NaNoWriMo Approaches

It’s that time of year again. The time when I decide whether or not to take up the November writing challenge. I did it last year, won and have spent ever since trying to make my effort into something readable. I’m still working on it and its grown to over 90,000 words as I try to get it to a suitable ending.

In the past, I’ve always struggled to start or got bogged down in the middle somewhere. Lost focus or lost interest or just found that time had overtaken me and then it was difficult to get started again. I’ve been lucky to be able to use Scrivener to break it up into manageable chunks and lately I’ve started using Ulysses, which does the same but in a different way. In fact, I’m writing this in Ulysses as it allows me to post straight into WordPress and onto my blog. Easy.

I need to make up my mind shortly though as that will give me time to research and plan during October. Although I’m pretty sure that things will be busy for me in that month so as you can see. I’m a long way from deciding as we head towards the end of September. Have to wait and see I suppose.

If I abandon my 90,000+ word project for a couple of months whilst I indulge myself on NaNoWriMo will I ever start it again? On the other hand, if I do that and then come back to it will reading it again guide me to a suitable ending? Dilemma – I’ll let you know.


Writing – A Solitary Occupation


For some of us the actual process of writing can be a solitary occupation. Usually we share what’s been written, once it’s finished. Sometimes we share parts of it with others during the formation of the story or article. It’s possible to share an idea with others and absorb their feedback before the writing even starts, but the actual pen strokes, key presses and thoughts behind them are usually something done alone. Does this mean that we have to be lonely then? I think not.

One of the great benefits of NaNoWriMo is that you are and feel part of a huge worldwide network of writers. I suppose that same group of writers are working on projects on any given day or month in any year, the difference being that in November every one of these writers have the same goal; to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It sets us all a deadline and, for once, we share that deadline with hundreds of thousands of fellow writers across the world.

Good luck to all who are entering NaNoWriMo this year. It is hard work and there will be times when you will feel like giving up when life gets in the way, as I did the first year I tried it. Remember there’s a huge supportive group of writers out there who are happy to give you and to receive from you the encouragement needed to win through.

If you’re interested in the challenge head to the web site and register your interest. On there you will find similar groups of like minded people, some living close to you. They hold regular writing meets throughout the month and can help with the loneliness suffered by some whilst writing. You can find a writing buddy and via the web site check out how they are doing with their word count compared to yours. Then you can send them messages of praise and encouragement if needed. I found my buddy invaluable during last November.

So, 50k words in 30 days; it’s only 1,666.66667 words per day. How difficult is that?

Wow 2 in 2

Look at that, second blog post in the same number of days. Is this a record? Well not exactly.
Its practice, and not for the practice of writing 50,000 words in a month, I did that last year and started but failed the year before that.  So this year I’ve decided to set myself a target of writing a blog post every day during the month of November.

There, you heard it here first, straight from the horses mouth.

Not only will it be difficult but it means that I’ll need to put together something readable and, hopefully, interesting for the reader. I haven’t picked November to coincide with the National Novel Writing Month, which for the uninitiated is a fantastic thing to enter, but purely for that fact that I will be based at home all that month and barring disasters, guaranteed a reliable internet connection.

Also, I don’t plan to prepare anything. I’m just going to write and see what ramblings come out of the page.

The posts may well be about news items or personal events and feelings or something I’ve read about and which has raised a question in my head.

I did NaNoWriMo last year and so I want to do something different this year

Anyone want to join me, you know you want to?

Festivities over; it’s time to write

As I wave goodbye to another year and say hello to the new year I have decided to continue my plan of writing something every day. My success in November’s NaNoWriMo has shown me that I can always squeeze time to add a few words to the story, whatever story that is and it has changed the way I edit. I’ve learned that editing, for me, is a process best left until the first draft is completed.

Until November, 2013 was a very barren writing year for me as the inspiration to write disappeared and, although I still came up with ideas, I had little desire to do anything with them. The Moleskin which I keep in my back pocket has a few jottings but nothing that set the creative part of my brain alive. In 2014 I plan to change that and write, write, write!

I have set myself a challenge and that is to get a story, any story, whether short or long, published. I am determined to rework old and write new ones so that they can be submitted. I have a lot that are half finished, some that are completed but not yet ready for the world to read and some are just outline ideas. I have two novels unfinished and unedited and I want to get at least one of them ready to sent to a literary agent before the year fades.

I have enjoyed Christmas and the New Year but now it’s time for work. Lets see what we can achieve during the coming year and I wish you all success and happiness in the year to come


NaNoWriMo 5 Days in

After five days I’m still going strong and setting a steady pace to ensure I am not trying to finish all in the last couple of days. I’m just over 12,000 words in and although I could write more I’m happy to have a life as well as write. Last year I lost the enthusiasm when I got behind in the first week and then realized I would never catch up. I abandoned the project early in the month and it remains sitting, untouched since in My Documents.

I seem to have overcome my desire to constantly go back and edit and revise and I am learning to get the ideas and thoughts down and worry about the revision later. I will probably have to shelve much of my current text but for me this was always about getting myself back into the habit of writing every day and that has worked so far. On work days I’ve set the alarm early and tapped away at my lap top for an hour before heading off. At lunchtime I’ve continued adding some more words and in the evening, before my evening meal, I’ve managed to add some more to it. I don’t want it to consume all my time and behave like a mad person locking myself away from the world. I still have a wife and two dogs to care for and walk and the multitude of other things we do every day. Unless I become a hermit and just write there is a life going on around me.

The daily writing discipline, which I lost over the past year, is returning. I am determined that given my good start in NaNoWriMo I will continue the habit long after November.

Good luck to everyone else who is writing this month, I hope you are all winners


It’s all kicking off

November is closing in and it means fireworks, bonfires, Guy Fawkes, dark nights and for some of us National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. It’s called ‘National’ although writers across the globe will enter and try to complete the 50,000 words in 30 days. So, in reality, it’s more global or universal perhaps but I suppose GlNoWriMo or UnNoWriMo might not roll of the tongue as well.

The question I suppose we all should be asking ourselves is why do we do it? Why subject ourselves to the pressure of knowing we MUST achieve 1600 + words day in, day out for the whole of the month? Heaven only knows what that means when we miss a day or so and when real life gets in the way of our target. Work, family, problems and general obstacles all have this nasty habit of lying low until November and the suddenly deciding that they need some of your time too. Suddenly work reduces the comfortable deadlines you thought you had or your family have planned a surprise holiday for you (Even though they knew you were entering this writing marathon again!). That’s without all the complications of plotting, adding characters and keeping the story line going. Not to mention writers block. (I did say not to mention writers block)

Cover of "The Shining [Blu-ray]"

Cover of The Shining [Blu-ray]

I do realise that I could spend my days repeating the same sentence over and over, like Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining’ and be declared a winner, but what would be the point of that? Personally, as I mentioned in a previous post, I am using this year as a means of getting back into the discipline of daily writing.Will we all be like Jack before the end of the month?

Why are you entering?

Failure at NaNoWri Mo

Well its suddenly December and November has passed with all it’s usual flourish. The end of lighter evenings and the falling of the leaves mark the seasons passing towards winter and all that will bring.

But this November, for me and lots of others across the world it meant NaNoWriMo and my first attempt at this writing marathon. I did all the things which were recommended beforehand. I told all my friends and family that I was entering and so would, probably, not be very communicative during the process. I planned my characters, scenes and story almost through to the end as people said I should. Okay, I missed the first day due to attending a meeting at the other end of the country but once I did start the words flowed and I was off; like a racehorse released from the starting tape.

It started really well but then after about 15,000 words my characters began to take on their own persona’s and started to dictate to me what they would do and it wasn’t the way I’d planned. I began to introduce new and unplanned people who were now shoring up the story. Then when I had to leave it for a couple of days I found it difficult to get back into the heads of these additions and because now I was beginning to feel the pressure of the second week I knew that I was writing just anything to achieve my word count. I promised myself that I would only go back and edit in December but by the third week I may have just been writing lines for a school punishment.

‘I must write 50,000 words in November’

‘I must write 50,000 words in November’

‘I must write 50,000 words in November’

So I lost the plot and procrastination took over and it all stalled. Reading back over the 23,320 words I finally reached I found that a lot of the text needs to be shelved and there is probably only about half of it which is usable in the future.

However, I take from this several things. It was a positive experience and I enjoyed the fact that, although I understand that millions of writers across the world are writing as I tap out these words, it felt like we all started together and had a common goal. Also, I did try writing in a way totally outside my comfort zone. I feel the satisfaction of having tried it and although I failed I don’t feel, at all like a failure. I enjoy writing for pleasure and this felt a lot like work to me so, at times, I felt under pressure to work as a trainer but then I had to write a word count every day.

So back to normality (well my version of normality) and roll on next year.