I did it! It was quite a struggle, but I made it. And this time it’s a novel that’s worth working on.

After having a well-deserved rest catch up with washing, ironing, etc. for a day or two, I’m going to start on it. Hooray!

No time to blog, but I had to tell you I’ve just about caught up.

Nano2013pic2Only 3 days left. I might just make it!

Day 10 and – amazingly – I’m still on target. This is what it looks like:

Nano 2013 stats, day 10

This is what it looked like last year:

FinalStatsBy day 10 I was beginning to fall behind.

I hope I can keep this up. As usual, I’m not sure I have enough to say to reach 50,000.

Not yet three o’clock on day 1 and I’ve reached my target for today.

Wait a mo while I pat myself on the back.

But that was day 1. I knew exactly what I wanted to write, so I just went ahead and wrote it – not exactly straight through from beginning to end, because I never write like that. When I reached the end of chapter 1, I went back and padded it out. If anyone says that’s not how you’re supposed to do NaNo, I’ll say: hard luck, that’s how I’m doing it.

What about the other days? What’s going to happen when I get to the sticky middle and can’t decide how to continue? I don’t know. I’ll cross those stepping stones when I come to them. If I fall off, I’ll just climb back on.

In Kyoto Heian Shrine gardens

In Kyoto Heian Shrine gardens

In the meantime, I’m happy. 🙂

Hope you are, too.

Cock-a-doodle doo!
I don’t know what to do.
Nano starts in just a week
And my brain is made of goo.

See what I mean?

Here’s the problem:

I want to tell you all about my trip to Japan, about the things we did, the people we saw, the food we ate. BUT my mind and my notes are all in a mess, my photos are all over the place. I have a lot of sorting out to do first. And I’m still in limbo – half there and half here.

And that’s not all.

NaNoWriMo is only a week away and I want to do it again. I have part of the plot, but there’s plenty more to plan and research.

So I think Japan will have to be put on hold for a while, although I can tell you some random facts.

The trip lasted for 3 weeks and we were kept busy all the time. We saw temples, shrines, museums. We made our own sushi and chopsticks, and were shown how they make sake, paint kimonos, etc. We travelled on trains and buses, and spent a night with families in a village, so we saw how people live. We spent a night in a Buddhist monastery. We saw children and adults perfoming traditional and other music, dance and plays.

We spent three weeks with a group of Israelis – a feat in itself – and our Japanese guide, who didn’t know how to relate to us at first, but was friendly by the end.

Certain sounds are still ringing in my ears. Cuckoos and other bird tweets every time the pedestrain light was green. Arigato gozaimas – thank you – spoken thousands of times a day. And our guide’s “and then” used to join sentences, whether it fitted what she was saying or not.

Please ask if there’s anything in particular you want to know, and I’ll try and answer in another post.

I don’t know if there’s ever a “normal” in this country, but the firing has ceased and so has NaNoWriMo. It was my first attempt and I managed 35,044 words.


I didn’t “win”, but I wrote every day and I now have the first draft of a novel I can work with.

In addition, I met some lovely people in Jerusalem who were also doing NaNo.

So I enjoyed the experience and, whatever they say, I feel I’ve won!

This morning, I kept the Internet off so that it wouldn’t disturb me as I wrote. Then I turned it on despite knowing what I’d find. The usual tweets about writing, books, plumbing, birthdays, etc. are interspersed with serious and worrying tweets about things that are going on not a million miles from here. Facebook is just the same.

I can never get my head round this. I can’t concentrate on the usual everyday discussions when I know what else is happening. I’ll probably turn the Internet off again soon. When the background music gets too loud, it’s better to work without it.

Before I turn it off, I want to say something about NaNoWriMo write-ins, of which there have been two so far in Jerusalem.

The first was held in a central cafĂ©. About eleven people attended, although three of those sat in a different part of the cafĂ©  and didn’t find the others until they left! It wasn’t particularly comfortable balancing our laptops on the little tables, there were not enough electric sockets and we were bothered by cigarette smoke that wafted in from outside. But it was great to meet other writers, discuss our novel-writing progress and write together.

For the second write-in, I invited participants to my house. Only three others came, but again we had a very rewarding time, writing much more than we would have done alone.

I would definitely recommend this activity to anyone who is wondering about joining a write-in. Writing is often a lonely activity. Sometimes that’s good, other times it’s good to get together.