Well folks, November has been quite a month! I’ve battled a lingering cold, fought with the pavement (the pavement won, temporarily causing me to have to limp everywhere, but I’m ok now), worked full time (plus the occasional late night), worked as a reporter for three days on top of my usual job, drunk a LOT of coffee, taken a gajillion photos (none of which I’ve uploaded yet), written 2 blog posts on AliMuskett.com and 10 blog posts over on Haikugirl’s Japan, attended a few workshops and exhibitions, and somehow… somehow… managed to write a 50,000 word novel for NaNoWriMo!
Yes, The Shizuka Tea Shop which I promised to write way back at the end of October is finally in first draft, sitting comfortably at 50,106 words.
The whole point of NaNoWriMo is to get the words out and to lay the inner editor to one side for a month. That part has been hard – my novel is riddled with spelling mistakes, typos, things I could have worded better, facts that need checking, but all of that can come later – early next year when I start the editing process. I do absolutely intend to come back to this manuscript and edit the hell out of it to turn it into something publishable. The idea is there, and I think it’s a good one, so just watch this space.
I can’t say too much about The Shizuka Tea Shop at this point except to say that I’m calling it ‘travel chick-lit’, which is a title I would apply to books such as Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. It’s set in Japan and England, and is pure fiction, although I have drawn on some of my own experiences to set scenes. The Shizuka Tea Shop is a book I hope people will simply enjoy for what it is – a sweet, funny, story about people everyone can relate to. Oh, and it would probably make a pretty good film, too. Just saying… 😉
Thank you everyone who has supported me during this month of madness. It’s been an interesting experiment to see if I really do have time in my overly busy life to write – and I’m happy to have found that I do (although it has been hard to force myself to actually do it, and I’ve been writing right up until the bitter end). It’s worth noting that I wrote more than half of this book using Pages on my iPad. When I bought my iPad I originally told myself it was so I could get some writing done on the Tube, but really that was just a lie to myself because I wanted a new toy. Well, my iPad is finally being put to good use! I’m no longer just playing Scrabble and Kumo Lumo on it, or watching catch-up TV in bed, I’m actually using my commuting time to write, and that’s a habit I hope to continue.
November is nearly over, and December will be upon us tomorrow. Before we know it, it will be Christmas and then 2013. It’s a little early for a New Year’s resolution, but I hereby promise to keep the spirit of NaNoWriMo with me throughout 2013, although I don’t intend to write 50,000 every month.
In November 2010 I participated in NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. Now, two years later, I’ve decided to have another go. My 2010 novel hasn’t seen the light of day since I finished it, but finishing it was actually the main achievement. If I read it back now I would probably cringe at how badly written it is, but that doesn’t matter, because NaNoWriMo is all about putting that inner editor to one side and bashing out 50,000 words. Yes, 50,000 words – that’s about 1,667 a day for 30 days.
This time round though, I’m intending to write something that could actually be commercial. I have an idea forming which may not make me the next Elizabeth Gilbert/Helen Fielding/Candace Bushnell/[insert name of favourite chick-lit author here], but it might actually be something that people want to read.
So, from November 1st until November 30th I shall be tapping out my story which is provisionally titled ‘The Shizuka Tea Shop‘. Keep an eye on the counter to the right of this blog to see my word count progress… and wish me luck! 😉
In my last blog here, I announced that I have just completed the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in less than a month. I know that it is not yet a good book, and that it will take a lot of time and effort to make it something that could possibly one day be published, so why am I feeling so relieved right now? When I know that, actually, there’s still a lot of work to do, why do I feel like I’m over the hill and tobogganing down with the finish line in sight?
I’ll tell you why.
Because, not only have I been dragging that damn toboggan up the hill all throughout November, I’ve also been dragging it about behind me everywhere I’ve been for the last three years or more. It’s a weighty old thing and can be really tiresome to drag around behind me, no matter how beautiful it is or how important I know it could be. I’ve dragged it around behind me all this time, hoping that one day I would have the time and energy to climb up that hill and take a ride, but always making excuses and feeling too scared to do so in case I reached the top of the hill and found I couldn’t let go and slide down. I was scared I might never reach the finish line, but also too scared to try.
Well, let me tell you, dragging my toboggan up that hill was worth it. Not only was the journey towards the finishing line spectacular, even the view as I was dragging it up the hill was worth the effort.
And, now that I’ve gone through the process of dragging the toboggan up the hill and enjoying the ride down, I know that there’s nothing to be scared of, and it’s worth a little blood, sweat and tears. I won’t be afraid to do it again, and again, until I become a world-famous professional tobogganist!
So, if you’re dragging your toboggan about, whatever kind it may be (a novel, a song, a poem, a painting…), don’t let go of it. Just get started on that hill, chase yourself to the top, admire the view, and enjoy the ride towards the finish line…
Well, I am extremely proud today to be able to say… I DID IT! 😀
I was so thrilled when I got to 50,000 words, but heartbroken when I copied and pasted my novel into the website and found that it was apparently 500 or so words short. I’m not sure what caused that, but I think perhaps it had some way of knowing that I was trying to cheat by having my characters sing Hey Jude at karaoke (“na na na na na na na!”). Anyway, I quickly bashed out another few hundred words, and now my official word count on the NaNoWriMo website reads 50,020. (My unofficial word count, according to my computer, is 50,492. That’s 83 pages, by the way.)
Once I had officially “won”, I was taken to the winner’s page of the website. The page read:
Author, on November 1 you accepted our challenge to write a novel in 30 days. Harnessed with a hard deadline, you persevered in the face of countless obstacles. You wrote with determination, you quieted that inner critic, and now you’ve reached the hallowed Winner’s Circle.
We couldn’t be more proud of your amazing accomplishment! Thank you for joining us on this outrageously creative adventure—we’ll see you next November for more.
Well, actually, I accepted the challenge on November 11th, but I still “persevered in the face of countless obstacles”, such as work, work, work and work. I don’t want to blow my own horn or anything, but boy am I feeling chuffed right now.
So, a couple of people have asked me if they will be able to read it. The answer to that is “not yet”. I’m really serious about this novel, and I think it could be good. I’ll edit it over the next few months, as and when I have time, and then I will have to think about what to do next. Honestly, I’d like to get it published of course, but I really don’t know how I will go about that, and if it’s good enough. There are parts I’m pretty darn proud of, and parts I know I need to chuck out and rewrite. But I think it had potential.
So, I will leave you with this tiny teaser…
Alice’s Adventures: A Year in Japan
I felt a little like my namesake, Alice, when she discovers the cake marked “eat me” and the bottle marked “drink me”. Never quite sure what I was about to eat or drink, or what effect it would have on me. Would I suddenly shrink to the size of a grain of rice, or grow to the size of Godzilla? Who could tell. Anything, it seemed, was possible in this land.
P.S. If any agents/publishers happen to read this, please feel free to contact me! 😉
NaNoWriMo? What’s that? It’s National Novel Writing Month, that’s what! The event lasts for the whole of November and, well, I’m a little late in starting…
The idea is to write a 50,000-word novel in a month. The emphasis is on quantity, not quality, and the site advises us to save the editing for December. Well, as most of you will know, I claim to be a writer. However, I really haven’t done all that much writing to speak of – yet.
Despite the fact that I love writing, I’m happy when I write, and I can’t think of anything I’d rather be doing, I still find it difficult to knuckle down and actually write something. I need pushing. I need encouraging. I need a good shove in the right direction. I’m hoping NaNoWriMo will be it. Even if what I write turns out to be rubbish – at least I will have written something.
So, as the Japanese say, “ganbarimasu”! I’ll try my best!