Tackling (and failing) NaNoWriMo.


NaNoWriMo, for those who don’t know, is National Novel Writing Month, which takes place yearly in the month of November. Since 2008, I’ve done this challenge most years (save for 2012) with varying degrees of success. The object of the challenge is to write 50,000 words of a novel, or a novella, within a month. I won (winning constitutes writing at least 50,000 words and uploading your writing to the site to have your word count verified) in 2011, with just over 51,000 words of a zombie epic, which I lovingly referred to as “Zombie Cold Mountain” (the actual working title was “Resurrection”). Since then, the project has remained largely untouched, as I reached a point in the story where I became stuck and didn’t know where to go from there. I’ve revised bits of it, and started hashing out ideas for what to do from the point where I stopped, but my attempts to actually sit down and finish it have ended up with me watching videos of corgis on YouTube.

Since 2011, I’ve attempted two different stories – a story of a werewolf hunter searching for the individuals who killed his family, save for his youngest sister, and a supernatural/historical mash-up involving a family of witches, time travel, and WWII. With the former I managed a little over 16,000 words, and my latest attempt found me stonewalled at 1,600.

This year, I feel like I have many excuses for not meeting the word count – I had two friends, and family members come in from out of town all within the span of a week, and I was dealing with some personal issues that left me feeling pretty low, uninspired, and scared (everything is perfectly okay now, for those who may be worrying). Our current space isn’t conducive to much of anything, but especially creativity. It’s hard to sit in our dark den, in an uncomfortable computer chair, at an oddly put together desk, or in our kitchen at our table, and try to force myself to feel creative. I explained this to Brad, sure he would think I was silly, but he completely understood.

Again, there are many excuses this year. But there always are any time that I don’t win NaNoWriMo.

I love writing, but over the past couple of years it’s become more of a struggle. I loathe to have an unoriginal idea, and sometimes coming up with something “original” is practically impossible. Few stories are original anymore, all borrowing from the same stories, the same themes. It’s something that I just need to get over. There’s also this sinking feeling that I don’t have enough hours in my day, so squirreling away time to sit down and force myself to be creative is difficult. I used to be a bit of a night owl, staying up until midnight or later most nights. But since moving in with Brad, I go to bed at a fairly reasonable hour, which removes a couple of hours from day …

See? More excuses!

At the end of the day, I’m okay with not winning NaNo this year. Would I eventually like to complete some manner of novel? Of course! But maybe not right now, and I’m okay with that. If I have to tinker with a bunch of ideas that I really don’t care for in order to get there, that’s all right. I’m quite content to churn out a couple of sentences here and there, until something finally picks up steam and becomes something that I actually want to write about. Maybe “Zombie Cold Mountain” will be that story, or maybe it will be something else entirely.

If nothing else, NaNoWriMo forces me to sit down, even if it’s only for a little bit, and put pen to paper, so to speak. The hardest part of writing sometimes is just sitting down and doing it, tapping those keys until something begins to take shape. Sometimes it does and doesn’t go far, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

I am going to try writing something outside the confines of NaNoWriMo. Perhaps in the new year, as the following few weeks are ramping up to be quite busy. I’ll make every month Megan Novel Writing Month! There may be different word counts, a different set of goals, but the act of just sitting down and committing to something on a creative scale may be the kick in the butt that I need to finish something worth sharing. ♥

September, in a nutshell.

September was a busy month in my corner of the world. Busy for all of the right reasons, but ended up creating the perfect storm for a lack of updating (that, and my laptop is in its death throes, with a new one being a couple of months away from being attainable, at the very least).

Within the first week, Brad and I celebrated our one year anniversary, and the following day I turned 29. Our anniversary dinner was a slightly fancy affair – we got dressed up and went out for dinner at one of our favourite places, North 48, where I indulged in steak frites, and Brad had their chicken and waffles, and between the two f us we had a few drinks. For my birthday, all I wanted was a burger, so we burg we did at a place a couple of blocks away from our home, Bin 4. Brad gifted me a new mug from Davids Tea, as well as their fall collection. I really don’t want for much, so the fact that he got me such a thoughtful gift was wonderful. I really appreciated it. Oh, and I saw a corgi while we were eating. Pretty much the best birthday I could ask for. Celebration with my friends was a quiet one that following Saturday – a lot of people were away, but a few friends managed to make it for a couple of beers, which was honestly, exactly what I wanted.

oct10-04If you’re ever in Victoria, please do yourself a favour and go to North 48!

oct10-05I’ve been working my way through Davids Tea fall collection with gusto (using my new mug, of course). There hasn’t been an undelicious tea in the bunch yet!

oct10-03Birthday burgin’!

The following week, Victoria was in the heart of its annual Rifflandia Festival – three days and three nights of pure, unadulterated, music bliss! Since I first arrived in Victoria, I was told that this weekend would be right up my alley, and it certainly was! I got to see two of my favourite bands, We Are Scientists, and Death Cab for Cutie, both performances that scored a new fan in Brad as well. Death Cab’s set was particularly wonderfully – on top of being Chris Walla’s last live show with the band, it was interspersed with so many special moments. A shooting star soaring over the stage halfway through the set, the entire audience singing along in the most melodic tones to “I Will Follow You Into The Dark,” during which I got particularly choked up. There was something really special about thousands of people singing along, one in particular who had his arms wrapped around me and was singing in my ear.

oct10-02Take me back!

oct10-scientistsWe Are Scientists – one of my favourite bands, and easily one of the acts that I was most excited to see!

oct10-airbourneAussie band, Airbourne (or AC/DC II). They put on a wickedly fun show!

oct10-ryderSerena Ryder, who absolutely blew me away!

We also got to see a couple of Brad’s favourites, Dum Dum Girls, and Zeus. But we also walked away having fallen in love with so many bands and artists we hadn’t heard before! Head of the Herd, Serena Ryder, Kalle Mattson, Half Moon Run, Rueben and the Dark, Born Ruffians, The Airborne Toxic Event, and so many more! The entire weekend was just absolutely fantastic, if not a little hellish on my body. We’re already counting down to next year’s festival.

oct10-hothwclHead of the Herd.

oct10-kalleKalle Mattson, who made me cry. In public. Before noon. I adore his music . You should check him out!

oct10-hothHead of the Herd again, but this time on the big stage! They were fantastic both unplugged and plugged!

oct10-ateThe Airborne Toxic Event.

oct10-ddgDum Dum Girls, one of Brad’s favourites!

oct10-npThe New Pornographers, who were really good, but not as great live as I was hoping. Still psyched that I got to see them!

oct10-06I forgot how to operate my phone to take photos, hence my face. Also … beer.

oct10-dcfcDEATH CAB FOR CUTIE! ♥

oct10-hmrHalf Moon Run were the perfect cap on the weekend for us. That, and Taco Justice League tacos. YUM!

With the months getting colder, it means that one of my favourite things ever is back – hockey. There is a WHL team in Victoria, and even though I’d arrived in the city with plenty of time to go see them play earlier in the year, for some reason we didn’t make it to a game. However, it was very important to me that we go to their home opener. There is no way that the Victoria Royals will ever replace the Halifax Mooseheads in my heart, but I can be a fan while I’m here. Coming from Halifax thought, I was surprised to see so many empty seats in the arena. Maybe the Royals aren’t a great team? Maybe they don’t have the legion of crazed fans that the Mooseheads have? Regardless, I was happy to see some live hockey, and get my beer drinking on … even if they got beat 9 – 2 by the Kamloops Blazers. It was still a good night out, and I look forward to more!

oct10-01The Victoria Royals (in blue), before they were eviscerated by the Kamloops Blazers.

October is already shaping up to be rather exciting – we’ve found ourselves a local trivia place, I’ve joined a writing group, and there’s exciting things going on in Brad’s world too. Thanksgiving is this weekend, and while we won’t be having a big dinner, I’m looking forward to a special dinner, just the two of us, all the same. Plus, a friend of ours is anxious to do something fun this weekend, so hopefully we can manage that despite the not-so-great forecast (rain all weekend – boo). Brad’s birthday is next Friday, so we’ve got some plans for that (which include going to see Fury), and Halloween is right around the corner!

The months are just flying by out here, which sometimes I still can’t wrap my head around. I wish things would go a bit more slowly. There doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. But I’m also excited for December to get here. I’m so looking forward to going to Halifax and seeing my friends and family. ♥

Currently // Three


It’s been a long time since I posted an entry such as this one. But I suppose there’s no better time like the present to hop back onto that “currently” horse!

READING a lot of books that I really haven’t cared for. Which is a major bummer, considering how much I love to read. There haven’t been much in the way of books that I’ve read this year that have really grabbed a hold of me, which has in turn made me less excited to read. Every time I pick up a new book, I’m hoping that this is it, this is the one that will get me hooked and excited because YEAH! LITERATURE! But no dice. Right now, I’m reading “The House at the End of Hope Street” by Menna van Praag, and it’s good, but not what I want to be reading right now. Does anyone else ever encounter that? Having all these great books, but they’re not really want you feel like reading?

WATCHING season two of Graceland. I don’t watch a whole lot of television, though on weeknights when we’re in, Brad and I will often catch some re-runs of The Simpsons and Seinfeld while we do our respective dorking out on our laptops. We don’t get the channel that airs Graceland, so I usually end up watching it a day or two later after, um, “acquiring” it. I must say, thus far I am really enjoying the direction that this season is going in! Last season, by comparison, was very bright, and sunshiny. It still dealt with some dark themes, but I feel like this season has upped the conflict and the character development by many notches. The fact that we’re getting to know more about characters that aren’t Mike Warren and Paul Briggs is a breath of fresh air. Last season I was lukewarm on Paige Arkin, but this season I feel like she’s becoming a more fleshed out and well thought out character. It’s an enjoyable summer procedural drama, and I hope it’s back next year!

FEELING motivated. I’ve put on a couple of pounds since arriving in Victoria earlier this year – we’ll chalk it up to all the delicious foods this city has to offer, and the fact that I live with someone who enjoys cooking and preparing meals. We both decided it was time to take action and start taking better care of ourselves. We’ve been working out in the evenings (crunches and squats for me right now), and making a valiant effort to eat better, subbing in healthier alternatives for not so healthy meals and snacks. I haven’t seen a lot in the way of progress physically yet, but I’m feeling a lot better than I did even this time last month, and that’s a great start as far as I’m concerned!

LOOKING FORWARD TO autumn! It’s almost here, I can feel it! This will be my first autumn in Victoria, and considering how green and lush it is, I’m really looking forward to experience the season on an entirely different level. Halifax doesn’t really get a typical autumn; it stays warm well into October, and then suddenly everything is simply dead and cold. Hmm. Not optimal. And of course, autumn brings many special days and occasions! Halloween and Thanksgiving are the obvious, but also mine and Brad’s birthdays, and our one year anniversary. We were still in the beginning stages of coupledom when our birthdays rolled around after meeting one another, so we haven’t celebrated them together yet. Getting to enjoy those celebrations together will be truly awesome!