Grey skies

After a particularly distressing weekend with sad news from home, my surrender of the NaNoWriMo challenge, and two sick kids (AGAIN!), I seem to have lost all motivation to even… breathe.

Call me Gretel, who, after carefully laying down her trail of breadcrumbs in the heart of the darkest woods, turns around to find them gone. There’s no way back. I must move forward.

It’s the forward part I’m having trouble with.

I was torn with the decision to throw in the towel on the WriMo novel. I hit 23,090 words yet could go no further. Strangely, I feel at peace now. And I feel accomplished. To date it is the longest piece of work I’ve ever written and that in itself is a great achievement. I still intend to finish, but in my own time. When I have the time…

Yesterday there was fog. I ventured out to buy milk and was met by a thick, damp haze. I stepped forward almost blindly, trusting that my feet would remember the path it so often treads. I let the fog envelop me and didn’t miss the irony. Me, stumbling through a fog.

Now I am at a crossroads. I don’t want to do anything. I don’t want to cook, clean, or go to class. I don’t want to write notes, novels or essays. I don’t want to try, think, or care. I just want to lay here with a mind as empty as a clean glass jar. Waiting to be filled with something bright and alive.

I’m having a patch of grey skies. Someone send me a sunbeam.

NaNoWriMo ate my brain!

Thirteen days and 12,667 words in and I am recovering (barely) from a massive 2 day writer’s block. The kind that found me staring blankly at my laptop screen in an I-don’t-know-where-my-plot-is-going stupor. I’ve spent the weekend hiding under my duvet and scarfing copious amounts of chocolate in an attempt to forget that I still have 37,333 more words to write. In 17 days…

Because my novel is at the crucial point where it has to start coming together I think I panicked a little. In fact I’m still panicking, just a bit less. I’ve introduced all my main characters, built up suspense, added a mystery, an ex-boyfriend, a new boyfriend, a dodgy boss, a flashback or two, and an amazing peach cobbler.

I think I need to blow something up.

Or bring in the aliens.


Here is an excerpt for your viewing pleasure:


Good question. I’m just writing as it comes to me.

Right now Ava is on a train to somewhere. It is nighttime and there is a sense of foreboding. The train is late. It’s never late. She is tired, resigned, and wearing uncomfortable clothes.

She might be going to meet someone or deliver a package. She will likely find something unusual along the way which will plunge her into a world of mystery and chaos. Or she might meet the man of her dreams. However, I get the sense that her character is less about the lovey dovey and more about action and intrigue.

Slow and steady wins the race? Hope so.


She glanced up to see that there was a man sitting in the opposite row of seats. She was surprised that she hadn’t noticed him before.  He smiled and she returned the pleasantry. He was tall, middle-aged but heading for a crisis. She could tell by the leather jacket and the gelled hair. Dirty blonde tresses, carefully spiked. The I-just-rolled-out-of-bed look which took half hour to perfect. His eyes were very blue and very clear – like a swimming pool that you can see to the bottom off. He was reading a book that she recognised. A corporate-world crime novel.  She had begun reading it once but didn’t have the motivation to finish. It bored her terribly. She had a fleeting urge to lean over and ask him what he thought of the book, but she didn’t. He seemed perfectly approachable but she simply couldn’t muster the energy or presence of mind to strike up a conversation with a complete stranger.  Not now. Not tonight.

Outside, light and shadows flickered across the window. Flashes of billboards and skyscrapers dissolved as quickly as they appeared. She rubbed her eyes, careful to avoid smudging her mascara. Her head hurt. A dull, clodding type of  headache.  One that thudded at the back of her neck and radiated upward to her temples. She closed her eyes and uncrossed her legs to stop them from falling asleep. They had started to tingle. She pressed her back into the seat and felt her dark curls tumble across her shoulders. She noticed that the cardigan was not only flimsy but it itched like hell.  After tonight she would make sure it found its way to a charity shop where some other unsuspecting soul would be tempted by its crimson threads, conned into its prickly embrace. It gave her a grim sort of satisfaction that she could pass on a bit of her misery. Romantic notions like karma meant nothing to her. You lived the life you were dealt. She’d learned this the hard way.

NaNoWriMo 2011

I may have lost my mind.  In a moment of temporary insanity this afternoon, I signed up to participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

What the heck is that, you ask? I asked myself the same thing and thanks to the goddess we call Google I was able to learn all about this bizarre acronym.

Simply put: it’s a writing challenge. A challenge to write a novel. Of at least 50,000 words. In 30 days.


No pressure then.

Hey, I thought. I can do that! You know, somewhere between studying for this MA, taking care of 2 small children, and breathing, well heck yes I can write a novel! What’s a novel anyways besides a bunch of words? Words that have to somehow come together to make sense…. Oh. Yeah. About that…

And so what is the prize at the end of this mammoth challenge? Nothing! Well not quite. You will have your completed (or somewhat completed) novel, that may or may not be a complete pile of rubbish. And a few other things such as a printable certificate and, of course, immense pride. Surely that is reward enough?

I think the whole point of the challenge is to get it all off your chest. Just write. The website states that it is “quantity not quality” and that, at least, takes a bit of the edge off.

So who cares if it’s crap? At least I will have done it, right? And you never know, maybe it won’t be a worthless pile of rubbish musings. One can only hope!

Now — here’s where you guys come in. HELP! I need plots! Ideas! Storylines! Outlines! Anything and everything! My mind has drawn a complete blank. I’ve no idea what on earth I’m going to write about. Not a great way to start out, huh?

I have approximately 7 days until the 1st November which is when the hubbub all kicks off. And I need to be finished and submit my work before midnight on the 30th November.

Like I said, no pressure…

Wish me luck guys! Your love and support is all I need.

Oh, and a miracle wouldn’t hurt either. That or J.K. Rowling on speed dial.