it’s only wednesday, and yet here i am again – taking a break! *le gasp*

but, you know what?  it’s all right!  well… at least i hope it is…  see, i’ve been thinking about this, and have come to a surprising conclusion.  this is only my fourth time doing this, but i feel…almost…



i mean…  right – the first year, i didn’t know what to expect.  and, beginner’s luck, i reckon i actually wrote a pretty decent book.  this surprised me no end, let me tell you!  and then i did it again the next year.  granted, the book was a bit shit.  but still i finished it.  still i was a NaNoWriMo winner.  and it was still recogniseable as a book.  last year…  hmmm…  i’m still not sure what i think about that one.  once again a winner, but it could be good, or it could be bad.  if i’m honest, i daren’t go back and have a look.  because i might see what i suspect – that it is, actually, not too bad, and deserves saving.  but it needs a lot of work. probably along the lines of tearing it to pieces and stitching it back together again.  i honestly doubt that i’m up to that.  i really do.  but i’m getting off topic.

so the point is, i thought i might share one or two things that i learned along the way, or that have helped me, in the hope that they might help one or two of you.  these will be pretty much NaNo specific, but i find it translates further afield, too.

1)  this year has been a little different, in that both sides of my Twitter timeline seem to be packed to the rafters with people that are either joining in, or have in the past, or are nontheless pretty interested in what’s going on.  this is a wonderful thing.  despite the distraction that twitter provides, it is also a lifeline if you’re struggling, or just need a gender/nationality-specific surname for a throwaway character.  and they’re great when the chips are down.  the pompoms are everywhere, urging you on, boosting you up, and making you feel like you are a part of something happy and wonderful.  i love my twitter timeline.  it sometimes hinders, but it often helps.

2)  the thing that struck me most so far this year is that i actually don’t feel nervous about taking a break.  it’s almost instinctively built into my writing habits that i will get as far ahead as i can of the daily wordcount–even if only two hundred words or so a day, much more on weekends–in order to give myself a buffer.  that way, when i really do need to take a break, i am ready for it, and have maybe a day’s grace.

3)  i have also learned that i have to force myself to sit down and type.  just type fucking anything!  take a random word, or a line from a song.  use it to start a sentence or a conversation.  use that as the start of a paragraph.  anything, literally bloody anything will do to get the ball rolling.  it does not matter if it’s any good–that’s all relative, anyway–, as long as the ball starts rolling.  it generally takes me between 500 and 1000 words to hit the zone, i think.  until then, i almost have to physically tie myself to the chair to stop myself getting up, making tea, smoking, tweeting (AAARGH! TWEETING! >_< ).  but i know that once i’ve hit the zone, those words flow like honey.  admittedly, sometimes they flow like arctic honey, but still….

4)  one. word. in. front. of. the. other.  and that is all i can do.

5)  music actually seems to hinder my writing.  at least, while im writing.  before and after can be inspiring.  i like to sing, though, and i can’t sing and make stuff up at the same time, so i try to keep the music to a minimum.  actually, i find an empty house and maybe natural sounds are best.  they aren’t demanding my attention.  and wherever he is in the house, i tend to point Due Hubby, and often feel guilty that i ignore him so much, that i have to try not to worry about if he’s bored, or missing me, or hungry, or whatever.


6)  i make notes.  i don’t think much about what i’m writing when i’m at work, as my bloody job gets in the way, bit if a random NaNo related thought dashes across my brain, i will snag it, pin it to a piece of paper, and go about my day.  it’s often just a word or two.  but if i don’t write it down, i will forget, and that is one less thing i can write later on.


7)  the cat must have space  the cat is the lord and master of  NaNoWriMo and, if i don’t make space for him where he can sit all over me whilst i am typing, he will stomp all over my keyboard, eat my flash drive, and shit in my shoes.  or he’ll just miaow mournfully until i feel like the meanest human alive for ignoring him.  cuddling whilst writing is a skill i am acquiring rapidly.

8)  if i am bored with the story, i wrap that bit of the story up and move on to a more inviting bit, leaving warnings and barriers around any plot holes that may appear, to be fixed later.


9)  if i’m really not feeling it, i may have closed too manty plot doors already, and need to spot them and open them back up.  this can easily be done with a little thinky time and some hasty notes.  note what i want to change, “make it so” in my head, and move right along with the newly-full-of-possibilities story


10)  editing is for december.


11)  editing is for december.


12)  editing is for december.