NaNoWriMo Celebration Blog Tea Party

I can’t believe it’s over!

The challenge to challenge all writing challenges. This year almost 170,000 writers undertook the NaNoWriMo challenge to write a novel of 50,000 words in just one month. This entailed churning out a minimum of 1667 words every single day with no exceptions. But why? What communal madness infected all those of us who skirted around the idea, then nudged towards it, then checked out the NaNoWriMo website alone and under cover of darkness and then finally, trepidously and in disguisedly signed up?

Whatever the reasons, and hopefully we’ll soon find out (see below) today is a day for Celebration!

You deserve a nice cup of tea after all that!
You deserve a nice cup of tea after all that!

For those who have finished and for those who finish during the course of today and want to drop in to let us know.  Bring a cup of tea, coffee, scones, cakes and join in for a day of chat and camaraderie. Those who joined and triumphed but didn’t officially ‘win’ are very welcome.

Here’s what to do.

In the comments, introduce yourself and tell us your usual writing activities. Then tell us more about your NaNoWriMo experience:

1: Why you decided to try it, especially if it was your first time

2: The most important lesson(s) you learned from it

3: Your biggest challenge, worst moment

3: What you wrote about and what you think of it now (honesty please!)

For Sally Clements who started all this

Then please include a link to your blog if you have one, so that we can visit  and get to know more about the writers behind NaNoWriMo! It would be great if everyone could visit at least one other blog and perhaps leave a comment, especially now that you have time on your hands! Let’s get the party started!




More on my NaNoWriMo

10 Recession Beating Personal Grooming Tips for Writers(!)

1: Save on manicures and nail trimming by typing extremely fast for long periods. If you participate in the yearly NaNoWriMo challenge you will automatically lose all your fingernails.

2: Dispense with face creams, anti-wrinkle products and Botox. This will automatically give your face a deeply etched, lived in look that will suggest wisdom and gravitas. This otherwise haggard, drained appearance will enhance your literary kudos and make you appear a serious author.

(Caveat: If you want to appear on the bestseller list, or in society pages, get an exorbitant book deal,  sell the film rights on your first effort at a novel, and appear on I’m a Celebrity ignore the above and get a complete makeover and facelift/get your younger sister to impersonate you, even if you are a man.)

3: For Men, stop shaving, grow a beard. See number 2.

4: Save an extraordinary amount on clothes, buy two tracksuits and wear them in rotation. If you are serious about your writing you will always be at your desk writing anyway and will never go out. In the month of November, if you are doing NaNoWriMo don’t bother to get dressed at all, wear your pyjamas all the time. You will not only save on clothes but on washing. This means you are a champion for the environment since you are not putting on the washing machine or travelling anywhere. This should make you feel super.

5: If you get an agent, take a risk and buy a smart casual outfit. If you don’t yet have a book deal go to a charity outlet. The charity shops do a wonderful line in jackets with attitude, for example, leather, tweed, floral. Choose the correct one for your genre. If you can’t stretch to charity shop chic, send your younger sister out to meet the agent.

6: Avoid hair cuts. They make you lose your power. If you are a real writer you will be more of an arty hippy type anyway and growing your hair long will promote that impression. You may trim your own fringe if it gets in your eyes and prevents you from writing. DO NOT. DO NOT trim the bit that you twist around your fingers while waiting for inspiration. If you cut that piece off you may never produce anything of quality again.

7: Have showers, they are wonderful places to get your creative head in gear and have the added benefit of make you smell slightly better after endless days in the same room with half eaten ham sandwiches. While baths have been accredited with give Archimedes his inspired Eureka! moment, they should be reserved for those working on intergenerational sagas only.

8: Brush your teeth, several times a day but try not to drip toothpaste all over your keyboard when you trail back into your writing room from the bathroom while forgetting what you are doing. As a rule, try to remove all evidence of your body parts/dna/hair/skin/nails from your keyboard each day as it may irretrievably clog up.

9: Make your own deodorant. There are many recipes on the internet for natural inexpensive homemade deodorants. Don’t search for/google these recipes. You are supposed to be writing, not wasting your time on fruitless googling. Most of the recipes include bread soda and shea butter. If you don’t happen to have shea butter use ordinary butter instead, its probably more or less the same. And speaking of fruit, oranges and lemons are often used for household cleaning so I’m sure if you squash an orange into your bread soda- butter concoction it will be work beautifully. Failing that add a kiwi. Don’t worry about the pithy bits or the black seeds, you are alone, writing, no-one can see you.  Anyway you want to be pithy, don’t you? If you really must, write and sell your recipe for homemade deodorant on the web. Once you get paid you will be able to buy some plain biscuits to dip in your hot water.

10.  Does my bum look big in this writing chair? Exercise. You do not need a gym. You can burn 5000 calories a day by participating in NaNoWriMo or churning out a YA novel series at speed. (You need to churn out YA novels at speed so that your target audience hasn’t grown up, moved onto the next bright thing, before you finish). Typing quickly is a terrific way of keeping yourself in shape. Get in the habit of doing ten star jumps every time you lose the flow of your piece. Do 50 press ups every time you think of giving up. Anything is easier than 50 press ups, even writing. Rotate your eyes every ten minutes to prevent goggle-eyed-itus. Rotate your neck so that it doesn’t jam in one position. Rotate your ankles and stretch your legs frequently so that your walking muscles haven’t deteriorated beyond use by the time you finish your novel. Good luck with your personal grooming and one final tip – never use webcam!

Running for my writing life

I did it. I jumped in. Which is why I haven’t been posting for a while. I mean NaNoWriMo, which is the National Novel Writing Month for which many thousands if not hundreds of thousands of crazed people with Obsessive Writing Disorder pledge to themselves to write 50,000 words on a new project in just one month. Of course tribute must also be paid to NaNo Rebels who bend the rules a little bit in terms of project (continuing with an already established project) or wordcount (adjusting the goal accordingly).

I jumped in. Mum of four less than double digited offspring, two who have already delightfully celebrated their birthdays in this auspicious month and just two days apart, the eldest, and youngest, my bookends.

For the first week of my novel writing challenge I kept to the obligatory 1667 word count faithfully. I chose, as my project a lighthearted domestic space chase, a fantasy in the parallel universes of Susan, the perfect mother and later a Housewife Warrier Princess. She is unceremoniously visited by her Fairly God Father who she renames Dave who takes her through time, space, and the freezer department in Tesco’s on a quest to keep her intact, as she is the disintegrating Housewife with a Half-Life stuck in a temporal loop. She must reintegrate pieces of herself that are stuck in parallel universes in order to survive.

Glad you asked? Aren’t you? Where Telepathy is the route telly’s take to keep fit and sentimental whisks save the day this fabulous story, surely is, for me, a distraction from my own everyday concerns. But one of my everyday concerns is now my wordcount. And I come to you today from the sorry position of being 5000 words behind (BUT DON’T TELL ANYONE.) (Especially me or I’ll panic).

Have you ever been in a situation where you are on a long walk, perhaps a hill walk over a few hours with friends. You realise early on that you are not as fit as they are and you begin to trail behind. You try to catch up but in the process you wear out and just as you reach them and are ready to catch your breath, they stand up and walk on again. Very dispiriting. That’s a little bit of what it feels like being behind. Luckily on Nano there are many people slipping behind, rallying, catching up, slipping back again. We encourage each other, we accompany each other, we keep going. There are many mothers that are taking on this challenge alongside the challenges that raising a family bring, as well as alongside their other endeavours. We will do what we can, we will move the goalposts if we really need to.

Taking up this seemingly impossible challenge (for the first time may I add) has been a very interesting and worthwhile experience for many reasons. These are some of the valuable things I’ve learned.

1: I can write without editing,

2: That its okay to get it all out and worry about it later

3: I am a writer

4: The more I write, the more I want to write

5: The more obstacles that come my way, the more I have become sure that this is what I want to do

6: That something I’m not sure about at the time sounds Really Good later

7: How to ignore the doubt demons

8: I can actually fit 1667 words into any mad kind of day.

I feel as if I am running, running, running both in my daily life and in my Nanowrimo quest (as is the woman in the story in her quest). I am running for my writing life because the more I do it, the more I know I want to. I am learning to writing without fear (jotting down my niggles in a seperate document and then writing anyway). I know now what is possible. I am going to take all that’s possible and run with it.