Friday, 30 November 2018

It started with an ending…

The NaNoWriMo challenge has been one that I have attempted in previous years but, as the saying goes, life always seemed to get in the way. It was about two years ago when it seemed that I began to be enveloped in a cloud of sorrow from loss beyond my control. It felt like the loss that surrounded me was growing exponentially and as it was snowballing out of control it had absorbed me along the way. Not only was I dealing with my own health issues in those short two years; I lost family members close to my heart, a friend way before his time, my long-time companion and a child. I have always been a private person, the one people come to seek counsel, never the one to ask for help herself. My writing has been the one thing that has given me solace in times of anguish or solitude but my writing was also deeply personal. That changed this summer. When prompted by my mother, I started following an online course. It was a whole new way of writing for me and what I was producing was completely different from my previous academic scripts or the animal stories I had written for the past five or so years. In all honesty, the animal stories had become difficult to write. I’d felt I’d lost my voice. I was so disheartened that had no story left to tell. I wasn't ready to share my writing during the summer so I simply participated in the shadows. I would follow the prompts and meet the deadlines but I kept my stories to myself.

But, once the course ended, I felt as though I had been left stranded and grasped at the first opportunity to continue inspiring my writing. I joined a writing group and they have been my lifeline. I shared my stories, personal as they were, I let myself be vulnerable and I am thankful. This year, when November came around, I was determined. Things seemed to be moving in a more positive direction and I was eager to attempt the challenge. It’s not an easy undertaking with two jobs and other family responsibilities but I wanted to at least try. There were a couple of members from my writing group that said they’d sign on and while we have not spoken for the entire month, just knowing they were going to be doing the challenge as well was a great support. Before the month started I wondered if I would pick up my animal stories again, or the three-part novel that I started in 2015. I didn't feel inspired to re-engage in that work, and writing has always been a way that I work through issues, resolve my feelings and heal. I had other stories I needed to tell.

In September, I wrote an 800+ stand-alone piece about a deeply tragic personal experience and submitted it to my writing group. I felt pretty exposed as soon I hit send but at the same time writing the story had taken a huge weight off my chest. I could breathe a bit better and I simply waited on tenterhooks for feedback. Through writing my story I could give myself the distance I needed to heal and by sharing it I was able to truly re-experience the tragic event through comforting eyes. I had never intended on it being more than that short piece of writing. I knew I had more to say and a few people in my writing group thought the piece would make a great beginning for a book. I had written it as an ending. But, to think of it as a beginning gave me perspective. Even if I took a little time to accept the idea, it became the jumping off point and when November came around that is where I started my novel.

My first day I wrote about thirty words and then the next day cut about 300. I am somewhat of a linear thinker and I needed an ending now that I had made my ending my beginning! It took a few days before I finally got it but I was going backwards in my word count and now I had to fill in the whole middle of this attempt at a novel! It wasn’t until the eighth day when I had a breakthrough. I had a solid streak of over 7000 words and I felt energized by it. On the 16th day, I was just over twenty-five thousand words but I hit a wall. And, for three days I struggled with a hand full of words one day and a couple hundred on the following days. I had had some momentum going but the whole process has been in spurts. Some days just flowed and others it’s been painful to get my perfect sentence out and I would simply agonise over the same 75 words… I am not one to just write to write. The story had to go somewhere and each part that I added had to have a reason and connection to the whole to be included. This perfectionist attempt surely slowed my process but beyond wanting to simply finish the challenge I wanted something real. Not just a mess of words that simply tallied the magic wordcount. It took about five days before I got my momentum back and by the 22nd I was well over thirty thousand words. It was going to happen I thought; I am actually going to finish the fifty thousand words in a month. And, I did. In thirty days, I've written over 51000 words (half of which were written in stolen moments on a little old phone). I feel a little drained by the process of the tight deadline but the experience challenged me in many creative ways and I don’t want to stop. So, today, on the heels of the fifty thousand, I am eager to start a six-week fast-paced deadline course; and this time I think I will share. I have the idea of picking up again with my animal stories but I am flexible to whatever I am inspired to write. I am also really looking forward to my break when I can edit my novel in its entirety and pass it along to my beta readers. And from there, I guess I’ll just have to wait and see…  

Saturday, 30 June 2018

Resplendent Reunion

Ending June with a splash of resplendent colour from the deep, smooth and slow sounds of the feathered suitor's serenade at Love Wins.

Sunday, 27 May 2018

The End... ~The Doors

The finish line is in sight of my month-long challenge ♥️ I spent the afternoon enjoying what is becoming my Sunday routine along the seawall.

I have added the last update to my fundraiser and I'll be back at the end of June starting up my animal alphabet with the letter Q in Love Wins ♥️

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