Ritu’s WIP – WIPW Guest Post

Welcome to Work in Progress Wednesday! Where we discuss your work that’s in progress!

As I mentioned back on Monday, the future of the Clouds is one that’s bright, positive and all about sharing creativity… With that in mind, we’ve got a Guest Blogger who embodies all those traits and more! If you’ve been around the blogosphere at all, she probably needs no introduction, but for the rest of you let me introduce… Ritu!

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Hi, my name is Ritu, of www.butismileanyway.com. I am a wife, mother, teacher, blogger, poet and wannabe author!

Thank you so much to Shaun for inviting me over to his blog today, to have a chat about what I am up to, creatively at the moment.
WIP
Work In Progress.
It’s a phrase I wasn’t familiar with until I started blogging.
And as I learned more about them, I realised that I had one of those… I had a WIP that needed more progress!
Seventeen (yes, really, seventeen!) years ago, before I got married, I felt a story bubbling inside me, and it was bursting to come out.
I wrote with full gusto and managed to get a few thousand words down, but then after marriage, life kinda took over, and my poor WIP languished in a folder on the PC, and in a printed copy in a binder, packed away.
As I began blogging, that creative outlet woke my passion for stories again, and I was writing fresh pieces on a regular basis, but that poor WIP was still sitting there, unattended, lonely, hurt that it was being given no attention.
I wished for time to give to it. I tested the existing chapters on my poor unsuspecting blog followers and was rewarded with some amazing feedback. I really needed to do this.
The hashtag #NaNoWriMo featured a lot during the weeks coming up to November, and following that, hearing of people publishing books that they had given birth to during #NaNoWriMo made me jealous. Oh to have a month that I could dedicate to just writing…
A dream that was just that.
A dream.
In November, teaching, my day job, is in full flow. There isn’t a spare moment in the day, after being teacher, wife and mother.
I started to get certain blog pals of mine giving me all sorts of advice:
Just do it – I would, but when?
Write whenever you have the timeBy the time I finish my necessary jobs, any extra moments left, are used being lazy.
Forget your blog for a whileWhat? Are you crazy? I tried that before, and lasted one day, or maybe two!
I figured I needed a set time to do this, to really get back in the saddle and ride this story to the finish line.
And that’s when it dawned on me. I couldn’t do #NaNoWrMo due to when that month was, but surely, if I could find time in the year when life for me was less crazy, I could do my own mini month long writing challenge.
August was the best time.
It was the only full month where I wouldn’t be at school. There would be no festivities, like Diwali, Christmas, Easter or Vaisakhi to worry about, just keeping the kids occupied. Hubby Dearest would be at work too, so there would be relative peace.
And so #RiNoWriMo was born! Ritu’s Novel Writing Month.

#RiNoWriMo

I took the first step, which was to make my intentions public, to my followers, that I had summer writing plans. Then, I told my family. If I didn’t have them on side, it would be a hard task. They needed to know how serious I was about writing.
Then I needed to decide what I actually wanted from this month of writing. #NaNoWriMo has a very specific word count that they expect participants to reach daily, as a minimum, so they can reach a respectable 50,000 words in a month.
I would love to be able to say that I managed that amount, but I also had to be realistic. Although I was free that month, I also had responsibilities, in the shape of children, who were not always going to keep themselves occupied!
So I decided that I would not expect to write on the weekends. If I managed some, it would be a bonus. On the weekdays, when I was at home with nothing else planned, I would attempt 2,500 words. On other days, such as the week I was back home visiting my parents, I would try at least 1,000 words, first thing in the morning.
And I made myself a visual storyboard.

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Characters, timelines, locations and photos all helped my story to come alive again.
And it is week two so far.
As you can imagine, after starting a story seventeen years ago, there were going to be issues, with remembering what you actually wanted to do with your story. Rereading my original manuscript meant that the story was fresh in my mind.
I sketched out a plan of what I was hoping would happen in the story, added a few new characters to be introduced, and then I just went for it.
The best time for me has been first thing in the morning when I have packed the husband off to work, the children are still asleep, and my cuppa is warm. I sit at the table, or sometimes on my bed, with my furry muse, Sonu Singh, as company, and we write…

And I am pleased to say that, as I write this, nine days into August, my originally 13,000-word long manuscript is nearly 30,000 words!
My WIP is finally back to being a real Work In Progress, not a once started, then forgotten piece!
And I hope this is a little bit of inspiration for anyone else out there hoping to finish writing something they started a while back. If you feel it was worth starting, then it’s sure and heck worth finishing too! (Just don’t leave it seventeen years!)
If you want to find me anywhere… seriously, I am everywhere… here are my links!
Social Media Profiles
Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhantomGiggler
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/phantom_giggler/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Flipboard: https://flipboard.com/@Phantom_Giggler
Stumbleupon: http://www.stumbleupon.com/stumbler/ritubhathal75
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal
And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon, where you can find the link to my poetry book, Poetic RITUals, which I actually did manage to publish, in less than seventeen years!
Author.to/RituBhathal

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An enormous thank you to Ritu for being brave enough to kick off this Work in Progress Wednesday with a 17 year wait for #RiNoWriMo to begin! Have you got a project you’ve been sitting on? Or a question for Ritu on hers? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to share yours, don’t hesitate to let me know and you could be featured on Work In Progress Wednesday!

How to be on the Clouds! A Guest Post Offer.

Want to be up on the Clouds? Apply to Guest Post here!

What a superb bit of serendipity that Work in Progress Wednesday (WiPW) lands on the 1st of February! Mainly because, for me at least, it’s about to become Focused February. That’s right, we’re already one month into 2017 and it’s time to kick myself up the bum and get FOCUSED. I’m excited, are you?

As part of my focus of Focused February I’m looking to focus on all of you; the readers, the writers, the photographers, the painters. All of you that are out there! I want to share with you, I want to hear your insights, I want to be invested in what you’re doing and breath in your inspiration.

That’s why I’m advertising the offer to be featured here on the Clouds. There will be a space every Wednesday for someone to talk about their Work in Progress (whatever it may be!). My ideas for the feature are for you to share something about what you’re working on, what you’ve recently learnt, or what’s recently inspired you. I’m happy for you to write a post, share a tutorial, or display a photo… I’m even happy to interview you about your work if you so wish! There’s more information over at the main page, with a few more ideas and a way to contact:

And, here are a couple of the past Guest Posts we had for NaNoWriMo!

WiPW – NaNo Edition: Featuring Cynthia

WiPW – NaNo Edition: Featuring Dominika

If you’re interested, simply let me know! Either comment down below or, preferably, fill out the form!

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be interested! And if that’s you, apply now!

200 Followers! – A WiPW

It’s Work in Progress Wednesday! A time for us to share anything in our life that is currently a work in progress. Maybe it’s your book, maybe it’s your photography, or maybe it’s even… your blog!

I haven’t been working on my novel recently, I’ve had limited time to write in the busy-build-up for Christmas, and I almost gave this post a miss… until I logged in. I was greeted by a lovely update to say I have hit 200 followers!

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Fantastic News!

I know it’s not the largest number in the world, I know there’s plenty of people out there that add zeroes upon zeroes to my figure: but that’s not the point. The point is, my blog is a Work in Progress and I’d be thankful if even one person read!

Recently, I mentioned a schedule I was going to start keeping to: You can find it here. We’re only two weeks in and quite frankly the first week was a write-off. However, like with NaNoWriMo, one thing it has been doing is making my blog more prominent in my mind. It’s a great exercise, and it’s actually one of the reasons I started Work in Progress Wednesdays. Like with Mindfulness techniques, such as giving thanks and being grateful, the more we acknowledge something the more we keep it in our minds in our daily life. In this instance, the more I’ve thought about my blog and about having a schedule, the more effort I’ve found myself reading, commenting, and enjoying the blogs of others. It’s also made me want to put more effort in, which was the entire goal of the schedule in the first place.

So, I wanted to use today’s WiPW to say thank you. Thank you to all the followers out there, new and old alike. Thank you to the comment writers and to the silent readers. Thank you simply for making me feel like my blog, my work in progress, is actually worth doing.

I won’t finish with a question, like I usually do. Instead I want to finish just by giving thanks to you all.

 

WiPW – NaNo Edition: A Nano-sized Success

I can’t quite believe it; it’s the end of November and, therefore, the end of NaNo. How lucky it fell on a WIP Wednesday so I could update you all about my progress!

Firstly, I’d like to thank my Guest Posters, Cynthia over at Willowbeithe and Dominika over on her blog, for putting up a WIPW for the first weeks of NaNo. If I take anything away from this NaNo it’s that it was very inspiring to work with others to produce some content. Hopefully it had a similar effect on you all and you found some value! Now, it’s time for an update of my own; something that will hopefully prove to be sort of inspiring but for all the wrong reasons (as in, you’ll compare yourself to me and feel better for it).

November this year was busy; busy beyond measure. You’ve probably gleaned this from my other posts where I’ve grumbled away, complaining how little time I get, and then relished that I actually am able to be busy when so many people aren’t. It’s a vicious cycle of complaint and gratitude. My NaNo progress is no different. My life has been busy, I’ve been annoyed that I haven’t had enough time to devote to NaNo, I’ve been frustrated that my word count has remained so low when I’ve seen the word counts of others soar, but, when all is said and done, I’ve still written more than I would have in any other month.

If we take a look at my last WIPW that had a word count, we can see that Remembrance in Blood had a word count of 12,000+. A good, solid number to start with; a good foundation to build off. Where did NaNo help me reach then? Did I surpass 75,000? Well, No. What about 50,000? Eh… No again. Wow, this is embarrassing. Ok, enough delay … I hit 24,000+. That’s double my original word count. As I wrote in the previous post, I was averaging about 4,000 words a week and so surely that means NaNo has been no different. Except November has been that busy I’ve probably only had two weeks of November to actually get something written down. That’s good, right?

Even if you don’t think that’s a success, I think the true success has been that writing has been at the forefront of my mind. When I’ve been busy at work, or stuck doing DIY at home, I’ve still had writing on the brain. NaNo has helped to emphasise that and make sure I’m always focused on my goal. It’s amazing what having a reminder for your goal can do for your mind-set. I’ve learnt that I need some kind of schedule or structure; I’ve learnt that I’m absent minded and I have a tendency to just… forget…. or put priorities out of my head. I work best when I have encouragement, deadlines, and support; NaNo does help provide that but it’s something I’m going to carry forward into the future.

I’ve also learnt just how inspiring other people are. I mean, of course I already knew this, just how I already knew how absent minded I was, but it still serves as a valuable reminder. I’ve watched other bloggers take part in NaNo and hit their targets, smash their word counts, complete their works. I’ve watched people pick up a pen where they might not otherwise. I’ve been inspired and it’s once again showed the value of this online community; the value of sharing our work.

So, in that sense NaNo has been a success; I’ve written more than I would have, I’ve thought about my book more than I would have, and I’ve learnt some valuable lessons. That’ll do for this year and, when NaNo 2017 rolls around, I’ll be far more prepared and ready to write a second book! (because I will finish this one before then!)

Did you take part in NaNoWriMo2016? How did you get on? Want to rub my face in your word count? Please do! Go ahead, boast, you deserve to! Relish your success! Let me know how things went!

 

https://clockworkclouds.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/self-telling-stories-wip-wednesday-4/

WiPW – NaNo Edition: Featuring Dominika

So, it’s midway through November, and it’s Work in Progress Wednesday (WiPW), so what could you want more than a motivational guest post from someone who is not only taking part in NaNoWriMo 2016 but has completed numerous previous NaNoWriMo’s! Please welcome Dominika.

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2016 is my fourth year participating in NaNoWriMo. At the end of the month, it will be my fourth “win” and fourth novel written during the month of November.

There is an apt phrase for the last two weeks of NaNo; “Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

The middle of November can be a time when the going gets tough. Some writers finish before the month is out, but others dedicate the entire month to working on their novel, stories, or whatever writing project they’re challenging themselves to give time and attention to.

NaNoWriMo isn’t just about how many words are on the page. It’s about the personal challenge, about the motivation, the inspiration, and about the diverse community that participates throughout the month.

In the past, I have used rigid outlines (even beat sheets) to write my NaNo-novel, and there have also been times in which I had no conceivable forethought of what I was about to write… In the words of author John Steinbeck, “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple, learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.

Aim on what you can do to be and feel your best while writing during NaNoWriMo. Being flexible about what works is important because adaptability can help a great deal when falling behind on word count in the later half of the month. To paraphrase Lawrence Block; how a writer schedules their time is a personal matter best resolved through a consideration of their preferences and circumstances

When dealing with difficulties or obstacles, it’s important to focus on what you can do, not what you can’t. Concentrate on the thrill of the challenge and avoid getting frustrated about where you think you “should” be. Part of the NaNoWriMo challenge is to not judge yourself or your writing, but to enjoy the task of continually challenging yourself within a supportive, compassionate space.

Fostering a positive relationship between your mind and writing makes it a lot more likely that you will adopt writing as a lifelong habit. Life is tough enough without talking negatively to yourself and continually dissecting fluctuating ‘progress’ in a harsh manner. Be kind to yourself, enjoy the journey and the meditative essence that is the nature of writing.

NaNoWriMo offers a variety of community tools. My favorites for this year are the pep talk archives and word sprints. The NaNoWriMo exercise allows insight into where a writer is and where they might go, in relation to their work. In the end, everyone makes NaNoWriMo into what they need it to be for them during that particular year.

Understanding intention, why you got involved with NaNo in the first place, is a good start to using the self for comparison as means of motivation. A writer can find improvement through striving to push their writing beyond where their writing was a day ago, a week ago, a month ago, a year ago, etc. while also being compassionate to personal circumstances.

Writing provides a link to the world and explores our innermost thoughts; it offers a retreat and an escape, as well as a deep connection with personal truths.

So, even it’s a mere one word per day for the rest of the month, don’t give up! …but even if you do, know that you gave time to something incredibly important because it was something that you wanted to attempt and something you felt inspired to join. Honor your inspiration, but be adaptable enough to move on to new inspirations when they arise.

Even if we fall behind, even if we think we might quit, we must allow for the inspiration that first brought us to try this crazy challenge to pull us back in and see this thing through, whatever that means for you.

For me, it means that even though at the time of writing this post I’m 9,806 words behind where I “should” be (due to being terribly distracted by the election), I will rally my word count and win this NaNoWriMo. Just like I’ve won every time I’ve participated because that is my challenge that I put forth to myself and I know I am capable as long as I do what is necessary, which is everything I’ve shared with you so far. If you’d like to read more about specific tips to increase word count, I wrote a post about that very subject during last year’s NaNoWriMo.

Be proud of what you have accomplished to this point and don’t ever forget… there’s always next year! …But there’s also two more weeks to write, write, write!

I’d like to conclude with sharing three motivating quotes that I keep near during this November;

Have you not succeeded? Continue! Have you succeeded? Continue!” – Fridtjof Nansen.

Ever tried. Ever failed. No Matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett.

Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.” – Albert Einstein.

Thank you for reading! Now, I don’t know about you, but I have some writing to do.

WiPW – NaNo Edition: Featuring Cynthia

Welcome to Clockwork Clouds first ever Guest Post!

As you’ll have read I’ve been banging on about people taking part in Work in Progress Wednesdays – I posted yesterday, I posted last week and I have a permanent contact form. Well, it turns out it actually works and if you’d like to see more of these, you know what to do! My aim was always to help people share their ideas; inspiration can be catching after all. So, sharing ideas with us today… Is Cynthia over at Willowbeithe! Take it away Cynthia!

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Why write with NaNoWriMo?

nanowrilarge

What is happening right now? I am writing. It is the easiest thing in the world to be convinced that something else is more important than sitting down and writing. Because of participating with writing a novel in November, my goal is 1667 words a day. It is challenging and because of the challenge, most days the word count goes over that number. There is some control. If there are plans that require the writing to be put on hold, then there is an effort to write twice as much when able. Sometimes what is written makes no sense. At the end, there will be editing, more editing and then a lot more editing. There will be areas that will need to be built on further and some spots that can be deleted entirely. It feels incredible to NOT have to worry about any of that right now. All that needs to happen right now is writing. Thank you NaNoWriMo!

What inspires me?

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Mostly, monsters and politics. Is it really any different for anyone else?

Years ago it was something else entirely that inspired and motivated me. My muse was always an incredibly sexy vampire. They have always been one of coolest character types ever. Their nature, what they do to survive, has always been the crust and depict perfectly my plot. While they are sucking the life right out of this character or that one, the story unfolds and it is easy to connect to the message.

For a long time I hung onto that theory that my characters would be about vampires. Then, more recently I have gotten really disgusted with the campaigns of the United States presidential election. Something else has stirred in me and that is where Windsor comes from. There is an eerie feeling I get when I think about what is going on in my country and with world politics. And, of course climate change.

My story does not resonate these things on spot and I am not writing a dystopian type of novel. In the back of my mind the ugliness of this world is what inspires the fantasy. Then finding a way out of that is the story. Before going there, I really had to nail it down to an origin for me to even begin writing. That beginning point is Windsor. What Windsor creates is a world where my story takes place and the characters in my head live.

Writer to Writer

I’m not sure of anything that I can offer to make a difference to another writer especially since everyone measures success differently. I am not a published author. Even so, I feel that I am living the dream of a writer because I am making the choice to write.

The one thing writers can be sure of is, a writer is a writer because one writes. It really is that simple. And, if I was to say anything to another writer I would say, never let anyone tell you that your words, your ideas or your story is not worth writing.

This might seem obvious. Save, save, save. Even though it is obvious I have forgotten to save and have lost work. It’s also good to save externally so if your computer needs to be restored. That has happened to me too.

Ideas will come after walking away from the story so keep a journal handy. It is amazing what watching a load of laundry does for writer’s block. And, it never fails. My eyes can feel like a ton of weight, then when to bed ideas flood me. Even when they do not make sense, write them. There will be a place for those ideas at some point.

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An introduction of sorts to what it is that I am working on this November while writing all I can write with National Novel Writing Month. Photographs inspire me and help me to see my characters better. The cover is probably not going to be used in the end, but it does a lot for my ego right now. The entire story is choppy and with a lot of holes. It is at the beginning stages. There is still a lot of work ahead. None of that matters right now. Right now I am writing and that is exactly what all of this is about.

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Who or What is Windsor?

In the darkness there was a voice. If that voice could be felt it would be cold. The voice shuddered one word. “Astugsna.” And, the world of Astugsna was born. The essence of Windsor rolls through Astugsna like wind or air breathing life into every being that exist there. When everything is as it should be Windsor takes rest in his world. Our story takes off at the point when Windsor has thrown himself into a poser. Windsor is Leer.

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Leerá

Son of Flint and Myla and brother to Zyte. Leer is the incarnate of Windsor, the essence of all things. Leer has an incredible bond to his brother and holds high hopes of watching him become ruler of Astugsna.

Leer is practical, watchful, over bearing, over protective, decisive.
Leer never lets his brother Zyte out of his sight.

What Leer’s parents Flint and Myla notice in their son, marks an evolution.

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Why not make Leer the ruler? I hope to convey in my story how Windsor likes to play with his world. It is enough for him to have a front row seat. It is how his world and the creatures living there evolve with emotion that he did not expect.

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Why the title Kaida?

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Before Windsor, before Leer, Kaida was meant to be the star. She is the key. Kaida’s mother is a poser and her father is a shifter. She is born with physical traits of both species and unable to change from one or the other. The exotic half-ling develops a knowing that threatens everything Windsor has designed. Leer has set out to dispose of her which is an act against Astugsna law. When Leer sees Kaida, how uniquely beautiful she is, he has other plans. The story might stop there if Kaida didn’t develop ideas of her own.

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Thank you Shaun for this space and an opportunity to write for your blog. I wish everyone success with their writing this month. If anyone needs a writing buddy, look me up! I’m shedhippie at NaNoWriMo. Feel free to follow me on TwitterInstagram and Pinterest or visit my blog Willowbeithe. Good luck everyone!

 

Sharing Inspiration.

How bored are you of hearing me harp on about inspiration? Not bored enough? Good! Because there’s more… So. Much. More.

Yesterday, when I was all hyped up on positivity (which, I still am by the way!), I alluded to having received interest for the NaNoWriMo Edition of my WiPW. Whether it’s because people share my enthusiasm for the spreading of ideas, or simply because they love a mass set of acronyms, I’ve had people filling out the Contact Form and getting in touch.

So, this is just a heads up. Tomorrow we will have our FIRST EVER Guest Post here on Clockwork Clouds. If you really are bored of hearing me going on, and on, and on, and on… Well, tomorrow is your chance for a break. You will only have the briefest of introductions from yours truly, before my blog is overtaken by an inspiring and idea-filled post of someone else’s.

That’s all I had to say today. Remember to spread your enthusiasm, share your inspiration, and continue to love and support everyone else! Ideas grow and prosper when we communicate them to others.

There’s still time to get in touch, to host a post of your own here on Clockwork Clouds; just get in touch! Or, failing that, why not just write a WiPW on your own blog? No reason you have to host it here if you don’t want to. Tag it WiPW so we can all find it!