Fails and Wins

December 4, 2008

So I have failed to blog for a long time. That’s quite a big fail. Did you miss me blog? I missed you.

I’ve been busy with NaNoWriMo. Ultimately that was a Win, both because I actually won the challenge and because it made me write a whole book-length piece of book that I was kind of afraid to do. I miseried my way through the month, moaning incoherantly at the laptop and refusing to enjoy the beauty of creating life. I also failed at life for the whole of November and let my partner do all the cooking and chores. I owe him. When it looked like I might bail out at the 95% mark he threatened to burn my most treasured possesions – I love him.

I’m a little bit excited about my novel. There is a huge amount of work to be done on it. But it does exist. No novel written by Gwendolyn B Virginia existed before. This pleases me. I am planning to spend six months editing and revising it to make it a little more beautiful. Then I’ll stand back and see what I’ve got.

In the mean time I just survived the second round of redundancies at work. Which is cool for two reasons: a) I’m not out of work right before xmas and b) it means despite being the least experienced I’m one of if not the best on my team (from a dozen it’s now been whittled down to three). It also sucks for two reasons: a) I now have no one to sit next to on the train and b) I have to work reception one day next week. This has been stressful and I am now going to be even more careful with my money. I’m sure that will be a piece of piss during the most expensive month of the year…

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Slacker

October 23, 2008

I feel like an epic slacker. I haven’t posted for days, and I have achieved little worth reporting. It is freezing-ass cold. Partner’s sister is booked in for foetus extraction on monday so he’ll probably go away soon to establish his unclehood. I’m trying not to think about NaNo, willfully neglecting sewing mum’s xmas present, clinging desperately to my sanity as I proofread comma-laden gumph. In my rush this morning I only cut the nails on one hand so I’m typing lopsidedly. 

I have included a cool link for you to enjoy. There is only 1 country in the world that wants McCain in power and I’ll give you my earmuffs if you can guess which one:

http://www.iftheworldcouldvote.com/


Master Plan(TM)

October 14, 2008

I thought it only fair to update on the Master Plan(TM) seeing as I was so excited about it last week. Although I experience the world in real time people reading back might not be, and in the interest of having consistent plot threads tying my incoherent life together I feel I should make more effort to address that.

So. Master Plan(TM) is dragging somewhat. The stories for Scarlet are not spontaneously finding themselves written, which annoys me because if I could sell one I could afford to go the dentist for the first time in 5 years. My current excuse is that I downloaded yWriter in anticipation of NaNoWriMo and that if I turn on my laptop I will prematurely ejaculate text all over it because it’s that sexy. Like all commodities I acquire I believe it will make up for my personal failings in a way that simple motivation never could. At least I am ready for nano, part 2 of the Master Plan(TM), and haven’t completely given up all my plans and aspirations yet.

inspire, aspire, perspire, expire…

Need more latin.

My secondary excuse is that I should be sewing my mum’s christmas present before I lock myself into my writing pod for November. This excuse would be fine if I hadn’t just spent the weekend reading and watched University Challenge last night. That show made me laugh far more than I was expecting. I think they were getting the giggles too, it’s possible they had shrooms in the green room to relax the contestants. I might have to watch it again – the obscurity of the topics tickled me eg: name the owner of this dog and which 19th century novel they appeared in.


The Master Plan

October 7, 2008

I’m itching to get going on the laptop and scratching because I ate a Wispa yesterday (and some toffees) causing reactions. We’ll forget that I’m weak and a dumbfuck and move on to the part where I get to talk about cool things.

I will be fully laptopped within a day or so at which point the Master Plan(TM) will kick in. The Master Plan involves me writing 10 erotic short stories meeting the open submission criteria of Scarlet magazine, then picking the best one and flogging it to them. I must do this all before the end of the month because I have signed up to http://www.nanowrimo.org for November, part 2 of the Master Plan. Last year I failed to launch when I caught a bad cold and missed the first week. This year I’m going to nail it. I have an idea in processing that should be ripe by then.

Goddamn I hope I don’t flake out like I usually do.

Do I sound American to you? I’ve totally been reading too many American blogs. At the end of the gig on Friday I had a definite US twang but I think that was more nerves at being in the presence of greatness.


The process of writing

May 30, 2008

There are many approaches to writing. Virginia Woolf took long walks and composed passages of text in her head. She must have had a fantastic memory, though she depended on quiet to get things done. Zelda Fitzgerld wrote her only novel in a sanatorium while recovering from a breakdown. Although the quiet and free time undoubtedly helped, writing about the disintegration of her marriage must have been cathartic and helped her recovery. I saw Phillip Pullman interviewed once and he aims to write 3 pages every day which I guess gives you a draft in about 3 months. The NaNoWriMo crowd work to a strict 50,000 words in 30 day deadline:

http://www.nanowrimo.org/

When I started this I thought all the styles were different but I am seeing a theme – whether busy or isolated or competitive all the writers are writing consistently with no gaps. There is no time off from writing. It could be an accident of the examples I have chosen but all of them write continuously. Perhaps this is what I need to do if I ever hope to carry an idea through to conclusion. If only I had discipline…

To be frank I am impressed I have lasted this long blogging. It’s a lot easier as I really just sit here talking to myself, but equally as no one reads it there is no obligation for me to keep writing. If I didn’t have the kind of job that gives me a certain amount of freedom I probably wouldn’t do it. I never blog from home but that’s because I don’t have my own computer and I don’t want to be discovered. If someone I know should find this by their own searching and figure out it’s me then good for them, they win a cookie, but I will not lead anyone here on purpose.

So why am I a fail writer? What happened to my capacity for discipline? Even when I have to write things for work I trick myself into doing it by flicking between the text and various websites, I can’t bring myself to read through the piece as a whole – not through any sense of angst, I just can’t get my eyes to focus on it. I think that multiplied by 100 that would be what ADD feels like. So why am I not interested in things I am writing for myself? I get excited about them when I first think of them but then I abandom them utterly like babies in skips.

If I did find the cause of my failings, the root flaw in my psyche (retch, emo-much) would knowing it mean I had control over it? Really shoddy comparison but: I know that if my partner flirts with someone it is meaningless, but that doesn’t stop me wanting to put lit matches into the other person’s clothes until they go away. Not doing that is a pretense of control: changing the action does not change the emotion. This is probably why I am so often surprised by my emotional responses to things; I am so busy not being silly that I don’t recognise an emotional response as justified.

Saying all this gumph about emotions though: I find it easiest to write/art (art is a verb) when in a low mood. It’s like the negativity can channel creativity. Which sucks because I enjoy being a good mood.


Circlejerk

May 22, 2008

Isn’t that a great word? Circlejerk. it just rolls around the mouth coming to an abrupt halt. I wonder if the word jerk was originally onomatopeic? Circlejerking is what I think some misguided people do when they blog about issues they feel passionately about (good up to this point) get all their friends to read it then all congratulate each other on such ‘right down to the bone’ rants. This is just a thought by the way and not directed at anyone I know – the only blogs I read are large public ones.

My actual word of the week is ‘stereotype’ – seeing as I’ve had time to use my brain this week this word has been spewing out of my mouth rather frequently. From the arguments used in the abortion/fatherhood debates to widely anticipated Sex and the City movie stereotypes abound. I want to say I am drowning in them but that would be a cliche. It’s painful to be aware of these things, it makes you lose respect for people. It also forms part of my reluctance to write – trying to get around then will be like walking on glass (I saw Derren Brown do this, but only after putting a plastic bag over his head first. I find this man fascinating and last week dreamed that I found him in some unknown suburban house while on a school trip and had a delightful natter with him).

I should write though. I believe this blogging to myself is a great help. Aside from creating a secret identity as the great Snarkista it allows me to a) think, b) without judgement, c) out loud on a page. I’m not sure if I’ve thought anything at all for a very long time except within the context of a debate – talking with others does bring out some good arguments and I am often surprised at my capacity to think. Not in an egotistical way either, more like when you run for a bus and not only catch it but don’t have a stroke. Was that too cliched? I avoided the obvious ‘heart attack’ but I’m still not really satisfied…

I guess that is what they mean by the ‘inner editor’ at NaNoWriMo. I was going to do that last year, made a profile and got all ready, but 2 days before the start I was struck down by a meddlesome plague and missed the first week. By that point all my ideas disolved and I called it quits. I like to pretend I’m realistic but usually it’s just a lack of confidence (my second most hated word after ‘potential’).

On the plus side I have been reading, which I believe increases my knowledge of writing. Still reading F. Scott Fitzgerald, occasionally I want to say “Are your flies undone? Because I can see your peen.” I don’t think it is because of the character’s either, but the writer’s voice – obviously embodying the sentiment of the time (and potentially some resentment towards his wife). It got me thinking about the author’s voice: in a large number of books you can guess the gender of the author. It is possible to write in a gender neutral style, such as Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (only HP book I’ve read, and I didn’t find it particularly interesting or special) and Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere. Some books are written to reflect the gender of the main character, such as Neil Gaiman’s American Gods which has a hypermasculine protagonist, or Marian Keynes’ Anybody Out There? which is centred in a very female world (but not in a gross Bridget Jones way). F. Scott Fitzgerald was both very involved with Tender is the Night as it took him years to write and a massive ego as he thought it would define the great American novel. I suppose that for those reasons it has quite a heavy imprint of him on it.

Considering authorial voice I wonder what my voice is – it’s easiest to express in blog form which is why I think blogging helps, because it makes the voice stronger. When writing fiction it is very easy to slip into ‘this is what a writer sounds like’ voice. It’s similar to the voice people get when they read poetry. I want to write. I’m not sure what. But I think I should start sketching.