The 15 minute habit

Ooh, this post  by Alice Bradley is good. Yes, it’s advice I’ve heard before, but put in a very compelling way.

Also, I thought it might be timely… By this point in November, many of us are despairing of ever hitting our NaNoWriMo (or KazNo!) targets or may even have given up the challenge completely.

While I love the crazy-beautiful insanity of NaNoWriMo, it isn’t for everyone. It is, after all, a massive challenge. If you don’t manage it, does that make you less of a writer? Less of a creative person? No!

What I love about Alice Bradley’s advice (in a nutshell; cultivate a creative habit of writing for 15 minutes every day) is its kindness and inclusivity. Almost everyone can carve 15 minutes from their schedule.

What I also love is that this kind of ‘low-bar’ setting has worked for me in the past when I’ve been feeling low or stuck in a rut. It’s such an easy target (no set word count, just spend 15 minutes on your writing) that it’s embarrassing not to hit it. And if you do miss a day? Well, there’s tomorrow. And the day after. It’s not a short-term challenge, it’s developing a creative habit for life.

[Rabbit hurdling image courtesy of The Telegraph]

Progress report. Ahem.

It appears to be week three of November which means week three of KazNo (or, if you prefer, NaNoWriMo). I should be at around 21,000 words.

I am not.

Last week flew past in a blur of stressful work-stuff and last-minute suit shopping (just as much fun as it sounds) and motherly duties. This should not have made a difference to my output (that’s kind of the point of a writing challenge) and yet, it did.

So. To distract you from my woeful word count, I’m pointing you to this post from Karen Mahoney on why she writes. Enjoy.

Scrivener for Windows

It’s here! After many beta releases, Scrivener for Windows is ready! In case you aren’t aware, Scrivener is a software application aimed squarely at writers.

I was truly smitten by Scrivener when Jennifer Crusie waxed lyrical about it on her blog, and even considered swapping to Mac to get my hands on it (seriously).

Scrivener allows you write in chapters, to outline, to keep all your research material – including pictures and collages – in one application, and has a nifty virtual cork board which enables you to visualise (and control) the structure of your novel.

Not convinced? The most excellent Michael Marshall Smith is also a fan. He’s been using the Mac version for years and said: “I genuinely think this is the biggest software advance for writers since the word processor.”

Still not sure? Download a trial version and have a play. If nothing else, it will be the perfect distraction from NaNoWriMo… Oh.

Week one check in

So, how has the first week of NaNoWriMo (or, in my case, KazNo) gone for you?

Personally, I had a shaky start… I failed quite spectacularly for the first few days of the challenge and wrote absolutely nothing.

I’ve started now, though, and thanks to a reasonably quiet weekend and an understanding husband who took the kids to the fireworks, I now have 4,800 words.

I’m feeling pretty wiped out today, but I’m hoping to get to 5000 before bedtime.  Then I’ll only be 2000 words behind. Ho hum.

Just dive in…

I am procrastinating. It’s day three of November and I have yet to start KazNo. In other words, I am already 3000 words behind. Eep.

Worse still, I haven’t even decided which project to work on. I’m tempted to start something new and flail about in first draft territory for 30,000 glorious words… After months of solid revision, that sound pretty damn fine. However, my sensible side says I should knuckle down and beat my YA paranormal into submission.

I know. This blog post is more procrastination. The decision is procrastination.

In the words of Maureen Johnson (who is posting lots of NaNo advice throughout November), I should:

Go forth and do this thing. Have no fear. Just walk right in.

Okay, then.

It’s November so it must be time for…


Ha. I bet you thought I was going to say NaNoWriMo, didn’t you? Well, this year I’m taking a new approach. Rather than failing at NaNoWriMo at the 30,000 word mark, I’m going to WIN at YA author Karen Mahoney’s Writing Challenge instead. Oh yes!

Unlike NaNoWriMo, Kaz doesn’t mind if you work on a project you have already started or even on multiple projects. As long as you add 30,000 new words during November, you’re golden. Sign up at Karen’s blog and report back weekly in the comments. There may even be prizes at the end.

I’m aiming to add 30,000 words to my current book – a YA supernatural thing. Would anybody like to join me?