So it’s February already. That means one twelfth of 2019 is already behind us. To put it another way, if the year were a clock face, five minutes would have already passed. Were each month to represent a step on the addicts’ path to recovery, we would have admitted its power over us and accepted that we need help. And if we were singing about Christmas, we would be holding a partridge in a pear tree while secretly dreaming of five gold rings. You get the idea. There is a sense of time passing, yet still a long road ahead.
This should be a good thing signalling as it does that there remains plenty of time to realise the resolutions that were blithely made some thirty-plus days ago. Standing on the cusp of the new year, filled once more with hope and prosecco, we promised ourselves that this year was going to be different to all those that had preceded it. Whether that meant going to the gym three times a week, dropping a stone in weight, writing a novel or quitting smoking depended very much on the prosecco-filled individual in question but what is common to all was the unerring belief that this year we would actually manage to make a change.
From Writer’s Block to Cheese in Three Easy Steps…
As any writer knows, especially one with a looming deadline, there is nothing worse than sitting at a blank page, fingers arched over the keyboard waiting for a light-bulb moment of inspiration which threatens never to arrive. For that reason, and again like many a writer, when an idea —however half-formed or half-baked— pops into my head I make a quick note of it somewhere so that I can come back to it later and spend quality time one-on-one with it, for this fledgling-fancy will need watering and nurturing if it is to later blossom into the glorious word-filled page or two that I long for. It is in this piecemeal way that books are mapped out, short stories started, lines of dialogue captured and characters, along with their entire back-stories, sketched out.
Analogue or Digital?
So it was, as the harsh glare from the white page on the screen intensified against the fading January light, that I went searching through the archives of unfinished (and sometimes un-started) ideas on my laptop, looking for inspiration. During my search I clicked hopefully into a word document entitled ‘analogue or digital’. It sounded promising, the notes for a thoughtful article on our rapidly changing technology and how this affects us writers and our creative processes perhaps. Yes, I thought: I can write that.
The Changing Nature of Language
(Or From Blimey to Bizjet, Wireless to Whoa!)
It was George Bernard Shaw who said “England and America are two countries separated by a common language” and as someone who once found herself at cross purposes with an American whilst trying to explain that I was on holiday in his lovely country, I concur. The aforementioned Floridian eventually rationalised that ‘Saturday is a holiday, I suppose’ and left me only later to realise that, had I just said I was on vacation in his lovely country, there would have been no such confusion.* More importantly, we could have spared ourselves the (no doubt mutual) suspicion that the other person was somehow ‘not quite right in the head’.
Tips and Hints for NaNoWriMo
By T A Blezard
This is me with my writer’s head on now…the editor’s hat only gets put on after this particular contest is over. And that’s a whole other story…
NaNoWriMo: in case you don’t already know, this is an annual competition, or challenge, or challenging competition, designed to inspire you to write a novel (or 50,000 words of one) in just one month. That month is November, hence the name…National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo as it’s become known. The competition has been going since 1999 and last year had 394,507 participants across 6 continents. It sports a Young Writers Programme which brings the whole NaNo experience into the classroom too and supports all its entrants, whatever their ages, with a host of resources including weekly pep talks, access to mentorship and interactive webcasts all with published authors. And best yet, absolutely anything goes as far as genre and format, even poetry or fan-fiction using someone else’s characters!
Sounds great, doesn’t it? I promise that one of these years I too will give it a go, especially now that writing has become my full-time focus. I would have done it this year, honest guv, had I not booked a holiday in the sun slap bang in the middle of the month (and, like driving, I never write drunk).
Advice For NaNoWriMo
I’ve never been much of a joiner – by which I obviously mean that I can be something of a loner rather than a crap carpenter (although I happen to be that too) – but last month I joined the SfEP (or Society for Editors and Proofreaders to give them their full title). This unprecedented need to connect has been driven not by social isolation and loneliness but the desire to formally qualify in a field in which I have dabbled for the last thirty years.
Admittedly, as a writer, up until now my contact with editors and proofreaders was on the opposite side of the desk, so to speak.