Friday, 28 October 2011

NWD and NaNoWriMo...Is everything an acronym these days?

So, I've finally bit the bullet and signed up for NaNoWriMo after years of thinking that I was too busy to participate, didn't have any ideas, hadn't researched that one idea I do have get the picture. I've made a tonne of excuses in the past mostly out of fear of putting pen to paper. As Jill Dawson put it in The Guardian

"Not beginning protects you from the disappointment – no, shame – of reading what you have written and finding it rubbish. It also prevents you from an equally disturbing possibility: discovering that you can write. What then have you been doing all those years? Success or failure can both be avoided by never starting at all – this then is the spell that procrastination casts."

That's exactly how I've felt, really until I got into blogging. Having a reasonably regular writing outlet like the blog where I write, proof and edit has been a big part of getting over the fear of writing that first sentence. NaNoWriMo offers a further incitement to keep going with it. Like with the Writers Challenge bringing me new followers to write for, committing to something which insists that you write everyday like NaNo is a fantastic way to begin to flesh out your novel, to write freely without plan or plot or editing to hold you back and is, at least in theory, a device for getting you first draft down on paper. I'll be keeping you up to date on how the theory plays out, and if I find myself stuck in the editing loop, or if I manage to just go with it, warts and all. On the up side, I have a fantastic support network here in Dundee of fellow creative writers who either are or have participated in NaNo and who are excited and enthusiastic about me finally getting writing creatively in a serious, committed way. I've already had offers of help in the form of tutoring and forming a writing group, just from telling people that I'm all signed up and ready to go.

And speaking of a supportive literary scene in Dundee, this week sees the return of the wonderful Dundee Literary Festival and the launch of New Writing Dundee Six. The ethos of the creative scene in Dundee to encourage emerging talent is exemplified by the Festival School which took place at the beginning of this week and the new issue of New Writing Dundee, where first time authors and poets as well as established names re published together. The publication launches on Saturday 29th October at 7.30pm in the Dalhousie Building with Books, Food and Music.

I'm incredibly proud of the publication, of the literary vibe in Dundee this week and being a part of it. Watch this space for photos and reviews of Literary Festival events coming next week.

Monday, 24 October 2011

I'm not rude...honest (Quick Post)

I'm not ignoring your comments, but for some reason I can't comment on my own blog beacuse my google account apparently doesn't have the acess rights to comment on my own goddamned page.

Belugh. Never mind, I'll just have to settle for popping by your blogs and commenting there.

Kar x
Because it's obligatory to have a picture on my blog posts, and this one is pretty, if not exactly relevant. 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Normal Service Will Resume Shortly. Thank You For Your Patience.

"so…where does an idea go, nowadays? to the blog? to an email to a friend? to my journal? to a novel? to an opera? would you measure these things any differently if i told you the material was basically all the same dough, just a differently-shaped fucking cookie?" Amanda F Palmer

I've been meaning to blog about a good many things for quite a while. I havn't really gotten back into the swing of things since the submission of the chapter and the holiday in the US, however a few things have come to mind about writing, editing (both my work and the New Writing Dundee project) that are worth blogging about and I'll be getting to those over the weekend, so watch this space for those.

Right now I have spent the day mostly procrastinating from my thesis second chapter, and have been once again incredibly inspired to write something by Amanda F Palmer.* She's an indie musician from the US who writes and sings fantastic songs, awesome live performances and a brilliantly addictive blog. That the fact that she is married to Neil Gaiman is not the coolest thing about her speaks volumes. I might do my Confessions post about Neil next week so that you get what I mean.

Her blog (linked above) actually includes a pie chart of the general occupation of her brain at any given time. Go read it, it's awesome.

Anyway, what this has got me thinking about is the nature of the blog and why I've been absent for so long. I'd pretend that it's because I've been too busy to write, or because I've got StayFocused on my Chrome which is set to block Blogger after about 20minutes, however it's not really true. I'm getting round StayFocused right now by switching to my so-ancient-its-powered-by-a-water-mill Internet Explorer, and as I've discussed with a fellow blogger friend often, writing a blog post takes at most about 30 minutes. I could just watch 30 minutes less TV and thus find time.

Yes, part of it is that while being a full-time student with a part-time job, and a family, and all of the other things to do that come along with life like food shopping and housework, when doing something that isn't vital (thesis, food, paid employment) you feel guilty and anxious. Not always guilty enough not to do it however. What really happened was that I came to value the process of blogging less. I didn't have a Writers Campaign to spur me on to post, and most of my followers haven't deserted me while I've been AWOL. You event still comment, despite the fact that I haven't commented on your blogs in forever. (I promise I do still read though).

I began thinking that this was a waste of time. I started drafting posts that never went out, or writing about things just because I hadn't posted in a while. Doing that makes for bad posts.

Two things changed my thinking on that this week. Brooke Magnanti (aka Belle de Jour) was on Stephen Fry's Plant Word on Sunday. I met Brooke at a book event at Glasgow's Aye Write festival and she was as eloquent and engaging then as she was in the back of Stephen Fry's taxi. Her book deals came out of her wanting an outlet and starting a blog. The world of blogging may be very different now to when she started, but she's still involved.

More importantly for my wake-up call to the importance of blogging (for me) was Amanda's (self-confessed) wine-and-altitude-fuelled blog post about her blogging. Despite being a stickler for editing and pedalling a polished facade on my own blog, I have strangely never found her propensity to not bother with capital letter, or leave in typos as a negative, Its the way she writes her blogs, and I've never thought to question that. Pretty big for a literature student and it strikes me as something inherent within the blogging format. It is a very liberating way to write, without fear of judgement. At least not judgement that I particularly care about.

That sounds like I don't value my followers, and that isn't the case. It is the case that those who would judge my blog don't know me for the most part, and those who do as close enough friends that if I'm being a douche they'll tell me. Their judgement I do not fear or agonise over. That is a huge contrast to the fear I feel over my thesis and my creative writing.

Twice this week, however, I have come across an issue and the natural response has been 'I think I need to write a blog about this'. that sounds very hipster and conceited, but I am inherently a writer. when something happens that is provocative, hurtful, exciting or momentous I want to write about it.

So, the conclusion is pretty much that I remember why I started this in the first place and I am officially back to the blogosphere.

*I also have a blog on the glorious art of swearing planned soon, but for now you'll just have to guess what the F stands for. Or read the last line of the quotation at the top of the page for a clue.