Gearing up for NaNo No.5….

Today I have been planning out the story for my NaNo* novel, the chapter notes for which you can see in today’s photo. I wish I could say I’m feeling totally prepared this time around, but the truth is there will once again be a significant element of winging it. Still, on the positive side a plot and characters are at last beginning to emerge, like (slightly reluctant) woodlice, from the (somewhat rotten) woodwork of my brain. And, more importantly still, I’m starting to feel that old glimmer of enthusiasm to get started, and the accompanying excitement to see what comes out once the month is underway.

This will be my fifth NaNo novel, the main difference being that this time around I’m determined to edit my novel until I’m 100% happy to submit it to agents, rather than consigning it to a dusty folder in My Documents, never to be touched again. I did submit three chapters of my first NaNo novel (some years ago now) to agents and received one encouraging rejection letter in return, but nonetheless the responses were all rejections. The reason for that, on looking back, was because I hadn’t made any real effort to edit it – as in, none at all. And if I couldn’t be bothered to spend time crafting it into something amazing, how could I expect people to want to spend time reading it? So this time will be different, and if nothing else comes of it I will teach myself the art and discipline of editing for when I do finally write the masterpiece that will catapult me into the JK Rowling stratosphere. Well, a girl can dream…

*National Novel Writing Month – Budding novelists should check it out!

Advertisements

The Magic

I’ve just awoken from a lucid dream about one of the characters in the novel I’m planning to write for next month’s NaNoWriMo. The details I’ve been struggling to come up with when fully conscious presented themselves, as if by magic, when I was semi-conscious. Not only that, when I fully woke up and jumped out of bed to write those details down, the ‘twist’ in the plot I’ve been scratching around for over the past few days popped into my head, just like that. All of a sudden I am no longer ill at ease with my plot, but positively in love with it. There may still be (many) details to work out before I’m ready to start writing it in thirteen days, but instead of dreading it I now can’t wait to get cracking.

THIS feeling is what the writing process is all about, and it’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long time. Sometimes it’s such a battle just coming up with a plot, let alone developing the characters to bring that plot alive. And my inner critic doesn’t help, making constant digs about not being good enough. That’s why I love NaNoWriMo; because for one month every year I can commit to a writing programme so intense there is no time for introspection and self-criticism. It’s pedal to the metal all the way to the finish line, and whilst it’s not easy it is exhilarating. And that’s what makes it worth every minute.

nanowrimo

The art of procrastination

If there’s one thing I’m brilliant at, it’s procrastinating. I can spend hours mooching around doing precious little (whilst convincing myself that the precious little I am doing is of the utmost importance) as the things I really should be doing languish at the bottom of my to do list, gathering metaphorical dust.

But now that I’ve decided Monday is, for the short term at least, to be my day of creative writing rather than commissioned freelance work, it’s more vital than ever that I rein in the part of me that is so very proficient in the art of procrastination and make every minute count. Because a day can pass incredibly quickly when you’re drifting through it, only half aware of what you’re doing.

Today I feel I have been conscious of all that I’ve been doing, though it’s only now as I sit down in my local café at half past midday I’m able to focus on my writing. I decided to start the day with a run around Clapham Common, to try and kick the sore throat that’s been plaguing me on and off for the past week into touch. On the way home I did my weekly shop and by 10.30am I was at my desk having showered and breakfasted, ready to tie up the loose ends on my last commissioned freelance job.

Now that’s done all that stands between now and 5pm is an afternoon of story and character plotting, and I can’t wait to get started on deciphering all the notes I’ve made in recent days as ideas have begun to take shape. So without further ado I must bid you adieu, for there’ll be no procrastination this afternoon, thank you! (It’s a good job I’m writing fiction and not poetry).

When I think of procrastination, I think of Koh Tao, for it was here I spent two weeks in blissful procrastination wondering whether to stay longer or continue further on my travels. Anyone who’s been there will know why I found it so hard to leave. Happy memories indeed.

A new chapter

Something’s happening; thus far just the gentle flickering of thoughts and ideas, licking my prefrontal cortex like kindling flames that are yet to take and start a proper fire.

But I can feel it, even though it’s been so long since I last did I’d never mistake the signs: My creativity’s returning. Like a little mouse that scurried into a hole beneath the floorboard some time ago, who’s remained hidden but only just out of reach, and who is now ready to emerge, blinking in the light, and play.

A novel is brewing, the myriad components swirling around in my mind like a witch’s brew in a mystical cauldron. I can’t control them – not yet – I have to wait while they take shape, every now and then pausing to make a note when the cauldron spits something out, decreeing it ready to be consumed. But they are unmistakably, perceptibly, joyously there.

I don’t know what will come of this long-awaited phase of imagination, nor do I know what can be attributed to its generation. Has my daily blogging finally paid off and kick-started the process of creation as I hoped it would? Or was it New York with its wonderful sights and sounds, and the even more wonderful friend I visited there who is herself writing a novel (I think this option most likely, as seeing her eyes light up talking about her plot and characters reminded me of the joy of creation, which I think somehow along the way I had forgotten)?

Whatever the reason, I’m delighted this is happening, whatever ‘this’ is. I’m happy to be patient, to jot down notes – the odd key word or character trait as it comes to me – and I’m confident soon all will be revealed. The planets are aligning, the jigsaw pieces falling into place.

Soon I shall begin.