NaNoWriMo Day #6

In the shallow end…

In the shallow end…

Word count after writing a long newsletter yesterday and the diary post is now a respectable 4541.

After writing a few of these updates and looking at the information I’m giving out in them I realised it isn’t worth doing my weekly newsletter (Wicked Words Wednesday) until December comes around, as there’s nothing left for a weekly newsletter.

In December there will be less daily updates on the blog and more about my actual writing therefore the newsletter will be more active in the future.

Today I’ve been working on another project I volunteer for reading and editing short stories for publication and I’ve not really got around to doing much work on my own writing, but have started plotting a piece about how libraries were really important to me throughout my life but especially in my mid to late teens.


The basic core before I started work on this was:

I was so lucky that I had two good early figures in my life regarding reading, my nan and Miss Lawson.

Both the local librarians and Edinburgh Central librarians were comforting and caring.

Local as refuge from family, central as refuge from life and later on a warm place to sit and read.

Reading and education as a way of escaping.

So far I’ve developed this little thought piece into about 600 words and counting, talking about how I feel libraries changed my life.


The photo prompt today is a photograph of an Antony Gormley in the Water of Leith, a shadow in the flow of the river.

NaNoWriMo Day #5

Chained

Chained

After writing a few blog posts and a couple of little poems my NaNoWriMo word count is now at 3140.

Writing today has mainly been updating lists and completing the newsletter for my main project, Independent Bookshops and Publishers, a weekly newsletter about what I’m doing and lists of bookish jobs, events, submissions, and new books.

Today’s photo prompt is taken from an old swing at the place I used to work and is also part of a photography project I’m doing.


I’ve just started a couple of poetry courses ran by the National Centre for Writing, both of which are free and both of which are lead by Aki Schilz.

First Steps in Short Form Poetry: This course looks looks at more traditional short forms, such as Haiku and Landay, then New Ways with Short Form Poetry Looks at looser forms such as Insta and micropoetry.

I had been looking at various courses for a while but a couple of shortish free courses sounded right up my street and more importantly, hopefully suited to my minuscule concentration span that’s developed over the past year.

As I progress through the courses I will be adding the work I do to a dedicated page for each course.

NaNoWriMo Day #4

Blue skies ahead

Blue skies ahead

Yesterday was pretty much a bust when it came to writing, was way too tired after work, this wasn’t helped by getting caught up in the ever grinding news cycle. So when I got home all I wanted to do was relax and get away from the internet and read. So I only got to write yesterday’s diary entry and that has taken my month’s word total to 2555, still having a running total helps me to realise how much I actually write in a day/week/month.

Today, I’ve put together a couple of newsletter posts for a directory I volunteer with to try and get ahead of myself and having a few spare to give me some breathing space if I don’t have the time later on to write a post.

I’ve also finished reading ‘Ten Things About Writing’ – see the review here.

The next writing book I’ve picked up to read is called ‘Sin and Syntax’ by Constance Hale, this is a book I saw recommended by Andrew Wille on his self guided M.A. in Creative Writing post which I’ve still got bookmarked for use in the future.

I’ll be reading this book over the next few days continuing to give myself permission to read and develop as a writer, but alongside this I’ll be finishing ‘The Good Bear’ by Sarah Lean which has started out so well and was chosen as one of Waterstones Books of the Month.

NaNoWriMo Day #3

This Way Only...

This Way Only…

Over two days I’ve put several hours work into reading and learning, and written 2305 words and I’m feeling OK about it. I could possibly have done more but I’ve never tried to ‘work’ at writing before and believe it will take some time to get used to the feeling.

It’s unusual sitting and purposely writing, then pausing and reading it again to ensure clarity rather than just sending it out into the world!

Spontaneity is my usual way of writing, just opening a document and then throwing words at it in a semi-coherent ramble, it’s worked for me so far 😉

Today’s picture writing prompt was taken at the causeway to Cramond Island, Edinburgh on a lovely day a few years back. It used to be the haunt of me and a group of friends in the 80s, we would haul some beer and food across and party all night – going our own way but one we shared with the arrow.

Have almost finished ‘Ten Things About Writing’ and have been really enjoying it, and will definitely be keeping it beside me as I explore further as there are lots of great hints in it which are always worth rereading.

I think this is all I’m going to write today as I’ve worked lots of hours and need some down time, especially time away from anywhere I can see news so I’m off to finish ‘Good Bear’ by Sarah Lean, one of the Waterstones Books of the Month.

NaNoWriMo Day #2

Denim Jacket

Denim Jacket

Yesterday was a nice quiet start to my NaNoWriMo, and after writing my diary post and a couple of newsletter posts I achieved a word count of 1025.

I was actually quite pleased with that as they were all my own words, not lists, old documents, or other works rehashed.

I started to read the ‘Complete Creative Writing Course’ but almost fell asleep so went to bed with ‘Ten Things About Writing’ instead.

I love books like this for bedtime reading as there is enough information in one chapter to take in before falling asleep, or occasionally it will grip you totally and you will read the whole book in a few hours instead.

I’ll also be adding at least one photo of my own to the post that people could, if they want, use as a writing prompt.

Today’s was taken on one of my many walks around Darlington, I like picking little abandoned points like this and I’m going to collect them all into a photography project one day.


Landay

“A poetic form from the Pashtun women of Afghanistan and Pakistan based around an oral tradition of singing their injustices and their love.

The form is of two sentences, nine syllables in the first and thirteen in the second, sometimes they rhyme and they try to end in a ma or na sound.”

After reading the article at The Poetry Foundation about the culture and history of the oral tradition I was trepidatious that I was going to use such a strong part of their culture as a writing exercise and initially thought that I wasn’t going to write one but here is mine

Bearded or not, the men take and hold

Steal the hearts, souls and bodies, give hate in return.


Now off to write a post for my gaming newsletter and try and keep up some impetus in all the various projects I’ve got going.

I’ll also be spending an hour with one of the various resources that I have to learn more about the art of writing.

NaNoWriMo Day #1

Stephen

Stephen

As soon as I opened this document to start writing I got a little panic attack, my nerves tingled, and I got a shortness of breath and almost stopped.

Decided not to let that win this time and plough on. Since my personal NaNoWriMo isn’t actually about writing a novel, but about getting into the habit of writing every day and exploring what works for me to help my writing practice, I thought a diary would be a good idea.

Every day I’m going to open a WordPress post and fill it with my thoughts and what I’ve been up to in the day.

Some days will have more, but today it’s the first day of this practice whilst I’ve a long day at work so I’m not really expecting much to be in here at all.

I also have to remember to not make this a practice of web work/design but actually about writing, and that’s why I chose this site theme, clean and very few bells and whistles to get in the way of putting words out there.

My main plan is to work from a couple of books through the month, complete a short online poetry course, and just write for at least 1667 words a day and complete 50000 words for the month. As I said earlier they aren’t meant to be a novel but they do have to be coherent pieces at least.

Complete Creative Writing Course

Complete Creative Writing Course

I’ve put out two newsletters for other projects today but only one of them was my writing, a small review for a book, so quite happy with the amount of writing I’ve done so far, but will probably write another review later and work on the main book that I’ve got for the month the ‘Complete Creative Writing Course’ by Chris Sykes.

The plan is to work an hour a night on this to develop a consistent writing practise and hopefully write some small pieces of work that I can share.

Ten Things About Writing

Ten Things About Writing

I’ll also be participating in the First Steps in Short Form Poetry from the National Centre for Writing developed by Aki Schilz to give me another, possibly more structured, focus for my practise.

Last, but in no way least I bought ‘Ten Things About Writing’ by Joanne Harris to have as a sort of touchstone book, I was going to have it by the computer and read it at random, but once I opened it I started just reading all the wonderful little tips.

Inspiring and comforting at the same time.

Now off to actually read a book on writing!

NaNoWriMo 2021

Writing Tools

Writing Tools

For years I’ve always found the thought of NaNoWriMo quite intimidating and was put off by the sheer amount of words that have to be produced in a month, but then I’ve put off the idea of writing in general as I am so nervous of committing to writing anything over and above a blog post here and there, a couple of hundred words on something that is external to me.

I’ve quite happily put book reviews, film reviews, thoughts on art history, and lots of other subjects out into the world as these have been flow of consciousness types of writing, no planning and only a few paragraphs long, but I’ve never committed to putting down my own ideas in the form of stories, poetry, or other forms of writing which require more thought and polishing.

This year though I’ve decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, but under my own terms.

I’m going to use the month to commit to the idea of writing.

I’ve accumulated loads of books and links over the year, I have even got a Masterclass account (mainly for photography but there are some brilliant writing resources on there). I will be using these and the NaNoWriMo community to help me embed writing as a habit over the next month so that it is easier to continue this once the month is over.

So I’m going to try and write, or explore something to do with writing, every day.

This may be actual writing itself, or it could be watching one of the Masterclass videos, Youtube videos, or other media and thinking about it, jotting down some notes and reflecting on what I’ve been told and learned.

Or it may be responding to a writing prompt from somewhere, reading about writing in one of the many books I have on the subject, jotting down ideas, writing a poem or a drabble, expanding a character profile, working on world building for an RPG setting, anything, but it will be to do with the craft of writing and whatever it produces will go onto this blog, it may be private for me as it is (hopefully) for publication, but there will be tons of random posts on here.

In anticipation of starting this journey I treated myself to a Paper Republic XL Traveller’s Journal so will see lots of that in various photographs I put up on the blog.

I’m really looking forward to this journey as it feels I’ve been building up to it for years.