The Post-Nano blues

Nanowrimo-2017

I originally started writing this post this past week but somehow it got deleted – lost, whatever somehow it didn’t get saved. So I’m rewriting it.

I certainly don’t have the post-nano blues. In fact I wanted to write but time just simply slipped away from me the first week of December. Work was busy and my personal life was jam-packed with all different appointments as well.

On Thursday (the official last day of Nano) and on this past Monday I worked overtime at work. We had a really big assignment, one that yearly returns and is for a huge charity event. So on Thursday I arrived at work around 7.30 in the morning and I was back home at 11 in the evening and on Monday I was home around 10 in the evening.  So there was no time to writ on those days.

On Saturday we had our yearly TGIO (Thank God It’s Over) party, we always have it on the first or second Saturday of December to celebrate that we made it through another November filled with writing. Despite the fact that I didn’t make it, I am content with what I did during November. In fact I’m super happy with it! So how could I not go to the TGIO. We talked, had fun and shared a perfect meal – I love that Florin Burger!

Sunday was the day I had planned for purchasing presents and making my surprise gift for our yearly Sinterklaas Surprise (which is kind of like Secret Santa). On Tuesday we actually celebrated Sinterklaas. It was such a fun thing! I got a great gift, the first part of The Mockingjay on a blue ray disk and a powerbank! And the packaging was simply amazing! My best friend’s son had me, so with help from his dad they made a complete stage out of cardboard boxes and they put Beth Hart and her complete band on the stage! So cool! It’s the best Surprise I ever got.

Surprise

The present was hidden underneath the stage. It’s really a beautiful present to receive and so perfectly catered to me! I love it!

Anyway the rest of the week was busy, busy, busy and the weekend I spend at my parents place. I hadn’t been there in a long time, and I also visited my grandmother. She’s such a sweet lady, I called her up in the morning and I went by we had a meal together.  It had been a long time since my grandmother and I had a meal together at her place. I should really do that more often.

And now it’s Friday again! How the hell did that happen? One more week until the Christmas break, wow the year is almost over! It’s almost unbelievable how fast the year flew by. And it is even more incredible how fast these past couple of weeks have flown by since November ended and not much writing has happened. Hopefully I can change that this weekend, but seeing how much I still have to do before Christmas I’m not sure if that will happen. We’ll see!

 

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November in hindsight

November2017

All throughout this month I’ve been thinking about my ‘November in hindsight’ post and I decided that I wanted to post this on my blog on November 30th. To literally finish the month off in the only right way, especially since I’ve been posting these hindsight post quite late these last couple of months. So half way through the month I started to write the first couple of things for this particular post. So that I would be able to just add some last minute changes to in on the 30th before publishing it.

Nanowrimo

My November has been all about Nanowrimo and it was a good month. We’re now literally at the end of the month and I can tell you that I have a accumulated a grand total of 33 516 words. A word count which I’m really happy about. This is way, way better than I expected to do and I’ve written way more creative stories than I ever could have imagined. And even though I haven’t reached the 50 000 words which were our goal for Nanowrimo I am content with what I did. It was hard – I’m not going to lie about it – I struggled but in the end I was able to get to a really nice word count. A word count which is much higher than I expected to reach, so nothing to be ashamed about. Maybe I’ll reach the 50 000 words next year. We’ll see.

Our Epic Blue Unicorn group had four meetings at the Library on Friday afternoon, around five we would gather and sit at ‘our table’. The only thing missing is the fact that they don’t put up one of those plates with reserved on the table for us. But other than that we can easily call it our table. Next to our Library meetings we also had one Ikea meeting. We had so much fun, we’ve invited some new people to our group and I sure hope some of them will stick around for the future. This was the fifth year our group was active and during those five years I’ve made some wonderful friends who are really dear to me.

Reunion

I was supposed to go to Groningen for another meeting with some of my vacation friends but that didn’t happen. For several different reasons we had to decide to move the weekend to February or March of next year. Because December and January are just going to be too busy to make it work. Hopefully I can tell you all about my city trip to Groningen in the first couple of months in the beginning of 2018. I’m looking forward to it.

Efteling

Since Groningen wasn’t going to happen I was free to make some last minute new plans for the last weekend of the month. My parents were going to the Efteling – it was a day out to the park provided by my dads work – and my mom asked me if I wanted to join them. The Efteling is a beautiful theme park in the Netherlands, and during the winter months they turn the park into a winter wonderland of sorts. It always has a special atmosphere which is vastly different if you go there in the summertime.

If you ever have a chance to go to the Efteling you should really do so it is a really beautiful theme park, whether you go there in the summer or in the winter. The theme park is different from any other theme park I’ve been too. They have their very own style which appeals to young and old people alike. Most people in the Netherlands have been there at least once and the park has been voted best theme park many times over. This year the park has even been voted the most beautiful theme park in the world by the Americans. And the park has been scoring well on all types of theme parks lists. It’s an original park by which I mean that it is not based on Disney for example so it has a very unique style.

I’ve been to the park so many times and I still love it each and every time. From an early age on I’ve been going there, with my parents, with our school on a school trip and nowadays I often go there with a group of friends. It is always fun to see that people from a young age all the way up until the elderly enjoy themselves.

Reading and writing

Since November is all about Nanowrimo you have already been able to read all about my word count and writing for the month in the beginning of this post and in all the other posts I made about Nanowrimo. So it would be a little redundant if I repeated it all again. So for now this is all going to be about my reading.

I’ve finished up my latest book in the last couple of days of this month, it was The Circle. A book which really got me thinking about all the things we’re giving up when we aren’t careful with our privacy. I learned one thing, I don’t ever want to give my privacy up. Not because I have a lot to hide yet simply because we should be able to keep some things to ourselves if we want to. And everything – every single detail certainly isn’t a good thing.

Music and television

I decided to write some posts I haven’t previously added to my blog, the first one was about the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. One of my favorite shows of all time. Another post I wrote about a television show was the one about the Once Upon A Time season six finale.

I also managed to wrote two cd reviews from albums I’ve been listening to these last couple of weeks. The first one was about The Corrs’ new studio album, named Jupiter Calling. I’ve loved the Corrs for at least the last twenty years and I was really surprised when this album came out. The second one was about Pink. A singer / songwriter who I really admire. She has been at the top for so many years and each and every time she comes up with a new song or a new album which tops the charts. Beautiful Trauma is a great new album – with a wide variety of songs.

Looking ahead:

  • December is right around the corner, everyone in the world knows what that means, the holidays are coming!
  • December also means lots of extra time at work! The busy December month, probably goes for a lot of people at work.
  • We in the Netherlands have Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on December 5th. We do a Secret Santa type of thing which is always a lot of fun!
  • Of course there is the TGIO party (Thank God It’s Over) and that refers to the party to celebrate that we’ve survived another November full of writing. I’m going to Utrecht to meet up with my fellow Dutch Nano’s.
  • Christmas! Who doesn’t love Christmas? I know I do, it means I’ll get some
  • New Years Eve still sounds so far away but it is right around the corner! And this year I hope to celebrate it in a different way than I did previously.

Nanowrimo – the last weekend

Nanowrimo-2017

So, the last weekend of the month is upon us. It’s unbelievable that we’re already at this point! It really flew by, even faster than other years if you ask me. Originally I had planned a weekend away for this weekend so there would be no writing for me. But that unfortunately had to be postponed most likely to February or March of next year.

So I’m home instead of away, I also asked an extra day of on Monday because I wouldn’t be home. Of course since my original plan didn’t go through I made other plans, but it also means that I have time to write at least something during this weekend. Which would have been next to impossible if it all came down to my weekend away. But still I have a lot of writing to do and not nearly enough time to do it. And of course there are other things I need to do. We have a huge time pressured assignment at work which needs to be done so this following week is probably going to be full of work as well and probably overtime. We’ll see what happens, I can’t predict the future. But I know that it will be a busy month ahead. In fact I’m actually surprised that I got Monday off. When I asked it, I hoped I would get it but I didn’t actually believe that I would.

Anyway, lets get back to the writing that is still ahead of me. I’m so pumped right now, I’ve gotten so much further than I expected. I want to do my best, I always do. Honestly that really is all I can do. We’ll see how I get through this weekend and eventually on Thursday we’ll see what the final word count of the month is going to be. I still have a couple of blog posts in the making for this month. They will be up in the next couple of days. And I’m working on a couple of different short stories. That is going really well at the moment. Something which I’m really proud off. It has been such a long time since I have been able to express myself in a creative writing manner. It feels so good to do so.

Dialog?

For me this month has been all about dialog? I already talked about my love for dialog in the post about the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. To me it’s what makes a story good. I want to read or hear earnest talks between people. It doesn’t have to be cheesy but it has to be genuine at least. And that is what I have been focusing on. Most of the short stories I have been working on have a large portion of dialog in them. One of them I even wrote 95 % of the dialog on one day and then I rewrote the piece the next day by adding in all of the details. The story is called ‘The argument’ and the first version is 500 words long, the rewrite is about 1300 words long. I only made small changes to the dialog in the second version – added or left some words out. But the added details fleshed the story out, made it stronger. I really liked the exercise and it helped me out a lot. I think that putting the focus on the dialog first made it a stronger story in the end. The story I wanted to tell was clear from the dialog alone – and I could have left it like that. Besides that if you don’t have to think of the dialog adding the details goes much easier as well. The second time around you can make the setting stronger by adding in details, displays of affection or any other emotion by adding touches, specific movements or actions to your characters. It’s all about action / reaction that makes it all stronger. So for now at this moment this is what works for me and I’ll continue to use it for now.

Will it work for you? Maybe it will, however it might also not work at all for you. I don’t know, I can’t tell anyone how to write. There are so many different ways to go through the process. Everyone has their own way of writing that story and we all need to find it for ourselves. However trying out different things might help you just like it helped me and that is the reason why I’m posting this here. Writing is not something that is easy for me. Not by a long shot, especially not these last couple of years. I’ve had my struggles and I know that I’m not the only one that has them. That is basically why I set up this blog. It is a way for me to continue writing. To push myself to do what I love and to not give up on it. And eventually to become a better writer.

Next to finding what works for me I have also tried to change the scenery. Whenever I’m home, alone. I noticed that I get easily distracted and sometimes it just doesn’t feel right. Whenever that happens I try to go somewhere else, often I go to the Library. It is one of my favorite places to write. I like the hustle and bustle of it all. They call it the ‘living room of the city’ and that really is what it feels like. Even though it is a big and industrial building they have managed the give it a really small and comfortable vibe. And that is why I spend a lot of my time off there. Just this Friday (all the Friday’s in November) I was there and now on Saturday the clock has barely past two in the afternoon and I’m here again. This time alone, yesterday with the Epic Blue Unicorns I managed to write less than 200 words. That didn’t really help my word count at all. I was just really tired and we had some conversations which required my attention. And by the time I got home it was already nine thirty and after spending some time on my phone with my mom I was too tired to make any type of coherent sentences or accumulate a word count. So I’m hoping that at least today I can do some catching up.

By the end of Saturday upped my word count to 30 203 words. On Sunday I didn’t have a whole lot of time to do some writing because my parents came over and we had a day out planned. My parents stayed the night and during Monday we had some plans to go shopping – early Christmas shopping. Not really that early … but you know what I mean. And now it’s Monday evening, the 27th and I have three days left and my total word count is 31 809.

Did you reach the 50K?

Did you reach the 50K already, congrats to you. That is a huge amount of words and you should be proud. However there is also something I want to say if you haven’t reached the 50k and if you might not even make it there. One thing I want to say and I have said this before but I’m going to say it once again and I hope that every participant in Nanowrimo takes this to heart. Nanowrimo is a commitment to write 50 000 in a months time to get that novel started. And while we pledge to get those 50 000 words written there is no shame at all if you don’t reach that goal. In fact you should be damn proud because no matter what happens you sat down and started writing. Whether you wrote 5000, 10 000, 50 000 or even a 100 000 words. No matter how many words you’ve written or whether you reached the goal of 50k be proud. Be damn proud of yourself! And whatever you do keep writing and feel blessed that you have this creativity. It’s quite something, remember that and don’t allow anyone to tell you something different! Writing is heard enough and until you sit down and do it you have no idea.

Just remember that, 50 000 is a number – something to reach for – but writing a story is what it really is about. And a story can be short or it can be long, it all depends on the type of stories your writing.

Celebrating every milestone!

Celebrate every milestone small or big. It is one step closer to your goal. I’m currently celebrating that I reached the 30 000 words during this past weekend. It’s nowhere near the 50k but that is no reason not to celebrate.

November 23th – One week left

Nanowrimo-2017

There is only one more week left in November, one more week of Nanowrimo. And well I think it’s not really going that well. At least according to the numbers it isn’t going too well. Like I said before I didn’t really believe that I would get anywhere near the word count. However I must admit that I’ve gotten a whole lot further than I had expected before the month started. There is no way to make an accurate estimate when you have no idea what you’ll be writing. The only thing I was sure of was that I would be writing blog posts but even those I hadn’t thought of before the month started. I could have done that prepared myself in some way, but I honestly didn’t know what to do. It was as if I had literally no inspiration at all.

I knew I would be doing a ‘Oktober in Hindsight’ post and I hoped that there would be a book review before the end of the month – which I’m still working on, there is a little bit more I to read to finish the book and the review. And I was going to write some updates on Nano of course, because I wanted to log the progress I’m making and I just have to tell you all about our wonderful meetings with our writers group at the Library or the Ikea or whatever other place we can come up with. But other than that I had no real ideas. I was just hoping that I would get some inspiration for other posts as the month continued on.

And I obviously did because I managed to write quite a lot of words, 27 500 words so far. Which is certainly a number that I didn’t expect to reach. And I’m happy with what I did so far and I’m not done. I am never giving up, but the end is still very far away.

Stats_nov23th

November 17 – 19th the weekend update

Nanowrimo-2017

This past weekend was going really well, when it comes to writing. I am so happy, one of the other Epic Blue Unicorns gave me a superb idea for one of my shorts stories. Last Sunday we had our Ikea meet and one the way back to the city I brought one of the new EBU with me to drop her off at the Station. And we were talking about our stories. She’s writing a science fiction story which is completely different from anything I’m writing. Since I’ve been writing short stories – most of them really short – I only really had one story to talk about the one I was struggling with, the longest of the short stories. The basic concept of the story is that a young girl becomes the guardian angel of her best friend and not a very good one at that!

I wanted the story to get a sort of build-up – because there were some things I wanted to explain without jumping right into it. I felt like it should have been a 5000 word story, when I started. But I was stuck at about a thousand words and that was more or less the introduction of what happened and how the young girl becomes the guardian angel to her best friend.

So we were talking about this and apparently it was still playing on her mind because she send me a PM on the Nanowrimo website. However I’d been so busy with work and writing that I didn’t check the messages. I mean I noticed the number of messages at the top of the page but I figured it was just the regular Nanomails – I don’t really read them, I have to admit. I continued writing more blog posts and short stories and this particular story was still on the back-burner. I knew I wanted to write more because it’s a fun story to write, I just didn’t find the right way to do so yet and I was still thinking of a way to achieve that goal.

Friday at the end of our Nanomeet at the Library she asked me whether I had read her mail and if I could do something with it. I honestly had no idea what she was talking about and I apologized profusely because I simply didn’t see the mail. She only asked me this as we were walking outside so I couldn’t check at that moment so I promised I would read it as soon as I got home. When I read the mail, the pieces of the puzzle started to fall together. What she wrote me was a perfect fit for the story. I can surely implement it and I will, I’ll of course cater it to my story but to my fellow Epic Blue Unicorn it will still be obvious where the idea comes from. I send her a message back, thanking her for what she wrote me and that I’m going to use it because it simply is perfect for this story.

Right now I managed to get the short story from about a 1000 words to 3500 words and I am still not finished with it. In fact I haven’t even started on the part that she gave me. At this point I’m working on the build-up to the moment where I can add the idea into the story. Right now I’m thinking the actual story might eventually be about 7000 or 8000 words before I’m done with it. We’ll see, I’m just really glad that I found the prompt that inspired the story. I’ve really missed this, just getting everything out on paper or well Scrivener in this case. It feels good.

So the writing at this point is going really well. Much better than I have been doing the rest of the month. It still remains to be seen whether I can actually make it to 50 000 but for now I’m doing good. And I’m happy with the progress I’m making on my writing just this weekend I managed to write about 3800 words and the weekend is still a long way from over.

I’ve reached 24 000 words this weekend, and I’m glad I did. According to the stats I should have been at or around 31 666 so I’m about 7000 words behind. That is still a pretty large gap, I’ve said it before and I am going to say it again I will most likely not make it 50 000 words but that’s okay. I feel good about my writing and that is so much more important to me than winning at this point. In fact I already feel like a winner just for the simple fact that I’m writing creative stories. I finished this weekend with a total of almost 5000 words.

Music and writing

I’ve been thinking about my blog a lot lately, I want to write more and I have been trying to find ways to do so. I want to write about things that I like and I’ve always liked music but I write maybe three concert reviews a year and that is not a lot. So I decided that I wanted to do something else with my love for music. And I’m going to do that by reviewing the music I’ve been listening to it might be a good way to get some more attention for certain artists who could use some exposure. My first review was of The Corrs’ new album ‘Jupiter Calling’ and the second is a singer/songwriter who really doesn’t need my help in that department but someone who I really like.

This is something new I’m going to try out, we’ll see how that goes.

Nanowrimo the halfway point

Nanowrimo-2017

It’s hard to believe, we’re already at the halfway point of the month. Time flies when you’re having fun I guess … a little bit too hard however if you ask me. The weeks have been flying by faster and faster and I feel like I’m missing out on so much. Maybe that’s just me or maybe more people have been affected by it. I constantly feel like there aren’t quite enough hours in a day. And with working full time and writing in the evenings my day seems so packed.

Writing-wise I can say that I am way behind on the schedule but I’ve been doing better. Anyway there is a schedule provided by Nanowrimo and there is my schedule and those two have never been quite the same in all of these years that I’ve been participating. So at this point I can still say that I’m not worried but I guess that’s not all that surprising. I mean why would I be worried. If I don’t make it to 50 000 words by the end of this month there is no man overboard, it doesn’t really matter.

I guess that it’s more difficult for me to reach 50 000 words because I’m not writing a new novel or one big story but rather short stories and blog posts. Therefor the writing process is different, since you write shorter pieces and then you have to come up with your next idea to write about. But I think that I’ve been doing pretty good especially considering how little I’ve been writing these last couple of months. And creative writing was really something that I’ve not been doing at all. So the fact that I have been writing a couple of short stories has been a huge relief for me. Creative writing has always been a huge part of my life but since I’ve been struggling so much I have also been feeling extremely blocked at the same time and that doesn’t help at all.

These past couple of days I’ve written a couple of short stories based on different prompts ranging from 300 words to 1500 and the one with 1500 words is still a work in progress so that’ll be longer. I guess around 5000 words in total – we’ll see where it ends. Right now every word written is a word more than I had at the beginning of this month and that surely makes me happy.

So what have I been writing this past half of the month?

First of all there are my blog posts related to Nanowrimo. Nanowrimo 2017 – a little look ahead to November. Nanowrimo kick-off write in – our writer’s groups first write in of this years November and of course my review of the first week. Of course I wrote a review on how my first week of Nanowrimo went, and I told you all how I tell stories.  There was another Nanowrimo update and my post about our yearly Nanowrimo the Ikea meet.

And I’ve written some other posts which I felt like sharing with you all. Of course there is my monthly review October in hindsight. This time it was followed by 300 times Grey’s Anatomy about one of my favorite television shows and the amazing way these episodes – all three hundred of them – have been written. Furthermore I’ve written two posts about Glow, this one – explaining what it is and the history behind it. Followed a second post about the actual Glow review.

I wrote a short story called ‘Death Day’ – based on a prompt I’d read a while ago which I really liked. At birth everyone has the date they will die tattooed on their arm. You were supposed to die yesterday. I now wrote one story, but I’m thinking of writing a few more based on this prompt because it has potential for more. The story that I wrote so far is one way to look at the situation.

The second story is a funny story about taking ‘A Hike’, where nothing is what it seems. It’s a really short story but it was fun to write.

The third short story is called ‘The argument’ and I started writing the story purely based on dialog. I let it rest for a day or so and then rewrote the same story but added in all the details without adapting the dialog I already wrote and I think I succeeded. That was a fun exercise to do! I think I might do that more often. In fact I wrote that after I wrote blog about Grey’s Anatomy. I definitely tried to write a strong dialog scene – like the scenes I admire so much on Grey’s.

At this moment I’m working on two new blog posts, one is the first part of a book review but I’m still reading the book and that is also the reason why I haven’t finished it yet. And I wrote a blog about #MeToo, but I’m unsure whether I will ever post it.

There are a couple of other things I’m working on. But those aren’t done yet.

 

Nanowrimo – The Ikea Meet

Nanowrimo-2017

Today is our yearly Ikea meeting, I don’t know it’s a thing we started to do a couple of years ago and in all honesty if we don’t have one it would feel strange. Like it isn’t really Nanowrimo – for me it’s part of the process. Just like the Kick off party the last Saturday before we start Nano and the Thank God It’s Over party (TGIO) in December and our weekly meets at the library.

Yesterday I had decided that I would go for a mountain bike ride in the morning hoping to clear my head and get ready for an afternoon of writing. Unfortunately it’s raining and I really dislike the rain and since I was sick with a fever only last week I think it’s best to not push it at the moment. So now I’m sitting here writing this instead. Jessica Jones is on the television – gotta love Netflix – which reminds me I just read the other day that Krystin Ritter (the actress who portrays Jessica Jones) is an author as well. She has recently released her first novel, Bonfire on November 7th. It sounds like the type of book I would love to read. I need to check that out later, she’s getting really good reviews but most of them are written by obvious fans although they all claim that is not the reason why they love the story so much. I read an interview with her and what she told was sounding very promising. She’s a very avid reader herself and now also a published author.

Outside my window the world looks gloomy – rainy weather makes it seem like it’s a lot earlier in the morning than it really is. Like dawn isn’t really here yet or just about to happen. For some people nine in the morning on a Sunday is very early. But I was awake so I decided to get up and start doing some things so I can at least claim that this has been a productive day despite all the writing I’ll be doing later. A day like this however is perfect when it comes to writing. You can sit down and not feel guilty for sitting inside and writing all day because it’s not like there is anything else you rather do.

The wash is in the washing machine and I’ll be doing a short training later on, something I’ve been doing these past couple of weeks. And then I might get some reading or writing done, depending on what I feel like. I know I’ll have to write more this afternoon so if I don’t have any strong ideas of what to write I might opt for reading. I’ve been reading ‘The Circle’ by Dave Eggers. A very lightly written book with huge implications – it’s a scary thought completely loosing your privacy. I’m curious to see where this story is going and once I’m done I will write a review about it. But that’ll be something I’ll be doing later, hopefully later this month – it should be this month because I’ve read about three fourth of the book so far.

Let’s do some stats, it’s day twelve and as I’m writing this its about 10 in the morning. Right now according to the Nanowrimo 1667 words a day I should have been at 20 000 words. But I’m only at 11 000 words. So in total I’m 9000 words behind. It should be doable – yeah, it is doable to catch up. Maybe not in a single day, but I’ll get there.

The Ikea Meet

We’re at the Ikea, I arrived around one in the afternoon. I first wanted to take a look at some things in the store which was why I was here earlier than expected. And I was join around one thirty by two other writers from our group. For a write-in I guess that we made pretty good word count. We did talk and we did get distracted by all the people who are shopping and eating in the Ikea restaurant. Because lets face it watching people is always a fun thing to do, especially since sometimes you might get an idea for a character or a situation which you can write about. But all in all we also did get a lot of writing done. My total at this moment is 2000 words! Which means that I have written more than the daily number of words for the second day in a row and even a little bit more than that. So I’m very content with the progress I’m making. Don’t get me wrong at this rate I will still finish on December 18th. But I’m working on bringing that date down to lets say … November 30th.

So once I go home I will continue writing for a bit longer and see if I can get a little bit more words in to close that gap a little bit more. Every word extra is a word more than I had previously and a step in the right direction.