Saturday, November 27, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010 WINNER!!!!


I did it! For the second year in a row, I have completed NaNoWriMo, and ahead of schedule! I will still see how much more writing I can complete between now and the 30th, but it feels great to have already reached the 50,000 word count requirement to win!

As of today, I am officially at 50,030 words written of my novel. I wrote more today than during any other day this month. Today, I wrote 6,316 words!

Even though I won this last year too, I found this year that there was still more to learn from this process.

The bnovel I was writing last year, Through the Veil, was set aside after National Novel Writing Month ended, and I haven't written any more of it or edited it since then. I started a new novel for this year's efforts. I struggled more with this one. Don't get me wrong; I still managed to get the word count. But I feel as though last year's novel flowed more easily from me, and I enjoyed writing it more.

I think, when I go back to edit, there will be a lot about last year's novel that I will keep, and the editing I do will be more the type to keep it consistent with how the characters behave according to their natures and filling in some blanks. There were things I foreshadowed or left clues about that never came to be later in the novel, so I will need to go back and take a look at all of that.

There will be very little, except for the story idea, the characters and the plot, that I keep from this year's novel, Dream Walker. The writing will mostly have to be completely rewritten. But that's okay. Before I started this one, I didn't have a plot. I didn't have any characters but the main one, and even she didn't have name. So writing this novel for this year's NaNoWriMo has given me the outline and the bones of a story to work on later. It's much more than I began with. (The irony is that this one is actually intended to be the second in a series.)

I hope all of my friends who are participating in NaNoWriMo this month, whether they are reaching 50,000 words or not, are learning something from it, either about the process and their capabilities, or about the novels themselves.








Saturday, November 20, 2010

NaNoWriMo Swindon Meet-up

NaNoWriMo meet up 20th Nov 2010

Amelia, Wendy and Victoria showed up at the NaNoWriMo Swindon meet-up and it was great to meet them! Wendy had her adorable grandson with her and he was very well-behaved.

NaNoWriMo Meet Up Amelia & Becky 20th Nov 2010


It was fun chatting with others who are attempting to write 50,000 words this month. We found that we are all going through a lot of the same problems and processes as we try and keep our writing going. Wendy is much more organized than me and has the general plot for her story already worked out, while I am working it out as I go along.

I will enjoy keeping in touch with them and finding out how they are doing as the rest of the month progresses.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Week 2 NaNoWriMo Stats - Starting To Fall Behind

On the 12th of November, my word count was at ‎24,021 words. I had made every attempt to be ahead of schedule due to a very busy weekedn over the 13th and 14th.

On the 14th, I was still at the same word count.

And now I am falling behind. I am behind by a few thousand words. I will try and get closer to being on schedule today, a bit closer to schedule tomorrow, and then, hopefully, I will catch up completely over the weekend.

It's hard because I feel as though I am running out of steam. I did not encounter this feeling back when I write for NaNoWriMo in 2009. But I am determined, and I will write my way out of this.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

One Week In - NaNoWriMo Stats!

Here we are now, reaching our first week of NaNoWriMo writing. How is everyone doing? Are you reaching the goals you had hoped to reach by today? Are you learning anything new about yourself and your writing through this process of writing for quantity instead of quality?

I have written 14,018 words so far. I was hoping to reach 15,003 words by now, but I'm not quite there. I need to be at least two days of writing ahead because I will be at Slimming World's Woman Of The Year 2010 Ball during this coming weekend, which means that I won't be getting much writing done on Saturday or Sunday.

Mondays are difficult for me to get much writing done as well, but I will have to see what I can do tomorrow.

How are you doing?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Six Weeks & Counting!

National Novel Writing Month is just a little over six weeks away. I managed to succeed at writing my 50,000 words last November, which was my first year joining in with the NanoWriMo fun.

I must admit though that I have not finished the novel I started back then. I've reached about 60,000 words on it, but I need about 30,000 more before it is complete, and then I will have the grueling task of editing it.

I would at least like to have the first stage of writing complete on it before starting a new novel for NaNoWriMo. I know which of my novel ideas I am going to write this time, but I hate the idea of starting a new one while the old one stands incomplete.

This, of course, means I have my work cut out for me over the next six weeks. I suppose, since I managed to write 50,000+ words in one month last November, I should be able to write 30,000 words in six weeks now.

Some people write a story for NaNoWriMo that they have no intention of ever publishing. I am not one of those people. I am using National Novel Writing Month as a sort of motivator to get me off of my procrastinating bottom and get me writing. My finished work may not be publishable at the end of writing it, but that's what rewrites are for. I fully intend to edit what I have written and make it shine.

When I write, the characters go in directions I don't start out seeing for them and my plot takes on more form than the one it begins with. I start with just a summary of what I want for the story, ideas and a vague plot structure. But as I write, the plot takes shape, the characters gain voice and it all starts to come together.

So I need NaNoWriMo because it forces me to write. I hope someday to have less distractions in my life and to be able to sit and write without the push of something behind the urge such as NaNoWriMo, but for now, it serves a much-needed purpose for me.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Use It Or Lose It

I am a blogging addict. I admit it. I have upwards of 18 blogs. Some of them I write for more often than others, but it's still a lot of blogs to maintain.

I don't write here as frequently as I like, but it doesn't mean I am not writing. I am either writing for my other blogs or I am writing on other projects, such as my novel. I also write as the Fitness Walking Writer for the Examiner and I have an article on family fitness that will be published at Beverly Hills Child Magazine in September.

I don't make a lot of money for writing for these places, so why do I take the time to do it? The answer is easy; I do it because it's practice. Even though my novels and my children's stories are fiction, so a different type of writing than the writing I do for my blogs and other places, I still get a ghreat deal of practice in my writing by writing for these different subjects.

Before starting my blogs, I went for many years without writing much of anything. And when I finally started writing again, I found it incredibly difficult to get started again. I had gone too long without practice, without using my creative mind to do what it is meant to do - CREATE!

Writing for my blogs keeps my mind on writing. It keeps me thinking up ideas. I need to come up with fresh content to write about and I have to do it regularly in order to satisfy my readers. And because of this, the ideas just flow from me. I'm thinking up new writing content ideas while walking the dog. New ideas come to me while I'm making lunch for the kids. Ideas come to me while I sleep or when I'm in the middle of a conversation with my three year old. (Three year olds are GREAT for inspiration.) Ideas come to me at random times and more often than they did when I wasn't writing and had let my writing voice atrophy from disuse.

It's similar to physical exercise. If you haven't done any physical exercise in a long time and then decide you need to get in shape, at first your muscles are stiff and unwieldy. They don't move gracefully and easily in the exercise movements, and when you are done with the exercise, your muscles are sore and achey. It takes a while for your body and your muscles to loosen up and to take to the exercise more easily and with less suffering. And then, eventually as you continue to exercise, your body becomes so used to it that you start having to challenge yourself with different and more challenging exercises in order to get the same results.

By using my creative thought processes and my imagination regularly, I keep my mind in good shape for when I really need it for writing my novels. By using my mind, I keep it sharp. By writing often, I keep my ability to do so fresh. Practice makes perfect, but I'm not even looking for perfection. I'm just making sure that I've found my voice and and am keeping it ready for when I need it.

Is it sometimes a chore to have to crank out an article for one of my blogs or for another project when I feel less than inspired? You bet! But is it worth the trouble? Definitely!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Summer Funk

My kids are home from school for the Summer. I love my children. They are beautiful and creative. They are full of energy and exhuberance for life. They are sweet, funny and loving. They are also noisy, demanding and distracting.

I am finding it difficult to concentrate on any of my writing, whether for my blogs or for my children's stories or for my novels. And I miss writing. The thought that it will be another 4 weeks before the kids are back in school and I can find the time to write again is not a pleasant one.

So I have decided on a plan. That plan involves me fighting past any and every procrastination technique I ever use in order to get as much writing done in the evenings as I possibly can. That plan involves me making sure that my daily chores are done before my children go to bed at night so that I have that time to write in relative peace and quiet. That plan involves me deliberately setting aside a specific amount of time and time of the evening just to write.

I will get out of this Summer writing funk.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Drawing - First Attempt - Fairy

I mentioned in my last post that I was going to try and teach myself how to draw, so that I can illustrate the children's stories that I have written. I also said that I would be sharing my drawings here as I attempted them.

Today's attempt:
Drawing First Attempt

My 7 year old daughter draws better than this! I have no concept of how to shade the drawing, so I didn't even attempt that yet. I'm not sure I succeeded in making the fairy look as though she is sitting with her knees pulled up in front of her. She is much more simplified than I intended her to be (as is the tiny dragon in the picture). I made her smaller on the toadstool than I meant to, so I didn't have a lot of room to really draw her face properly. I did not get the proportions correct. The list of my failures in this attempt at drawing could go on and on, but at least you can tell my fairy is a fairy.

And I will improve.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


Three of the stories I have written are for very young children. Those stories need illustrations. At first, I thought I would be able to get my husband to illustrate the stories for me, as he is very gifted at drawing and at creating computer graphics. However, having him illustrate the stories for me has not worked out.

Now I have two choices. I can either pay someone else to illustrate my children's stories, or I can illustrate them myself. I may, in the end, have to resort to having an artist illustrate my stories for me, but first, I am going to try and illustrate them myself.

There is one problem with this plan. I am not very good at drawing. In fact, I am so terribly awful at drawing that it would be fair to say that my drawing resembles what it's meant to be as much as a bee resembles a dog, which is to say, not at all.

So what am I to do? Should I just give up? Maybe. But not without trying first. Children's illustrations do not need to be complicated. Simple but cute drawings can sometimes be just as enchanting to a child's eyes as more complicated and elaborate artwork. I just need to do a little learning (I hope).

I am going to spend a little bit of time each week attempting to draw. And I will share those drawings here. Hopefully, each drawing will be an improvement over the last. And hopefully, those of you reading this will give me honest (but not cruel) opinions on my progress.

I recently read an article that stated that, because drawing uses a different part of our brain than writing, even if we are not very good at it, the act of drawing helps to stimulate our creativity. Maybe doing a little drawing will help inspire me to write a bit more of my novel, as well as hopefully giving me some illustrations to use for my children's stories.

It's never a bad thing to learn new skills. And, no matter what happens with these attempts, it's never a bad thing to try something new.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Back To Writing

My story's characters are getting to be really annoying. They keep nagging me to get back to writing about them. You see, I've taken a little bit of time off from writing my story in order to work on some other projects, and now all I seem to be able to think about is my story and how much I need to write the next chapter.

New ideas keep coming to me for the storyline, and my characters are getting antsy to live out the rest of their story. So they are nagging me. They are calling to me. I take my dog for a walk in the park and he starts barking at what appears to be nothing, and I immediately (in my head) start placing a similar situation in my story to introduce one of the new villains. I watch my daughter playing with another young kid who starts getting a little rough with her, and, as I watch her put him in his place with skill and confidence, I picture one of my characters behaving in a like manner. No matter how hard I try to set aside my story, the characters in it won't let me leave it. They're even invading my dreams at night!

So enough time has passed now, and I know I need to get back to the story. My other projects can be set aside for a bit and now my story will get my attention again (even though it never lost my attention, just my actual writing of it).

So what makes you keep writing your book? What is it that keeps you from setting it aside and getting on with the rest of life?

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Having The Courage To Dream

(also posted at Skinny Dreaming because the content is relevant to all types of dreams)

still pond sm


What does the word mean to you? I’m not asking about anything related to electricity or turning your washing machine on. In regards to you as a person, what does the word empowerment mean to you? Do you feel empowered? Or do you feel weak and helpless?

The reason I am asking this is because so many of my friends seem to be embracing the idea of being powerless about making changes in their lives. They have dreams, but they feel as though everything is against them achieving those dreams and that they have no say in whether or not they can make those dreams a reality.

I hear from them, over and over again, phrases such as, “I wish...”, “I can’t...”, and “If only...” I never hear positive phrases such as “I will...”, “I can...”, and “I am...” But in speaking in the negative tones that they speak in, they are, in fact, ignoring any power they have over their own situation. In not even considering the chance that they can do something to change things, they are making themselves helpless. But they don’t have to be helpless, and neither do you.

What is it you want from life? Is it to lose weight and get fit and healthy? Is it to write the next blockbuster novel? Are you unhappy in your current career and want to change it? Do you want to earn a better income or take a trip across the world? Nothing is out of your reach! What do you dream about doing? Tell yourself that you are going to do it!
Wouldn’t it be great to empower yourself? Wouldn’t it be great to feel strong and capable and in control of where your life is heading? Wouldn’t it be great not just to have the courage to dream but to have the courage to grab for those dreams too? The only things that stand in the way of your dreams becoming a reality are the limits you place on yourself. And you can remove those limits with nothing more than a thought!

The first step is to have the courage to dream. Make a list of the things that you really want in life. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Write it down! Have you always wanted to take a vacation in Ireland or Hawaii? Have you always wanted to own your own house? Do you want to lose weight or build up muscle? Are you a banker but always dreamed of being a teacher? Write it down!

The second step is to believe that you are capable of achieving that dream. Sounds simple, right? The good news is that it really is that simple. Believe in yourself. Believe in your abilities. Tell yourself you are strong, capable and even fearless if the need arises. You can do this. You will do this. You will make your dreams come true. Get rid of that negative little voice in your head that whispers to you that you can’t do it, you’re not strong enough, it’s too hard and all of the other negative words. Just ignore it. You know, deep down, that you can achieve your dreams, so follow that deeper inner voice and believe in yourself.

The third and final step is to decide what steps you need to do to achieve your dreams and then take those steps. If you’re dreaming of becoming a novelist, then you need to start writing. You need to set aside time every day to write. Maybe you need to fine tune some of your writing skills so taking a class would help. If you’re dreaming of being a teacher, then you need to get the requisite training and degrees, even if it means taking classes after work while you continue your current job. If you dream of taking a trip to Europe, then you need to find out what it will cost you and start setting aside money from each paycheck. If you dream of owning your own house, then you need to clear your debts, clean up your credit history and save up the deposit. If you want to lose weight, then you need to find out what diet and exercise plan will work for you and you need to start doing it. Fit in exercise every day. Eat less junk and more healthy food. For whatever your dream is, you need to start working in the direction of making that dream a reality. Stop defeating yourself with negative thoughts and empower yourself, not just with positive thinking but with your actions.

You might be asking yourself why I care whether or not you reach for your dreams. I care because I used to feel powerless. I used to feel like all of my dreams were just out of my reach and that there was nothing I could do about it. I used to feel as though I wasn’t strong enough or good enough or capable enough to make my dreams a reality. But all along, I was deceiving myself into inaction. And I don't want anyone else to go through that, to live through feeling helpless when there is no need for them to feel that way.

When I finally started to take charge of my own inner voices, when I started to tell myself that I could achieve my dreams and when I started taking the steps that were necessary to get to my goals, I began to empower myself. And one of those dreams has already come true as a result. And now that I know that anything is possible, that I am capable of making my dreams come true, look out World!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Do You Journal?

Do you keep a journal? I used to, but I haven't written in any sort of personal journal in a really long time, unless you count my many blogs, but my blogs are public and others can read them, so I cannot be as open in them as I used to be in my private journal.

It was really carthartic for me, whenever something was troubling me, to write in my journal. In my journal, which was for my eyes only, I could vent at people who made me angry, think through problems that needed to be addressed, brainstorm ideas (no matter how silly), make to-do lists and write about the things that made me happy.

If you journal, do you find it helps you? Does it make you a better writer in other ways? Does getting all of your random thoughts and feelings written down in your journal free you up to write more eloquently with your more creative endeavors?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

10 Ways To Inspire Your Child To Write

1. Read to your child or make sure he or she spends time reading every day. Not only does reading help her get used to using her imagination, but it also improves her vocabulary by introducing her to new words.

2. Tell your child made-up stories. Seeing you using your imagination to come up with interesting stories for him helps inspire him to do the same.

3. Play story-telling games with your child. Start by saying one line of a story, and have the next person continue the story by coming up with the second line, and the third person has to come up with the third line. If this proves too difficult, each person can come up with a paragraph instead of a line each. This is a great way to stimulate your child’s creativity and get her thinking about the things that make up a good story.

4. Have your child and some of his or her friends write poems and make it a contest. Make sure they don’t put their names on the poems, and then collect the poems into a pile. Read the poems out loud, one by one, and tell them all they can vote for one poem, other than their own, that they thought was the best one. Then tabulate the votes and the winner gets a treat, like a candy bar, a sticker or a new notebook (depending on what you can afford to give and how old your child is). Do this once a week, at the same time each week, because knowing that it is coming up will have them all thinking about their poem throughout the week.

5. Get your child a library card. As in the first point above, reading is important for your child if she is going to develop the ability to write. Reading a variety of stories and books, as a library card will allow, will help her to become familiar with different writing voices and styles.

6. Self-publish his stories and drawings so that he can hold a physical book of his own creation in his hands. This can be done through places like Amazon’s CreateSpace, and Blurb, Inc. Or you can create the book by hand using your printer and the right materials. If you are completely lost on how to create the book, use a service such as Your Kids’ Creations. Having a physical book of his own words and drawings that he can hold, read and share with others inspires a confidence in his own writing that is hard to capture in other ways. This confidence will inspire him to write more.

7. Do some writing yourself. Seeing a parent take writing seriously and spend time writing emphasizes the importance of writing in a child’s mind. It’s a case of leading by example.

8. Have your child write and illustrate a poem. This helps show your child the connection between the beauty in words and the beauty in the world around her. It helps to make the connection that you are painting a picture with words when writing. As an extra step, you can even put her masterpiece on a mug, poster or magnet at for her to keep as a physical reminder that she can create beauty with her writing, or just to show her how proud you are of her work.

9. Help your child create a newsletter. Let him take pictures of his friends or other things with a digital camera, or provide him with pictures if a digital camera is not available, and he can write stories about sports he loves, games he plays with his friends, or just interesting news about his friends and family that he’d like to share. Help him put it all together in a newsletter format. Print up several copies and he can hand them out to his friends and family members. He can even let his friends participate in the newsletter by contributing stories to it.

10. Let your child have his or her own blog or use other social media outlets. With the proper supervision, writing for her own blog or keeping in touch with her friends through other social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook can really help inspire your child to reach for even greater creativity. Using a blog source such as makes it easy for her to choose a template and set up her own blog (though, depending on her age, she might need your help), and you can set it to not allow comments or to only allow comments after they’ve been moderated by you. She can share her writing of stories and poetry as well as her drawings and even simple journal entries in her blog. The blog can be set to private or public and you can monitor it to the extent that you think is necessary. Facebook and Twitter accounts can also be set to private and you can only allow them to authorize friends you know, but this frees them to chat freely and be creative with their friends.

There are many ways to inspire creativity and a love for writing in your child. Even as simple a thing as writing a letter to his or her grandparents can help bring out the creative writer in your child. It’s up to you to encourage your children and to lead by example in their lives. If you put importance on writing in your life, your child will see it as important too.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Struggling To Keep The Dream Alive

I am determined to finish my novel this year. But despite my determination, I have not continued to write since NaNowriMo back in November. Even my writing in this blog has fallen by the wayside.

I've let other concerns take precedence. I've let my family's needs take over, and, as many of my children are still small, this has to happen for now. But I've also let other things get in my way. My dedication to taking the steps towards my writing goals has waned.

Maybe what I need is to make a schedule. Then I can care for my family and spend time with them, get the housework done, fit in my daily exercise, and still spend time writing.

Whatever it is I need to do to start writing again, I need to just get on with it. One of the designs in my shop states, "Just Write," and I need to listen to that advice. I need to just get on with it.

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and working towards your dreams?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy Once-In-A-Blue-Moon New Year!

This New Year's Eve had a blue moon. A blue moon only happens once every 2.75 years, but a blue moon falling on a New Year's Eve only happens once every 19 years. Even more unique, a blue moon only falls on a New Year's Eve at the turn of a decade once ever 410 years or so! So last night's blue moon was a once in a lifetime event!

I'd like to think that it means we are all going to have a wonderful year in 2010!

This year is the year to believe in your dreams and to work towards making them a reality. Don't just write down your goals for the year; write down the steps you need to take to reach those goals and then take them!

Have an "impossible" dream? This Blue Moon Year is the year to go for it!