Why I quit NaNo … at 39018 words


Today I quit NaNoWriMo. I’ve written 39018 words. I’ve still got three days. I’m only about 5000 words behind target to finish on time. But I quit. I’m giving up. As painful as it is, I am quitting.

Why? Read More

NaNoWriMo 2014

Participant-2014-Web-BannerNaNoWriMo starts today. Read More

My best friend punched me in my soul

Unplug and write

Unplug and write


Friday night I was blindsided. Punched in the soul. By my best friend. She meant it too. It wasn’t a casual sucker punch to the solar plexus, it was much worse than that.

Read More

We are here #blogvember

It’s the first of November. It is not 4 in the morning. Which is just as well as today has been full enough without extending it for another 10 hours. It is the first nice evening for a while and we are sitting outside. It is the start of Blogvember, or as we call it round here, NoNoNaNoWriMo.

I can’t commit to writing 1667 words a day, for every day of November. While I would love to, and I’d love to feel the fantastic sense of achievement of ‘winning’ NaNoWriMo again, I know what is required. I know I am not able to commit the time required. Never mind that I am bursting with story fragments, ideas and characters. I just don’t have the time.

Me? Nerves of steel!

Me? Nerves of steel!

Instead I will blog every day for November. That’s a blog post a day for 30 days. Last year’s blogvember was a whirlwind of working full time and writing every day and the hardest thing was finding and processing images. This year will be no different. I won’t be able to find any more free time.

If you write everyday, you need images for your blog; to promote it. It provides a visual reference for your reader. Something that represents your words. If you’re a writer, you need to conjure those images, but in the minds of your reader, not in the blogosphere. The writing and the blogging I have done, particularly in the last three years has shown me the difference. If you want to write fiction, you need to stop blogging. If you love your blog, it is hard to find the time to write fiction. That is just my experience. This year at least, I have a stock of images ready to go … well sort of. I have taken photos. I have sometimes even processed them into acceptable blog images. I have a few ideas for posts I would like to write. Mostly it will be a ‘pantser’ effort of making it up, just in time, as I go along. My creative processes will be curtailed into snippets of compressed, expedient writing, rushed and hurried, while I should be doing other things. I will spend a bit of time this evening, formulating some ideas and trying to work out how to carve out the hour a day I really need to do Blogvember, or indeed any creative writing process, justice.

While I struggle to find the time, I commit to bringing you insights, small and large into my life and the lives of those around me. The big issues, the tiny and insignificant issues, the issues that matter and the ones that only a tiny handful of people will actually care about. Hope you can join me for the wild ride.

Blogvember post 27 … NoNoNaNoWriMo

One of the reasons for starting blogvember, is to continue writing everyday, even through I couldn’t commit to NaNoWriMo this year.
I have watched with envy the tweets about other writers success and word counts. I’ve focused on blogging and stayed away from writing anything else. But I’ve missed the camaraderie. Part of the excitement of NaNoWriMo is the boost you get from being part of something larger than yourself. NaNo is a movement. It’s not just you and your macbook or your pen and notebook pulling words and placing them down. You are doing it along with everyone else who is undertaking this mad endeavour. There are books to help you out, produced by the wonderfully titled Office of Letters and Light.

Aside from the companionship, the thing I miss the most about NaNoWriMo is the latitude I gave myself, to spend all the Tuesdays last November writing. In the coffee shop. Often accompanied by @eatshootblog, who is an excellent writing companion and writes at EatShootBlog. We were a good team. Good at drinking coffee. Good at sitting side by side madly typing and ignoring each other, for the most part. We did have conversations about what we were writing, sometimes. We also talked about a good many things, but not on the Tuesday in November last year. It was a NaNoWriMo 6000 words a day catch up and talking was a waste of precious writing time.

Over many, many Tuesdays long after NaNo was finished, we had perfected the art of the writing meet up. We met most Tuesdays when I wasn’t working full time, and it was a standing date. We’d write, we’d chat, we’d engage.

When it wasn’t possible anymore, around July when I moved jobs, I missed it. I missed the companionship, the shared goal to write, and to drink coffee.

It was my only tandem writing activity, the rest of the time I wrote alone.

Most writers write alone. It is a solitary activity. Some writers can’t write in noisy places. Some can’t write in quiet places. Some have to write first drafts long hand.

Blogging is solitary and yet immediate. Unlike novelists or philosophers, or writers of other published works that are actually printed, who have to wait months and sometimes years for the final product, bloggers can publish now. And promote and get reviewed. Almost immediately. Not so the NaNo novel. That takes a long long time. At the end of November you are left, if you’ve managed to keep your story under control, with at best a first draft. One that needs a lot of work. And that work is the hardest work of all.

The editing. The re-writing. The killing your darlings. This is the writing you must do alone.

Corrective pencil at the ready


It’s Blog-vember! Post the first

On the way back from Melbourne, I gazed out the window mouching quietly about having missed seeing some fantastic people. There were just too few hours and I really needed a time machine to make it all work. I even missed out on drinking gin in The Gin Palace; that really really hurt. The trip was too short, the family commitments too long to make it work.

I started on a bit of a reverie then. I’m missing people, I’m missing writing, and I’m missing NaNoWriMo!

I tossed ideas around. What if I could do something else? How could I make this work? How could I write and keep the little smouldering embers of love of writing burning? I certainly couldn’t write 1667 words a day! But I could blog every day. I workshopped ideas. What to call it? Blog-a-rama? NoNoNaNoWriMo? Blog-vember? Yes that says it all. It’s November. It’s blogging.

I wrote the post and sent this little idea out into the ether and who should show up?

Only the gorgeous people I missed in Melbourne!  I may have let out a little squeal of delight at the first response.

Here we all are. Drum roll please.

Blog-vember! A little idea to keep my writing spirits up and share the love.

Here are just a few of the people playing along.

Under The Yardarm

Twitchy Corner


Join us. You can still play and catch up and keep your writing spark. A post a day. Every day for November. Blog-vember!




Blog-vember or NoNoNaNoWriMo

No No NaNoWriMo for me. I have come to a sad realisation that I cannot participate in NaNoWriMo this year. As much as this decision pains me, it is the right one for this year. I just cannot commit the necessary time and my experience last year taught me exactly what that commitment looks like. Of course, I am not willing to give up altogether. Too easy to do that.


Instead of NaNoWriMo this year, I give you Blog-vember!

A blog post every day for the month of November. At least that way I have a target and a writing goal. Feel free to leave pull-your-socks-up comments if I start writing about what I had for lunch – unless of course the lunch was at Tetsuya’s then you’ll just have to suffer through a blow by blow description.

For added interest, I will also give myself the end of November as the deadline for my long overdue book reviews that I keep promising and failing to deliver.

Join me! If you are NaNo-ing then go you. But if you are not join me for Blog-vember.

A post a day for November. Who’s in?

Dear Blog, sorry for ignoring you, Love Me.

Three people asked me about my blog in late December. One of them is a pretty important person in our town and two of them I see often; when I go to work. I talked animatedly to each of them about my blog, what I write about, and how much I love it. I did however feel like a bit of a fraud; as I mentally calculated how long it has been since I actually written a post.

For the whole of November and some of October before that, I was obsessed about NaNoWriMo. I wrote and I wrote and I wrote. Every Tuesday, I sat at Lonsdale Street Roasters (coffee heaven, hello everyone) and wrote and drank coffee til my bum went numb on the hard chair. I then went home and wrote some more, on a more comfortable chair.

Racking 'em up!

I ignored most other things. I tried not to get distracted. I still had to work three days a week. I still went to yoga, I went to the shops. But I didn’t watch tv, I didn’t garden much, and I certainly ignored my family more often than normal. My patient and kind Robert, looked after the children. Both the big and the little were restless, filled with end of year angsty tiredness.


It quickly moved from celebrating NaNo victory to mad christmas and December rush. We have a lot of December birthdays in our family and immediate circle – a lot. Every spare moment I was buying gifts, wrapping, sending acceptances, thank you notes. We made Christmas cakes, and puddings, and then mince tarts. And ice-cream. After being away last year, and labouring away the year before, it was like we were cramming three years of christmas into one. We had visitors, we went visiting. Frankly, while some of it was very enjoyable and some of it hilarious (especially Christmas eve when the carefully set kettle BBQ went out after half an hour, necessitating a few changes of plan and then later due to extreme drunkenness we forgot to cook the potatoes) it was totally exhausting.

So here we are in early January. I am half-way through a significant milestone. I have enrolled in a yoga intensive for this week. Two classes per day for five days. This is much more important than it looks because of what it represents. For me, this week is about bringing myself back to a position where I can move on. And it is hard. My muscles remember how much work it takes. I know the poses, I know what it feels like to do so many classes. I used to do it all the time. Then I stopped. And I shouldn’t have left it. I should have made myself go, had more courage to overcome the fear of changing schools and leaving my familiar and-well loved teachers from Sydney.

Sydney Yoga Space Intensive 2006

I am back now. Back on the mat. Significantly, my past experience is assisting me. What is so significant about yoga for me, is that it gives me back control of myself. It helps my body become strong and relaxed, it gives me mental and emotional space from my responsibilities and it allows me to feel good about my outer shell, as well as my inner world which it is easier for me to feel good about.

National Novel Writing Month #nanowrimo


It is now two hours until NaNoWriMo starts!

I am bursting with excitement and nervous energy. Tomorrow I will be sitting drinking coffee and writing like demons are pursuing me across plains of lava; in other words as fast as humanly possible to get a great start.

I have an arc of a story. It has characters. Love interests (yes plural – holy crap!) It has locations and I can actually smell it now.

Wish me luck.

This much neglected blog will now become further neglected and I am sorry to my handful of loyal readers for that, but a larger cause and a bigger quest is at hand.



It is nearly November. In fact there are fifteen days and counting left of October.

This year this means one important thing. National Novel Writing Month.

I have started my preparation. If you can call staring into the middle distance and hoping a story arc whacks you over the head, preparation.

This year I have themes. This year I will start on the first day. This year I will write every day. This year I have some characters.

All of these little preparations are a big improvement on last year. Last year I didn’t start until the first week was almost over. I had no characters. I did not write every day. And I only wrote a pathetic 3260 words.

I have high hopes this time. I am better prepared. I have a child who reliably sleeps through the night. I have a day off a week. I have a couple of story ideas. I’ve made some notes.

I am participating in this grand writing collective frenzy for one reason; to test myself. To see if I can do it. To see if I have enough story writing in me to write something sustained.  50 000 words. It is a tough ask. It is 1 667 words a day. Each and every day for a month.

We shall see. In the meantime, I will continue to hope for a story arc or a brilliant idea. I have still got a few days.