Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Another year...

Yesterday I finished Nanowrimo, a initiative (a competition? An event?) To write a novel in 30 days. The only rule was that you had to produce at least 50,000 word in November.

Now, on the one hand focussing on word count does implicitly reward fast typists over those with an artistic temperament, but it is still a really good way to focus. I've been putting off my great Folkestone novel for years; it's always been something to get round to later, whereas knowing that you have a deadline to work to, and the basic focus of 1,667 words per day, makes it easier to get something out.

I don't think it's the best I've ever written, but that's what redrafting is for: I hope I can take a few days off now, let it fester, then read through, start identifying the most egregious continuity errors, the lack of strong female characters, characterisation, mise-en-place, etc.

Reading that back makes me wonder if the novel I've finished has any virtues; well, it is 50,000 words long.
But writing it did enforce other disciplines on me: no reading novels (which was painful, and towards the end I sought solace in Charles Stross and Roald Dahl) and engaging with the creative process every day. I thought that by concentrating on the novel my comedy was bound to go sour this month, but I've managed to come up with a new routine about jobs, and do one of my most enjoyable sets last Friday night, in front of 40 odd people. 40 very odd people, probably.

The brain acts like the rest of the body; you need to keep exercising it. I've also had a sort of epiphany about this; I just haven't written down enough of the strange things that happen to me, or around me. A really funny thing happened on the tram on the way to work the other day, but I didn't write it down and now I can't remember for the life of me what it was. So I'm resolving to write at least once a day, and put it here. It won't always be accomplished, or very long, or even particularly interesting (unless by some stunning coincidence you like reading about some arcane feature of spreadsheet software or what kind of sandwich I ate for lunch).

But it will be something.


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