NaNoWriMo 2017 Pep Talk To Myself

NaNoWriMo 2017

So, NaNoWriMo 2017 is literally 13 days away, and it’s safe to say, the panic has set in.

Well, not¬†panic¬†as such, I know what stories I’m focusing on, I’ve made starts on both of them, I know what direction I’m heading in.

My problem is finding the time to get this done.

For the last five years, I’ve¬†smashed¬†NaNoWriMo to bits, even from my first try. I’ve finished early and written past 50,000 words, I’ve barely broken a sweat most years doing it because I’ve always been so used to writing at least 700 words a day. For me, NaNoWriMo in previous years has just been a case of writing a bit more than usual.

This year, things are different.

This year, my entire life has changed, to the point where it’s nearly unrecognisable. I’m now a full-time carer, I’m more stressed than I’ve ever been in my life, and I’ve never felt as low as I do currently. I’ve been taking at least one day a week off writing, I’ve been running into roadblocks with my stories, nearly lost passion for them at times.

Never in my¬†life¬†have I been like this. I’ve always been so passionate about writing, and I still am, it’s all I want to do with my life. But, life itself is getting in the way.

For a while, I considered not doing NaNoWriMo this year, because I didn’t feel like I had the energy for it.

But, I decided that I’m not going to let life beat me in this. Life is kicking my ass in every single way possible, and I really should just focus on the more traditionally important things in my life.

I’m not going to, though. I’m going to¬†do¬†this. I’m going to¬†smash¬†NaNoWriMo 2017 again, I’m not going to let life beat me in this. NaNoWriMo is¬†my¬†month, and it’s going to be stressful, I’m going to be losing sleep as I hastily write at midnight to catch up with myself. But I’m going to do it.

NaNoWriMo is the month where I’m going to write like never before, I’m going to make up for all my missed days, and get myself back on track.

I’m going to write every day.

I’m going to stop taking breaks.

I’m going to focus on getting on top of my stories.

I’m going to write 50,000 words in a month.

Screw what life throws at me. I’ve completed NaNoWriMo during my A Levels¬†and¬†all three of my university years. This year, I’m at the beginning stages at creating a freelance writing business, while caring full time.

I can do this. I can write 50,000 words in a month. I have done it before, and I will not let myself down this year.

Interruptions, lack of ideas, dwindling passion for stories, I’m going to ignore it all. I’m going to fall in love with my ideas again, not let the pauses stop me, get the ideas flowing again.

NaNoWriMo 2017, I’m coming for you.

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The Murdstone Trilogy By Mal Peet – Review

murdstone

What does every writer want, more than anything? More than a book deal, along with a movie adaption deal?

Someone to write the book for them, that’s what. And don’t try to tell me you don’t, every writer has, at least¬†once¬†in their writing life, wished the book would either write itself, or for someone to do it for them.

That’s exactly what Philip Murdstone gets.

Murdstone starts this book as an established writer, but he hasn’t published anything in years, and his sales are going through the floor. He usually writes books for ‘sensitive boys,’ overcoming some sort of trial in their lives, and that kind of thing just isn’t selling anymore.

What is selling, though, is fantasy. Fantasy is selling by the bucket loads. Every literary agent, publishing house, and writer, is looking to create the next Harry Potter.

There’s one problem. Murdstone¬†hates¬†fantasy, abhors it, wants it banished from the world. He’d rather¬†die¬†than write a fantasy.

‚ÄúI hate Tolkien. I mean. Bloody pretentious escapist nonsense, isn‚Äôt it?‚ÄĚ

His agent doesn’t like the genre very much either, but it sells, so who cares?

But when he is faced with no other choice, he gives in, and that’s where this story starts.

Murdstone ends up meeting Pocket, a swearing, uncouth, yet strangely likeable, Greme from another land, who agrees to tell him about Morl, a dark necromancer trying expand his Thule. The book becomes an instant classic, Murdstone soars to J.K Rowelling levels of fame.

It all comes at a price, though. And that price is Morl trying to use a sacred Amulet to get into this world, an Amulet that Murdstone possesses, and uses, to translate Pocket’s stories into our language.

Every writer’s dream, and worst nightmare, wrapped into one.

But, for a reader, it’s brilliant.

For a reader, who also happens to be a writer, or knowledgeable in the publishing industry, it is dream, to read.

Full of sass, snark, and just about every insult to Tolkien, Rowelling, and the fantasy genre as a whole, The Murdstone Trilogy is an unrelenting, yet hilarious, story, with twists and turns galore. Nothing is safe from Murdstone and his ire.

‚ÄúWriters no longer work in solitude, crafting meaningful and elegant prose. No. They have to spend most of their time selling themselves on the fucking internet. Blogging and tweeting and updating their bloody Facebook pages and their wretched narcissistic websites.‚ÄĚ

In between the Hamlet-esque ‘is he mad, or is this actually happening,’ diatribes against just about everything, and the fear for Murdstone’s life, there are moments where the audience can really sympathise with Murdstone’s plight.

Every writer has thought that they couldn’t finish the book, or face huge deadlines that loom overhead, or have been so unbelievably stuck, they didn’t think they could ever get out of it.

Every writer has wished that they were as successful as J K Rowelling.

Every writer has definitely wished for someone to take the story away and magically complete it for them.

And that’s the magic of this book. It’s wacky, and insane, but it speaks to the authors, the publishers, the editors. It creates a story focused around the world of publishing, while keeping the most fantastical elements flowing.

I loved every second of this book. It was truly a wonderful read, that had me laughing throughout, and half wishing I could have my own Murdstone-style adventure.

Witty, uncompromising, definitely not for the faint of heart, but, an absolute must read for anyone who loves books.

Writing Through The Noise

Writing Through The Noise

So, you want to write. You’ve got your story line sorted, you have scenes planned, and you’re inspired. In fact, you’re raring to go, itching to get started. But, there’s a problem. A very big problem in fact. You’re surrounded by people who won’t stop talking to you, or have put the TV/radio on, or are doing noisy things. And now you can’t concentrate, and therefore can’t write. So what do you do?

I’m afraid I can’t help with that, because I don’t know, because I haven’t figured it out myself. Since I moved three weeks ago, I have so far only managed to have one good day of uninterrupted writing, the rest I have been plagued with non-stop noise. That’s the problem with moving in with other relatives who don’t yet understand how you work, and don’t go out often – they want to talk all the time, and continue in their normal routine, without realising that they’re disturbing yours.

For years, I have had about 40 hours a week of uninterrupted time to myself, while my Mum was at work, which I used to write and read to my hearts content. Now I’m down to 8 at most, and the rest of the time I’m in the company of someone who talks a¬†lot,¬†and has the TV on for most of the day. It’s something I am definitely not used to, and it’s something I am now struggling to adjust to.

You see, I find it very difficult to write while there’s any sort of distraction. I can deal with writing with musical accompaniment, as that can be inspiring, but everything else is pure distraction. If someone is talking to me, that means I have to reply and think about the conversation, therefore I cannot concentrate on my story line.

If the TV is on, I get distracted, even when it’s a show I’m not interested in. I end up getting sucked into watching whatever is on, or find myself wanting to work whatever is going on on the TV into the story I’m writing, which is obviously not a good idea.

It’s a nightmare, and one I’ve been living in for the past three weeks. I’ve yet to come up with a solution to the problem. The only thing I can try and do is crank up the volume on my headphones, and hope to God it drowns out the TV/puts people off talking to me. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But it’s all I’ve currently got. Until I can sort out my own ‘writing space’ I am stuck in with the noise. The noise that doesn’t seem to let up for a minute. Even with the new space, I don’t know how well it’s going to work. I’ll be away from the TV, but it doesn’t stop people coming in to talk to me.

I’m praying it will help my productivity a bit, but really, there is no catch all solution to the problem. If there was, that would be what this blog’s subject. But there isn’t. So the only advice I can give is to crank up the volume on the music if you’re in a similar situation. Crank up the volume and try to adjust the best you can.

If not, well, there’s always waiting for everybody to leave or go to sleep, and writing then.

Though if you have any ideas, leave me a comment and tell me, I’m dying to figure this out and stop the distractions!

Writing While Moving

Writing While Moving

Moving house is stressful – there’s boxes everywhere, nothing is where it should be, and the entire world feels off kilter. It completely throws you off, daily life is put on hold until the whole house is sorted, so what happens to your writing during this time?

It stagnates, generally. As of right now, I’m a week into a house move. There are boxes literally¬†everywhere,¬†I have no bed, just a mattress on the floor, and I only just managed to put my clothes in my wardrobe. This video suddenly has become relevant again:

And in the last five days, I have written about 900 words, the same amount I can usually average in one sitting.

Quite frankly, it’s driving me insane. I’m used to writing seven hundred words a day on one of my two ongoing long projects, but right now I’m stuck writing one/two hundred words a day on a small project I only work on when I have no ideas for anything else. I have¬†so many ideas for my other two projects, but I can’t write on them, because I have no time.

Currently, every day is being spent unpacking and moving things round, hoping to fit it in this new house. My mind is utterly taken up with that, and I spend so long doing it I have no time to think of how to get more words on my page. It’s utterly maddening, there’s nothing worse for a writer than not being able to write.

So there’s only two options to choose from in this situation. 1) Give up writing, risk losing all ideas and getting out of practice, possibly chucking myself into the dreaded writers block. Or 2) Continue writing the little pieces and note down the bigger ideas, plot and plan inside my head until I do get time to write again.

It’s a tough one, I’m desperate to write, but I can’t. I’m sure there are others like me who know this feeling. It’s a terrible thing to feel, and unfortunately there is nothing to be done, apart from wait for the house to order itself. It times time, and patience (which I don’t have by the way), and a lot of hard work to get things sorted. But it’s worth it in the end. You get there, and the writing is a lot sweeter because of it.