The Beginning, and Some Honest Thoughts

NaNoWriMo begins tonight at midnight! As usual, I will be taking a nap this afternoon so that I’m fresh and ready for 50k Day One. I have managed to convince a few others from my region to join me, so we’ll see how we fare. If you want to follow my progress, you can do so here, as I am planning to update the sheet every hour. Here is last year’s, for comparison 🙂 We will also be tweeting and instagramming under the hashtags #50kKillMeNow and #50kDayOne, so feel free to follow there as well (my handle on both is africanstardust, big shocker). As always, encouraging messages throughout the day are so appreciated and I love you all for sending them! I may not reply right away (because the typing) but believe me, I read every one.

I’ve realized over the past few days how much NaNoWriMo has gotten me through. I do it because I love it, yes, but it means so much more to me than that. The first year I did it I was so isolated and alone because of extenuating circumstances, and it gave me a beautiful community of random strangers who made the effort of checking my blog to encourage me and urge me on. Two years ago, I was dealing with emotional trauma and feeling like my whole world had fallen apart, and NaNoWriMo was literally the bridge that helped me get to the other side. And this year, I’ve had so many ups and downs, the accident, feeling utterly overwhelmed with academics, and dealing with depression and hopelessness.

NaNo is the time of the year when we give ourselves a gift: the gift of permission to lose ourselves in writing. It’s when we set other things aside and look after our creative souls and make time for this precious, beautiful thing, no matter how busy we are. It has played a huge part in restoring me to myself in the past, and I hope that, wherever you are and whatever you’re going through, it does the same for you. Let yourself sink into the beauty of what writing is and what it means for your soul. Allow yourself to grow and push and go to new places you haven’t been before. Set yourself free. So, from me to you: happy writing.

Veronique / africanstardust

NaNoWriMo: The Plan

This year’s NaNo is going to be different than the others. I don’t have a whole month of no academics. On the contrary, because of the accident and the protests, during November I will be writing two 5,000 word essays, catching up with a ton of translation, writing two tests, and hopefully making good progress on my 15,000 word thesis. The amount of work I have to do is pretty real, but with good time management I can definitely do it.

So although I kind of mentioned it in my previous post, here is my plan:
-5k+ a day after the 1st
-a grand total of 200k in November.

I don’t know if that will happen (I’m not counting my essays and thesis), but I’m going to do my best!

My project this year is a giant, sprawling science fiction novel called The Riverside. It’s sort of a cross between The Matrix and Interstellar, so we’ll see how that goes…I’ve never written science fiction before. If it completely fails and I get bored with it, I also have a few other backup projects I can work on, most of which are high fantasy. I just kind of wanted to break out of my comfort zone this year and try something new, but I think it’s good to have a fall back haha. There are also two romance novels thrown in the mix, so basically we’ll see what happens as the month progresses.

The Plan, as usual, is to make snacks and food on the 31st, then take a nap in the early evening, hopefully from around 6 to 10 or 11. I’m doing this year’s 50k Day One without coffee because I gave it up about a month ago, so I feel pretty nervous about it, but I’m hoping that if I drink lots of water and get up often to stretch and do jumping jacks, I’ll be able to stay awake. I definitely don’t want to accidentally nap for 6 hours like I did last year…it was hell to catch up.

If you’re doing NaNo, let me know! Only 4 days to go!!

NaNoWriMo 2015: So It Begins

NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-Square*skips in* Guess what time it is! Whoop whoop, that’s write – that pun will never cease to be on this blog, deal with it :’) – it’s NaNoWriMo time! I almost can’t believe it’s already here…it kind of snuck up on me this year because of how crazy everything has been, but I’m so glad it has finally arrived again. If you don’t know what on earth I’m talking about, please visit and educate yo’self. I’ve been blogging about NaNo for 6 years now, so I’m not going to repeat everything I’ve already said, but you can find all my NaNo posts here, my first-ever NaNo accounts here, and 2013’s NaNo (which was the year I posted the most helpful tips) here.

My NaNo goals: As per usual, I will be doing 50k Day One again, which is potentially a bad idea considering how much work I have to do, but whatever, it’s happening. I was going to try for The Million this year, but due to my accident earlier in the semester, I’m going to have quite a lot of academic work to do during November, so The Million will have to wait. I’ll probably go for 5k-ish a day after Day One – this will get me to almost 200k, which is my goal for this year.

If you haven’t signed up yet, it’s not too late! Just head over to the site (link above) to get started. If you have signed up, make sure you’ve set your home region, have introduced yourself in the home region forums, and have created your novel. In 8 days, we begin! 🙂

It’s here!

Ok people, NaNoWriMo starts in exactly 6 hours for those of us down here in South Africa. I just wrote an exam, I’m about to take a nap, and then the fun will begin! I’ve got my coffee set up, snacks ready, and my desk and laptop are waiting in inanimate anticipation.

Here’s my spreadsheet for this year’s 50kdayone, which I will be updating hourly-ish (probably half hourly towards the end). Depending on how it goes I might make it to my region’s write in tomorrow morning, but I kind of doubt it. We will also be using the hashtags #50kdayone, #50kkillmenow, and #racetohell on twitter, if you’re interested in following the madness of everyone who is doing this. I won’t be posting again until probably the 4th, but as I said, you’ll be able to see on the spreadsheet whether I’ve made it or not 🙂

Full speed ahead! Happy writing, everyone!

Day 4 [NaNoWriMo 2013]

Hello! It’s day 4! How’s everyone doing? I hope you guys are still in the honeymoon period of NaNoWriMo…week 2 and its dreaded Slumpiness is on its way, so make sure you get in all the words you can while the inspiration is flowing.

So, I did in fact attempt my 50k Day One, wherein I tried to write 50,000 words on November 1. I made it to 40k, which I’m still really excited about because frankly I thought I would only get to 30k. I’ve never written more than 18k in a day, so this was huge! For those wondering, it involved a whole lot of coffee, no solid meals (I ate things like nuts, biltong, and toast with peanut butter because they’re quick), a glass of wine, only 1.5 hours of sleep in a 24 hour period, and a lot of stretching/doing jumping jacks throughout the day to keep my joints from dying a slow and horrible death. Thanks to everyone who sent me supportive messages throughout the day, you guys helped to keep me going! It was hard and intense, but it was completely worth it and I’ll definitely do it again. And I made it to 50k yesterday, so yay!

Now my goals have changed a little bit, though. Instead of finishing the draft I started on the 1st, I’m going to rewrite it now. Writing that much in a day made me realize how many problems there are with the plot, but I’m in love with this novel and I want to fix it asap, so I’m working on that at the moment. I’m going to try and rewrite The Hilt & the Blade and the first two books in the Shard trilogy by the end of the month. So we’ll see how it goes! Follow my progress here.

Remember, Day 4 is still great, but by next week things might be looking different and you’re going to hit a wall. I’ll talk more about that later, but for now, enjoy the rest of Week 1 and just keep writing!

Also, I am not a vlogger. At least not at the moment. So now there’s a random, unaccompanied africanstardust NaNo video floating around YouTube and it’s kind of embarrassing, but oh well.