Saturday, May 31, 2008

Let The Challenge Begin

The starter’s gun has gone off and we’ll have thirty days to write 50,000 magical words. A novel, a creation of your own imagination. Your baby, a baby you will nurture and grow to love or hate at times. Characters that will become part of your life, at times invading your space wanting your attention and stopping at nothing until they get what they want. Yes we are in for a fun filled month of highs and lows, but through it all we will have each other. There will always be someone there to cheer you on or give you a cyber hug when you need it most.

I found an article the other day while I was tidying up around my work area. It was one written about Barbara Taylor Bradford in 1986. She was riding high on the release of her best seller ‘A Woman of Substance’ as a TV series. It was partly because of this article that I had originally started writing. Although I put it all on hold until the last couple of years. At some stage I’ll share with you a lot of what she said, but for now I want to give you her five D rules. This is what she wrote;

D for desire – the desire to want to write that novel more than to do anything else.

D for drive _ the drive to get started.

D for determination – the will to continue whatever the stumbling blocks and difficulties encountered on the way.

D for discipline – the discipline to write every day, whatever your mood.

D for dedication – to the project until the very last page is finished.

Finally there is the sixth D --- to AVOID!

This D is for distractions – perhaps the most important D of all, the enemy of all writers, whether would-be or proven.

So ladies at the end of the first day of our challenge call back and tell us how your day went. How much writing did you achieve? Were you happy with your day’s results? Are your characters playing nice or being pains in the butt?

I’ll update your word meters Monday morning; you will be surprised at just how much of a boost you’ll get from seeing a word tally under your name.

Don't forget to call into each others blogs from time to time and offer support and encouragement to your fellow challengers, a little support goes a long way.

Have fun, enjoy your month of writing and we’ll be here through the week to cheer you on, or give you that cyber hug you may need. The most important thing is HAVE FUN.


I'm writing a what????

Okay, I'm in warm-up mode...doing those star-jumps and stretches....getting ready for the main event starting tomorrow. (need to get an early night tonight so I can actually start before noon tomorrow).

As many of you know I am picking up the story that I wrote during my first attempt at Nanowrimo in 2004. I halfway succeeded so I have just over 25k of words. It's based on my pizza delivery days as a young innocent uni student. There's a bit of fiction thrown in there - the customers mainly - but everything else is based on real life, real life! My sexual awakening. My education in sex, drugs and rock n roll.

Is it any wonder that I got cold feet and stopped writing at the end of November 2004? It was cutting too close to the bone and I was feeling way too vulnerable. Do I really want to reveal myself like this?

Yesterday, in between answering customer calls at work (it was rather quiet and there was long gaps between calls), I read a fair chunk of what I wrote all those years ago. Suddenly it got very hot in there. My own writing was making me blush and transporting me back into my first lover's arms.

I've got to face it now....I'm writing a sexual memoir. And like the 'characters' in the story, I need to go all the way. I need to keep writing when the writing becomes too difficult or too confronting. I need to be honest and I need to be completely vulnerable. I need to not only relive that ecstasy of first love, but also the pain of having it all ripped away. Because I know this story does not have a happy ending. But I survived. And grew.

Last night, in preparation, I pulled out an old journal. Some written during the time of that first love affair. Some in retrospect. Then a list of diary entries, snippets of conversation. I typed all this up and ended up with a timeline of 5 pages. I won't be deviating from the plot of the story because its mine. And it ended exactly as it was supposed to.

Years ago, I did a writing exercise where you write the words 'I remember...' and then finish the sentence with whatever first comes into your head. I filled a heap of notebook pages doing this. I found the notebook last night and typed up all the entries that were relevant to my pizza days. Another two pages of reminiscing. (BTW, I totally recommend this exercise)

This morning, I found my photo album of these days in my shed. I'm going to scan the pics and post them to my phanfare album so friends may see what we got up to. Curiously, I don't have a photo of me and my first lover together. All the photos were taken after the relationship imploded. I think I was too busy living and loving at the time to capture a Kodak moment.

With all this reading to get my head back into that time, all these thoughts about my first lover, I was prepared to dream about him last night. It didn't happen. Instead I dreamed of another lover in the interim, a lovely guy who set me on the right track when it came to relationships. It was a nice dream about recapturing friendship - however oddly in the dream he was the manager of a retail store, despite the fact that he is now a psychologist in real life. Perhaps the dream was a sign that I need to send him an email.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Testing, testing... Is this thing on??

All right people, it's warm up time.

Welcome to the Friday post, every Friday one of the suckers, oops, I mean privileged will post about their week of writing and invite you to leave a comment with your word count so that your meter can be updated by Sunday evening. It'll go something like this;

Okay, check up time! How you doing? Me? Well, let's see.... the blood pressures up and I'm not sleeping... What? Oh, you want my writing check in, oh sorry about that, I'm just a little all over the place. Personality splits, full requests and damn characters that do whatever they want will do that to a person. This week I hit the starting blocks and forgot to check the date. Yep, I went early but that's okay, it's all about the writing no matter when you do it. I've been writing up a storm, in the last two days. We won't talk about the ones before that, nope, definitely not. They sucked! But sometime on Wednesday, or was it Thursday? Who knows, all I know is someone opened the dam and out it all came. Last night we hit some rocks, we're a little bruised but still moving down river and that's what counts. Speaking of counts, my word count for the week (and I'm soooo tempted to put it on my word count meter) is 6,782! Now I know it doesn't seem like much but it's just two days worth. I've still got today to go! woohoo
So, how'd you all go this week? I'm waiting to hear (I'm also lacing up my size 9 boots for those needing a kick in the butt), leave a comment and I'll do a cheer, hand you the tissues or kick you butt, whichever you need.

So, you see, it's not that scary. You've all left comments before so you know what to do. During June you'll have all weekend to leave your comment. The check in post will go up on Friday and we'll update all the word count meters by 8pm Sunday (that's Sydney time), won't matter because by Monday you'll be able to see how everyone is doing and lend a hand with the cheering, shoulder crying or butt kicking. Remember, we're all in this together!

Oh, and during the week we'll post a couple of inspirational posts for those needing to be inspired. Now if I could just work out how to post some pix of some hunks we'd be set.

See you Sunday for the starters gun!!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Certificates and badges

I've been tinkering around with the Winners Certificate for our 50ks in 30 days challenge, and 50ks and 30 days are now added to the finishing line ribbon.

It was requested that we have a place for the name of the novel on the certificate so that has been added to this version, and winners of the challenge will be able to request either certificate with details completed.

So that we can recognise each other at the RWA Conference in Melbourne in August, I firstly came up with the following badges. But I don't know - I thought they were a bit ordinary.

So now I've put the exuberance of the racer reaching the finish line on the badge. I hope all 51 of us will feel this way at the end of June.

I will need to know how many people want the badges so that I can order them in plenty of time for the conference. The badge measures 2.2 inches and factoring in postage, I think they will cost approx $2 each.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Combining 50k with the Day Job

50,000 words in only 30 days?

Broken down to 1667 words per seems achievable. Especially when you're on a writing roll.

But sometimes the momentum just won't happen, the demands of the day job are too much, and the family just won't leave you alone to spend time with your characters. (What do you mean you'd rather spend time with your sexy hero than cook dinner?)

Here's some tips that have helpe me churn out 5ok in 30 days in the past and still stay awake (relatively) at the day job.

1. Keep your story and characters foremost in your mind.

- A small and inconspicuous notebook on your desk allows you to jot dialogue, scene ideas or outlines as you think of them (because we wouldn't be doing actual writing while we're supposed to be working, would we?). Your subconscious can do wonderful things when your conscious mind is busy with other tasks. And I don't know about you, but my subconscious mind always wants to escape the day job.

2. Pockets of time.

Seize those pockets of timeto write. 10 minutes at morning tea? Drink and write! Half hour lunch? Eat and write.

It's amazing how quickly the words can add up with little pockets of time.

3. Start your evening session by typing up your day's words.

This will get your head space back into your story. (And you're not breaking a rule - you're not re-reading, you're transcribing.)

4. If you can commit a long period of time to write - do so.

If not - WORD SPRINT! Set your timer for 15 minutes or 30 minutes and write like the blazes. Come online to the RWA group and find some fellow sprinters. Having someone to report too will motivate you.

5. Housework and cooking may all go by the wayside.

Believe me, the housework will still be there in July. Perhaps you can convince other to pick up the tasks when you slacken off and reorder your priorities. However, I find that by word sprinting, I can usually get the daily chores done in between sprints because I'm not spending hours in front of the computer thinking about what I want to write.

6. Write Fast!

Writing fast switches off your inner critic and turns on your muse. There's always time to edit in July.

7. Jump Ahead

If a scene is not working for you or your muse is filing her nails while you try and get those words out of your head and onto the page, jump ahead to another scene. If you keep thinking ahead to another scene, start writing it! Do what it takes to keep your muse amused! Sometimes it may lead to unexpected twists!

8. Turn off the TV

If there's anything you want to watch, then record it and use it as a reward at the end of the month, or a reward when you've hit your goal for the day.

9. A Month of Sundays

Well, we don't have a month of Sundays in June, but we do have five Sundays so one of them has to be a bonus! We start the month on a Sunday so aim to write more than an average day to give yourself a buffer zone for the rest of the month.

Don't do what I did last year Nanowrimo and write the finals 6000 words in three hours on the last night. That was extremely high pressure, and even though I had an online cheer squad, I recommend it only as a last resort.

So there's my tips. I hope they help you.

I'll be hanging around the RWA Nanowrimo Group looking for sprinting buddies.

See you on the track!