NanoWriMo, Writing journey, Writing process

Dancing into NaNoWriMo and Rebelling Tips.

Hello November, one of my favourite times of year, not only because of the lingering high from Halloween and hurtling towards the festive feel of Christmas but it’s time for NaNoWriMo. The atmosphere of the writing community rises and there is always an explosion of support to keep people writing so it’s always hard not to get involved. Despite my success in 2018, the full challenge is out of my reach like many spoonie writers. The pressure of 1666 words a day is crippling and even with naps, it triggers flares and guilt. So I belong to the NaNoWriMo tribe of rebels and we all have our own ways of rebelling. I thought I’d share some things that have helped me.

My tips to being a NaNoWriMo rebel

1. The key thing of rebelling is to make up your own target. I’ve chosen 15,000 words but know it maybe too ambitious – I’ve already lost days to migraines and exhaustion but if I manage it, my first rough draft about my ballet quartet will be finished and that will be the ultimate achievement. Can I eek my manuscript of 66,660 words out to stumble over the 75,000 mark? Watch this space!

The fantastic author and co-founder of the Authors with Disabilities and Chronic Illness (ACCI) group Claire Wade has developed one of the best rebel goals for author’s with limited energy, chronic illness or disability – the #PostItNaNo challenge. Aiming to write at least a Post-it note a day can be a huge step in the development of a story or character, and the dopamine rush of making progress without the pressure of hundred’s of words is a good inspiration for the next day.

#PostItNaNo challenge

2. Find your tribe, if you have fellow writers to connect with it and share ideas, good news and disappointments it makes the writing process easier and more fun

3. Join in with the community on social media or the NaNoWriMo site. The podcasts, zooms and general chitchat inspires more writing and determination to keep going.

4. Find someone to do sprints with. Writing sprints whether they last thirty minutes or an hour have become my friend. I’m lucky to have friends in the RNA to join forces with, but I have also discovered The Writer’s Hour which follows Neil Gaiman’s idea of ‘do nothing or write’. You can hop on to zoom at predetermined times during the day for an hour of writing and accountability. It’s a friendly group and best of all, they start with a writing related quote to give you a kick in the right direction. Click here for more information. Maybe I’ll see you there.

5. Rewards for achieving small goals even a sticker or favourite hot chocolate are a great motivator. Books as rewards are even better.

5. Don’t fall into the guilt trap. It zaps creativity. Even a couple of words a day is a step closer to your goal. I find this hard to do because guilt and imposter syndrome seem to be my default thoughts when faced with an empty page or rough rough draft of a scene.

6. Just enjoy the writing progress and remember why you’re doing it. Writing isn’t just about word count. It involves so much more – thinking time to grasp the idea you want to focus on and let it brew while doing other things (okay this could be classed as procrastination but if the story and characters are strong enough the mind will be working in the background without you realising it) and plotting on post its, and research. Everything counts. And the variety of actions helps keep the spark and fun alive.

7. If it all grinds to a halt and target isn’t achieved, take what you have done and celebrate. It’s progress and still deserve a treat.

However you’re doing NaNoWriMo good luck, keep going and happy writing.

Love

#DystoniaAroundTheWorld Challenge, Book review, Dystonia Around the World Challenge, NanoWriMo, work in progress, Writing journey

October News: Witches, dystonia and world building

September flew by and October has arrived with falling leaves, dark mornings where you can drink your first cuppa while stargazing and chilly evenings. It is my favourite time of year for reading, writing and world building. The run up to Halloween conjures up many stories and plots with witches not far away.

Dystonia Around the World News

Thank you for supporting my fundraising and spreading awareness for Dystonia Awareness Month.

Nearly there

I raised £205 and and wrote and stumbled 350 miles. I am pleased Dystonia UK have extended the time to complete the challenge until the end of October. If you would like updates or support this valuable cause follow this link.

NaNoWriMo is calling

NaNoWriMo is also just round the corner making it ideal time to build a world for my current WIP. November and the support offered is my most productive writing time. Let’s hope life allows the headspace to increase my wordcount.

Halloween and Witches takeover

I will be reading and reviewing witch books and ghosts stories this month on my sister blog, From Under the Duvet. I will share my favourites here including Beltane and Storm Witch by Alys West and To Catch A Witch by Sharon Booth.

Recommendations for witch and ghost stories are always welcome. Just comment below.

Happy reading, writing and keep safe!

Love

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Research, Motivation and of course a Cup of Tea

For those who follow or know me it is no secret my MC, Willow like me loves tea. However, unlike me, Willow has taken her love of this delicious drink to the extreme and has studied, worked with, and lives for the perfect brew.

As I research her backstory and personality I’ve found myself longing to walk amongst the rows of tea bushes in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Wishing I could visit Tong Xin Tea House, who I discovered on Instagram.

View this post on Instagram

On April 28, Jake and I set out from 8 a.m. in Shenzhen and arrived at Wuyi Mountain safely at 9 p.m. The 13-hour long journey was very hard but very happy. On the morning of 29, we went to the hotel to find J who arrived at Wuyi Mountain in advance. We started our journey in Wuyi Mountain. We tasted Bian Rou in the morning, drove into my tea garden and tea factory for about an hour, and arrived at the tea factory with Ja. Ke and J visited our tea garden and tea factory. In the afternoon, we went to the mountain to make tea. Everything was ready. After tasting Rou Gui and Da Hong Pao in 2013, the sky suddenly began to rain heavily. Finally, three of us were soaked into soup chickens. The heavy rain did not affect our mood. We walked happily in the rain and enjoyed the magical power of nature. We drove to Tongmuguan on April 30 at 10:00 a.m. It took us two hours to get to Tongmuguan from downtown. The road was rugged. We arrived at Tongmuguan at 12:00 p.m. smoothly and safely. We enjoyed the delicious food in the mountains at noon. After lunch, we went to Tongmuguan's brother's tea garden and the tea factory to visit the process of black tea picking and making. The scenery along the way was beautiful. We picked tea in the tea mountain at 1200 meters above sea level. Ye is very hard, every leaf is hard-won, return to Wuyishan city in the afternoon, every day is very full, J, will return to Shenzhen tomorrow, my trip with Jake is continuing. 🙏 .#looseleaftea#teaddict#gongfucha#chinatea#teaset#gongfutea#tetitas#breakfast #organic #cascara #cake #cat #dress#morning#morningtea#green#cupoftea #flowers #茶道 #sencha#shenzhen #lovetea #yixing #tealove #茶 #oolongtea #tea #chinesetea #koreanceramics

A post shared by Tea of Life 🍵 (@tong_xin_she) on

There are many inspirational places I would like to visit and enjoy the full sensory experience rather than using photos or videos as prompts. Some are not as far-flung as India or Nashville, Tennessee where the unique High Garden Tea House and Potion Parlour are; I would love to visit Twinings at The Strand which has been there for 300 years or have afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate.

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The discovery of an UK Tea Academy, where you can train to be a tea Sommelier, made my nerves tingle with excitement. What an experience that would be and would give me a deeper insight into Willow’s world.

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The possibilities where her story could go are endless and I want to explore them all but then with a click of a mouse, reality bites. The ability to research to that depth requires funds only a fledgling penniless duvet dwelling paperback writer can dream of and as it stands, is it crucial to this WIP to experience them first hand? Probably not but it has given me the motivation to keep writing, and to keep dreaming of success because one day if I decide to write about a character on safari in Africa, I may just be able to experience it first-hand.

Time for a cup of tea made in the pot and write.

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

P.S. All these places are now firmly etched on my bucket list and if they get ticked off, you will be the first to know.

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Lessons learnt from being a NaNoWriMo Winner

NaNo-2018-Winner-Badge.png

December is here and NaNoWriMo is over for another year. After succeeding in writing 50,000 words – yes I did it if did not already know – I thought I would reflect back on what I have learnt.

  • The main one is I can surpass my own expectations with the support of others and determination.
  • I can prove naysayers wrong.
  • I can not emphasise the importance of support from others. Having people behind you, believing in you when you do not believe in yourself gets you through the slumps and allows you to celebrate the highs. I can not thank those who have been with me enough, especially my daughter for the endless cups of tea and encouragement.
  • Accountability is an important factor. If I had not had Megg Geri checking in to see how I was doing, expecting 2000 words daily – not achieved often – I would have faltered in week two. Words would have fizzled out and  I would have given up. On days when only were written 200 words by lunchtime and I was tired, grumpy or dystonia was giving me a hard time, before I would have said “that will do”. Not wanting to disappoint Megg I would go back in the evening and write some more, sometimes surprising myself with the amount or content.
  • Rewards matter! Knowing I could buy a Kindle book if I completed 10,000 words spurred me on because I needed Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy. The reward of a coffee and catch up with a friend on a Friday if I survived the week gave me the boost I needed at times too. Thank you, Kris and Jennifer.
  • An excel spreadsheet was my best friend towards the end. Seeing my percentage progress on the screen helped me push through the last 10,000 words.
  • I discovered I am more of an evening writer than morning one. Ideas are better in the morning but bulk writing is an evening thing.
  •  Dialogue between characters when it comes to you must be captured and written down. Trying to think of dialogue in front of a blank screen is useless, for me it has to come organically from the players, usually when half asleep or doing something boring not related to writing.
  • Writing daily is a joy (except on  “I can’t do this” days) and routine matters.
  • It is amazing what gets done if people leave you alone to do it. My writing room became my haven. The writing room is also known as the spare box/junk room with a bureau squeezed in just in case I am seen as pretentious as in the J.K Rowling and Arron Banks row.
  • It is hard mentally. It pushes you to work beyond tiredness, life experiences and forces you to give priority to writing. As a mum and wife this was one of the hardest things. Putting myself first rather than others is not natural for me but they are old enough to look after themselves. I am in awe of people who can do it with a young family, work and other responsibilities.
  • I can get through the slumps to get to a better place.
  • It has pushed my health to its limit. I think I have got a way with it. I’m not in hospital which has happened before when I have pushed myself too far but I rattle more with more pills, have accumulated more consultants this last month and slept for seemingly days since Nano has finished. Is the pain payback worth it? Yes but I’m glad it is over. I could not keep the intensity up in the long run.
  • I need to get my head around dictating, my hands, well hand as I am a one handed sometimes one fingered typist, is painful and is on the verge of going on strike.
  • Knowing your characters well helps, but it is great when they throw surprises and unexpected ones turn up.
  • I love writing and need to continue. Having a few days off I miss it.
  • I can achieve when I believe.

Now I need to finish the draft so the joy of editing can begin.

Did you do NaNoWriMo?

What did you learn, I would love to know?

Happy writing.

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

The last NaNoWriMo update of 2018

It is the end of November and this year’s NaNoWriMo is over. Guess what? I did it!

I am a

After reaching the word count of 50,022 this morning.

I will write more soon but I am busy celebrating and giving my sore hands a rest.

Hot Chocolate and cake

Thank you Megg Geri for making my goal a reality and for those who have supported me along the way.

Love