I’ve had such a lovely day today. By many peoples’ standards it’s probably been pretty quiet but it’s been filled with so many things that have made me happy.
It started off with a double episode of The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes which I’m currently watching to help stave off my Avengers Assemble obsession (though it’s just over a week until my chance to see it for a fourth time). This episode saw my new favourite Hawkeye getting to do stuff so it was a welcome surprise.
Then there was lots and lots of writing. I have failed miserably over the last few months to do any writing, but now I’m in that quiet period after all my uni work’s done and before I head back to my parents for the summer break I’m trying to get back into the swing of things. Over the last couple of days I was starting to make headway and then today something clicked into place and I managed just under 5,500 words and passed the 10,000 overall words mark which was really pleasing.
In one of my breaks between writing spells I took my camera out into the garden to take a few photos of the beautiful clematises (clematii?) and spotted the odd insect flying around so took the chance to have a go at taking some macro pictures of things that are actually alive. This is one of them, it links to the set on my Flickr.
Whilst I was writing I tried a new singer on for size, I’ve been listening to a lot of Miranda Lambert in the last couple of weeks after falling in love with Gunpowder and Lead on American Idol. I looked to see who was doing the harmonies on her track Better In The Long Run and discovered it was her husband, fellow country star Blake Shelton. I’ve listened to a couple of his albums today and really liked what I heard, including this country take on Michael Bublé’s Home that features Lambert on harmonies.
On top of all of these things it was sunny, though nowhere near as hot as most of the UK which was pleasing, and this afternoon finished with me reading a great book in the garden with tea and bara brith. So many little things all pulling together to leave me feeling completely happy and content with the day.
After last week’s great start this second week of writing felt a lot harder. It was my reading week from uni so other than going in to work I didn’t have any time specific commitments, so it should have been fairly easy to balance everything. Right? Wrong.
For whatever reason most days I found it hard to get the words down on paper. I didn’t manage to write every day and on those that did it felt like a slog more times than it felt like things were flowing. Over the weekend there were a few times when I got tempted to give up altogether. I’m experiencing one of my bouts of insomnia which is making everything harder at the moment, and I’m pretty sure I can’t keep going like this. I can easily see how my health could start to suffer and I know that I need to act now before things get that bad.
The only one thing I could give up would be NaNoWriMo, but the idea of giving it up is one that is making me very sad. So I’m compromising and I’m taking this next week off. I have uni deadlines to meet and I’m going away for what should be a great weekend, so for now I’m letting NaNo slip. Next week once I’m home again and have got back on my feet after the weekend’s exertions I shall think about starting again. It’s pretty unlikely that I’ll hit the 50,000 mark by the end of November, but I’m starting to realise that that doesn’t matter all that much. The achievement of actually telling this story is going to be reward enough, whether I finish the first draft on 30th November or some date a little later.
I think I should probably have written this after yesterday’s writing and before today’s so that it was actually after the first 7 days not 8, but I didn’t so never mind. Yes it’s been one week of writing, and what a week it’s been.
On the first day I woke up to discover that people were already finishing writing for the day with word counts in the thousands. I quickly accepted that everyone works differently, settled down to write and for the first four days averaged 2,500 words which was what I was aiming at. I figure that if I aim at 2,500 words then that would have me hit the 50K mark in 20 days, leaving me 10 days where I didn’t manage to write anything. Good job too as Saturday and Sunday saw my parents visiting and no words written at all.
Today I passed the 15K mark, so I’m fully on schedule when it comes to NaNoWriMo. However I’m way behind schedule on things like blogging, uni reading and pleasure reading! I came close to having a minor meltdown over this, but have worked out a plan of action that I think might help in the next week.
My wall is filled with post it notes (turns out the odd surface is great for them to stick to). There’s one for each of the six major characters, one with the names of all of the characters I have so far, and then a mass of them covered in the questions and research points I’m coming up with as I write. Rather than go back each day and answer these I’m numbering them all and they’ll hopefully make the basis of the next stage after I finish this first very very rough draft.
One of the major issues I’m having is that I’ve chosen a small Welsh island to set my book on, but I’ve never been to this island so don’t know a lot of the specifics. Unfortunately, thought quite understandably, it isn’t covered by Google Streetview so I’m working at the moment from basic maps. The island has a real assortment of buildings in varying states of decay on it, and quite an involved history so one thing I know for sure is that next year once the boats start sailing again next Spring I’m going to need a visit!
It’s 1st November which means it’s time to get writing on this year’s NaNoWriMo.
I’m feeling a real mixture of emotions – excitement, terror, enthusiasm and downright panic. I’ve been spending the last few days trying to get organised and prepared, this is something I’ve never really done before – I’ve always just dived in headfirst. In the hopes that having some sort of plan will help me to get through the month I’ve managed to pull together:
- A setting
- One basically developed character
- 5-6 unnamed characters
- The basic plot for the first 8-10K
- A handful of scenes to be included
- Approximately 80 minutes of soundtrack
I definitely feel like I can sit down today and start working. Ideally I would have liked to get a bit more of an idea of the characters but hopefully as I start to write they’ll become better formed. I’m also hoping that as I work through the basic plot that I have I’ll be able to add more to the plan.
I really hope that it might work out this way, and that I won’t be ready to throw in the towel by Friday!
At the end of last year’s NaNoWriMo I made the decision I wasn’t going to try, and fail, in future years. Whilst last year was the best I’d managed, I still fell miles short of the 50K target. I’m even on record in the comments section of a couple of blog posts, and on Twitter as saying there’s no way I’m taking part this year.
Yesterday I had a change of heart. I read a blog post about writing that made something feel like it was clicking in my brain and so I said that I was tentatively considering NaNo-ing. Then by chance the only radio station I could get tuned in whilst I was cooking was Radio 1, and I ended up hearing the very first “Star Caller” feature on the Greg James show. People have applied for their favourite star to give them a ring for a chat, the lucky recipient yesterday happened to be a fellow student at Aberystwyth University, Gavin, and his Star was James Corden. Gavin is an aspiring actor and asked James for what advice he could give him, his response:
As long as you don’t give up then you will achieve something close to your dreams… if you don’t give up you can’t fail.
I’ve been thinking about that advice ever since, it might be simple but it definitely speaks to me and so I’ve decided to take the plunge. This year I will be taking part in NaNoWriMo. Who knows? This might just be my year.
It’s that time of year when thousands of people declare themselves NaNoWriMo winners. For another year I won’t be joining them. I started off pretty well but after a few days lost my impetus and never got it back. I don’t feel too bad about it though, I didn’t go into it this year with any plan of actually hitting the 50,000 word target. Keris and Diane both pointed out to me that if by the end of the month I had some words written I was in a better place than I had been at the beginning of the month. With this in mind I actually felt less pressured from the start and as a result I do indeed have a few thousand words and a rough plot outline that I didn’t have before. It’s the furthest I’ve ever got with a writing project so I still have a happy sense of achievement.
So to all of you out there who’ve hit the validate button and have a winner’s certificate, congratulations. And to all of you who like me have more words than you had at the beginning of the month, congratulations too.
I was talking on Twitter the other day with the lovely @Keris and @DianeShipley about writing. Well more specifically about not writing. Since I was young writing has always been something I’ve enjoyed and it’s always been on my list of dream jobs that are completely impossible and unrealistic. The last few years have taught me that whilst becoming a leading lady on Broadway is impossible and unrealistic, writing doesn’t have to be. It’s something I can at least try, I might fail but if I don’t try it then I’ll never know.
A couple of weeks ago Lee “Budgie” Barnett set a challenge on his blog. He has been writing Fast Fiction Challenges for a few years now, he asks people for a title of no more than four words and a word to be included in the text of the tale. He then writes a story of exactly 200 words using the title and word. For his birthday he challenged anyone who wanted to play to write a Fast Fiction with the title “Stranger and Stranger” and the word set. I’ve loved reading the responses Budgie comes up with, so I thought I’d have a go. Once I was done I realised that I’d written my first piece of fiction for years. It’s only a tiny step, but it’s a step in the right direction.
I’ve put my entry under a cut, so feel free to have a look at my brief foray back into the world of creative writing. Looking at it now I can see a few things I’d like to change, but I’m copying it across as it was written. If you want to read some of Budgie’s Fast Fictions than head over to here where all of his entries this year are collected (he’s been writing one a day since 1st June).
Continue reading “Dipping my toe in the water.”