Saturday, 20 November 2010

Novel: Halfway There!

Yes, I am still very behind, but today I passed the 25,000 word mark, horray! According to the stats, at this rate I will finish on December 10th - which is too late to win the challenge - so I'd better get my act together.

I still feel fairly optimistic (although I'm going to need a new burst of inspiration plot-wise and a few more hours in the day) and I'm looking forward to printing out what I've written and doing some editing. As the NaNoWriMo website says, if you're going to edit your novel, you'll need words to edit, so the writing of 50,000 words is really just the beginning. I'm getting a lot out of this challenge though! I haven't had the chance (or the kick up the whatsit) to write for such a long time, though you'd have thought it would be impossible with a new baby to take care of.

I promise that Megan is receiving no less care than she would have otherwise, my priority is (of course) being the best mum I can be. The novel comes second, OK? :D

Now, I'd better get on with it.

Limiting Awake Times

Megan is eleven weeks old! And I can't believe that the last post I wrote about her was on the 15th October, wow, I am SO SLACK. A great deal has changed since then, and I feel that I have learned a lot (stuff I wish I'd known earlier) and we are all a lot happier because of it.

I was given a book called 'Baby Sense' which features a chart showing the maximum recommended times for each baby age group to stay awake. I was amazed to find that the 6-12 weeks baby should only be awake from between 60-80 minutes, before being helped to sleep. Wow, that's a very short period of time! But when I started implementing these rules, I found that Meg could send herself to sleep if I put her gently down on a fleece on the bed, covered her with a couple of blankets and then lay next to her. The dummy helps enormously with this too. It sounds funny to say it now, but I was really surprised to see her closing her eyes and drifting off, after all the hard work it had taken to get her to sleep previously. But previously I had had no idea about awake times, and she slept on the boob or was rocked and sung to sleep when she became hysterical. Basically, she was a fussy, screaming baby because she was always being stimulated until she was over-tired. The book explains that babies can't edit out the stimulation they are constantly receiving, unlike you or I, so they are overwhelmed by what they see, hear, smell, feel, etc., they can't even block out the feeling of their clothes against their skin.

So now I'm starting to feel more in control of my life, and Meg is so much more content. She hardly ever has to cry anymore as I keep an eye on the clock with regards to awake time, and can see immediately when she starts to get hungry (always bearing in mind what time she last fed). I wish I'd known this earlier, but at least I know it now, and can share the information with all of my friends who have also recently become new mummies. :D

And here are some pics of Megan I took a couple of nights ago, the hat (made by a lovely friend of my mother) seems to bring out some very amusing expressions:

This little cardigan is a bit of an heirloom - my brother and I wore it when we were tiny too, and I think Meg looks quite dramatic:

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Novel Update

The "novel-writing" is continuing when I get a chance (although Megan seems to be sleeping a lot less than usual in order to keep me on my toes), so I thought I'd share my stats with you (rather than any actual writing, ha ha).

As you can see, I'm well behind. Those blue towers of my word count are supposed to be up there with the purple diagonal line of the Daily Goal. But the great thing about these figures is that they're actually helping me to believe it might be possible to write 50,000 words this month - I can finish on time if I manage 1970 words per day... Better keep going then and stop procrastinating... But uh-oh, I think I can hear Meggie stirring...

Friday, 5 November 2010

25 Minute Documentaries

I'll admit I'm "a bit" behind on the novel writing thing (so far I have written 4237 words instead of the 6667 I should have done by now), but something I've been enjoying lately is the plethora of short documentaries from the Unreported World series on 4OD. Isn't 4OD fabulous? It beats trying to type 1667 words with one hand, and you can watch the entire back catalogue of Peep Show there as well, which came as a rather wonderful revelation to me.

I was totally addicted to the documentaries on the brilliant (and free) Top Documentary Films website, but now that I've seen so many (and trawled happily through most of the categories), I'm getting into these short reports. They last about as long as a feed (25 minutes), so whilst Megan is having a meal I get a treat too :D

Monday, 1 November 2010

50,000 Words in a Month

Guess what? I've signed up to National Novel Writing Month, which means that I am joining many thousands of writers all over the world in writing at least 50,000 words over the course of November. Last year there were 167,150 participants, and the concept has captured more and more writers' imaginations since its humble beginnings in 1999 when 21 people signed up.

Don't ask how I expect to find the time or motivation to achieve the goal of writing 1667 words per day, or what I plan to write about - I've decided to wing it, inspired by the instructions (on the NaNoWriMo website) to write now and edit later. I like the idea of stream of consciousness writing, knowing that amongst the rubbish there may be some pearls. Anyway, forcing myself to have the discipline to write such a huge amount is a great challenge, and will hopefully help me to develop my technique.

It's day one, and so far I've written 1717 words. Success!
Anyone want to join me?

It's very exciting! :D