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NaNoWriMo and November #WriteMotivation Wrap-up

I just realised my first #Writemotivation and NaNo post for November was saved as a draft . . . and never published. This is the ultimate example of how scattered my brain has been. My great ability to start things and not finish them has reared its head this year. Well, that’s quite enough of that. If nothing else, I hereby dedicate 2013 to be the year of finishing projects/tasks/goals I start, and being able to happily point at finished products before moving on to the next thing.

To everyone who wrote *any* words during November for NaNo, WELL DONE! A lot of friends and Twitterers have said they focused more on the quality of the words they wrote this year, as opposed to just throwing whatever up there in order to “win”, and I’m wholeheartedly in this camp. I think NaNo is an awesome motivator for people to get pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. It’s rewarding to be writing alongside others, even if they’re fellow storytellers we’ll never meet, and this is never more obvious to me than during NaNo, so thank you to everyone who shared encouraging words on Twitter 🙂

Writing Ahead of the Blank Wall

My goals for November #Writemotivation and NaNo were the same: add 50k to my WIP, A BREATH OF SILVER, and I succeeded. This time I tried something different though – I have the synopsis for the story down, all the pivotal story points and the ending, but it was the little details and connecting scenes that I began to struggle with halfway through the month. Some days I wrote nothing. Two weekends my husband and I were away so I got nothing down, but I secretly revelled in these excuses to take a break. Then I decided to do what someone suggested: write what I know right now. I wrote some pivotal scenes I’ve had simmering for awhile, and in doing so, on the spot I came up with details, characters, and side plots that I’ll have to explain later.

For instance, my MC–Bryn–travels from North London to Scotland in 1691. The last scene in chronological order I wrote was her arrival north of the border. Then when I blanked on what happens between her arrival in Scotland to her life at her ancestral clan’s Highland castle, I jumped several months ahead to her trying to fit in, what job she’s doing there, and what friends and rivals she’s made. That meant I immediately had to make up the peripheral characters and situations that would propel her to the next plot point: meeting a romantic interest and major character. It also means that the bits that will come in between her arrival in Scotland and her life at the castle are now sketched out, and backtracking to write these scenes will be much easier.

The point is, I think sometimes you need to move forward to fill the gap. It can be a massive chasm of unknown obstacles, characters, creatures, threats. There could be anything in there, particularly as this is first and foremost a fantasy. But when I jumped to the other side of that ravine, since I know what happens there, I can look back easier than I could look forward. I know some are totally against writing out of order, but I’m finding it really does get my creative juices flowing when I’ve reached a wall. So, you never know until you try. If you’re stuck, I recommend it! But probably only if you’ve got a solid overall synopsis constructed first.

It felt great to reach my goals this month for the first time in awhile, and special thanks to Leigh Caroline, Megan Peterson, and Andrew Patterson for encouragement, and Susan Dennard and Sarah J. Maas for their fabulous #NaNoWriMoBattle word sprints that seriously pushed me! Hope everyone enjoyed pressing forward in their goals this month, and are enjoying the holiday season!

Oh yeah, and yesterday was a year since my husband proposed to me 🙂 Nice to see my ring has survived everything I’ve put it through, including climbing Helvellyn in the Lake District covered in snow, climbing the highest peak in England & Wales (Snowdon), as well as other hills, scurrying down rocks to reach a hidden cove in Cornwall, jumping off a boat into the freezing-cold Mediterranean, and many other adventures. Here’s to many more 🙂 <3

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Being a doer.

She looks like she might be worrying, and procrastinating. So much so she’s turned to stone. Don’t let this be you!!

With the #Writemotivation May Goals, I’ve been thinking (see that? Already! Thinking and not doing…) about just getting stuff done rather than deliberating, contemplating, and just generally faffing. If you don’t know the definition of “faffing”, I do think the word is very nearly an onomatopoeia.

And as this blog has been keen to announce publicly, I am a worrier and it is my great goal in life to stop this ridiculous, futile habit. Yesterday I read a great little devotional by Max Lucado about being a “worry-slapper.” He compares worries to mosquitos – and I’ll go one step further and compare it to midges, which if you’ve spent any time in the Scottish Highlands, or Scotland in general, you will know how infuriating these insects are.

Lucado points out that when a mosquito lands on you, you don’t watch it land and think about it. You slap that bugger away immediately. Worry should be no different. Letting it sit and stew and dig its claws into your skin, making it harder to extricate later? No good. As one of my lecturers at Falmouth sagely offered, with regards to plagiarism come dissertation time: “Plagiarism. Crack cocaine. Just don’t.” With a mosquito, you don’t say, “I’ll take care of that in a minute.” You immediately remove it! And anxieties are the same.

Don’t waste an hour wondering what your boss thinks; ask her.  Before you diagnose that blemish as cancer, have it examined.  Instead of assuming you’ll never get out of debt, consult an expert.  Be a doer—not a stewer!

Not just about worry, this topic. Last night I finished reading the second OUTLANDER book by Diana Gabaldon. I meant to go to bed around 10pm, feeling like a cold was coming on, but I had reached 90% of the book on my Kindle and decided I needed with every inch of my being to know how it ended. So I read until 1:30am. I’ll need to write a blog post about Diana’s writing at a later date, but the way her characters have leapt off the page at me (partly thanks to the Scottish setting and historical deliciousness) has gripped my heart and I WOULD. LOVE. TO. WRITE. LIKE. HER. She is fascinating and has such a strong voice for each character, and her writing voice is just brilliant. Like the sun. I’m in love. (And I’m so not a Harlequin/romance fan, at all. I kinda have to breeze through those passages, but they’re still so well written. I just don’t do romance, but her books are not defined as such. They’re too much else.)

It inspired me even more – one more massive block of fuel to the fire under me to write. Just write, as much as I can, as inspired as I can, and stop spending hours a week reading *about* writing. Just GET GOING.

So. Get going 🙂 Don’t let that midge sit around and sink his fangs in. Slap that procrastination–that Pinterest, that Facebook, that pile of dishes that really can wait until 5pm–slap it all away and get moving.

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May Motivation

Straight ahead, people. That’s what I’m talking about!

Hello!

So I meant to actually do this yesterday, but wedding preparations (and avoidance of related chaos) stole another evening away from me. In 3 weeks, I will be Mrs. Campbell, and while most plans are in place, of course last minute things . . . happen. Anyhow, onwards and upwards!

I recently stumbled across the #Writemotivation group & hashtag on Twitter. I haven’t a lot of experience with hashtags, although I use #WIP, #amwriting, and #amediting from time to time, to check in on others doing the same. But #Writemotivation . . . It has the word “motivation” in it, and while I’m dedicated to my purpose of writing, as the thing that excites me and the only activity I do where I don’t feel like I should be doing something else, I am also a terrible procrastinator, and additional motivation is most welcome!

So I discovered K.T. Hanna’s #Writemotivation group just days before the May Roll Call, which I managed to get in on, and I’m still feeling my way around a bit but I’m really intrigued. Everyone’s been so welcoming and friendly on Twitter already, and I’ve hardly said more than a few words so far.

Here’s what I publicly declared I would aim to achieve this month:

1) Rework few small sections of 1st novel based on recent feedback.
2) WIP: finish 2nd draft of first 7 chapters.
3) WIP: finish outline.
4) WIP: write 3 more chapters.

What’s that you say? I’m getting married in 3 weeks and I’m crazy for attempting to get all that done? Yeah. But the thing is, April, while the coldest April in the UK on record in the past 100 years (and also the dreariest, I would wager), it was the least productive for me in the writing realm in months because of all this wedding stuff. So now that the plans are finished, I’m determined to get as much of the above done as possible! Even if I’m doing some work on the honeymoon . . . 😀

My fantasy WIP that I’ve been excited to write for over a year now needs completion. I’ve had the idea and characters hanging around and have a half-finished draft, so now it’s time to kick it into high gear and get one draft completed, whether it’s utter rubbish or not 😉 Just to get it done. Nano helped a great deal with that, but I spent so many words just trying to puzzle together some semblance of a plot that I now need to revisit them and finish the second half.

Time will tell, but I’m getting around to following all those listed in the May #Writemotivation Roll Call on Twitter and their blogs, and hoping to get to my cheerleading duties in the next few days. In the meantime, thank you for stopping by, thank you for cheering me on, and just knowing you’re out there working hard on your own writing is motivation for me. 🙂

Happy Wednesday, and keep it up!

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