Friday, October 30, 2009

NaNoWriMo - Novel in a Month - What Have I Done?

Write a novel of 50 000 words in one month. Sounds easy so I subscribed and joined the thousands of other writers, both published and not, in this challenge. The easy part disappeared as soon as I started making calculations.

At least 1700 words every day for a month. Those writing daily will tell you this is ludicrous to try to fit into a daily work schedule. It only has to be a first draft, but at that rate, most of what you write is going to be absolute crap. If I only knew what to write about!

This week I set out to finish the WIP (also a first draft and in Afrikaans) I only had to do 14 000 odd words in the week, but with a stiff neck and aching fingers, so far I managed 2500 words for the week. Moreover, tomorrow is the 31st!

Lots of coffee and at least two late nights will show how far I will get with the nanowrimo challenge.

To top it all - Suite 101 has a challenge related to the nanowrimo month. 30 articles in 30 days. Don't know if I will get to that one, but I am sure going to try. Need to get to the 100-article mark anyway.

For the next couple of weeks, expect many complaints about the progress of the novel (un-plotted and unknown at this stage).

Oh, and we have 11 African Grey eggs still in the nests with a suspicion that two already hatched. Will let you know.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Baby African Grey Parrots

At last we were able to get a short segment of video of the African Grey Parrot chicks that hatched last week. The 2 babies are now 7 days old and it was quite a mission getting the footage. One person had to wait inside the bird cages, concealed by a piece of plastic sheeting from the rest of the cages while the other sat outside to watch the birds. Because we do not want to disturb the parents, we had to wait until both parents left the breeding boxes and went to the front of the cage.

And the wait had been long. We tried the whole week long with "locked up" times varying from 1-4 hours. Today it paid off and the attached video is the result. With no light inside the breeding boxes we had to use night vision to limit the disturbance to the chicks to the minimum so the picture is sort of black and white.

Hope you have a few "ah shame" moments like I did.

75 Articles at

During the previous week, I published my 75th article on 

Not being the most prolific writer there is, this is a huge accomplishment for me. I hope to reach 100 articles before the end of the year as this do make a difference in the earning potential from there. Being a feature writer for Suite101 has taught me to stay focussed in what you want to say and do research, which I haven't done much since varsity days.

One advantage of writing for Suite101 is the excellent support you get from your fellow writers and editors. No question is too stupid for them to answer and for a rookie, there is no better place to get information than in the forums.
In the beginning, a flag (something is wrong!) was cause for jitters, sweaty palms and nervous giggles. Today a flag means almost certain heart attack. Writing for over a year, one should know the ropes by now and being a feature writer is serious business. You have a responsibility to your readers to provide them with quality content that will make them come back again. After all, you attach your name to the article. My biggest fear is providing inaccurate information to the public.
Well, I suppose we all learn as we go along. 
Now I have to storm to 100 before the end of the year.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finished Updating Blogs

At last I am finished with updating all the blogs and each of them sports a new look. Now I can start sharing my daily life on a regular basis.

For someone with no technical knowledge I'm quite pleased with the result. The normal blogger templates looked so old and out of date and I went searching for fresh and exiting templates. Blogger Buzz provides excellent suggestions for free templates that work with blogger and after you learn the ropes a little, it is a piece of cake. Well, maybe not so easy (it only took me a week), but definitely do-able.

I would suggest that template developers find a way so you don't loose your widgets. I have no HTML knowledge and was too scared to try and incorporate my old widgets by editing manually. Hopefully I don't have to do this again soon.

Now I can concentrate on other things like enjoying my daughter who now lives at home and working on my 3 novels in progress.