10 Lessons on Nano, from a Non-Winner

So, I didn't manage to 'win', which is the official parlance for reaching the designated 50,000 words that comprise the completion of the Nanowrimo challenge. My score comes in at a respectable (to me, anyway) but unfortunately not winning, 30,031. I'm actually quite proud of that, and intrigued that, weirdly, that works out as 1,001 words per day. Maybe that's my 42?

Anyway, I think, as a loser, I might be able to point out the good behaviours that might get you to the end. 

Here we go: 

Being a Writer is Perilous...

...if all these articles I've come across lately are to be believed:

Hypergraphia, Bipolar and Writer's Block:

Harvard Medical Alumni Bulletin

Alcoholism in Writers, and the Accompanying Risks of Sobriety:

Intelligent Life

So, you know, hold onto your hats...

FYI, normal, slightly more elaborate, service will resume once Nanowrimo is finished on Wednesday.

Current weigh-in: God knows...


Whilst Searching for Wedding Poems with a Friend...

...I uttered a sentence not unlike 'I'm sure if people knew that poetry could be like this, they wouldn't walk around thinking poetry isn't for them.'

Here are some of the poems that brought me to that conclusion:


How to Create a Plot Twist

Another one aimed quite squarely at the Nano-ers: it's definitely this kind of point in the month for me, I don't know about anyone else. I found this online the other day:

10 Ways to Create a Plot Twist, by T. N. Tobias.

He's right to warn at the beginning of it that it might change the way you view stories forever. Really good advice though.

Weigh-in: 22,239...


Nobody Tells This To Beginners...

A lot of people will know this already, but I really like it, so I thought I'd share.

I would also take from this the idea that you shouldn't worry if your Nanowrimo-ing is going appallingly, for whatever reason: just think of it as part of your necessary body of work :) Think how much nearer you're getting to your goal, given the logic above.

P.S. My sad, sad weigh-in: 15,188. I am now really, really behind!


For all those doing Nanowrimo

A bit cheesy perhaps, but it put me in mind of Nanowrimo, so here you are:

'You Wake Up In The Morning

You wake up in the morning, and lo! your purse is magically filled with twenty-four hours of the magic tissue of the universe of your life. No one can take it from you. No one receives either more or less than you receive. Waste your infinitely precious commodity as much as you will, and the supply will never be withheld from you. Moreover, you cannot draw on the future. Impossible to get into debt. You can only waste the passing moment. You cannot waste tomorrow; it is kept for you.'

Arnold Bennett

Now that's enough reading - go back to your WIP and write! 


This is Why Writing is Awesome.

Today I got roped into an off-stage skills learning days for 14-15 year olds in the theatre that is a fundraising client. Basically, 60 teenagers split into little groups and travelled around the theatre and had 2 minutes with a representative of many of the 'off-stage' skills it takes to run an arts organisation. I was the resident writer, as you'd probably guess.

After meeting all of us off-stage staff, we reassembled on the stage and they talked about what they learnt.

Writing was the only skill amongst all those on offer that did not necessary require university, could be learnt in your own time and off your own back, and all activity associated with training for it, save the price of pencils, was free.

They seemed to get that, and to like it. And I was so proud to tell them what I do. This is why writing is awesome.

I just thought I'd share.



In My Mailbox, No. 3

In My Mailbox, No. 3, is not going to be the most exciting IMM post, as I am currently, and am for the foreseeable, firmly ensconsed in Dickens. But let's make a small list anyhow:


'A Woman should know only how to do 3 Things: Tell the Truth, Ride a Horse, and Sign a Cheque.'

....or so said William Faulkner, according to Javier Marias' delightfully surreal 'Written Lives', which brings together a series of mini biographies of well-known writers, composed out of 'fragmentary and often...bizarre' anecdotal vignettes and tit-bits that 'treat these well-known literary figures as if they were fictional characters, which may well be how all writers, whether famous or obscure, would secretly like to be treated.' Of course, we know this to be absolutely true (in my case anyway - I used to frequently fake name people for the hell of it, and whilst temping, would make up fictional life histories and fake siblings and uncles just to pass the time.) 


The Book Drum Book Map

An impromptu, and largely wordless blog post (I'm saving them all for Nanowrimo - 1,796, and a free day today), but how cool is this?

They're still very much crowd-sourcing info, so go ahead, add something. Africa and Asia are still both oddly unpopulated.

Wish me luck - 2,500 word target for today...
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