Sunday, November 28, 2010


I'll be honest. This NaNowriMo has turned into NaNoNotNow. Yep. I've failed miserably. So miserably I've even stopped counting. So miserably I don't even recall when I last opened the file. So miserably I haven't even visited the official site for weeks, let alone read the forums. I haven't even been doing my usual forms of Nanowrimo procrastination.

This year I won't be racing to the finish line, because it feels as if I've been running in the wrong direction, and I've lost sight of the racetrack completely.

But I have learned a few things from this particular November:

  • for Nanowrimo to work for me, I need to be working on something new with no fear of how it reads - it's got to be about getting the story down on paper. Fresh.
  • pantsing can work, plotting can work as long as I'm open to stuff happening all by itself.
  • this is not the month to edit or rewrite or worry about finished product.
  • this is not the month to write new scenes and squeeze them all over the place into my manuscript.
  • this is not the month to totally scrap a secondary plot and try to find a replacement that makes sense and works with the primary plot.
  • words don't write themselves especially when I'm trying to beat someone else's score in a game on facebook.
  • you need to stay engaged with your story for the word fairy to sprinkle her fairy dust
  • backing up is good - thankfully the death of my laptop did not equal loss of scenes or words, but it might have if I'd written anything in the last week.
  • taking a week's holiday in November is good for wordage. But alas, I went to work every weekday of November this time.
So what will I do different next year?

I will spend the rest of the year doing the editing, rewriting, submitting, clearing the decks so that June (for 50ks) or November (for Nanowrimo) are clear for the unencumbered outpouring of a shitty first draft. I will be happy to know that it will be a shitty first draft that requires a lot of work, both structural and other editing.

So tell me? Has it been NanoWriteOn for you? Or NanoNotNow? What was your 2010 Nano experience?


Monday, November 1, 2010


November 1st, and so it all begins again. It’s NaNoWriMo time and are we excited? A Little scared? Do you have that nervous energy that bubbles up from deep down threatening to consume you? If you answered to one or all of these question you’re in the right place.

Writing a novel or part of a novel within the month of November along with hundreds, even thousands of other people is an experience well worth sharing. For the RWAus members it is a time for bonding, sharing, encouraging and listening when things aren’t going to plan.

Talking of plans – did you plan, plot and dissect your novel ready to start writing today? Or are you flying by the seat of your pants and waiting to see where your characters or story led you?

Whichever way you go, remember to have fun. Don’t stress, don’t put more pressure on yourself than you need to.

If this is your first NaNo congratulations for joining in and good luck with your first NaNo journey. For those who are repeat NaNoers, welcome back and may November bring you many wonderful words for your novel.

For now:- LET THE FUN BEGIN!!!!


Thursday, July 1, 2010

50ks in 30 Days FINISHED

At the beginning of June, we started a journey together. Some had a well thought out plan, while others headed into uncharted waters. Then there were others who travelled this road before, and dived in, boots and all. It doesn’t matter how you started or how you finished up, you started! You pulled up your chair, sat at your computer each day (or most days), and wrote. Some wrote more words in the month than they had ever before, fantastic.

Remember it is not about the number of words you got down on paper, or on your computer, it is about the fact that you tried.

It is so great to see this challenge grow each year, we started back in 2007 with 13 members, now we have 102 members. Not everyone takes up the challenge every year, but you know what, it is not always about the challenge, it is about the support we get from the group. If you’re down, there is a shoulder to cry on, if you get a contract, win a contest, there are cheers and congratulations.

We are a family of writers, aiming for the same thing, to get words on paper. So who reached their goal?

CAIT (Editing)


Okay, our next monthly challenge is November with NaNoWriMo, if you haven’t joined here is the website.

Thanks for a great month everyone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Badge of Honour

So how are you progressing? Running along at a steady pace? Power-walking or limping towards your next revive and survive break? Or have you already hurtled through the finish line (yay, AJ!)

There are three days left to go until the end of the month and I intend to be sprinting from 8pm every night. I have absolutely no possibility of hitting the 50k marker (but I'm the girl who used to walk the cross country runs, and arrive at the finish line when everyone else had packed up and gone home). Tell me, AJ, did you run those cross countries around the school, or did you dawdle and participate in cow pat fights like me?

I've been sprinting in stops and starts -- but it always helps to have fellow sprinters in the sprint room so that we can cheer each other on. A massive big cheer to everyone who participated in the sprints this time around.

So who will be wearing the badge of honour?

Yes - we have badges! So we can recognise the other crazy 50ks souls when we bump into each other at conference.

I have 25 badges left from the first year so it will be a case of first in, first served ($2 for the badge, $1 more if you need it posted to you). Otherwise we'll arrange for you to pick up at conference.

For the 50ker's who have burst through the 50k goal by midnight 30 June, we have a Winner Certificate. Below is the sample certificate from 2008.

This will be emailed to the 'winners' shortly after the challenge finishes.

Thank you everyone for a fabulous month, and hope to see you in the sprint room over the next couple of days.

Keep on sprinting!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

when everything is breaking...

Since the beginning of June, everything is breaking on me. Today after doing my Telecross calls, I thought I would get a head start on the weekend chores, throw some stuff into the washing machine, and then slip back into my warm bed to catch up on some much-needed sleep. The washing machine would not come on at all. I guess I've been in this house for 4 years, and the machine has been here longer, so it's feasible that it's died. But why couldn't it wait until I'd moved out?

So I went back to bed in a sulk and stayed in bed much longer than I'd originally intended. Cold winter mornings and I do not agree. When I finally got up and had a shower, I threw my clothes into the bathtub and used a broom to agitate them.

Other things that have broken in the last few weeks: my radiator hose, the whole computer system at work yesterday, and I somehow managed to ban myself from the RWA chat room last night.

So what do you do when your manuscript is broken? During the 50ks in 30 days challenge, whatever else you do, don't panic. Don't delete words. Don't go back to fix it. You need to keep moving forward. Even if you're standing on the side of the road in the pouring rain, refilling your radiator - a solution will present itself (it did: a bloke in shining armour fixed it on the spot).

If the scene didn't work the first time you wrote it, don't delete it. Never subtract those precious words. Rewrite it but count those words as additional words. Every word towards the 50k challenge is important, and once its written you do not erase it from your word count. If it needs to be erased later, when June has passed, go right ahead.

Don't beat yourself up if you've turned off the highway and ended up in the middle of nowhere. Lost? Possibly! But there might be a reason that your story has taken a turn up that road and just a few more paragraphs will reveal something you would have missed if you'd stayed on the highway.

But what if your characters are on strike and no longer talking to you? You need to coax them out. Sit down and chat to them. Find out where they think the story should be going. Or pull a negative psychology trick on them, and start writing about the next characters who are waiting in line. Or give your focus to a secondary character and make your primary characters envious. Write a scene from a non-POV character - especially one who has not been revealing much -- and find out what is really going on in their mind.

There are lots of tricks when the writing is broken...but the main one is keep writing. Even if you have to write out a load of rubbish first, eventually the good stuff will come.

May the rest of June be very productive and you all reach your goals. See you in the sprint room (now that I've unbanned myself).

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Keep Writing!!

9 days down - and with them the excitement and enthusiasm that carries you over the wave that is the first week of 50k in 30 days. If you are like me, your word count is shaky, your momentum slowing and the pressure is on.

One third of the way there. How do you keep up the effort of producing such high word counts day in and day out? The next 10 days are the hardest - the fun and excitement has dulled, and the thrill of the end too far away to see.

I thought I'd share some tips for staying motivated to write from successful writers (courtesy of the adventurous writer):
  • Get your “bum glue” out. “A couple of years ago I met Bryce Courtney (author of The Power of One) at a writing conference. He said that what I needed as a writer was “bum glue”. Meaning, I need to glue my bum to a chair and write. I remember it every time I set myself down to my blog. Bryce! I am using your bum glue!” – Shirley VanScoyk, writer and blogger
  • Embrace your procrastination. “When I was a freelancer, I used to set aside about 20 minutes for procrastination activities every morning before I started to write. I took care of a lot of administrative and housekeeping tasks that way, while honoring the part of me that took writing so seriously that it was convinced I was the least-qualified person ever to attempt it. Once I paid tribute to the procrastination judge, I was free to sit down and let it flow!” – Claire Bardos, screenplay writer
  • Don’t be a wannabee. “The best writing advice I ever received (and pass on) is: ‘Writers write; wannabees talk about it.’” – Shelley Lieber, author
  • Pull up a couch. “My best advice for writing fiction: act like your character’s therapist. When you put your characters in therapy, you discover their hidden fears and secrets, and all the motivation you need for their behavior.” – Kelly Simmons, novelist and former journalist
  • Set and meet your writing deadlines. “Having a deadline draws you forward, past the demons and doubts and into the land of completion. As Rob Hartzler, a wise artist friend of mine, told me, “It doesn’t exist unless it’s finished.” - Claire Bardos, screenplay writer

I'll finish with my tip - an oldie but a goody "You can't edit a blank page". Forget editing, this is your time to make a dirty draft. Get the words there and you have something you can work with.

Okay, now stop procrastinating, keep your bum in the chair and get writing :o)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Getting in the flow.

So by now you should have fought your way through the beginning of your story. Those first few words, paragraphs, pages or even chapters have rolled off your fingertips and popped up on the screen in front of you. *phew* Feels good doesn't it? What's that I hear you say? Not so good? Well you're not the only one feeling that way. While I've managed some great numbers this week and I've almost put to bed my second project of the challenge I'm not convinced anything I've written is any good. *sigh* Does it have the punch needed to knock my readers out? Or does its little fingers reach out and grab hold and not let go? I'm tempted, very tempted to go back and edit/polish, but if I'm going to get to that 50k mark by the end of the month I can't afford to go back. There is no reverse gear in my writing this month! No matter how much it nags me I'm doing nothing but moving forward, I'm putting my fingers in my ears and singing lalalalala every single time my internal editor opens her mouth.
It's hard. Very hard because I'm a writer that likes to edit/polish along the way (which pleases my editor very much once the wip hits the submission stage) but it takes time to do that and time this month is a precious thing. It's like gold or diamonds. Water to a thirsty man. Every tick counts and the aim is to make every tock count too. I've decided a reward system doesn't work for me. *sigh* I've never been one to go after a reward, I'm more the type that just likes to get things done, my reward has always been the end product. And now I have the published stories to prove to myself that THE END is indeed a wonderful thing. *grin*
So what do you use to keep you on the straight and narrow this month? I'd love to hear what works for you all, and what doesn't. lol
*May the Word Gods shine upon you*

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Kick Off!

The ball is now in your court. Writing or editing, this month is about getting words on paper, there will be days when the last thing you will want to do is sit at your computer or desk and write. We have all been there and likely at some point be there again this month. It is these times that you turn to the group to help give you the motivation to fight through the tough times.

If you do find it hard to face your computer, try writing long hand. If you are hand writing your manuscript, have a change of scenery. Sit in your garden (if you have one), go to your local coffee shop, it really doesn’t matter where you go, just try something different.

I normally freeze half way through a month long challenge, I have about 3 to 4 days when everything goes blank and I get nothing when I’m writing, it’s like my characters decide to play hide-n-seek. It doesn’t matter how much I rand and carry on they just don’t come back until they are ready. Which is why I now also edit during these challenges, because if I ignore them running off to Lord knows where, they tend to return sooner rather than later. My point is change can be a good thing.

If this is your first 50ks in 30 Days, have fun, and enjoy the experience. If you are returning for another go at this craziness, lovely to have you back with us again.

Good luck with your word counts.


Monday, May 3, 2010

June is Just Around the Corner

Can you believe we are gearing up for yet another 50k challenge?
The call went out and the troops are responding. Yes, once again we have some fearless writers ready to put butts in seats and write or type their fingers to the bone. Oh, did I forget to mention that?

For now, you have a month, to plot or finish your current WIP ready to write or edit in June. I am going to work on two novels I started with Paula Roe’s ‘A Novel in 3 Months’ Blog. I am also editing a few finished WIPs.

While I know we are not suppose to edit what we write during the month, I am finding if I do as my wonderful CP, Heather Brown does, and edit the previous day’s work. My finished draft is a lot easier to edit at the end, and seeing, as I hate editing, I am willing to try anything to make it all easier. The big question for me will be ‘Can I write 50ks working this way?’ Only time will tell.

If you have never done a 50k in 30 Days challenge, you are in for a ride. It is important not to over extend yourself. If you do not think you can write the 50ks, aim for something lower, 25 or 30ks the object is to get you writing, find a comfortable writing routine (my sucks at the moment.

I am looking forward to seeing how you all go this year.