Sunday, 14 November 2010

Since it's November and All...

I figured I'd save myself some time here and write a post so that everyone who wants to know how Nanowrimo is going can find out. I also have a recently attended author event to blog about.

It's the end of Week Two. People on the Nano site often talk about getting "Week Two'd", which I understand as being that feeling of complacency which comes from succeeding on riding the novelty of the project in Week One, and therefore deciding it is okay to rest on your laurels for a week because there are still two more to go after it.

Can I just say, that's a really bad idea? I've been told write every day a lot in my life, and while I'm not a religious follower of that, if you're trying to hash out 50 000 words a day, write every day already. Don't complain. Don't push yourself for that 1667 that's recommended. Don't even worry about plot. Just write something. Open the word document and write "man this character is starting to annoy me..." That's what I love about Nano. I could easily be writing a letter to myself (a 50 000 word letter) documenting how much I think I suck at writing this month. I'm not. But I could be, and I like that idea. Or I could be writing a really, really boring account of the things I think while I stare at that little blinking cursor. But that would probably go something like this: "My eyes hurt. I should get them tested. Nah, I got them tested in March. Maybe my glasses are dirty. Maybe I'm tired. I should have coffee. Nope, too late at night. Tea it is. I'll try the English Breakfast. Or just stick with Earl Grey, no point stirring the pot too much. (Bit of tea humour for you there.)" And while no one would want to read that, I would have gained the practical experience of sticking to a goal that I set out for myself.

Of course, it is much more satisfying to write an actual book. Now, let's put aside for a moment that the week after next, I have two exams to write, and that they both look really hard. Let's forget about those. Let's pretend they don't exist really hard, in case that might make it true...

And let's say I have limitless spare time, and I can get up every day, and write from 11 til 1... you may remember that's the time I do my writing if and when I try scheduling. I've got this whole plot set out. And I've got inspiration, and encouragement. Why shouldn't I actually try?

So, I've actually been giving it a fair go, although more often than not, I skip a few days and then spend one day a week madly catching up. So far, my characters clearly have ideas of their own.

On Friday, I went to a morning tea with author Kate Morton, who's newest book

The Distant Hours I am currently reading. I met lots of lovely people, encouraging, friendly people who genuinely pretended to be interested for at least a little while. Thanks to them, if they ever stumble across this blog, and it was lovely to meet you. I've actually emailed Kate before, all the way back in 2008, asking her for advice about sticking to strict historial accuracy. And she eventually got back to me, wrote me a lovely email.

Well, because I'm a nerd, I saved the email, and I printed a copy to take with me to the talk. I queued up for 40 minutes to get all my Kate Morton books signed, and I proudly presented her with the email and asked her if she remembered sending it to me. And she said she did, which was so so so lovely. I hope she knows that the reason I asked was because it meant a lot to me to receive it. Asking people you admire for help is incredibly inspiring, especially if they write back. (Oh and during question time, I also asked her what her views are on literary agents. She's pro them, if you're interested.) So she signed all my books, told me to keep at it, and when I asked her if she would like to keep the copy of the email, she said yes.

Simple pleasures. That night I wrote a lot. I was feeling pretty motivated. But I'm still behind on my Nano stats.

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