Random Bullet Points of Life

For the little things in life worth recording but possibly not worth a full entry

  • I usually tell people that if an entry appears on my blog before about 9:30 it’s because I wrote it in advance and scheduled it.  But it’s 08:42 and I’m actually writing this live so to say.  I’m waiting for carer, it’s been put back to just after 9 today.
  • Lately I have not been reading.  I did just start an audiobook which I like (Where Love Lies by Julie Cohen which I got from the e-library). And I must finish my library ebook this morning as the time on it runs out just after lunch.  It’s good I just had no motivation to read for a few weeks so abandoned it with less than 100 pages to go (that’s Three Things About Elsie by Joanna Cannon)
  • I’ve been working on crochet squares for Woolly Hugs and sent a pile of 10 12 inch squares off to them last week – I’d been working on them on and off since January.  At the moment I keep starting new things and abandoning them.
  • I can’t help feeling I’ve shared the above point before but that might have been on facebook
  • My next craft maybe some decopatch though – my carers keep commenting on my decopatch “Love Books” on my book cases so I’ve told several about it.  One came in a couple of days ago and said she’d had a go and is clearly now hooked. And it’s got me wanting to do some too!
  • Writing is going well.  I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo with an hours goal (and I definitely blogged about that before) but am really beginning to wish I’d stuck with my word count goal as it feels more achieveable. Next time!
  • Isn’t the weather lovely?
  • I’m going to see my favourite musical next week!
  • The Citizens Advice office I volunteer for is taking part in #CABLive over on twitter for the first time this week. I set it up (for us to take part) and I’m enjoying see it run.

A Few Writing Thoughts

Since the end of September I’ve been going to a weekly writers group most weeks. It’s been good for me to have the space each week which is given over to writing and makes me focus on actually writing rather than thinking about it and talking about it.  It’s also very inspiring to hear others talk about what they’re writing.

Sometimes I struggle to find things to fill the time with and others I struggle to concentrate for the whole time (it’s 2 hours split into two 45 minute writing sessions and coffee breaks).  Sometimes I end up googling things I want to know about for my writing and others I open the Kindle app on my iPad and start reading a review book. I just need to write those damn reviews now.

But over the last few weeks I’ve been picking at writing a fanfic. It’s not going as well as I’d like and I’ve convinced myself I’m bad at writing fiction.  That’s not an unusual stage of writing for me and actually when I went back and reread some of what I’d written I did think it was good.  Admittedly I’m writing slower than I could be and not in a cohesive way but in a slow and somewhat painful few minutes at a time if nothing else way I was writing.  I miss the days when I used to sit and type for an hour nonstop without thinking just to get the piece down.

Locally there have been a few writing workshops.  An evening one on plotting which is was very useful and I could definitely do with looking at the pacing of my work based on the tips she gave us.  And two one day ones on flash fiction in February and character in March.  I got a lot out of both of those but enjoyed the one on flash fiction much more than character (possibly because it was a different group and possibly because I was stressed and tired for the character one).  Using the prompts in the session and free writing techniques made me remember that I enjoy writing short pieces like that.  Flash fiction it turns out may be much more my thing than writing a novel. But I still want to write a damn novel.

Going back to the fanfic, there is a deadline for it as I signed up to write it for a fandom big bang. And part of me wishes I hadn’t. I haven’t written in that fandom before or seen the whole series. And I’m not sure when I last wrote fanfic for any fandom.  I did it for my first nano in 2004 and can’t remember doing so since I stopped playing with that piece in 2005 although it would suprise me if that was the last time.  Hang on, as I write this it occurs to me I wrote a very small piece of Chalet School fanfic and posted it on The-CBB when I was first on there which was 2007 ish I think.  One of the problems I’m finding at the moment is I’ve only written for three fandoms before – two of which are set in the UK and the third was a character driven Star Trek piece that had basically nothing of the setting and very little plot in it.  This fandom is an American show and I don’t want to use too many Britishisms as I know I find them glaring when I spot them in fic (Americans calling each other mate is a frequent one I see in others pieces). I’m sure some will slip through but it’s making me think more about my word choices.

I ended up deciding to use the flash fiction principle and dividing my rough storyline into prompts then writing each one as a separate piece. It’s a work in progress but it seems to be going well because the biggest problem was how to transition between the different scenes. I’m still going to have to figure it out later but at least I’ll have the plot down. And as a fair amount of the story takes place in a hospital there’s not a lot of physically moving around to be had.

I still think this is going to end up a very bad piece of fanfic and I’ll get negative feedback. But I’m really glad to be writing regularly again and especially to be writing fiction again (particularly fanfic).  I’m taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo this month and have set myself a goal of 60 hours spent on writing over the month – it feels like it might be out of reach but I think it should be doable now I’m going.  I’ve done a fair amount of writing today inbetween other things as my powerchair batteries were changed this morning so it’s been charging. As always it’s not as much as I’d like but it’s a start. And I do seem to write more in the evening than other times.  We shall see.

N is for…

N is for NaNoWriMo

For those not in the know NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It’s a yearly challenge that takes place every November to write 50K words in those thirty days.  I’ve done it several times since 2004.  I’ve won a few times but I’m lost many more.  Only not really because every word written is a win if you think about it.

NaNo has been great for me because it got me writing properly.  My first ever long piece of writing was a NaNo project, specifically a very bad Harry Potter fanfiction which before anyone asks was never posted in it’s entireity online.  I think I’d like to read it again but it’s probably better I don’t.

It’s also been great because I’ve made friends.  Some I just see in the group and the meet ups and several I’ve lost touch with over the years beyond sporadic tweets etc.  But I’ve got a couple of very good friends I met through NaNo – ones I’ve been to the paralympics with, and up the shard, for drinks and chat, theatre trips and breakfast in Giraffe (yesterday) and even to one of their weddings and that’s a whole lot of impact on my life and positivity that’s not to be scoffed at.

In many ways I’ve lost my love for NaNo now.  The year I acted as Municipal Liaison played a big role in that but I think it’s partially to do with maturing as a writer too.  I’ll still think of it every year and probably give it some form of a go.  I hear a lot about how it’s a bad thing and how NaNo ruins writing.  My suspicion is that some of those are valid points.  But I’ll always have a soft spot for it and think it’s a great thing.  Because for me it’s about more than the writing

The End of NaNo

So it’s the end of November and Nanowrimo ends at midnight.

I’m a nano winner in that I’ve written over 50,000 words this month.

I’ve not written a book. I’ve not even written anything vaguely like a first draft of a book. Some of my friends are talking about submitting for publication pretty much straight away. They are either much better writers than I am or totally insane. Or both.

What I’ve written is a mess. It’s a variety of scenes from the idea I had. Some I planned and some I didn’t. Some work and some make me cringe just to think of them. I suspect when I look back some of the ones I thought worked probably won’t and some that made me cringe will turn out to be better than I remembered. I hope so anyway.

I’ve also come away with the feeling that the idea I had is actually for two stories rather than two arcs in the same book. And that very possibly I’m using the wrong perspective and the wrong main character. I wrote a bit using the new main character on Thursday and again yesterday and I like it a lot. It feels like better writing. But I think I’ll miss the person I thought was the main character. Which is why I’m thinking this is two stories not the one I thought it was.

More importantly being able to lose myself in my writing has helped me deal with a very difficult month with major wheelchair problems, several very sad happenings and lots of stress.

Taking part in NaNo has got me back into the habit of writing regularly once again. And it’s reawakened my love of writing. I needed that.

NaNo for me isn’t about writing a book, or finishing a book or anything like that it’s about writing and the fact it makes me do it. And tomorrow I get to go drink cocktails with a couple of very good friends (one I met through NaNo and one I got to know better through NaNo but knew before) and a bunch of new friends to celebrate that fact.

Random Bullet Points of Life

♥ I got my powerchair back yesterday and I took it out for a very long wander around this afternoon. I came back cold but with the cobwebs well and truly blown away and feeling happier.

(An Instagram I took as proof I went out and because I thought it looked nice. Road, trees, sky, cars going past and the power station in the distance)

♥ I can’t remember if I posted here that I was going to take the creative writing class again. It was going to be a five week class with the same tutor I had before. The first one was last week but the rest have been cancelled due to low numbers. Which didn’t surprise me. It’s a shame but I’m not as bothered as I was because I wanted to take it to help me find my writing mojo again and I’d already located it.

♥ my GP just called me (at 7:20 PM). My iron levels were back to normal when tested but my stores were still low. I may need to keep taking iron on a very low dose long term however. I feel this is a perfect time to declare “sometimes it’s hard to be a woman…” (Who sang that?) retest in December.

♥ it’s probably over a week and a half since I finished a book.

♥ I actually finished a craft project! Well a couple of weeks ago but the recipient has it now so…


(Pink crocheted baby blanket, crocheted in the round. Large bright pink stripes interspaced with a few narrower light pink ones)

♥ I have 26,437 words written for NaNo. They are mostly crap.

>Why Deciding to Blog Daily is a Bad Idea if You’re Me!

>I originally planned to blog everyday this month.  I am officially never going to make that plan again.  It was something I intended to do in September and then I stared the month off with a cold that ended up on my chest.  No month of daily blogging for me!

And then I decided to do the same this month.

Tuesday I had a bit of a sore throat but nothing major.  My Dad’s had a bad cold so I was a bit concerned I was getting one but didn’t worry about it too much.  Went into Reading for the day and bought the yarn for my Mum’s Christmas present.  Also did a big chunk of writing in one of the branches of costa with a bacon sandwich.  Then when I came home I decided to have a dominos.  Usually I order a large pizza and a couple of sides (if there are on buy one get one free, otherwise just one) and have half or thereabouts and then the rest the next day.  I just ordered a large pizza (especially good willpower wise as it was Two for Tuesday on pizza).  But I ate the lot.

And woke up in the middle of the night having a gall bladder attack.  Nothing like as bad as the only other one I’ve had but still horrendous.  But did also have my first ever kidney infection as well last time.  I was scared and freaked out and thought for sure I’d end up at the doctors if not the hospital that day.  But I managed to get myself into a place where I was comfortable so long as I didn’t move which wasn’t great as I kept needing the loo or a drink due to aforementioned sore throat.  I felt a lot better when I woke up on Wednesday morning and managed to avoid the doctors.  I was however completely washed out as I’d slept so badly (was up at least four times in the night).  I ate very little all day and mostly plain foods.  By the evening I was feeling back to normal and cooped up so I popped out to see the writers saying I’d stay half an hour, mostly so I could get some fresh air.  I was there almost two hours I think.

Thursday I was a little sniffly but not to bad.  Then I went out to creative writing and the cold air set me off cough, cough, cough, cough, cough.  And a bad one too.  Wouldn’t have gone if I’d realised it would be that bad.  Completely full of cold!  Friday I was full of it and felt lousy and probably should have cancelled my plans for that evening.  But I didn’t.  Which led to us bumping into a friend of ours and a friend of hers (who I’d not met)  who was all “have you got something for that?” and declared that I really needed to see the doctor.  My mum said that it wasn’t Oh my god go to the doctor stage at that point.  And I woke up Saturday morning have dried up a lot but still quite cold-y.  I’m still coughing a lot today but it’s a lot looser and my nose isn’t dripping.

Oh and in case anyone was wondering, I am up to date with my NaNoWriMo attempts (apart from today but there’s still time).  I was very behind but I did a mammoth catch up yesterday.  I’m not where I’d like to be, however.  And my story has disappeared.  I’m going to try writing a different idea starting tomorrow (but keep the words I already have) and return to this one at some not NaNo point in the future.

Haven’t got much else to say about this week, a lot of cancelled plans, feeling bad and writing about sums it up!

>Stop! NaNo Time!

>I’m doing NaNoWriMo again!  I love November especially because it has NaNo.  It really makes me write and do it in a way that I rarely manage at other times of the year.

Today hasn’t been a great first day of NaNo I must say.  I like to end day 1 with a decent sized cushion of words.  And today I’ve written 1748 words.  Which is less than 100 words of cushion.  I’ll definitely take it because I need to go to bed after Masterchef (have a sore throat, feel a bit off) but would like a bigger one.  I have big goals for this year and at this level I won’t reach them.

Still, there’s always tomorrow.  Plus I think i may have just turned a slight off the cuff one line remark into a whole plot for a novel and be leaving behind the one I’d planned.

It’s going to be an interesting month!

>NaNo Stats!

wordcount widgets

[description: It’s a widget that shows how long until NaNo ends in my time zone, how much I’ve written, and how much I have left to write. It also shows how many words per day I’ve averaged and the estimated date I would finish at that rate (currently Jan 13th as of 11pm 09/11) and the remaining amount of words I must do each day to finish by the end of November. It updates every time I update my profile on the NaNo site.]

And just for coolness factor, the widget is hosted on neilgaiman.com!!!

>Writing and Weight and Fireworks

>The good thing about doing both NaBloPoMo AND NaNoWriMo is that on days when I don’t really have any inspiration for my blog entry I just simply tell you what my NaNo word count is and witter on about that for a while.

I have 3580 words for NaNo so far, I’ve set up three characters and mentioned a third and fourth. Other than that not much has happened other that a shit load of padding it out. Still, that;s half the fun. And I suddenly like what I’ve written this afternoon which is always good. I am slightly ahead of the curve at the moment but I haven’t written 1667 words today (wrote extra yest) so I want to get at least the 300 or so extra in to hit that – don’t want to lose my extra margin of words this early on. I’d actually forgotten how much fun this writing lark is.

Oooh and my friend Sam said my face looks a lot thinner today. I was very pleased but immediately followed that up with a discussion as to whether or not it was how I was wearing my hair (different to usual) that did it. Because, obviously, looking less fat is important. Particularly when you have an appt with a TV camera crew next week like I do…

Fireworks tomorrow, can’t wait!

>Canvas Bags – Tim Minchin


Take your canvas bags
When you go
To the supermarket
Why use plastic bags when you know
You know the world can’t take it

Take your canvas bags
When you go
To the supermarket market market
Don’t you use those plastic ones
No, no, no
Don’t you know that you’ll feel better for it

Take your canvas bags
Take your canvas bags
Take your canvas bags
To the supermarket

Just think about the world
And how the world would be fantastic
If we got rid of all the plastic
We just need to get enthusiastic
Start a competition gymnastic
Or a bag making comp at your school
Fuck it, make it interscholastic
Canvas is for everyone
Whether you be rebellious and iconoclastic
Or conservative or ecclesiastic
I don’t care if you’re loud and bombastic
Or quiet or virtually monastic
Sober or on the floor spastic
Yoga master or completely inelastic
I’m not trying to be ironic or sarcastic
Just do something drastic
To rid the world of plastic

Take your canvas bags
Take your canvas bags
Take your canvas bags
To the supermarket
Black out…!

Tim Minchin always makes me laugh. Especially this song which is so relevant to where we are now in our world. I thought of it today when the girl was packing my shopping at Sainsbury’s this evening. And I can think of one or two other people who read this who would like the song so… enjoy.

I have about 1K words done for NaNo. Must do some more later.