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A Life Less Ordinary

IWSG Writing Update November 2017 – Just Because I Have To

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For November, the question is “Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?”

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the accomplished co-hosts are Tonja Drecker, Diane Burton, MJ Fifield, and Rebecca Douglass. Feel free to swing by their sites and see what they are up to.

The answer to the question

The only NaNo I have ever heard of is the NaNoWriMo, which means National Novel Writing Month and takes place in November. I have never joined any NaNo challenge or competition and don’t know much about it. Checking out other writers’ blogs will provide you with more information. I do know that if I ever commit to such a project – if writing non-fiction is allowed – I would finish it. I hate to give up on goals and commitments.

My own book progress

Which brings me to my ongoing memoir project, which I have not given up on yet. That is the good news. The bad news – once again – is that progress has been minimal last month. After finishing a massive project for our business The Wirie, I had a couple of days left during our Colorado house sit to pick up the manuscript again. And, that was that. We had a thirteen day gap between being in the mountains and arriving at the coast in California for the next house sit. That time was happily spent exploring some National Parks in Utah and visiting with friends. Updates to follow soon.

Our current three-month house sit in San Diego started this week. I was determined to dive in immediately. But, guess what, just when I became serious again about that memoir (yes, I did write on Monday), a massive translation project landed in my inbox at midnight. A decision about the assignment had to be made quickly. Real money or no money? The choice was easy for me, but it is a lot of (boring) work and the deadline is very tight. Hence, I’m writing this post at 10pm, with my eyes half-closed, my back in pain and my mind fed up with computer screens…


To writing in the future, doing what we love best, and no more snow!

How was your October?


  1. October was crazy busy, to the point I completely forgot IWSG was on Wednesday. Gleep!

    With the Utah conference, tons of media interviews (it’s the spooky season, after all), and ComicCon, I was run off my feet all month.

    I’m thinking NaNoWriMo might actually feel like a break this year. Good luck with your memoirs this month!

    • It looks like you have been crazy busy last month, jmh, with writing, promoting, being present everywhere and being involved. I’m sure you reached a lot of your goals! Will you join NaNoWriMo this month? I can imagine that “just” sitting in a chair and writing will be a nice change. 🙂

      • Yep, I’m doing NaNoWriMo once again, for the fifth year in a row. As of now, I’m WAY behind, but determined to catch up.

        And non-fiction projects are welcome! You can work on whatever you like.

  2. Yes, you need a break from the snow. There are NaNo Rebels out there you “adapt” NaNo to suit their needs, such as using it to write non-fiction, short stories or even edit a current manuscript. So no reason why you couldn’t join in the NaNo fun if you want. 🙂

  3. I know that when your back feels better and the translation job is done, three months in one spot will mean that you will make great progress on your memoir. And, looking for the silver lining, the incredibly tight deadline on the translation work means you’ll get ‘real money’ and your time back that much sooner. Hang in there, Liesbet. Sunny, no-snow, minimal stress days ahead. You’re ready for them!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Karen. You are right about the duration of this sit and my determination to write. I feel like it will be “now or never” for my memoir in San Diego, because who knows what other adventures lay behind the horizon after that?? 🙂 Hoping to have a productive week before Mark returns!

  4. Hi Lisebet! Good for you for honoring your commitment for this blog post in spite of all the busy-ness you’ve had going on this last month. And yes, sometimes we’ve got to do what we’ve got to do to keep going. But this job will pass and hopefully you’ll be free to visit more with friends (????) and also work on your book. Enjoy your current “sit” and I look forward to seeing you again soon. ~Kathy

    • I really wanted to get this Wednesday blog out, Kathy and I’m glad I did, despite the late hour of the day. Having a real job for a few days, makes me realize again how most people live. But, I hope their real job is more interesting and exciting than this translation job. 🙂 Done now, so ready for a new week, and for meeting up again at some point in the near future!

  5. I think you are smart to take the paying job even though it puts you off your plan for a while. Once it’s over you can redirect your focus… which I hope will include time to get together 🙂

    • When the opportunity arises to make some real money and have a satisfying exchange of work and income, I’m happy to grab it with both hands. Hope to get serious about my writing again on Monday. See you very, very soon, Janis! 🙂

  6. Some things take priority in life and I think best not to beat yourself up about that. Sending hugs and we surely could share some of our snow which is falling out of the sky in buckets. the first ski hill in the area opens tomorrow.

    • Please, feel free to keep your snow, Sue! 🙂 Embracing some sunshine here in San Diego today, where my first week has been cloudy and quite chilly. The weather everywhere we go, surely must have to do with our presence there…

  7. I would have taken the paying job too! I know that your Memoir will get done — and it will be well-worth the wait! Thanks for the update!

    • I agree. Problem is that the amount of times I have thought that (“The memoir can wait.”) has become uncountable, resulting in most of two years having my book writing on the bottom of the to-do list. Soon, that is about to change. I swear!! 🙂

  8. I shall focus on the good news and also add that any progress at all is also good news. All the best with finishing your memoir!

  9. It’s been so long since I’ve checked out those writing challenges, but I should look into this to jumpstart my own novel writing, which occurs in fits and starts. You’ve been super busy, and it’s all stuff you need to do, so don’t sweat it – you’ll find the time to focus on your memoir again soon, I’m sure! 🙂

    • Life often gets in the way, doesn’t it? And, who am I to not enjoy this past RV adventure as much as possible? 🙂 I hope you join NaNo this month, Lexie. It will give your writing a boost and being made accountable with or without these challenges always helps to get things done, like start another novel. Or maybe even finish the first draft in one month. Courage!!

  10. Definitely the paying job was the smart choice! Can’t wait for your Utah posts – I think S Utah is my favourite ever North American roadtrip. An amazing place.

    • Those parks and southern Utah in general have been on the mental list for so long, Anabel, that I am very grateful it actually, finally happened. And, quite unexpectedly… When we faced this 13-day gap (and a quieter time with the business, since our partner went on a scheduled vacation at the same time!!!), and Utah seemed to be on the way between two house sits, the decision was made quickly and happily. Can’t wait to explore some more of the West.

  11. Yay for being in San Diego! Hope to see you there right after Christmas. We’ll be there for two weeks, then on to Hawaii! School for me is winding down (all my papers and midterms are graded for this week, while I go visit the other girls), so I hope to look at my fitness book again and do some more writing. So going to miss you next week, but I understand the reasons! You’ll have to PM me and tell me where in SD you are staying!

    • Looks like the time has come for more pleasurable pursuits for you, Terri. We will be happy to meet up with you and Hans after Christmas and envy you your Hawaii trip. Yes, it is good to be in San Diego. Hopefully, the clouds make room for sun soon and we get to enjoy the area a bit. We are near Liberty Station, but I’ll be in touch over email. Good luck resuming your fitness book and enjoy the blogger’s meet-up next week. I”m sure it will be fun!!

  12. Wishing you perseverance with your memoirs Liesbet! You have a lot to share, and you write so well. But I know how difficult it is to find the time and motivation to write when there’s no deadline. Congrats on getting the big translation project though!

    • Thanks, Denzil! Working on that perseverance and actually started writing again this morning. I do, honestly, enjoy it, and need to make it a priority the coming three months. Have fun at the concert!!

  13. Good for you Liz! I’ve never been able to write well while in a transitional environment. On good days, I’m able to be productive if I write in the living room, but usually, I need to tuck myself into my cave with minimal distractions in order to get anything done.

    I’m excited to read your memoir! I understand that the demands of real life often push those deadlines back, but hope you know that you have a fan in me that is looking forward to reading you finished work.

    • I”m not a good one with distractions either, Gabe, unfortunately. When it is nice out, I feel guilty sitting inside. When Mark is frustrated, I can’t concentrate. When there is a blog to write, my book gets lower priority, and when there is real money to be made, well.. what book? 🙂

      Thanks for your ongoing support in regards to my memoir. One day, this project will see daylight!

  14. You get an A for effort Liesbet. Glad you got a bit of time to squeeze in on your memoir. And Nano isn’t for everyone. Sheesh, we have enough pressure on us without pressuring ourselves more. And so glad you’re out of the snow. It’s getting cold enough here that I can feel the snow coming soon. Enjoy the sunshine 🙂

    • I hear you about the personal pressure, Debby. I do think that if I ever commit to NaNo (heck, I wrote 90,000 words one month when doing an online writing course), I will succeed, but this month is – once again – not the right month to commit to a certain word count. Especially, since I don’t want to write 50K words in these last chapters I’m working on. I have too many words already as it is. 🙂

      Let’s hope sunshine returns to “cloudy San Diego”! Luckily, no snow. Hope you will be alright this winter.

  15. Well it sounds like you haven’t been working on the book for all the right reasons :-). Hopefully you’ll have more time in San Diego

  16. Real money is usually the better choice. I admire how you keep fighting, keep working, hoping. That sort of effort will pay off. Good luck.

  17. Oh well, Liesbet- the money’ll be good! And how darn lucky to wind up in San Diego 🙂 🙂 Lfe’s not all bad, is it?

    • San Diego is the perfect choice for the winter, Jo, and we are glad that this opportunity arose and we were the chosen house sitters. 🙂

  18. Liesbet, I have participated in NaNoWriMo at various times over the last 10 years. Although I don’t follow many of the NaNo rules (such as they are), seldom aim for 50,000 words, and am aware that November 30 is an imaginary deadline, nevertheless it works for me. In November I plant my butt in the chair and write. I know I could not sustain this intensity of writing every month, but it is very satisfying to prioritize my writing and immerse myself in my writing project for this one month. Good luck with the work on your memoir during your time in San Diego!


    • Hi Jude, I guess you are writing away then right now!? Good for you! I can see NaNo being very motivating and making one accountable for one’s progress. Setting your own rules might take the pressure off a little bit. I guess I could have joined – with my own rules – this month, as I aim to make my memoir a priority these three months in San Diego, as well. So far, so good. Cheers to you (and me) for a good writing month and a decent feeling of accomplishment!

  19. Hmm, It’s an impossible balancing act. I’ve barely blogged and written nothing for about three months. I’ve worked flat out on a garden project instead, but I’m beginning to realise that there is no end of other jobs that MUST be done, so if I’m ever to make progress on this novel, something else will have to wait.

    • How is that garden project going, Hilary? I think it is beneficial to let all that writing rest for a few months once in a while, especially if it is to pursue another hobby. One feels refreshed to write again afterwards. Have you been having book/story ideas flood your brain while you were outdoors? I feel like I can never have a total break from the writing urge, whether it is in my head or at the keyboard. And, you are right, there are always so many projects that seem to get priority over writing, if we let them. It’s all about energy, focus and determination when it comes to an extended writing project, like a book…

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