The countdown

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This has been by far the strangest Nanowrimo week I’ve ever had. Even after this month, this particular week really topped it! I have been talking about all of this ‘crap’ that has been going on all month and today on the 25th that all sort of came to a conclusion of sorts. It’s not solved and it wont be for probably a long time. But I have found some piece of mind again. I’ve had a really difficult year at my job which literally started on the morning of my first work day of this year and concluded on this day. And as I’m saying this I also want to say that I am relieved because I can finally move on, I want this upcoming year to start on a positive note. I don’t know if it is possible to actually make that happen but I really hope so.

The 801 words I wrote today were not necessarily words I wanted to write but words I had to write. Since this is for a huge part reason why I’m so far behind I decided to add these words to my word count. Literally since this month started it has been an uphill battle and I want to see if I can still manage it.

Wednesday November 25th – Word count Wednesday: 801

There is so much I have to take care of because of that work related situation that I had literally no time left to spend on my story. I spend most of my day on the phone, seriously my cellphone and my land-line have never before gotten this kind of a work out it’s a wonder they didn’t blow up.

Thursday November 26th – Word count Thursday: 0

I thought that that 5000 words in a day was my max, but apparently it wasn’t. On November 27th I managed to write 6000 words. Even though I had already given up on winning Nanowrimo this year it kind of feels like it’s possible … I could theoretically still make it. I don’t wish this way of being able to get through Nanowrimo upon anyone but maybe this could be the one positive thing that gets me through this month.

I had a terrible sleep I was awake most of the night, first I couldn’t get to sleep and then I kept waking up and couldn’t get back to sleep and at 7.30 in the morning I was up again. I decided to give up on sleep and get some writing done. At first I wanted to work on my story. The first appointment of the day would be at one in the afternoon so I had some time to spare.

First I needed a breakfast, I made myself a couple of sandwiches and some tea and I sat down at my desk. I started writing at eight in the morning and didn’t stop till eleven in the morning and that was when my phone started ringing off the hook. I wanted to start writing on my story but I decided to write down a ‘small’ compilation of this past year and what the situation resulted into.

In my mind it was going to be a couple of dates and small entries which explained what happened. In the end it was huge. By the end of yesterday I was at 4500 words and this morning I continued writing because I came up with some other important and choice defining moments during this year. The file is now 5955 words long and in the next couple of days I will be adding more details.

So I had a word count of 4500 words on that file yesterday which I also decided to add to my word count for Nanowrimo because believe me it reads like an unbelievable story. And during the write-in at the Library besides all the talking I did about my situation I added another 1500 words to the daily counter. Which gave me a grand total of 6000 words.

I’m now at 34k … and given to the fact that I have no real plans for Saturday, Sunday morning or Monday besides some phone calls I might just make it. It could be do-able … I’ll keep you posted, these last couple of days might just safe me! And give me one positive thing about this month which has otherwise been a terrible situation which I don’t wish upon anyone, ever.

Friday November 27th – Word count Friday: 6000

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The final week

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No words, so nothing to say besides that I was too busy with other stuff. I wasn’t able to join the write-in which is a shame and obviously part of the reason why I didn’t get any words done on Friday. I went home to my parents for the weekend so Friday after work was spend on the road and on the couch with my mom. Which is a great way to start the weekend. Besides that I knew that I would have the time during the day on Saturday.

Thursday November 19th – Word count Thursday: 0
Friday November 20th – Word count Friday: 0

It’s the weekend! And getting to the daily word count is a little bit easier during the weekend than any other day of the week. In general you have a little bit more time during those days than you have during the week when I spend a lot of time at work. Anyway ever since I started writing this version of this story (it’s a re-write of last years Nanowrimo’s  project) I have been so content with what I am writing. It really works somehow, and if I’m unsure of where to go with a certain part of the story it somehow gets solved while I’m writing. Things I was unsure of even during the prep period are now getting cleared up while I’m writing the scenes. My story is going really well. I know that my word count is telling a different story but since the first day of November I have been dealing with a crisis situation at work and it takes up an awful lot of time and is putting a lot of pressure on me. Nevertheless I feel good about my story and the part that I have written, the words just flow. Maybe I’m grasping for something because at this moment this is basically the thing that keeps me going. When I’m writing I can put all the worries aside for a while. I’d hoped that I would have been able to get more writing done but I didn’t and that’s fine.

Saturday November 21th – Word count Saturday: 2024
Sunday November 22th – Word count Sunday: 1291

For a Monday 2210 words is a lot, usually Mondays aren’t my best day for writing but yesterday went pretty well I added a completely new scene. One that I had been wondering about. My main character needed to break out of prison, get to a safe place with some unexpected help and that was one of those parts which I hadn’t worked out yet. I still wasn’t sure what would happen however while I was writing the scene started to develop into a full fletched break out of jail scene. And besides that I broke through the 25 000 words line and that’s a great thing, just a little shame that it happened on the 23th of November. Chances are that I will not make it this year and I am fine with that. It’s a tad bit sad that things aren’t working out this year, it would have been my seventh win in a row and the seventh year I’m participating. So I won’t be able to keep that streak going and that’s a shame on the other side there is a lot I’m dealing with and every word I did write this month is a win. Reaching 25 000 words is a huge win, especially since I’m so content with what I am writing.

Monday November 23th – Word count Monday: 2210
Tuesday November 24th – Word count Tuesday: 659

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Day fifteen – the halfway point

Nanowrimo 2015 Participant

There is not a whole lot to tell about the first couple of days of the second week of Nanowrimo. I know that this week is also referred to as hell week but in my case it has been a wonderful week or at least it was a wonderful weekend!!! Damn! I really got ahead in my story, I am so happy when it comes to my writing. November on the other hand has been a time of extreme high and the lowest of lows.

Monday November 9th – Word count Monday: 1877
Tuesday November 10th – Word count Tuesday: 1076
Wednesday, November 11th – Word count Wednesday: 956

Thursday, November 12th
My first 10K!

Wohoo! I reached them finally at day 12 my first 10K. I know I’m doing really lousy and that I’m way behind. But seriously walk a mile in my shoes … lately there has been so much going on in my personal life and I’ve been getting so much crap thrown at me that right now I’m not even sure I’ll ever reach the 50K. Chances are that I won’t and that would really suck because so far I’ve always been able to make it. But this year (this whole year had been pretty bad, but lately it has gotten worse) the bar might just have been set too high. I feel confused, exhausted, disappointed but most of all I feel used. And I have to deal with so much at this moment that I really don’t see me reaching the 50k before the end of the month. But we’ll see how things will turn out, I’m just going to continue writing and use this as way to get some stress relieve, because that is what I really need right now. I’m currently just surviving, nothing more and nothing less.

Word count Thursday: 1101

Friday November 13th, Saturday November 14th and Sunday November 15th

The reason why I grouped these three days is because we had three write-in’s in three consecutive days! Yes, three! We started on Friday with our regular spot during November, the Library. Our group’s honorary member came all the way from Sweden to re-join us. It was wonderful to see her again and to be able to have three meetings in a weekend. It really helped me to up my word count. On Friday I joined the meeting later than expected and I had to leave earlier because I had another appointment which makes it obvious why the word count on Friday was relatively low. However on Saturday we had a meeting at the Ikea! Yes, if your Swedish friend joins you all the way in the Netherlands for a weekend of writing take them to the one and only local Swedish Furniture Giga-store. We had a good laugh about that as well. But over here in the Netherlands the Ikea stores have a huge cafeteria area where we can sit down, use their electronic outlets, have a drink (and free refills) and food for a very nice price. We arrived around noon and left the store at eight thirty PM. Yes, that was an eight hour write-in!!! I wrote 5000 words that day! I really needed that word count! So I was really happy, what I was especially stoked about was the fact that I really took a leap in my story. I added three chapters and it was almost like an outer body experience, the words just flowed and certain events which had all along been unclear to me. Even while I was plotting I wasn’t able to get them clear in my head, suddenly became extremely clear. I’ve had that a couple of times before and each and every time whenever I re-read those stories I can hardly believe that I am the one who wrote them. So at this point I have a really good feeling about my story.

The only downside to the weekend was that I didn’t make it to the goal that I set for myself. I really wanted to reach 20k. That would have been awesome, it would mean that I wrote 10k in three days! It was too much, I wasn’t that far off but I just couldn’t go on.

Word count Friday: 730
Word count: Saturday: 5065
Word count: Sunday: 3553

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Monday November 16th, Tuesday November 17th and Wednesday November 18th

I know I’m not doing well at all and I really doubt that I will make it this year. There is a situation in my personal life which is taking up all of my attention and most of my energy. I’m trying really hard to use my writing as a way to deflect the anger and disappointment I’m feeling. Yet a lot of my time is being consumed by talking to my parents and sister on the phone and trying to find the information we need so desperately.

Monday November 16th – Word count Monday: 304
Tuesday November 17th – Word count Tuesday: 796
Wednesday, November 18th – Word count Wednesday: 517

November first – finally it’s here!

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Nanowrimo care-package

First things first, I opened my care-package today. I received an amazing box of goodies! I really like it! There are two crochet puppets, they are so cute. A plot catcher and a wooden plotbunny, a handwarmer, notebook, a pen and a mechanical pencil. There are also a couple of candles and a couple of Lush soap samples. There are also five little bags which have a number on them 10 – 20 – 30 – 40 and 50 which I can open when I reach 10 000, 20 000, 30 000, 40 000 and 50 000 words.

I really like the care-package I received, it’s so much fun. If I’m going to do Nano next year I’ll make sure that I sign up again, I’ve had so much fun looking for presents for my package and also opening the one I received. I can recommend it to anyone!

Nanowrimo has started!

The anticipation is over, the prep period is over. Now it’s time to get the writing done that I have been looking forward to since early September. Because that is how long I’ve been preparing myself for November, I’ve been looking forward to this moment for such a long time. Since I’ve been doing all this preparation you might expect me to finish the first day with at least a days worth of word count – 1667 words… But I don’t have it. In all honesty this is the first year that I have not written from 0.00 to 1.00 last night. I was too tired and during the day today I was busy. I only got home around eight and haven’t done much writing ( besides this post ). I’ll make it up tomorrow, right now it’s time for bed. One thing is for certain, this is the strangest start to Nanowrimo I’ve ever had.

I’ve always participated in the midnight kick-off even if it was a weekday and I had to work the next day. Just during this past year many things have been different, I’ve been more stressed due to my work situation and I have been changing and adjusting my sleep patterns to a more healthier pattern. Which means that I am more used to getting to bed around eleven that I am at a later time nowadays. So by that standard right now is bed time for me. So the actual start of Nanowrimo for me has to be tomorrow.

Better get your ***t together!

It’s time, time to get your shit together! The beginning of Nanowrimo is near, November is about to start and there are only two full days left for your preparation. Around me I hear sounds from different writers who are ready to start, either because they are ready with their outline or simply because they are pantsers. And start with a blank screen and a (hopefully) full mind on November first.  Other’s are getting frustrated with too many ideas and some just don’t know what to do. Everyone has their own approach to Nanowrimo and that is what makes it fun, you can learn so much.

As I’ve said before I’ve been working on my outline for a while. And I have answered many questions to get the creative juices flowing and get some new ideas. I didn’t finish my outline, simply because I can’t. I know where I want my story to go however at this point I don’t want to settle just yet. My outline goes from the start to just past the midpoint of the storyline and that is as far as I want it to go at this point. I think that while I’m writing the rest of the storyline will become clearer to me. Especially since I have to see how some of the characters interact throughout of the story.

Since I’m going to work on a rewrite for last years story the boards I created on Pinterest last year still apply for a big part. So I kept them and I will be adding to them when I find something I need or want to use. I like to keep it all in one place and using Pinterest means that I can access that information from anywhere. Which is a big plus!

Carepackage update

Per instructions on the package I’m not allowed to open it before November first. So I’m waiting … even if it’s difficult since I’m way too curious for my own good. So it’ll be Sunday night before I can actually open it since I won’t be home this weekend.

I’m so ready to start Nanowrimo!!!

Preparation is key – part II

Nanowrimo 2015 ParticipantLike I said in my previous post – Preparation is key – in my case the preparation really is the most important part of the process. I know that I can do the writing that ain’t the problem – I mean I’m not claiming that I’m good at it, just that I know how to do it. The problem is that while I’m writing I keep coming up with better ideas, which means that a lot of my writing ends up in the dumpster – so to say. And that’s a shame because there are a lot of hours I put into it, a lot of time spend sitting behind my computer fleshing out the scenes. And I knew that if I ever want to finish a story I have to start at the right place to really give it a chance to become as good as I can make it.

So in September I started thinking about my story (that’s not completely true I’ve been thinking of this story ever since November ended) – of course I’m doing a re-write so I already knew some of the changes I wanted to make in regards to last years version. At the same time it was also really clear to me that I needed more changes to make the story even more interesting and appealing.

Which is why I was reading through the book ‘Outlining your Novel’ and the ‘Outlining your Novel workbook’ by K.M. Weiland. I really like reading through the books, there were obviously things which I already knew but sometimes you just need that step by step explanation to get to the point of the matter. It also helps when the examples given are of a more modern nature – Star Wars, The Hunger Games and some movies that I’ve seen. Often – in other books – I’ve seen examples given by using the classic novels – I love reading yet I have to admit that I have never really read the big classic novels. So using those novels as examples doesn’t always work at least not for me.

About two weeks ago I came down with the flu and I had to stay home for about a week before I was feeling well enough to go back to work. During that week I was able to work on my outline and think about the scenes I want to use in my book. And I think that at this point I’m about half-way through the outline of this book. And I’m really excited to really start working on this story, I really feel like this could be an interesting story to tell.

Another part of preparation – The Nano Kick-off party!

Yesterday, October 24th was the day we held our national kick-off, in Utrecht like we always do. It was a really well-organized meeting. The only downside for me was that since I’ve been sick my voice has been really bad and during the afternoon and evening my voice became more and more of a problem. So it was pretty hard to talk to people – which meant that I basically kept to the people who I already knew. Nevertheless I did have a great afternoon, I enjoyed myself and I’m really glad that I went.

I also participated in the ‘care package exchange’, it was the first time that I actually took part in it and I really enjoyed myself.  I found some really practical, cute things to add to it.  When I arrived the Dutch ML’s (municipal liaisons) started laughing – the reason was that the person who made my package for me used the exact same wrapping paper as I did for my package.

The only downside is that the person who made my package is really testing my patience … it says that I can’t open it before November 1st. So I guess, I’m going to have to wait a little while longer.

There are only seven days left before Nanowrimo starts! Are you going to participate? What are you going to write about?

Preparation is key

Nanowrimo 2015 ParticipantPreparation is key. That is one of the things I have definitively learned the hard way these past years during Nanowrimo. Not that Nanowrimo has been hard these past years, that is not what I meant to say by that statement. During those November’s I was on a roll and nothing could stop me. But in December doubts started to roll around and I knew that I could improve the stories I was working on by changing a lot of different smaller and bigger things.

Where I made my biggest mistake last year

This is what happened last year. I had the idea for my story pretty much thought out, however not much of it was really planned out. I choose a point on my time line which was too far back – before the action. So when I reached the end of November and also that magic 50k line I was still getting into the story. The build-up was too slow and took way too long. It wasn’t bad, I got to develop some of the characters in depth – which I am sure I can use to my own benefit this year but not in the way I wrote it last year. More as background info and a better understanding of the characters I’m writing about.

That was a huge mistake I made, I could have thought it out better – took more time to go over the details polish it up before November. I didn’t, partly because I never before took the time to plot before I started working on a story. I read the book ‘Outlining your Novel’ by K.M. Weiland and as I said in my review of the book it helped me to get a better understanding of the process.

You have to start where the action is, grab the focus of the reader and keep them interested. I have been thinking about my story idea this past year and due to that reason I have also decided to change another significant character drastically. Last year my character ‘Ezra Miles’ was my main characters best friend. He took care of her and basically cared for her because she needed the help. However during this year I have decided that he’s going to be the exact opposite, he is actually one of the people who makes her life even more difficult. Reason for that is that I belief that it will make for a more interesting and surprising story.

What I’m changing this year

For instance yesterday I wrote the premise sentence for my story. Which I formed due to the answers I wrote down following the questions from the ‘Outlining your Novel workbook’ written by K.M. Weiland (which is also part of my Reading Challenge – there will be a separate review for this book). This premise sentence says enough, without revealing too much. Although I do think that it’s still a little bit too lengthy, but that’s okay I can live with that.

Silver Lining (working title)

Ainsley McCallum (protagonist) wants nothing more than to be a normal member of society. Instead she’s been living on the edge of her community (situation), because she never received her ‘sign’. When she finally gets her ‘sign’, she almost wishes that she never had (disaster) because she finds herself being chased by the Watchers (opponent). They want to stop her from reaching the people who might be able to give her the answers she’s seeking (objective).

Premise sentence – Nanowrimo 2015

I’m going to work through the book, see what I can use from it and if something doesn’t work for me I will see what I can change to get on with the work. I love it, I thought that plotting would be boring that it would take the fun out of the experience but so far it has been great. Although of course the real test follows in November. Will it still be fun to actually work on the story? Or am I going to be so done with it that I can’t get any real writing done?

I really hope that it doesn’t come to that, because with the year from hell that I have behind me I need November to be extra fun! And I really hope to accomplish something during November so that when I look back at this year I have something to look back on with a smile.