Sunday, 1 November 2015

Something different

I’m a big fan of NaNoWriMo – and would advise every writer to try writing 50,000 words in 30 days (at least once!) – but I’m not signing up to the challenge this year. I’ve got too many other things going on in November.

But I can feel the excitement of NaNo all around me as other people begin their frantic scribbling, and it’s making me think I really ought to commit myself to some sort of writing challenge. But what?

A smaller daily word count?
A set number of new short stories to be completed?
A set number of old, rejected stories to be rewritten and resubmitted?
A set time to be spent on editing The Novel each day?       

As I wandered about looking for ideas, I saw this on my bedroom bookshelf.

Isn’t it beautiful? I was given this notebook for my birthday. Inside its gorgeous covers there are pages of smooth, white paper ruled with faint lines, a red ribbon bookmark, and a clever pocket at the back for storing … Treasure maps? Love letters? Secret recipes?

The only problem is that after drooling over admiring it, I had no idea what to do with it. Although it’s called a note-book, I didn’t want to spoil it with the kind of random notes that I usually jot down in cheap, jumbo pads of A4 or on the nearest used envelope. A beautiful book deserves beautiful writing. Something like poetry perhaps. Except I don’t ‘do’ poetry.

And then I found something else on that bookshelf. A copy of Stephen Fry’s The Ode Less Travelled. This book was also given to me as a present some years ago, but I’m ashamed to say I haven’t read it. I flicked through it when I received it, and thought it looked interesting with lots of examples of different kinds of poetry and exercises to try, but then I put the book away for ‘one day’ which, of course, never came.    

I have decided.
I’m going to work through Mr Fry’s book over the winter, and next year I will sign up for NaPoWriMo – National Poetry Writing Month – a challenge to write a poem a day during the month of April.

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? If so, good luck!
Have you done NaPoWriMo? If so, how did you get on?  


Jan Baynham said...

I love beautiful notebooks and stationery, too, Linda. Your notebook is lovely and I'm sure it will be treasured even more when you write your poems throughout April in it. For my sins, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this year as a way to 'make' me finish my novel. I haven't done NaPoWriMo so I shall be interested to find out what you think of it. A great post!

Linda D said...

Not sure I'll be able to produce any poems worth putting in my notebook, Jan, but I think I'll enjoy the challenge. Good luck with NaNoWrimo - and your novel!

Nicola said...

I love notebooks and your's is beautiful. I would be tempted to buy an ink pen with purple ink to use in its pages. I'm concentrating on editing this month but plan to participate in NaNo next year. I might not even wait until then. The thought of sitting down for a month and just writing a novel sounds fab! January is always a downer, so maybe I'll do it then - that'll put a positive spin on things. Have a great week, Linda. Thank you for the lovely post.

Patsy said...

I'm sort of doing Nano - I'll take all the luck that's on offer!

Susan A Eames said...

Great post, Linda. I could relate to your notebook story - I was given a beautiful notebook to write up my travel tales and I just couldn't do it! As for Nano - I considered trying it, but I'm going travelling later this month... :)

Linda D said...

Nicola: I try not to write purple prose, but purple ink is very tempting!

Patsy: A sort of Nano? Sounds intriguing ... A bit like your new book?

Susan: Is travelling a good enough reason not to do Nano? You don't have to work on a novel, you could aim for 50,000 words of travel articles instead. Only joking, I hope you enjoy wherever you're going. I'm sure at least some writing will come out of it.

Wendy's Writing said...

I don't do NaNo - I can't stand the pressure. I just jog along with my one story a week and it suits me. Good luck!

Linda D said...

One story a week is very good going, Wendy. I used one NaNoWriMo for short story writing, and came up with lots of new ideas, but by the end of the month I hadn't produced a single story that was ready for submission. Lots of material to edit and rewrite though, a little of which made it into finished stories - eventually!

Anonymous said...

I'm not nano ing, Linda, I'm plannoing. Making plans and synopsis. I don't want the pressure of nano. I did in 2013, and ended up with such a stiff neck and back and headaches I didn't want to do it again. Steven Fry's book and your note book look and sound great. Good luck with the poetry. I might think about that.

Linda D said...

Ah, the dreaded synopsis, Susan. My least favourite writing task - it's so difficult! I had a moan about it here: