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reSenTinG YoUR DArLiNGS

haters gonna hate – even the shit i be proud of, yeah?

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no feeelings

108 – head of david

National Novel Writing Month (www.NaNoWriMo.org) takes place every November and I really can’t recommend it highly enough.

NaNoWriMo (as well as camp NaNoWriMo, now held in June and August) give one the opportunity – and encouragement – to attack a novel, to squeeze out a first draft in a month.

After a life spent waiting for something like this, I’ve hurled myself into it and, using the programme (and, in March this year, pretending to) I have written five first drafts in the last thirteen months.

And yes, it is down to perspiration, not (so much) inspiration. Doing this once will teach you how easy writing a novel actually is, doing it several times in a year rams home how much better you’re getting over that year.

An artist friend once told me that if you draw something every day, it doesn’t matter if it’s a skinhead or a kettle, after six months, you’ll be amazed at the difference between your early attempts and today’s. Plus, after six months, even the casual observer should be able to tell which are the skinheads and which are the kettles.

I read a really good quote from Ernest Hemmingway earlier – “there is nothing to writing – all you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”

Oh, and those five first drafts? ‘At home, at work, at play’ (July 2011), ‘The last film’ (November 2011), ‘Light entertainment’ (March 2012), ‘No feeelings’ (June 2012) and ‘Dystopian’ (August 2012).

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can’t stand my baby – the rezillos

I’ve just written an e-maul to a friend living abroad, detailing the events of this year. Fucking hell, bring it on, Mayans! It’s only now, adding it all up, I can see how antithetical things have actually been.

And it’s a testament to my indestructibility that I haven’t gone under during this. If anything, I’ve emerged stronger than before. I’m deeply proud of all four novels that i’ve produced during this time of pressure: the end of ‘the last film’, the whole of ‘light entertainment’ and ‘no feeelings’ and ‘dystopian’, the second half of that written while getting it all back and having to clamber over it all.

As Raquel Welch once said, “how much you learn depends on how much you can stand” and I couldn’t have put it better myself.

Living for as long as I did (eight-and-a-half months) with nothing to lose, I’ve had the time to examine a few of my life-principles. and found that they still hold water. That I can still live by them.

This is where strength comes from. From the knowledge that whatever life throws up in my lap, my value-core is as strong as when things are groovy.

The I ching has been a real pillar in my life since 1986, when someone bought me the Wilhelm translation for my birthday.

It’s always been there, throughout those difficult days and the guidance is just as useful when my entire life doesn’t hurt.

shockwork – test department

Starting a new full-time job on the same day as I embark on a new novel? Is anybody else ludicrous enough to do this? Nah, I thought not.

I was offered the job back in May and told it would be ‘two to four weeks’ before all the necessary paperwork was completed and I could start.

I readied June’s novel, so that I could race through it, rather than struggle to keep up with it while starting a new job.

Subsequently, the draft, No feelings’, was finished in eighteen days.

I waited. I revised November’s draft of ‘The last film’. and I waited.

I planned this month’s novel ‘Dystopian’ and waited.

The job eventually kicked off on August second. I had my voluntary job on the first – but only after I wrote the first seventeen hundred words of this month’s novel!

I can’t believe how little sleep I’m getting by on! I’m aiming for six hours a night, usually getting about five, occasionally putting up with four. As long as I’m careful and catch up on the missed sleep when I can, I should continue to be okay.

I’m writing this in the bath, on the first day of my first two-day break this month. It’s been great -lazing around in bed until seven, eight in the morning, eating toast and so on! Rock ‘n’ roll as hell, me!

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