When did November arrive? Call first November, we’re not ready!

So! November has snuck up on us once again and now it is almost half over. I am doing so much this month and I am being stubborn and not giving any of it up so it has been stressful and chaotic and interesting to say the least. I have uni work coming at me from every angle, assignments that decide they all want to be due the same week or on the day day, I am behind on my NaNo word count (though with a two day reprieve from uni work I managed to close the gap a smidge), and I am determined to keep reading even if it is just a chapter or two a day just so I can escape the madness and actually finish a book some time soon and not let this beloved blog of mine fall into disarray. 

I hope all of you out there who are doing NaNo are powering through. NaNo (short for NaNoWriMo which is short for National Novel Writing Month) is an excellent competition where the goal is to write a 50 000 word novel in the month of November. Because of uni not finishing until some time in November I have always started late. This was ok in my undergrad degree because it was usually like the 10th, or 8th, only once on the 17th, but I still won and reached by 50k. Then one year I was given the full 30 day writing spree which was divine…until my Masters. Now uni doesn’t finish until the end of the month which means we cannot ignore NaNo until we’re done, so we are doing it all side by side. But I adore NaNo, it is wonderful, which is why I am not letting the fact I have uni assignments and exams until the 29th deter me from following my yearly NaNo quest.

This is my sixth year and I know it can be tough, especially those moments when you cannot think of where to take your plot. The best advice I can give is to just write, write anything, start describing your character eating a meal or doing housework, have them look at their surroundings and find something strange, anything, because I know from experience if you force yourself to write, your mind will kick in and you will start to create scenes and get the ideas as you go. You just need to begin and let your imagination do its magic, over thinking is never a good thing.

I remember a few years ago I had been planning my NaNo story for months, since about April. I had it all planned out, characters, plots, even basic ideas for dialogue and conflicts. Come November I started to write and realised that I did not know where to begin. I had already done so much that I could not think of where to start writing. I changed my idea and still managed to win which was wonderful but I realised that you can over plan a bit too much. Don’t get me wrong, planing is excellent, knowing your characters and where you want them to go and experience will start you on a wonderful path and help guide you as the month goes on, but even if you haven’t got a basic plan set out yet do not feel like you cannot just start in the middle of your story or with a random scene and work your way out from there. Currently my story is broken into so many fractured scenes across so many different years it is a mess, but I know that the best thing for me to do is when I get an inspiration for a scene, or hear dialogue in my head, is not put it off until I chronologically reach that point because I will have forgotten it by then most likely, or it will not have the same fire behind it that it had when I first thought of it.

The rule I learnt from NaNo is ‘Quantity not quality’ followed by ‘November is for writing, December is for editing’. DO NOT EDIT! Relish in those little red squiggles and the fact you find yourself breaking contractions into possible grammatically incorrect sentences just to add an extra word in, that is half the fun, once you reach that 50k you will be feeling wonderful. Then you can ride the glory wave and realise it was not as hard as you thought and maybe you didn’t need to make so many trivial or unimportant scenes because you still haven’t finished your story. That is when you just keep writing and see how far you go before the strike of 12 on the 30th. I wish all participants the best of luck, and if I do not make it to 50k after all my motivational babble then I shall be terribly cross. But my stubbornness will keep me going, uni shall not defeat me this year, it hasn’t before and it won’t start now. Oh also, WriteorDie is your friend, your saviour and a god among writing programs. Take this and use it well to reach your glory. (ALL HAIL THE GLOW CLOUD WRITEORDIE!)

Since I won’t bore you with the uni traumatics, I will let you know I am still reading Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne, one slow chapter at a time. It is rather interesting to say the least. It is so much better than that terrible movie with Steve Coogan and Jackie Chan may I say, so don’t look at that as a basis for the book. It is very detailed in the descriptions as well as the complicated journey, some may say dull but I don’t think so, you get used to it after awhile. I suspect this is so you can understand just how the journey was taken and the route they took. I am only about halfway through but it is worth the read I assure you.

And before I go, yes I know I just spent too much time writing this when I had two assignments and NaNo I could have been writing but that is besides the point. My story plot is always butting in to brain when I am trying to do uni work and uni guilt is hanging over me no matter what I do so why not ignore them both for an hour or so and do something else.

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