And without warning… #NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of the year again in which thousands of people all over the world abandon their lives, their family, their jobs and their general well being to try and complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

I feel as if this year’s event really snuck up on me. I almost forgot to complete my returning-ML form. I have not given my plot much thought since about… well… Today. And, I almost forgot to organise my region’s Kick Off party. It seems that this year, truly, November couldn’t have come at a worse time. But, I take heart in the fact that I’m not the only one unprepared. A lot of students are writing exams, it’s end of the year functions, it’s school, work, terrible weather (both hot and cold depending on which hemisphere you live in) and all round end of the year depressed funk.

Nothing seems like a better idea than to ask the organisers of the event to delay it another month… or two… Or maybe three.

And, in that lies the problem that NaNoWriMo tries to solve. (For those new to this – NaNoWriMo means National Novel Writing Month). There are a lot of ‘one day novelists’ out there. People who keep telling themselves that ‘one day’ they’ll write that novel. They keep putting it out and putting it out for a more convenient time but the truth is that no time is better than NOW. You see, we are so good at delaying ourselves, that we end up delaying ourselves in definitively. Which is why an event like NaNoWriMo is so great. It forces you to take a step, to write a book and get it done quickly. The focus is not on quality, but on quantity. The more you get out, the more you can edit in December.

A friend of mine, Suzanne Lazear, managed to use her NaNoWriMo book which she eventually got published. (Innocent Darkness will be released August 2012).

Things can happen during November that can change your life. I’ve done it for two years now (this will be my third) and I’ve been surprised everytime.

So, if you are a ‘one day’ novelist then maybe, it’s worth giving NaNoWriMo a chance. Not only will you get to write that book, but you’ll meet people such as yourself and find out exactly how hard/easy it is to write that book that you’ve been dreaming of for so long.

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Of Aliens and Pigeons.

If you’ve been following my tweets you’d have noticed that there’s been a bit of an extraterrestrial trend in them. I’ll confess that I’ve had alien invasion on the brain (in no small thanks to Mass Effect 3 marketing – I present to you exhibit A).

Now, my gaming addiction aside, there’s actually a little bit more to this than meets the eye. The weekend before last I was dragged to a company function in which we treated our customers (and their partners) to a night away at a local game lodge. One of the activities presented there was Lazer Clay Pigeon Shooting. Although not nearly as fun as the real thing (which I did a lot in England), it was an interesting activity to observe and also, to see what my colleagues were capable of.

The ‘Alien’ theme took seed in my mind when I watched a colleague of mine miss pigeon after pigeon and after her fifth failed attempt at hitting the poor defenceless disk I found myself saying out loud:

“You know, when the Aliens come you’ll be amongst the first to go. I’m not hiding with you.”

The observers had a good laugh about it (though carefully when they saw me take the lead in the women’s shooting department and then finally almost win the shooting competition against the one client who had been shooting competitive for years…) and I got so distracted by the work that I let the subject drop.

It was only last week as I was driving from my one client to the other (through a desolate piece of farm land) that the theme came back. As I was driving around fairly early – there was nobody out on the roads. I found myself looking around and thinking:

I wonder if I’d notice if Aliens came and took everybody. Would they notice me? Would they not think to look in this god forsaken piece of land?
Maybe? Maybe not?

And of course, then I found myself thinking: What would I do if the Aliens came?

I’ve been amusing myself with this for the past week and although it’s not the most elaborate brainwave that I’ve had in the past couple of months, its shown me that I’m on track again, that what ever silence had trapped my mind in the past couple of months had dissipated and allowed space for more ‘silly’ thoughts. When I was in England I had reached a point in my life there that I had thought enough, that place where I had turned over every thought in my mind so many times that I was willing to just put it all on the shelf and let them sort themselves out.

I think (perhaps because of the extensive driving that I’ve been doing the past couple of weeks) that I’ve reached that point again. And, it’s a good point to be at.

So, hopefully you’ll be seeing more of me again. I’m hoping to continue back into some semblance of a routine and also log my writing progress (which I’ve been neglecting terribly).

NaNoWriMo is around the corner as well and yours truly will be competing again. I’m not shooting for the 100k words that I did last year. No, this time I’m hoping to accomplish something (And see a fellow Tweeter StillDormant in a dress) and to finally start working on all my outstanding projects again.

So watch this space and – if you see an Alien, call me.

I can shoot the hell out of it…