About Me

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I still feel like a teenager on the inside, unfortunately my children do remind me how old I am!! I have lived for 20+ years as an Irish expat in The Netherlands. My favourite city here has to be Amsterdam.

Writing, reading, authentic living. It's all here at The Writing Process

Welcome to my blog. Let me start by telling you that I love writing. I love the sense of vitality it gives me. I love that it helps me to make sense of the world and to the people in it. I love that it helps me become wiser, more intuitive, empathic, and most of all autonomous.

All aspects - reading, writing and observing - are what make the process complete. The essence is storytelling, and learning about
life and yourself.

Friday, November 30, 2012

NaNoWriMo day 30

Day 30

Well, I gave it my best shot, but didn’t quite make the 50k. I enjoyed making the effort and I am really pleased that, due to NaNoWriMo, my writing is once again a priority in my daily routine. It had been taking a back seat to any number of other activities every day that  my fear was that my current novel would never get finished. Well, having almost doubled the wordcount in November, revitalising the plot and getting to know my characters more intimately, my doubts have been eradicated.
I am almost there, people. The plot is as good as complete, almost every chapter has been worked out in detail. There’s lots of new dialogue and characters meeting each other and driving the plot along. The ending has been written, so I know where all the gaps in the narrative must lead to ultimately. So, I am satisfied.
Will I do it again next year? Lets just wait and see.

Monday, November 12, 2012

NaNoWriMo Day 12

It’s already day 12! Time is flying and I am beginning to wonder how close I will actually come to reaching 50.000 words by the end of the month. 

I had expected to write copious amounts in the weekend and therefore be under less pressure during the week to write a lot. But, as ever, I should not count my chickens before they are hatched. Saturday was a slow day. I had some vague ideas roaming around in my head, but they were just that, roaming and therefore hard to grasp. There were words, sentences, images, emotions but very little structure. Every so often I thought I caught one, but when I started to write, the flow dried up after about three sentences and it was back to mulling, chasing and feeling the words slip through my fingers like quicksand. 

I am not sure how many words I actually managed to get down, but it was not as many as I had hoped.
Sunday was a residue of Saturday’s frustration. Starting in the morning, I wrote two paragraphs, and then ran out of things to say. The weather however, was gorgeous so instead of wallowing in it I decided to take advantage and get out into the fresh air. Strolling along a nearby lake with the autumn sun on my face and observing others some with and some without dogs, some alone and some in couples cheered me up. I was able to evaluate my NaNoWriMo endeavors up to now, and be honest with myself about how important the 50.000 words are to me. 

When I looked at it clearly, I realized that the idea of ‘just getting the words down’ doesn’t always work for me. Oh, I applied it for the first couple of days and had clocked up a decent number of words. However, reading back on what I had written so that I could pick up the threads and write on, I became disillusioned.

Was I surrendering quality to quantity?
What is the point in writing 50.000 words just for the sake of it?
Do I want to have to scrap most of them come December?

I realized that by taking on this challenge I had in fact created an obstacle for myself instead of getting the juices flowing. That happens to me quite a lot. Once the pressure starts to build, I shut down. Creativity falls victim either to competition or to the need to perform. 

So I decided that, despite the word requirement, I was going to throw out all my worries about reaching the 50.000 words and give myself a more important goal: writing this novel in a voice and style that makes me happy and at a pace that the story itself dictates. 

In fact, summing this up I can say that external targets, imposed by others, sometimes hinder my progress rather than encourage me. The motivators that work for me are the internal ones, the ones with intrinsic rather than external rewards. 

Back behind my computer, with the promise of being true to the story, the words began to flow again, and the characters, who had been suffering my performance anxiety, now came back to life.
So, NaNoWriMo, I continue to write on a daily basis, but it is not the end of the world if my achievement at the end of the month is less than 50.000 words. 

Ironically, having decided to let go of the outside pressures and targets and to let the writing come from the right place and at its own pace, I actually clocked up a respectable 2.000 words in a couple of stolen hours before supper!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNoWriMo day 7

Having reached my target on Sunday for NaNoWriMo, Monday was a hard day. I ended up only writing about 300 words. And if I thought that was a poor result, yesterday had me writing quickly in my notebook before going to bed, after one of those really chaotic days when not only circumstances are confusing but your mind just won't seem to focus.

Being unable to concentrate on one idea or get control of my thoughts I decided to get back to basics. Basics for me means catching up on chores that I have been putting off. Cleaning the oven, microwave and dealing with other kitchen issues kept me busy all afternoon.

Then at the close of day, just when I thought I had narrowed things down to an approach that would get a new chapter started at least, two potential clients called and before I knew it I was racing against the clock to prepare the evening meal, fully determined to WRITE, WRITE, WRITE for the entire evening.

But, being there for a friend took priority, and hence, the sum total of my writing activities was reduced to a few scribbled notes before going to bed.

Anyhow, I now have two days backlog to catch up on. At least I have some notes to kick start this day 7.

Monday, November 5, 2012

NaNoWriMo day 5

By close of day 4

I had managed to get to the required wordcount to stay on track for the 50k target. Ik was really like pulling teeth yesterday. I should have known Sunday would be complicated. My kids, both in their twenties, were rambling in and out, filling me in on their bits and pieces, watching football on TV, and generally creating a rumble. Add to that that a really good friend had just lost her granny and was exchanging text messages with me which I continued to respond to.
We also have this tradition at my house that Sunday dinner be something special and I wanted to keep it that way. And after dinner we all settle down to watch So You Think You Can Dance, which has to be my favourite show of the week.
Well, with all of that going on, and exchanging posts with NaNoWriMo friends on FB I had my doubts about reaching the required word count. But, when I saw that some of my NaNo friends were already heading for 30k I was more determined than ever to at least achieve the minimum. At one stage I was typing blind while discussing algebra with my daughter - talk about split personality! At another, while fiction and reality merged, my typing almost mirrored the topic of conversation going on in my living room. How bizar is that?
I cooked my Sunday dinner, watched some TV, and at 11 o'clock last night was able to update my word count to well over 6600 words, sticking to the NaNo requirement.
Now I have to keep my fingers crossed that I haven't milked my creativity so much that I discover in a couple of hours that I have nothing to say or write today.
Day 5 here I come!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

NaNoWriMo day 4

Day 4

Okay, people, I have checked out the NaNoWriMo site, and there are more like me out there. There's a special category of writer that has been labelled Rebel (Yeeh). That means someone who owns up to working on an existing work, aiming to add 50k words to it by the end of the month. Well, that's me. I have been working on a book for such a long time, and am using this month to finish the first draft. Not as easy as it sounds, given that most of the free flowing ideas have already been written and that it's a struggle to keep up that momentum for the whole of November. But, I am going to do my best.
Today however is a slow day. But, I am going to plod along, not get disheartened or bogged down. My objective is to do justice to the story, and if that takes another 50k words and these are written on time then I shall definitely validate as a bona fide NaNoWriMo achiever.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

NaNoWriMo day 2 and 3

I was convinced I had such a quiet life (?!?) that sticking to a NaNoWriMo schedule would be absolutely no problem at all. I had even rounded off all other obligations on Thursday. But, isn't it funny how we suddenly have all manner of things to do, important things, things that have to be done NOW, so many that writing gets shifted up the agenda until there are almost no hours left in the day? Well, in my life that is clearly no different. I got up yesterday morning, knowing I had to get my glassses fixed and had planned that in in the morning. But then, instead of just getting on with the writing business when I came back I remembered I wanted to call a translator friend, check out my pals on facebook, call a customer (could have waited until Monday) and the list goes on.
BUT, and here's the good news, when I finally sat down to write, I churned out almost 1500 words within two hours, and you know what, it's not a bad piece of writing.
Before I went to sleep I even wrote down some rough notes on the same chapter and have a kick start for today's writing activities.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo day 1

 Stick with me. I am participating in NaNoWriMo for the first time, and plan to journal about my experiences each day. Whether I write or not, I will journal about what motivated and hindered. 

Day one: 

of NaNoWriMo was a busier one than I expected. Started as I had promised myself after breakfast but was interrupted by the telephone after 300 words. A new customer who had found me via my other FB page Write Away, Text and Design. Rush job, but I wanted to do it. Then I had a quick coffee meeting with another networker in the area, and got home at lunch time. Did the translation in the afternoon, interrupted by a regular customer who needed a quick brainstorm. 

Finally just before it was time to make dinner I got to 958 words and by close of day at 20:30 it was 1216.

All in all, I am satisfied.