Tag Archives: self-expression

NaNoWriMo – But Not Only | November 2011, Day 2

On Pacing | What You Can Do To Pace Yourself And Find Your Life – And Writing – Rhythm

Definition of “pacing

(see The Free Dictionaty)

v. paced, pac·ing, pac·es
v.tr.

  1. To walk or stride back and forth across: paced the floor nervously.
  2. To measure by counting the number of steps needed to cover a distance.
  3. To set or regulate the rate of speed for.
  4. To advance or develop (something) at a particular rate or tempo: a thriller that was paced at a breathtaking speed.
  5. To train (a horse) in a particular gait, especially the pace.

v.intr.

  1. To walk with long deliberate steps.
  2. To go at the pace. Used of a horse or rider.
The sequence is set to motion using frames of ...

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To pace

  1. In fact, walking or striding back and forth across the floor releases nervous energy, brings stress relief and helps with sorting one’s mind out. You can accelerate this process by focussing in on walking and deliberately slowing down your steps the more you relax. Allow 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Writing: your daily and total word count towards The End of your first draft. — Life: what you have achieved. What, you are depressed because you haven’t saved the world today? In that case, allow youself to scrap your ancient definition of achievement. You may be surprised to find out how “saving the world” really works: One small bit, one second at a time… How many times, today, have you smiled at yourself – at someone you knew – at a stranger? have you sent a feeling of peace and kindeness towards those around you or into the ether? have you looked out for the beauty of a leaf, a pebble, a cloud, the person in front of you, your nasty colleague or neighbour, yourself? have you enjoyed what you were doing?
  3. Regulate the speed of your life (which may or may not include writing) according to your energies – don’t skimp, don’t waste, use your energies consciously  (for a new perspective you might like to read”#NaNoWriMo 2011 (#disability #spoonie #mentalhealth) – #amwriting” – and the true story hiding behind the Spoonie link there).
  4. During (but not limited to) the first draft, ignore your author’s ego. Go with the flow of your writing instead, open up for inspiration. Description, dialogue, sentence length and construction, expressions which slow down or speed up the heart rate of your reader – forget about them, at this stage. Tweaking pacing is one of the most fun parts of revision (!) — For non-authors: Right now, which project or life area is in first-draft mode? How is your egoic, imperfect but perfectionist Me-Self interfering with realising your dreams?
  5. 2. and 3. make great habits 😉

To pace oneself

  1. By taking life in long, deliberate and confident strides.
  2. By doing it – act upon your dreams 🙂

Special NaNoWriMo pacing tips:

Last year I knew before I even signed up that during the last week of November I might not have any writing time. To me, NaNoWriMo lasted only 25 days, so I calculated 50k : 25 days = 2,000 words per day. As it turned out, I had more time than I thought – and Newbie-Me desperately needed it, for

  • converting my handwritten manuscript into bits and bytes using a Lore Ipsum text generator)
  • validating my novel by entering the whole text into the NaNoWriMo validator (Should you think that this is one simple copy-paste operation, think again. There’s a reason why you’ve got 5 days to do so: site capacity overload, and the validator prefers small servings.
  • writing two more paragraphs, and another one, to get to the 50k – the NaNoWriMo validator is known for it’s greediness = lower wordcount than what you think you’ve got. I suppose aiming at a total of 51k or 52k will do.

More pacing tips in bullet format (more details in later posts):

  • types of breaks – and how to integrate them
  • time & sanity savers
  • why and how to limit your time
  • using opportunities – living and writing in the Flow
  • getting the best out of distractions

My word count Day 1: 868 (618 blog post + 1 page – I write by hand and will correct the estimated page word count once I’ve counted them)

Enjoy the Flow – and may you find what you are looking for 🙂

Maria

Btw: You can still join the Writing Buddies 🙂 – and it’s not too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo 2011, either 😉

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NaNoWriMo – But Not Only | November 2011, Day 1

Invoking The Spirit Of NaNoWriMo

Taking part in the (inter)National Novel Writing Month is an experience, to say the least 😉

  • You can do so by signing up and participating officially – or run along wearing an old pair of slippers or an invisibility cloak.
  • You may have worked up to 1st November plotting and planning or researching for your novel – or spent not more than a few days brainstorming ideas and sketching a rough outline.
  • Perhaps you are excited by the idea of doing a literary bungee jump on a 50,000 words long rope, with no preparation at all – or you just stumbled upon this page, have never heard of NaNoWriMo, and are curious what made 200,000 people sign up in 2010 (as I’m writing this, 2 hours before “GO!”, there are about 65,000 users online on the NaNoWriMo site).

Or maybe you’re not interested in writing at all? You can still benefit from this creative spirit which will hover during November all over the globe like a sparkling cloud 🙂 :

The Spirit: Writing – or Living – in the Flow

Living in the Flow is a balancing act, and a challenge to boot. Living in the Flow means to let go of perfectionism, to expand your horizon, to weave your own safety net, to cross the void on a tight-rope without knowing what you will find on the other side.

Scary? Yes.

But so are a life full of pressure, fear and worries caused by our urge to control, the illusions of safety we so easily get used to, the meaninglessness and resignation resulting from holding on to what we believe we know and from blocking off whatever might threaten our comfort zone.

“Don’t get it right, just get it written.” James G. Thurber

November has 30 days – it takes 21 consecutive days to establish a new habit 😉

This November,

  • dare to be imperfect – and to learn from the mistakes you make
  • embrace obstacles and other problems as opportunities to move on despite…whatever excuses you are used to
  • question your habitual thoughts and behaviours
  • as often as you remember to, think and act like the person you want to be – repetition brings confidence
  • overwrite the obsolete habits of your previous self with new ones: thoughts, actions and reactions adequate for who you are now
  • get used to living in the Flow

Enjoy the Flow – and may you find what you are looking for 🙂

Maria

Btw: You can still join the Writing Buddies 🙂

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NaNoWriMo 2011 | Looking For Writing Buddies

Yesterday I signed up for NaNoWriMo, knowing very well that due to other obligations there’s no way I can make it all the way through to the 50k words.

Today I realised that I can’t participate officially because what I’m itching to do is to – finally – finish an old project with the working title “Magnifica Revisited”.

My personal solution: To commit myself to writing 25k words of fiction from 1st to 30th November 2011, which will be difficult enough to reach this year.

I’ve placed a progress meter in the sidebar. As I prefer writing the first draft by hand (and an exact word count is a bit of a bother, as I remember from the last NaNoWriMo), I’ll update word count by page average, counting only entirely new scenes.

Note: To get your own free html progress meter, log in to storytoolz and follow the instructions.

"writing buddies" (by Sandro Botticelli)

"writing buddies" by Sandro Botticelli - and, no, that's not the original title 😉

Official participant or not, I’ll pop in to NaNoWriMo now and then – I don’t want to miss the pep talks 😉 – and I’m looking for writing buddies.

If you’d like to be my writing buddy, state your commitment in the comment section below. I’ll create a blog post for every day in November where you can update your daily progress.

Let’s do it! 😀

Maria

What I learned through NaNoWriMo

November is NaNoWriMo – the (inter)National Novel Writing Month.

Last year I participated for the first time in NaNoWriMo. What I learned during those 30 days had not only impact on quality and quantity of my writing (fiction and non-fiction), but also changed my approach to writing – and other life areas as well 🙂

I wrote this list of “What I learned through NaNoWriMo” beginning of December 2010. When I reviewed it today for this post, I was surprised at how complete – and still valid – it was. I have not altered my last year’s statements, only grouped them.

Perfectionism vs. flexibility – dealing with obstacles

  • how to plod on even when I didn’t know where I was going or how to get there
  • apart fom finding and using small bits of time I also realized that “having to make” time for something as opposed to “having” the time to do it – makes it much more likely that I use the “made” time for the task I made it for, instead of procrastinating or doing something else – I value the time, because I made it valuable by limiting it
  • my worst enemies are my own doubts – can I write 2500 word in one day if necessary? Yes, I can. They may be crap – but that’s for revision to fix 😉
  • not to be overwhelmed by (or back off) a difficult, confusing or giant long-term goal, but to break it into achievable bits (okay, I knew and made use of that one, but I tended to avoid the real biggies)

Focussing on results WHILE enjoying the process

  • setting quantified goals = results instead of how much time I spent on it, but I do combine it with short sprints of max 25 minutes
  • I discovered many time saving techniques I can also apply in other areas, for instance not procrastinating with details while still in the draft stage
  • It’s about finishing this one step: the draft = getting the story down. If there’s no story, just ideas, what am I going to base my revision on?

My own writing preferences

  • although I type a lot faster than I write (legibly) by hand, the result with paper and pen is better and quicker in the end, as I’m not tempted to correct – and the story flows better
  • I discovered my average draft writing speed and rhythm, one I feel comfortable with at long distance – which helps me also to plan more realistically (I was surprised that when doing short sprints  I can hand-write 250-300 words in ten minutes – I focus on “writing” instead of “thinking”)
  • I found out how long I can concentrate on focused writing, and learned to recognize AND respect the signs telling me it’s better to have many breaks (as long as I’m eager to go on) rather than risk mental exhaustion and lose time during recovery
  • looking forward to revision instead of dreading it as a boring task

Switching on and off as desired

I usually don’t have problems with focus and concentration as long as I enjoy what I’m doing 😉 but for some aspects NaNoWriMo helped me to find better solutions – with benefits spreading into other life areas as well:

  • how to switch off when I’m full of enthusiasm – and still not lose momentum
  • how to get going at a time when it’s “inconvenient”, that is when I’m tired, have “something better” to do, “don’t feel like it”
  • how to get started again, especially with complex or ongoing projects, or when I hit an obstacle and get stuck
  • how to switch instantly into writing mode AND how to switch off (took me a couple of weeks, though, to learn it)
  • how to use small time spans of 10 or 15 min (“oh, I still got 10 min” instead of “10 min is not worth starting”)

Even if you never thought of writing a novel, NaNoWriMo is an experience worth having 🙂

No idea what to write? On the site you can even find titles to choose from, or adopt a plot – so, no excuses 😉

All you need to do to participate is to sign up.  (And perhaps inform your immediate social environment that you might not be quite your usual self for the next four weeks…)

Link to the blog:  The Office of Letters and Light

Stay tuned for my long list of tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo 2011 healthy and sane 😉

Maria

Knitting With Glass – Impossible!?

Making the “impossible” possible is creation and creativity at its finest. Creation starts with an idea or vision – but it takes determination, endurance and resilience to bring it into being, to realise what formerly existed only in our mind.

I’ve been a textile crafts addict for thirty-plus years, and although the technicalities of the textile world fortunately 🙂 still bear lots of surprises and challenges for me, it takes a lot to stun my mind into time-out.

Which is exactly what happened a few weeks ago when I came across artwork which I would not have believed possible:  “Knitted Glass” by Carol Milne.

Cakewalk 7" x 11" x 11" by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Cakewalk 7" x 11" x 11"

What intrigued me just as much as “How can this be possible?” was the context in which Carol sees her Knitted Glass (see Carol’s statement below). I contacted her immediately to ask whether I might feature her work on my blog, and as you see she said yes 🙂

Knit Wit by Carol Milne - Self-portrait in knitted glass and knitted copper. 19" x 10" x 12"

Knit Wit - Self-portrait in knitted glass and knitted copper. 19" x 10" x 12"

Here’s Carol’s brief statement about her work:

I see my knitted work as metaphor for social structure. Individual strands are weak and brittle on their own, but deceptively strong when bound together. You can crack or break single threads without the whole structure falling apart. And even when the structure is broken, pieces remain bound together. The connections are what brings strength and integrity to the whole and what keeps it intact.

Darn by Carol Milne - A fraying, knitted glove with a pun for a title. 10" x 18" x 13"

Darn - A fraying, knitted glove with a pun for a title. 10" x 18" x 13"

I found it very difficult to choose only a few photos from Carol’s amazing site, so here three more.  The last one is E.D.’s favourite – I wonder why… 😉

Bustle by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Bustle 7" x 16" x 16"

Quadrille by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Quadrille 5" x 11" x 11"

Eddy by Carol Milne - Kiln-Cast lead crystal knitted glass

Eddy 5" x 11" x 11"

Thank you, Carol 🙂

An inspiring “real world” example for “knitting with glass” – or knitting society by making the “impossible” possible:  Blood-lines of action – Butterfly Effects for Change by creatingreciprocity

Image sources: all photos courtesy Carol Milne www.carolmilne.com

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Have-Your-Say-Day (4)

The content of this post will be as interesting as your comments make it 😉

  • Questions?
  • Answers?
  • Suggestions?
  • Tips?
  • Dreams?
  • Wishes?
  • Events?
  • Actions?
  • Reactions?

Anything goes, but maybe you prefer a prompt? How about the…

…Topic of the week: Consolidation

Vincent van Gogh: Dirl in the Woods - drawing

Vincent van Gogh: Girl in the Woods (drawing, 1882)

But what is your final goal, you may ask. That goal will become clearer, will emerge slowly but surely, much as the rough draught turns into a sketch, and the sketch into a painting through the serious work done on it, through the elaboration of the original vague idea and through the consolidation of the first fleeting and passing thought.
Vincent van Gogh

Vincent van Gogh: Girl in White in the Woods (painting, 1882)

Vincent van Gogh: Girl in White in the Woods (painting, 1882)

Image Source: via wikimedia.org drawing, painting

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