to take my (boyfriend’s) laptop. It’s just soo heavy and would have made me grumpy. So with a pen and notepad I went along. After writing in a pub, a train station (St Pancras), a library (The British Library), a coffee shop/pub/restaurant, a park and then a museum (The British Museum), I made a total of… Guess how many words… I don’t think you will… 2,500 words. WOOP! I was so impressed with that. The only problem is I now have to type it up at some point.

Sunday I was home alone as the boyfriend was at his mum’s for the weekend. I wrote a list (love lists) of the things I needed to do – including 3,000 words. By the end of the day I’d got 2,300 and most of my list done.

So I’m still 1.5k behind. But that’s much better than the 4k I was behind on Friday morning. My graph now looks rather crazy. I’ve just tried to upload it, but for some reason can’t save it. Hmmm. Here’s a photo instead (taken off the computer, so pretty bad quality, so please excuse that):



See, I’m now doing well. Lets just ignore those days last week where I did very little (and the few I did none).

I’d like to keep that sharp spike from the weekend at the same angle. It means doing over 2k today. I was going to do some at lunch, but I’ve spent too long on this blog (trying to add the silly graph) to be able to. I’ve spent a lot of the morning emailing friends and family, so should probably do some work!

I’ll definitely do some tonight. I need to go shopping, but then might enlist boyfriend to cook dinner while I write my 2k. Hmmmm. Maybe he’ll read this and offer himself (hello you if you are reading it!).

Either way, I’m not liking this being behind, but I’m enjoying catching up. Let it carry on.

How’s NaNo/ROW80/your project going? I’m trying to get round other people’s blogs, but unfortunately not as successfully as I’d like. Sorry!


NaNoWriMo and ROW80 Catch Up

I’m in two minds as to whether I’m doing well – both in NaNo and ROW80 (because my ROW80 goal in November is my NaNo goal of 1667 words).

I was doing well. Really really well. Until Tuesday. I had a cute little graph, that showed I was ahead – and had been for 5 days. Not much, but over is good.

Tuesady I dropped behind. I’d had a terrible day at work and was so tired. Yesterday, I fell even more behind because I’d had another bad day at work. Apparently I find it had to concentrate on writing when I’ve had a bad day.

I’m quite annoyed because if it was the summer I’d go for a run, feel better then write. In the winter, I can’t do that. Going for a run after work, when it gets dark before I even leave work isn’t even an option. Only a few months until summer, right?

Hopefully tonight, I‘ll make a start at catching up. I’m pretty sure I won’t completely catch up today. But over the weekend I will. I know I will.

I have tomorrow off work, which means writing in the morning. At lunch I’m going to visit my cousin in Cambridge. She’s then got plans for an afternoon for an hour, when I’ll write more.

Then on Saturday, I’m back in London for NaNoRilla.

NaNoRilla is possibly the most fun thing about NaNoWriMo. I took part for the first time last yeat. Basically we meet up, then walk around London writing in random different places. Last year we went to pubs, parks, the Imax Theatre and loads more I can’t think of.

It’s so much fun! Part of it is that it’s cold. Part of it is writing. But really, if we’re honest, it’s all of us meeting up, to do a little writing, and to.. well… just meet up. How many people can say they’ve written in lots of random London locations in one day? LOVE.IT!

The problem is my broken laptop. Mine is so light, it was great to take last year. This year, it’s dead. Or very ill anyway (as a side note – boyfriend is taking it to his dad’s this weekend – hopefully to get better). Which leaves me with boyfriend’s. It’s awesome that I get to borrow a laptop when mine is dead. But. It’s SO heavy.

So so heavy.

So, I’ve decided this weekend, for NaNoRilla, I’m going to write WITH PEN AND PAPER. I think that deserved CAPS – don’t you?

I hate writing by hand during NaNo. It’s A) A waste of time because I can write so much quicker on a computer (thanks to teaching myself to touch type last year) and B) because I have to then type it up.

But still. I can’t wait.

After NaNoRilla I’m sure there will be some drinks – yay!

Then on Sunday, I’ll be writing. All day. As I’ve said boyfriend is going home this weekend, which means Sunday at home alone for me. Woop! Day alone to write. I can’t wait!

By 23.59 on Sunday I WILL have caught up.

Go NaNoWriMo and ROW80!

First #ROW80 Check-In for #NaNoWriMo

We’re already on Day 2. That’s scary, but at least there’s only 28 days left (after today!).

Yesterday I decided I was going to do 800 words before I made dinner, then another 800 after. I got 900 before with a little help from Em (from LovestoReadWantsToWrite) and Lauren Garafalo who were just starting an hour-long sprint when I got home. I didn’t make the whole hour with them, because I hit the 900 mark earlier (yay) and was hungry.

After dinner and a bit of TV (The Food Hospital – not pure entertainment, some useful things there!) and then the washing up, I tried for the other 700, and only made 300 odd. I was a little upset about that, but decided I needed sleep more than to write more words – and I was already 500 ish over the daily goal.

Today I’ve not made a plan yet. Boyfriend is out tonight so I’ve the house to myself. I might do the same as yesterday and set a goal for before dinner, then one for after. I think that’s a good idea. I’d like to stay well above the goal, so maybe 2k total tonight? Maybe more.

Lauren (above) is setting herself a 2k goal daily so she can then take a day off a week, and also Thanksgiving. I’m in the UK so no Thanksgiving for me, but I do have a boyfriend who has (rather selfishly) a 30th Birthday on 26th. I think he’s got family down from up North and the Midlands for the whole weekend soI’m probably not going to get stuff done then. I really need to stay ahead because of that, and that’s not even considering the days where I won’t be able to get any – or as many as I need to – done.

I do have a huge fear that I’m not going to be able to keep up the memento of being ahead. The first scene was already written in my head, so pretty easy. Nothing else is (well 2 are, but only bits of those) so going to take more time and effort. I’m not the only one that has this fear – Fallon Brown said exactly the same in her blog today – it can’t be a crazy irrational fear if we’re both feeling it! Lets just hope we can keep it up.

This weekend I’m going to set myself a crazy word goal. I haven’t decided what it is, but I know I can write 7k in one day (NaNo 2009) so may be something around that. Probably not as many as that, but getting that way. Eek!

I’m laptop-less because of mine breaking so I can’t go to any write-ins at the moment. Gutted! I think I’m going to be able to talk boyfriend into letting me borrow his, but it’s huge so I’m not going to want to carry that around too much. I could go and handwrite, but I get so much less done that way, and then need to type it up, so it almost seems like a waste of time. I’ll think of something this weekend so I can make a couple of write ins next week at least.

I’m cheekily still reading. I don’t like the idea of reading while doing NaNo because it scares me that what I read might influence my writing. This year I’m writing romance/chick-lit and currently reading a thriller so I think I’ll be ok there. I’m only reading on the tube in the morning and coming home, so as long as I can limit it to those times (no coming home and reading for me when I should be NaNo-ing) I’ll hopefully be fine. Hopefully!

How’s your NaNo going? If you’re not taking part, how’s ROW80? And if you’re not doing either – how’s everything else going?