Category: Language & Writing

NaNoWriWoe

So, I’ve lost NaNoWriMo once again. And don’t try telling me there’s still time – there isn’t. Not to write 47 000 odd words in a little more than 24 hours.

Going in I’d decided to shun the 50 000 words goal, and rather just try to write every day, and for the first five days I managed just that. But this November really wasn’t very conducive to writing. We were only home for one weekend this entire month, and the times between weekends were not exactly quiet either.

Among other things, we visited the wife’s parents (we surprised the mother-in-law for her birthday) where I did some gardening with my father-in-law while listening to India soundly thrash South Africa in cricket. We visisted one of our best friends (whom we hadn’t seen in almost a year) who took us for sushi in Hillbrow while we took her to go see the South African production of Sweeney Todd. And the past few days we were visiting my sister’s – the wife was attending a workshop there, but she doesn’t like driving in city traffic so I played chauffer, and got to spend some time with my nephew in return.

After that first weekend away I just couldn’t get back into the writing groove, which is a pathetic excuse, I know, but it’s what I have. I’m still trying my best to cultivate a sustainable writing habit, but first I need to sort out my routine regarding the day job.

What day job, I hear you ask? Watch this space.

NaNaWriNo or NaNoWriGo?

NaNaWriNo or NaNoWriGo?

Until yesterday, my answer for this year was no. There have been some pretty big stuff going on in my life (that I will tell you about soon) and I just felt that doing NaNo on top of it would be pushing things a bit too far. Besides, I have only the vaguest idea of a plot, and October was so hectic there simply wasn’t time to work on an outline.

Then, somewhere between yesterday and today I decided, what the heck. What do I have to lose? Except my sanity and my sense of pride?

Nothing.

But if I win I’ll be that much closer to having a finished novel (again). I’ll have a 50% discount voucher for Scrivener. I’ll have the admiration of my friends and family. Strangers will stop me in the streets and ask for my autograph. Fans will camp out in front of my house in the hopes of glimpsing me as I pass by the window. Celebrities will tell their friends that they know me, even though we’ve never met. I’ll ascend to Mount Olympus and feast in the halls of Valhalla. I’ll…

I’ll stop now.

. . .

So, with only an hour to go before NaNo starts in my time zone, I declare that I’m going to write 50 000 words this November, or die trying (or at least severely embarrass myself in the process). I have no plot, my world-building is half done, some of my characters don’t even have names yet, but I’m going for it.NaNoWriMo Badge

Because you only live once.

Because sitting on fences is bad for your health.

Because writing is fun, and hard work, and awesome.

And because if you never write that novel, it will never get written, and the world needs more books.

New Workshop: Blogging Basics for Writers, with the Vancouver School of Writing

A rare reblog on if all else fails…

Are you a writer? Are you plodding along with a blog because you heard a writer needs to have one, but you’re not really sure what you’re actually doing? Raincoaster is one of four people who taught me most of what I know about WordPress.com, and if anyone can teach you how to have an effective blog, she’s it. So check this out…

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Lorraine Murphy by Robert Shaer Lorraine Murphy by Robert Shaer

Yep, it’s happening! After a two-year layoff from teaching, I’m doing a new workshop, Blogging Basics for Writers, for the Vancouver School of Writing on October 1.

This one-evening course (which can be taken in person or virtually) will teach writers what they need to know in order to create their own blog, fill it, and use it to promote their writing, teaching, and other endeavors. Here’s the official blurb:

This virtual & live course is for writers interested in blogging. It lays out the basic principles behind building a blog which accurately and
professionally expresses you as an author. You’ll learn about the ins and outs of digital copyright, best practices for guest blogging and outreach, and how to handle the dreaded comments section. This is a non-technical course that will give you a solid grounding so you’re ready to move on and…

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A Grammar What?

A few weeks ago, on an online writer’s forum, a user posted a request for a “Grammar Nazi” to beta read their manuscript. I knew what they meant. They wanted someone with a sharp eye, a good grasp of grammar and a brutal approach to editing to specifically check for language errors in their writing. However, I did not expect the response this poor user’s post evoked.

Continue reading “A Grammar What?”

Speaking of commas…

As she was busy making us some sandwiches for dinner the wife asked me, “What’s an Oxford comma?” This, of course, in reference to my closing lines in yesterday’s post. To her great consternation I burst out in laughter, not because I thought the question silly (two years ago I did not know of the Oxford comma, and I’d taught high school English for five years), but because at that moment I was reading a rather entertaining discussion of the serial comma (to use it’s more humble name) by Mary Norris, Comma Queen and copy editor at The New Yorker.

Holy Writ is a long read, but very much worth it. Thanks to R.A.B. over at You Knew What I Meant for sharing this.

Also, four for four. I’ve no idea what’s going on this week. I appear to be slipping back into my blogging habits from back when I started out. Let’s see how long I can keep it up. Tomorrow there will be a quiz (unless there isn’t 😉 )