Wednesday, November 7, 2012

NaNoWriMo 2012 - How I Trick Myself into Writing.

Last night, you may remember, I made a rather desultory post - with a pretty pitiful wordcount and then disappeared off to bed.
Except, that I didn't. What I did was, I went downstairs, had a hot chocolate and tricked myself into writing another 1k words, bringing my current total to 11,959.

How, you may ask.

Well, I don't know about you, but I find that the computer seems to inhibit my writing abilities. I will sit there, staring at the screen, write a sentence. Delete half of it. Gaze out of the window (where I have the view of a tree, or at night, just darkness), pop over to facebook to see how everyone else's wordcount is going for the day. Check my email... You get the picture. The words that I put down on the page feel forced, almost like I'm trying to push the story out of me.

So, I give up for the day, I push "save" (to dropbox, backing every few days to my desktop hd) and switch the computer off. At least, I think, I can get an early night and maybe wake up early and write some more. But first, my hot chocolate awaits me!

As soon as the machine is off - my mind starts buzzing! I start conceptualising what I could write tomorrow. More detail - create Tiriki's world in more vivid, visceral terms. How brilliant it must be to be able to fly - why haven't I made use of that?

As I sip my hot chocolate and munch on my biscuits, I'm trying to read, but my mind keeps flitting back to Tiriki and his world.

What the heck, I think, I didn't even shut down my laptop before - just closed the screen. I'll push out a few more words.

So, I grab the machine, open the laptop, open the file and move to the end, create page break - new page = new inspiration, forget the old dead horse, let's just write a flow of consciousness.

And I begin:
Spring was here, and Tiriki decided it was time to fly. Properly fly. Not this flapping from place to place that he had been doing. A proper, long distance glide. He started by finding a thermal, not too difficult as this spring day rather resembled a summer one, and riding it as high as it would take him. Above, the sky stretched azure blue from horizon to horizon, speckled with tiny patches of fluffy white clouds, reminding him of down feathers on the wind. The wind tugged at his feathers, and he felt it buoy him, holding him in place, a steady glide with the breeze tickling his under-wings, and stirring his feathers.
Below – his home, his kingdom, rising and falling into mountains and valleys. Snow tipped peeks – still holding their winter cloak, even as the sun shone bright and golden in the sky. Forest, seemingly endless sea of dark green, tumbling down into the valleys where it was broken by the jagged lines of various rivers, swollen now with the snow melt. The road, a jagged scar that cut the world in half, tiny colourful shapes racing along its length. The village of Arthur's Pass – a tiny cluster of shops and buildings – some gaily painted, others weather-worn and barely holding.
And then he was not alone on the wind any longer, another had flown up to join him, rising up through the trees, her wings pumping furiously as she raced to be by his side. His heart swelled at the sight of her – so small and fierce, yet so determined. So eager and alert and alive.
He took a deep breath, and gave a great and powerful cry – the cry of sheer freedom, of jubilation.

It's only 294 words, but now I'm back in the mood - I head back and add a little more to the previous chapter.

And before I know it, my hot chocolate is getting cold and it's well after 10pm. I've written an additional 975 words, thus aceing my daily target of 1,667 and I now have an epilogue for my book - sould I choose to use it.

So, how do I trick myslf into writing? Well, my mind is most active when I'm not sitting in front of the computer. Sad but true. So, step away from it. Grab a pen and paper if you must. For me a laptop seems to work - luckily - because it's so portable it lacks the import of a desktop. The desktop is for work, the laptop is for play. Open to a fresh page (or file). Think "this doesn't need to fit into the story, I just need to write" - it might be something to better capture the mood or a way learn more about a character. Put pen to the paper (or fingers to laptop keys). Write/Type. Do not hesitate. Do not read over what you've done. Just write until your passage comes to a natural end. It might be after 100 words, you might manage 600. At this point - if you are lucky, your mental juices will be running and you'll want to go back and write more.

I also find it helps to read over what I've written. Even if it's just a skim through. Something so that you think "you know, this wasn't rubbish after all, it's actually pretty good, it just needs a bit of a polish".

Me, I need to describe the kea's world in better detail. For this, I believe a roadtrip to Arthur's Pass is in order. I wonder if can persuade the husband to go with me on saturday... I don't think we have other plans this weekend? Otherwise, I suppose I can do it by myself - or perhaps just use a combination of Google Streetview and Google Earth.

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