Happy New YearSo, it seems to be 2016. 2015 was fine. I have no complaints. But 2014 was more exciting and I hope 2016 will be, too. One exciting thing is planned for the end of February. (More about that in March.)

I’ve been working on a novel I’m writing in collaboration with another author. I hope that comes to fruition in 2016.

I’ve also been working on the sequel to Neither Here Nor There. I have plenty more to do on that, but hope I can finish that, too, in 2016. And there’s another novel that’s completed but needs changing a bit.

I also edited three novels in 2015 and look forward to more of that. I think I learn from such close reading as much as I contribute.

In 2016, as well as having a more exciting time, I plan to write more and read more.

“That’s not a resolution,” I hear you say. “Resolutions have to be specific. You have to say how many books, how many hours, how many words.”

No, I’m not going to say that. I’m simply going to keep at it. Every day. Maybe…

Although…. At the last minute, in a moment of madness, I signed up again for 100k in 100 days. I’ve never actually succeeded in this challenge, but it seems I will try again to write a thousand words a day for a hundred days starting today.

This blog post is the start. Two hundred and thirty two words. No… two hundred and thirty eight. No…

I realised what I want from 2014 when I commented on Annalisa’s blog: “I had fun in 2013. I want 2014 to be fun, too, but more productive and fulfilling. I want to push myself more.”

Last night I had more fun when we welcomed 2014 with a little celebration at folk dancing. The January New Year in Israel is always a bit subdued compared to many other parts of the world. Although we know it’s not religious, there’s a feeling that this holiday isn’t really ours. “Happy New Year” refers to a different time and today is a normal working day.

Before that I made a decision about the 100k in 100 days challenge. I’m going to do it. I’m going to write lots of blog posts and stories and more and hope to reach the target. I succeeded at NaNoWriMo in November, so there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to do this.

The only problem is that I haven’t done enough planning and will have to decide what to write as I go along. Any suggestions will be gratefully received.

One of the ways I think I should push myself is by blogging more about social anxiety and how it comes into play in everything I do. Because not mentioning it is like trying to pretend it doesn’t exist, which I did for much too long. I started writing in order to raise awareness of social anxiety and I need to carry on doing that.

So that’s what my ‘Fourteen will be about: Fun, Fulfilment and Forcing myself to cross new boundaries.

What will your 2014 be about?

I have to face up to it. I’m never going to write 100,000 words in 100 days, which is what I pledged set out to attempt to do by joining Sally Quilford’s challenge.

BUT I’m not disappointed. I have written something every day since the challenge began. Sometimes I managed over 1,000 words. Other days I wrote fewer words. Today, I wrote all 120 words of a whole piece and that’s enough for today. I shall spend the rest of the day reading, editing and critiquing.

For me, writing 1,000 words every day is too much. Writing something every day is possible and is a practice I plan to continue after the challenge ends.

Happiness is being proud of your achievements.

I knew it really, but I wanted to write it anyway, so I ignored the obvious problem.

You see, today is the third day of Sally Quilford‘s challenge: to write 100,000 words in 100 days. On the first day, I wrote a short story of 1,552 words. On the second day, I wrote a short story of 1,131 words. Today I wanted to write a poem and I did. It took me more than two hours to write and contains 183 words.

So now my total has fallen to below today’s desired minimum of 3,000 words and I don’t have time to start something new.

I knew that really: poems take a long time to write although they don’t usually contain many words. Oh well – I enjoyed writing it. Here it is:

I am – I am not

I am a wife.
I feel secure
With D in my life.
Long may it endure.
 
I am a mother.
Three children I raised –
Two sons and one other
Now adults. I’m amazed.
 
I am a sister.
Though he’s far away
With a different vista,
My family he’ll stay.
 
I am a dancer.
“How come you can?”
I don’t have an answer.
It’s just how I am.
 
I am a writer.
I hide away
And make my world brighter
With words I can’t say.
 
I am sensitive.
I fear that you see
All sorts of negative
Traits in me.
 
I am clever
Though most never know.
I hardly ever
Let that show.
 
My figure is trim,
Of that I am glad.
The battle to slim
I’ve never had.
 
I am outgoing.
“How’s that?” you ask.
That is by knowing
The other’s a mask.
 
I am a presenter.
My speech could reform
Your view. From the centre
I love to perform.
 
One thing I’m not
And I’ll continue to cry
Till the lie doth rot:
I AM NOT SHY!

Yesterday’s post brought this interesting comment from David Rory:

Sorry if this is one of those daft obvious questions – but why?
I see lots of writers getting involved in this kind of exercise and I’ve always wondered what are they are meant to achieve?
I guess I just can’t get my head round the idea of writing as an exercise in maths or strength building, like lifting weights.
I genuinely don’t get the motivation.
Once I’m ready to write I just do it and go on to the end. The word count per day is just not an issue for consideration. When I’m in the flow it can be anything from 800 to 4000+ per day.
I’m not meaning to be critical at all. I am truly interested to know what benefit you see in this kind of exercise.

I decided my reply needed a new post – this one.

If you can write like that, without any extra motivation, that’s wonderful. Carry on doing what you do. I wrote my first novel in that way. I knew my characters, I planned the whole story and even divided it up into chapters. Then I just wrote whenever I had time. I had a message I wanted to get out and I was keen to do it as fast as possible.

After writing my novel, I sent it to friends who liked it and made a few cautious comments. Then I joined my writing group, where I received many less cautious comments and learned a lot about writing. I rewrote the novel and attempted to find a publisher but eventually realised that my story, despite being enjoyed especially by those who could empathise with the characters, wouldn’t appeal to a publisher.

Now, I have more of an idea of what works and less confidence. I wonder if there’s any point to all this writing. Will I ever be able to get my message out?

Also, I like to write short stories. I’ve had more success with them, at the writing group and in the wide world. But short story writing isn’t the same as novel writing. There’s nothing pushing you to continue. Once you finish a story, that’s it. You can start a new one or you can chat on Twitter, have your goes in ongoing Scrabble games, tidy the kitchen.

Exercises like 100k in 100 days provide the motivation. Participants can post their achievements. And they can discuss any difficulties they might have with others who are attempting to do the same thing and will provide support.

That’s my reply. Would anyone else like to comment?

If I have any chance of succeeding in my attempt to write a thousand words a day for a hundred days, it’s not enough to plan what I’m going to write. I also need to plan my day.

Here is my timetable:

From To Task
8:00 10:00 Write
10:00 12:00 Do my editing work
12:00 13:00 Social media, blogs, emails
13:00 13:30 Lunch
13:30 14:30 Housework
14:30 16:30 Write
16:30 19:00 Cooking and family time
19:00 20:00 Supper and clearing up
20:00 22:00 Ironing, washing

That looks good. I have four hours for writing. That must be enough time to write a thousand words. Right? Well, yes, if I have a thousand words ready to write. But what if I have to think a bit? About the voice, the character, the tense and all those other matters that need to be considered before starting.

Unless I decide to just plunge into it and then try writing the same story in different ways. That’s a good exercise I haven’t really tried. And it will up my word count. Hmm.

And what about all the things I haven’t included in the timetable: folk dancing, shopping, seeing people, reading (because it’s not enough to read in bed) and all the other things that might pop up. And weekends? Hmm.

EDIT: I forgot my writing group, which is a lot of work – polishing off the next submission, critiquing and attending the meeting every two weeks.

Oh well. That’s my plan and I probably won’t stick to it. But I’ll try.

Yes, I signed up for 100k in 100 days, another initiative by Sally Quilford. Can I write one thousand words a day for  a hundred days? I didn’t quite manage it last time, when I only had to write 80k in 80 days, so what makes me think I can do it this time?

Well, not a lot. But one thing I decided last time was that I need to do more planning beforehand. So now I have 21 days to plan. It doesn’t have to be a novel. It can be short stories or even non-fiction, but not a blog post on my own blog.

Any ideas? No, I think I have to come up with the ideas. Now where did I put that thinking cap?