Saturday, 25 October 2014

NaNoWriMo 2014

So. I've done it. I've gone onto the NaNoWriMo website and created my novel. Well actually, I guess I re-created my novel as I started writing it last NaNo and reached 25,000 words before I stopped. Work was intense and I just had so much on that instead of the kind of fun 'I'm behind! NaNo is so hard but I can do this' feeling I started having sleepless 'I'm a failure' kind of thoughts. So I stopped.

Last year I started re-writing my chick-lit novel. I have a completed draft but as I have mentioned before it was written too seriously and I changed tense after 50,000 words and then I decided to change the plot so starting again seemed like a better idea than editing what I had. The plan this year is to pick up where I left off last November at the 25k mark of my story. Yes, that's right, I haven't touched my WIP since last November. Shocking.

This plan means I need to read through what I have and heck my plot as I know I have thought of my first baby story often and have had some ideas and I can't actually remember if they formed part of the plot last time.

So, my plan is simple. Write as much as I can in November and hope for 50k because let's face it, winning NaNo feels amazing. I don't have many weekend plans this November which is good as I often end up with plans every weekend of November and I think with my weekdays as they are the weekends are going to be crucial.

I am on half-term this week (I'm a teacher) so the plan is to do lots of preparation and reading and just get ready. And then next weekend write like the wind and try and get a good head start!

So, I hope so of you out there are taking part this year and we can have millions of sprints and motivational tweeting sessions. I am so excited to dive back into my WIP but I do want to enjoy the month so I am determined not to get too stressed. Remind me of that!


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Happy 3rd birthday lovely blog!

It shows how crazy the last few weeks have been that after remembering it was my blog's third birthday on Friday 13th June, I promptly forgot again on the actual day! So last Friday I should have posted something but I didn't. So I am going to now!

When I started this blog three years ago I was writing it solely for myself and so I could take part in ROW80 and post my progress. Now it is the place where I was able to share the news that I was joint winner of the Sunlounger 2 short story competition and post this beautiful front cover!

Sunlounger 2 is out this Saturday (21st June) and is packed full of stories from writers I love and admire. I so hope you will buy it and enjoy being whisked off to exotic climes and I look forward to hearing everyone's thoughts on my story 'In Bruges.' I really am excited people will read it but I am also quite scared!! 

It has been such an exciting time and I changed my twitter name from @emwantstowrite to @EmIsWriting. People have suggested it many times but I have held off thinking that I am a bit of a fraud since I have lots of times I doubt myself and freeze with my writing. But I feel so fresh and motivated with my writing even though the day job is getting in the way at the moment. I was thinking earlier that it is a shame there isn't a CampNaNo this summer so I might think about having my own little camp! Someone needs to remind me off that comment in July!

So this is just a little nod to my blog's birthday and also a shameless promotion for Sunlounger 2. I am so happy and proud to be part of it! I wanted to post this picture of me and my friends on the day I found out I was joint winner of the competition. I love it because we were happy, had had champagne and cake, the sun was shining and I felt on top of the world!! (ps. I am second from the right, rocking the Deirdre Barlow shades! Actually, most of us are!)

So remember, 21st June Sunlounger 2. It will make your summer!!!


Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Saturday after the Saturday before

I have been very reflective this week and I was lying in bed last night thinking about how different I feel from a week ago. This time last week I had just found out I was joint winner of the Sunlounger 2 competition. I probably had a glass of champagne in my hand right at this moment last week. I think it is fair to say that this time last week I was in a daze. It seemed to only really sink in a few days later that I had actually won. I had won a writing competition. It is simply amazing.

Because I shared the competition results on my Facebook, some people at work now know about my writing. I cannot tell you how strange it is to talk openly about how long I have been writing, what I am writing and how my writing it going. It wasn't that I thought people would laugh or ridicule my dream to be a writer, it was more I was scared if I told people and it came to nothing then I would have to admit I gave up on my dream. If does feel quite pressured to have people asking how often I write or how much I have written that week but actually some friendly pressure will be good for me. I know I am more productive when I am accountable so now people in my day to day life know about my writing, it can only be a good thing.

I do feel different in myself. I think about writing and I feel excitement because I do now feel so much more confident in myself. Don't get me wrong, there will be times I will doubt myself and I'll feel every word is pure rubbish on the page. But I just feel like I need to keep plodding on, plotting and writing and editing and see where it takes me.

I have met some lovely new people including my fellow Sunlounger winner Ella Fairlie who was also a secret writer outed by her win. The writing community on twitter has always been amazing but I am so thankful my circle of writer and book blogger friends has grown on there. I am so excited (and a little nervous!) to hear what everyone thinks of my story when Sunlounger 2 is published on the 21st of June!

June is going to be such an exciting month with the ebook release and it is my third blog birthday on the 13th of June! My poor blog has been through a lot, from the highs of NaNoWriMo to the lows of self-doubt but I hope to be a bit more regular posting on here. It is possibly going to be a bit of a shocking month for my writing though. In the world of us teachers it is report writing time. Reports are always a killer as to do them well takes hours and hours but none of the usual work that keeps you busy most of the time stops. I looked at a couple earlier and they average 1,200 words to 1,300 words per child and I have 26 children in my class. By my maths, that is over 30k of writing but alas, not on my WIP! So I am going to focus on getting them written and enjoying the ride of Sunlounger 2 being published and not beat myself up if I don't make headway with my WIP until July. CampNaNoWriMo is running again in July so that might be a possibility if I am feeling brave!

Speaking of reports, I better go and do some!
Have lovely Saturdays,

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sunlounger 2!

This weekend has been the best weekend of my writing life. If you follow me on twitter you will know that I was actually joint winner of the Sunlounger Short Story Competition !!!! This means that on the 21st of June I will be published in an ebook with some seriously amazing writers. I apologise for all the promotional tweets that I will no doubt be tweeting but I AM BEING PUBLISHED!!!

I have almost pinched myself black and blue but I think it is starting to sink in. One of my best friends Lisa Dickenson is also in the book and she has also written the sweetest blog post about telling me that I had won! I was travelling in a car with some friends to go and see Lisa and I had seen on facebook that I was in the top ten of the competition. I however didn't check my phone (scared much?!) to see that I made the top four and then was announced joint winner! Lisa's post just sums up the moment to perfection and I truly appreciate her support and constant encouragement.

This did mean I was thrust somewhat into the spotlight. Amongst all the hugging and me repeatedly saying 'are you serious?' our friends stood there saying 'what's going on? what's she done?' because they didn't even know I write. When they huddled together to read my first paragraph on facebook I was slightly mortified and excused myself to go and ring my fiance. It suddenly became real. People would know who I am and people in my life would know I write. I have never entered anything before so the idea of winning didn't actually enter my mind. I didn't think of the consequences and suddenly I felt exposed. When my friend's were reading my paragraph I seem to remember saying I felt like I was giving birth on facebook. I hope that makes sense to anyone who has shared their writing with someone for the first time!

The lovely Lauren Garafalo calls me a Secret Agent because I am so secretive about my identity and my writing. I have known her for nearly three years and I have sent her one secret and never to be shared picture of myself. My family kind of know I have written stuff in the past as I told them when I took part in NaNoWriMo for the first time but nothing since then.

But now I am out. And quite happy about it! Everyone has been so supportive that I kind of don't know why I never said before. But I guess revealing that you have won a competition is easier than admitting you spend your time writing things you never let anyone read. And to prove I am out and proud here is a photo of me and my girls, drinking champagne and toasting all the wonderful things that are happening in our lives. I'm the second one from the right with the long blonde hair and the slightly bewildered expression.

I'll keep you updated about all things Sunlounger and will get back to ROW80 asap. Thank you to everyone for all your congratulations and support. It has been amazing!


Sunday, 18 May 2014

ROW80 Check-in 18th May 2014

Well, this post will be short and sweet as I have almost nothing to report. It has been one of those weeks, I haven't been feeling great and I have had a weekend of family celebrations for my Mum's 60th so I really haven't achieved a lot. Oh, apart from teaching my nephew to say my name!

My goals were:
1) Create a clear plot for my chick-lit WIP.
2) Check-in on Sunday.

So goal 2 is done with this but goal 1 hasn't gone as well as planned. I have done a lot of thinking for goal 1, mainly when I am driving which is good thinking time. So this goal needs to roll over and will be my main aim for the week ahead. I need to collect all my random notes and stick drawings and plot out my story. Simple.
Fingers crossed I achieve it this week!

Sunday, 11 May 2014

ROW80 Check-in 11th May 2014

Something happened this week that gave me a spring in my writing step. If you have been reading my ROW80 check-ins for the past few weeks, you'll know that I was entering a short story competition. I edited my story and I sent it off last Monday. As I pressed send I got that sense of dread, that feeling of fear that someone was going to read it and hate it. But Belinda Jones who is a great writer and the creator of the competition emailed me saying I had done a great job on the story. She used words such as 'warmly humorous' and 'relatable' and it is fair to say she has made my week, if not my month. Sorry if I sound like Mrs Boasty of Boastland but it really made me feel great to have someone I don't even know encourage me with my writing. It may not mean anything happens to the story I entered but it made me feel like I should keep on writing when I was starting to doubt if I should. It is amazing what some kind words from someone can do for your confidence.

Anyway, enough of the boasting.

My goals last week were:
1) Read through short story and email it off.
Achieved! It felt great to finish a project.

2) Create a plan for my next project.
I knew my next project would be finishing the re-write of my chick-lit story but I need to break it down into weekly do-able chunks. I re-wrote 26k of the story during NaNo last year and had a really great brainstorm back in Feb with my friend Lisa Dickenson who is a great writer and it helped me so much to speak through my plot out loud. I ran through my plot with her by using a series of stick man drawings with lots of arrows. Now I look at them, they make little sense but I know she made some great suggestions and I felt like I wanted to tweak the plot but I never got round to it.  I also had a clever gchat ages ago with ROW80 sprint leader  Lauren Garafalo and she helped get my head around the theme of my story. So I was getting my head around what I wanted to write. I just seemed to never sit down and write.

The natural step for me now seems to be tweaking my plot and adding in the bits and pieces I have thought of recently. I don't want to call it re-plotting as the majority will stay the same and re-plotting sounds scary! I have lots of notes and the stick man drawings to bring together and I feel like I need to immerse myself in my plot and my characters before I start writing. So, this week is all about ending up with a clear plot to work from. 

3) Read two books towards 100 books challenge.
I read two books and have now read 27 books towards this challenge. I am still about 10 books behind but hope to catch up.

4) Check-in on Sunday.

So, for the week ahead my goals are simple:
1) Create a clear plot for my chick-lit WIP.
2) Check-in on Sunday.

I hope everyone has had wonderful weeks and you are finding your stride with your goals. I am hoping I might make a #ROW80 sprint this week, fingers crossed! Have a fabulously productive seven days :)


Sunday, 4 May 2014

ROW80 Check-in 4th May 2014

Well, it has been a fairly successful week!

My goals were:
1) Edit, revise, mould, burn, cry and repeat.
3) Check-in on Sunday.

Goal 1 - I managed to print the story out and read it through not editing at all. I then gave it a few days while I mulled things over and had clever thoughts whilst hoovering and driving. Then today I sat down and edited my short story. I have just made the alterations and I am fairly happy with my story! I am however going to leave it overnight and have one more read through tomorrow morning before emailing it off for the competition.

Goal 2 - I have decided on 'In Bruges' as the title. I toyed around with millions of different ones but kept coming back to this one. It is simple and I like that!

Goal 3 - Done when this is posted.

I have still not managed to do much in the week but for now I am happy if I am still achieving things at the weekend! Because the last month has been about my short story, I am going to take this week to recharge and think about my next steps. I am 99% sure that I will continue re-writing my chick-lit story but I may go back at read through the start of the rewrite first. My goals for this week are therefore quite simple.

1) Read through short story and email it off.
2) Create a plan for my next project.
3) Read two books towards 100 books challenge.
4) Check-in on Sunday.

I am trying for the third time to read 100 books in a year.  I have managed 25 so far so I am about 11 books behind but as I have no plans to move this year (I have the last two years!) so I am hoping I will achieve this goal! 

I hope everyone has had wonderful weeks and I am going to check out some of your check-ins tomorrow.