sunrise over swamps

sunset over melancholy seas

Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Days 25 to 28

Monday 25 November. 9.37 PM.

It’s been another one of those fruitless writing days: the sort where, the moment I have waved goodbye to the husband, dropped the kids off at school, and boiled the kettle, the neighbours are swamped with a heap of noisy workmen.

Now, I have to say, it is getting beyond ridiculous. The neighbours on either side of my house – not knowing that I am already ultra-sensitive to unpredictable noise (thank you to my ISFP / Introverted / Melancholy personality type), and that I am trying to write a manuscript longer than anything I’ve previously attempted in an insanely short amount of time – can’t possibly have planned between themselves to alternate loud renovation works on a daily basis for several months straight with almost no respite in order to ruin my life, my sense of peace and my creativity… but forgive me for being paranoid about the possibility.

So, as 10 o’clock approaches on what has otherwise been a gloriously sunny late-spring day marked by a surprise gift from some friends, and where I at least managed to get a few things knocked off the checklist (Christmas gifts and paperwork and getting some repair work quotes), I am trying to tap out some words… While trying to ignore the fact that the other neighbours’ children are still wide awake and practising their musical instruments. As they do when it is 10 o’clock on a school night.  (Perhaps my view is skewed because my children go to bed before 8 PM on school nights, otherwise there’s not a chance they’ll be up in time for school.)

Tuesday 26 November. 12.12 PM.

It’s a beautiful, sunny, peaceful, breezy end-of-spring kind of day. There is nothing to do but write. I don’t know that I rate my chances of completing the 50,000-word goal as being particularly likely. I am currently sitting on 29, 121 words and need to write another 20, 879 before November 30 ends, with enough time to submit and validate my novel. Will I accomplish this? I have no idea. But now, at this moment, while I have a moment of blissful solitude and silence, I will try to write as much as I can.

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27 November, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo taken on an iPhone 5C.

Wednesday 27 November 2013. 2.30 PM.

It’s a glorious 29°C  here in Melbourne, Australia today. (That’s 84.2°F for my North American readers!) Sunny weather and blue skies seem to trigger the thing in me that wants to write. Frustratingly it was shaping up to be another day of noise, but a coffee with a friend followed by some alone time at an arboretum in our end of Melbourne with me, an orange juice, and my netbook PC meant that I got some writing done. Being outdoors refreshed my imagination, too. There were little ducklings waddling around everywhere, flowers blooming, and it was just open and quiet and pretty. I need the refreshment of nature to tap into my creativity.

I have started resorting to writing non-chronological scenes in the story just to keep the momentum rolling.

I have until 11.59 PM on Saturday to submit and verify my word count. I don’t hold my chances of reaching 50,000 words as very high. I need to write 4,600 words a day, every day, between now and Saturday in order to accomplish that. It’s an uphill battle from here. I wish I could just copy/paste the development material I used to create the characters and their back stories into the document – I’d be past 50, 000 words in a flash if that were the case!

However, on the plus side, either way, in this one month I have developed a manuscript and story longer than anything I had heretofore accomplished. I don’t know that my story will ever meet the light of day, but at least I will have given life to some of the characters that were stuck in my head all this time.

Will I be trying nanowrimo again next year? I reckon I probably will. And between now and then, I’ve got plenty of fresh ideas rolling into my mind to keep me going!

Current word count: 31, 608 Words. 18, 392 words remaining.

Wednesday 27 November 2013. 8.28 PM.

I’m sitting outside to write. Summer is coming soon, and with it the longer days and warmer weather. Melbourne is a part of the world that is wet and cold for much of the year, so it really was lovely to enjoy a sunny, hot, positive day.  (I would have preferred it without getting sunburnt,  though.)

I am watching the last pink of sunset fade from the clouds. I can hear all kinds of birds and insects chirping a dusk chorus. Cicadas are quieting but the crickets have struck up their raspy song. Willie wagtails, blackbirds, magpies, currawongs, and wattlebirds add their voices to the avian cacophony.* I can hear frogs coming from the nearby reserve, too. I really, really love nature and it inspires me, in all its movements and colours and cycles, but if there is a time of year and day that seems especially magical to me, it’s the late spring and early summer sunsets, on these sorts of sunny days. I can easily explain it – Christmas is coming, and so is my birthday. Even if I am getting older, I still retain some of the childish joy about these times of year. This is a time of transition for us, too. A time of endings. This year, and this fortnight, marks one of the biggest years of my life in terms of soul searching, dreaming, and implementing massive life changes. And so, there’s a heightened excitement for me as I sit under the darkening skies and know that soon the stars will shimmer into being. If only I could get this wordcount happening faster! (Step one: log out of social networking websites.)

*Thank you, Museum Victoria Field Guide to Victorian Fauna App. I’m using the iPhone version.

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27 November 2013. Sunset. Melbourne, Australia. Taken on an iPhone 5C.

Thursday 28 November 2013. 11.37 AM.

Must keep writing.

Current word count: 35, 409 words.

 

Thursday 28 November 2013. 2.10 PM.

It is time to draw on the methods of frantic pre-deadline writing I used to complete my honours thesis two years ago:

Step One: Good bye, Facebook, Instagram, et. al.

Step Two: Good bye, social life.

Step Three: Hello, coffee, Scrivener, and a playlist of every Tool album I could get my hand on from 1992’s Opiate to 2006’s 10,000 Days (and 2000’s Salival thrown in for good measure!) It’s writing time.

Step four: type any disjointed idea that turns up in my head. I can always edit later!

 

Thursday 28 November 2013. 6.35 PM.

NaNoWriMo Profile: Work in Progress

NaNoWriMo Profile: Work in Progress

I’m pretty close! Only roughly 10, 900 words to go!

 

Thursday 28 November 2013. 10.09 PM.

Today was a good writing day. It’s such a relief.

Current word count: 43,322 words. 6,678 words remaining to finish nanowrimo.

Deadline to validate final word count of a minimum of 50,000 words: 11.59 PM, Saturday 30 November, local time.

 

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Nanowrimo 2013 Journal – Days 13 to 16

Wednesday 13 November. 2.42 PM.

I find it so very difficult to write without getting distracted by the Internet. I only just passed the 16,000 word mark. It makes me wonder how on earth I accomplished anything in my life since the Internet connection first dialled-up its fierce and seductive temptations to my rural Australian hometown in the mid-late 1990s. I guess the difference is that back then, if I wanted to use the ‘net at all, it was only to check my hotmail briefly, and to do that I had to jump on my bicycle, ride a few kilometres uphill to my grandparents’ house, and take several minutes to open my virtually empty inbox while my grandad repeatedly reminded me that I had to hurry up because he was expecting a phone call. This isn’t one of those “in my day we had to walk fifteen miles in the snow” stories, either, it’s all true, and also we measure things in metric and don’t get snow in my hometown.

It wasn’t until my first year at university, when I started up an animal rights and Wiccan paganism geocities website, that I first tasted the temptation of social networking. Add to that countless pictures of cats, and Star Wars forums, and here we are. I love the Internet, I do. But I also strongly dislike it at times, and lament the hours I have spent vacantly refreshing Facebook in the full knowledge that every single one of my friends is at work or university right now and won’t have had time to like any of the twenty or so posts I shared in the last hour.

I really have to get on top of this.

For my fellow social media addicts who struggle with this stuff, in all seriousness, please read Nicholas Carr’s The Shadows: What the Internet is doing to our brains, which – funnily enough – has its own website. I read that book when I was floundering through my final year at university, trying to research and write an 18,000-word dissertation. It helped me get my head around some of the things stopping me from thinking clearly.

Bam. On that note, let’s get back to writing.

Friday 15 November. 7.51 PM.

I think I hit a wall. I’m having to try the method of just writing anything – whatever comes to mind. Not worrying about chronology.

Current word count: 17,790 words.

Friday 15 November. 9.32 PM.

I am writing a section of my story where the narrative takes place in a forest. By a brilliant coincidence, I happen to be listening to a Listening Earth album, “Tall Forest,” a compilation of birdsong from the forests of Gippsland in Victoria, Australia. One thing I particularly love about this particular album is that, being from the Gippsland region, which covers much of the south-eastern section of the Australian state of Victoria, it reminds me of the sounds of home. It turns out it was the perfect choice of background noise while I’m writing a story set in a forest.

I highly recommend their products, by the way. They are recording unique wild nature sounds and their work deserves far greater exposure. There is no music added to it – it is just nature sounds. They’re on Facebook, and post interesting links relating to the environment. They’re worth checking out.

Okay, back to writing!

Saturday 16 November. 10.08 PM.

My husband surprised me with a gift: the gift of Scrivener. It’s a writing and editing programme and it’s already proving itself useful in enabling me to easily divide up my manuscript-in-progress, and helped me flesh out details. I think it’s going to be important with helping continuity. I have been keeping handwritten planning notes while I type this first draft, but I have to say it’s very convenient being able to type up little information files as I go. Whether that’s a description of the terrain in a particular fictional town, or a profile for a character, it’s handy for me to keep tabs.

In other news, I’m exceedingly behind my target word count for this stage of nanowrimo, but I have to be honest: I’m really happy with my progress so far. For the first time in years, I’m looking at a story I’m writing as a legitimate piece of creative work with a lot of potential, rather than dismissing it as the time wasting of a housewife trying to ignore the pile of ironing that just won’t iron itself.

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My 2013 NaNoWriMo Journal

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Facebook pages to “like”

I have something of a love/hate relationship with Facebook. One thing I like about it, though, is the convenience of following interesting social issues – usually environmentalist and feminist, for me – via the newsfeed.

Here are some pages that are worth “liking” and following. It’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

A Mighty Girl

Afghan Women’s Writing Project

Animals Australia

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre

Australian Conservation Foundation

Australian Folklore Unit

Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance

Australian Geographic

Australian Youth Climate Coalition

Beauty Is Inside

Body Ecology

Captain Paul Watson

Charter For Compassion

Edgar’s Mission

Feminist

Listening Earth

Lock The Gate Alliance

New Internationalist Magazine

NutritionFacts.Org

Patheos Progressive Christian Portal

Protect the Kimberley

Relevant Magazine

Ricki Heller (food writer)

Slow Food Melbourne

The A21 Campaign

True Activist

Welcome To Australia

Women Say Something

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