It’s that time of year

Ok let’s be real writing has been a disaster for me since November 2016. I tried to keep writing after it but within six months I’d ground to a complete halt. I’ve not successfully completed a single story, and definitely not NaNo, ever since.

2017. 2018. 2019.

All gone, didn’t happen, I don’t think I even attempted it last year at all. I had big plans for this year but well it’s 2020 – the year of the unexpected. I’m trying to not be too hard on myself for it.

Anyway, I’ve been going back and forth over what to do. NaNo used to be the highlight of my year, it used to be magical and I miss that feeling. I had some time to think this morning and I came to some conclusions:
1) not doing NaNo isn’t an option. I need to try. It matters to me.
2) whatever I write has to reach the 50k or I’ll feel like it doesn’t count.
3) I love my ideas I really do but I’m too scared to attempt them and if I try I won’t get very far.
4) I remember Her Happy Ending (yes it is story time).

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Short Post – NaNo is my main fandom

I just had a random thought and I felt like sharing. I would never consider NaNo to be a fandom really, if I was saying what my main fandom was I would probably say “Once Upon a Time” because I participate in that fandom online BUT in terms of swag NaNo comes out way ahead of everything else.

I show my NaNo pride year round with my three framed posters on the wall. I also have a word count tracker up on my magnetic noticeboard which works year round. I have 2 coffee mugs but I don’t use either as the handle of one arrived cracked so it’s not safe, and the other isn’t dishwasher safe. So they are like ornaments on my table and I use them to hold stationary etc.

Those mugs might not be used for their true purpose but I have two NaNo thermos flasks which I use year round. One is brand new so I haven’t used it yet but I will! I have a cold weather beanie hat which I’ll use in the winter (also new), half a dozen winners shirts and the NaNo hoodie. I tend to only wear the NaNo clothes during November but I could wear them at other times.

That it? Nope! I have two NaNo books – No Plot? No Problem! and the 52 Pep Talks. I have a USB bracelet, and a regular rubber bracelet. I’ve got a ton of stickers and bookmarks. Basically, when it comes to swag – NaNo has it covered!

In contrast I have coffee mugs for other stuff and t-shirts but that’s pretty much it. I used to have sweaters but I don’t any longer. I do have some card collections and one cuddly toy but these items are split over multiple TV shows. Whereas NaNo is one thing and has so much!

So what’s the point of this post? I don’t know. It’s just that this is going to be my 11th year/10th November event, my 19th event if I count Camp’s. It’ll be 10th time getting 50k or over in a month (failure is not an option) and well – stuff accumulates over time. I have loved and participated in NaNo for more years than I’ve loved any particular TV show. NaNo is forever.

Yeah that’s basically it – NaNo is my forever fandom.

No plan survives first contact

Otherwise known as the road to hell is paved with good intentions, or variations of that cliche. No matter what we plan, or intend, quite often things don’t work out that way. Life twists and turns in mysterious ways and nothing ever turns out as expected. I think I might have said that in a recent post, about how a year ago I would never guess I’d be sitting here. I think 2017 could be termed “the year of the unexpected” because basically since this time last year, nothing has been the same.

This time last year I was in a self-loathing pit because I’d had my first ever review on my published book. Admittedly it was pretty mean and dramatically written but reviews like that are par for the course. I thought I was prepared to deal with it and I wasn’t. So I couldn’t face continuing with Book Three, it knocked me for six, and I decided to work on something else until I stopped feeling like an abject failure.

My ‘plan‘ was to pick up Book Three in December, and I was still aiming to publish March/April at the latest. Well some life stuff happened, I could go into details but I don’t really like to do that on the internet (even though this is password protected) and besides it feels a little like I’m making excuses. Basically in many ways I checked out of life and didn’t really get my footing back until the summer, when I suddenly got the idea to change my life completely and go back to university.

Anyway, this post isn’t about what did happen – it’s about what didn’t happen.

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Camp NaNo: July 2016 – Retrospective

It’s now August 1st, so how did the last month go?

Well, first of all good news – my arm is doing much better! I can type again – yay! Seriously, there are not enough exclamation marks in the world, to say how pleased and relieved I am about that. I loathe dictation and I would not have done half as much as I did, if I had been stuck using it.

So how much did I do?

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July Update

I didn’t blog in June.

Part of that was lack of impetus with Once Upon a Time having finished until the fall. However, I was going to blog about Captain America: Civil War – the best marvel movie yet!! It’s just my arm has been playing up again and I can’t really type right now. It’s super weird dictating a blog post, even weirder than dictating my novel and that’s saying something – I really loathe dictation.

So what have I been up to? Well the answer to that is mostly getting used to dictation. I love writing, it’s my life really and so stopping until my arm is better is a non-starter. I have no idea what’s wrong with my arm or why it hurts so much, it could never get better. However, given how frustrating I find dictation, it has been slow going and the goals I set myself have had to be quietly pushed back.

It’s Camp NaNo this month. I just checked and I didn’t blog about April. Back in April I tried a redraft of Book Two of my Crime/Sci-Fi series and it went very badly. That book two was cursed from the beginning. I started the first draft April 2015 and had to stop 2/3rds of the way through because of illness. I didn’t finish it until the October and then when I went to revise it in February I found it was un-salvageable and needed to be completely rewritten. I started the redraft this April and got halfway through but I just couldn’t do it. I’ve decided to scrap the whole series I wound up hating it so much.

However, last November I wrote book one of a new Military Science Fantasy series and I love that more than anything. Again because of illness I didn’t finish it last November, instead I finished it in March. Last month (June) I was supposed to write a prequel short story but because of my arm I didn’t manage to finish it.

Therefore for Camp NaNo this month my goal is to finish the first draft of the prequel. I will also start Book Two of the series and hope that this book two, will go a lot better than the last sequel I tried to write. Given how I feel about the series generally (I love it), I’m hopeful that it will be ok but it’s still quite scary. I harbor no ambitions that I will be able to finish book two this month but I hope that I will finish it by the end of August. It’s technically possible as I’ve averaging about 2k a day with dictation (it is so much slower than typing, I miss typing so much) but we’ll have to see.

This blog is probably going to go on a hiatus for the summer. I might drop back in and say how Camp NaNo (July) went but anything else will be dependent on my arm. This is so weird dictating like this. Once Upon a Time (Season 5) premieres on the 25th of September, hopefully I’ll be able to blog about that. I’m certain I’ll have a lot to say, I nearly always do.

NaNo 2015: Retrospective

It’s December 1st so November and NaNo is officially over for another year. There is of course Camp NaNo next April and July, but let’s forget that for the moment.

Before the month started I had two clear goals:
– Have a completed first draft by the end of the month
– Write every single day

At the start of the month I admitted that I would ideally like to go further:
– Beat last years total of 61k at a minimum
– Finally crack triple figures (100k) to make a good lifetime achievement total

Well how did that go? The answer is pretty clear if you take a look at the widget on the sidebar to the right. The total – 55,618 words. Do I have a complete draft? No. Did I beat last years total? Nope. Which obviously means I didn’t get my 100k. Did I write every day? Well, that depends on your definition, more on that under the cut.

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NaNo 2015: Midseason Update

Apparently skipping all normal NaNo rituals results in it not really feeling like NaNo. The magic just disappears, or never appears, it’s like a regular day with all the regular annoyances and distractions.

  • I didn’t stay up till midnight and write a few lines before I went to bed.
  • I didn’t complete my outline.
  • I didn’t have a title, series title, universe title.
  • I didn’t create a temporary cover.
  • I didn’t have an opening line so I was stuck at the start line.

All told it was not the best start to the month. However, I dutifully started writing the prologue and I reached the 50k pace for the day (1667 words) before the prologue was finished. That I hoped boded well for the length of the rest of the story but only time would tell on that front.

I finished the prologue and I was feeling good. However, I’m familiar with the emotional highs and lows of writing a first draft. I knew that high wasn’t going to last, the same as I know the inevitable lows will end. It’s a rollercoaster journey every single time.

What is somewhat miraculous is throughout the whole process, while there are parts of the draft I dislike, I don’t loathe anything AND I still absolutely love the idea. That’s new, usually I wind up hating everything and want to kill it with fire. Perhaps it’s just a matter of time. We’ll see how I feel when I reach those immortal words – ‘The End’.

Word of warning about this post. I wrote it in 5 separate updates over the course of the beginning of the month. Therefore I can’t vouch for how understandable it is, think of it as a live blog almost of the writing process.

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All NaNo-Eve

The 31st might be Halloween which is important to some people. However, for me it’s important because it’s NaNo-Eve, the day before NaNoWriMo begins again. I know it’s not the 31st yet, I may do another post before then, or maybe I’ll do a mid month post. Last year I forgot to do a pre-NaNo post so I did one on day ten, that could work for this year too.

Anyway, last year I wrote a NaNo retrospective, as I often do, and I listed some goals for myself.

The Writing Plan
– To write a minimum of 1000 words, five days a week.
– To finish Book Two by the end of January
– As a bonus work through the flash fiction course
– Make plan for February at the end of January, probably in my new house.

How did that work out for me?

Well consistency has gone out of the window completely. Forget that, even when I was writing it wasn’t on a regular day to day basis. The first draft of book two has been completed – this month. Yup, I didn’t finish that until October. I also haven’t touched the flash fiction course.

All told those goals didn’t happen. Ok, so what did happen?

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November NaNo Retrospective

I’ve done NaNo seven times now, Camp NaNo a couple of times, you would think that whatever lessons there were to be learned, I would have learnt them by now. However, after each November I learn new things, or I relearn lessons that obviously didn’t stick the first time.

This November I set myself some stretch goals, as November was going to be the start of a brand new year. I wanted to do things better, to take a positive step towards a possible future. It was a lot of pressure to put on one month but as I’ve said before NaNo has ceased to be a challenge in some respects. I need to ask more of it, in order to continue to get the same out. It is definitely still my favourite time of year but that doesn’t mean the sense of accomplishment remains the same. I’ve reached 50k several times now and as I said I wanted more.

So how did it go?

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NaNo 2014: Day Ten Update

It’s November which means it’s time for NaNoWriMo. Usually I post about it before the month, and then I do a post in December about how it went. In October I should have posted about what my goals for the month were. I will do that now with a look at the first ten days.

This year I decided that NaNo was going to be the start of a brand new year. 2014 sucked for a lot of real life reasons, it was a complete write-off in so many respects. I love NaNo, I’ve likened it to a holiday and it is without doubt my favourite time of year. Starting off a new year, or launching my new intentions in November rather than January just made sense.

NaNo’s official goal is to write 50k within November. I wanted to go beyond that this year, to use the magic of NaNo to get a jump start on my future plans. With that in mind I set myself some additional goals:
– 12.5k on Day One
– 25k by end of Day Three
– 50k by end of Day Seven
– 100k by the end of the month
– Two finished first drafts
– Write something, however little, every day to get into the habit of consistency.

This is how it went:

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