Nanomini in June

Here in Australia, the end of June marks the end of the financial year, and the beginning of two weeks of school holidays.

A year ago I would not have cared, except perhaps to comment on how nice it was not to fight the traffic during school drop off and pickup times. This year, however, I decided to use the school holidays to stage my own mini Nanowrimo, [National Novel Writing Month].

Before I go on, I should explain that I now work as a trainer in the adult education sector. All the companies I work for are Community Centres that also happen to be RTOs [Registered Training Organizations]. The significance of this is that Community Centres are closed during the school holidays. Thus I have to take the same [unpaid] holidays as well. 

As teaching can be quite draining, even when you enjoy it, I was more than ready for these holidays. Nonetheless, after a day or two, I knew I couldn’t just veg out for the whole two weeks. Protestant/Catholic/Atheist work ethic?

Anyway, I was thinking about what a shame it was that I wouldn’t be able to do Nano this year when it suddenly hit me that I could do a Nano any damn time I wanted! From that stroke of genius it was a short step to realising I could hold a mini Nano every single school holiday. 

Wow!” I thought. “I might even be able to finish the Innerscape WIP!

As things turned out, I spent the first week of the holidays forcing myself back into the story, and it was not until the second week that I truly began to do some good work. One of the things I’m most happy about is that I solved the thorny plot tangle right in the middle of the story. I still have a lot of writing to do, just to finish the first draft, but at least I know where I’m headed now.

In hindsight, I think there is a very good reason why the original Nanowrimo lasts for a whole month – you really need that time to get into the story, build momentum, and slap it all down in pixels. So although my Nanomini didn’t achieve everything I had hoped, I’m going to do the same thing during the September holidays,  and of course over the summer break in January. With luck, and a lot of hard work, I may have another story ready to go by this time next year. 

In a curious twist of fate, I was deep into the Innerscape WIP when I got the idea for another book. Its working title is ‘Carry-over Food [or how to eat well on $xx.xx per day]. At this point I’m still just recording what I spend on food, and what I cook with it to see what the figures show. If the numbers show that the idea has legs, this may become my first non-fiction title. If not, I’ll just chalk it up as an interesting experiment.

Oh, and another benefit of my Nanomini is that the teaching side of my brain was thoroughly refreshed. Just in time too because I now have two more paying jobs. Both are with a tutoring agency that specializes in coaching secondary school students.

This new work is both exciting, and a little scary as I haven’t taught at secondary level in a long time. Luckily the boys of my touch typing class made me remember that a little humour can go a long way towards establishing rapport with students of any age.

And this brings me to my apology; I can’t promise to post as regularly as I once did, but I will continue posting articles when I have the time and energy. I will also visit your blogs as much as I can because good friends are too precious to waste. 🙂

-hugs-

Meeks

 

 

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About acflory

I am the kind of person who always has to know why things are the way they are so my interests range from genetics and biology to politics and what makes people tick. For fun I play online mmorpgs, read, listen to a music, dance when I get the chance and landscape my rather large block. Work is writing. When a story I am working on is going well I'm on cloud nine. On bad days I go out and dig big holes... View all posts by acflory

47 responses to “Nanomini in June

  • pinkagendist

    I’d love to help with the food book idea. I’ve contributed to a couple, including one by THE Aussie Food Lady, who’s one of my heroes 🙂
    At this point I’m a bit of an expert on how to do it for under X 😀

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    • acflory

      The currency conversion might make things a bit tricky but… I’d give you full credit for a yummy recipe or two. 😀 While we’re on the subject, would you consider testing some of my recipes? The one thing that worries me is that I’m a bit of a ‘pinch of this, pinch of that’ type cook, but proper recipes require a bit more precision.lol you could become my beta-taster. 😀

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      • pinkagendist

        I’ll do it for free, obviously 😉
        I’ll test, contribute- anything I can do to help.
        I’m a pincher too, but that’s very easy to get around. You just put paper, pencil and scales/measuring equipment on the counter- and before you add anything you weigh/measure it. After doing that a few times you easily get the hang of it.
        I’ve got a couple of good friends who are food writers- one actually lives up the street.
        Her process is really great. She does a test-lunch for every dish which means she invites three people around (an advanced cook, an intermediate and a beginner) and we actually watch her cook. The recipe is then written during that process and we get to ask questions if we think something isn’t clear. This ensures the book makes sense to anyone reading it.

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        • acflory

          Oh I’d love to use that process but I don’t have any RL friends who live close enough. 😦 And yes, when I know I’m making something for publication I do try and measure things more accurately, but in the heat of things… Let’s just say I’d love any help you can give. 😀

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        • acflory

          Pinky! Read my reply to Yvonne. I just had this amazing idea of going global – a separate recipe/cheap eats version for each local – with local prices …and local flavours???????

          -nudge nudge wink wink-

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  • Carrie Rubin

    The way I see it, every month is Nano for me. 🙂 Glad to hear you’ve made progress on your WIP. Not sure how you find the time with all that going on!

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  • chrisjames282

    Great to hear you’ve been writing! And yes, teaching is tiring even when it goes well. I find vitamin supplements and lots of coffee can help 🙂

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  • davidprosser

    Now you’re even teasing me on the blog about Innerscape getting finished at some indeterminate time in the future. If this WIP doesn’t see progress and and be ready to print by the Summer Hols I swear I’m moving to Oz to annoy you. And all this because you’re thinking about your stomach again.Mike would say You’re all about Me Me Me then add It’s not all about You you know. You have to think about your readers (specifically me) who’re waiting for Innerscape and don’t want to get by with a cookery book ! 😀
    xxx Humongous Hugs xxx

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  • EllaDee

    Oh, this is great news 🙂 I assumed you were busy working and I was hoping you had some time to write…. self interest much… I’m so pleased but not surprised your study led to employment(s) where your talents will be shared and welcome. And also with generous if unpaid holidays so you still have some time to follow your other passions. But the necessary smart financial management will pay off when you publish ‘Carry-over Food’ – you have one sale already – me!.

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    • acflory

      -giggles- After all the great conversations we’ve had about food I’ll send you a digitally autographed copy 😀

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    • acflory

      Ella! You, Yvonne and Pinky have kickstarted an idea. How do you feel about writing a separate recipe/cheap eats book FOR EACH LOCALE? i.e. me in Melbourne, you in Sydney, Yvonne in Canada, Pinky in Spain?

      I’m totally brainstorming here so no pressure but…maybe?

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      • EllaDee

        Great idea… and I’m honoured you thought of me but my current lifestyle-work balance-timing-space-commitments only just cope now. It would be unfair of me to commit to a project that I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be able to give 100% to. But I’m happy for you to bounce ideas off me (via email… I’m a captive audience Mon-Fri anyway), and provide suggestions on an ad hoc basis 🙂

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  • Yvonne Hertzberger

    Paid work. Yay! I must have missed that. Tell me more about the cookbook. I may have a couple of recipes for you as well.

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    • acflory

      I haven’t done a proper update on the volunteering, but yes, I now have a couple of regular jobs per week [that are paid] and I’ve been getting some one-offs as well. Not enough to pay all the bills just yet but I finally feel as if I’m close.

      Okay, the cookbook. It’s not a cookbook per se, it’s a kind of how-to survive on a shoestring budget type thing. So each recipe has to be tasty, healthy-ish, cheap to prepare, and if possible be a good ‘carry-over’ ingredient for the next day’s meal.

      For me, cooking is less of a drag if I already have something prepared in advance – e.g. soup stock, or a tasty tomato base, or rice etc etc. Then I can use that leftover ingredient to kickstart a new meal [and make it faster to prepare].

      If you have any recipes that more or less fit that bill I’d love to try them out. In fact I wonder if we could expand on Pinky’s idea and get our online foodies to test the recipes…and convert the ingredients to local prices….or maybe even make a brand new version for Canada and Spain and Sydney and….-giggles- I’m getting grandiose here but…how do you feel about making a cookbook for Canada, or at least your part of Canada?

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      • pinkagendist

        I think that would definitely work. In my view what you’re talking about are the European classics. Wars and shortages and all that mean the traditional EU menu is composed of things that are used, re-used and then used again.
        Portuguese salt cod starts off life as a stew, left-over fish is removed and goes into a chunky salad, on day 3 add more potatoes and it becomes fritters 🙂
        Spain having been a country of nearly permanent very high inequality also has many dishes along those lines. Left over meats and vegetables are cut very finely and become an empanada (a very thin, flat pasty). Bean and meat stews become soup…

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        • acflory

          Yes! And amazingly those dishes are delicious in their own right! You know, since I started making a real effort not to waste anything, including money, I’ve actually found cooking a lot easier. It’s stopped being boring and become a challenge again.
          Watch out, I’m getting an almost religious tingle here. 😀

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        • pinkagendist

          I agree 100%. Before the crisis I was a professional waster and mostly cooked easy things. Steak, salmon fillet, sole, chicken breasts etc… And we bought wine based on reviews.
          Post crisis I had to go back to the drawing board and completely changed the way I did things. It was when I REALLY learnt how to cook 🙂

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        • acflory

          -grin- I can sooooooo empathize with that! Many of the dishes I learned from my mother were, in fact, poor man’s food, but all I knew was that I loved eating them. For most of my cooking life I’ve cooked whatever I wanted, without having to count the pennies. Now, though, I’m really starting to appreciate those simple[-ish] recipes I learned so long ago.

          I’m sure I’ll be cooking eye fillet steak again at some point in my life, but I definitely don’t feel deprived /now/. 😀

          We really should do a recipe swap if nothing else, but I’m convinced others would benefit from our recipes as well.

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        • pinkagendist

          I’ve thought about this all day. What came to mind was the concept of master-recipes. A book of master recipes i.e. poached chicken, sauces that go with it, how it can become a salad, pie or stroganoff. Universal concept.
          If you’re interested in a collaborative project, I’ve been wanting to do something like this for a while…

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        • acflory

          Oh my…. yes. 🙂 What did you have in mind? And bear in mind that I’m just a home cook so, for example, I’d have to follow a recipe to make a Bechamel etc etc.

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        • pinkagendist

          That’s actually a good thing. People who can go straight to the 3 star dish without any help are less than 1% of the public. That’s why method is more important than gimmicky recipe. When we understand the process, everything else flows naturally. That’s why you’ve reached the point of a pinch of this and a handful of that- because your palate knows the effects.

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        • acflory

          Very true – but it also took over 40 years of cooking. 😀 I can honestly say I don’t have many total disasters any more, but every so often we will have a dinner that is just …food. lol

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        • pinkagendist

          I once did a thai chili pork where after two mouthfuls people looked in absolute panic 😀 deseeding? Ooops, I forgot.

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        • acflory

          LMAO!!!!! My worst was many years ago when I put on a special dinner party, making all new recipes. I finally served the entree at about 10pm. By eleven, one of the guests was so drunk he literally fell asleep /in/ the main course. :/

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        • pinkagendist

          and if not, no pressure. I don’t mean to intrude!

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        • acflory

          -grin- No, this is fun.

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        • pinkagendist

          Why not something social media oriented and ‘big’? Blog related. Have people send in recipes, have readers test and vote. Have us work on refining it…

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        • acflory

          -jaw drops open- I love the idea but the work! If this took off we’d both be swamped Pinky!

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        • pinkagendist

          It might be worthwhile?

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        • acflory

          Definitely worthwhile, but tell Mike to take out life insurance first. 😉

          Like

  • Stephanie Allen Crist

    Congratulations on finding your own way to balance writing and teaching! Yay!!! 🙂

    Like

    • acflory

      I’m still struggling with the transitions, but they are getting easier. 🙂

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      • Stephanie Allen Crist

        You might want to try beginning the transitions while you’re still teaching (if feasible) and then, when you actually have the time to really concentrate, you’ll be well-primed.

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        • acflory

          To be honest I’m so tired by the end of my 3rd day of teaching I can’t think straight about anything. Again, not sure if that’s just me or if it’s age slowing me down.

          Like

        • Stephanie Allen Crist

          I don’t know. I’ve never taught in that kind of environment. Besides, life can be draining no matter what you do, though I suspect that’s more an indication of health than age. Some people continue to be robust well into truly old age, and you’re not there yet.

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        • acflory

          -giggles- I hope not!

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        • Stephanie Allen Crist

          lol No, definitely not.

          I was in part thinking of my mother. She’s gone without insurance for a long time and has accumulated health issues that deteriorated her quality of life. She keeps talking about how old she feels and she’s in her late fifties. I keep trying to tell her that it’s not that she’s old, it’s that she’s unhealthy. She just got approved for insurance, which should help.

          But, directly to the point, you’re too young to feel that tired. I should know! I’m still making my way back from excessive tiredness and some days are better than others.

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        • acflory

          I’ve had my own health issues [all in the past, knock on wood] so I’m very careful now of over extending myself. For me, the tiredness is as much mental as physical. Plus I’m out of practice. 🙂

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        • Stephanie Allen Crist

          Ah yes, practice, habit, getting used to and all that. Yes, I’m all too familiar with that. Good habits seem far too easy to break out of and bad habits quite the opposite. 😦

          Like

        • acflory

          Ain’t that the truth. -sigh-

          Like

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