How To Write a Novel in 30 Days…. #3 – #12

Let’s just say I’ve not really had the best of times over the past several days when it has come to this project.

Lots of factors come into this, including being away from university longer than I was initially planning on (I’ve literally only just gotten back to Bath this afternoon), getting distracted with family activities and Sims 4. Add in an excellent dose of Writer’s Block and forgetting to take my medication, and you have the recipe of novel-writing disaster!

I spent a lot of the first week away spending time with my foster mum and the kids, who are all very happy and boisterous as normal. I also hung out a bit with my cousin’s friends in a brilliant Cards Against Humanity session and a few jager-bombs thrown in. I also went out with my grandparents for an afternoon, to the pub for lunch and a drive to the seafront for a quick ice cream cone. When we got back, I helped Nan sort out her iPad (she’ll be a silver surfer yet!) and petted their cat.

This week was more chilled, with me spending a lot of time milling around the house and napping, as well as playing on Sims 4. There were plenty of opportunities to write, but as I felt so behind, I barely had the motivation to write very much, so only added about 600 odd words to the last word count total. It’s not good enough, and there is two weeks to go before the end of the project, so I need to get a wiggle on!

But now I’m back in Bath, the distractions should be minimal, as most people are still away, making campus nice and quiet, so I can slip off to Commons or the library for a change of scene so I can sit and write as much as I can. I’m not sure that I’ll hit my target final word count, but I can sure as heck try to write as many words as humanly possible. I’ll probably get started tonight after my shower…

How to Write a Novel in 30 Days #2

Day #2…

Not at all as successful as yesterday. It’s mostly my fault, so I shall hang my head in shame, knowing that I have to write double what I need to do tomorrow in order to get myself back on track.

Last night was the night the brand new Sims 4 expansion came out on midnight release. I’d preordered the game, and was sat staring at my laptop in anticipation, ready to spend the night gaming in the virtual world where I am the creator of the universe.

However…

I played until nearly 4am.

It’s a very addictive thing, Sims 4. Especially when you can now go with them to their workplace and wreck havoc on their working lives as well as their social and personal lives…

After noticing that I’d spent all night waiting and gaming, I reluctantly shut everything down, and trotted up to bed. Four hours later, my aunt was giving me the wakeup call that I’ve asked her to give me each day I’m in Portsmouth to ensure I get some writing done, I could barely open my eyes, or grunt much of a response. She popped my cup of tea on the side, and went off to her driving test (she passed, by the way, so congratulations to you Auntie!) and then work.

And I didn’t actually get out of bed until 1pm. The time I’d agreed to pop over to my grandparent’s house for an afternoon trip to their favourite local pub…

It was safe to say that I was occupied all afternoon with catching up, eating icecream and teaching Nan how to download things onto her iPad, and how to use Facetime (she’ll be a silver surfer yet!).

After getting home and having some dinner, me and my aunt and uncle watched the Leader’s Debate on ITV, and ended up debating heavily on what we thought of the issues (mixed results about immigration, the NHS and young people in education, work and training). We ate cake, did a bit of Ancestry.com, then everyone went to bed.

Well, nearly everyone…

And that was when I realised, at 1am, that I haven’t written a single word. Not one. Great work Heidi, great work! I’m going to have to write an extra 1917 words on top of the usual 2000 target tomorrow, and I have only myself and my gaming/terrible sleeping habits to blame. Ah well, there is always the morning…

And the evening.

Auntie wants to go out for the day tomorrow, to watch a film and go for lunch. So it’s going to be a frantic day to juggle everything, but I’m sure I’ll manage!

I think…

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Starting Word-Count = 2083

Target Word-Count of the Day = 2000

Word-Count Total = 2083

Total Words Written Today = 0

Minimum Word-Count Target for Tomorrow = 3917

How To Write a Novel in 30 Days #1

Day #1 is here!

I’m in Portsmouth staying with my aunt and uncle for a week or so, so I’m using the change of scenery to help me focus in the initial stages of the project.

So, my aunt woke me up at half seven, and I rolled out of bed at eight, and started writing at nine. I had a mug of very sweet coffee, a couple of biscuits, some notes and my laptop, and got down to business.

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By ten, I had about half and a bit of the day’s target total, 1035.

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My initial aim was to have it all down by eleven, but it was about half past eleven when I hit gold…

With 83 extra words to the chapter! Huzzah!

I feel really good at this point. I’ve noticed how much easier it has been today after taking my ADHD medication first thing before sitting down to write. Starting a routine of writing a chapter a day will also probably help, as will writing a summery of each chapter down in my notes to remind me of where I’m at in the story so I don’t get side tracked. I can also write a quick line of how I want to work the next chapter, so I have an idea of where I’d like the story to go, but allowing the opportunity for my imagination to run wild and add other parts. It’s nice to be focused, and do things in manageable chunks. Says me on Day #1. By the end of the week I may feel differently, but who knows? At the moment I’m feeling pretty darn good about everything.

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I’m looking happy at the moment, though how long that’ll last, I haven’t a clue. Milly had better behave herself in the next few weeks, otherwise we might just fall out. Writing an ADHD character as someone with ADHD is proving to be an interesting experience. As I’m handing parts of the book in for university work, I won’t be sharing excerpts until I’ve had my marks back, just to be on the safe side of not self plagerising, yay?

The story was initially going to be a chic lit style novel, although already in the first chapter I feel the genre is going in a whole new direction, probably just a comedy, to be honest. Even though ADHD isn’t always fun to live with, you can get an awful lot of material from personal experience for both stand up and general comedic writing. I really need to hone my comedy writing skills, so I’m hoping this novel will be very good practice!

So, Day #1 is done, bring on Day #2!

Stats

Starting Word-Count = 0

Target Word-Count of the Day = 2000

Word-Count Total = 2083

Total Words Written Today = 2083

Minimum Word-Count Target for Tomorrow = 1917

How To Write a Novel in 30 Days – UPDATE!

So, just came out of my meeting with my IP tutor…

I’VE BEEN GREENLIGHTED!

YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Though, on one condition…

He’s asked me to up the wordcount to 60,000 words…

Yes, you read that right, 60,000 words.

That’s 2000 words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And that’s on top of the Journal, blogging and general life. No pressure then!

I’ve never upped my word-count before, considering that when I usually take on NaNoWriMo, or the Camp equivalent, I get to about the 15/20k mark before I end up throwing the towel in, and hiding in my room for the rest of the month, so that no one can spot me and ask how the novel is getting on.

But, this time, there is more at stake than just the half-written manuscript. My grade, my reputation at university is also on the line if I don’t succeed in this challenge.

My IP tutor said one main thing to me:

‘Just get those 2000 words a day written!’

And, you know what? I may be terrified, nervous, wanting to throw it all out and run in the opposite direction, but by Gods I won’t! I am more determined to prove that you can indeed write a novel in 30 days. Even if you have ADHD, a messy flat, piles of paperwork and a weird life in general.

I am a writer, and it’s about time I started actually being one.

First Week Back!

So, I’ve finally finished my first week back in classes! I’m currently celebrating with a sneezing fit in the IT room as I type up this entry. Yes, I’ve heard a titter or two already coming from fellow inmates/students as I wonder why the hell it’s kicking off now. Maybe I’m allergic to studying?

All jokes aside, it has been great to be back doing what I love to do, that is, being in the academic environment, being in a routine once again.

Not to mention that there are some really interesting classes this year, compared to last year, with journals in Writer’s Workshop 2, in which I can get away with writing about the obcsene poems inspired by Ginsburg, and talk about not reading but screwing (sorry Matt!), reading picture books in Writing for Young People (Where The Wild Things Are, fabulous!), reading chick lit in Genre Fiction (even when a girl complains how deeply offended she is by the term ‘chick lit’, calling it highly mysoginistic, and that we should be banned from reffering to it as such, even though the industry itself refers to books as such. What do you lot think? I’m not overly fussed!), and writing poetry to be yelled at in Performance Poetry. I’ll admit that I did skive Sudden Prose to go to my Comedy Society session, but after an email from my professor asking me whether I’m still in the module or not guilt-tripping me, I’ll have to drop Comedy for a bit. It’s only for one semester though, so I can chillax.

So, it’s been a good week, other than realising that using a manual wheelchair to get around campus is an absolute nightmare, especially when your lecture/support session is at the top of a hill, or the postroom has been moved to a completley inaccessable spot on campus. In the next week, I’ll be writing an official blog post about my experiences as a person who is trying to get around in a wheelchair/crutches in and around Bath and Bath Spa University, and how I feel that things could change for the better in the way that people are being supported and assisted in these situations.

In the meantime, my laptop is back to normal now the malware’s off, I’ve got a journal to update, and Matt is over tomorrow, so I need to tidy up as much as I can! Woo?

Officially a 2nd Year!

Today I crawled out of bed, and wheeled into the main academic building to sort myself out academia wise. I’ve had to switch a module due to health and safety, so that was easy to do, then I actually had to enrol.

It’s official, I’m a second year creative writing student! I’m taking Writing for Young People – Reading as Writers, Sudden Prose, Performance Poetry, Genre Fiction and Writer’s Workshop 2. My timetable looks to be pretty darned packed! Not like that’s a bad thing, I like to be kept busy, and this year I am determined to be an excellent student, but it’s going to be an exhausting term, what with the leg and all.

I was going to have an electric scooter to get around, however student support (bless them) couldn’t get it to work, so I’m using a manual wheelchair to get around. Later in the week, I’m going to talk about my experiences in a wheelchair in more detail, as you realise that you take so much for granted when you’re mobile!

In the meantime, I’m off to the Freshers Fair later this afternoon, that’s after the Second Year Creative Writing talk I have to attend (should go get some pens and a notebook for this academic year in a bit), and tomorrow I have a hospital appointment for my leg and the Liberation Rep stuff to do in the afternoon!

Carpri Diem!

It’s been quite some time since I wrote that last post, and I’m so sorry about not keeping this blog as updated as I ought to. A lot has happened in a little while, and I just haven’t given myself the time to write!

Anyway, summer has well and truly kicked off! All of my friends have moved off campus now, and I’ve been given the keys to my new studio flat! I’m sat in it at the moment, writing this. I started moving some bits and pieces over yesterday evening, and slept here for the first time last night. I have my own kitchen, bathroom, dining room, my bed is in the corner of the kitchen, along with my wardrobe, and my desk is in a lovely little conservatory section, which I love when it’s sunnier (the rain has kicked off today, sadly).

Update on the guy, we’re actually now together, as a proper couple! I even met his father the other week, and I’ve been given the thumbs up, apparently! Next week we’ll have been together for two months, scary how the time flies! I’ve never met someone so supportive and understanding about me and my issues, and I often have him behind me every step of the way when I embark on new projects, go off to places and generally follow my dreams. It’s lovely, I feel beautiful when I’m with him, and it’s wonderful.

All my coursework is finally complete! All I have to do now is print the last bits off, which I’ll do today, and hand them into the registrar’s office, then I can sit back, and wait for my grades, which I’ll get in September before the new academic year starts. Yikes! As long as I pass, then it’ll be ok, I’ll be aiming higher next year!

Speaking of university, my job as Careleaver Liberation Rep starts properly as of now! Clearing is happening, and young people across the country are finding out if they got into their university of choice. Careleavers are doing this too, and I remember opening my results letter telling me I got into my university, and wondering ‘how is this going to work out?’. So I’ll be on Twitter today, with the hashtag #careleaverlibrep to answer any questions about leaving care and starting up at university as a careleaver. Exciting time to be had by all!

So, on top of everything else, I’ve helped out with the development of an app for careleavers to assist with pathway plans, education/work/training and identity. It’ll be promoted during Careleaver Week, in October half term, so I’ll be promoting it to my students, as well as you guys. Just because you grew up in care, it doesn’t mean that you’re society’s offcast. You still have so much to offer! I promise!

I’ve also started work on a WWI novel for young people, so am hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, I should really start moving some more stuff over…

On Speech Recognition Software…

So, I had my IT training today, and it really helped me to learn how to use the speech recognition software that DSA provided for me. Because we went through a lot of exercises to get me used to talking to the software, I decided to write tonight’s post only using the software.

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It is a very surreal experience not to type, but instead to speak and have the words appear on the screen as if by magic! I feel little bit self-conscious simply because it is a whole new way of working, as I have to think through what I am saying before I decide to say it. That said it will probably help me to just write and not worry about saying things wrong or in a way that doesn’t feel natural to me as a person. I do wonder if someone will walk past my room and think I am mad because I’m talking and there is an anyone replying because I’m talking to the computer. It is a funny thought, because people think I’m mad already, I’m very eccentric and I often get away with doing crazy things because of who I am as a person. I will admit that I do have the long conversations with myself, and have done ever since I was a child, simply because I felt that sometimes only I could really understand myself, as the saying goes “sometimes the only sane conversation that you can have is with yourself”.

As I practice talking into the software I’m getting more confident with what the software can do. I know that it will make my life a lot easier, because I really do struggle with articulating myself, especially when writing assignments of an academic nature. I hope this will therefore make English literature are a lot more bearable to do as I find that I find it easier to articulate myself when talking to someone about a text rather than having to write what I want to say down; talking the essay that I need to write will be a lot easier than having to simply think and type it out. It will also help my creative work too, because I can think about whole piece of work sounds as I say it, so when I read it back, I know that it is a natural piece that will be easier for me to read aloud from if I so choose to do so.

When the IT Trainer with here, he wanted me to tell a story, to get me used to writing creative pieces using the software rather than just simply typing them. It did feel very bizarre at first, but as I got into it it felt a lot freer, it felt like I could just run away with it and just say it and then go back later to correct things that the software misheard, as well as take things out, and also to add other things in. I need to start practising using the software more, because I know that it will also help me to concentrate on my work especially if I have to talk it rather than just simply write it, it will help me stay on task as well is taking away some of the other pressures that I struggle with when doing my work, for example with my spelling.

I often struggle to spell certain words such as “definitely” and “February”. This is where the software will come in really handy, as the computer will already know how these words are spelt, and will therefore write the word for me so I don’t have to stress that my work will be littered with terrible spelling mistakes.

I still have a poster on my wall for me to refer to if I forget certain commands, such as “Go to sleep” or “scratch that”, as they are ones that I use less often, I tend to use quite a lot of the punctuation commands as it saves me a lot of time later as I don’t have to go back and add the punctuation in later.

So tomorrow I am probably going to practice using the software more, and try and write some short fiction or poem in order to boost my word count for work that I need to hand into university, as I need to get my butt in gear and actually do some serious writing. I do hope that you are buying the anthology that went up on Amazon the other day, as all funds raised by the sales of the book will go to the National Autistic Society, a charity that is very close to my heart. In the meantime I hope you have a lovely evening (or day if you are reading this in America or Australia), I had a wonderful time writing this blog today, as it is really helped me learn how to use the software.

So, Where Were We?

This past week has been very busy for me. I say this because it has been packed with all of the things, all at once. I’m currently in my brand new writing nook (after my old one shut down its tea room part of its business, jerks) and am munching macroons whilst tapping out this little piece.

I ran for the role of Women’s Liberation Rep for my university last week, but lost. The other girl is very good, and should be able to tackle the issues on campus relating to women in a very competent manner. Obviously I’m gutted to have lost, but it’s taught me a lot about who I want to be when I actually go out into the world (I love arguing a case and campaigning for things, so I believe being a literary agent would hone those skills, and I’d be submerged in new and interesting things to read. It does mean I have to learn how to edit work, sigh) and it’s opened my eyes to other issues that I feel need more attention than they are receiving. I made some friends as well, and got myself out there into the world of university life. I also loved the post-election festivities, after my dear friend got elected into Disability and Mental Health (an amazing person who makes me laugh, and has amazing insights on how life on campus can be made better for the disabled and mental health affected students. I adore her!) . Playing Mario Kart whilst tipsy is a very peculiar, but wonderful experience (although I am such a game rager, that my friend Daniel refuses to play with me…).

I had the social workers over yesterday, and they decided that because I’ve been struggling with my sleep and getting into class, that they had to have a crisis meeting with the student support people on the front line of my support at uni in order to discuss the reason that I am an epic fail of a student. It wasn’t a comfortable experience, but now social services want to link up with the university, and have more contact with me than once a term. I guess life should get more interesting on that front.

I’ve been asked to help out with the Asperger awareness training for staff in the financial department, so I’ve been very busy making a list of useful things that they ought to know so that they can make the department more AS friendly. It’s a very long list, talking about sensory issues, language, social blindness, how to prevent an AS meltdown, and how to spot a potential one brewing, stuff along those lines. I think I’m being offered tea for my time, so it ought to be fun.

I got my overlays yesterday for my Irlen Syndrome stuff, and I’ve visited the opticians to check if my prescription for my lenses was up to date as I didn’t want to have to order lenses that were the wrong strength for my reading glasses. Turns out my left eye has gotten weaker, so my prescription needs only slight alteration. But it did mean picking out a brand new pair of glasses (very exciting!), and with the help of a lovely assistant, I picked out a pair that reminded me of the underground Beat Generation of ’50s America, ala Allen Ginsburg of  Howl fame. I’m getting my new glasses tomorrow, so will update you on that tomorrow.

I’m also preparing for my trip to Amsterdam at the end of this month! They haven’t sent in an itinerary yet, but I hope we’ll get to go to Anne Frank’s House as part of the trip. You see, one of my main inspirations to write in the first place came from reading Diary of a Young Girl when I was ten, when I too started writing a diary addressed to ‘Tabby’. I reread it aged fourteen, and it taught me that it was OK to want to dream, even if the dream seems unachievable. So, I really want to visit the place that the diary talks of, see the pictures Anne glued onto the wall. I’ll be packing the book into my suitcase, along with my guidebook and phrasebook (my Dutch phrasebook arrived yesterday!) so I can feel so inspired by Anne and Amsterdam. All I need is to wait for my currency card to be all sorted out, and then I can really start packing and looking forward to a wonderful experience! I’ll be taking my post camera with me, so I can take lots of photos and put them on here!

So, I should be writing again soon, but in the meantime, have a lovely day!

 

Announcement!

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It’s official, I am now the proud owner of a Windows Surface!

I bought it on Monday, as well as the touch cover (you have to buy them separately, but it is worth the money), but only brought the keyboard home as I had to get the tablet delivered as it wasn’t in stock! Last night I typed up one of my poems for my dA account (I’m hjstreet, if you use dA) and it felt so nice to be able to save something on my computer, and then be able to access it on my Surface! I nearly got the Surface 2, but this does the job well enough for me. Oh, and Josh and I bought a new bed, as the old one stunk of BO and cat pee. As a treat we bought a new duvet set, which I might get myself if it’s in single bed size!

So, today I shall be playing with my tablet, might work on it on Saturday whilst on the train back to Bath! I also can’t wait to start taking it to lectures and seminars so I can type up my notes and ditch all the paperwork! Result! All I need now is to find some stickers for the back of my Surface and I’m good to go!