Saturday, 31 December 2011

Last Word

As 2011 draws to an end, I've decided to keep this post brief. A few days ago, if I'd of written when I originally intended to, then yes, I would have penned much more, but time is getting on and we'll soon be ringing in a new year, so let me tell you what I've learnt.

I have lots of lovely friends out there, people who are ready to offer advice when needed, folk who have the same interests, and hopes and dreams. This last year, I have felt part of a much bigger community.
And I feel I must give a lot of the credit to twitter, the social networking service.
I have made many friends, who have laughed with me, cried with me, and generally made life very interesting and sometimes quite comic. I have done word sprints with people all over the world, during the month of NaNoWriMo, exchanged views and even met up with twitter pals for tea and cake! Something I want to repeat, again and again next year.

From a casual conversation only a few days ago, I have, in partnership with Rosalind Adams set up a twitter list for UK writers using the hash tag #UKwriters. You can read about it on her blog here. We can share news on what's happening, inform each other about writing competitions, events and conferences, as well as any book signings or anything else that a writer might be interested in reading. The response has been truly overwhelming.

Its early days. The idea is to get the hash tag working for us all, so we can spread news quickly to each other. We should never underestimate the power of twitter. It will be interesting to see how it develops.

I leave 2011 feeling happy, looking forward to 2012.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Twinkle and Sparkle

Yes, I'm going to mention the 'C' word. Christmas. Thought I'd ask you a question. I understand we all have things to do, and people to visit etc, but what will you be writing over the holiday break? Or perhaps you won't be?
Maybe you're drawing a line under 2011? And feel you have done enough this year. I dare say you've all done your own review on the past twelve months.

I've spoken to a few of my writing buddies over the last few weeks, and most have made definite plans. Some will be working on novels they started this year, others are editing. One will be writing lots of individual scenes for either radio or screen.

Personally, I'm going to look at the novel I wrote for this years NaNoWriMo, as I'll be beginning draft 2 in January 2012.  So I need to know where I'm going with it.

I'll also be filling in my diary with dates for writing events and workshops I've earmarked next year. Its always good for me to get out and about and meet other like minded people.

What are your plans? Is your writing going to twinkle and sparkle over the holidays?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

A Better Plan

I've been incredibly tired for a while now. Overwhelming so to be honest. Whether Nanowrimo upset my system, more than last year or whether its something else, I don't know. One thing I do know though is I can't let it beat me! Like a runner, (I imagine, because I don't run) who gets terrible cramp in the marathon, he'll run through it, and that's exactly what I need to do now.

December is always a busy month. At work, its coming up to our year end, so there is lots more to do, and its harder to find people, even in this age of communication. They tend to take days off possibly to use up the years quota of holiday. And then we do a stock take the week before Christmas. Total madness, and completely out of my hands, but it involves working into the late evening for at least three or four nights. I have that joy tomorrow.

Family matters seem more intense. Children have parties, adults have parties, and places to go, things to do, people to see in readiness for two days of family celebrations.

I constantly have this battle with sleeplessness, progressively getting worse as the years pass, and this year if I look back its deteriorated further. How do I cope? I keep writing through it. That's how I cope. I almost have to give myself permission to just write! Knowing it may not be my best stuff, but its better than no writing at all. Which, if I don't write at all, I feel grumpy and awful about myself.

Usually, after a few good nights sleep and some deep relaxation, I can shake the feeling off for a while, I get a temporary reprieve, and get some more words down on my WIP or whatever else I may be working on, then off I go again. Until it builds up again, and we have a repeat of the same.

This is why I need a better plan, I need to have a definite schedule which is manageable. Something I am looking at right now. Options are, should I choose a word count then plan it into my week, each week?
Perhaps, I should vow to have two early nights every week? Or should I opt for writing out a 'To Do' list each Sunday for the week ahead, and try and complete it. Knowing if I don't, its not so bad as I will have at least done some of the stuff on the list.

Ideas please. What do you do? Do you make lists? When do you find the time to write? Does anyone else suffer from tiredness, if so how do you cope?

Thursday, 1 December 2011

NaNoWriMo All Done

I am delighted to announce, I've completed NaNoWriMo, Yay! I made it across the finish line a day early.  It's been a marathon of words, there have been many highs and lows along the way. Congratulations to all the other wrimos out there who are most likely lying down, taking a well deserved break now.

Some of you will know its my second attempt at the challenge, I won last year, although it was a very different experience to this year. Things have been very intense, and finally I think, I can say I've switched off my internal editor, as well as learning to write through particularly difficult times.

I've had a few days when I've been bone tired, and rather than fall asleep over the keyboard, I've caved in, packed the laptop away, and gone to bed. Catching up wasn't nearly as bad as I expected either, as I overwrote quite a bit in the early days. Hindsight, is a wonderful thing, so I knew what to expect this year..

I tracked my progress, and kept statistics on words per day, per hour, and even had a column for mood. Which is really important. To keep my energy levels high, I tried to keep a healthy selection of snacks to hand, such as apples, satsumas and popcorn! Drinks were either tea, or cider. 

Interestingly, I did all my words at home this time, where as last time I moved about quite a lot. It wasn't easy, but in the main, I enjoyed writing this novel very much, and now the skeleton is written down. There is a lot to do on it without a doubt, but I have something I can work on, and develop.

It won't be done this month. December will be spent catching up with real life stuff - I have neglected!

Planning Your Time - How Hard Can it Be?

Blue Skies Over Tenby - Maria A Smith  Planning your time is often much harder than you ever dreamt or expected it to be, and if you do...