Saturday, May 22, 2010

What the what?

hey, it's a blog post! no, really.

okay, let's get the basics out of the way.

-still in Hong Kong (though atm i'm in TO at my folks house, sans kids, for another 2 weeks or so. it's wild)
-still knitting, though not with quite the same speed or obsessiveness, mainly because-
-i got me a new hobby. apparently i write now? yeah, go figure.

and since blogs tend to involve, well, writing, i thought i'd resurrect this baby again. any bets on how long i'll last this time?

so it all started back in november. i was homesick and kind of lonely, and the kids were settling into their routines, and the husband was working lots, and i though 'hey, there's this thing people do in november called NaNoWriMo, where you try to write a 50K word novel in a month. that might be fun.'

now, i have been trying to write for as long as i can remember. seriously, i have stories i wrote from when i was about 7 or 8, and they mostly involved unicorns or some crap, but i wrote them myself, out of my own head and everything. the problem i had was that i never actually thought i was any good. in junior high and high school, when we wrote short stories in english class, i was always left with this feeling of 'now what?'. and i didn't seem to be able to pluck an idea out of nowhere anymore, i needed someone to feed me an opening line, or a juicy plot point before i could take off.

when i was about 16 i wrote a really long, meandering story on my home computer. this was probably the point that i realized that more than anything else, hand-writing held me back. my hand-writing is illegible at the best of times, fucking ridiculous at the worst of times. i think it's that my brain works too fast and my hand + pen can't keep up. but i can type pretty quick (even quicker if i eschew the shift key, which explains the lack of capitals, because i just don't give a shit right now). so this story was incredibly long, longer than anything i had ever written before (or since, until NaNo) at least 20K words. at some point i printed it out. that computer is long long dead, but my mom swears she still has the printout around here somewhere. famous last words...

(i feel the need to point out at this time that i'm not going to go back and edit any of this shit. if it doesn't make any sense, sorry. this is mostly just for my own purposes anyway.)

so NaNoWriMo sounded like fun. I had a plot in my head that i thought up one night on the streetcar coming back from a knit night (see, i worked knitting in there somewhere) and i happened to have a notebook with me, so i jotted it down. the thing with my memory is, once i've written something down, there is a part of it that is permanently etched in my brain, or at least the gist of it is. so this idea had been bouncing around in my brain for over a year, and i sat down on november 1st and started writing, and suddenly i'd written something like 5k words and i had no idea i could do that. it was awesome, and a little scary.

i 'won' NaNoWriMo (in that i wrote more than 50K words in 30 days- 72K in about 25, to be exact). i read over my 'finished' novel once or twice, shared it with a few trusted friends, but basically i stuck it in a (figurative) drawer and left it there until april. i spent a few manic days editing the crap out of it, a few more days editing the crap that i'd just edited, and about two weeks later i had a suddenly-much-better second draft.

the novel is still no where near done. i have one fantabulous friend (hi Anna) and my husband telling me that it's really good. i totally trust them, i do. it's just that i also know that neither of them want me to cry all over them if they tell me it sucks (i totally wouldn't cry. just for the record). so i think i've found me a few beta readers (though i can always use more, but only if you're willing to be mean to me), and i'm keeping the project in the back of my mind at all times, fully intent on 'doing something' with it, once it's ready, and i'm ready (i need to write a query and a synopsis, and that makes me want to die a little bit, but that's another issue entirely).

besides that, ever since i finished the second draft, i've needed to write. like, constantly. i have a little folder of ideas, and every so often i'll go and pick one up and just start writing whatever comes to mind. and sometimes i actually get something good, and then i try to expand. right now i've got two ideas that i'd almost consider 'works in progress'. i have a pretty good idea of how i want the story to go, who the characters are, scenes, themes, blah blah blah. i just have to sit down and write now.

and this is where i come to the problem. for NaNo, you're more or less forbidden from editing as you go (i'll admit that i did edit a bit as i went, because i'm incapable of leaving completely fucked up sentences, or not at least attempting to end chapters somewhat properly. but i didn't edit much, and i didn't delete anything without replacing it with something better). it's about quantity, not quality. you make it better when you edit it (hopefully). but now that it's not NaNo, now that i'm not technically challenging myself, i'm letting myself fall into the write, reread, criticize, rework, edit, rewrite, just shoot me now routine. it's not terribly productive, and i know that if i'd spent even half of the energy i've spent criticizing myself on actually writing, i'd be a lot better off right now.

So i'm blogging right now as an exercise in not editing (like i said, if this is rambly and unintelligible, that's because it's for me, and not you. i mean, you're welcome to read it, feel free, that's why i'm blogging it, just don't expect me to make any special effort).

i'm hoping to force myself to blog on a regular basis, basically whenever i'm stuck on my 'real' writing and i just need to get some crap words out so i can get to the good stuff. that means i'm probably not going to be blogging much about knitting (but i might) or hong kong (because how many times can i say 'jeez it's fucking hot here'). if you're one of my friends following this to find out what's up with me, first of all, Hi there! second, thanks for reading this far. i'm so terribly sorry. third, this is probably as good as it's going to get.

this is where i click the publish post button without reading back. wish me luck...

1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi Divy! Noticed you posted via the "friends" page in Ravelry. This is really inspiring. I've written a few short stories the last few years. I've wanted to try my hand at a longer novel but don't feel I've had the proper idea yet. You've given me some things to chew on - like writing down all the bits and pieces of ideas. I used to do that. Storing them in my head is not going anywhere, so actually writing them might help.

Blogging might just jump start things for you. Journaling helps me and blogging is similar. Thanks for the inspiration!