NaNoWriMo Check In – Days 3 & 4

Day 3 of #NaNoWriMo and #wrimohero’s prompt was #calltoadventure – how do you generate ideas? I get a lot of my ideas from the environment around me. Places, found objects, the weather – my imagination spots the most random and insignificant things as I’m going about my day and runs riot with them! I collect these scraps of ideas, along with words, quotes, and anything else that takes my fancy, in my commonplace book. When the ideas are ready to become part of my story, they worm their way back out of the pages and into my writing.

Day 4 of NaNoWriMo is behind us and the prompt for #wrimohero was NaNoCheckIn – 6,668 words? The answer is yes! And more! I’ve had the best start to my first ever NaNo and have managed to bash out over 11,000 words so far! I’m glad to be getting ahead of the word count goal because, by all accounts, things get tough in weeks 2 and 3! So far, though, I am truly enjoying getting this story out onto the page. I was worried that I didn’t know where it was going to go but really, the story is writing itself, I’m just tapping the keys. I’m super excited to see where it goes.

Fellow NaNo-ers, how’s it going?

#NaNoWriMo Check In – Day 2

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo is here and the prompt for #wrimohero is ‘Ordinary World: What’s your setting like?’ This is the beautiful building that inspired the first seed of my story: it’s the incredible John Rylands Library in Manchester. A key part of my setting is a stunning gothic library. I’m also going to be sneaking in a few of my other favourite Manchester places and Peak District haunts, all alongside and mysterious other-world where ideas manifest and thrive with none of the restrictions of our human world.

NaNo Word Count: 5,448

Taking The Plunge

I wasn’t going to do this. I really wasn’t going to do this. Why would I? November is ALWAYS one of the busiest months in my year. Extra intervention programmes to run at work means increased workload and longer working hours. My birthday (Yay!) means fun outings with friends and family. Drawing closer to the big C the following month means there’s shopping to be done and family to be visited. It’s entering theatre season for us which means we have tickets booked for multiple shows. And on top of all that, this year we’re still at the tail end of our DIY/home renovation adventures, which we want to have finished before Christmas. Plus, we now have a dog who needs walking and playing with, and even if she didn’t NEED those things I’d do them anyway because she’s far too cute to ignore.

So why, oh, why, I hear myself ask, have I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo? Why have I decided to take on the, already ridiculous, challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, when I’m clearly too busy to do so? I can feel me giving myself accusatory glances and hear my brain muttering things like “always taking on too much!”…well maybe it will be too much, maybe I won’t manage it, but do you know what I realised? I am always going to be too busy to write a book. There will always be other priorities. I will always be busy with work and swamped with housework. But if writing a book is something I truly want to do (and it is) then one day I’m just going to have to sit down and make time to write the damn thing. And why shouldn’t ‘one day’ be now?

There is no reason why it shouldn’t be now. No real reason anyway. No reason that won’t still exist next month or next year or in a decade.

So, lovely readers, here I go. Plunging in at the deep end. I have set myself the traditional NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words in 30 days. I’m going to do my damnedest to hit that goal. If I do, brilliant! If I don’t, I won’t beat myself up about it and will try again. And hopefully, in the meantime, I’ll have written more than I would have done normally.

I won’t be writing anything for the blog, aside from, potentially, the odd NaNo update to chronicle my progress (or lament my lack there-of…). I will be putting any writing energy I manage to muster into this mysterious and as yet unknown story.

Wish me luck! See you on the other side…

If you’re a NaNo-er and want to add me as a writing buddy, you can find me under the username Bookwormdancer.

Ticking Along Nicely

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November has got off to a lovely start. I was completely spoilt for my birthday, with tons of books, clothes, books, games, books, chocolate, and other goodies, but more importantly with the love and time of lots of my favourite people. We talked, we ate, we danced, we watched fireworks: it was perfect.

The first week of November has also seen the beginning of my first ever NaNoWriMo – I’m not embarking on a whole novel or even aiming for 50,000 words, I simply want to improve and increase my writing practice. So far I’ve outlined a handful of short story and poetry ideas and today I actually started writing one! It feels good to write.

With all the birthday busyness, planning/writing time, and a hectic start to the half term, I haven’t done as much reading as I normally would. I got a stack of amazing books for my birthday to add to my already humongous TBR pile and yesterday I decided to crack into one of them: My Grandmother Sends Her Regards and Apologises. I’m about a quarter of the way in and I’m completely in love with this quirky story. It’s original, funny, and moving in so many ways and I have come across some real gems to add to my ever growing list of favourite quotes. Most of them are about grandmothers. I’ve found them especially appealing because I’ve been thinking about and missing my own Gran a lot recently – I can’t quite believe how long she’s been gone – and so many of these beautiful lines reflect exactly how I feel about her or are exactly the sorts of things she would do or say. So to round off my little ‘Ticking Along Nicely’ post, I thought I’d share a few with you.

“Having a grandmother  is like having an army. This is a grandchild’s ultimate privilege: knowing that someone is on your side, always, whatever the details. Even when you are wrong. Especially then, in fact.”

“A grandmother is both a sword and a shield.”

“Only different people change the world,” Granny used to say. “No one normal has ever changed a crapping thing.”

“There’s something special about a grandmother’s house. You never forget how it smells.”

“It’s much more difficult to have conflict when there are cookies around.”

I highly recommend picking up this book, especially if you have a grandmother you love (and especially if that grandmother is a little eccentric).

I hope your November is going as well as mine.

x

 

In Love With The Season


This is absolutely my favourite time of year. The trees are aflame and their burnished colours make the world seem warm even when that autumn chill pierces the air. It’s time to snuggle up inside cosy layers: jumpers, scarves, boots, hats – it’s your time to shine. The nights close in earlier and earlier, and whilst sometimes it feels like you don’t get to see the day (especially when you’re working) it has the distinct advantage of meaning you have every excuse to pull up the draw bridge as soon as you’re through your front door. Change into those comfy clothes, light some candles or even a fire, snuggle under a blanket and enjoy the unique hush of an autumn evening. Read a book, watch a film, just enjoy being.
And then there’s the food…soups and stews and stuffed jacket potatoes! Warm crusty bread and mugs of hot chocolate! Forget about the carbs or the calorie count. Everything in moderation and don’t forget you need that energy to keep you going – since our bodies are tuned to work better in daylight, the shorter days mean we need that fuel.

All these things and so many more are the reasons I’m in love with the season.

When the leaves have turned and the nights draw in, I find it so much easier to be at peace with the world. It goes a little bit quieter in my head and it feels like home.

This year autumn seems to have got off to a particularly brilliant start. The leaves are turning more slowly and the colours are more vivid than in recent years. October was beautiful and, if this morning is anything to go by, November promises to be crisp and cool and the perfect run up to the year’s festive finale.

I was lucky enough to spend a fabulous few days in the peace and quiet of Cartmel with my hubby. We found a cosy little hideaway (complete with log burning stove), and holed up for four restful days of reading and lazing and (occasionally) exploring the village. It was perfect and made me feel incredibly blessed, not only that we have the means to take trips like that but also that I have a husband who I can just be quiet with; no pressure to talk all the time or be busy doing things, with the happy ability to just be  in each others company, reading books, listening to music: just enjoying.

We’re now back into the swing of things after our time away; he to a busy PR office and stack of writing and emails and projects to complete, but with a great, fun team to take the edge off; me to another hectic school term with resources to make, interventions to plan and meetings to attend, but also with a great, fun team to take the edge off!

November 1st saw another beginning…yep, you guessed it: NaNoWriMo! I have considered getting involved in NaNo for a few years now and never had the guts to do it (hello self doubt!), and whilst I’m still not sure I have a novel in me quite yet, I am determined that I want to improve my writing practice. So, with a little nudge from a friend, here I am. Writing. I signed up on the NaNoWriMo website and am hoping to write every day, but I’m not anticipating 50,000 words or anything like it and I’m not planning a novel. Instead, I want to use the NaNo spirit that permeates November to write anything  I can. Right now it’s a blog post. Yesterday I started outlining some short stories and even came up with some ideas for poems. Who knows what I’ll produce, or whether it will be any good, but actually it doesn’t matter: I just want to have a go.

I’m in love with the season and it has me feeling happy, hopeful, productive, and creative. You never know, maybe I’ll discover I had a novel in me after all…