Party Survival Tips for AS Folk!

So, I’ve been really busy the past week, with so much going on. But last night was crazy, because of the annual Snow Ball (see what they did there, to keep things nice and secular). We all dressed up and even went into town to get our makeup done by the lovely ladies in Boots on the makeup stands. Then after some sort of pre-drinks party thingy, we all set off.

So, don’t get me wrong, I do love having a great time with my close friends. But parties are just a big struggle for me. This is when I really suffer with sensory overload, and also struggle with social etiquette. I know lots of people with AS struggle with this too, so I thought I would spend a bit of time quickly writing a post about party survival this festive season (and the rest of the year).

1) Pack your bag properly.

I have the usual things in the handbag I take to a social event, like my wallet, lipstick, mirror, phone, ID, keys to my room. But I also pack according to what kind of party I’m going to. So, for example, if I’m going to the Student Union where I know it’s going to be very loud, I pack my earplugs to help muffle the sound levels slightly. If lights are an issue (being too bright) I’ll pack some sunglasses.

2) Have signals/code words

I tend to feel awkward the most when someone I hardly know comes up to me, and starts getting all in my space and touchy feely. I also feel uncomfortable if I’ve had a bit much to drink, or if the music is too loud even with earplugs in, or I’m just feeling overwhelmed. So me and my two best friends have come up with clear hand gestures and phrases that I can say to them in a party situation to let them know I need a time out. They use them too with everyone now in our circle of friends, so it’s really useful, as I can just tap my elbow and have them come up with a socially acceptable excuse to usher me out into the fresh air.

3) Try to keep towards the edges

It’s best to stay out of the crowd, especially if you dislike being in one (that’s common sense, really). But being at the edges helps if you do need to make a quick getaway, as I’ve tried to escape from a big crowd before, and it isn’t pleasant.

4) Stand Up for Yourself!

Don’t let someone persuade you into doing something that isn’t comfortable. For example, I had a friend who dragged me into the crowds, and onto the stage which was full of loud drunk people, and made me dance whilst a guy grabbed my hands and kept spinning me. I didn’t want to say ‘no’ because I didn’t want to look like a party pooper, even though I was cowering in pain next to the speakers, but I do regret standing up for myself. It’s not fun having to say ‘no, I’m sorry, but that makes me feel uncomfortable’, but it is better than being in agony. Or, if they properly grab you, try and lose them in the crowd, and slink back to friends who will look out for you.

5) Don’t Push yourself

If you’ve had enough, you’ve had enough. Just make sure you have a friend to walk with you, it’s never fun trying to get home whilst overloaded on your own.

I hope that helps a little bit. I know it might not always be the best advice, but these are just a few things I’ve learned on the way.

NaNoWriMo Survival 101

This isn’t an official NaNo post for today (that will come later in the day), but as I am in the throws of planning for Chapter Seven, I decided that I need to write a NaNoWriMo Survival post. I was supposed to write this back in October, but just never really got around to it. So, here we go. The long over-due survival of NaNoWriMo post…

There are a few essential parts of surviving NaNoWriMo.

1. It doesn’t matter if you lose.

Yes, you heard me right. It’s OK not to win NaNoWriMo. Why stay up to the early hours, dodge important things that are not to do with your novel just because you haven’t hit the daily word count? Yes, we have pretty damned good days, but we also have our days that are not as sucessful. And, you know what? That’s all part of the creative process. In an ideal world, everything would be on hold during November, but, this is the real world, everything has to continue. And that means you have to juggle writing a novel with other commitments, in my case, university. But that’s OK, because NaNoWriMo is all about getting the novel written, getting something down on the page. It’s a bonus if you win, you know.

2. Have a Survival Kit!

Yay for the Survival Kit! This kit will involve things that will help you feel on top of the world whilst November rolls on. Stuff like caffinated hot/cold drinks, sweets, painkillers for curing headaches incurrred by staring at a screen for too long, notebooks and pens, your laptop/tablet, music that motivates you whilst writing and shiz like that. I don’t have an official kit, as I didn’t have time to find a suitable box to put these things in. But unofficially I have all these things anyway. As do most writers, both amatur and professional. So, yay for Survival Kits!

3. Take breaks!

Breaks, what wonderful things. Get up to make a cup of tea/coffee. Go into town for a bit. Take a walk. Call a friend, or have some people come over for lunch. Something that is unrelated to writing. You never know how it’ll help you get through a particular block in the plot!

4. Support Groups!

These can come in the format of wrie-ins, forums on NaNoWriMo’s website, chat rooms, social media or even non-writer friends! Last night my friends kept me motivated by feeding me with tea/threatening me with embarrasing photoshopped images if I didn’t hit a certian wordcount by the end of the night. Those are the kinds of people you need during November!

5. HAVE FUN!!!!

As I said before, don’t worry about hitting 50k before the end of November. Just have fun writing a novel, no matter how quickly/slowly it actually takes you to do it. It’s an achievement few people can admit to having completed, writing a novel. So relish it, enjoy it, have a ball! Make it worth all the blood, sweat and tears. I will, and I know you will too!