Wednesday, 30 November 2011

ROW80 Check-in 30th November

I cannot tell you how glad I am that I am not sprinting to the finish of NaNo today! Having said that I can't wait for next year and am considering CampNaNo as I am not at work for the month of August. I have been riding high on my 'win' and told my parents and friends who knew about I was doing it. One friend sent me a Congratulations ecard which was lovely. I have to say I didn't explain the concept of 'winning' that well to my mum because when I said 'I've won NaNo!' she thought it meant I was first place, the only winner and it meant I would be published! Even though it made me laugh it was nice she had such faith that what I have been toiling away at for the last month might actually be good! Was lovely.

I am going to post about all the things I learnt during NaNo but will save that for another day when I have reflected more. I want to say thank you to everyone who sprinted with me for being part of my daily routine and constantly pushing me to write more and more in that hour. One day maybe I will beat Gene in a sprint! Thank you to Gene and other sprinty sprinters newtowritinggirl, Nicole, Lena, Wendy Jane and Lauren how brought us all together and kept us on track! Thank you to everyone else who left encouraging comments, they really spurned me on especially when the tiredness was really kicking in!

Now on Sunday I mentioned I am not sure what I am going to do next. I am 100% sure I am not going to look at my NaNo murder mystery until January and I hope I will be pleasantly surprised by what I find. I am seriously considering returning to the chick-lit book I was writing in the summer as I have 30,000 plus words already but I seem to remember my MC was getting on my nerves, crying all the time so she would need alot of work but I loved the story idea. I have a hazy idea for another chick-lit book but not sure I want to pursue that at the moment. Oh decisions decisions.

newtowritinggirl suggested using writing prompts and possibly posting them here which makes me shudder but might be good for the busy month of December as it will keep me writing but I don't have to decide on a bigger project. So basically I am still in decision mode and this weekend is the weekend of my friend's wedding so I will be rocking my bridesmaid dress and having an amazing time. I will think about writing and mull things over but hold off making any firm goals at the moment.

I hope everyone who is still busy with NaNo has a brilliant last day and well done to everyone who has 'won'! We should all be published....after some careful editing of course!

Sunday, 27 November 2011

She shoots she scores!!! ROW80 Check-in 27th November

The last few days have been eventful in many ways. Mainly because I crossed the 50,000 word line for NaNoWriMo which makes me a winner!

I have to say it is an amazing feeling to complete such an intense challenge. I will no doubt post about what I have learned during the process but my brain needs a rest and to re-group before I attempt that!

My last days of NaNo were not as I expected. Quick summary of word counts:

Lots of my lovely sprinting friends were busy eating Turkey so I sat down at the usual time and wrote 770 words.


2,379 words over several hours.

Grand total - 50,006 words!!!

You see on Thursday it all went a bit wrong. Or right. I can't decide. I happily wrote and finished my story but I was only at 47,627 words. I always knew this was going to be a novella length piece (a la Agatha Christie) and that the intensity of NaNo was probably making me race through my story quicker than I would have otherwise but I still found myself at a bit of a loss.

I made some notes on things I had wanted to add in and decided I would do that on Saturday. I had plans Friday night so I was going to try and do some morning writing but I knew the adding in of bit would take lots of brain power and by friday morning, that was lacking. So Saturday night saw me sitting for several hours adding in bits and pieces that I feel added to the story. There was one bit between two minor characters that I love and am so glad I added in. I didn't want to add in for adding sake.

I added in all the bits I wanted and checked my scrivener word count and it was 50,014. Word made it 50,006 so I validated and won!!!!

I guess I had expected a frantic race to the finish on Wednesday with copious amounts of coffee and my hair getting wilder and wilder as my brain got hotter and hotter. But it wasn't like that. It was quite calm. I finished, tweeted that I had finished, text a couple of my friends that I had won and went to bed.

So what now? No I am seriously asking all of you. I need to think over the next couple of days what I want to do now. I feel like I want to leave my murder mystery to one side before I go back and edit it. I hope that isn't a big mistake. I just want some space from it as it has been consuming my thoughts for the last month and I want to approach it fresh. I really want to print some of it out as I like to scribble all over things rather than change them on the computer. Also, I am fed up of staring at a computer!

I have two children's stories in first draft stage and over 30,000 words of a chick-lit book that I stopped working on a while ago. So plan is to think about my next step. Another murder mystery? Although I found it ever so hard and I am not sure it is that 'clever' a plot or back to my first love chick-lit if I can get my head around it. Hmmm...time to think. I will check-in on Wednesday as usual and hopefully I will have decided on my next step.

This week is manic at work so I am so pleased I have won NaNo early so I can focus on what needs to be done for the inspection we have this week. And next saturday is the day I am being a bridesmaid for my lovely friend so this week needs to have lots of opportunities for rest too!

I hope everyone is doing well with their goals, NaNo related or not.

Thank you to everyone for your encouraging words, they really do help and mean alot.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

ROW80 Check-in 23rd November

I briefly looked back at my ROW80 Round 4 goals today and on the 1st November my goal became to write 1,666 words a day or 11,662 a week to keep on track for NaNo. I have succeeded at this and actually done better most days! Yay! I also wanted to check-in on both Wednesdays and Sundays and I have done this each week too. Need to think about what my goals will be after NaNo. Life after NaNo....what will that be like?!

To the word counts of the last few days:

1,887 words during one hour sprint
Day 21 total - 1,887

229 words when in from work
1,821 during one hour sprint
Day 22 total - 2,050

1,799 words during one hour sprint
Day 23 total - 1,799

So my grand total is now 46,857 words!!!

I have eased off the morning writing and actually think my sprint word counts have been better as a result. Whether that is because I am getting an extra 30 minutes in bed each morning or because I know I have to do all my days words in the evening I don't know. I am pleased with my word count today as I have had the first inspection at school and the preparation was exhausting. Next one is next week....oh the joy!

Not alot to report apart from my murderer has just been arrested! I am going to wrap things up with my detective and then I think I am going to insert some first person bits from the mind of the murderer earlier in the book. If I don't get to 50,000 by the time I have done this I don't know what I will do!!! With less than 4,000 words (squeal!) to write it is probably silly to worry about running out of story but I do. Fingers crossed it will all be well.

Then I have the fun of trying to compile it all in scrivener....might come asking for help with that nearer the time!

Hope everyone is doing well and will aim to get around to some check-ins over the coming days. Me and my burning eyes are off to bed soon.

ps. Don't forget Lena will be checking in over at Fun not fear on Friday for the final push through to the finish line!!!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

ROW80 Check-in Sunday 20th November

My software has behaved itself so I have had a happy few days of writing. I am still backing up daily though!

To the word counts -

656 words before work
1,488 in one hour sprint
Day 17 total - 2,144

1,114 words during one hour sprint
Day 18 total - 1,114

908 words in 45 minutes in the afternoon
518 in 30 minutes early evening
Day 19 total - 1,426

429 words in 30 minutes in the afternoon
1,630 words in one hour sprint
Day 20 total - 2,122

So my grand total is now 41,121!!!!

It felt so good to break the 40,000 word barrier today and I feel like things are on the right track. I think I will actually get to the end of my story in the 50k (if not a little bit more) as we are closing in on the murderer! Fun times!!! Less than 9,000 words to go....what a three weeks it has been!!

I have to say I am feeling the tiredness now though but I guess that is natural for day 20?! On Friday I was absolutely shattered and knew I had a big day at work so decided not to write early in the morning. Before work writing might be something I drop over the next week as I have some pretty big things going on at work (inspections which mean lesson observations, even more detailed planning etc.) and I need to be a functioning human being, not a tired zombie shell of a girl I have felt some days! I feel ok about this as I am well ahead of schedule at the moment. Although I felt weird stopping before reaching 2,000 words on some days as that is what I have been aiming for.

I also had a think about what I will do if I hit 50,00 words over the next week (all being well and if I manage to continue as I have been). I am not 100% sure but I think if I can 'win' before the 30th November I might ease off rather than seeing how much I can write if I go full pelt the whole way. When I first thought of this I felt uneasy, like I am giving up but reaching 50,000 was my goal and if I manage that early, I manage that early. I knew that the end of the month would be busier than the start so I did try to write more at the start in case the end of the month was tough. If I didn't have these unexpected (grr!) important things going on at work I might carry on and I still might. I am also bearing in mind that I am being a bridesmaid on the 3rd of December and I want to be rested for that day as much as I can be with said work things going on. Does anyone know if you try to 'win' NaNo before the 30th and manage it can you add a higher word count before the end of the 30th November?

Ok, am off to check out some check-ins before I go goggly eyed from staring at the computer for so long! Hope everyone is having great weeks!

ps. Don't forget we had a check-in over at Fun not fear! on Friday and Lena and I would love to hear how you are getting on!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Wednesday 16th November ROW80 Check-in

Since NaNo began I usually go to my word counts straight away but if you have seen any of my recent tweets you will know I have been having some issues in this area. Not with the writing, oh no, with my software moving my writing and then missing words! I started using Scrivener a few days before NaNo and I really like lots of features but over the last 24 hours it has stressed me out!!! I am sure half of it is my inexperience coupled with my tiredness but yesterday it all went a bit...barmy! Lauren make sure you use this in a sentence this week!
It was all going beautifully and I wrote 2,201 words yesterday. I know this because I painstakingly write all my word counts down in my little NaNo notebook and even on an A4 NaNo word count grid so I can keep track. Yesterday randomly one of my sections seemed to be moved to another section. Well, I didn't want this so my tired brain logically made a new file (with the same name) copied the words from the weirdly moved file and pasted them in the new one. Now I deleted the old file and as soon as I pressed the button I realised I may have made a mistake. The deleting was entirely my fault as it deleted the contents of both files (I am guessing because they were named the same thing?). Now in my tired state of mind I got in a flap, sent SOS tweets specifically to Lauren as she often helps me with computer related things.

Then I remembered, I had backed everything up on Word the night before so I went and retrieved the missing section and thought all would be fine. However when I added up my word counts they didn't tally. My totals were 30,012 on Monday and 30,914 on Tuesday but I KNOW I had written over 2000 words on Tuesday. After crunching the numbers over and over again I just accepted (with a sulk on my face) that some of my words had been lost and I just needed to get on with it. As Lyndsay reminded me 'Fun not fear!' so I went to bed and decided today was a new day.

This morning I woke up and decided to go over my word counts again (I know, glutton for punishment) but miraculously they were reading a total of 32,116. HOW? WHAT? HOW? I didn't manage to do any writing before work as I was too busy checking this and double checking this but I have managed to be productive tonight.

Just because I love them here are my word counts since Monday but without the messed up daily totals.

752 words before work
1,324 during hour sprint
218 words after sprint

713 words before work
1,490 words during hour sprint

1,675 words during hour sprint
523 in 20 minutes after sprint

So, my grand total (with missing words now back) is 34,313!!!!

The last days have been tainted with my word count issues as the whole thing about NaNo is trying to reach a certain word count. The number is important to stay on track, to be motivated and most importantly to count down! Since reaching 30,000 I haven't celebrated too much but I hope to make over 35,000 tomorrow and then I will have less than 15,000 to go!!!

On Friday me and Lena will check-in over at Fun not Fear! and we would love to know how you are doing.

From here on out the plan is write, back up, write, back up!

Hope everyone is having a great week!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sunday 13th November ROW80 Check-in

I will try and make sense in this post but I think NaNo brain is setting in and I seem to use up all my focus on my writing so everything else is a bit random!

Word counts:

333 words before work
1,093 during one hour sprint in evening
614 in 40 minutes after sprint
Day 10 total - 2,040

538 words before work
510 words in 30 minutes in afternoon
1,046 words in 50 minutes in evening
Day 11 total - 2,094

Adding few sentence to a previous scene 128 words
625 words in afternoon
1,301 words in hour sprint in evening
Day 12 total - 2,054

So grand total so far is 25, 030!!!!

Or so I thought!

I was so pleased to pass the 25,000 word mark I updated my word count, looked at the pretty graph and went to bed. This morning I decided to check the word counts I have written down against the word counts of all the ages of Scrivener and they don't match up! I hate numbers (ok hate might be too strong a word!) and was worried the number element of this would drive me crazy but the good news is when I add up my totals on scrivener it comes to 25,188. I spent a good half an hour checking my numbers, scratching my head and throwing my arms in the air but have decided not to worry and just plough on. My plan is to add up the scrivener word counts everyday instead of rely on my notes because I have been going back and popping a sentence or two in when I have thought of something I want to add so maybe I have just missed some numbers in my calculations. And....deep breath!

I am at my friends and it is true what they say, a change is as good as a rest. Is nice to write and not have my pile of dishes scowling at me. I was hoping for lots more words yesterday but I had lots of paperwork from school to bring home and it took three times as long as I was expecting but atleast it is done and today is all about the writing. Although unexpectedly I am going to the cinema with my sister and brother-in-law later and for a drink wtih them so while I won't have so long to write it hopefully will motivate me to get a wriggle on and then I can enjoy an evening off. and see them.

So far today I have written 1,357 words in 45 minutes. newtowritinggirl tweeted asking if anyone was up for a sprint this morning but she had started by the time I saw it so she tweeted me the challenge of beating her word count. I did manage it, I think I only got ten words more or something but it kick started me this morning!

I had a bit of a crisis of confidence on Thursday night which seemed to come out of nowhere. I have been really pleased with my word count each day and am amazed I am actually a couple of days ahead of schedule. Sitting down and writing hasn't been a problem. Knowing what to write hasn't been a problem as I had outlined and planned lots. I am thankful that I haven't had any staring at a blank screen moments. Getting up in the morning hasn't been a problem for the most part (although I struggled by Friday!). I just feel like I am further through my story than I should be for 25,000 words. I had assumed I wouldn't reach the end of my story at the end of NaNo but it is looking like I might. I started to worry lots about the plot but then I realised lots of Agatha Christie books are fairly short, almost novellas. So a quick google later and I found out her book 'The Mysterious Affair of Styles' was only 59,885 words so I decided to cast these thoughts from my mind and just crack on!

I have thought about bits I want to add in and I have some interviews, the pathologists feedback, the Inspectors deliberations, the reveal and the murderers reasons etc all to come to lots to write about.

Before I go me and Lena checked in at Fun not fear on Friday and both of us aren't finding week two as straightforward as week one. We would love to hear how you are getting on!

Hope you have had a great week and the next one is even better than the last!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

ROW80 Check-in 9th November

As we enter week 2 I am still feeling optimistic and most importantly, I am still enjoying my story! I was worried that I would start to hate it and writing would be a chore but so far, so good. I know there is always time but at the moment I am loving it!

Word counts for the last few days:

638 words before work.
1,270 words during 1 hour sprint with usual crew!
108 words after sprint.
Day 7 total - 2016

701 words before work
1,464 words during hour sprint
Day 8 total - 2165

892 words before work
1,236 words during hour sprint
Day 9 total - 2,128

So grand total so far is 18,842!!!

I am still keeping my weekly routine of writing before work for as long as I can and then taking part in an hour sprint in the evening wth fellow #ROW80ers. I am pleased I have managed over 2000 words a day as work is getting more hectic and I may (just may) have a day off at some point!

One thing I noticed was that I wasn't reading anything at all at the start of NaNo. In the lead up I was reading PD James to get in the right mindset but once I started writing my murder mystery I kept worrying I would just regurgitate what I was reading into my book so I stopped reading. But I miss it. I need the escapism. So I have started an Adele Parks book called 'Tell me something' and I am enjoying reading a bit each day when time allows.

Thinking back I am so pleased with how my writing at my parents went. It felt good that they knew what I was doing and as I was only there for a couple of days I didn't feel I could lock myself in my room so I set up camp on their dining room table. They were really supportive offering to make me a coffee and saying how impressed they were with my dedication. Made me feel like I really want to achieve this and win NaNo!

This weekend I am staying at my friends and she will be away for the saturday night so I will have lots of time to write so I hope to write more than 2,000 words a day. She knows about the challenge and is hugely supportive so I am looking forward to it. And I get to spend time with her! A change is as good as a rest and I might try and find out if there are any write ins in Exeter that I could maybe attend.

Lena and I will be checking in over at Fun not fear! on Friday so make sure you check it out and let us know how your NaNo is going.

Hope everyone's week is going well!

Sunday, 6 November 2011

ROW80 Check-in 6th November

The first week of NaNo is still going well for me, I can't believe it hasn't yet been a full week! Right, let's go to the word counts first!

712 words before work
1,159 in one hour sprint
279 in 20 minutes after sprint
Day 3 total - 2150

312 words before work
1,488 words later in afternoon
Day 4 total - 1,800

2,313 words in just over two hours
Day 5 total - 2,313

1,269 words in one hour in afternoon
928 words in 50 minutes in the evening
Day 6 total - 2,197

So grand total so far is 12,533 words!!!!

I was slightly disappointed with Friday's word count as I have been secretly aiming for 2,000 a day to start with to give me a bit of breathing space if needed when work gets busier in the coming weeks but it was my first day out of my 'NaNo routine' so I did expect to not hit my secret target. On Saturday I had a big family celebration so I got up and just poured out my words. I have to say it was odd doing all my words that day in one chunk. Even though my friday morning word count wasn't as high (mainly due to sheer tiredness!) I like having a bit done in the morning and then I enjoy going back to it later that day and mull it over whilst at work throughout the day.

Before NaNo started I thought I would write when I get in from work before a make some food but I haven't been able to do that, I have been too hungry! From getting in from work to my sprint date I have just over an hour so I have time to refresh before I sit down and write! The sprints are still great and anyone is welcome to join us on the #ROW8 hashtag, check out Lauren's check-in for all the time details, I get so confused with the time differences! All I know is it is 7pm UK time! I seem to do a 20 to 30 minutes 'cool down' after the sprints where I finish off the scene or paragraph I have been writing.

It is interesting looking at tweets on the #nanowrimo stream as lots of people talk about not particularly liking the words they are writing. Whilst I know there will be A LOT of editing I don't think I have written any sentences that I hate. Remind me of this when I start the editing process! I am happy with the level of planning I have done so far and am writing through my story in order. They have just found the body so we are now having the police interviews. I am loving my detective who is based on Andrew Lincoln.


On related news Lena and I posted our first Fun not Fear! check-in on Friday with a little mash up of links. It had been great to hear how people have been getting on.

Ok, off to check out some check-ins and then get an early night before the week starts all over again!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

ROW80 Check-in 2nd November

My first NaNo has got off to a good start! Do you like the way I say first like it won't be my last? I really don't think it will be as I am loving the buzz and motivation and excitement I am feeling as a result of taking part. Whilst I can't keep up with the #nanowrimo twitter stream as there are SO MANY people taking part it is constantly updating I feel like I am not alone in this mad challenge! I also wonder why I didn't take part in CampNano as I was not at work during August and it would have made this a lot easier!

On Monday after my brilliant weekend away I was easy on myself and simply read through my outline and plot to refresh my brain. I also did some practical jobs so that I would be able to focus solely on writing atleast for the next few evenings. I did not sleep well as I was so excited though! This was not great as I was tired when I woke up on Tuesday.

Here is how the last few days have gone:

584 words before leaving for work.
1,112 words during an hour sprint with newtowritinggirl and laurengarafalo
352 words in 30 mins after sprint.
Day 1 total - 2048

611 words before leaving for work.
1,194 words during an hour sprint with the same lovely ladies as above.
220 minutes in 20 minutes after sprint.
Day 2 total - 2025

So grand total so far is 4073!!!!

Not bad for two days work! The sprints have been great motivation and we are planning on doing them on weekdays if our schedules allow. I have written a little bit after each sprint because we stop dead to count our numbers and I have wanted to finish a paragraph or scene before I stop.

I do feel I could write more tonight but I am very tired and I don't want to push too hard as I am already over my goal for both days. Morning writing has not been as hard as I thought it would be but I do plan the night before where I am going to start so I know straight away where to start.

I checked out some check-ins earlier and it seems like everyone is doing great at NaNo or their ROW80 goals....keep at it everyone!!!

Don't forget to check out our first Fun not Fear! check-ins on Friday with a few links thrown in!