Wednesday 30 November 2011

After four months

November hasn’t really been a writing month for me.  In total I managed to write 3614 words in November bringing my final total up to 29,733 Not great then when the aim was 50,000 words.  (my best month was October with 12,121 words)
But man have I learnt a lot.  Number one, writing a book (I won’t say novel – there is no way I can compare what I wrote with a real novel) is not as easy as reading one.  I already knew this, but the fact I can write a complete short story had led me to believe that maybe a full book wouldn’t be so bad.  I was wrong; it is.  My respect for authors, or anyone who has managed to keep going for the full 50,000 words or more, is immense.
Number two, planning really is the key.  I had a pretty good idea of how to start, and a very rough idea of the direction of the end, but no real idea of how to get there.  When writing a short story, this isn’t so much of a problem.  Being so short we are focusing on just one or two issues.  A book requires so much more.
Number three, I’m not very good at writing every day.  Its ok when I have an idea or know what should happen next, but just because it requires me to write 410 words today did not work for me.
Number four, there is no way I would have written even this much in one month.  Without the time to think about how my story was to move forward it would have stalled – this is where the planning comes in.

There is more I could say but those are the main points.  I probably could have written more if I was happy to flesh things out with more detail or conversation etc, but part of why I like writing short stories is that you get to the point quite quickly.
It’s been an interesting project but I think I’ll concentrate on short stories for now. 

Wednesday 23 November 2011


I’ve just started reading a very interesting blog on being a minimalist, called
It has inspired me so far to delete 8 pages of old emails that I really don’t need, and to finally empty a cardboard box which has sat there untouched since we moved into the flat more than 2 years ago.
But it is not just about not owning stuff, more about being aware of the things you do own, having less of things you just don’t need, and not just buying things for the sake of it.  Reading this blog has made me more aware of the things in my life that my grandparents would count as ‘luxury’ items, stuff I could live without, like the microwave, TV and dishwasher and more aware of items which I could live without but make my life easier like my car or hairdryer.  
In one post he tries to list his 10 essentials, but only gets to 8.  Over the last couple of days I have tried to come up with my own 10 essentials, but have found this near impossible without knowing what activity I would be faced with.  If I was making books I would need my knife, steal rule, pencil, needle, thread, etc, going to work, for a walk or run require their own essentials.  Basically I have bought into the consumer society and believed the advertisers when they tell me that I need all this stuff.

I think that I am on the beginning of a long journey to reassess my life and what is important in it.  The image above is of Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall and when it says ‘I want to be like Hugh’, I mean it.  I like his ideas about life and food, that our food should be sustainable, we should grow our own (we do a bit) and that our work-life balance is important.  I want to take all these ideas and turn them into a life with more time to do the things I enjoy with the people I love.

Tuesday 15 November 2011

Writers Group with a Difference

Today at the writers group, rather than sharing our work like normal we were visited by two members of University staff who are also published authors.
Both were published in May this year and both have gone down the self publish route but that is where the similarities end.
Mike Riley decided on a publish on demand approach with Pegasus MacKenzie for his crime novel Reading the Streets, while Phil James, who writes under the name Peter Jackel, used Amazon for his gothic thriller The Shadow of Death.
The hour flew as we chatted with them about all aspects of their journey from writer to published authors.  As the organiser I had been a little worried about the meeting.  What if no one turned up?  What if all they wanted to do was try and sell their book?  What if their books are rubbish?  Etc.
But it went really well, with both Mike and Phil coming across so well that I can’t wait to read their books.  
I will have to ask the group, but maybe this is something we should do again some time.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

After three months

So 3 months in how far have I got?
Well not as far as I had hoped but a lot further than I’ve ever been before, I’ve written just over 26,000 words now - over half way, which is amazing.   I was actually doing quite well at the beginning of the month until I ran out of story.  Its not that I had nothing else to say, rather I was not sure what happens next to get there.  It doesn’t help that I suddenly got rather busy too which cut into my time.  But I think I’ve worked out what happens next, at least for the next part so I’m off again.
I’ve one month until the deadline and I’m under no illusions that I will write 24,000 words in that time, but that’s ok.  I have learnt a hell of a lot from this exercise.  I can’t believe people can write 50,000 words in a month!  Good luck to everyone doing NaNoWrMo this month!