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Okay I’m going to be upfront and tell you one thing that I need to get off my chest: this month has been the hardest month of my life. One part of me almost wants to say ‘I never want to do this again’ but that’s the part of me I’m not listening to. It’s the part of me that’s exhausted after a month of full on writing. It’s a part of me that has just squeezed in 1500 words before bed, on a work night, in a desperate attempt to reach 50,000 words before the end of the night.

The truth is, I will do this again. In 2014 to be exact. 🙂

So the million dollar question is, did I win? And the answer is…YES! I am now considered a NaNoWriMo winner.

So here’s a brief overview of this month:

At the beginning of November I was rearing to go. In week one I was going strong and felt like nothing would stop me. I even thought I could reach 50k in two weeks. Did that happen? No sirree.

Come week two, that determination and ‘going strong’ feeling all but disappeared. Words failed me and I struggled to get any words down. I was beginning to feel quite deflated and unmotivated. It turns out it’s a typical NaNo feeling. Everyone struggles with week two. So unfortunately I really fell behind then.

However, come week three I started to pick up again and that continued through to week four (which we’re still in). I had to jump over a lot of hurdles to get this far. Full time work being the most major one. Then I had a husband to think of, who might I say, was wonderful for the whole thing and very supportive. Then other commitments, religious, social etc. I didn’t want to let any of these things slip so I managed to keep doing them and writing.

So yes, it was a very trying month. It was frustrating, it was fun, it was exhilarating, it made me question all my writing abilities. But it was so worth it.

So you might be asking, what is the point of doing this to myself? It’s not like we get anything for winning NaNoWriMo, right? Well, that’s true, we don’t suddenly become famous and internationally recognised like someone on X Factor. But we get a sense of accomplishment. We get that feeling that we can write a novel, or at least get 50,000 words written in an entire month. That, my friends, is no easy task.

NaNoWriMo is a good way to figure out if you’re truly a writer. Writing is not for everyone and if you get sick of it in the first week, then it’s best to say you won’t be a writer.

Before I finish this blog, I want to say one more thing. NaNo is about setting goals, about reaching 50,000 words. However, it’s not all about reaching 50k for some people. Let’s not forget those passionate writers who spend the whole month writing because it’s what they love but they can’t make 50k because something holds them back. Perhaps they’re ill, perhaps they’ve had family problems, perhaps there has always been something in their way. But that doesn’t mean they’re not passionate. It means they’ve done the best they can and have had a great time.

So to all those people and all NaNo winners, congratulations and all the best on your future writing endeavors.

So this is me, over and out on NaNo blogging. I will be back with more blogs about anything, everything and nothing very soon.

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Last time I blogged about feeling deflated and overcoming it. You can read it here: NaNoWriMo Week Two Update – Feeling Deflated and Overcoming It

Well since that blog, I am very pleased to announce I have overcome my little blip and am now sitting at a healthy 35,116 words. I didn’t realise there was a ‘week two blip’ but knowing that there is, is a huge relief. I was convinced I was doing something wrong.

I have to confess though, at just over halfway through NaNoWriMo, I’m feeling the effects of it. Working full time while trying to write an entire novel in a month is exhausting to say the least. I’m constantly tired and the blocks are more frequent now than they were at the beginning. Like most participants, I’m starting to tire out.

But I am determined not to fail. I will reach the 50k limit if it’s the last thing I do.

What I find strange though, is despite my exhaustion and blocks, I still have lots of ideas go through my mind. The downside is, these occur when I’m at work. It is the most frustrating thing in the world. When I’m at work I’m expected to work. But it’s so difficult when my brain doesn’t want to be there. Instead it wants to be home writing my novel.

Of course by the time I get home I can get those ideas down but it does make concentrating at work extremely difficult.

So overall, this has been a challenging month so far but it has been very exciting. I’m already looking forward to NaNo 2014. 🙂 Although I better not get too ahead of myself, I’m going to need an entire year to recover.

Bye for now guys! If you’re a NaNo participant, let me know below how you’re travelling. I respond to all comments.

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I have to confess, I’ve been feeling a little deflated up until a few hours ago. You see, the  first week went so well for me. I had reached 20,000 words by the end of week one and I was rearing to go!

However, now that we’re in week two, in fact approaching the end of week two, I’ve come to a standstill. It’s annoying the hell out of me! My current word count is 23,488. *sigh* I had really hoped to meet, or even exceed, the halfway mark by now.

I keep asking myself: have I bitten off more than I can chew? Should I have continued an existing, incomplete novel rather than starting afresh? Then the biggest question of them all… am I really cut out for this?

It doesn’t help that toward the end of last week, and the weekend just gone, have been really hectic. Finding time to write after reaching that 20k mark has been almost impossible. Then I’ve been feeling so exhausted, the desire to write isn’t there.

So needless to say, I’ve been feeling a little down in the dumps. But then last night, after voicing my worries on the NaNo facebook page for Adelaide, someone said something to me that made me feel better. He said: Don’t let it get you down. The week two wall hits all of us at one point or another. Stick it out, keep your chin up and just keep battling away. If you can slog your way through it, week three will be upon you in no time and you will start chugging along nicely again.

Well all I can say to that is, thank you! I’m realising now it’s not just me. I never meant to sound selfish and go ‘oh woe is me’ but I didn’t realise this was something that happened to all, or at least most, NaNo participants. I thought I was failing as a writer. That perhaps I had lost my ability to write something good.

But perhaps that’s not the case at all. Perhaps I just need to get over this blip and I’ll be fine. At the moment I’m still on target. Just. But if I can write 20k in one week, what’s to say I can’t do it again in week three?

This new novel I’ve chosen to write is a real challenge for me but when I stop and think about it, it is coming along nicely. I want to see it to completion in November. So this is why I don’t feel so deflated now. I realise that everyone is feeling the same thing. And I realise that I can and want to do this.

Do you know what that means for me? It’s time to stop wallowing in my self-pity and get my butt back in to gear!

Hopefully by the time I post again I will have some happier news! 🙂

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I’m afraid this will only be a short blog today. After working a 12 and a half hours today, I’m exhausted and need a nice, long sleep.

Unfortunately the ‘long’ sleep won’t occur until tomorrow night. However, I should be able to enjoy a ‘nice’ one.

Anyway that’s off topic. I’m not here to talk about my sleeping patterns. I’m here to talk about my NaNoWriMo progress.

So by the end of day 7 (I’m in Australia for those who may not know), my total word count is now 16535. Considering how much of a hectic week it has been at work, I’m happy with that.

What’s slightly annoying is all the goals I’ve set myself have flopped. It’s not that I haven’t tried, it’s that ‘life’ always gets in the way. Yet despite it being annoying, I’m not letting it bother me.

I just keep telling myself that I have to work otherwise I can’t pay the bills. My commitments are important so they have to come first too. My writing fits in around it. I always find time for it but other things sometimes have to come first.

That said, I resolve not to get annoyed anymore when my goals flop from now on. 🙂 I’ll set them and meet them when I can but if I don’t, I’ll work with it. The truth is, I know I’m well and truly on track so a few mishaps here and there shouldn’t make a huge difference.

So that’s all from me for now. By the end of tomorrow, my goal is to reach 20,000 words. I finish work early and have nothing on tomorrow night so it should be achievable. Yet I will stick to my word… I won’t get annoyed if it doesn’t happen.

Bye for now and you’ll hear from me soon!

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Yesterday I posted that I had hoped to reach 15,000 words by the end of Sunday. I’m afraid I didn’t make it.

I was, and still am to an extent, disappointed. But at the same time I haven’t hit myself over the head continuously while chanting ‘you’re a worthless loser’. I’ve come to accept that there will be days when I’ll set a goal but I just can’t reach it. It’s not that big a deal. I’ll make up for it on other days.

It was as simple as I grossly underestimated what I had on. By the time I got everything done, it was mid afternoon. Then when I had a moment to breathe, my parents turned up for a visit. I’m ashamed to say I forgot they were coming. We had it planned for a week and it slipped my mind. It was great to see them, we don’t see each other often, but it meant I got very little writing done.

Yet despite my day of little writing, I did write down a measly 150 words. When I first realised this, I was devastated. But then I realised it was 150 words I didn’t have before. I suddenly didn’t feel so bad. Every word counts, right?

On the upside, I managed to get some writing in today. Despite being at work all day, I wrote during my breaks and after work. As a result I wrote 2574 words. That now brings my total word count to 10,744. It’s not 15,000 but I’m happy with what I have achieved.

Despite everything, I’m just really excited to have reached the 10k mark. If I keep pacing myself I’ll make it.

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nanowrimo

Well that’s all I really had to ask. 🙂 who’s taking part in NaNoWriMo?

Also, What genre are you planning to write and do you have any idea what you’re going to write about?

Me, I’m a romance writer. This year I’m going to write a tragic romance brought about by an avalanche. This will be a challenge for me as I usually write sweet, happy ending romances. Hurting / killing off any of my characters I grow attached to is so hard. But I almost have my story planned and I’m excited about the challenge.

So anyway, leave your comments below. This isn’t a means to steal ideas. This is just a lighthearted discussion so we can see the varying ideas people have. Perhaps it will give all NaNoWriMo participants a little encouragement.

The best part about NaNoWriMo is that there is nothing you can’t write about. So don’t be afraid of writing ‘out there’ stories, just do it!

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Take a break

Anyone who knows me will tell you how much writing means to me. I am an avid writer and if I could live and breathe it, I would. However, there comes a time when you need a break. Well, that’s what I think anyway. Who knows, maybe there are writers out there who can write for hours / days / weeks on end without a single break. Sadly not everyone can.

There comes a time when you need a break. It’s like a normal job. You have holiday pay for a reason, so you can take a break and not think about work for a while. Writing is a job, so you need to take a break occasionally. Even if it’s a day, it’s enough to recharge your batteries so you can start fresh next time. Although remember, it’s okay to take more than a day. Sometimes taking a week or more off can do wonders.

So be practical and don’t overdo it. You look around and see those dedicated career workers who live and breathe their job. And what good does it do? It does them no good at all. If anything it can cause family trouble, it leaves them exhausted and their social life goes down the gurglur. Who wants to be like that? I know I don’t. If you do, then that’s up to you but just remember, sometimes you do need time out.

I take a break from writing from time to time. When I do, I always go back recharged and rearing to go with new ideas.

Speaking of taking breaks, I am doing just that starting today. I’m not taking a break from writing as such, as I did that only recently. I’m taking a break from something else, which is connected to writing.

I spend a lot of time on wattpad writing stories, reading other people’s stories and offering critiquing and editing services. Sadly over the last few weeks, I’ve become exhausted with how much I’ve had to do and I don’t like that feeling. So I’m not going to have much to do with it for a few weeks.

Pressures with family and work haven’t helped either. So yes, I’m taking my own advice seriously. By the time I return, my batteries will be fully recharged and I’ll be rearing to go again.

What this means is I can focus on other writing. I am in the process of putting some final touches to a manuscript so I can send it to a publisher. I really want it done within the next couple of weeks so I can send it off.

It also means I’ll get November to myself. Why? NaNoWriMo of course! I am in the process of planning out my story for that month and I am very excited about it. I don’t want any interruptions then. I am determined to write my 50,000 words.

My plan is to return to wattpad in December.

So there you have it. Take a break people, it’s important! If you decide to just take a day, do something that doesn’t involve writing. Go down the beach, spend some time with your family, bake… whatever tickles your fancy. But don’t write. You’ll be surprised how good it feels.

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I always find it fascinating what things people find amusing.

Take today for example. It’s a fairly dreary day in Adelaide, Australia and it’s been raining on and off all morning. I work next to a window so I get to see many weather changes throughout the day. Well at one point this morning, it started to hail. The moment it started, everyone that works on my floor (about 25 of us) all ran to the window to check it out. They were pointing and smiling and saying ‘look! It’s hailing!’

Now why were these people, including me, so amused? We rarely get hail! It’s like snow, we don’t see it often so when we do, we’re awestruck. When I started work this morning it wasn’t very chilly and I think that’s what surprised people most. The chill factor must have lowered enough to cause it to hail.

The other factor is, until the last year or two, we’ve had years of drought. Rain became so scarce people reacted the same way toward rain as they did to the hail. Of course, things have changed now and the drought isn’t as bad as it once was. Still, we’re amused by these little things because we either don’t get it often, or once upon a time we had to live without it.

Amusement is a funny thing I find.

What amuses you?

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On the weekend, I lost a close friend in death. He had been battling cancer for about two years. When he was first diagnosed, he underwent chemotherapy and they successfully got rid of the cancer. He was a totally renewed person and lived life to the full. Unfortunately, around six months later, it came back. This time there was no fighting it.

He was such an independent person and he hated anyone doing anything for him. Towards the end though, he was almost a vegetable. It was such a horrible sight to see. Saturday night he died. I found out on Sunday morning. Even though we had all been expecting it, it was still a shock. Don’t get me wrong, I am so glad he’s not in pain anymore. He’s in a much better place. But it was one of the saddest things to happen.

After his death, I contacted a friend to see how she was. We were both close to him. Well, this ‘friend’ barely acknowledged me. She went on and on about how she has suffered. Yet never once did she ask how I was. I was a mess when I found out. I cried for hours and I really needed her. Yet she wasn’t there.

Now, don’t get me wrong. I know we all deal with grief in different ways, but I firmly believe that it’s times like these you can tell who your real friends are. Friends should support each other. What sort of a friendship is it if the other friend isn’t there for you?

So in light of this situation, it inspired me to write a poem. Now, I haven’t written poetry for years so don’t expect perfection. But I thought I would share it anyway.

I feel pain too, didn’t you know?

It’s not all about you, so there you go

I show you I care, I show you concern

Yet what do I get in return?

A selfish response, you ignored my pain

You focused on yourself, on your gain

He wasn’t just a friend to you

He was a friend to me too

We all knew it would happen, like an end to a song

Yet he held on, it took so long

Then when the time came, he finally died

All I could do was sit down and cry

At that time I really needed you

It was a hard time, I felt so blue

Yet you weren’t there, you didn’t care

You only cared about yourself, it’s not fair

What sort of friend are you?

Not a very good one, that’s true

I’m sick of giving and never receiving

So the time has come, I’m no longer believing

Our friendship has been a convenience to you

I need a new friend, one that will be true

Someone who will support me as much as I support them

Someone who will not be afraid to help me mend

So the time has come to say goodbye

It’s time for me to spread my wings and fly

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I decided to blog about something different today. It’s not about writing this time. Instead, it’s about routines. Who has a routine they stick to?

I think we all do. Who sticks to it religiously though?

Routines are funny things. Some people don’t have them because they feel they don’t need them. I’m envious of those people! But the truth is I only have one routine I religiously follow. That is my morning routine. Do you know why? It’s simple. Mornings are not my friends.

I’m a night owl, not a morning person. When a morning comes around and I have to wake up to an alarm, it’s like my worst nightmare. The only thing that helps me get through the morning is by sticking to this routine that I have. If I don’t stick to it, it totally ruins my day. I feel rattled and like I’m doing everything backwards. It’s the worst feeling in the world.

So what is this routine I follow?

Well, it all starts when my alarm goes off at 5:30am. Of course I hit the snooze button. Then I spend the next nine minutes trying to waken myself from my zombie-like state. Then at 5:39am, the alarm sounds again. By this point I am a little more lucid but far from responsive.

I stay in bed for a few more minutes then finally crawl out at 5:44am. First I go to the toilet then I jump straight in the shower. While I’m in the shower, my husband gets my lunch and makes me my morning cuppa.

My husband is wonderful. He insists on getting up with me even though he doesn’t need to. He works for himself so he can lie in if he wants to but he refuses. He doesn’t like staying in bed when I have to get up and go to work. He’s so sweet like that.

Once I’m showered, I style, blow dry and straighten my hair. Just a quick off topic comment – my hair isn’t curly. Technically it’s straight but it’s not the sort of straight that will dry perfectly into position. I have this one wave that makes my hair kink like crazy. If I don’t style it, it looks terrible. So I spend a good 20 minutes on my hair getting it just right.

When that is done, I go back to my room. I take five minutes out to drink my cuppa and have a bit of a chat with my husband. We’re both terrible morning people but we still manage to hold a civilised conversation. After that I get ready.

This is where you’re going to roll your eyes and go ‘I can’t believe she does that’!

I get ready in a certain order. My underwear goes on first. Then my right sock, followed by my left. My trousers go next. Before putting my top on, I go to brush my teeth then I put it on. I don’t trust myself. I dribble toothpaste all the time. It’s embarrassing.

Then finally, I pack my bag, kiss my husband goodbye and leave for the bus. By this point it’s 6:40am and my bus arrives at 6:44am.

Once I arrive at work, approximately 6:55am, the first thing I do is turn my computer on. This takes forever because our computers are dinosaurs. We’re still on Windows XP and my hard drive still has a floppy disk drive. Embarrassing, much?

While that is doing its job, I fill up my water bottle. This only takes 30 seconds at most and by the time I sit down at my desk, my computer isn’t even on the welcome screen. By the time my logon screen and I actually log on, it’s almost 7:10am. Yes, it takes that long.

I take another five minutes to check my emails, check the news then I’m ready to start my day.

As I said, routines are funny things. But without this routine, every morning and every day would be a trial. I have to admit that when my routines go right, which is most days, my days at work are more tolerable. Of course there are moments when my routine flops but they are few and far between. Thank goodness too because seriously, my days are terrible when that happens!

So tell me, am I the only one that sticks to religious routines like this? What other type of weird and wacky routines are there? Let me know!

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