I just attended the City of Melton Short Story Awards and was awarded third prize for my short story Best Friend for a Day. I’m quite chuffed because this is an extract of my memoir. The original chapter is 6,000 words, but this section stood alone very successfully at 1,500 words. So I’ll be using this strategy more in the future and submitting extracts for competitions.
I've been keeping up with Nano, which I'm really chuffed about considering all the other stuff I've been juggling. I haven't been maintaining the daily wordcount updates because I was doing that on the Nano website and some days even doing that was hard. I have now hit the 42,000 word mark and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
I do have to write 2,000 words a day to make up 50,000 words, but that won't be a problem. I'll probably have to keep writing a little while longer to get down all the scenes I've got on my list. Then the truly hard work will begin-trying to mould this miss-mash of words into something resembling a draft.
At the moment I've just got a word document with headings and have slapped down words, notes, etc without any crafting or attempt to write well. There's lots of telling and not showing. It basically reads like a hundred anecdotes one after the other.
Now I'm going to have to move things around and figure out what goes where, and frame each chapter. Then go through and do the crafting. Having seen how the words have multiplied in such an amazing way by writing every day I now know I need to continue breaking up the process into small manageable chunks.
So for now-2,000 words a day until Friday. Wish me luck. The end is nigh.
This year I had the opportunity to work with Year 9 and 10 students running creative writing workshops at Gisborne Secondary College funded by Artists in Schools. Last night I attended the launch of the anthology featuring the students’ stories.
The launch was a wonderful celebration of the student’s hard work and it gave me the opportunity to catch up with so many of them. I love young people, their passion, and their inspiration and it’s such a privilege to have been involved in their first publication.
I got to hear about how the project has positively impacted on the students in terms of them gaining confidence to submit for publication, and to write essays and other tasks in their English classes. The school is also inspired to continue developing writing programs. They have the wonderful fortune of having a published author, Tracey Mcguire on their staff, who will be leading the way and plans are underway for a festival and further writing programs.
I had the best time and am still on a high. It's so great to have these moments and see the positive impact I've had. I love teaching!
I attended the Page Seventeen launch and read my published poem Drill Sergeant. I didn't have a video camera so I taped myself reading my poem when I came home. Hope you enjoy watching.
If you’re interested in checking out the Page Seventeen issue check out the Busy Bird website here. They also publish untitled, a journal of short stories and are seeking submissions for their next issue and are also running a short story competition.
The judge of the short story competition is the super talented Koraly Dimitriadis. She’s published her book Love & fuck poems and it is being launched on the 6 December at Brunswick Book Store. Read my goodreads review of Koraly’s poetry chapbook which she has reissued as a gorgeous book.
It's happened. I've hit the halfway mark. For the first time I am keeping up with Nano. Feeling so motivated and happy.
It's been a real struggle. Have been doing a short course while doing Nano and some days have been super hard. Hopefully now have cleared my schedule a bit and feeling confident I will make it.
Onward and upward.
Total words: 25,006
I'm up to 19,000 words at the moment. Have finished typing up all my notes and will now have to do the hard yakka and write again, but at least I have a list of scenes to be developed.
Really finding this valuable. Being forced to dip in every day is keeping it alive for me. At the moment all the writing is rough as guts. It's just notes about what I need to develop so when I get to the end of this process I need to actually develop a proper draft.
It's getting harder keeping up. Have a bunch of work stuff that's wearing away at me and I'm constantly fitting in the writing at the end of the day, when the brain has pretty much had enough.
A few years ago I started a notebook and have 40 A4 pages of notes, memories, reminisces. The plan has always been to type these up so that's what I did the past two days. I'm typing up my notes rather than writing fresh stuff. It's still part of my draft and it's helping me figure out the structure, and I'm getting everything in one place so that from December I can begin the real work of creating a proper draft.
DAY 7: 1,800 words
DAY 8: 1,254 words
NANO TO DATE: 11,646
Have been really busy and juggling a lot of work stuff. Nano is ending up being squeezed at the end of the day, but at least I'm still keeping up. I'm behind at this point and my estimated date to finish is the 5 December, but I'm hopeful I will catch up.
Day 5: 500 words
Day 6: 1847
Total words I've achieved so far is 8,501. So while I'm behind, the fact is I am way ahead because I'm moving forward with my book and gaining clarity around structure and narrative as I go.
There are still 25 days and as long as I keep dipping my toe in, so to speak, and do some words every day, I will be a very, very happy woman.
Busy day with lots of visiting and activities with my daughter. Sat down an hour ago and eeked out some words. The motivation of having to report on my progress and falling behind if I miss any days gave me the impetus I needed.
Total words: 1432
Weekends are a hard ask to write. My daughter is home and it's all about family time, and also my natural instinct is to relax and enjoy. Didn't get around to writing until 5 pm. Managed to eek out 1048 words. At least I'm moving forward.
Total words: 1048
Amra Pajalić is an award-winning author, an editor and teacher who draws on her Bosnian cultural heritage to write own voices stories for young people, who like her, are searching to mediate their identity and take pride in their diverse culture. She writes memoir, young adult and romance under the pen name Mae Archer.
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