Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Little Green Pen

When I started NaNoWriMo I decided I wanted to handwrite my story in a Composition Book. I'm not sure why I decided on this (though I am glad I have - it has given me the flexibility to write wherever I am.)

Deciding to handwrite meant I had to choose a pen. I half thought about colour coding my scenes / characters but I knew that would be too difficult - so I pulled out an old green Uniball Power tank that is refillable. The reason I chose this is because I found an extra 4 packets of ink refills and I figured four would see me to the end of the month with some to spare.

First refill lasted 53 pages and over 15,000 words the second was replaced sometime around page 108. I mentioned to a friend on Instagram that IF I won the 50K words of NaNoWriMo I was off to Officeworks to replace my pen. You see the end had been chewed upon and as I wrote further and further into the month - the brown grip was starting to lift away under the sweat of my fingers. Fast forward to last Friday, I was on the Island and decided rather than drive HOME and then BACK again I would hang about, grab a coffee and write the days instalments in my free hour.  So it was on page 118 after 47 words my pen snapped. 

Completely snapped in two. And therein lay a dilemma. The nearest Officeworks was 25mins in the opposite direction, I did not have time to get there and back in time for School pick up. My coffee and meal had just been delivered and I had a total choice of Orange pen (frixion pen) OR a blue fine pen in my handbag to choose from. 
Call me MAD - call me COMPULSIVE - call me CRAZY... but after 20 days using the same black pen and writing 41,300 words... well I just could not bring myself to use the orange or blue pens in my bag. I was distressed and unsettled and I felt like everything was unravelling and attempting to use the refills on their own without the pen sort of didn't work too well. Nor did the attempt to "washi tape" my pen back together again! Luckily for me I popped into the newsagents and they had the same brand pen, refillable & the only thing against it was it was a black casing not green. But beggars cannot be chooses and I splurged the $4.50 to get me through the end of the month!  

Tell me - have you ever had a NaNoWriMo catastrophe that has stopped you in your tracks? I know next year (should I decide to attempt this crazy ride again - I will be buying TWO pens + refills and will be taking them everywhere with me!) 

Monday, November 24, 2014

{NaNoWriMo} Three weeks down!

Three weeks down and I can not only see the finish line, but I can taste that winning beer as it washes over my lips. I hear the cheers from Bec and AJ and the increasing shushing sound of their pom poms as they shake them faster. I can feel the hugs of congratulations, ghostly arms wrapping around my weary body as I collapse and sleep for a week and a half. With the smell of chocolate wafting past my nose I arrived at the end of week three and nearly stopped.

An incident on Friday afternoon nearly broke me (stay tuned - it - in itself deserves a whole post dedicated to it.) and I shuddered each time I passed my little book of awesome waiting for me to write a few more pages.

I went into the weekend - armed with a task of less than 8,000 words to go. I could easily finish this task over the weekend, leaving me with a whole week FREE of writing. Or I could get it closer enough that words could be finished by Monday or Tuesday.

And I bombed.

Saturday I spent the entire day with time on my hands after cancelling plans at the last minute. Yet it wasn't until 7pm I finally sat with my book and wrote a measly 368 words. My worst attempt yet.

I closed out the weekend on 44,019 words. This morning I was determined and wrote 2.5 pages before School drop off. Just now a further 2 pages added and I am writing super small to up that word count and at this stage I am adding ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING I CAN THINK OF.

So how is the story going? Apart from the wavering word count? So far so good. I've lost track of my index card system and having to type in my previous days word count is a little annoying. Apart from that though - I am still invested in this story and it is nowhere near finished. I'm missing some major plot points in the middle part of the story and it took me longer to arrive here than I thought, so I am planning on spending time over the Christmas break plotting some major events and beefing it up.

I asked my hubby to take me exploring on the Island so I could gain some inspiration to take me through the final week (my book is partly set on our Island). Yesterday we headed up the 4WD tracks and had a picnic in a secluded spot. I took lots of photos along the way and am hanging to get to the beach side on a day that the tourists aren't around.

Monday, November 17, 2014

NaNoWriMo Update: Week 2

I won't lie... this week of NaNo was ALWAYS going to be a difficult one for me. With my health kicking me up the backside. Life getting on top of me and my house resembling a pigsty... I'm highly surprised I didn't throw in the towel.

Then there was the novel. This so called GREAT idea was turning into... something I wouldn't let my grandmother read NOR my BETAS if they were so inclined. It was losing traction, I was losing my place (having stopped the index card system that worked so well in week one) and as each day wore on, my word counts drooped until my story and the so called author looked like a wilted rose under the hot Queensland sun.

BUT I HAVE A PLOT. I'm just struggling to get the characters to walk the path I've chosen for them. Instead they are "walking here" "standing still" "wandering there" "opening this door" "closing that door"

So with stilted word counts and knowing I need to get the majority of my writing finished in the next 10 days since I would really LOVE to actually sew on my upcoming QUILT camp. I picked up this book and read the pep words of Mr Baty during week 2.

"There's a storm rolling in from the west. Week Two hurts so bad" 


Instead I whiled the week away on the couch. Fatigued. In pain. Hot and bothered. Yet still each night I put pen to paper. My word counts dropped steadily as each day dawned a promising new beginning and each night I dropped into bed numb and cursing that I could no longer spell basic words.

On the 12th my word count dropped to an all time low of 763 for the day. And those words I did get down were not worthy of drums and applause. They were just words to keep the story flowing.

Last night as I typed in yet another measly word count - I rejoiced to see that I am still ahead of schedule and I shouldn't complain because from here my health (crosses fingers) should be on the up as well as my energy levels and I feel as though I am slowly forging a path of progress for my characters.

Word count (as of Sunday 16th) - 31,439

Pages hand written - 95

Feelings - exhausted, but a little excited that most of my characters seem to be finding their own feet and are talking to me again. Even the evil ones that scare me a lot.

I have to admit that having only need to write 18.5K words for the remainder of the month feels SO MUCH BETTER than a daunting 50K. I'm still feeling overwhelmed with all that I need to achieve, but I am also quietly confident that I do have it in me to do this. Call me an overachiever but I have something to prove to myself and this story in this small time frame is pushing me to limits I did not know I was capable of.

Hopefully I will see you in a week with a solid word count - but if I want to do that, I must get off the computer and pick up my pen and start writing.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Nano - one week later

Yikes what a week! Last Saturday the 1st November marked NaNoWriMo 2014. I was worried that after all my preparation and talk of attempting it, I might not be able to commit when it came to the crunch.

My NaNo Kit prepped: My composition book, spare sheets of grid paper, a brand new pencil case, several Memo Cubes (colour coded per character / scene) and an index box filled with cards {pictured below}

In my new pencil case, there is my Uni power tank Eco refill pen PLUS a refill (which I have already re-loaded this week), whiteout, memo cubes, pencil, eraser and assorted pens and highlighters. I had every intention of highlighting per character / scene / event - except as the week has gone on, I grab ANY colour on hand and run with it.

 There was a slight hiccup come Saturday morning when I went to the cupboard to retrieve my NaNo supplies. SOMEONE ate the cadbury choc-coated popcorn; which ensued a mad dash to the shops the following day to replace them with the Select brand as the cadbury was out of stock - which wasn't nearly as good *sigh*

I also purchased a new coffee mug for this years NaNo (only because my last cup chipped) it has been nice sitting with my coffee and writing each morning and afternoon.

So now I have shared what is in my NaNoKit; which I was supposed to share LAST weekend but didn't due to not enough hours in a day to write and blog. I want to share my writing progress with you.The chart below is from the NaNo site and is after my Friday word count was entered. A total of 17,654 after 7 days of solid writing which is about 3.5 days ahead of schedule and would have me finishing 50K 7 days early IF I keep up the same pace. 

So that's my NaNo update for week 1. Chances are I won't get back until next weekend to update again as there is another solid week of words awaiting my pen and book. I am thoroughly enjoying the process and loving the new characters I have created and even though my story hasn't progressed to where I wanted it to be at the current word count, I'm not complaining because I am still on track for word count PLUS I keep telling myself I can edit later.