Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


There's nothing quite like it is there? The opening ceremony of a new moleskine notebook. It's a delicate affair and not to be rushed. You must savour every moment of it. It's a very special event. More important than usual as I have just opened the moleskine notebook which will be the one I'll use for NaNoWriteMo. A special writing event such as this, particularly one I'm attempting for the first time, deserves a special notebook.

As the start date draws ever closer, I thought I'd better write down a few notes on the plot and characters that have been jumping up and down in my head, fighting to come out since I signed up. It's not a synopsis/plan as such - more a list of key words and events, of character traits, place and the mood I want the story to take. But I thought it was important to write these down as they came to me, rather than wait for Nov the 1st and run the risk of forgetting something vital to the plot! Thoughts can so easily (too easily) go in and out of my head at an alarming rate - I'd rather be safe than sorry.I hope this isn't cheating.

As I've said in previous posts, the 50,000 words I'm attempting to write into some resemblance of a novel is in a genre completely alien to what I've ever written about before. I hope I can pull it off. I am both excited and nervous about it and have butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it. I haven't wanted to try and write a novel until recently when I made a list of things I wanted to do before I hit the big 40 (in 16 months and counting down!) Writing a novel was one of them. I don't have to get it published - it's just a challenge to me to see if I can do it. A promise to someone I have not yet fulfilled and who isn't around anymore to have seen some of my writing wishes come true. So by the power of my moleskine notebook I will do it!

I will be ecstatic if, on my fortieth birthday, I have in my hand the manuscript of a finished novel. During NaNo I'm not going to censor myself or edit any of the stuff I write. That's going to be hard for me, but if I'm going to hit my target of between 1666 - 2000 words a day I won't have the time to sit there chopping and changing bits around or deleting stuff. That thirty days is going to be a case of JUST WRITE, JUST WRITE, JUST WRITE! Keep moving forward and don't look back over your shoulder.

I've allowed myself two hours a day to do this, and if I reach my target before the two hours is up I'll just keep going up to the last second. This way, if I don't reach my target daily count for whatever reason, I don't have to stress about it.

How many others in blog land are doing NaNo this year? How many have done it before? How is everyone else going to approach it, or do you have any tips you'd like to share with us first timers?

Happy writing

Julie xx


Carole Anne Carr said...

Love your attitude, you'll make it. I've done it a few times before, and all I can share with you is to keep writing. NEVER NEVER go back and make corrections, even if you feel your work is out of sequence, ungrammatical, ignore wrong spelling, and the one event that should have been before the other, the mixed up characters...that is unimportant, the point of the exercise is known to you already, it is to free your creativity without the other side of the brain getting in the way and saying THAT'S not right, you CAN'T do it, you've GOT THAT WRONG.
Instead of being your own judge, jury and hangman, just for once the gremlins can't touch you, and you'll produce something you can be really proud of. GOOD LUCK! xx

klahanie said...

Greetings Julie,
Well here's wishing you a most memorable fortieth. Finished manuscript novel in hand.
Forty in sixteen months time? Heck, I thought you were barely legal to go into a pub.
I've heard about this 'NaNo'. Noticed it mentioned on Suzanne's blog. Here was me thinking it had something to do with 'Mork and Mindy'.
Anyway, good luck if you decide to attempt this. Hopefully you will get some tips from folks who have done it before.
Positive wishes, Gary:-)

Lynne Hackles said...

Good luck, Julie. I've just posted on Teresa Stenson's blog and said I won't be doing NaNo but you know, the more I think about it... Now can I fit it in with everything else? And how many times can I get up two hours earlier. I'm at my desk by 7am now.
Dithering. I'm off to blog about that word right now.

Julie P said...

Thanks for the wonderful tips, Carole. They are going to come in handy (gulp!) I'm just going to take each of the 30 gays as they come and not worry if I don't hit the target. Just to write any part of a novel is an achievment for me!

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Gary! I especially liked the part about me being barely legal to drink in a pub! You know what to say to a girl don't you!

I'm looking forward to it but I'm not, if you know what I mean! I will keep posting about my progress and I will be keen to hear how fellow bloggers and Nanoists get on too.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Hi, Lynne,

Nano is a big commitment and time consuming if you're already burning the candle at both ends and queezing every last drop out of the day.

I'm only doing it now because I know I will have the time to make a reasonable stab at it. I've never had the time or the inclination before!

Dithering, mmmm it's a great word! I shall have to read what you've written about it now.
Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

Yes, treat yourself to a new moleskine for this event! I'm five pages away from finishing the current book and I'm doing my utmost to fill it so i can open a new one! And then of course, there'll be the one for the Lake District trip too!

Good luck with NanoWriMo. I read Lynne Hackles' post and understand what she means when she says that it isn't work - because if you have to write to put food on the table, NanoWriMo won't put food on the table. But that doesn't mean that it's the wrong thing to do. What it will do is show you whether you are capable of producing something of that length. And for a writer, it's always worth doing something to stertch yourself and tackle a new genre.

Good luck.

Julie P said...

This Moleskine obsession of mine is all your fault young man! Oh but it was a wonderful feeling to unwrap the celophane and smell the notebook! They just smell and look so good!

I just had to write in it last night. They are the perfect note book.

That's my worry, I can't let NaNo ditract from me trying to make money. That has to come first and Nano will have to fit around it. I don't know if I have the stamina or the concentration to do it (I have the brain focus of a gnat!) But I'm going to give it a go. It bodes well that I already have a plot and some characters. I would be more nervous by now if I hadn't got a clue what I was going to write about!

Always stretching and tackling, Simon!

Julie xx