Nanowrimo the first week

Nanowrimo-2017

So… we’re at day seven and the first week of Nanowrimo is officially over. So yep, one fourth is done. Gone forever, time we’ll never get back and the results are … not quite were I hoped they would have been at this point.

I knew that I wasn’t writing enough to stay on schedule but I had good hope to catch up this weekend and I did make it through a good day word count wise on Saturday, I made it to the daily word count. However I had some appointments on Saturday which used up some of the time, and actually all of the evening. But during the night I got a fever and I barely slept. When I got out of bed – way to early – on Sunday morning everything hurt and I was feeling miserable. All I did was just lay on the couch and watch Netflix – I couldn’t be bothered by writing or reading for that matter. I can truly say that I’m almost completely caught up with ‘Once Upon A Time’ at this point but other than that I didn’t get anything done. I was too tired, even sitting up was too tiring and I was back in bed by the time the clock hit eight in the evening. I had a good nights sleep and when I woke up on Monday morning I was feeling well enough to go to work. So since I didn’t get any writing done I was even further behind.

But let’s forget all about that and move forward into week two. Also known as hell week! Hope that doesn’t prove to be a huge issue this year. I’m only six thousand words behind on schedule. That should be do-able! I’ve done it before and I still have some time to catch up.

Are you participating in Nanowrimo? How are you doing, are you on schedule, behind or did you do better?

 

Advertisements

Nanowrimo kick-off write in

Nanowrimo-2017

Our first Nanowrimo meeting of the year is a huge success, next to the usual suspects their are currently five new people who joined us at ‘our table’ in the local library. The first of our group arrived around four in the afternoon but most of us joined in around five or six – with work and all that other grown up stuff earlier isn’t an option for most of us. We completely took over one of the tables, even sent someone away who was already sitting there away – sorry! There just wasn’t enough space! It’s fun so much fun – everyone is talking about their novels and stories. As usual, all of the people in our group are so divers but when it comes down to it we all have the same passion and that is what makes it so much fun.

It’s in my opinion the best thing about a write-in, to hear all the different ideas everyone is working on. I’ve heard so many different story ideas from across the table its amazing. I feel a bit left out because I don’t have a story nor do I have an idea of what I shall be writing about. I’ve heard all about aliens and zombies, super heroes, a story with a historical aspect and a storyline set in the Harry Potter verse but set at a different and new school. There is so much creativity flowing around me.

I really need to get my shit together. Let’s be honest here I used to love creative writing – don’t get me wrong I still love it but I’ve been struggling for so long now that I sometimes wonder if I ever get that creativity back. Sometimes I wonder if it’s an age thing. I mean I’ve been changing so much I like different things now. However I still feel like writing is part of my life. But I really haven’t done it in a long, long time. It’s itching … I want to write but I feel empty. It’s strange how you can be so blocked, so closed off. That really is my goal this month. I want to get back into creative writing – will it get me to 50 000 words. I’m not sure, maybe with a combination of different things. There must be some writing exercises I can do.

Lately I’ve been watching a lot of Once upon a Time on Netflix, I’ve been catching up on the show. I stopped watching it when they decided to no longer air it in the Netherlands. The only way to see it would have been if I had gotten HBO. And now that I’m catching up on it I realize how much I love the show. Right now I’m thinking of writing fanfiction again, I’ve been doing that for years and it has always given me a lot of joy to write. So maybe I should just start out with some easy add ons to the show. Or search for some ‘Once upon a Time’ story prompts. I’m sure there should be enough to go around. That is what I’m going to do. I’ll search for some prompts and see if that’ll get me writing again.

Anyway during our first official Nanowrimo 2017 meeting we had homemade blue unicorn cupcakes and brownie cookies. And we talked and talked a lot. Of course that doesn’t really help your word count when it comes down to it but that doesn’t matter we talked about writing and in the end you feel rally inspired to continue once you get home. I for one continued writing this blog post with a smile on my face. I’m already thinking ahead of the next blog I’m going to write.

If you have a chance to join a write-in in your area if you’re participating in Nanowrimo I can only tell you to do one thing and that is to join them. It might not be the thing for you, but join them just to see if it might inspire you. I once didn’t have a very good experience with a write-in in a different city but I’m glad that I didn’t let that stop me from trying again a couple of years ago. When we initially started this group there were a few of us that stuck to it, the main group has been going strong for five years now and every year people have joined us. Some stay and some leave again but all in all our group has been growing and right now I can assure you that I have gained some amazing friends through my writing adventure. We’re not only just meeting up for writing during November but all throughout the year. And also for trips to different Cons – we’re all nerds – the movie theater and workshops or courses. And it looks like we’re meeting up for New Years Eve as well. A whole new world can open to you if you join a writers group. So do it, give yourself that chance to meet like-minded people.

May in hindsight

May_2017

It’s hot and it’s cold, May has been going two ways the whole month. One minute it was cold and we were still wearing our down coats and the next minute we were walking outside with our T-shirts and sunglasses on. The same was happening in my life, one minute I was running hard to keep up and then everything came to a halt and there was time to spare. It was a strange month but all in all time flew by. We’re already nearing the half year mark of 2017. It’s so hard to believe!

City trips

I’ve been working a lot of overtime this past month, even worked on some days when we were officially free due to a national holiday and on a Saturday. Which is not usually a work day for me. I didn’t get to make any trips, the weather wasn’t all that good this past month, it was quite cold. And with work I didn’t have the time. Besides looking ahead to my upcoming vacation I knew that I needed money for that so I’ve been saving up some money whenever I could. So no trips this past month, but I’m sure that I will make up for it next month. 😉

Reading and writing

So I’ve been reading the second book in the When Women Were Warriors series, and as soon as I finish this book I’ll dive straight into the third and final part of the story. The other book I’ve been reading is a travel guide. I need to know some information before I start my journey. I’m so looking forward to my trip.

I honestly haven’t really been writing much lately. For some reason the need to write is gone, there has been a time in my life where writing felt like breathing, something that I needed to do. But nowadays that need is gone. And I feel like I can’t force it. So I’m not going to force it. I’m at peace with it, for now.

Looking ahead:

  • Hanson, Hanson, Hanson!!! Twenty five years of Hanson being a band, twenty years of me being a fan!
  • I booked my vacation, I’m going to Sadinia! An eight day trip! I’m so excited.
  • I’m thinking about going to a festival, I still have to purchase the ticket but it’s a chance to see Beth Hart. I love her and it has been quite a while since I’ve last seen her perform. Which reminds me I should really rewrite an restore some of my concert reviews! (long overdue)
  • The grafitti festival is coming up, so I’ll probably go there.

February in hindsight

February_2017

February the shortest month of the year is certainly proving to be right. It even feels like this month was even shorter somehow, time is flying by so fast I can hardly comprehend that another month is done!

City trip

The month was so short and busy that I hardly had any time to make any trips, I’m right now planning a trip or maybe even two for March. So there will certainly be at least one, but I’ve purchased three train tickets which I can use during the weekends. I have to use the three ticket on three days before April 16th – which happens to be my birthday. The weekend before is my dad’s birthday, so I am going to have to use them during March.

Reading and writing

I managed to finish reading two different books – completely different books at that. they couldn’t have been any further apart. I finished reading ‘Gone Girl’ written by Gillian Flynn which I really liked but also offered a huge insight into how sick a persons mind can actually be and how – with a lot of planning and deception – you can trick anyone into believing the story you spin in front of their eyes. After reading that book I needed something completely different, something lighter so I followed it by a children’s’ book ‘Fortunately, the milk’ and I wrote the for both books during February.

I’m planning on reading at least one book during March, of course I hope to be able to add more than just one to my list but the books I’m currently reading are quite thick. One is a paperback and the other one I’m reading on my tablet, my tablet is easier to bring with me when I’m out and about and the paperback is what I read when I’m at home. Which is why it sometimes takes such a long time to finish the books.

Gaming

I’ve been a gamer for quite some time now I started with some games on my desktop computer. Then I had a Playstation 2 and a PSP way back when, but now I’m in love with the Xbox One. I recently sold my old Xbox 360 because I wasn’t using it anymore,  especially since most of the games I own are backwards compatible on the Xbox One. I bought the Xbox 360 as a test, it was a refurbished model I wanted to see if I would use it or if it would be gathering dust in a short amount of time. Since that wasn’t the case I bought the Xbox One last year together with The Division which means that it is now a year old. If I remember correctly the release date for The Division was early March. And I have been using it quite a lot. The Division is still my favorite game to play but I have also been doing quite a bit of Destiny, Assassins Creed and I’ve been recently I started playing GTA V.

I was really looking forward to March because of two games that are being released this month. Ghost Recon Wild Lands and Mass Effect Andromeda. Ghost Recon is of course from the same developer as The Division. And Mass Effect is actually the first game series which I played from the first game till the third game all the way through to the end. So it’s nostalgia and I really want to see it.

Looking ahead:

  • Planning another city trip, who knows where I might go this time? S’Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch) or Vlissingen, Amersfoort maybe. And I’m thinking of Groningen. But we’ll see which places I’ve actually visited when the once the month of March is over.
  • Lindsey Stirling – My first concert of 2017, actually my first concert in almost a year! That’s bad, I really need to go and see more concerts. The venue is 013 – Tilburg, March 17th. I’m so looking forward to this one, I have high expectations and she has been on my list for a while along with Pentatonix (PTX) who I still hope to be able to see although truth be told I’ve already missed a couple of concerts they’ve given in the Netherlands.
  • We’ve planned the High Tea, I’m going together with my mom and sister on the 19th of March! It’s something I’ve been wanting to do for the longest time and finally we are going! We’re also planning on a small shopping spree while were at it.
  • Pinkpop 2017 – the Pinkpop press conference is during the month of March which also means that by the end of it we’ll know most of the names that’ll visit us during the three days in June and the sale for the tickets will start a couple of days later! By the looks of it I’ll have to be fast if I want to get tickets, especially since Justin Bieber has been announced. Mind you, he’s definitely not on my ‘must see’-list but if he’s there why not. The music he’s been making has been quite catchy to say the least. Besides that Green Day, the Kings of Leon, System of a Down and Martin Garrix have been confirmed as well.
  • Planning a vacation! So many choices, so many places to visit! I still have to make up my mind about a destination.

January in hindsight

january_2017

Last year I wasn’t really been feeling all that good about myself or where my life is at. Let’s face it, I’m thirty something and when I was younger I had hoped that my life would have been at a certain point and in all honesty that is not the case. And yes, due to some other rather personal stuff I’ve been feeling quite depressed. So I decided that I want to be happy with the things that I do have instead of feeling depressed about things that I don’t have.

And that is the reason for this post. I want to document things I’m grateful for, and this is also part of becoming a better version of myself. However right now this is a learning process and therefor what I do right now might not prove to work for me in future posts but I’ll try to come up with a sort of post that gives me a way to look back on the past month and keep things interesting for you to read.

At the end of this blog I will also add some things which I’m looking forward too in these following months.

Celebrating Christmas

Yes, no worries I am aware of the fact that this post is called January in hindsight and usually you would be right if you say that Christmas is celebrated in December. However in this particular case you are wrong! My sister and her husband made the trip of a lifetime – literally they went on a two month holiday trip to Singapore, New Zealand and Fiji.

They left in November and came back on January 6th so we had to adjust some of our holiday plans to their schedule and for that reason we celebrated Christmas 2016 2.0 on the third weekend of January. It was a really nice way of celebrating Christmas because there was literally no stress. Lets be fair, the holidays are often a very stressful situation because all of the pressure we put on ourselves and our friends and family. We always buy presents for one another, and since they weren’t here before we still had some presents to open. The ones I bought for my sister and brother in law were received with surprise and happiness. I purchased a gift card for a high tea for both my mother and sister. Of course my mother already knew this because I gave her the present in back in December but I had asked her not to say anything to my sister. Which resulted in a very happy sister who loved the idea of going on a high tea with my mother and I. Now all we have to do is set a date and actually go to Den Bosch for a nice Sunday shopping and having a high tea. That’ll probably make another nice post for a city trip, after all Den Bosch is a city with beautiful old buildings. Which brings me to the next part of this blogpost.

City trip

My first city trip post was written about Rotterdam, my first real visit to the city and it’s beautiful Markthal building. Read all about it in my blog about Rotterdam, you can find it over here.

Reading and writing

I haven’t written as much as I would have liked but I’m getting better at it. My first post was one about my ideas for 2017 and beyond, you can read it here. In which I explained that there are quite a couple of things I want to change about myself and my life and I also gave some hints about how I’m planning on achieving those goals. Most of the month however consisted of some drafts for future posts and little else.

In my city trip post I’ve also mentioned some books which I purchased at the book fair and which will – if everything goes as planned – show up here on this blog in the near future in the form of a book review for my 2017 Reading Challenge. The book I’ve been reading during this past month is ‘Gone Girl’ by Gillian Flynn and ‘Monkeewrench’ by P.J. Tracy. Two books which I hope to finish this month, so I better get back to reading! ‘Gone Girl’ shouldn’t be a problem, though the other book might proof a little bit more difficult because there is a bigger part of the book I still need to read.

Projects around the house

One of the best things I did for myself is trade in my old desktop computer for a laptop. Finally I was able to get rid of that huge desk I had because all I needed is a place to put the laptop down. I have rearranged some things in my living room and it looks amazing. It looks more and more like a grown up apartment and less like the room of someone who’s still trying to be a student even though those days have long gone.

So out with the old and in with the new, a new desk with a black glass table top combined with the really funky leather orange chair looks amazing. I’ve also bought some new decorations for the window sill, which looks beautiful and the fun part was that all the changes I made were really affordable but the result is huge!

And to top it off, I’ve finally painted my bathroom wall and ceiling, a job which had to be done for at least a year which I kept pushing forward.

Looking ahead:

    Lindsey Stirling – My first concert of 2017, 013 – Tilburg March 17th.
    High Tea with my mom and sister – my Christmas present to them both, we still have to come up with a date but it’ll probably be in March.
    Pinkpop 2017 – more names should be announced soon! I really want to go!
    Planning a vacation! So many choices, so many places to visit!

The end is near

nanowrimo-2016

Wow, that sounds really depressing! And that was certainly not what I wanted to say or what I was going for.  I was actually referring to the end of the month, the end of November and as we all know that also means the end of this years Nanowrimo.

As expected I didn’t make it and that is not really a surprise. However what is kind of surprising to me is the fact that I don’t mind that I didn’t make it. I expected that it would be harder on me, I mean I’ve been doing this since 2009 and this is the first time that I am not going to make it.  I expected it to be harder on me especially since I’ve been beating myself up for all types of things which have been going on often things I don’t have any control over – but this is not one of them. I am fine. And it feels good, I choose to focus on what’s important to me at this moment. And this month that was writing and getting some of these things that have been bothering me off my chest. And that in the end  it only accumulated to 10 000 words during Nanowrimo that’s fine.

I know that I did what I could and I finally am back to writing something even if it isn’t a story per say. After all most of the things I’ve written this month have been current and future blog posts (posts which still need some work or which I can’t upload just yet). But I’m happy and that’s all that matters right now.

A couple of our writer’s group members had already validated their word count last week and we decided that we would have a small party during our last write-in of the month which was this past Friday. One member baked a cake with rainbow colored frosting and another member made chocolate cupcakes. We had a blast at the library and the treats were delicious. We really have gathered a great group of writers in our Nanowrimo group and I am happy to be a part of that group.

The month is almost over and I have almost reached the goal of 10 000 words which I have set for myself. So even though I can’t validate I am a winner in my own eyes and with a competition like Nanowrimo that is all that counts.

This years Nanowrimo will be concluded in one more post which I will write once I visited the thank God it’s over party next Saturday.

Book 6 – How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson

2016-book7

A must read for everyone who wants to write a book – or has a story they would like to tell to the world – not because it’s the best book ever and it gives you solid advice and exactly the ten steps to write that bestseller. No, simply because it gives you a different view on how you could write a story. We all know that there are probably as many ways to write a story as there are writers. And that’s okay, however most of them can be a added into a couple of groups. Plotters, who plot every single thing out and have a very extended outline, character charts and more before they ever start writing a single word of the actual story. They know where they start, what the middle holds and what the ending will be like and most likely every detail in between. The other mayor group are the panters, writers who have a very flimsy idea of what they want to write and they sit down and start writing.

I always thought that I belonged to the pantsers but for me there is a huge problem with that. I have an idea, a beginning, characters in mind but I have no real idea of where the story goes. So I keep adding details and in the end there literally is no end. Most of my stories are WIP’s (works in progress) because of that reason they remain that way because I never figure out how to give the stories a proper ending. Because I have been adding so many story lines to my initial idea along the way that I can’t see the ending – or that is what it feels like to me. So I guess that I am neither a plotter nor a pantser. So what am I? That has been something I’ve been looking for ever since I started writing, I never really felt like I was following the right course.

I knew that I was in need of something new, a different approach, something that would take me away from the path that I had tried to follow since it obviously wasn’t working for me. Years ago I tried looking into the Snowflake method, I knew some fan fiction writers who used it and it sounded promising. I looked into the website but it sounded extremely boring,  however for some reason at that point in time it simply felt wrong. And if it doesn’t feel good, I know that there is no reason to try it because it’s not going to work no matter how hard you try.

With my creativity level so low and me being so blocked from doing anything creative I thought that it was best to try something different, so I started reading this book which had been on my tablet for the longest time. And I really enjoyed reading it, it’s set up like a ‘fairytale’ kind of like story. Which really made me smile – it’s all about a couple of bears, a wolf and Goldilocks who wants to write a book. It’s a fun story to read and to top it off you take away some information and advice that might help you with future projects. While I might never use all the information I read in this book I will always take away some information which I read and use it for my own stories.

So far I haven’t really put the strategy to the test because all I’ve been working on this Nanowrimo so far is these book reviews and a blog posts. And I’ve also been having some ideas for a short story – an idea which was given to me by one of my fellow writing buddies – however that story is probably going to be too short to put the Snowflake method to the test. The story might be somewhere around 2000 words maybe a little bit more but never more than 5000 words. Anyway, I haven’t written the actual story yet but I have been thinking about it, so that’s progress and I’ve worked out some of the details I want to put in the story. Which is progress in my book. But this post shouldn’t be a Nanowrimo update it should be about the book I’ve read. Let’s get back to the book.

What I really liked about this book is that the ten step process was wrapped up in a nice story and not a step by step thing you usually see when you read a course book or something similar. Which made it even easier to read and to work through. I guess that years ago when I first came upon this Snowflake method it was through a website and the information was very to the point and straight forward which made it sound extremely boring and I quickly turned away and went about writing stories the way I always had been doing. Which was basically on the fly with a very limited idea of what I wanted and coming up with the rest of the information as I worked on the story which made it almost impossible for me to finish stories because I always kept coming up with new ideas.

The fact that this book was such an easy read made it a lot of fun to work through it and learn the ten steps. What I also liked was that the ten steps are explained through the story but also by giving solid examples. And at the end of the book you can even find way the author used the ten steps to create this book. So it’s a complete learning process.

Like I said before, even if I might never follow all ten steps I surely will take away the information I need from these steps. For now I’m signing off with a recommendation for this book is a must read for everyone who wants to finally get that story written.