Friday, 25 December 2015

A Queen-Like Speech

This time of year makes it particularly hard,
as light shines toward war but
war responds shooting darkness
and winds send sand to
parade around Westminster,
covering a dream called Abbey
who only ever wanted peace.

Oslo bulbs, Bethlehem flashes Albert,
it goes around and comes
around the family-birth, stable-ideal idea -
will do for aeons to come.
Fleeing could be advisable, but
are you hooked on the human story?
Can any of us claim we are not
whilst searching to slurp another cold
Persecuted Christ-Love from a pressed paper cup,
patronising a chain only children like?

"FOLLOW HARDER!" barks the tweet robot.
"Love happiness," I sang once.
Some listened to it on YouTube, royalties subverted.
Spread the love thick on all breakfasts' toasts,
wherever Christmas trees appear,
wherever oxygen is breathd and,
whether you can see it or not,
replace curse with cure,
a chanty mantra naturally rooting.
Hope today! Tomorrow's sales will cash in on
supposed thankful Yankee candle
light reduced. Though today's a small part
of nothing in the universe,
I wish you a very happy Prospectmas.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Bits and Bats What I Learned in November

Here be the remnants of my ruminations on my first NaNoWriMo experience. I chiselled it off my previous post, basically so you didn't end up with too much rubbish on your plate at once. Hope you enjoy!

I've learned that all you need to do something is your own will, but you must accept that things outside your control can have an impact on that, however big or small. Even in doing reasonably well drafting a novel, I have neglected both blogs I write for. You might say that's 'craft getting in the way of craft', but it does show how there's only so much space in life for what must happpen. I don't know what I think the answer is to this, or even if I think there is one. Either sediment'll settle eventually, or I'll be all shook up forever - never grabbing a medal anywhere, but running many races. My point is that I have the will, and I'm cracking on, so let's see.
   I've learned that I really do over-analyse [he says, over-analysing his over-analysis...], and that this whole NaNoWriMo 'WeUp' has probably been a waste of time, or at least doing it every day has been. Maybe one paragraph on the week's lessons would've been more time and effort appropriate. To be quite honest, I did it more with others in mind, hoping that other newbies/potential converts might be made to feel better. Really, I didn't learn much more about myself/my reaction to different modes/genres, and I should've been concentrating more on technique and aesthetics, but that's something for another time... There's still more work to go into it, but I'll try and only give you another update when my novel is a world-wide bestseller...
   I've learned that technology still has Satan in it. Laptops distract - a ruler bar over here, a blinking cursor just there and then the internet everywhere... Normally I write onto paper first [as with what you're reading right now]. It helps me get into the flow and get lost in my mind, but that's just me.
   I've learned that, while it has felt good to get words down and feel productive, the relentless attitude of inflexible 'scientific' goals [i.e. 'measurable' or 'numeric' or whatever] can damage, or at least change, your approach. Does it matter if you're a sporadic/fluctuating writer in terms of output? Is it better to write one word a day, or a week, and build up something beautiful over time, rather than go for power and pressure, only to end by beating yourself up because you fell short of an arbitrary mark?
   Is encouraging writers [current or future] to think of art as a defined target, rather than an end produced in a purely personal way, full of twists and turns in its own right, the way to go? Not that I'm necessarily saying I think that NaNoWriMo does encourage that, I'm just genuinely asking. I think there's the threat of these things, but maybe that's where natural temperament and talent come in. Maybe?
   It does give people a drive and focus, which is good, but should there be a NaNoWriMo - and/or other generic equivalents [NaPoWriMo, NaScriWriMo etc] - where the encouragement is to expand conceptual playfulness as opposed to 'raw stamina/distance'. But then I suppose that's what we try and do every day. All creative writing is an experiment. Also, I suppose our lives are what build our stamina, our distance, and we can only hope that the habits we form are the ones we want to keep [and here I snigger at myself...]. I do think that this Novembral event can, if you're not one already, start you on your way to being a writer. Even if it takes you five years to ever pick up a pen/tap a key again, then it might've helped you. Then there'll be people, probably, who have the required number of words but never think about their work again - and there's nowt wrong wi' that.

Peace, love and light.

Wednesday, 9 December 2015


Day Twenty-Nine: 1,969. Did better managing my distractions on a more 'micro' level.
   Have been stirring up some foul s&&t with all this reminiscing...

Day Thirty: 579. More terrible time management led to a weak performance. I'm afraid that I'm making the classic poor judgement that I normally do when I'm depressed.
   On the plus side, I'm formulating greater awareness of where the 'plot' will need to go or, rather, what words I'll need to imply plot and convey arcs.

Day Thirty-One: 832. Thirty-one? THIRTY-ONE!?! 'But there are only thirty days in November,' I hear you cry.
   Well, I didn't get my fifty-k done in November. I took an extra day to cross the line. I don't see that as failure, though. I see it as, at times, laziness, lack of discipline and, how can I put this without it sounding like I'm trying to make excuses... 'life'.
   But it doesn't matter if I am making excuses. The fact is that, unless you're a rigid stickler, it's not reaching fifty thou words, or in what time, that's important: it's what you get out of it.
   I have words.
   I have had an experience.
   I have more work to do.
   Maybe I'll struggle with momentum but
   I have plans to plan more,
   then get writing again.
   And of course editing.

Thank you all for following and supporting me as I picked my way through my first NaNoWriMo. Peace, love and light! 

And please don't stop! Or, if you didn't start but want to, then start when you can! Just because the arbitrary period known as NaNoWriMo has ended, your expression doesn't need to. All it should be is a generative exercise, but you can do them any day you like. Apologies if this seems patronising, but it's all ahead of us, of everyone, and all we can do is try our best in the present.

Ceeelebrate good NaNoWrimes, come on!

Thursday, 3 December 2015


Day Twenty-Two: 1,314. Still not doing well to recover my lost average, but this wasn't bad. I would've stuck with it, but I've got an early dentist's appointment tomorrow.
   Almost thought I was going to start in the evening, rather than at night, and then I wouldn't have had this problem, but it's an ongoing process... I'm trying to find consistent will power [or a way of living that'll support whatever sleep cycle I want would be nice!], so fingers crossed.

Day Twenty-Three: 3,543. Nice! Two big bursts [steady now...] have seen me take a chunk out of my deficit [still euphemistic?]. Did the wine help or hinder? Is this the start of better, prolonged practice?
   Who knows!

Day Twenty-Four: 2,042. A bit 'meh'. I was treading water for a bit, struggled for motivation halfway through and had sneezing fits just as I was finding mojo...
   Still, not bad. Only about seven and a half thousand words to go now. Seems the end is in sight...

Day Twenty-Five: 540. More done on the bus. Not ideal.

Day Twenty-Six: 937. I let football take precedence. I feel that going ahead so early with my word count has diminished my drive, which is exactly what I didn't want to happen really.

Day Twenty-Seven: 2,169. Despite a lovely trip to Liverpool [hopefully more on that to follow], found time to crack out a decent amount of content. Hey ho.

Day Twenty-Eight: 376. Wrote with TV on and a phone game being played... It's no wonder I felt like I was banging my head against a wall [please don't try that at home kids. Or anywhere else for that matter...]. Now have to write over my original daily aim [1,667 words] each day to reach the overall goal.
   Down to the wire!