Thirteen days ago I signed up for NaNoWriMo.
Yes, I know it was somewhat impetuous and very late in the day but I had been thinking about the though of thinking about writing a novel for a very long time.
During the week I thought about the tweenie novel I’d penned mumble years ago. When I say ‘novel’ I mean first draft. But the draft was complete and I vaguely remembered it being about 40,000 words. Back in the day it had even got on a shortlist for publication help. That’s help not publication. I want no confusion or extravagant congratulations. Both would be a waste of time.
Wasting time is one of the things I do best. So I did nothing with the draft. In actuality I did less than nothing because a few months after being shortlisted for publication help I blew up my hard drive with my nearly novel, many short stories and many many photos blown to bits as well.
Of course I hadn’t backed up. Backing up is for chickens, techies and people who care.
I realised I cared.
Then a really good thing happened. My defunct writing group had a Christmas lunch and I discovered that my tutor had, a year earlier, printed the whole novel. She dropped the hard copy round and, genuinely grateful, I popped it in a desk drawer in the ironing room.
Well, that’s where I thought I’d popped it.
I decided, last Thursday, that I could do a second draft for NaNoWriMo. I know this might not be the spirit of the month but it was a good enough idea for Yours Truly to get quite excited about.
I decided to gather my wits, my creativity and the pages of hard copy on Friday.
Last Friday, 1st November, I turned my laptop on and discovered many messages from the NaNoWriMo crew with lots of helpful tips, links to places I could go write with other like minded people at strange hours, lots of new Twitter followers and a list of all the things I was meant to have done prior to the start date.
Fair enough, I thought and decided all was good because I was doing a second draft so plot and characterisation of sorts etc were there already. Nil desperadum.
I couldn’t find the hard copy.
It wasn’t in any of the four drawers. I found a number of things I thought were lost which was nice but that really didn’t help.
I found what I was looking for in a bag that I used when I was training as an ESL teacher. I found it just after 5.00pm and just before I was due out for drinks. I tweeted my success and got a few more followers and more helpful hints from the team.
I was good to go.
Distraction technique one: Book yourself on a course.
When, Friday mid afternoon, I believed the novel disappeared for a second time I booked myself on a photography course for the weekend. I’d wanted to to take one for simply ages. I know I post lots of photos but since digital came along the hang of that triangle – ISO, shutter speed and aperture have eluded me.
No more, my friends, I’ve got it cracked. I had a wonderful and exhausting two days in Soho learning things.
I did not look at my novel or write a word. I lost half my newly acquired Twitter followers and didn’t open a large number of emails.
Distraction technique two: Deep clean your kitchen.
Monday morning I caught up with some TV viewing I’d missed over the weekend, enjoyed my pot of coffee and lemon curd yoghurt and had a phone call with a girlfriend.
As I opened the fridge to see what might entice me for lunch (yes, it was that time already) I noticed the state of it.
There was no choice. My tweenie was put on hold.
I hate cleaning but it’s rather cathartic when only one room is being serviced and it just happens to be my favourite room in the house. Goodness I did a good job.
That is until it got to the point of vacuuming.
A few months ago my Miele ‘dog and cat hair’ vacuum caught on fire. I know I could have posted it off to be fixed like the last time but instead I cobbled bits of it to a vintage Henry vacuum cleaner and made do. It has been most unsatisfactory and has got even harder to control since one of the wheels fell off.
Kitchen now agleam I decided it was time for a new appliance.
Distraction technique three: Buy a new household appliance.
Exhausted from physical labour and thirsty to boot I had a glass of sav blanc by way of self congratulation on a job well done and checked my social media. Three more NaNoWriMo twitter followers had jumped ship and my inbox was full to brimming with speed writing ideas for me to peruse. I felt a frisson of fear and not a little guilt.
Assuaging the guilt with a second glass of wine I decided there would be plenty of time to choose a working title in the morning before I went appliance shopping.
I bought a Dyson but could not take it home with me because there was a deal going for 20% off if an old vacuum was produced. I am not in the habit of driving around with old, fire scorched vacuums in my car so John Lewis and I agreed I would ‘click and collect’ from my local Waitrose the very next day. A post in itself but suffice it to say the next day was creatively wasted arguing vacuuming returns beside the cake section of said supermarket.
I came home and wrote my blog.
Distraction technique four: Write more blog posts than usual.
Honestly I have had so many brilliant ideas. I am mind mapping them with ferocity. My creative juices are in full flow. Watch out world I’ve enough grist to post every day. Forever!
I just don’t seem to be able to think of a title for my WIP. Also I have fewer followers on Twitter than before I started this malarky.
But I do have an idea for a memoir and that must be a good thing. It came to me while I was at the movies yesterday afternoon.
Distraction technique five: make this your NaNoSeeMoMo.
There are just so many enticing films appearing at the moment. It’s that time of year when the clocks go back, the evenings draw in and the rain beats down. Well it does here.
On Saturday Mr Carmichael dragged me away from my WriMo guilt trip and took me to see Captain Phillips. It might just be the movie we’ve most enjoyed equally. I wanted to see every trailed film as well.
Yesterday, on a recommendation, I saw Wadjda, now my film of the year. There’s something about going to matinee movies isn’t there? A little bit naughty, a lot nice. I’m also booked in for next week’s lunch time show.
The moment I got home I rushed to my computer. I began typing with frantic zest and vigour.
And checked out memoir writing courses, emailed them, found a photography holiday course in Marrakech that looks like fun and emailed them as well.
Distraction technique one: Book yourself on a course.