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, Dystonia Around the World Challenge, Just life, Writing journey

How did August get here so fast? A catch-up and Dystonia Around the World

How is it August already? This year is galloping by and I feel I’m still stuck in March with a never-ending to do list and a WIP which is going slower than a garden snail despite my best efforts. Unlike last year when everyone was in lockdown and zoom calls to boost morale and word counts were the norm, being ‘good’ as a clinically vulnerable person is much harder and soul destroying. The world carries on outside and it’s hard not to feel left behind, trapped and bored. Even my imagination has got fed up with my sense of gloom and decided to scarper  – not ideal when have a deadline to meet. Yes, you heard someone wants to read my WIP about ballet and friendship when finished. Time for a happy dance followed by a frenzied panic. How do authors write under pressure without sobbing in a corner with their inner critic shouting at them? Answers in the comments below, please.

The last couple of months have ground productivity to a halt with the unexpected death of Randall, the inspiration of many stories and dear friend, and umpteen other things life has colluded to throw at me at once. But it’s time to turn things around, take back control, get some writing done, wake up my brain cells, and encourage seeds of ideas and my word count to grow. To start living again. Accountability is key so the arrival of the Dystonia Around the World challenge email was perfect. I’ve signed up and ready to go with a new pen, paper and walking shoes.

Dystonia Around the World Challenge

Dystonia is a neurological condition affecting in the UK and can range from focal dystonias affecting one part of the body and linked to a certain activity, such as writer’s cramp or musical dystonia, to more general ones affecting many areas. All types create challenges throughout the day. After living with dystonia for over twenty years, the charity Dystonia UK is dear to me and supported me often. Last year I wrote several short stories but now it’s time to convert chapters of my WIP, catching up with my overflowing TBR and increase my dwindling mobility into miles. Every 10 minutes of activity equals a mile. The hope is as a collective everyone who signs up will manage to walk around the world.

Let the globe trotting adventure begin.

I’ve signed up for the #DystoniaAroundTheWorld challenge

More information can be found here and on my From Under the Duvet blog. Or follow my progress on Instagram. If you would like to sponsor my efforts and help fundraise for Dystonia UK click here.

How have you all been? Are you out and about enjoying the summer weather or still shell-shocked from the last year and struggling to join back into society?

Take care and stay safe!

More soon.

Love

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

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

No longer aspiring to be a writer

I have recently read a post by Lucy V Hay on Bang2Write blog titled Why You Should Stop Calling Yourself an Aspiring Writer It resonated with me deeply because I am guilty of this. In all my bios and when I talk to people, I always say “I’m an aspiring writer.” Never the words “I am a writer.” But today in time for NaNoWriMo and Samhain, where it is time to let go of things you no longer need,  these words are gone.

 

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Words to remember

I may not be published; my current manuscript is unfinished and a fledgling one starts in two days time but I have improved since I published my first post here. Writing has become my all-consuming thought whether words are written or not. Therefore, I am a writer.

Happy writing!

Kate Kenzie's Blog