Wednesday, 2 February 2011

February, innit

At the start of January I made a list of what I'd like to get done, writing-wise, in the month. There were four things, and they were these (things):

- story for Mslexia Magazine
- a piece of non-fiction

Continue work on:
- Book project 1
- Book project 2

Check out the colour-code. Green - I did those things. Red - I did not do that thing.

I started the non-fiction piece a few times, but a combination of the subject matter (needed more research than I thought at first) and that it wasn't a priority or deadline-based thing shunted it to the back of the queue. When I considered what I wanted to do this month, the non-fiction piece doesn't feature.

So many things came from my writing time in January that I am happy with. Like:

Book Project 1 soared to new heights with a 500 words per day output for a week or so.
And then it came to an abrupt halt. It didn't feel like it was going the right way. More words, yes, but there are things to do before the words increase any more. Vague, but part of February's writing time will be moving on with this project, and I will be sharing more with you as it develops.

Book Project 2 is the picture book I told you about in my previous post. It is forming nicely, still in its first draft, but edging together. Progress with this project is the priority for February.

I'm not as strict with the no-internet-before-writing pact I made a few weeks ago because I seem to be naturally veering towards 'Word' when I'm at my laptop instead of 'Mozilla'. I am excited about something I found on this blog about Better Writing Habits (thanks Miles). There's a program you can download for $10 that blocks your internet for up to 8 hours at a time (you choose how long you want rid of it). It's called Freedom, here's the link if you want to have a look. Dave Eggers uses it, this is a piece in The Guardian about him and it.

I'm thinking about it - I'd probably just try it for an hour or two at a time and see where it takes me. Or where I take me. It definitely answers my call of 'why can't the internet only come into my house for an hour a day???' which I've been known to wail when I've been more desperate and distracted.


Rachel Fenton said...

I've heard of freedom before - Rachel King wrote about it on an interview on Damien Young's blog -
but, c'mon, are you that addicted? Dunno about freedom in that case, cold turkey sarnie anyone?

Brava for your writing achievements though - you're really getting the goods delivered!

Teresa Stenson said...

No, not that addicted, but honestly I feel there's something that changes, in my writing head, when I open email/FB/Google/whatever for the first time in a writing day, even if I close it all again, it's very tempting to just 'check' something out once the door has been opened.

That's why, some days, I just stay away from Mozilla until I've written what I set out to write. Other days, I think the distractions are useful, and take you away to possibly useful places.

It's knowing what kind of writing day you want, I guess.

Teresa Stenson said...

PS 'Freedom' - what an apt name. And also un-apt (not a word, but you know what I mean)

Rachel Fenton said...

Sounds like it should come "with wings"!

Thing is, I was thinking about this and it's not that there aren't things to suggest but that I think you need the confidence to allow yourself to be the writer that you are. If that means you squander an hour on the internet before blazing a scribble trail out of guilt, then so be it; if that means you smugly scribe two thousand words before switching t'internet on - that's all good too. And if you take each day as the new egg that it is, where's the problem with that? See, I'm not really for prescribing to poeple. It's all just lies we tell ourselves. But I do know what you mean when a quick email check etc just breaks the mojo though. You're trying out new systems, so you're bound to find what works for you - and, you're writing, which is superb and really the main thing!

Miles said...

Here's a not-entirely-but-sort-of-related point. It's to do with going on the Net too much and reading opinions rather than doing the actual writing you're supposed to be doing, see.

Yesterday I read these two pieces of advice on the same writing website:

'Don't tell the audience how your characters are feeling, I want to work it out for myself.'

That struck me as weird advice. Another bit said:

'A novel is a chance to get into the heads of your characters, unlike in a screenplay where you have to show, not tell.'

What do you reckon, Tree? I think a novel is a balance innit. You want the reader to figure a lot of stuff out for the themselves, right, but you have to tell them how the characters are feeling, RIGHT?

What I like about writing a novel is that the characters may be saying they feel a certain way, but based on what you, the reader knows, you can still make your own judgement call about what they're REALLY feeling.

Sometimes the Net is helpful, sometimes not, and I know 'writing rules' are great when you can take them or leave them.

Anyway, well done on your achievements in January. May this continue into February.