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Another November is drawing to an end; here’s what I’ve learned

Once again, as seems to happen with every successive year, I am surprised at how fast the nights are drawing in. Here in England we are well into the chilly months, with forecasts predicting a bitterly cold snap heading our way very soon. Time to dig out that extra-warm jumper.

With my November spent mostly at my keyboard, battling against the demons of writers block, mental fatigue, self-doubt and distraction, there have been a hand full of points that have aided my battle against these foes.

Firstly, coffee. Actually, the best coffee I’ve had the pleasure of drinking. This comes from the wonderful people over at Pact who will ask you to complete a very short questionnaire to let them know which type of bean you would like, and then they post it off to you. There’s a choice of several different beans on their site, so you can select something you specifically like the sound of, or leave the choice to the “experts”. I have tried 4 of their different varieties so far, and each one has been an absolute pleasure! [Also, if you enter the code “LOUISE-ORVVNW” when ordering, you can get your first bag for £1. Absolute bargain! And, even better, there’s no commitment to buy more if you don’t want to, although after you’ve enjoyed a cup, I think you just might!]

Secondly there’s a little app I found about a week into November, (and I meant to blog about it but time got away from me, sorry.) It’s called Writeometer and it is a lovely little morale booster as well as helping you keep track of your creative projects. If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got more than one on the go, but with this app you can “create” separate projects for each title, assigning them target word-counts and a target end date, and setting yourself little rewards that you earn by writing so much in any given day. You can even ask it to remind you to write at whatever time or day(s) you select. It’s perfect if you need that little extra nudge to get you going. For those of you who enjoy graphs and charts more than raw data, there’s a nice section of visual representations of your progress, just to help motivate you a little more. There are several other features on there to help you along; dictionary, thesaurus, a “word of the day” and a rather curious “word salad” section. If you’re interested, you can find this app here for free at the Google Play Store.

The third, and possibly most soul-serving of my month is such a trivial thing, but it nevertheless brightened my days. Toast. That wondrous, hot and crispy version of what was once ordinary bread. With the turn of weather, and the lack of energy I’ve had for many days at a time, rediscovering the simple joy that is buttered toast has been a salve to my wounded mojo. “Another 400 words, and then I can have some toast and relax.” – words I’ve uttered to myself on more than one occasion. Although maybe toast isn’t really your thing – many people find toast a boring thing – but that is perhaps my point. Remembering that the simple things in your life can have such an immense impact is paramount in these dark and draining days.

Finally, there is the preservation of vital body heat in these chilly times. With the sudden drop in temperature, I’ve found a new fondness for fingerless gloves – something that, now I think about it, am surprised it took so long. Have you tried typing with freezing fingers, or with gloves on? It doesn’t go very well, especially if you touch-type. I used to think that fingerless gloves were a rather foolish idea. (why buy gloves that don’t cover your fingertips?) But that was then, and this is now. Warm hands + exposed fingertips = the best of both worlds when typing or writing by hand. If I can recommend only one thing anyone attempting NaNoWriMo (in the Northern hemisphere) invests in for next year, it would without doubt be some seriously comfortable fingerless writing gloves. I am surprised that writer’s gloves aren’t a more marketed item… perhaps that is something to remember, should I decide to start a home business.

Have you discovered anything during this month of novelling madness? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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