NaNoWriMo and November #WriteMotivation Wrap-up

I just realised my first #Writemotivation and NaNo post for November was saved as a draft . . . and never published. This is the ultimate example of how scattered my brain has been. My great ability to start things and not finish them has reared its head this year. Well, that’s quite enough ofย that. If nothing else, I hereby dedicate 2013 to be the year of finishing projects/tasks/goals I start, and being able to happily point at finished products before moving on to the next thing.

To everyone who wrote *any* words during November for NaNo, WELL DONE! A lot of friends and Twitterers have said they focused more on the quality of the words they wrote this year, as opposed to just throwing whatever up there in order to “win”, and I’m wholeheartedly in this camp. I think NaNo is an awesome motivator for people to get pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. It’s rewarding to be writing alongside others, even if they’re fellow storytellers we’ll never meet, and this is never more obvious to me than during NaNo, so thank you to everyone who shared encouraging words on Twitter ๐Ÿ™‚

Writing Ahead of the Blank Wall

My goals for November #Writemotivation and NaNo were the same: add 50k to my WIP, A BREATH OF SILVER, and I succeeded. This time I tried something different though – I have the synopsis for the story down, all the pivotal story points and the ending, but it was the little details and connecting scenes that I began to struggle with halfway through the month. Some days I wrote nothing. Two weekends my husband and I were away so I got nothing down, but I secretly revelled in these excuses to take a break. Then I decided to do what someone suggested: write what I know right now. I wrote some pivotal scenes I’ve had simmering for awhile, and in doing so, on the spot I came up with details, characters, and side plots that I’ll have to explain later.

For instance, my MC–Bryn–travels from North London to Scotland in 1691. The last scene in chronological order I wrote was her arrival north of the border. Then when I blanked on what happens between her arrival in Scotland to her life at her ancestral clan’s Highland castle, I jumped several months ahead to her trying to fit in, what job she’s doing there, and what friends and rivals she’s made. That meant I immediately had to make up the peripheral characters and situations that would propel her to the next plot point: meeting a romantic interest and major character. It also means that the bits that will come in between her arrival in Scotland and her life at the castle are now sketched out, and backtracking to write these scenes will be much easier.

The point is, I think sometimes you need to move forward to fill the gap. It can be a massive chasm of unknown obstacles, characters, creatures, threats. There could be anything in there, particularly as this is first and foremost a fantasy. But when I jumped to the other side of that ravine, since I know what happens there, I can look back easier than I could look forward. I know some are totally against writing out of order, but I’m finding it really does get my creative juices flowing when I’ve reached a wall. So, you never know until you try. If you’re stuck, I recommend it! But probably only if you’ve got a solid overall synopsis constructed first.

It felt great to reach my goals this month for the first time in awhile, and special thanks to Leigh Caroline, Megan Peterson, and Andrew Patterson for encouragement, and Susan Dennard and Sarah J. Maas for their fabulous #NaNoWriMoBattle word sprints that seriously pushed me! Hope everyone enjoyed pressing forward in their goals this month, and are enjoying the holiday season!

Oh yeah, and yesterday was a year since my husband proposed to me ๐Ÿ™‚ Nice to see my ring has survived everything I’ve put it through, including climbing Helvellyn in the Lake District covered in snow, climbing the highest peak in England & Wales (Snowdon), as well as other hills, scurrying down rocks to reach a hidden cove in Cornwall, jumping off a boat into the freezing-cold Mediterranean, and many other adventures. Here’s to many more ๐Ÿ™‚ <3

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A month of NaNo followed by a Long-Expected (reason to) Party.

The Eden Project at night; the site of my engagement ๐Ÿ™‚

So I didn’t blog at all in November, but I did a lot of writing. I completed NaNo (woohoo!!) but only just. Two weeks in the middle of the month were incredibly busy despite still not having a job. Three friends from university and I had been planning for months to meet up in London in a flat we rented for three nights. Three of us hadn’t seen in each other since graduation in June 2010, and I’d seen one of them a few times, so it was fantastic to catch up, see the sights, walk the too-early Christmas German markets and the Christmas fair in Hyde Park. We had a blast! Unfortunately, I knew I’d get no writing done in those three days, but I managed to catch up in the last three days of the month.

And the most awesome part of NaNo this year? I think it could easily be a GREAT novel. I actually feel really good about the ideas that are starting to flow, and I’m finding the more I write, the more I flow. Duh! Sounds simple, but sometimes it’s so much harder to START than it is to keep going. Starting truly is the hardest part, because your brain has time to find excuses. But I truly believe what I recently (re)-read: “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”

I find plenty of excuses because I think that looking for full-time employment and not finding it for so long can lead to procrastination like you’d never believe. When you’re in a job, you try to cram so much more into your spare time. Or, I imagine, when you know you’re free to write full-time from home, then you just get down to it. But when, like me, you’re currently stuck in the position of needing an income and struggling to even get an interview, you’re then feeling guilty about writing, replying to emails, following writing blogs and social media, or doing ANYTHING apart from job hunting. It’s an awful cycle, but I am confident I’ll escape it soon, one way or another.

And the long-expected (reason to) party? The first weekend in December, my partner and I had planned to drive down to Cornwall for two nights just for a pre-Christmas weekend away from the madness. We visited Falmouth, where I lived for three years and went to uni, and we were blessed with an awesome sunny day.

Yes, this used to be my running route. Gorgeous Falmouth.

We spent the day walking up and down the high street with me snapping photos of everything that brought back good memories, ran into some friends, and got excited to plan a springtime visit back to Cornwall to do some proper coastal walks.

But the most EXCITING news came the night before; we went to the Eden Project which I’d been to once, years ago, but this time it was after dark (2-for-1!) and at Christmas time, so there was an ice skating rink (again, 2-for-1!) and Christmas lights, and it was much emptier than I expected so it felt like a nice, quiet evening to ourselves. Inside the Rainforest biome, my partner got down on one knee and proposed to me with the most beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. ๐Ÿ™‚ It was the happiest moment of my life for sure, and I am so thankful my life brought me through all the twisty paths it has to get me to that moment, with that person. He’s made me happier than I ever imagined. Things do work out, and things happen for a reason.

So it’s already been the best Christmas ever ๐Ÿ™‚ Lots of planning ahead for 2012, but most important is a job for me. I keep fantasising an agent will come along and see my brilliance (haha) and I’ll be able to write full-time from home (or really, HAVE to write full-time from home) to fulfill my giant book deal ๐Ÿ˜‰ But I’m looking every day, in the hopes I find something that will use my degree and skills and be interesting to boot. Persistence, eh?

So I learned, or was reminded, this November, that if you really, REALLY want something, you’ll find a way. It’s been a slow lesson, but over the last 18 months since graduation, the thing I keep coming back to is writing. It’s what I want more than *anything* for my path in life, and I am willing to work hard at it, though sometimes it can be really difficult. I got fantastic feedback from being part of Authoress‘s Baker’s Dozen contest, and I’m going to keep on truckin’. I found excuses as to why I didn’t want to do A, B, or C like other people I graduated with are doing, but writing has been in my heart since I was old enough to listen to stories that were read to me. So my 2012 New Year’s Resolution (starting now, because it’s never too early) is to have confidence in myself, not take “no” for an answer, and just work, work, work so I can be proud and see results. No more excuses!! That’s my 2012 mantra.


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