rural road at sunset

The end of the year, that is.

Writing News

It’s another year of me not officially doing NaNoWriMo, and yet, through Itchen to Write, this is probably the most involved I’ll have been to date. I’m also planning to attend the local NaNo events, and do some writing. This is largely because I’m on track to get Nushada finished by the end of the year, which is pretty exciting.

I’ve been playing around with HootSuite alternatives recently, so hope to have some reviews to post soon. You can also find an interview I did with Jillian Kent over on her website.

On the personal front…

Something that’s been on my mind more and more is the need to pull back. I’m more and more of the opinion that I’ve overstretched myself on commitments. I currently attend at least one writing workshop a month, run an average of three writing meetings a month, plus play D&D every Tuesday evening, attend a creative writing class every Thursday evening, and work a full time job doing social media, blogging, and event planning. This month I have an awards dinner immediately followed by a trade show exhibition. Most of my weekends end up full as well. And it is exhausting.

I read some time ago an article about JOMO (Joy Of Missing Out) and it resonated with me more than FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) ever did. I’ll be trimming the fat in regards to my social commitments in an effort to free up some of my energy. I want to focus on doing a few things really well, rather than half-assing lots of things out of a sense of dread and obligation.

And what does all that mean?

Ideally, it’ll mean you’ll see more content here, because my writing will be one of my primary focuses. It’ll mean working my way through my stack of WIPs, and getting to the querying stages. It’ll mean tackling my TBR list, and working on improving my health. All good things!

This monthly update is gonna be exciting.

It’s been an exciting month around here.


I finished my photography course, and I’ve been on several photo shoots, including one with human subjects! I haven’t done much with people, and I don’t think it would ever be a main focus, but I do want to try and get some studio portraiture under my belt. It’s just nice to have that skill set, even if it’s one I rarely indulge in. I’m quite happy with my bees and my flowers and things like that. I think that when you’re enjoying your work and have a passion for the subjects that comes through in your finished work.

I also received a promotion at work today, which was a great way to end a day, a week, and a month! I’ve got a new title, Marketing Executive, and a little more money in my pocket each month. It’s really nice to be in a job I actually enjoy, working with friendly people that see and appreciate the work I’m doing. I don’t dread going into work, I get to laugh a lot with my colleagues, and I no longer have to worry about watching what I say because of office politics or getting stabbed in the back. I’m also getting to develop some weaker skills, like in design, which I can apply to my writing and photography hobbies as well.

Speaking of writing, Camp NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow. I’m participating for the first time ever, and I’m pretty excited so far. Two days ago I finally hammered out a hard outline for Nushada, and got myself pretty psyched about it again in the process. I’m hoping that having a good plan of where the story is going will allow me to pick it up literally whenever I can, instead of hemming and hawing over where the story goes next before I start actually putting words down. For those of you participating, I’d love to hear about your projects!

nanowrimo 2016 logo

Well, here we are again, ladies and gentlemen and all things in between! November looms ahead, and with it, the trial by fire we all as writers go through at some point or another: National Novel Writing Month.

I have had several failed attempts at NaNoWriMo. Well, failed if you take it straight at its face value, that you either arrive in December with a rough draft of a manuscript or die trying. I like to consider them successes. The year I only wrote around ten thousand words? That was the month I wrote ten thousand more than the month before, so I counted it as a small success. The year I first attended a Write In event, and pushed that ten thousand to twenty five? Yeah, technically, I still failed, but I considered it a huge success in figuring out what helps me produce more words.

This year, I’m taking a different approach to the usual routine. I’m going to try looking at NaNoWriMo as a chance to create not necessarily a rough draft of a manuscript, but a set of good habits. I’m starting to see that, at least for me, NaNo is less about what you’re writing, and more about the fact that you’re writing. It’s about the communal pressure – and support! – to write every single day. It might not always be on a fresh manuscript idea. It might not always be on the same concept. But as long as I’m writing every day, I’ll consider it a success towards building good writing habits.

I’ll be looking at building the following rules into my daily routine:

  • Write. Might be 50 words, might be 5000. But every day, put something down in writing.
  • It’s okay to switch focus. I’m one of those people with a ton of half-cocked projects at any given time. And a lot of my motivation comes from idle daydreaming and brainstorming I do while doing non-writey tasks like housework and my Day Job™. So I need to grant myself the freedom to write what I’m feeling that particular day. Otherwise, I won’t write anything at all.
  • It’s okay to produce bad writing. I’m the sort of person whose procrastination somewhat stems from perfectionism. It can’t be done until it can be done perfectly. And as anyone who’s written anything knows, your first draft, without fail, is garbage. So I’ve been trying to learn that it’s okay to screw up. It’s okay to do a bad first job. It’s okay, because it’s gonna get revisited.

So, like all my other NaNo attempts, I probably won’t emerge with a finished rough draft. But hopefully I will come out with some solid writing habits that will produce many rough drafts, and revisions, and blog posts, and on and on and on…


So awhile ago, I decided to give the notebook into which I’d been brainstorming and outlining a makeover.

This is now my main notebook/idea cache for my NaNoWriMo project, which I’ve decided to call Shroudland. It’s about a budding mortician who suspects things aren’t quite right at their new job, and an experiment in taking plotting and outlining to an extreme.
image (17)

So here’s what I started with:

Just a plain composition notebook, originally chosen for its girly cover. Buying things that are very feminine makes sure that in a workplace that’s 90%

male my things always find their way back to me.




And here are my main tools:


Fancy stationery and stickers! (I never claimed to be a crafting expert…)

So to start out with, I wrapped the notebook with a sheet of the stationery and trimmed it to fit more or less flush to the edge of the cover. I affixed the stationery with a glue stick, again, because this isn’t meant to be anything fancy, just something fun to help keep me inspired.


The stationery didn’t quite wrap, so I used some off cuts to finish the job on the back.


Great! Time for stickers! I wanted them to be roughly centered, so I used a measuring tape to place them.


And there you have it! One notebook ready to guide me through the harrowing process of NaNoWriMo!