Writers are often asked what camp they’re in. Plotter or pantser? Self-published or traditional publisher? Genre or literary fiction?
There’s one question you’re rarely asked: faithful or unfaithful?
Because I am not a faithful writer. At all.
As all good writers (and friends of writers, and families of writers, and distant cousins of writers, and local shopkeepers of writers) will know, it’s NaNoWriMo time – that magical time of year where hundreds of thousands of people around the world decide to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. Cafés the world over experience a boost in patronage and coffee sales as writers do their best to reach their next wordcount target in the most bohemian settings possible.
With all of this intensive writing comes an abundance of advice on how to get through NaNo: how to create believable characters or how to create a dastardly plot that would be the envy of Machiavelli; how to deal with characters who won’t do what they’re told or how to write your 1,667 words before breakfast.
So much advice! You could spend the entire month reading it, with the occasional (vital!) break for yet another pot of tea, and never even realise you’ve forgotten about the writing element of NaNoWriMo. In fact, you may end up keeping yourself so busy and productive that you can’t understand why your word count’s still sitting on zero.
What you really need is a handy guide to identifying these traps and avoiding them. A guide written by a veteran of three failed NaNoWriMo campaigns and only one success (yes, that would be me). A guide that may feel uncannily relevant to your interests. A practical guide on How to Fail at NaNoWriMo.
In recent times, I’ve come to realise that while there are plenty of pros to looking backwards (you can check out if you’re being followed by some weirdo, for example), there are a lot more cons (you’re more likely to run into things. A lot more likely. Bruises are in your very near future.). And while this applies to everyday moments such as walking down the street, it also applies to less prosaic situations such as how far we’ve come as people.
Have you ever discovered a plan you’d totally forgotten about? Despite the fact it was quite detailed and you’d written a whole bunch of notes on it and were totally planning to do something about it in that mystical time known as ‘tomorrow’?*
This happened to me the other day.
The other week, in the midst of some serious procrastination about packing boxes, I was musing to myself about topics for upcoming blog posts. Should I write an ode to op shops? Maybe I could try and photograph some of my Delightful Dozen makes? Or perhaps I could finally respond to a fellow writer who had tagged me in a writing post a little while back?
And by ‘a little while back’ I mean ‘July’.
When Danielle asked me if I’d be OK with being tagged in this writers’ blog tour of sorts, she said she wouldn’t put a deadline on it because that seemed too pushy. At the time, I almost said a deadline might be a good idea because most writers don’t get their act together until the deadline is a couple of hours away (and that’s only if we’re feeling organised). Little did I know how true my words would have been.
In case you didn’t know, when I’m not knitting or op shopping or dreaming up my next sewing project or photographing random fungi or going on roadtrips with the Chef, I write. Or, frequently, procrastinate about writing. Danielle asked me to talk a bit about how that all happens (when it actually does), so here you go: a peek into my writing processes.