NaNoWriMo 2016 is upon us!

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nanawrimo - nano - nano2016

Yesterday morning the month of November dawned upon us bright and sunny. Well, bright and sunny where I am anyway. And I daresay for the rest of November, many writers around the world will possibly either see dawn arrive because they’ve already been up for hours or they haven’t gone to bed yet.

Such is the craziness that is National Novel Writing Month (AKA NaNoWriMo, or in its even shorter version, AKA NaNo), whereby we strange creatures who write, try to pump out 50,000 words in thirty days. Easy, huh? Pfft. 1667 words every day for 30 days.

So, because November wasn’t already cray-cray enough (and by the way, I detest this term, but it kinda suits the situation) with everything dance-related (normal lessons plus a photo day, presentation night, full rehearsal days, full dress rehearsal days, and then the two days of concert) and school swimming lessons and school writer’s club and tennis lessons and setting my new business up … I’m sure you get my drift. Life in general. This loopy mum registered for NaNo.

But you know what? I can guarantee you, that most others out there doing NaNo are in exactly the same boat as me. Because we all have lives and people in them.

Now, it’s not life or death. Whether you ‘win’ or not means nothing other than a cool badge to say that you did in fact win. What I like the idea of though, is that maybe by the end of November, I’ll have a finished manuscript, or at least a lot-closer-to-being-finished manuscript, because I already have the first half of it written. Which is exciting in itself.

So wish me luck. I’m up 950 words for yesterday, so no, not quite the 1667, but it’s still 950 words closer to a finished story than when I woke up yesterday on the  bright and sunny morning.

Today is a new day. Maybe I’ll hit the target, maybe not. It’s a different morning – humid and overcast – so we’ll see.

PS If you are also delving into the insane world of NaNo, add me as a buddy – you’ll find me @geesuzie – we can go stark raving mad together! 

Happy writing 🙂

It’s a writing detour, not writers block

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I’ve hit a roadblock on my manuscript. And I’m not sitting there waiting patiently for the stop/go person to turn the sign around, I’m stuck with the electronic board that says ‘DELAYS OF UP TO 30 MINS, FIND ALT ROUTE’ and impatient drivers honking their horns. Except my delays have been more than thirty minutes now, it’s been 13 days since I have written anything specific to my manuscript. Ugh.

I know where I want my story to go, I know the general order in which I want things to happen, I know how I want my characters to behave, and yet… I’m not calling it writers block, just a temporary detour as I try to wrap my head around it. I think because I can see the faults in it, I don’t want to keep writing words that I know will get deleted later on. And I know that I should just write and not worry and not self-edit as I go, but I think I’d rather fix my problem before I continue. Yes?

In the meantime though, I do have other writing bits and pieces to keep me going:

  • There has been the latest #JustWrite prompt.
  • Anthology piece – the first draft is done and dusted. I have critique comments from my writer’s group and also my brother that I now need to go and make use of in my edits.
  • A new monthly exercise for my writing group due next Sunday.
  • As of the 1st August, I’m doing a 5 week online ‘Copywriting Essentials’ course through the AWC.
  • Romance Writers of Australia conference in Adelaide in August – 3 full days of workshops, networking and hopefully, lots of fun!

Of course, I’m not giving up on my novel. I think about it every day and I’ve started making dot-points of my chapters so far, and can already see some issues cropping up. So maybe once I’ve done that, I can do a bit of plotting and make it through my writing detour a bit quicker!

A write-tastic week

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The last week or so has been one of the most productive writing periods that I can pinpoint in the last year:

Manuscript: 3300-ish words

Blog: May’s writing prompt and also a book review of ‘The Dressmaker’.

Competition: I have polished and submitted my piece to the Hunter Writer’s Centre grieve project. It’s a fabulous feeling to submit something that was positively received by my writing group, mum and cousin. And so, even if I don’t get anywhere with it, I know that I gave it my all, unlike my attempt with the NYC Short Story Challenge.

What will the next week bring? I need to write the next part of my anthology piece, and possibly wrap it up in a conclusion if that’s where it leads to. I need to review ‘The Promise Seed’ by Cass Moriarty (spoiler: go and read it!). And, it would be awesome to write at least another 3300 words – I think I’ve given myself a personal best that I need to beat!

One of the reasons that I am ramping up the novel writing, is the fact that I am heading to the Romance Writers of Australia annual conference in Adelaide in August. To say I am excited is an understatement. While I don’t write in the genre of romance, I do write women’s fiction, and there is often an undercurrent of romantic themes. Or just sex. Or affairs. You get my drift. This conference is meant to be one of the best writing events that you can go to. Or so I’ve heard! I would love to be able to attend with a fair chunk of my novel written; while I won’t be pitching, I will definitely be networking, and surely it will be a bonus to have most of a manuscript under my belt. Let’s see how I go. Nothing like a ‘deadline’ to make me try harder!

How was your week? Tick some things off the list? 

I’m on FB and Insta!

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It is official – I now have a ‘Sueanne Gregg Writer’ Facebook page and Instagram account. Things are getting serious. Follow me if you please!

Things are coming along nicely with my writers group anthology piece, and I am currently also working on a prose piece for the Hunter Writers Centre Grieve Writing competition. While I think I could easily grasp at my inner feelings and write something on losing my Dad to Leukaemia, I am trying something completely different and not at all related to death. But shh! It’s a secret…

Of course, I am working on my manuscript also. It is sitting at 11,497 words. You know how I said I was going to write 300 words a day? Yeah, that hasn’t happened so far. I have had a few writing sessions though, where I’ve whacked out 800-ish or 400-ish words, and that is absolutely better than none at all. So I’m happy with where I’m at, especially considering I have a number of writing projects on the go at once.

In other news, I’ve recently discovered Maxabella’s post with links for free images. As with writing and copyright, photos are also copyrighted. Depending on the CC licence of an image will depend on how you can use it, and whether you need to provide attribution for a photo. Check out Bron’s link for places you can find photos to use on your blog and other places, for free and many without needing attribution. Although, like she says, it is lovely to be credited anyway.

Photo found at Pexels

Photo found at Pexels 

Wrap-up on rain and writing and in-between

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We were really starting to think that we weren’t going to be planting any sorghum this year. You know, no rain and all. But in the last 9 days we have had over 9 inches, so it’s safe to say it is wet at our place. In fact, maybe even too wet to plant, if it doesn’t dry out soon before the curtain closes on the planting period! So we’ll see. But as Nigel says, you can plant in mud but not in dust. It may simply mean we plant something different at a later date.

The calm after the storm

                     The calm after the storm

It’s a busy day for the kids today. After school there is guitar lessons for the 7 year old and tennis lessons for the 9 year old. Both new activities, and both are super excited to start them. I can foresee tennis being rained out though, as the storms have been rolling in around four pm each day… Hmm.

I started the day with some laps at the pool, and managed to get in 17.5 before a god-awful cramp hit my calf muscle. Ouch! So I pulled up stumps, grabbed a coffee and I’m now perched in my little corner of the library watching the weather through my window.

I’m slowly catching up on the Australian Writers’ Centre podcasts (they’re at number 94, but I’m still at 52) for ‘So you want to be a writer’, which I listen to in the car or while ironing or wandering around the house doing my jobs. They are bloody awesome. I was a late starter to them and am quite enjoying listening to them in order. One tip I’ve just heard is to write character page notes for those in your novel. That is, you have a page for each character with their important information like hair colour, habits, etc, that you might forget or accidentally change half way through your novel. So, I’ve just written down each of my characters and skimmed through what I have written so far in both my manuscript and notes (through a number of different notebooks – I really need to condense them into one!) and put their details on each separate page. And guess what – I had forgotten that I had written that my main female character has black hair and blue eyes. I have been imagining her with blonde hair as I write. So there you go.

What are you up to today? Writing? Any after-school activities? 

 

NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge… & more

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I rarely – and by that I mean, very rarely – lay down for a sleep during the day. I find it takes me half an hour to go to sleep and then when I do finally get to sleep, I will CRASH. For hours. And then I wake up more tired than when I laid down to begin with. So I generally just don’t bother, and go to bed at a decent hour. Plus it is difficult to nap when there is a three year old in the house who has never been a big day sleeper, and prefers to nap in the car when we do the school run. Anyhoo.

I was procrastinating earlier, one kid was watching telly, another was writing a story on PowerPoint (as you do) and the other was floating around being a pest to the first two, and I thought, “I’ll just lay down for a minute”. I looked at the alarm – 2:13pm. At 2:25pm I was rudely awoken from my snooze by the smallest kid bouncing up onto the bed, lifting my right eyelid open (you know how they do it?!) and pronouncing “Sunting to EAT, mum.” All right then. At your service.

So. On to some writing info.

Who’s heard of the NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge ? Until today, I hadn’t. It was linked on Facebook in my writer’s group and I have since joined up. Essentially, an email is sent through at 11.59pm Friday 22nd January EST to everyone who registers before this time and we are placed in heats and given an assignment – 8 days to write (up to) 2500 words with a specific genre, subject and character. Judges then advance 5 writers from each heat through to the next round with only 3 days to write 2000; and from here 1500 words in 24 hours. Sounds like fun!

I am most interested in this competition due to the fact that whether you make it through to the second and final heats or not, every single story in all three heats will receive feedback from the judges. Plus there is a forum on the NYC Midnight site where you can upload your story for review from other participants. How cool is that?

In other writing news, I have finished editing my manuscript from the critiques that my writer’s group gave me. And so now, it is onwards with that. I am going to set myself a word count of a minimum 300 a day, to begin with, while I get back into the flow of it. And if I do more – bonus! This should see me finished by the end of the year… boy that makes it seem like a long time, but I know that I need to be reasonable with everything else that goes on in life with a farm and kids and all that jazz.

So… are you participating in the NYC Midnight SSC?

Do you set word limits when writing? Or maybe a time limit?

 

 

Am writing, am reading, am doing

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How’s everyone going these school holidays? Coping? Doing exceptionally well? Or ready to chuck the kids back into the school system a week early even if they won’t be supervised? We are doing ok, with occasional bouts of intense sibling squabbles. You know how it goes… Here’s a round-up for me this last week or so:

READING:

So, after reading The Lake House, I’ve continued on to read A.L. Tait’s final book Breath of the Dragon in The Mapmaker Chronicles series. They are great books for young readers to clap eyes on, and let their imaginations run wild.

I am currently reading two books at once: On Writing by Stephen King and All My Puny Sorrows by Miriam Toews. King’s book is recommended as The Book To Read if you dream of being a writer/author but until now I had never delved into it. He has some great ideas and  interesting theories on not only writing but also life. I haven’t finished yet, but am enjoying it so far. Toews’ novel is interesting, and as the quote by Margaret Atwood on the front cover says, it is “funny but wrenchingly sad” and for what I have read to this point, this is a very succinct statement.

WRITING:

Anthology – the next exercise that is leading towards our finished pieces is due Sunday and I finished that last night. I’ll leave it a couple of days and then go back and edit it before posting it for the group to critique.

Manuscript – editing what I have previously written and swapping the order of a few bits as suggested by my writing group. I’m having fun with it again and look forward to being able to work on it. Once I’m through with these edits I’ll get back to the proper writing again. Do you edit as you go or just vomit it all out onto paper or screen and edit at the very end?

FARM:

We’re still waiting for decent rain! There have been a few little showers (11mm, 22mm, 3mm) but at the moment they’ve been good for nothing except grow weeds and grass in the paddocks. So Nigel has been spraying the last few days to get on top of the feathertop and weeds, but we can’t plant any sorghum yet until it rains properly. The nice green tinge that was on my lawn is slowly disappearing so I’d best water it in the next couple of days.

EVERYTHING ELSE:

We had two nights out at the dam for New Year’s Eve and New Year. The first day was great – a bit of skiing, nice enough weather (it’s wasn’t melting hot) and not too many boats on the water at all. The next day though, the boat had a bit of a hissy fit and so we were left to kayak, swim and laze about. It didn’t end up being a terrible thing, as the dam was inundated with boats for New Year’s day festivities and quite frankly the water was rather choppy. With the water level down a bit also, it doesn’t leave much room for too many boats on the water.

The 3.5 year old on the kneeboard by herself, with dad next to her on another

The 3.5 year old on the kneeboard by herself, with dad next to her on another

Heading off to check the pots for red-claw

Heading off to check the pots for red-claw

The kids and I have just been to Rocky for a couple of nights to do back-to-school shopping. Now we just have to pick up the school books from the local Newsagency and uniforms from the school and we are set. The lady who sold us our school shoes said that she had done 17,000 steps in one day in her shop and lost a kilogram in a week it has been that busy! Craziness.

Today sees us heading to the pool in town with a few other kids and lunch at the pub after. So very civilised 🙂

Enjoy the rest of your week!