Out For The Count


I like counting things.

When I’m walking home and it’s too dark to read, I count my steps in twenties. First forwards, then backwards, then in French, then in Spanish. If I’m still not home, I start again. I’ve had several pedometers too – they do the counting for you, but I still join in to check they’re working properly. Am I sad? Probably.

NaNoWriMo was great for counting – number of words written, number of words still to write, average words per day. I even did the 666 thing (I found out about it on the forums) – where you write down the 666th word and the 1666th and the 2666th and so on, and then you see if there’s some kind of secret message from the dark side.

Anyway, December hasn’t been much fun on the counting front because I’ve been sick for days. My brain stopped functioning completely as soon as NaNo was over –  all I could manage was groans and whimpers punctuated by the odd moan. It was one of those special ‘variety pack’ illnesses too, a new symptom every day, sore throat, cold, headache, fever, general bleurghiness etc.  I manage to trawl through a few blogs and occasionally mustered up enough energy for a virus-laden ‘like’ or a flu-filled comment, but that was all.

So, total word count since December 1st (not including this) – I’ve no idea but I think it’s somewhere between one and three. I vaguely remember trying to write something on fever day, but I tore it up and threw it away the next day (coughing-my-guts-up day).

Today is the first day I’ve felt okay, but I had to go back to work, so my word count remains effectively zero.

Tomorrow though, I’m going to write, because my brain is functioning again and I really really miss writing. And then I’m going to count the words, and then I’ll count them in French and Spanish (maybe even backwards) because I really am that sad.

Photo credit: designwallah / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Photo credit: Strep72 / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

By the way, in case you were wondering, here is my message from the other side.

“Postman them my radio splutter It’s left but of is thins close what’s wear Speed it be knot is to anywhere hasn’t after button much me That rather all really then the They’ve start our or jump for go down when trouble A you in on fighting until police No of find.”


Beware of NaNoWriMo Rule 9.3333

“9.3333) Reward yourself copiously for embarking on this outrageously creative adventure.”

I did as I was told, and now have a monster hangover (thanks NaNo)

Photo credit: Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com / Foter / CC BY

But I also have this:

So it’s all good


My NaNoNovel: The Sofa Whisperer

Photo credit: igorms / Foter / CC BY-NC

It may look like I’m racing ahead with this whole NaNo thing, I’m averaging 2000 words a day and am predicted to finish well before the end of November. But every morning I wake up full of fear: fear that I might not manage to find time to write, fear that I won’t be able to think of anything to write about, fear that it’s going to stop being fun. The one thing I’m not afraid of is that my story might be a bit crap. And the reason for that is this: I already know it’s a bit crap.

I have my reasons for going with a crap story:

Firstly, I wanted something silly to write about. I figured the whole thing would be hard enough without having to get all serious.

Secondly, I wanted to use this as a trial run, and I wasn’t sure that using an idea that I really cared about would work. I thought I’d probably get bogged down trying to make it perfect and that’s not what NaNoWriMo is about.

And thirdly, by the time I actually decided to do NaNo I had about five seconds to think of something to write about. This is what I came up with. Which just goes to show that pressure and great ideas don’t mix.

And just in case you don’t believe it can possibly be as bad as I say, here it is: a short synopsis and a very brief extract from my (slightly daft) NaNoNovel.

Title: The Sofa Whisperer

Synopsis: Layla is your average teenage kick-boxing, angry bundle of hormones, until the day she discovers she can talk to furniture. Confused by this development, she sets off on a quest to find her mother, some answers and a footstool called George.


I’ve located the source of the sobbing, sort of. It seems to be coming from the sofa. I wonder if there’s someone trapped in there, maybe one of the delivery men. I didn’t pay much attention to them but I’m pretty sure I saw them all leave.

I dive into the sofa anyway, pulling the cushions off and piling them up on the floor. There’s nothing there and I feel a bit stupid for checking. There’s not even any room to hide anything. Anyway, the sound’s stopped for now.

The doorbell rings and Dad must’ve peeked out the window from his study because he calls down,
‘It’s the postman. Can you get it?’

‘If it’s bills, can I kick him?’ I yell up the stairs. I’m only half joking. I haven’t kicked anyone in ages and I’m starting to get withdrawal symptoms.

‘No kicking, Layla,’ Dad says, ‘That’s what got us into this mess to start with.’



34,000 words in, there’s a proper (if slightly insane) story in there, complete with hippy mother, ninja triplets and a girl who makes origami when she gets nervous. I’m really enjoying it. There’s about a hundred plot holes, a few characters who’ve been abandoned on the way and some seriously cringe worthy sentence structures. The whole thing is totally unpublishable, but that’s okay because I’m having a laugh and I’m writing. And if it’s true that your first million words don’t count, then at least I’m closer to some that do.



Best of luck to all NaNoNuts out there. Keep tapping away at that keyboard!

Word Of The Day: Soul

Photo credit: h.koppdelaney / Foter / CC BY-ND

You’re probably wondering why ‘soul’ is my word of the day. Is it because of its many religious, philosophical and psychological meanings? Is it because it is the animating and vital principle in all humans? Is my interest in this word borne out of a deep love for soul music? Or, perhaps because I am a cobbler who spends all day mending shoes (and can’t spell)?

Nope. It’s answer D: None of the above. The reason I truly love the word ‘soul’ today is because it’s my 25,001st NaNoWriMo word!!!!! (Cue party poppers, trumpets, joy and merriment in abundance).

This means I’m into the second half of this rollercoaster writing ride (try saying that, Jonathan Ross), so tonight I’m celebrating with a nice cold beer. And tomorrow I’ll start thinking about the other 24,999 words.

Cheers! (And best of luck to all the other WriMos 🙂 )

Photo credit: Wen Nag (aliasgrace) / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

The honeymoon is over … but I’m still hoping for a happy ever after.

Pigeon Wishes
Photo credit: Stuart Hines / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

I loved NaNoWriMo in the beginning, truly worshipped and adored it in those early heady days. It was a whirlwind romance (complete with pre-wedding nerves). Days 1 to 4 were a glorious haze of eager scribbling (and even more eager word-counting). I woke every morning thinking: today I get to write! I thought it would last forever.

By Day 6 the cracks were starting to show. Nothing specific, just niggling doubts in the back of my mind. Can I really do this? Is it worth the effort I’m putting in? Am I destined to become just another statistic? A non-winner? (I don’t like the L-word.) I had the NaNo Blues. But I brushed aside these negative thoughts, cuddled up close to my NaNo and wrote.

By Day 10 the honeymoon was well and truly over. I wrote as I had done every day since Day 1, but it was different. It felt like a chore. I found myself staring at the ceiling and waiting for it to be over.

We almost split on Day 11, me and my NaNo. We need a break, I said. I need some space. It’s not you, NaNo, it’s me.

I went for a walk along the seafront to clear my head, and I passed an old couple huddled on a bench sharing a portion of fish and chips. That was when I realised I couldn’t just throw away everything I had with my NaNo. I went straight back home and picked up my pen.

So I’m working at it, taking it a day at a time. And hopefully by Day 30, me and my NaNo will be like that couple at the seaside, knowing that the first flush of romance can’t last forever, but still holding hands.

Either that or I’ll be joining this girl on the train tracks 🙂 :

Day 371: It\'s Cool to Fake Romances
Photo credit: amanky / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND