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.

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