Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

October is racing by and the thought of November approaching is leaving me feeling both eagerly excited and heart-stoppingly terrified! Naturally, being a somewhat obsessive planner, I have decided to do everything I can to prepare myself.
This is how I am going about it:

Getting other obligations out of the way
For me this means:
- Making sure that I am ahead of schedule with my studying so that I can borrow some study time for writing during November.
- Making sure that the cupboards and freezer are well stocked in order to minimize the number of shopping trips I'll need to do.

Organising the writing environment
I am making sure that I have plentiful supplies of any stationery that I might need, that my computer is running well, that my desk is tidy and organised and that I have a good supply of quick and easy healthy, energy boosting snacks to hand (but not too closely to hand - I'm seriously hoping to become so engrossed in writing that I forget all about food!).

Building a support structure
I am familiarising myself with the NaNoWriMo forums and starting to look for writing buddies. I am trying to prepare my unfortunate loved ones for the emotional devastation and neglect that they will have to face, and asking them if they can find it in their hearts to bear with me during this trying time.

Planning my time
If I write every single day in November without fail I will need to write 1667 words a day. Since I realise that this is probably quite unlikely, I am going to aim for around 2000 words a day so that I have a few days to play around with. Apparently Stephen King writes 2500 words a day every day of the year, so I guess it is humanly possible!

Story preparation
I have created a plot outline to hopefully stop me from getting lost and going off on a tangent too often. Next I will be working on breaking it up into chapters so that I can keep an eye on my pace. I have already been working on developing my main characters but there are some secondary characters who need to be developed further and given more of a role in the story. I am also working on my settings and doing as much research as possible now, although I'm sure the need for more will come up once I start writing.

I would really love to hear what others are doing to prepare, whether you are a fresh newbie like me or an old hand with much need advice to offer.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Let the games begin ...

I want to be a writer and I guess the best way to go about doing that is to actually write. I must slay the dragon of fear, believe in myself and set off on this quest. Before beginning my quest I am arming myself with knowledge from my Open University creative writing course . I also need to practise using these new weapons and have decided to do this by signing up for NaNoWriMo 2013 (National Novel Writing Month). The idea is that you write a novel (at least
50 000 words) over the 30 days of November. No pressure then!
The focus of my blog is therefore going to be shifting from postings of snippets of my writing (although these may still appear from time to time) to a record of some poor fool trying to hammer out a first draft of their first novel in a month.
I know there will be laughter and tears, late nights and writer's cramp but I reckon my first novel is probably not going to be my best one so I might as well get it out of the way quickly, learn from it and when it is finished see if anything can be made of it.

Monday, 7 October 2013


Basking in the sun,
The cows chew the tender grass
Until the truck comes.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Sunday Morning

Though it is almost noon the streets are quiet and the air is still and lazy. A way off a lone dog barks in a disinterested manner, as if he only does it because there is nothing else to do. The light seems faded as if even the sun cannot be bothered to exert himself too much. Traffic is picking up now as people go shopping, leave their churches, go to share a meal with family, but even this activity is slow and tranquil compared with the usual weekday rush. I have many tasks to do today but I put them off, wanting this day to stretch out. Tomorrow brings a parting, just a brief one but nevertheless one I do not wish to face. I feel stronger with him here. I grasp his hand, thankful for the togetherness of today, for all the lazy Sundays.

Thursday, 3 October 2013

View from my window

On a sunny day I can see forever, houses stretch out from beneath my window down to the lively town centre and the sea's blue expanse. Slightly to the right the castle ruins are etched proudly against the majestic mountains of Arran.
But this is Scotland and today is not a sunny day. Today my little town is shrouded in heavy grey-white clouds and no-one would ever guess that an island lay across the narrow strip of dark sea, if they didn't already know. The houses seem to huddle together for comfort, their rows of chimneys topped with seagulls keeping watch. It seems a magical place, where anything could happen.
The maple tree across the street, usually so sedate and dignified, is showing a different side of herself today. Her prim green has been accessorised with flamboyant dabs of orange, yellow and brown and she is dancing a wild dance of joy in the squalling rain.
As the darkness deepens, lights begin to appear in the windows and they make me feel safe.
I love this town fiercely. I call it home, while never quite forgetting that once I had another home, although oceans and continents and spans of time divide me from it now.
I was born under the vast blue African sky in a small town nestled between the green hills of KwaZulu Natal. Around this town hot, dry plains dotted with thorn trees and aloes stretch to the towering peaks of the Drakensberg in one direction and down to the jungly coast of the Indian Ocean in the other direction. This town's first name was uMgungundlovu, the place of the elephants, but no elephants roam there now.
At last these wistful thoughts abate and my eyes swing back to the rain soaked streets. I stand up and close the curtains, I must go and make our dinner now.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013


Blogging is a completely new experience for me, so please bear with me while I (hopefully!) grow into it. I am hoping to use this blog to share and improve some of my writings and ramblings and I am excited to see where it will lead me.
If I could be anything I wanted to, I would be a storyteller with the power to enchant, to transport, to make words dance. I would create worlds and characters and make them live. I would live as I dream. What magic that would be!
And perhaps, just perhaps, if I dare to try, if I will myself to do the work, and if I overcome my fears and doubts - perhaps then I can learn to do it.
So, if you wish, please join me on this journey of growth and dreaming.