Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

5 Seconds before the finish line

There it is. The finish line. The bright yellow ribbon glitters in the sunlight as we speed towards it. If you have ever run any type of race whether that be a 100m sprint or a marathon, at this point you are exhausted. You know you are only one or two steps away from making it, finishing. But what if the stands are empty? There’s no one racing with you? No referee to take your time? No one to see how your feet burn on the rubber of the racetrack? There’s no one to cheer you on? No trophy to contend for?

This is what a blog challenge like the one I’ve been writing this month feels like. Or attempting to draft a fifty thousand word novel, in one month. Many things in life feel like that. 5 Seconds before the finishing line you look in front of you and wonder. What am I doing this for? Who would notice if I simply sat down and gave up? Why am I beating myself up? Is this really worth losing sleep over?

Blog or writing challenges may not seem like such a big deal. After all, many bloggers write posts every day as a matter of habit. But, many of those bloggers earn some kind of benefit from their blogs. They have monetized them. Or they sell something which they can advertise on their blogs. But what about us? What about the ones who have a free wordpress.com blog or the Google version blogspot.com?

It’s the final countdown, but we’re not heading for Venus quite yet.


It doesn’t really matter the scenario. Sometimes we embark on some kind of project and then end up wondering, “what am I getting out of this?” It does not need to be a project. It could be a life choice, a job, a diet, a simple quest to smile at strangers.

What am I getting out of this? How will this benefit me? What’s in it for me?

Here’s the thing, even if your answers are any of the following:

  • I now have bragging rights.
  • I have proven to myself I can do it.
  • I got a couple of likes on my Social Media.
  • I have something to talk about.
  • I have become a better version of myself

Or even if your answer is something as self-less as:

  • I made someone smile
  • I fed 50 hungry children and can now sleep better at night

If you are asking, “what do I get out of this”, your formula is flawed. You are asking the wrong question.


This is my final post for the blogging challenge I embarked upon at the start of the month. I could have reviewed my posts for the second half of the month. But instead, I leave you with this open-ended post. What do you think is the right question?

NanoPoblano 2017

About the Author

profile-pic-2Sarina often sat on the peaks of the dunes of Southern Africa watching the ocean tide drift in. A daydreamer, often dreaming up stories for lands somewhere over the rainbow. She is a mother, a wife, a blogger and an overall creative spirit. Above all, she is a human being.

Find her here:


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#AmWriting – Feelings for the upcoming Novel

“I’m so tired of being here
Suppressed by all my childish fears”

“These wounds won’t seem to heal
This pain is just too real
There’s just too much that time cannot erase”

“Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away all the sanity in me”

(Lyrics from the song: My Immortal by Evanescence)

This if you will, would be a sort theme song for the novel I’m writing – I’d like to say for my upcoming novel. This would encompass much of the feeling of the first section of the novel. Then we get the feeling of this next song:

“How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul my spirit’s sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home

Wake me up
Wake me up inside
I can’t wake up
Wake me up inside
Save me
Call my name and save me from the dark
Wake me up
Bid my blood to run
I can’t wake up
Before I come undone
Save me
Save me from the nothing I’ve become”

(From the song: Bring me to life also by Evanescence)

I’m busy with writing this part, which I’d hoped the book would not take but it’s going there so I’m letting it flow.

“Now that I know what I’m without
You can’t just leave me
Breathe into me and make me real
Bring me to life”

(Also from Bring me to life  by Evanescence)

I love Evanescence. I can relate to much of the feeling expressed in these two songs.

What about the epigraph?


I plan on using a Shakespearean Epigraph. It would give the reader a certain feel that I’m going for at the beginning of the novel.

I was thinking about the dark subject matter I’m taking here. But if Paulo Coelho can write something like “Veronika decides to die”, then I can certainly write a novel titled… wait I’m not revealing the title. Okay, Okay … the one I’m using up on NaNoWriMo is called:

Death’s Rejection

I’ve got one other title in mind, but that may still change. As for the time being “Death’s Rejection” is what I’m going with.

So, have I tickled your curiosity?

If you don’t try – #BeWoW – writers quote Wednesday

What have you accomplished in life? Which amazing places have you visited? What are the talents your parents boast of to others?

Perhaps you have obtained “masters” or even “doctorate” degrees in your field of study. Perhaps you have been to Amsterdam, Rome, Spain or some other exotic or historic location. Perhaps you are a talented musician or painter. Perhaps you have a parent who’d tell anyone willing to listen just how awesome you are. We all need that kind of validation. We need to “be seen”.

Why human beings need validation from other human beings is beyond me – it is however what it is. Such is the condition of the human soul.

Perhaps like me you are just an average Jane. Not particularly learned, or extraordinarily talented. That does not mean the girl next door type such as myself does not have aspirations or does not need validation. People find contentment in different manners. Some are happy to be called wife of … and mother of … . I’ve always wanted to be more than simply known by the extraordinary people I associate with. I’ve always wanted to be “great” in my own right. This is a thirst that will not be quenched by spiritual justification.

It’s a crazy notion – I’ve discovered the power of writing. While I’ve lived in my own storybook most of my life the thought of me penning my own novel – it’s like Aliens landing on earth and declaring “world peace”. I don’t have a degree in journalism or creative writing. In 2014 however I found the courage to pen 50k words within a month. That is generally called NaNoWriMo. To me it seemed like Mission Impossible. I however made it and was quite impressed with my achievement. I proudly told my relatives who curiously replied – “wow, that’s great – when will we get to read your novel?” As every author and aspiring author will know – novel writing is not just simply putting down 50k words and wolla you got a novel! No that is simply put – not good enough!


To obtain that validation I so desperately need, I can’t just have any writing – I need readers.

If you truly want readers, then you will need to produce something enjoyable to read. The writing becomes not simply a process of putting down words – writing becomes a process of putting down words for the enjoyment of the reader. Once this has been polished by a process of editing and re-writing only then do you have something worth submitting to an agent and ultimately readers and your already accomplished relatives.

Even then, with the perfectly polished novel – you are more likely to receive rejection letters from agents. Most first time novels don’t succeed. Finding a readership is incredibly difficult in times when the market is overflowing with novel’s and there are fewer readers around. Buying a novel is not only a luxury but in today’s fast-moving world – readers are ever more picky about what they choose to spend their time with.Why then even bother writing a novel in the first place? You could choose to believe what your teachers told you. You could give up before you ever tried.

A baby does not get up one day and suddenly is a star athlete. He does not get up one day and start running. No, he learns to walk by taking the first step – and doing it over again. And only then does he learn to run. Similarly, writing that blockbuster starts with writing that first draft.

If you don’t write that first draft then you will never end up with a novel to submit to an agent. You will never have someone read it. They will never be able to tell you – yay or nay!

We all have our own motivations for wanting to write a novel. Personally I think I have some awesome stories to share. I live stories. However if I don’t write that novel – I will live those tales alone. Like a kiss or a hug, some things only start to make sense once they have been shared with someone else.

So for those doing NaNoWriMo 2015

“You may never know what results come of your actions, but if you do nothing there will be no result” – (Mahatma Gandhi)




This is linked up with Silver Threading’s Writers Quote and Ronovan Writes : #BeWoW

#NaNoWriMo, writers tricks of the trade – me, you and coffee

Oh it is that lovely time of the year where writers come together virtually with shared mugs of coffee and a plan to take over the world  write a novel.  While copious amounts of coffee isn’t exactly what a lady in my condition should be consuming, the fresh aroma of that mug calls my name: “Sarina, Sarina! SARINA” Sometimes it sounds more like a creepy voice –  a whisper. Other times it’s a child singing a familiar tune: “Ring around the rosies, pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes! We all fall down!”  How much coffee do you think a pregnant writer is to permit herself on drinking?

Either way I’m still on blogging hiatus and taking things nice and easy. Straining myself to reach a 50 thousand word count within a month seems like an absurd thing to be doing right now. But you know, it’s like someone is dangling a huge slab of chocolate right there in front of me and I just can’t resist the allure of the challenge.

Either way I’d be writing this novel anyhow, because I was already working on the characterization and the plot of this story that has captured my imagination in September. I can now proudly say I have a solid plot in place. I’ll likely be following pretty much the same strategy as Heather from Write on Sisters.

yWriter5 – a nifty tool for NaNoWriMo

To add to that, as a winner of NaNoWriMo 2014, I do actually know that this is not mission impossible. To this end I’ve again employed the use of a free to download writers program called yWriter5. It served me well in 2014 and it has already started serving me well for this latest endeavor – one I hope to actually bring to publication.


If you are like me, and most writers seem to do this – you like to break your first draft up into many little files, folders and word documents.

Each chapter on its own. Each scene separate from the rest. I find writing is easier and much more manageable this way. This is where yWriter5 comes in handy. It permits you to open chapters and scenes under each of those chapters all in one project. You can then take your many chapters and export them into several different formats including text, html, e-book and RTF.  And for all the NaNoWriMo’ers there is even an option to export into “Nanowrimo Obfuscated text”.

For those who have not done a NaNoWriMo challenge before, the NaNo people require you to copy paste your entire 50k words into the validation section of the website, before you can get access to that fancy certificate and be declared a winner. For your own peace of mind they advise you convert your novel into “obfuscated text” before you do so (you know, so that nobody has the chance to pirate your project – although that is not likely to happen)

Where yWriter5 also comes in handy is in the characterization and planning phase of your novel.  There are sections to list all your characters. You can do in-depth bio’s on them with notes and you could even add a picture if you wanted. You can do the same for all the places your scenes take place. For e.g perhaps you have a courtroom and a park.  You could describe these places and put in all your little writers notes on these places. I found this especially useful last year, while writing my sci-fi novel – which takes place on three different planets and in outer-space.

The program has many nifty features. Along with the planning of your characters and locations it also helps with the planning of your “items” and even a place to file all your “project notes”.  It also gives you a nice overall word count and can help you with daily word count targets.  Additionally, the easy back up features under the “tools” section of the program make this an overall joyful program to work with – especially for a NaNoWriMo project. And best of all, for those who’d rather spend the forty dollar another popular writers program may cost on lets say copy editing or something – which can be quite costly, yWriter5 is absolutely FREE.


If we were having coffee

If we were having coffee, I may be telling you some other things I’m planning and a new thing I’m going to be trying for this blog soon. For now though I’d rather keep it a surprise until I’ve figured out all the technicalities.  As for what a serial blogger such as myself has been up to on hiatus, except for plotting, planing trying to eat healthy and chill-axing – I’ve been reading as much as I could.

For those still on the NaNoWriMo fence, those needing more NaNoWriMo tips and those that enjoy good writers blog chat, Ron and his team over at Lit World Interviews are doing a NaNoWriMo feature this year.  He has even started a pinterest board for all the NaNo’y stuff.

As I’ll not be writing much in the form of blog posts for the next few weeks I think he will be a good motivator for anyone planning on taking on the madness challenge.  As for all them lovely coffee chats bloggers like to have over the weekend, why don’t you give Diana at Part Time Monster a visit? The weekly coffee link – up is a wonderful way to catch up with us coffee types. And last but not least, if you’d like to buddy me over on the NaNoWriMo website you can find me here.