NaNo thoughts and what else I’ve been doing in November

It’s been almost a month since I disappeared somewhere in the dark and exhilarating vortex that is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo but now that it’s finally over, I can come up and think about something else other than vampires, kings and queens, pirates, and the red dress my female character was wearing.

Some things I took away from my second year of doing NaNo:

– It gets easier, in a way, although it’s not really easy. Knowing I did it once made me confident enough that I could do it again. The first time around I had no idea if I could do it so the stress was higher.
– Less preparation meant I didn’t really have time to get acquainted with the idea behind my story. Last year I used the beginning from an earlier story I started some years ago (rewrote it completely but kept the idea), and a bunch of sticky notes I could go back to; this year I didn’t write anything anywhere, it was all in my head.
– Taking advantage of support early on instead of waiting until I was at the end of my rope was a great idea. Skype word races with NaNo buddies gave me the push I needed.
– Changing the writing space was good. Sitting on the couch with the laptop felt much more relaxed than sitting on the office chair at my desk which is actually an old dressing table. The mirror does distract from writing (I’m making a face at myself in the mirror as I’m writing this).

Although my reading has considerably slowed down in November, I still managed to read two excellent books– Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg, and House of Small Shadows by Adam Nevill. The former is a great pep talk for people who want to write, complete with some writing exercises and shared personal experiences. The latter is an excellent horror novel. Reviews coming soon.

I listened to some good music, Two Steps from Hell with Protectors of the Earth (think epic movies) and Coldplay with Lost (which was my NaNo song this year because it has a great rhythm).

I went to a book sale and came away with three books I can’t wait to start reading – The Christmas Train in particular, as I love to read Christmas themed books this time of year.


I also got a Kindle and have mixed feelings about it. While I suspected this moment would eventually arrive, I still feel like a traitor, even though I know I shouldn’t. A story is a story, no matter if it’s on a paper page or a screen, but rationalizing about it doesn’t make me feel better. Maybe it’s a question of getting used to it.

And finally, this coming weekend is the start of Lolita read-along I’m co-hosting with Vishy. If you haven’t made up your mind to join yet, there’s still time. You can post your review any time from the 27th to the last day of the year.

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8 Responses to NaNo thoughts and what else I’ve been doing in November

  1. Vishy says:

    Congratulations on completing NaNo successfully, Delia! So proud of you for making it through for the second straight year! I enjoyed reading about your NaNo experiences this year. Skype word races sound so wonderful. Moving from the table to the couch to write, sounds like a wonderful idea! I wouldn’t be able to do that though – after sitting on the couch, my hand will automatically go to the TV remote and before long I will be watching TV rather than writing. I can’t wait to read your reviews of ‘Writing Down the Bones’ and ‘House of Small Shadows’. Looks like you got some wonderful new books. ‘The Christmas Train’ looks so nice. I also love the titles of the other two. The cover of ‘Acquainted with the Night’ looks so beautiful. Enjoy reading your new books.

    Wonderful to know that you got a new Kindle 🙂 It is always hard to move from paper books to e-books and I can totally understand what you feel. I read an e-book occasionally on my computer (I read three of them for German literature month, because the paper copies were hard to find) and I find it very hard to read – same posture, sitting for hours in front of my computer, straining my eyes on the screen. Also the familiar rustle and fragrance of paper is missing. Still the Kindle does have its advantages – being able to change the font type and size and being able to carry hundreds of books in a lightweight device. I hope you enjoy reading on the Kindle and enjoy the nice things it brings. But I also hope that you don’t give up paper books 🙂

    • Delia says:

      Thanks, Vishy. NaNo was a good experience. Not as great as last year but still good. In a way I wish it was longer because I haven’t finished my book yet. 🙂
      It’s hard not to get distracted by something else, isn’t it, especially watching TV. Once you touch that remote, it’s goodbye writing. 🙂
      Luckily I don’t watch TV except for movies, but I do sometimes get lost browsing online.

      I’ll never give up on paper books but it is more convenient to carry the Kindle around. And it’s definitely easy on the eyes, not the same as reading from a computer screen. Right now I’m treating my Kindle as an alternative. It will never replace a real book but it’s nice to have the option, especially since some of the books I want to read are not available here.

  2. Congratulations on your participation in NaNoWriMo. Though challenging it seems like such a rewarding thing to do.

    I have such complex thoughts on Ebooks, I really need to put up a blog post sometimes. I have one and love it but I still understand the objections that people raise.

    I will likely not have time to join in reading Lolita. It is a brilliant novel and really look forward to reading your thoughts on it.

    • Delia says:

      Thanks, Brian. It’s an incredible thing, being part of this group of people who all try to write their own story. Whether it’s alien experiments, dragons and kings, romance, vampires or literary fiction, for a month we’re all in it together. No story is too silly or too outrageous. I love it.

      Do you read both ebooks and paper books? Which do you prefer?

      Maybe the next read-along then, I know December is a busy month.

  3. Caroline says:

    Congratulations as well. I’m glad you had writing buddies. It can get awfully lonely.
    You’re books sound great.

    • Delia says:

      Thanks, Caroline. Writing buddies are a great motivator, we all encourage each other and this works great on the days I feel like I’d rather do something else.
      I can’t wait to start on that Christmas book.

  4. Priya says:

    I also just got a Kindle, and know exactly how you feel – a little like a traitor. I have only actually used it once: I keep forgetting to take it along and end up carrying a normal paperback in my bag when I go out, only to realize later I could have taken the Kindle!
    It’s wonderful to read about people’s experiences with NaNoWriMo. Congrats! I didn’t finish or even try to reach a word-goal but I did get a lot of writing done through the writing-sprints and pep-talks.
    House of Small Shadows is a very intriguing title, I’ll watch out for your review. I am off to the library tomorrow to look for a copy of Lolita, can’t wait for the readalong. 🙂

    • Delia says:

      Hi Priya,

      Old habits, right? It takes a bit of getting used to it.
      Well, if you decide to do NaNo again next year maybe we can be buddies. 🙂 Did you start on a novel or short stories? From my understanding you can do both.
      It’s almost time for the read-along, isn’t it? I’d better get started on those reviews.

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