So today is the 3oth November, and if you are a writer that only means one thing- NanoWriMo is officially over.
You can take a deep sigh of relief, step away from the monitor, and relax. There will be no more nightmares about looming word counts, no more anxieties about days when you just have no time to write, and normal life may finally resume.
I am lucky enough to be able to call myself a winner! *pauses for rapturous applause* And have taken great pleasure in printing off my Nano winners certificate, and cashing in my 50% discount on Scrivener.
It hasn’t been so much fun, however, turning back to the flat that I haven’t hoovered for 30 days, and the mountain of angry voice mails from friends and family who I have been ignoring
On the plus side- I have managed to complete the challenge; and have written 50,000 words of fan-fiction, based on a fantasy novel my boyfriend has written.
My book is called A Delicate Balance, and follows the journey of two sisters who are reunited, only to learn that their father, who they had thought dead, may also still be alive. They are informed of this by a mysterious stranger who communicates with them via mysterious letters..
They are subsequently motivated to set off, under direction from their elusive letter-writer, to find him and hopefully reunite as a family. But, obviously, nothing is as it initially seems, and they are thrust into a series of events which slowly spiral out of all control and threaten to affect much more than just their family.
It has been a lot of fun to write, and lets just say it’s gonna get epic. I’m gonna try and go all Brandon Sanderson on my ending, and create an avalanche of awesomeness for the final few hundred pages.
I am very aware, however, that this is my first fiction novel, and so the brilliance of the ideas I have in my head probably won’t translate into my writing. This is really the reason I am writing an epic fantasy novel, which I know will likely never get published. It is acting as my dress- rehearsal novel; my space to practise fiction writing, before starting anything real which might actually go somewhere.
So the fact that I have finished Nano is a relief, because everything else has kinda faded into the background this month.
My plan, with regards to this blog, was to post two times a week; and to alternate between updates on my self-help book and the whole process of writing and editing, and articles about my lovely schizophrenia and various observations and ideas on that word and what it means to me.
I haven’t been doing to well lately though. My last post was two weeks ago, and prior to that the last one was another week before. But I knew that this was going to happen; that the nano deadline would subsume everything else and that, this month, everything else would take a back seat. Blogging included.
I have also, in the last month, started a new volunteering position at a homelessness charity in London, which has been absolutely brilliant so far, and is going to be the basis for my next post.
This is currently taking up two days each week, and may go up to three; but has also been on my mind quite a lot because they are making it very clear that they would like me to apply for a full time job. Eeeeeek!
This is so positive, and I am beyond pleased that I have finally found a position within an organisation which I could see myself working for, and that actually seem to be eager for me to start. There aren’t too many jobs out there for people who have been unemployed for ten years.
However the flip side to this, is that once I start working full time, my benefits will stop. Stopped- completely, finally, irrecoverably. Which is a pretty terrifying idea seeing as I have been on them for ten years, and have had to leave positions in the past which initially seemed great, but then brought on stress and led to a revival of negative symptoms.
In the past I have either volunteered, or worked part time doing “permitted work,”which is the maximum number of hours a person can do without having their disability benefit affected. So I have been able to work/volunteer, and continue to receive benefits; and I have been able to leave positions and move on once it became clear that it wasn’t right for me and wasn’t sustainable in light of my mental health.
If I start full-time work, I am into uncharted territory; the territory of the ‘sane’ worker. Am I sane? Who knows. Somedays, yes; other days, prooooobably not.
As my boyfriend has told me, this is not something to worry about too much just yet. I have only just started the volunteering position, and I don’t have to give in to their pressure to get a real job right away. I am quite good at pointedly ignoring any remarks which are made relating to how badly they need staff, and how well I seem to have grasped the role already.
I just stare in the other direction and pretend to be thinking something massively important.
Right now I only need to feel glad to have this opportunity; and accomplished in that I have finished Nano, and can go back to editing and re-working my self help book. It’s been loads of fun writing fiction, but I want to get back to my baby, the book which could, maybe, one day, get published.
That’s if I can work out the best way to write it.
So now, real life may resume; and I hope to be much more active on here. Two posts a week, and activity, activity, activity!- because, suddenly, I seem to have all the time in the world…