6 weeks to NaNoWriMo: AKA how to not give up before you even get going

So, there are 6 weeks until NaNoWriMo 2016 which means it’s beginning to seriously invade my thoughts and my sensible-brain is warring with my impulsive-brain incessantly about whether or not to sign up.  I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo once, back in 2011 and I’m really hoping to make 2016 a second successful year, although my circumstances now are pretty different to how they were back then:

  • I now work full-time, compared to ~15 hours a week of university lectures + however long for assignments
  • I also volunteer one day a week
  • My successful year was as a rebel, working on fanfiction, whereas this year I hope to write original fiction
  • I was a pantser last time, and this year I’m experimenting as a plotter

Last year I hoped to take part, I talked about it briefly, and within about two days I’d given up, so this year I’m starting early with my planning and organisation to try and give myself the best odds. I figure there are three potential big danger-zones I need to work on:

  1. Making sure I sign up in the first place

  2. Making it through the first week

  3. Continuing with the effort until the end of the month

Addressing these three danger zones doesn’t guarantee winning – I could try all month and not hit 50,000 words – but they’re the reasons I’m most likely not to TRY.  If I try and don’t hit the goal, I’ll still consider that a success and buy myself a cake because I am a sugar fiend (though of course, winning would be a bigger success and I’d buy a bigger cake).

Making sure I sign up in the first place

 – Get excited about taking part

For the next two weeks I’ll be brainstorming ideas, creating pinterest boards and generally doing anything I can to try and come up with a story idea I love and can’t wait to write

 – Minimise excuses NOT to sign up

Blogging: Throughout October I’ll be taking part in Blog Ahead to schedule as many posts as I can for November – which also happens to be sci-fi month, one of my favourite blogging events all year! – so that I can take a step back from blogging if I need to.

Reading: I’m hoping to build up as much of a head start on my GR challenge as I can before November begins – while I’m sure I will definitely still be reading, it might be a bit less than normal, since I’ll be trying to squeeze in writing time too.  As well as trying to gain some momentum on my GR challenge, I’ll also be brainstorming a list of manga and graphic novels I’d like to read ready for breaks when my brain is feeling a little frazzled throughout November!

Work/Social etc: There isn’t really anything I can do to make work easier, but I can ensure friends and family know I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo. This both ensures they understand why I might be a little less available than normal, and hopefully also gives me a few cheerleaders!  I’ll be trying to make regular plans as much as possible so that I know that say Wednesday evenings are movie nights, or Friday evenings are gym sessions etc.


Making it through the first week

 – Have a starting point

The last thing I want to do is get prepped and organised and then be intimidated by the dreaded blank page!  I want to have an opening scene pretty well planned out so that I know where to get started.

 – Have an outline/Novel Binder/Some form of helpful notes!

Like I said, last time I succeeded I was very much making it up as I went, in full NaNo spontaneity spirit. But, NaNoWriMo isn’t against planning, and whereas fanfiction gives you characters and settings you’re very familiar with to play with, this time it’ll be all new.  I don’t know yet whether I’ll have a detailed outline, a random collection of bullet pointed notes or a binder Hermione Granger would be proud of, but I know I want SOMETHING I can keep coming back to.

 – Get Scrivener up and running!

Scrivener is what I used before, and while I didn’t love it, I liked it well enough.  I like the added features in terms of word counts for the day etc, and although to be honest I’m pretty happy using Word, using Scrivener just gives it the added special NaNo ritual feel.


Continuing until the end of the month

 – A NaNoWriMo calendar

I am a total geek and I love planners, spreadsheets, calendars etc. I’ll definitely have a calendar with daily target word counts etc to tick off, as a more visual representation of progress – and something that I can’t just avoid by never turning my laptop on!

 – NaNoWriMo survival box

More on what’s actually in my box to come (… when I’ve made it!) but this again comes back to the special NaNoWriMo ritual feel – guilt-free treats as reward, fun things to inspire me etc.

So, there you have my plans for how to hopefully not fail before I’ve even begun!  Since NaNo will be taking up a big chunk of my life/time/brain power, expect to see more posts soon.  Let me know if there’s anything in particular ou’d like to see, but I’m expecting some more planning, progress updates and the survival box contents!  Will you be joining in with NaNoWriMo this year?


The Weekly Recap


Fate of the Tearling (review copy)

Total spend: £0

My Week

Okay wow, I have been a terrible blogger this week! I must have caught some kind of bug or flu laast weekend, because I spent about half this week in bed/being sick, so I’ve pretty much done no reading, no blogging, no anything-productive-of-any-kind!  Instead, I spent a lot of time asleep and started (and binge watched a lot of) Pretty Little Liars.  I’m feeling a lot better now, and just feel like I have a bad cold, so I’m feeling a bit more myself again!  This weekend was also the wedding I mentioned I had coming up, which was lovely, and I’m planning to probably just have a lazy reading day today.

Finished: Wolf Wilder (last week), Cardcaptor Sakura #5 (last week), Cardcaptor Sakura #6

Currently Reading: Empire of Storms

How was your week?

Looking Ahead: September 2016

What’s on in September?

I actually have quite a bit planned for September already: my hours have gone up at work, I have a wedding to go to, plus a few birthdays and events.  I’ve tried not to go too ambitious on my TBR list for that reason, and this month I’m also making dedicated plans for things like manga, anime and tv, which inevitably end up being a big part of my month anyway!


September’s TBR list

Three Dark Crowns | Review copy
The Wolf Wilder
| Borrowed
The Final Empire
| Owned
Empire of Storms | From my shelves

So it’s probably a safe guess that I’m on a bit of a fantasy kick right now… I re-read Queen of Shadows last month ready for Empire of Storms and I can’t wait to get lost again in Maas’ world (mostly I just want more Manon!).  The Final Empire I actually started last month and am about halfway through, so I’m hoping to get that finished in September.  Three Dark Crowns sounds kickass and awesome and I totally love the three different covers, (currently torn between the snake and the flames, probably leaning more towards the snake…any thoughts?!).  The Wolf Wilder is my only non-fantasy choice this month, just because the book is gorgeous in real life and I love how different it sounds.

September’s Listening Plans

I’ve just stuck to one audiobook for my TBR list in September because I still have nearly 16 hours left of this one, and I’m finding I don’t want to speed the narration up at all (normally I’m a 1.25x fan) so I think this will be plenty enough to keep me busy!  If I have any listening time left over, I’ll be working through Serial Season 2 which I’ve just started.

September’s Manga & Graphic Novel Plans

Cardcaptor Sakura Volumes #6-10
Yu-Gi-Oh Volume #1
Attack on Titan #1

I’ve got a review copy of Monstress I can’t wait to get stuck into, but I’m waiting until I’ve got a quiet evening to really concentrate on it, instead of rushing through on my lunch break, because it looks stunning!  In terms of manga, I’ve picked the manga for two anime series I loved as a kid (Cardcaptor Sakura, which I’m already hooked on, and Yu-gi-oh, which I have yet to start), as well as Attack on Titan, since I really enjoyed the anime.

September’s Watch List

On TV at the moment:
– Nashville
– The Great British Bake Off
– The Chronicles of Nadiya

Catching up with:
– Grey’s Anatomy
– Avatar
– The Originals
– Once Upon a Time

Considering starting:
– The Flash
– Arrow
– Marco Polo
– Pretty Little Liars

I haven’t given episode targets, because inevitably I’ll then find I’m more hooked on one show than another, but the shows currently on tv and the ones I’ve listed as catching up with are ones I’m hoping to focus on mostly throughout the month.  I don’t know how many (if any!) of the ones on my considering starting list I’ll get to, but I like the idea of having a list of possibles ready to go for any time I’m bored and not sure what to watch!

Goals for September

  • Lose 7lbs
  • Gym/cycle 8 times
  • 5 Reviews

What do you have planned for September?

August Wrap-Up: The one with the manga!


Harry Potter & The Cursed Child | Before the Fall | Wild | Cardcaptor Sakura vol. 1-3 | Kindred in Death | Dead beat | Heroes of Olympus | Queen of Shadows | What’s a Girl Gotta do? | As I Descended | Harley Quinn & The Suicide Squad Special Edition 2016 #1 (not pictured)

Books read: 13 (6 more than July)
Pages read: 4936 (1484 more than July)
Average pages per day: 159 (48 more than July)
Average book length: 380 pages (3 pages less than July)
Favourite: I read a lot of great books this month! My Cardcaptor Sakura read is bringing back all kinds of nostalgia, I loved What’s a Girl Gotta do and I actually enjoyed Harry Potter & The Cursed Child a lot more than I expected.


Finding Dory –
This was just great fun!
Suicide Squad – Oh man, I have a LOT of complicated conflicting thoughts about Suicide Squad! I think overall, pretty disappointing.
Batman vs Superman –
So, fun fact, Lex in Smallville is one of my favourite villains ever. Lex in BvS = totally killed the film for me.I just found his reasoning made no sense, and he’s gone from being a genius to just…crazy.


Grey’s Anatomy (3 x 22-25 & 4 x 1-13) – I’m still completely hooked on this, although sometimes I wonder why I keep watching it when there are so many sad moments!!
Avatar: The Last Airbender (1 x 8) – I’ve been very slow on my watching of this, probably because this and Grey’s are the only things I watch by myself and Grey’s is so addictive…
Stranger Things (1 x 1-8) – This is pretty much my upper limit of scariness but I was also completely hooked, so we burned through the whole series in two evenings!
The Originals (2 x 22 & 3 x 1) – This is one that I think we’re sticking with more because we’ve got this far than because we’re particularly hooked, but it’s okay.
The Great British Bake Off (7 x 2) – Yay for Bake Off being back! I especially like Selasi and Candace so far.
Nashville (4 x 1) –
Yes Nashville! So much love for this show, so I am seriously ridiculously excited that it’s back on.

Book Haul

Books gained: 4 (1 less than July)
Books bought: 1 (exactly the same as July)
Total spend on books: £5
Books for review: 3 (3 more than July)
Freebies/Gifts/Borrowed: 0 (4 less than July)



Other posts:

NetGalley % change: +0% (72%)

Challenge Updates

 ** [Bookish Resolutions update to follow in a separate post because otherwise this post was going to be ridiculously large!] **

Finish the series
This month’s progress: 0 series completed/caught up
Running Total: 7/7

2016 Audiobook ChallengeThis month’s progress: 1 audiobook

Listened to Dead Beat

Running Total: 10/10

Running Total: 16/365
 – Okay, so I suck at tracking these and I think I might be writing this challenge off….


This month’s progress: 1/3

Oops! Possibly another challenge to be written off? I’m definitely not as excited about the half of the list I’ve got left now as I was when I made it in December….

Running Total: 18/36

How was your August?


The Weekly Recap


Total spend: £5

My Week

This week has been great – I was at work the first few days and then off visiting family, which has been great fun but hasn’t meant much reading time! I haven’t made too much progress for #ReadThemAllThon but I did get The Lost Hero finished, which I really enjoyed.  I’ve nearly finished Queen of Shadows too, which I’m re-reading ready for Empire of Storms.  Not too much else on to report really!

Finished: The Lost Hero

Currently Reading: Queen of Shadows

How was your week?