Recap of NaNoWriMo 2013!

I’m not a writer.  Goodness, no, I’m not a writer. When I signed up for my third year of NaNoWriMo in mid October, I knew that.  I don’t plan on publishing what I write, ever.  So, people ask me why I do it? Its probably for the same reasons that I blog. Its my creative outlet and aside from the stressful last few days when I have no idea HOW I can manage to crank out x thousands of words, I look back and I’ve learned a lot.

NaNoWriMo this year was actually pretty surprising.  I’ve never really looked back at the process but this year my goal was to be disciplined and to stay as on track as possible.  The first 10 days actually faired pretty well.  I had been burned out from work on November 1st but I still managed to almost reach my first 1,667 at the end of the day.  I slipped behind by a day and held onto that.  My issue was preparing for my weekend away and the actual trip took away a lot of my time and after that, it was a game of catch up. Then I made the horrible decision of watching TV series and then I lost my focus. I mean it went from 5,000 words then 10,000 words behind in the week that followed.

Going in this last week was hard.  I wanted to give up with everything in life happening at the same time.  But, I reminded myself that I can still get back on track.. I did it last year with even less word count. So I sat down, pulled out my notebook and took a section to brainstorm the next few things I wanted to happen in my novel.  Those things got me through the 10,000 words, then I took another timeout to outline the connections and possible crossings that could happen and there you go, ideas came flowing back to me. Stress, of course came at the same rate but I averaged about 3000 – 4000 words a night in the past few nights.  It wouldn’t be enough to make it but at least, the last day was on a Saturday and I can just sit and write and write and write. It didn’t exactly turn out that way and you’ll see why soon enough but I did spend the evening doing that 🙂

Reality was, by Friday  morning, I was exhausted and tired and with about 11,000 words left to write in two days and getting about 4 hours of sleep every night, I wasn’t sure how to approach it anymore.  Should I quit? Go on? Its funny how things happen.  My mom’s never really interferes in what I do regarding blogging and writing.  She just observes but when I started talking about it, she looked at me, and I swear she genuinely just wanted to ask me why I put myself through this crazy thing because she didn’t understand. Its funny. Thinking about it now, its been a while that I’ve answered anything with such certainty about what I do. So, what did I answer her, you ask? I told her that it was once a year that I reminded myself that I can put all my heart and energy into something, focus on it and with a fair amount of hard work, make it to the end.  It reassures me of what I can achieve. Most things in life takes time to happen even if we keep working at it but this reminds me that even if I don’t see the results now, it’ll come around eventually 🙂 The most important part is to at least start it.

Maybe that little bit meant nothing to you but to me, suddenly that whole vision of the next two days being impossible to happen actually went away. I realized why for the majority of it, I was so calm because I remembered that.  I was doing this to learn from the experience, whether I won or not wasn’t so important.  But I also value finishing what I start so if it means overdosing on some green tea and opening my eyes with a toothpick and gluing my butt to the chair for 10 hours straight, I’m going to do it.  Last year I did 40,000, whats 10,000 in 2 days, right?

Everyone has their reasons for doing (or not doing) NaNoWriMo.  Writing should be fun and the point of NaNoWriMo is not necessary that we have to pass the 50,000 but its to try your best to start something and hopefully finish it.  You’re already a winner if you did that.  Maybe there is no badge and maybe I didn’t reach my word count and I don’t get to buy the winner T-shirt but in my heart, I learned from what I experienced during these past 30 days and thats what counts.

2013 nanowrimo winner banner

BUT, wait, all hypothetical here because you know what? At around 11:35pm, I managed to validate my *very flawed* romance novel for a total word count of 51,048.

2013 nanowrimo stats

I really would like that one time where its not up to almost the last minute.  Good thing is that I am very proud to say that I’m actually excited to edit this one because I know that I have more stuff to add in and a whole lot of corrections and goodness, where did I put that thesaurus?

For now, I’m going to take a break and get back into some reading. I’ve missed my books SO MUCH! Especially that half-read Ender’s Game sitting at the corner of my night table crying out to me every night…

Remember to check back for the December announcements and updates 🙂 I’m aiming to get it out later today, if not, latest would be Monday morning.

Have an awesome Sunday everyone! You all rock because despite the schedule slowing down over here, you all still came and gave me support.  The likes, comments, follows all made my day when I thought my stats were going to drop.  Talk about warming my heart, that says it right there.  I give a virtual hug to everyone of you because you are all awesome! Remember that 🙂

 

Adapting to a New Pace & Attending a Book Launch!

Nanowrimo has started for a week now.  Surprisingly, a lot of my life has been consumed with it.  I can’t help but to be drowning in my own story.

On Thursday, I had a moment walking to work where my mind was still waking up and I found myself feeling like my character in my story.  Weird feeling, ladies and gents.  I pulled myself out pretty quickly but thats what happens when you have to cough up 1666 words a night, I guess. I usually aim for more.  It also marked the first day I had to stand on the way home and scribble in the upright position while balancing myself.  Probably didn’t look too elegant 😉 Still extremely efficient.  That fell apart when Friday came around and I was a full day behind and haven’t been able to catch up.  Right after this post, thats what I’ll be doing until I pass out from fatigue.  The pacing is alright in my book. With almost 12,000 words in the bank,I’m already pretty proud of myself especially since I’m using this Nanowrimo to experiment with some new stuff: a new genre (*ahem* romance) and third person narration (usually I just do first person).  Challenges all around! Another update next week!

Plus, I have my whole workout challenges that I’ve set in place and those will be more in detail on Monday’s post 🙂

One of the highlights of this week (and maybe a bit sad and cold realization) is that winter is sneaking its chilly arms into Montreal.  Snow is expected soon and its been getting cold.  Even the first of my Christmas cactus have started blooming.

White Christmas Cactus

White Christmas Cactus

I probably sounded like a crazy lady when I leaned over and had a heart to heart conversation with it about how they were blooming a bit too early.  Christmas is more than a month away, no? But then, the only witness was my cat looking at me through the plants by the window.  Although her main focus wasn’t me, which has lead us to focus a lot on bird-watching.  I actually say in one week, the abundant robins but also, one Blue Jay and an red cardinal. I haven’t seen one of those in so many years.  Imagine my excitement!

Bird!

Bird!

Another from last weekend that I forgot to mention in the last personal update was that I made another batch of those awesome Peanut-BETTER Gingersnaps! That recipe just total rules! If you missed it before, check it out HERE! This time, I made it for the Halloween party and I believe I made the best batch so far.  They were the perfect size and shape 🙂

Peanut-BETTER Gingersnaps

Peanut-BETTER Gingersnaps

There was another reason why my word count dropped on Friday.  I tried to write as much as I could but I was out pretty much from right after work till midnight with my best friend.  We went for a delicious dinner at our normal hangout, Les 3 Brasseurs and shared a pitcher of Sangria. Those look even nicer in the pitcher than in a glass. Plus, I finally had my fix of BBQ ribs that I’ve been wanting to eat forever!

Sangria

Les 3 Brasseurs Sangria!

Les 3 Brasseurs Ribs

Ribs! Yummy!

After that, we made a late decision to go do some long-awaited karaoke just the two of us! I did make some recording but I’m a tad shy to post it up.  So if you ask, maybe I’ll put it up in a separate post, or I’ll whip something up at home, of course, my system is not as awesome but I do have the gear. 🙂 It was really fun and thats what counts!

I ALWAYS leave the best news for last, right? You already know from the title but I attended a book launch this afternoon of an awesome girl friend that I’ve mentioned on multiple occasion and also a dear blogger, Day’s Lee! She did her official book launch for her young adult novel, Guitar Hero at a cute little bookstore called Babar Bookstore in Pointe-Claire.

Guitar Hero Day's Lee

Her books, Guitar Hero on display on top of a fireplace

Signing books for attendees of her launch :)

Signing books for attendees of her launch 🙂

The food table :)

The food table 🙂

Day’s offered us some very delicious snacks and in addition, she made the almond cookies.  They are pretty awesome. She actually posted up the recipe the other day, check it out HERE if you want to give it a shot! There’s no milk in almond cookies so I could have it. YAY! You rule Day’s! 🙂

My own signed copy! :)

My own signed copy! 🙂

I’m all for supporting my friends plus Day’s is my inspiration (she probably doesn’t know that).  She reminds me that no matter how hard it is, its perfectly okay to pick up our courage and follow our dreams.  A huge congrats to Day’s! I’m going to review the book in December (in case you were wondering).  I’ve already read it once before it was released last year but I’m not sure if she fixed anything, so I’m going to read it a second time.  I urge you to give it a shot.  Show her some love! 🙂 

This week has been pretty eventful.  Since I’ve taken up enough of your time (and well, my novel is calling out to me), I’m going to leave you with some music that I’ve loved this week!

Who is tempted to watch some Pirates of the Caribbean now, eh? 😉

This is my thoughts right now!

dont you dare give up

If you want some more reading, I actually wrote a post about something similar to encourage my writing in Nanowrimo the first year, it helps me till now (not so much the first time).  Its right HERE! These 300 reminds me to keep going!

Have a great rest of the weekend! 🙂

*GASP* November is here ALREADY!!

That also means that NANOWRIMO officially starts today.

nanowrimo

Last year, I managed to get my word count for day one on track and that thought powered me on the last 10 days of November when I only had 5,000 words in the bank.  45,000 words in a week was a long shot but I gave it my all and wrote a crap of a novel that I’m still working on editing.  I will finish editing it but I’m only about a quarter of the way done.  I don’t intend to ever publish that one but its a nice reminder that when I put my heart to something, it will be done, even if it means losing some sleep, drinking lots of tea and looking at the ceiling for countless hours looking for inspiration while sitting in my room hours on end. Last year, my Hong Kong trip got in the way and I know that to finish it, would be tough, but I did it!

So why would I do Nanowrimo again this year? I’m working on my discipline; being able to sit down to get through my 1,667 words a day.  Plus, a really awesome idea hit me a few months ago in my dreams (literally) and its been kind of constructing is layout in my mind ever since. The direction changes all the time and I’ve never sat down to draft it or even brainstorm and outline it but I figured spontaneity worked well for me last year.  I might as well give that another go.  At least, it’ll give me more freedom 🙂

Now, why am I telling you all this?

I’m not going to post segments of my story like some other bloggers do.  I just can’t. I’ll still be thinking its a load of garbage and then possibly have a nervous breakdown.

The point is that, things will change around here a bit.

1) Book reviews will be on hold.  I go through literary abandon where I don’t read so that it doesn’t allow me the chance to copy someone else’s ideas but create my own and be immersed in my own story. This sucks because I was reading Ender’s Game and looking forward to seeing the movie. Guess that will have to wait…

2) My posts may drop to once a day (if not less).  I slowly want to keep it that way as I figure out a new direction with my blog for next year. We’ll see what happens 🙂

3) I’ll try hard to do movie reviews but maybe I’ll stick in some random TV series posts 🙂 Thats what I do when I write as background noise.  Its that or music. It will be less as well in order to keep my focus on my  novel.

4) There will things that stay the same.  Photo challenges will keep going up, weekend personal posts as well.  I want to keep the Pinterest one going as well.  I’m going to be doing another one (or two) workout challenges for November so I’ll keep that on biweekly update 🙂

5) Maybe because of this I’ll do some more piano covers, but thats really up for some debate. What do you think?

Thats all I really have to say!

After November, we will hit Holiday season here.  I haven’t figured out what direction to take that but for sure, there will be a movie marathon.  Just need to decide on which ones 🙂

For now, the madness has already begun as of my bus ride this morning at 8:30am.  I think I’m at approximately 500 words or so.  I write in a notebook so that makes a bit harder until the end of the day to tally up.

Thats the November update! 🙂 If there is anything you’d like me to post about, just ask! I’ll be needing lots of inspiration for this month’s post!

How many of you are also in this NaNoWriMo craze? Is this your first year? What type of novel are you writing?

Daily Prompt: Release Me

Daily Prompt (Oct. 20)Tell us about the blog post you were most nervous to publish — and what it was like to set it free.

Its been a while that I’ve taken on one of these daily prompts especially since we’ve been in the full-on Halloween mood here.

I do like to reflect on my blog and the posts I put up here.  Honestly, every post I publish makes me nervous because I firmly believe that I have really bad writing and that its probably filled with mistakes, especially the ones that I draft at lunch time in a rush to get published in the afternoon. Plus, all of YOU write in such an awesome way, some of you are witty, funny, sophisticated, etc.  I can’t imagine myself being anywhere near that level.

However, in deeper reflection, there were a few that I was extremely nervous to publish and almost didn’t.  It all dials down to exposing a side of myself that I criticize myself for the most.

The first that comes to mind are my creative writing pieces from daily prompts or weekly writing challenges.  I’m not a storyteller or a writer by far.   Even though I participate in NaNoWriMo for the past 2 years, I still don’t feel like I am.  Creative writing is a way for me to simply release the thoughts I have, inspire by my dreams/nightmares, and just the make believe world that I sometimes find myself constructing to relieve stress. Some call that daydreaming, but I do it all the time.  Dream is part of my name (blog and real) so I guess there’s no avoiding it.  Writing reviews is different because its  a personal opinion and if you disagree, well, we just agree to disagree or I try to see what you see.  Thats what makes creative writing different.  I think to date, I have two creative writing pieces, HERE and HERE! I worked a lot time putting these two together and still, I almost didn’t press the schedule button and even that morning, I almost wanted to cancel it….Still, no one said any harsh words, so I’m clear 🙂

Just don’t expect next month for me to post up excerpts on my NaNoWriMo novel 😉 I know lots of bloggers do it but I can’t.  I’d have a heart attack from all the anxiety before that could happen….

Doesn’t it all dial down to being exposed and vulnerable? Its a contradicting when we own a blog to say that, I think. However, as much distance as I like to put my personal problems from the blog (because thats not where I’m aiming for Tranquil Dream to go), its inevitable that it’ll affect me and because a lot of you are so insightful about many things, the blog was in fact the hardest for me post and to hear responses from was this one HERE…I can’t believe its been almost a year that I’ve written about it.  You cannot imagine how much it helped me to write it out.   Its something I really haven’t told a lot of people about, not really my friends and especially not my family.  Its a burden and feeling I’d like to keep to myself as I deal with the issue at my own pace.  It just sounds like there will be a lot of hate and gossip coming from that once family knows about it, like I’m tainting the name of someone gone, which is not what I’m doing.  Its really just the biggest regret in my life that I can’t let go of, something that bothers me and whispers in my ear that I’m not good enough.  Either way, its about letting go as well.  Something I’m slowly working on and its been going pretty well.  Baby steps, right? We will only know when early December drops by how well I’m getting over it…

Either way, if you haven’t read it before, go and check it out.  I probably will never post anything of that depth about my life again.  However, that was in fact the one I was most nervous.  Setting it free was letting out a breath of fresh air.  Sometimes, thats just what I need to do.  And sometimes, I’m just too stubborn to do it.

How about you? What was the blog post that you were most nervous to put up? Feel free to insert your posts here 😉

A Word A Week Challenge: Year

2012 is coming to an end.  I have parties planned for that supposed end of the year and celebrations for Christmas with family is setting in.  The calendar is filling up and even the planning for Christmas gifts are starting. Sue from A Word in Your Ear ‘s A Word A Week Challenge features the word YEAR! To join the challenge, click HERE for more details!

Since 2011, I’ve had this New Year’s Resolutions deal with my best friend.  We both send each other our own list of resolutions or whatever amount of goals you want to achieve.  At the end of the year, either of us (or whoever remembers) will send off the email and see what we’ve done.  At the end of December or beginning of the new year, we send each other our next list.

At the beginning of this year, I sent her 10 goals that I hoped to achieve.  I’ll try to put it in pictures for all to see.  For the record, I still have one month so I can still try to get half a goal done.  At this very moment, I have 6.5 done.  I’ll share a few here to represent whats makes this YEAR memorable.

Work out regularly and stay fit for dragonboat: Lets say that I modified that and eventually brought the gym back home.  I started training at home with weights and just simple body weight exercises. And I had dragonboat so for the first nine months it was a success.  If you are into this, you should try out Pumps & Iron, she posts up crazy intense workouts!

P1140821

These are the rewards for the hard work of my whole team during the Montreal International Dragonboat Festival!

Buy a guitar and start learning: My friends got me a surprise birthday gift and I have been trying to learn it bit by bit.

P1190582

Go to visit family in Hong Kong (done in November)

P1190328

Pinwheels are the symbol of wishing for happiness to whoever you want, changing your luck

Its something I wish for my family.

Beat my records of words in NaNoWriMo Challenge (I won so suffice to say I beat my words)

P1190581

My notes during NaNoWriMo

Some of the other goals that are done included:

– Passing my Piano History 1 Exam

– Improving my photography and getting to know my camera better (what do you think? I think I improved..but there’s always more work of course)

Nothing can stop me now, I’m a winner! UPDATES!!

nanowrimo chartDecember is here!

November went by in style for me.  I can now calmly and tell you in full consciousness that I won NANOWRIMO. Woohoo! I validated my word count last night nearing 11pm with 50,104 words.  Maybe that doesn’t sound amazing to you.  I just screenshot the chart of word count for you.  Look at it!

On last Sunday night, I wanted to quit.  I had about 5,000 words written.  Let me tell you again. We need 50,000 words by the end of November 30th.  Seriously, it was crazy, only 10% was done.  Yesterday, even though I was still working really hard to catch up and make a last minute win, I still had doubts with less than 40,000 words done. Believe me, I had another blog already written in my mind. Honestly,  it didn’t matter at that point if I actually made it across the finish line and won because for one thing, my goal this year was to beat my 23,000ish words from last year.  I did that around Wednesday, but face it, even at 25,000, I was only halfway there with less than two days to write the second half of the novel. Seriously, I had the title of the post even if I lost.  It would’ve have been, “I Lost But I Won”.  You know why I say that? I was at 5000 words at the beginning of the week.  Even if I ended with 30,000 words, it basically took me one week to get this all down on paper. I have achieved the impossible in my mind.

Winner-180x180Now you know what? When there is a will, things will happen for you.  I put all my focus and energy on this.  I breathed my novel and every word of it.  I wrote standing up on a crowded bus and my brain was constantly thinking of scenarios for what to happen next.  So to everyone who thinks there are impossible things out there, some times you just need to step back and take it step by step. My novel happened with every 1000 words countdown and its finished! You want something to happen: you need to focus and strive for it! There were people who thought I was crazy but sometimes, you need a bit of that “don’t care what happens” attitude to make things happen.  That definitely happened yesterday when I managed to get more than 12000 words down to reach the finish!

I’m a Winner! Yay! This was a long week of self control and perseverance and now it deserves an intermission for a victory dance.

UPDATES!

On another note, Hong Kong month was the focus of November.  I tried post every day and for the most part, it worked.  This last week did stop me a bit from posting as much. I will try to finish off Hong Kong posts this weekend and on Monday, we start CHRISTMAS MONTH!! I already have a Christmas movie marathon with over 20 movies.  This time I’ll do it a bit different from the Halloween movies and try to review them all.  Of course, baking and cooking resumes now that I’m back at home.  I’ll head out in town to get some photography done and hopefully share some of Montreal’s Christmas festivities! Expect a lot more crafts near the middle of this month, I’ll be making gifts for the family once I figure out what to do exactly!

Just a short update for everyone!

Have a great weekend and I’ll be checking in soon!

Its Go Time… (and a few updates!!)

Its November everyone! Do you know what day it is and why its so significant? NaNoWriMo begins on November 1st and lasts throughout the whole entire month.

Anyone here doesn’t know hat NaNoWriMo is? Its short for National Novel Writing Month, which means that you need to write 50,000 word novel in this very month of November.  Thats a total of 1,667 words per day.  Its my second year doing this.  I like the challenge and I’ve always wanted to write a novel.  I don’t plan on being published on anything but lets just say that its a personal accomplishment.

Last year I had to resort to writing a daily prompt about 300 Spartans (link right there) poking me in the back and still I only reached around 23,000 words.  Not even halfway.  I have no one to blame but myself.  This year I’m ready to take it on.  I actually have less of a plot than before but now I’m a bit more experienced and I’ve learned that if I sit myself down and focus to finish up those remaining words for 1-2 hours, I’ll be on track.  Last night, I waited till midnight and initiated by starting to write for half an hour before I fell alseep.  Starting is the hard part, but once you do, it just keeps you going.

So point is, I’m not advertising for NaNoWriMo but if you are doing it or would like to try it out, just head on over to their site and sign up.  Its just day 1 after all.  Last year when NaNoWriMo ended, I felt that it had given me a sense of happiness.  It gave me a certain focus that helped me move forward.  I love the feeling that it just made me want to do it all the time and with every spare minute, whether I was on the bus or on lunch break, my brain would just keep thinking about the novel, jotting down notes, writing in my notebook on hand.  Pen and paper never left my hand.  Its the commitment that draws me to this.  The fact that I can really commit to something and feel a passion for what I’m doing.  If you are interested, you can always stop by that post and take a look at how I felt about last year right here!

What I can’t believe is that November 1 is here already!  Why I am writing this post is to ask all of my readers to not panic when I’m not putting up as much.  I’m still going to stay on track with my photo challenges and hopefully writing challenges (those a bit slow), the random writing prompt.  For the second half of the month, I promise you I’ll bake more.

So why the second half of the month? Thats the second GO! for me.  With NaNoWriMo, at the same time, I’ll be on vacation soon.  I mean in a few days soon hence the packing mentioned above.  I will be going to Hong Kong for 2 weeks.  I do have a few travel/photography posts planned so it should be a fun month.  Maybe I’ll just dedicate it to Hong Kong.

So point of this rambling:

1) To tell you that I may post less frequently as I don’t have free internet there. I’ll have to get up at some crazy hour to sit at Starbucks to write while I’m in Hong Kong.

2) NaNoWriMo will also affect my writing schedule as it will take most of my brainpower so expect less writing and more photography.

3) I’m asking for your help.  I’d love to hear what you want me to do in Hong Kong.  Anything in particular you’d like me to visit or post about? Anything you’ve heard about or seen or want to know more about.  I would gladly fulfill the suggestions: Food, Restaurants, Scenery, Landscape, Culture, Museums, Theme Parks, etc.  Something you’ve heard of that you’d like me to check out.  You can put a comment or if you’d like, send me an email at kim.tranquildreams@gmail.com.  You can even tweet me if thats what you’re into.  My twitter account is on the side of the page so you can follow me there.

A BIG THANK YOU!!!

Above all, I’d like to take this moment to thank everyone of you.  I’m doing this update for all of you because you have made October into the best blogging month and motivated me quite a bit.  My blog was always just so hard to keep going because I didn’t have a lot of connections or friends that were into this so it was going slow but sometime in October, you all came around and helped me out.  In October, my views quadrupled from the previous month.  I’m even a few away from 100 followers.  You are all amazing me!  In thanks for all this, I try very hard to keep up with everyone’s blogs because you all have something wonderful to offer whether its photography, travels, baking, movie reviews.  All just awesome stuff.  I’m taking this opportunity now to thank you all again.  I promise you that I will work hard to bring you some more fun stuff!

JUST ONE MORE THING:Same deal as for Hong Kong.

If there is something you like or you don’t see as often and you enjoyed, tell me about it.  I’d love to hear some feedback from all of you.  Do you want more photography? More baking? Although those are in abundance.  Maybe more writing? Book reviews? Piano covers?  Movie reviews (not just theatre visits)?  Just on a side note, I am making some plans to expand certain segments.  Even if you just want to send a friendly encouraging email, I’d love to see it.  Blogosphere is a wonderful place to connect with people and I’ve had some nice conversations through commenting on blogs.  I’d definitely love to hear your suggestions! So email, tweet, comment..whatever pleases you.