Sunday, 17 November 2013
Indiscriminate reading and indiscriminate writing by Mary Smith
On the summit of Goatfell I discovered the DH has no head for heights. It’s nice, isn’t it, when after twenty plus years of marriage you can still find new things about your partner? Even though, it turned out, we both forgot our wedding anniversary which was during our holiday. However, we enjoyed many delicious dinners out over the course of our holiday, so I guess we did celebrate it, even if unknowingly. I also enjoyed having plenty of time to read.
I read voraciously and, having abandoned the worthy research books I’d brought, I read indiscriminately, and it was lovely. I simply left my critical faculties on one side and didn’t think about structure, plotlines, what worked and what didn’t, or assess whether characters were sufficiently developed. I knew I was not going to discuss what I was reading with anyone – I just read. I devoured J K Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy (39p on my Kindle!), New England Rocks by Christina Courtenay, Elegance by Kathleen Tessaro, The Mistress’s Revenge by Tamar Cohen (rather unpleasant central characters reminded me of Gone Girl), an Isla Dewar, title now forgotten found on the rented accommodation shelves, a M&B medical romance, both title and author’s name now forgotten also on the shelf and I started and abandoned a misery memoir in favour of Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grownups.
From indiscriminate reading to indiscriminate writing – it’s NaNoWriMo time. In case there is anyone out there who doesn’t know about NaNoWriMo it means National Novel Writing Month and the idea is that during November you sign up to write a 50,000 word novel – 1,667 words a day. You sit down, you write. You don’t edit, you don’t worry about plotlines going round in circles, or characters refusing to do anything, never mind not doing what you want them to do.
I have tried it in the past. In fact, I blogged about it a couple of years ago when I was feeling confident I was going to achieve the target, but I failed. I think it was the second or third time I had tried and given up and I felt so depressed by my failure last time I vowed never to put myself through such self-inflicted pain again. Last year I deleted all NaNoWriMo emails. This year I ignored them until the day before it was due to start someone emailed to say she would read my novel No More Mulberries, but not until December as she was doing NaNoWriMo. I wished her luck, explaining why I was never going to do it again. She suggested I give it another go and we could be NaNoWriMo writing buddies. Guess what, I signed up again!
I decided, though, to use the writing time for something which isn’t really a novel. For a long time I have been saying I want to write a blog about the situation with my father who has dementia and what that entails for me and my sister, especially as his wife has been in denial about his condition and hinders the care process every step of the way. I thought it would be a good chance to write up the material, the anecdotes, the arguments, the heart-breaking moments and the amusing episodes (quite often those two go together).
Past the half way mark and I have managed to keep the word count on target. If I can keep going I will have 50,000 words of a rough – very rough – draft of something which I hope I can edit, polish up a bit and post bit by bit as a blog. As my father lives totally in the moment, forgetting everything from who he saw to what he ate, within a couple of minutes I’m giving it the title of My Dad’s a Goldfish. I’ll let you when if it goes live.
Is anyone else taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? How is going for you?