Tag Archive | NaNoWriMo

2012 Planning

Well, we’re here again – time to make some new goals/plans for the year. I’ve not evaluated last year’s performance yet. I’m pretty sure I never evaluated 2010’s year! Maybe I should do that first? Nah!

I’ve not really thought about what I’d like to achieve this year very much. I have a few ideas, so let’s see how it goes:

  • A Round of Words in 80 Days (ROW80). I love this challenge, I have to do it again. It kept me motivated for about 160 days last year (one of the rounds went down the drain for some reason, and I only heard of it at Round 2). Plus I have an awesome buddy in the form of Laura Parish who really pushes me. I need ROW80. Hopefully it can get me writing again (which I haven’t done since Mid ish December).
  • ROW80 – round 1. Obviously I’m not going to make my goals for round 2, 3 and 4, but as Round 1 started yesterday – I need to make goals for that. ROW80 2012 Round 1 goals listed below in numbered bullets:
  1. Writing. This is my main goal. I HAVE to finish The Man of My Dreams soon. 1,000 seems a lot, but 500 words a day doesn’t seem enough. How about a flexible 500 – 1,000 words a day? Might backfire if I only write 500 every day, but let’s see how I go on that. When I finish The Man of My Dreams, I’m going to do random writing for a month (30 days exactly, no matter when I start it) before going on to editing TMOMD. That random writing can come from prompts etc. or whatever I can think of. 500 – 1000 words though!
  2. Reading. I want to find a way to balance my life with reading and writing. This is something I’ve not really managed up until now. I seem to be either reading, or writing. It’s probably because I feel like I don’t have enough time for them both, but hey. I want to read more. I want to read at least 2 books a month. So 6 books (ish) during ROW80. I’m going to attempt to do my 2 reading challenges throughout the year – rather than squeezed into the end like the last few years. Baring in mind that, 3 Mystery & Suspense books and 3 TBR Pile books by the end of the round! That’s doable! I have no idea how to split that down to a daily or even weekly goal – I don’t know how many hours it takes me to read a book. Guess I’ll just play it by ear. A book every 2 weeks. Ish.
  3. Exercise. I like having exercise as a daily goal, and seeing as I put on half a stone (7lb) over Christmas, I need to keep up with it. I really enjoyed the Wii challenge I had in December, so am going to stick with 20– 30 minutes on it a day. EXCEPT I’ve also joined the gym. I don’t really want to do the Wii and gym on the same day – so either 20- 30 minutes on the Wii, or AT LEAST 20 minutes at the gym. Also walking. I HAVE to walk to the train station at least once a day (the one 1.7km away) rather than getting the tube – twice would be great. At weekends I need to do some walking (and not just to the corner shop).
  4. Eating. Again, because of the 7lb, I need to diet. I don’t particularly like the word ‘diet’ so I’m just going to watch what I eat. Ideally I’d like to ‘watch’ myself eating 1,000 calories a day, but that’s really, really ambitious. 1,400 was working for me in December and I was losing weight doing that and the exercise. 1,400 it is then for now. I can always reduce it later if needs be.
  • (back to annual goals)
  • Get The Man of My Dreams finished. I wanted this finished by December. I’m going to extend that to the end of January. Ideally I’d like to before then. Let’s see how I do.
  • Edit The Man of My Dreams. After I’ve finished it, I’d like to leave it for a month, then go back ‘fresh’ to edit it. I hate editing and have never attempted to do it to a novel. I love this book though, so NEED to edit it.
  • Submit TMOMD to agents. Yes, bold statement. But if anything’s going to get me there, out of the things I’ve written so far, this will do it. I had originally put a date of the end of March (when I thought draft 1 would be finished last year). That’s WAY too ambitious. May? June? Somewhere around there. Definitely. Definitely, definitely.
  • More writing. Obviously at some point I’m going to finish TMOMD so need to do some more writing. I’d like to get back into Fiction Friday, or maybe take the plunge and try some Friday Flash (Flash Friday? Can’t remember what it’s called. You know what I mean? I do anyway!). Something different. Or different from the novel anyway.
  • Reading. Obviously I’ve got the 2 reading challenges – Mystery & Suspense and TBR Pile. Obviously, some can overlap the 2 challenges. I’d like to read 25 – 30 books this year. Some of them from different genres. Maybe a little more Sci-fi? Maybe some Fantasy (I still NEED to read Robin Hobb (Assassin’s Apprentice) that was recommended to me last year!)?
  • Exercise and eating. I’m joining the gym. I’ve got Wii fitness games. You get the picture. I’d like to lose a stone. I wanted to lose a stone when I was 8 lb lighter. 1 stone 8lb. Let’s see how I can do.
  • NaNo. Everyone knows I love National Novel Writing Month. 3 years down, with 3 ‘wins’ on my belt, you just know I’m going to try again this year don’t you. Hey, I might even give CampNaNoWriMo a try this year, or maybe NaNoEdMo (editing month).
  • Ooh, I’ve just been reminded (did I say Laura was awesome? I may have to take that back!) about my writing course. Laura’s only on module 4. I think I’m on Module 3 and started it before her (if I remember correctly). Maybe I should give that a go. Maybe once I’ve finished the 1st draft of TMOMD I should get on with another assignment or something. Agh! Damn you Laura (although not really!).  

Ooh, I’m sure I have a million other things I’d like to achieve this year. I just can’t think of them. I’ll add to this list as I think of things, but no taking away!

Bit of bad news before I sign off. I didn’t get into the New Writers’ Scheme at the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I had internet problems, then brain problems, so by the time I sent the email, it was 0.07 on 2nd January. The email I got back said they were full by 0.02 (they started taking applications at 0.01!!). Damn. Well, there’s always next year. Unless I get published myself… The good thing is guests can go to the events, so if there’s one I fancy (the conference in the summer maybe?) I can still go. I was gutted when I found out last night, but if it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be. I’d planned on finishing TMOMD this year and submitting it before I thought about joining the NWS (where someone from the organisation reads and comments on your novel) so I just need to revert back to that plan. As you can see from the above, I’ve already done it. It’s sad, but it’s not the end of the world!

As we all love a good picture, he’s a couple to end with.

For Christmas I got these lovely writing books from my boyfriend (Best. Boyfriend. Ever!)

 

Then just after Christmas we went shopping and I got more NEW BOOKS (and a couple of bookmarks from my mum) 🙂

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The Good and The Bad

So what do you want to hear first? The Good? Yeah, I think so.

So the challenge I have for December has 3 levels of prizes. One for reaching 80 points, one for reaching 150 points, and one for reaching 300 points. Yesterday I hit 80 points – woop!

I was actually planning on hitting 80 on Friday or Saturday, but that went dramatically wrong, so I only got there last night. Irrelevant now of when I got there, I’m there.

What does this mean then? Well, the 80 points prize is 2 Wii games! Woop! 1 HAS to be something exercise-y which will help with the daily Wii goal, the other can be whatever I like. How exciting. My problem now is choosing which games.

I’ve decided to wait a week or so before getting my prize, because our wonderful new library has Wii games to rent, so I can try before I buy. Awesome. So later on today I’m going to go down there and rent 1 or 2 to try out. At the moment I’ve got my eye on We Cheer, Just Dance 3 and a Zumba game. But, that could all change. So exciting!

I guess that means I’m going to have to go on to the bad. Luckily the bad isn’t THAT bad, it’s just not great.

I’m now nearly 59,000 words into writing The Man of My Dreams. The writing of it is going well, but I’m now starting to worry about the pace. I think I’ve got too much to fit into the last 20k. It’s going to be action – action – action, which is fine, but there’s not been too much for a while. I think that’s also a problem, I’m doing filler stuff that has reason, but not too much action.

I read or heard something once that said there should be something major happen 1/3 of the way through, and then again at 2/3. That was my plan for this, but I don’t know what to class as major. At the moment we’re looking at something major at maybe 1/5, then again at 2/5 then nothing really until the end.

I also have just realised I’ve not written anything about one of the main storylines for maybe 40k. Uh, oops.

I don’t know whether to go back and have a look at these now, or wait until I edit it? I feel like I should wait until I edit it, but then at the same time, maybe it’s better to do it now.

I guess as I’m planning to finish writing it this month I should really stick to writing, but will that be making it harder for myself in February when I start the revisions? I just don’t know. Agh. Oh well, I’m sure it will sort itself out in the end.

Uh…

Just another thought here – I’ve written 59,000 words of a novel. That is the most I’ve ever written on one thing. That’s amazing. I may need a party to celebrate. Well, maybe when I hit ‘The End.’

A Little Bit of Monday Rambling

Way back, earlier this year, in the days before NaNoWriMo and ROW80, I used to just have random blogs where I just rambled on about this and that. ROW80 may still be going strong, but seeing as 1 of my goals for the month is to blog everyday, I guess I’m going back to the rambling blogs!

I guess my old blogs were the same as my ROW80 and NaNo check in blogs are/were – a general catch up on what’s going on, and chat about anything else going on. I can’t really remember. They must have been.

Well. 1,000 words a day is still so manageable. I can’t believe I keep saying that after I sulked my way through 250 words a day back in the summer. It’s amazing how a couple of 3,000/4,000 word days put things into perspective.

What the problem with this writing thing, is that I keep leaving it until last thing at night. Not so much of a problem, as I think I write better, and am more alert at night (I believe that thing about if you were born at night you’re a night person vs being a morning person if born during the day – I was born 11.35 at night), but it means I’m going to bed late, which in turn is making me tired – all the time.

Today hasn’t been too bad, but last week was HARD! I’m going to try to write as soon as I get home tonight, or, if not straight away after dinner. I’m not going to let myself get sucked into the normal watching a movie then chatting, then suddenly remembering I need to write when I should be going to bed trap again. Nope. Not tonight.

On the subject of movies, I watched Up last night. Boyfriend told me I was going to cry in the first 10 minutes, so I was so on edge. Then the sad thing happened, and oh my god, did I cry. Like so much. uncontrollable sobs! Other than that (or maybe because of that?) I thought it was an amazing film. If you’ve not seen it, go see it.

There’s just 16 days of the month left. That means 26 days (thanks Em for noticing my terrible mathematics attempt) to finish my 2 reading challenges for this year. I have no idea how far away from that goal I am for the Mystery & Suspense Challenge, but know I need to read the one I’m on and another for the A-Z Challenge. I also want to read The Gift for the Novelkicks reading group this month. I had wanted to read my new Adele Parks one before Wed, but that’s totally not happening.

Why Wednesday? Have you not heard? Adele Parks, Carmen Reid and others are talking at the Canada Water library. How excited am I!? Adele said on Twitter I should go and introduce myself to her – MEGA EXCITED! And I’ve got my new book for her to sign.

What’s that? You think I should also talk to Carmen Reid? And get her to sign my book? Oh, but I don’t have any of her books! Oh, maybe I should buy one there? What a great idea! Oh, and while I’m there maybe I should buy Adele’s new one – About Last Night (I really really, really want to read it, so that’s not going to be a chore) too? He he! 

Fingers crossed boyfriend’s work sort their wages mistake by Wednesday then eh!

Book Groups Galore

Because November was NaNo month, for the whole month I think I pretty much missed out on writing about anything other than NaNo (quite frankly I’m surprised that I DID anything other than write for the month, but I did)! Now we’re into December I should probably start blogging about other things going on in my life.

Like my new book club.

Well, two book clubs really.

My dear ROW80 buddy Laura runs a site called NovelKicks which every month hosts a book club. I’ve joined in a couple of times when they were readings novels I really wanted to read, and December is another of those books! This month they’ve chosen The Gift by Cecelia Ahern.

Somehow this book coming out completely passed me by. I heard about it by accident one day (maybe on her website, I can’t remember) and knew I had to read it (seeing as it was Cecelia Ahern – I love her novels!). The problem was it looked like a Christmas book, which is fine, unless it’s summer. Which it was.

So I added it to my ‘wish list,’ which I promptly forgot, until the following summer, which was this summer. I was at a friend’s house when I found her book shelf. Hmmmm. Book shelf + me = more books on MY bookshelf. She told me to help myself to anything. I was SO good, I only took 3. One of which was… you guessed it The Gift. Like a good girl, I put it on my shelf, to read in December.

Of course I forgot. Until Laura asked on Facebook the other day what people’s favourite Christmas book is. I don’t have one, but I mentioned this and that I wanted to read it. She was thinking the same (great minds think alike eh!). So now it’s their book club December book. And when I’ve finished my current book, I’m going to jump in. I cannot wait. If you’d like to join in, anyone’s welcome, go here.

What’s the book I’m reading at the moment you ask? Well, it’s the one for my other book club.

Mid way through November, I went for a cheeky drink or two with a friend and her work colleagues and sister. Four of us were talking about how cool it would be to be part of a book club (I think it came from them all wanting to read my novel when I finish it), but in a really relaxed atmosphere (yeah, pub). We decided to start our own mini book club.

1 book per month. One pub meet up per month. No looking for hidden meanings – just if we enjoyed it or not.

We then had to decide on a book. I’m still finishing my A to Z Challenge so I suggested a novel who’s author’s surname begins with Y – the letter I had left to find. Everyone agreed, but decided I had to find the novel.

Hmmmm. Author whose surname begins with Y. Not that many. The library wasn’t that helpful, but Waterstones was. Especially when I found an author called Banana Yoshimoto. Now, I’m not saying I chose it for the name Banana, but it helped. Amrita the book we chose sounded good too.

So, currently reading Amrita by Banana Yoshimoto. Then The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. Then I have to read an X for the A – Z Challenge, then I think we’ll get to 2012, and the reading starts again, with new challenges too 😉

December & #ROW80 New Challenge

NaNo is over. Yay! That means I get to stop writing, right?

Wrong!

Every year (well the other 2 years I’ve done NaNo), I stop writing in December – telling myself I ‘need’ a break. Both years it’s taken me until the following SUMMER to start writing again. I couldn’t do that again.

Luckily boyfriend came up with a plan to stop that.

We created a day by day challenge for me to encompass writing, blogging, exercise and also healthy eating (not at all stolen from other ROW80ers that have exercise for one of their goals). We constructed 9 DAILY goals for me. 9. Yes, NINE! Crazy huh! The daily nine goals are:

Writing

  • Write 500 words
  • Write 500 words (twice so if I don’t make the whole 1,000 words I don’t fail a whole goal, I get 2 chances at it!)
  • Write a blog

Exercise

  • Walk/run 2km
  • 20 minutes exercising on the Wii (or at the gym)
  • Exercises for my knee

Eating

  • Eat 1400 cals per day or less
  • Eat 5 fruit/veg portions
  • NO chocolate (except from my 2 advent calendars)

It then gets complicated. For each goal I successfully attain that day, I get a point. If I get all 9 points in 1 day I get a bonus point. If at the end of a week I’ve got 60 points or more, I get a bonus 5 points. There’s also 20 ‘extra special’ bonus points that can be awarded at any time over the month.

And as this is all in points, you know the old saying – points make prizes. That’s true here too.

If I get to 80 points in the first 2 weeks (I think, it may have been 20 days?), I get 2 Wii games of my choice (1 has to be something fitnessy that will help with the Wii challenge). If I reach 150 points, I get a pair of boots. And if I get 300 points, I get a £150 pound shopping spree!!!

How incredibly awesome is my boyfriend? Seriously. If that doesn’t motivate me to write, exercise, eat well and blog, I really don’t know what will.

Because I love charts and spreadsheets and stuff, we (he) came up with this awesome chart, to keep track of how I’m getting on:

How cool is that? Hopefully I’m going to get stars to use, but at the moment I get green dots. I am so so so excited about it. How sad am I!

I’m also adding another daily goal myself for ROW80 – to visit at least 1 blog a day. I used to read lots and lots a day, but got out of the habit, saying I didn’t have time. I’m sure I can manage 1 a day – by the end I’ll probably be visiting like 5.

Today is the first day. So far I’m not doing great. In fact, this blog will be my first point for the day 😦 I’m also a little worried I’m not going to get many more because I’m SOOOO tired. NO! I can’t mess up day 1. I will go home and write and exercise and stuff!

Are YOUR ROW80 goals changing for December (if you’re a ROW80er). If you’re not, what ARE your goals for December?

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 DID IT!

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?