Friday, 27 November 2015

I’m a #NaNoWinner, Hooray! #NaNoWriMo

I did it! I survived #NaNoWriMo2015, and I conquered it! This has been a very challenging month for me. Not only did I have the ongoing chaos of domestic family life, I was dealing with emotional and mental health difficulties as a caregiver. By that I mean that I do not have a mental health disorder, but I am close to people that do, and I take on the role as cheerleader, counsellor, and supporter for these people, because I love them, and I want them to be happy.

There was one major trauma during #NaNoWriMo for me this year, and it was the death of my beloved Nanna. I was very fortunate to have her in my life for over 33 years, and I am thankful and happy to hold such precious memories of growing up with her, and with my remaining grandparents. My Nan was my cheerleader. She was incredibly proud of my writing achievements, and she would keep our distant family members well informed of my projects and novels in progress. Therefore, I had no choice but to persevere with #NaNoWriMo this year, even as I was wracked with grief and sadness at her loss. This new novel, Hunting the Hunted, will be dedicated to my Nanna Hargreaves. It is the least I could do.

Congratulations on your successes, fellow Wrimos. Whether you hit 50k or not, you wrote something, and I am proud to call you my writing buddies. Well done folks!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

We're on the Slippery Slope to Success! #NaNoWriMo

The past week has been very challenging for me. I fought hard to catch up with #NaNoWriMo, and for a couple of days my Muse was wild and active. Then the day approached for my Nanna's funeral. I am very fortunate to have reached the age of 33 and still have all four of my grandparents living at home. I have given thanks for my blessed life when it comes to loving family. Now, however, the grief is hitting me very hard. My urge to write the novel has all but died, and yet I feel the urge to write something poetic and meaningful, although I do not know what.

My Nan was incredibly proud of my writing achievements. She always asked what I was working on, After her funeral, when we attended the wake, I found myself meeting with distant relatives that I hadn't seen since I was a little girl. They all knew about my books, and they all told me about how Nan kept them informed of my activities (alongside the Facebook updates from those that see me online). I find myself wavering between the desire to give up and call this year's #NaNoWriMo a failure due to circumstance, and the burning need to continue with my novel, to complete the challenge, and to make my Nan proud, wherever she has moved on to now. You all know how this will turn out... see you at the finish, my Wrimo friends!

Friday, 13 November 2015

I am Back on Track for #NaNoWriMo!

Phew, what a day! It has been a challenging start to #NaNoWriMo2015, with the shock of a family bereavement last week. It was my wonderful Nanna, who succumbed to illness after a lengthy stay in hospital. She battled hard right to the end, and I think truthfully she knew it was coming, and so did I, deep down. It was still a shock, however, and as I write these words, I feel the tears welling up once again.

It would be very easy for me to give up on NaNoWriMo 2015, and blame life events for the cause. But that is not my nature. I have been battling many life challenges during these past five years, and the struggle continues every day. We all have our challenges in life, and we all have our stories to tell. Mine is a story of emotional upheaval, living with mental illness (not mine, but a close family member), living with accident related illness, and the general chaos that comes with small children.

And so, this time, I am determined to succeed at NaNoWriMo and honour the memory of my wonderful Nanna, who always believed in my writing, and was incredibly proud for each novel that I got published. I do this also for my Grandad, who now has to live in a nursing home full time, and who is bereft without his wife. I'm not sure exactly how many years they were together, but I know it was a long time. I do not remember any occasion during my 33 years where I have not seen my grandparents together. And now, Nanna will join us in Spirit, and we will continue to visit Grandad regularly so that he is not alone.

Good luck with your life challenges, fellow Wrimos. And if you are struggling with the challenge, do it for the ones you love. They will motivate your words to flow. See you later!

Friday, 6 November 2015

Six Days in, and I am Struggling! #NaNoWriMo

We are barely one week into the month that is #NaNoWriMo and I have to admit, this year I am struggling already. It doesn’t help that there is a lot of personal stress happening at the moment, the most recent being a family bereavement. I am still coming to terms with that one, so this is not the place to elaborate. No, right now I am focusing on #NaNoWriMo.

I know it is not imperative that I complete this challenge. I have been doing #NaNoWriMo for four years now, and I did not complete the challenge in 2013, what with having a newborn baby and a wild toddler to contend with. I did complete it in 2014, and I really want to complete it this year. And yes, we have not yet reached the end of the first week. There is time to rectify my lack of word count. And I am not massively behind. I have written almost 8000 words so far… yes, I do believe this challenge might be met after all. Catch up next week, and happy writing, fellow Wrimos!

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

And now, back to the Writing! #NaNoWriMo 2015

Oh yes, the time has come! We are fast approaching that marvellous month of madness and mayhem…it is time for National Novel Writing Month, 2015. And this year I am ready and raring to go. There is one slight problem: I don’t have a clue what I am going to write! But that’s never stopped me before… and this year I have a team of writing buddies on hand to assist, which is fabulous. We are forming our own little NaNoWriMo group, just the three of us for now, although we may persuade a few more to join us as we progress.

Part of the joy of NaNoWriMo is the sense of community and comradeship that we find. Although I have not yet managed to attend local write-in sessions for our regional writing groups, I now have people in my home town that will participate this year, and we have a central venue in which to work together. Amazing! And then, of course, I will have all of my lovely supporters via Twitter and the NaNoWriMo forums. We are always there to console and cajole at odd hours of the day or night, such is the all-consuming madness of the month.

So, for the next couple of days, I must prepare my home and my family for the abandonment that is to come. Fortunately, my elder daughter is now in school, so she is happy to relax when she gets home in the evenings. My younger daughter attends preschool, so I do have at least two days in the week for solid writing sessions. And the rest, well, I will do what I can around the domestic responsibilities. November will be a month for ready meals (sorry kids!), a dusty house (nothing new there, then), and even less sleep than usual for me. But it is totally worth it! See you on the other side… with my brand new manuscript!

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

And My Next Event is… A Dose of Dark Fiction!

Phew! We have survived the madness of #ScribeFest 2015. The week was a huge success, with our events well attended and very well received. Huge thanks to our audience and supporting visitors for your participation and feedback. We are now already planning the festivities for #ScribeFest 2016. Well, these things take a lot of preparation, don’t you know! I thoroughly enjoyed all of it, from the planning through to the events and finally to the after-show party, such that it was. A jolly good time was had by all, and if you missed SCRIBE, well then you had better get it in your diary for next year, once we release the official dates…

And now for my next event. Oh yes, I am well and truly back on the bandwagon after a lengthy absence through maternity leave. The 21st century author does not have the luxury of hiding behind their books. We have to be out there, in the public eye, being seen and heard and acknowledged. It is a double-edged sword, and one that I have battled with during my exploration in the industry. But, I have to say, I do enjoy getting out and meeting people. And I am very honoured to be invited as a guest with acclaimed horror writer and playwright Dan Weatherer. See you in Hanley Library, Stoke-on-Trent this Halloween, for A Dose of Dark Fiction. These tales are not for the faint hearted!