Winner of NaNoWriMo 2014 lets a heavy glass pot lid fall over her head…

Sunday I declared myself winner of NaNoWriMo 2014 and to celebrate I let a heavy glass pot lid fall over my head. No, I’m not crazy, neither eccentric, it was just an accident. Very interesting way to celebrate it though, a huge bump in the head and an ice bag over my head. So people were telling me “wow! You must be excited to have finished your writing month and must had celebrated a lot” And I just go back to my memories of the terrible pain my head was in that day. At least, I managed to write the last words before the accident, because I wouldn’t have written anything else after the glass lid decided it was good to bounce on my head. Although, a good scene of pain and suffering could have actually come up well inspired at that time.

nanowrimo certificate

But anyway, let´s stop talking about the bad part of last Sunday and talk about the best part. I did it! I finished the first manuscript of an entire novel, over 88000 words in total. When I started NaNo I was at 38000 words more or less, it took me around 3 months to write those 38K. If it wasn’t for NaNo, I wouldn’t had pop out those remaining 50K and I would have finished my novel next year.

Never have I ever (I’ve just remembered a drinking game… if you know what I mean, if not just continue reading 🙂 ) I’ve would have dreamed that when I put in my 2014 New Year’s resolution “Start writing for seriously” I would have ended up the year with a whole first manuscript for a novel. Surreal.

www focusinc group com

Image source: www.focusincgroup.com

Of course, I must point out it´s a “first” manuscript.  This December will be harsh polishing and editing. One of the things that you learn with NaNo is to just let it flow; write, write and let the characters guide you through the story. No editing during November, not only because it would have caused constant deletion of words but also because there was no time. And it works, it really does. This is my first time writing a novel and believe me, I struggled very much at the beginning figuring it out how to start, how to plot the story, how to define structure, pacing, etc. Now I know that there has to be some planning at the beginning, but then if you want the story to really flow and reach its end, you just have to let it go, it works. But then of course with no editing in this “flowing” stage, a second, and even third draft have to be considered, the disadvantages of spontaneity.

But I declare myself satisfied. Never have I ever, I’ve been more consistent and persistent in doing what I want to do for the rest of my life. I proved myself that I can do it, that I can create the habit of writing every single day (including weekends and holidays). I can do it. “I’m a roller coaster that only goes up” John Green (Yeah, I’m quoting The Fault in Our Stars, but the quote felt righter than ever).

www pic gifs com

Image source: www.picgifs.com

Struggling with a place where people don’t use Twitter…

So the book I’m reading of how to build an author platform informs me that I should use Twitter, yep that very popular social network that works everywhere but in Bolivia, and I don’t mean that you can access the site here, but that people just don’t get it and hence don’t use it. Many people in my country use Facebook, WhatsApp, and many other social networs, plainly frequently, but Twitter is the exception, it has been left out, the poor one  😦 . So when the author platform book said “start gathering your followers with your friends and work colleages…” I was “hello? is anybody here using Twitter?”. After some blank stares, I must have found only 3 people who used it, but never actually “USED IT” in the sense of the word, just opened the account some time ago, and that was it, they were officially in twitter.
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Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com
That left me wondering? why? but why? as I got into Twitter, started tweeting, retweeting, using hashtags, and all the things you do on Twitter, I started understanding why this platform wasn’t popular in my country.
  • First, people here are not into expressing and opening to the outer world. In twitter, for example, you can post an awesome picture and, with the right followers, and hashtags, you could get “Twitter-famous” from one day to the other.
  • Other social networks are more about your circle of friends, the people you know, the pictures where you recognize friends’ gatherings, families, etc. We’re still a closed society here, and there’s a lot of: who you are friends with, who do you know, etc., so everything happens among the people you know, not strangers.  People here are not into making random friends from elsewhere… And yep, Twitter is mostly all about that. I mostly don’t know the people that follow me, and unless I’ve been following some famous person or a celebrity, I usually follow people that seem cool according to what they tweet, even if I don’t really don’t know them.
So I made a quick poll, among friends, I asked them “Why don’t you use Twitter? or Why do you think bolivians are not into Twitter?. These are some answers I got:
  • People here are not so used to express in few words (the 140 restriction which drives me insane)
  • It´s about gossip worst than Facebook
  • Because I don´t see any benefit on it
  • It´s enough with Facebook, why would I have Twitter?
  • People here are used to personalize social networks and are more into wanting to know what their friends will say or tell. They’re not into free expression, not because it’s banned, but because it’s not motivated, and we feel inhibited. (I like this one, it comes from a friend that actually uses twitter, thanks Vanessa 🙂
So after all these reasons and opinions, I really don’t have a strong opinion about Twitter, all I know is that it’s good to have it for an author platform. So for any of you of my brilliant blog followers out there, if any of you would like to follow me on Twitter, please do so at: @carlisdm And if you have any strong opinions of why you like or don’t like twitter, please feel free to leave your comments!!!

Once I forgot the typewriter I forgot how to live…

(This is a continuation of the previous post: How to make your kid an avid reader/writer)

I still remember when I was little, no computer yet in my house (I got my first computer when I started University) but we used to have a typewriter (well, we still do, it´s there forgotten somewhere in a dark place of my house). I had read in the newspaper about a writing contest, sponsored by the government in my city, and I thought it was a hell of opportunity for me. I was no more than eight years old, and decided to enter this contest for ‘novel writers’. I´m convinced that it was just for adults but I didn´t pay attention to it. I just wrote with my typewriter a wonderful story (that shamefully I never kept a copy) of a fantasy world. Since typewriters didn´t allow you to make mistakes, my presentation was extremely awful. Being a kid, I wasn´t conscious yet about having to redo a whole page whenever I had a mistake on the typewriter, I would just use an eraser and type over the mistake.

Image source: site.xavier.edu
Image source: site.xavier.edu

When I was done, I begged my Aunt Nancy, who used to live near the post office, to put the papers in an envelope and submit it to the P.O. box of the contest. Of course, I never won or anything and the writing must had been really embarrassing, but I was just eight years old! Nevertheless, having such a wonderful imagination (that I still have fortunately), the story in itself must had been a lot of fun.

At that age, I felt there was no limit for me and no barriers to achieve whatever I wanted. What a shame, I was never encouraged to follow these dreams. I wrote short stories for my mom and some members of my family before I was 10. I have a couple of them stored in a box, and of course the writing is terrible but the stories, the creativity, the characters were great. But what I remember the most is that I always felt fulfilled whenever I wrote those stories.That sense of fulfilment shouldn´t be forgotten, we should live our lives with the intention of feeling always like that.

However, I did forget it… and it was shameful because it led me to years and years of an unsatisfied and unhappy life….

P.S. will continue…

BUSY LIVES ARE THE BEST!!!

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Image source: http://www.stevewiens.com

So this last month has been chaotic for me… Yep, I know, I haven’t written anything here in this period of time… What was I doing? Well just creating an online virtual store, working full time as tech writer, preparing a bachelorette party, translating some documents and the list could go for ages…

But actually, this has been a very, VERY good month; it was all chaos but very fulfilling. I may not have achieved something big and I may be in diapers with the online virtual store, but still, things are getting accomplished little by little.

And I even found that I want to start other projects as well, I can´t help it, I´m a constant project machine… I never get bored; there is no easy weekend or peaceful resting time… Yesterday, for example, I decided to give me a break, I switched off the computer at around 7:00 pm and decided to turn on the TV to catch a movie and just do nothing. I caught a very nice one: “Valentine´s Day” (I´m not that romantic but anyway…), but whenever there were commercial breaks I would find myself without knowing what to do…. How funny is that?… I usually watch TV while the laptop is on, or I have my tablet or cell phone near me to check stuff at the same time… I felt like I was not being productive enough with my time…. Is that lame? I really don´t know, and it wasn´t like I was disconnecting myself from the electronic world, I was in front of a good piece of electronic device: the TV!!!

Anyway, I finally got it, I LOVE multi-tasking, I LOVE being busy; I feel that I have the chance to do so many things in one day. And this is not about dependence on technology, I really enjoy doing other physical activities such as sports, dance and shopping (come on I´m a girl, who cannot love shopping?). So I guess that just watching TV was too “easy and so simple” for me…

So get the chance to BUSY YOURSELF, enjoy every day at the very BEST, do as MANY THINGS as you can, go to bed feeling exhausted but feeling that you made THE MOST OF YOUR DAY… life is so short… do you want to let it go WITHOUT DOING MUCH? 

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Image source: antdagamertv.blogspot.com 

Fear of mistakes and risks? Why? Those are the best things in life!!!

Well, this is the final week of my gift store. Well, it’s a long story but I’ll summarize it for you.

Two years ago I decided to quit my job because I was tired of the path I was taking and I wanted to be independent (meaning not working for somebody else). I didn’t have much money at that point and started a little business of my own: a gift store with many novelties that were not to be found anywhere in my city. I didn’t do much market research and I thought that the products I was trying to sell were so awesome that people were going to buy it without hesitation. Unfortunately, things in my country are really different from what I expected, and after 2 years of investing money in renting a place and trying to make the business grow, I came to the conclusion that it was not profitable. I was never good in accounting and finance, but I know that in the course of those 2 years I have invested a significant amount of money and I haven’t recovered not a third of it, yeah it sucks…. But I’m actually happy, I‘ll tell you later why.

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So right now, everything is on sale at my store, and while I write this blog, I’m sitting here in my store trying to get some of the merchandise sold until this Friday – the due date for the rent contract.

So, how do I feel? Actually pretty relieved and I can’t wait for this weekend to arrive. Maybe in some way, it has become such an economic burden, through this time, that I’m willing to let it go.

At the same time, I’ve just started working full time as a technical writer in a Software development company, and you may think, well she has her job so she’s going to be ok. Indeed, I’m going to have a very relaxing next week, leaving my job at 5 and going to my home just to rest, because I used to run to my store after work and stay until 9 pm. I used to live in my store on weekends too, and it was really exhausting.

The thing is that my resting plan is only for next week, because I have learnt that being an entrepreneur and being independent HAS NO PRICE!!! It’s very fulfilling, so I’m just turning my physical store into a virtual store, and I have many plans for my website and that kind of stuff… let’s see how things go.

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The learning experience, given the fact that I’ve lost money, has been priceless and I’ve already passed the worst and from here to the future I’m pretty sure things will go up. The scariest part is when you start doing a business of your own, you take so many risks, you quit your job and you make so many mistakes along the path.  But for me,  the worst part is gone, I don’t feel scary anymore, I know the mistakes I made and what I should do to avoid them, I’ve grown a lot and I don’t fear for things to come! So if there is something good for you in this, is that mistakes and risks are part of your life, don’t be afraid of them, they only make you STRONGER!!!!

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People have tried to cheer me up, seeing this as a failure, and I keep thinking why are they doing that? This is actually GOOD!  A NEW START! With better defined goals, better experience and NO FEAR at ALL!!!

LESSON OF THE BLOG: Don’t give up, learn from your mistakes and rise higher!!!