Surviving My First NaNoWrimo: Lessons Learned

I wrote and published one, single, lonely book. I chose the self-publishing route for this very personal, non-fiction story in which I open up about my struggles with anxiety and weight by facing a very big mountain, equipped with nothing but a bicycle. During this time, I found myself starting to encounter a whole new world – the world of writing. Many a time I heard the word NaNoWrimobut never really understood what it was.

20180331_110417About a year ago I made the decision to embark on the long, daunting, unknown journey of writing my first fiction novel. There were many stops and restarts due to, well, life. However, I found myself wanting, even needing to continue with this journey I had started, and to see if I could indeed write a novel.

As November approached, I again heard murmurs of this mysterious NaNoWrimo thing. Then, a dear friend of mine, and very accomplished editor and author, told me I should just do it with the goal to reach a word count that would complete my first draft. The premise of NaNoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month) is to write the first draft of a novel in a month. But, you can frame the challenge in your own way.

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Chasing Dreams on a Mountainside

Mer Glace Peak 10

A couple of years ago, my husband and I travelled to Chamonix, France. The dream was to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc. A 180 km hiking route covering about 10,000 metres of climbing. When we showed up, our excitement was crushed. The snow levels had been high, and the melting process was taking longer than usual. Sections of the trail were closed. Not even guided tour groups were passing through. The Tour de Mont Blanc wasn’t going to happen for us.

Dreams don’t always come true when we expect them to. It doesn’t mean that we should give up on them.

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When Words Collide: A Whirlwind of a Weekend

I absolutely LOVE When Words Collide.

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A conference for writers, readers, publishers, editors…anyone passionate about books in some shape, way or form, this year it took me away in a  whirlwind of activity. I first heard about WWC two years ago. It is  affordable and for me it is also localThus my decision to attend the first one was easy to make. My intention, initially, was to learn. To absorb as much information as possible. To be a human sponge! And learn I did. The wealth of sessions to choose from was overwhelming. At that time, I had written my first book, and had no idea how to ‘put it together.’ I learned so much, I went home and spent the entire evening creating my project plan to assemble, promote and sell my book. And that I did. Incredibly, my book is now a concrete thing. I continue to promote and sell one book at a time. Capturing my personal story, this first book is very near and dear to my heart. My goal was to inspire at least one person with my words, and to raise as much $$$ as possible for a great cause. (Learn more here).

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Why Writing is Like Power Lifting

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWelcomeWelcome to my monthly post in participation of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). If you have never heard of it, check it out!!!

After a full day of writing yesterday, followed by more writing this morning, I decided to take a break and get some exercise. It’s been raining, a lot, so I chose the gym. When I am cooped up inside, I like intense activities. They are effective and efficient. Power lifting meets this criteria.

As I positioned myself under the bar, setting up for my first set of squats, the striking similarities between writing my first fiction book and power lifting shot through my mind.

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The Writer’s Tool Box

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge

Welcome to my monthly post in participation of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG). If you have never heard of it, check it out!!!

I have embarked on my first fiction book. I will fully admit, this is hard. But, I am totally committed to finishing what I have started! I have launched myself completely into this, and have scoured the resources out there. I have read books, taken classes, and asked for advice from the many talented authors that I have been so fortunate to meet.

The main result is that I have learned a lot, and I have built myself a writer’s tool box. I am so excited to share with you what is in my tool box. I hope that you find something here that will help you, no matter where you are in your writing journey. Continue reading “The Writer’s Tool Box”

The Writer’s Happy Book

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeWelcome to my monthly post in participation of the Insecure Writers Support Group (IWSG).  I am still a new member to this amazing group of writers, this being only my third post.  If you have never heard of it, check it out!!!

A special thank you to the founder, Alex Cavanaugh!

A long, long time ago….when my professional career as a computer scientist was just starting to blossom, I was exposed to a brilliant idea.  It was quickly becoming apparent to me that within the corporate world the work environment could be less than morale boosting.  During a professional development course of some kind, I think it had to do with leadership, the instructor shared with us her portfolio.  Yes, a beautifully laid out path of what she had accomplished and where she was going.  Deeply inspired, I was soon building my own professional portfolio, and out of this sprung a side idea to build a happy book!

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Reflection: Where Have I Been and Where Am I Going?

 

Italy - Mortirolo - me with mountain background

This morning, this memory from about six years ago today popped up into my world.  This was the day that I biked to the top of Mortirolo, a very famous mountain in Italy.  This mountain belongs to the professional cycling race known as the Giro d’Italia.  Mortirolo is one of the the most talked about mountains in the road cycling world.   Some of the pro cyclists themselves have claimed it to be the most challenging climb they have done.  Yet, little ‘ole me somehow made it up there, one pedal stroke at at time, pigtails in tow.  It’s true.

Sometimes I still can’t believe that I did make it to that summit.  The picture of me was taken right at the point where I doubted that I could do it, and wondered what I was doing there.  My husband, who has played the role of my coach numerous times over the years, convinced me that I was choosing to talk myself out of it.  He was right.  He told me to do one switchback at a time.  He told me not to stop during a steep incline as it would be really hard, if not impossible, to get going again.  He told me to take a break at the flatter part of each turn.  He told me breatheand to regroup during each break.

Putting the pieces of advice he gave me into action, I made my way up some of the steepest sections of road that I have ever encountered.

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One Step at a Time – Re-Becoming a Writer

Insecure Writers Support Group Badge This post is in participation of the IWSG.

First of all, I would like to apologize for missing last month’s post.  I did not participate in posting or in reviewing other writer’s posts.  I really, really, really do want to be part of this group.  I will strive to keep my monthly commitment moving forward.

With that said, my first post, back in January, was all about admitting to myself that I am a writer.  It was also about believing in myself, and taking the steps towards writing my next book.

Right after Christmas, a life event directed all of my energy elsewhere.  My husband’s mom passed away very suddenly and completely unexpectedly.  For my husband and I, it was our first loss of a parent.  My father-in-law moved in with us for a while.  Skills that I didn’t fully realize were simply a part of me surfaced.  I played the part of project manager as my husband, my father-in-law, and the rest of our dear mom’s immediate family forged through a very tough week.  We were all in shock, but, there was so much to be done.  I was so grateful for all of the experience I had gained from being in a professional environment, guiding along big system projects. I was even more grateful for my ability to simply be open and allow myself to be guided and to respond to what was most important at any given moment.  I found myself saying things to others that somehow helped, but that I wasn’t sure where these words had come from.

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Kickboxing, Power Lifting and Empowering People

I recently had the absolute pleasure of getting to know Tasneem.  Tasneem is small in stature, but big in personality.  Her energy flows from her, and leaves one feeling uplifted, excited, and ready to take on life!  She is extremely hard working and dedicated to quality and the people in her life.  She is an absolute fireball, taking on life straight ahead, no backing down.  She is also wise beyond her years, embracing both balance and learning from her mistakes.  Let me take you on a journey with Tasneem…

Tasneem has been a part of many sports thoughout her life.  Many, including basketball, rugby, rowing, running and trialathon, came into and went out of her life.  In high school she took her first kickboxing class.  She immediately knew this was the one.  She really got into it in her 20s, and at first she struggled!!  She had two left feet and no co-ordination.  But she chose to keep getting her ass kicked, literally.  She stuck with it, she worked hard and she learned.

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I Am A Writer

The last few weeks of 2017, I found myself launching what will be my biggest project for 2018.  After self-publishing my first book, an open, honest, raw and inspirational capture of my own personal journey, I found myself on the receiving end of some really wonderful feedback.  Those that read my book took away a boost of motivation and were inspired to do things they hadn’t before tried, or had put off doing.  I was asked multiple times if I would be writing another book.  I kept saying that I didn’t know.

After some soul searching, and reflection upon where to spend my time and talents, I realized that I knew I should write another book.  Thus, before the end of the year, I made space in my life, and I launched myself into the writing of my next book.  This time I am venturing into the world of fiction

When I came across the ‘Insecure Writer’s Support Group‘, which was posted by an amazing author who is deeply passionate about helping other writers, I immediately joined.  A monthly post to share about our own writing journey is part of being in this group.  Thus, this is my first post !!!

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