Last push to 50,000

I have less than 8,000 words to go before I reach the NaNoWriMo target of 50,000 words, but only 7 days to go! And I’m working most of those days. At the start of the month I really didn’t think I would come close to achieving this goal. I expected to lose interest, or be overwhelmed by work, and eventually give up, as so often happens. But now the finish line is in touching distance, I am determined to succeed. I know how my novel ends, I have it all planned. I just need to get the words down on paper (or, more accurately, computer).

But there’s one thing that I know could throw me off track. I have started re-writing. I reached a point last week where I realised I had written myself into a hole and without a redraft I wasn’t going to be able to end the novel the way I wanted. So I gave in and rewrote an entire chapter (and thank God I did, the new version is much better). However, that one re-write opened the flood gates and now I am seeing all the places I could add new things and make improvements. I’m telling myself to avoid it, to resist all urges. I’m struggling to listen to my own advice.

I know I must get to the end before I go back and start again. I have two weeks in December perfectly reserved for re-writing. I need to step away from the story before I start again. I have 8000 words to write. Yet my brain keeps thinking “wouldn’t it be great if…” whilst my phone is growing ever more full of notes and my characters are telling me they want to be more rounded people.

Must… resist.

Bring on a weekend of writing (Can I reach the end by this Sunday? Time will tell).

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Accepting the terrible writing

I’ve been struggling the last few days. I’ve finally hit the chapters in my NaNoWriMo book that are the hardest to write, the chapters that develop the characters rather than having big plot moments. Normally, when writing other projects, I would allow these sort of chapters to make me pause, I would let writers block sink in, frustrated with the struggle to write decent chapters. But this time, I forced myself to keep writing. I accepted that the writing would be terrible, obvious, predictable passages. Writing that, when re-writing, would be heavily edited. That’s okay. That’s what I’ve come to accept. Writing doesn’t have to be perfect from the starting. Everything is a work in progress and I can’t let some tough chapters stop me from moving forward.

11 days of NaNoWriMo remain. I have 9 chapters and 10,367 words left to go. Must. Keep. Writing

Reaching halfway…

Yesterday marked the halfway point of NaNoWriMo and I’m pleased to say I am just about staying on track. I hit 26,000 words on Sunday.

However, the last few days have probably been my worst in November. My work/life  balance has gone haywire whilst I’ve been trying to work across two time zones with a five hour time difference. This has left me with limited free time to type up my handwritten words or update my word count on NaNoWriMo.org

However I have tried my hardest to stay motivated and on track during this time and now I have a half filled notebooked with around four chapters of my novel which I have yet to type up, have no idea how many words it is. Tonight, my challenge is to get everything updated and see where I stand at the halfway point. That is, if I ever get out of work…

NaNoWriMo- 4 days to go

With less than a week until NaNoWriMo begins, the panic has started to creep in. I’ve never done anything like this, normally my writing just happens when I’m inspired, so writing projects take a long time to complete and usually lose their way in the middle.

In preparation for NaNoWriMo I’ve been pushing myself to write more on my Hunters Ridge novel (which I will take a break from completely across November). In the three weeks since I decided to write as much as I could as a warm up, I’ve managed 20,000 words. But I’ve discovered an issue which I need to resolve for my NaNoWriMo writing. I do most of my writing by hand in a notebook whilst sat on a train. That gives me about an hour an a half of solid writing time with no interruptions each day. Problem is, I then have to type it all up, which, although giving me a chance to have a second pass and improve my writing, wastes time when I could be writing new words. I’m currently debating whether to try and type up everything at the end of the day, or have a set portion of my weekends (when I expect to achieve my biggest word counts) set aside just for typing up. I don’t want to get to the end of NaNoWriMo with 50,000 hand written words, because I will never write it up.

If you are also taking part in NaNoWriMo and want to add me as a buddy on NaNoWriMo.org my username is Jennifercw26

I’ll see you at the start line in just 4 days.

The NaNoWriMo challenge

For years I have heard about NaNoWriMo – a month to write a 50,000 word novel. I have always been intrigued by the idea of it, by having to force yourself to sit down and write because there is an actual deadline to make an achievement by. Normally, I forget all about it until half way through November, by which point I decide there’s no point starting late.

But not this year. A few weeks ago, during one of my regular ‘I must think of some new ideas to keep my brain in shape’ sessions, I came up with the idea for a novel and I was really excited by it.

Instead of doing my usual; rushing into writing, quickly growing frustrated and giving up before the novel has even begun, I decided to hold on to it and save it for November. Safe to say, I am looking for to November 1st. However, there’s a lot to be done before then.

I don’t like writing without a rough plan. I won’t allow myself to write any words of the actual novel before the start date, but I need to plan out characters, a rough plot line and the core events, otherwise I know my writing will turn a scrambled jumble of junk.

With just over three weeks to go, my preparations have begun. I’ve join NaNaWriMo.org (Username: JenniferCW26 if you’ve also signed up and want to find me), created my novel and I’m ready to go. I’ll be sharing updates on my progress as I go. Here’s hoping by November 30th I’m celebrating hitting 50,000, not still staring at a blank piece of paper!

My NaNoWriMo Novel

NDA – After a whirlwind night of drinks, dancing and daring moves, Ellie wakes up in the bed of a stranger. A rich, attractive, very famous stranger.

But when Ellie discovers her celebrity one night stand is going to have a much longer lasting effect on her life, she is thrown into a world of secrecy and lies, and forced to sign away all rights to the truth through a legally binding NDA.

Ellie’s realises path to motherhood isn’t going to be easy.

Rediscovering a love of reading

This week I didn’t do any writing. I tried, but I was distracted. What’s my excuse this time? Reading.

Last weekend, I watched the whole of Big Little Lies. I knew very little about the series. Everyone at work had been discussing the show and the book, I wanted to see what the fuss was about. I was instantly hooked. Fantastic characters, beautiful cinematography, a gripping story.

With the series complete, I went into work and was immediately handed the book. I haven’t read anything for a while, I’ve found it difficult to focus and get the to end of a book, mainly because most of the books I’ve been reading haven’t had good enough plots to keep my interest.

Big Little Lies was different. I couldn’t put it down. I was prepared to be disappointed, I already knew the plot, it couldn’t compare to the series, could it? Well it did. In 4 days, I read all four hundred pages. And when I reached the end, I was disappointed, not by the book, but by the fact it was over. I wanted more.

I’ve rediscovered the joy of reading. And now, I’m on the hunt for more good books. Any recommendation? I’m open to all suggestions.

Chapter 4: The First Chapter

I realise the title of this post doesn’t immediately make sense.

After posting yesterday’s blog I spent my entire day writing. The first chapter of my as yet untitled project took the entire day, but by bedtime, it was written. I’m sure I’ll re-write most of it, that I’ll tear it apart being hyper critical. But for now, it’s done. I have started.

The chapter is 3000 words. It was a very start-stop process, I wrote a few hundred words, got distracted by something, came back a while later and added another paragraph. I found a spurt of inspiration later in the day, helping me to reach the finish line. And hitting that final full stop of Chapter 1 felt like an achievement.

Then this morning, doubt started to creep in. What if none of it was any good? What was the point? Would I ever really make it beyond my usual stopping point?

If I’m honest, after all that writing the bit I am most happy with is the opening. Hours of writing and the beginning was the best part. This is what I struggle with, that crushing disappointment that I can’t help but feel, when a story that my mind creates, never quite matches with the words on paper. Surely confidence in my own skills will come with time, with practise, with editing, at least that’s what I hope.

A plan for Chapter 2 arrived on a train this evening, it’s sitting on my phone ready to go. And suddenly I was refilled with confidence, excitement, inspiration. I walked home full of ambition, a plan to write another entire chapter before I go to sleep.

But as I sit here now, my fingers want to write, to stay up for hours and push on, give Marie Austen more in her life. Meanwhile, my mind is tired from the first day of a new job, the TV is playing and my resolve to write is waning.

As I try to decide whether to continue my story, here’s the opening for you to read.

Marie Austen lay staring at the ceiling, the soft blanket draped loosely across her curvy frame. She stared at the off-white ceiling, her curly brunette hair scrunched below her against the pillow, her own gentle breaths the only sound she could hear. She closed her eyes and sighed, already aware that she would regret her decision. 

Rolling onto her side, closing her eyes, Marie pretended to sleep. The bathroom door opened, her lover done with his post coitus shower. He pulled the cover back slightly, climbing under the blanket beside her. His muscular arm snaked around her waist, his legs intertwined with hers, she could smell the sweet scent of his watermelon shampoo. He held her close, softly kissing her shoulder blade as his wet hair left cold drops of water sliding across her skin. Together they lay silently in each other’s company.