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Contemplating NaNoWriMo 2016

Are you doing it this year? NaNoWriMo, I mean? If there is anyone among us who doesn’t know by now, I’m talking of National Novel Writing Month. It’s November by the way and almost at our doorstep. First of all, let’s hear it for the People at NaNoWriMo.org. They deserve the capitalization. They are smart, witty, and inspiring while coordinating thousands and thousands of volunteers and participants around the world. You’ll love the NaNoWriMo community. I have participated in other writing fora, but none of them reach NaNoWriMo’s ankles. There are actually pep talks worth reading and they actually leave you feel pepped. The statistics and motivational badges are addicting as is the acceptance that as long as you are putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard), you are doing something right. Then there’s the writing part. Yup, you still need to sit down and pound the keyboard, croaking out word after word. The result may or may not be a finished story – or the much coveted novel – but simply working …

The Book of New Year

Among party hats, glittery decorations, and champagne bubbles, I find there is a thoughtful side to New Year. This is the time of the year, when we readers take stock of how many books we’ve read the last year. My number is hardly admirable and of course I want to read more in 2016, but I haven’t measured out a certain number. My previous goal was one book per week and no, I didn’t read that in 2015. But there is one book, that really makes my fingers tingle around New Year, more than counting down to the stroke of midnight: my new calendar! Do my bubbles reach the surface, you may ask? Yes, as a matter of fact, they do. Sometime in December, when my Christmas shopping list is as long as the queues in the stores, I remind myself that I have to buy a new calendar, and the hustle and bustle of a people-packed mall simply disappears. I muse in front of the shelves with big calendars, small calendars, colorful calendars, fancy …

Christmas – a booklover’s holiday

Merry Christmas! What is Christmas if not a booklover’s holiday? First of all, December marks the season where you’re supposed to huddle up indoors with a cup of your favorite hot beverage in hand and books in your lap. It’s dark outside, cold, and possibly wet; but inside there are lighted candles, glittery decorations and of course enough sweets, cookies, and savory dishes to make the fitness and diet industries chuckle. And books! All the books you have been waiting to read, which brings me to my second argument: Days off! It is a holiday, where you have some days off and if you are lucky – like me – you have a few extra days in between so that you get two whole weeks off work. Sure, there’s your family to spend Christmas with, including your ever awkward cousin Dennis, but you can’t possibly be expected to spend every waking moment with them, so there is plenty of time to disappear into your favorite nook or cranny for a bit of reading. Thirdly, did …

NaNoWriMo 2015 – 50.081 words later

November passed and 50.081 words were punched out on my computer. I know, I cut it a bit short, but hey, I hit the 50K. And I am proud of myself! I’ve never written that much on one story. Participating in NaNoWriMo was a wonderful experience and I would like to share some of the things I learnt. I didn’t need a thought-out plan before I set pen to paper – so to speak. I didn’t have an inkling about the story when I began. On the flipside, my story doesn’t have a clear plot nor an ending. I could curve out a couple of hours a night of writing time despite of single motherhood, work, and laundry with the help of my ever-patient and supportive parents/babysitters and my son, who took to the routine of being tucked in on the couch, so he could watch me write. (That had a positive effect of snacking level and my discipline.) I experienced the whole scale of possible emotions during November. I’ve been enthusiastic, happy, eccentric, troubled, …

NaNoWriMo

In my circle of friends and among my colleagues, nobody knows what NaNoWriMo is, not even when I tell them that it is National Novel Writing Month. A few answered with a disinterested, ‘Huh?’ They probably think that it is the same kind of thing as National Carrot Cake Day (2/3), International Kissing Day (7/6) or National Bologna Day (10/24), but it’s not! NaNoWriMo is in a whole other league! In addition, it’s an entire month. Really, I have no right to feel so strongly about NaNoWriMo. I only discovered it last year and only achieved a word count of around 4,600 words. Not exactly impressive. I am however starting over this year. I have a brand new idea – or rather, I don’t have an idea, I just starting writing, but I like where it is going so far. It’s Day 1 and I have 1700 words. To my fellow NaNoWriMo writers: Believe! Not only can we rack up the word count, we can also write something outstanding and original.

Thoughts on creativity on a Sunday afternoon

I am taking a moment for myself, sitting with my computer at the dining room table. The washing machine is purring in the background and my four-year-old son and his many, many toys are all over the floor, but I don’t care. My father is trailing behind my son and their discussions of hoisting stuff with a toy crane and playing cops and robbers Lego-style fills the family room. Add coffee and…. Yes, this is a blissful Sunday. Luckily, it’s raining outside, so any thoughts of what I should be doing in the garden are superfluous. Instead, I sit here in the single mother’s version of alone and get to write. The ding, ding, ding of the washing machine, but then I get to write. J I’ve been thinking a lot about creativity as of late. Creativity can take so many forms, but in my opinion, it has telltale signs: a flutter inside, followed by an inner peace and a sense of rejuvenation. The sensations of creativity are addictive, and yet the discipline to sit …

Impossible

When people say impossible, they usually mean improbable. Reader In A Reverie was finding quotations as a part of a challenge and found the one above from the Grisha trilogy. Reading it, I thought it was so true. It really doesn’t matter whether the subject matter is writing, losing weight, learning Mandarin, or climbing Mount Everest; you are bound to hear the statement “Impossible!” from yourself and/or others. The usage of “impossible” covers a whole range of improbability from impossible, not in this lifetime to you can’t do it and don’t you dare. It is important to differentiate the statement of impossible no matter the size of the issue at hand: going for a walk on Mars, starting a business, learning to drive, or reading one book at a time. Reading and/or writing is one of the places, we can explore the impossible or improbable. We can discover new territories, fight zombies, break boundaries, visit the Aztec empire, and fall in love with a rock star. As much as I love both reading and writing, …

Writing is a whole other story

I love to read. I love to write. When I do either, I disappear down the rabbit hole and hours disappear in bliss. I love it! Seriously! Getting to know L. M. Montgomery, I am astounded by how many, many books etc. she wrote. She had the courage and the discipline – plus she lived without TV or internet to distract her. That is the problem for us wannabe writers: distractions. Books, TV, internet, real life, kids, jobs, dinner, laundry, the list goes on and on indefinitely – all the time keeping us (me) from what we love. I want to write. I even need to write. (Indeed I do, Rilke!) I have found that I have another problem. I come up with new ideas all the time. Initially, this sounds fine, creative even, but combined with actually writing, it is a major obstacle. Almost every time, I start writing, I begin page 1 of a new story. I write a paragraph or a couple of pages, before having to re-appear from the rabbit hole, …

Considering Criticism

”The covers of this book are too far apart.” The quotation is attributed to Ambrose Bierce, although there is some dispute about this. Notwithstanding, it is a poignant quotation that leads me to consider criticism and its different faces. Talking about – or criticizing – books, art, movies, food is huge part of promoting the product and regardless of whether you are a professional critic or just voicing your opinion at the water cooler, criticizing something plays an important role in making up our own opinion, presenting ourselves and our values, and gaining position in a group. However, Mama always said, that if you cannot say something nice, then you should keep your mouth shut. Mama has a point, but apparently, she does not visit the water cooler, the social media, or listens to news coverage in general. You are supposed to have an opinion about everything. Let me reiterate that. About. Every. Thing. Can you hear Mama patting my hand, saying: “Yes dear” and meaning, that does not mean that you have to have …