Wednesday, 31 October 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012

Who's all taking part in NaNoWriMo this year?

I'm really looking forward to getting stuck into a brand new story. The thing is... it starts in less than 17 hours and I haven't settled on an idea yet!

This is highly unusual for me. Last year, I posted about my NaNoWriMo planning in September, for crying out loud. I had a spreadsheet and everything!

Sometimes I cringe when I look back at my previous posts, full of naive promise and unrealistic targets. In that September post, I said "It's important for me to keep as organised as humanly possible. It's how I work. I need to establish routine and commit to it fully."

On the 2nd October last year, I panicked about only having 29 days left to "plan and prepare" for NaNo.

Oh how things have changed...

I'm hoping my current calm is a sign of growth and confidence in my ability, rather than apathy. I am still committed to my 50k in November. In truth, I've been so wrapped up in finishing the first draft of my current WIP "Brothers", I've not given myself the chance to think too much about NaNo. I know that I have a few novels to edit in 2013, that I'm really passionate about, so the pressure is off for this one.

I'm quite excited about the possibility of going with the flow and being a bit experimental with my story. I'm still getting up at 4:30am to do my freewriting Morning Pages, which have proved beneficial, amusing and slightly eccentric. It's probably the reason I'm less interested in structure this time round and more interested in seeing how far I can stretch my creative muscles.

On the NaNoWriMo website, I named my novel "Solid Ground" because the words flashed up on the telly at the time of writing. Chances are the real title won't transpire till the end of November. But who knows? It could be a sign!

How are you all getting on? Are you all set for a month of writing?

Best of luck to everyone participating!

Monday, 22 October 2012

Letting Go Bloghop

I knew the minute I opened the door to him, things would be over between you and I. 

I could hardly contain the tremble in my voice as I gave him directions to our home. In truth, I didn’t want him to come, but you’d left me no choice. You were the one who decided not to work at it anymore. I would’ve happily continued our union forever.

You had other ideas.

It wasn’t always like this. I used to scoff at people who claimed there was truth in “Love at First Sight”. That all changed when I saw you. My eyes drank you in; devoured you. I needed you in my life from that moment on. I still do.

Things were so wonderful at the start. We’d go on long drives; you’d take me anywhere I needed to go. Remember our first winter together? It was so windy outside, not a day had passed when a truck hadn’t blown over own the motorway. We’d have to brave the elements every day, but you’d always keep me warm and safe.

That was, until you decided to abandon me in the snow. I was so devastated, two strangers came out of their homes to see if I was alright. What a state you left me in.

That spelled the end for us. There was no coming back from that, no matter how much I loved you.

When he rang the doorbell, my first reaction was to hide. I’d never done anything like this before, and I was still hurting. But it had to be done.

“Miss Noble?”“Yes.”“The best I can offer is fifty quid.”I sucked in my breath. “It’s better than nothing, I suppose.”

And so I signed on the dotted line. He hooked you up to his truck and towed you off to the car park in the sky.

You taught me a harsh reality the day your engine exploded. Reliability and beauty are rarely combined traits.

Letting you go was the hardest thing I ever did. *sniffle*

(My old Ford Puma - My One and Only Heartbreak)

I hope you enjoyed my wee story :) I signed up to Kyra Lennon's Bloghop to celebrate the release of her latest novella "If I Let You Go". Go download it immediately, it's FREE for the next 24 hours!

If you'd like to take part in the Bloghop, here are the details:

Was there a time when you had to let go of someone or something? How did it make you feel? How did you handle it? Or if that's too personal - which I completely understand - how about writing a piece of flash fiction? The only rules are - obviously - it has to be related to letting go, and please keep it to a maximum of 500 words.When the day arrives, I will hop around to all the entries, along with my independent judge (otherwise known as "Mum" LOL), and the story that touches us the most will win a $10 Amazon gift card!

I can't wait to read it! x


Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Don't give up the day job, hen.

It’s been a month since I last blogged. How did that happen? Where have I been?
Well, I’ve been writing. I’ve been tearing through the first draft of a new novel I’m working on, and I’ve been learning my craft. I’ve been doing my Morning Pages every day as soon as my eyes flicker open (4:30am on workdays. Ouch). I’ve been clustering and journaling and plotting and spending all my time either writing or thinking about writing.
I’ve sacrificed my bubble of ignorance for observation; overhearing and capturing snippets of conversation that I find hilarious or disturbing.
The downside of observing others for research purposes, however, is the obligation to tolerate humanity. I despair! 
Overall, though, I couldn’t be happier with my progress at this point in time.

Nobody is immune from insecurities. So what am I insecure about this month?

Well, all this heightened writing activity has naturally had an effect on how I spend my days. Considering I don’t tell many people about my writing (you know, apart from the thousands of people who’ve read this blog), it would appear to most that I've either:

a) become obscenely lazy
b) become (even more) anti-social
c) developed a cleaning & organisation fetish

Let me illustrate this with a few conversation snippets.

A colleague asks: “What did you get up to this weekend?”
  • Me (internally): “Oh, just opening a few veins, bleeding on to a page or ten.”
  • Me (externally): “Oh, I just had a quiet one, I didn’t do anything, really.”

Mum calls me:“What are your plans for the day?”
  • Me (internally): “A few clustering & freewrite exercises, followed by a mammoth writing session”
  • Me (externally): “Oh, just rearranging my wardrobe and cleaning the windows.”

When disappearing from my desk every lunchtime (when for the last 5 years I’ve taken lunch at my desk), I'm asked: “Did you have a nice lunch?”
  • Me (internally):“It was wonderful. I managed 1249 words in 34 minutes.”
  • Me (externally): “Aye, it was alright.” (No further elaboration)

Why do I stop myself from mentioning my goal – nay, my purpose – in life? Because... people will act like you’re a weirdo, like you've just admitted to skinning cats for fun, if you do something as silly as that. Which makes them the real weirdos, really, but I remain silent nonetheless.

For me, telling someone you’re a writer is like telling a fellow Glaswegian you’re teetotal. You’re met with a glazed, confused stare. It’s beyond comprehension to many. 

In the “Start Writing Fiction” podcast from the Open University, author Michèle Roberts gives some sage advice: “Don’t tell the wrong people that you want to write, because they’ll mock you and laugh at you.”
So who are the “wrong people?” Personally, I consider that to be everyone who doesn't infact write themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I talk about my writing, to an extent, to my nearest and dearest, but I wouldn't hark on to my neighbours or colleagues about it.
So why allow myself to come across as someone I'm not? Why not just confess my writerly ways?
Because it was hard enough convincing myself that writing isn’t simply an act of self-indulgence, without having to convince other people too.
The more involved I am with my writing, the more precious it is becoming to me, and the more fiercely I will protect my right to write.
I’ve opened that can of worms before. In a more gallus temperament, I’ve spoken of my writing ambition to some "wrong people". It invariably created questions. Sceptical questions. “What, so you think you’re going to get published? Do you fancy yourself as the next J. K. Rowling? You’ll have to keep your day job, of course.”
Calm down, pal.
In order to explain your writing dream properly, you’d have to spend a hell of a lot of time talking about yourself. And I don’t care for talking about myself. I’d rather go and write about other people, to be frank.
Sometimes I wonder if it scares some people, seeing someone pursue their dreams. Perhaps it forces them to wonder about their own dreams; ones that remain unfulfilled. The path to writing is unique because you can’t really follow step-by-step instructions to becoming qualified (believe me, I’ve tried), like the way you can in another career like a mechanic or a midwife. Maybe this is why most people don’t consider writing as a real profession.
One of the most common attributes of writers, I like to believe, is their ability not to care too much about what other people think of them. Otherwise, they’d be too terrified to even think about writing, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all sinister attitudes and ugliness. Perhaps people genuinely are happy for you and wish you all the best with your endeavours. Maybe everything I just said above wasn’t a reflection on other people, but of my own insecurities as a writer.
In that case, when better to divulge these insecurities than in my post for the Insecure Writers Support Group, hmm?
How is everyone getting on? Have you had any experiences of sharing your writing dream with the "wrong people"?

I shall catch up with all my fellow #ISWG writers over the weekend. Looking forward to it! x