Tuesday, 1 May 2012
INTERNATIONAL CREATIVE WRITING MAY
Whoa, so I guess my blog title kinda gave it away there (if you hadn't already worked out what the 'InCreWriMa' I hinted about last week was). It's International Creative Writing May - partly inspired by NaNoWriMo and partly inspired by Kaz Mahoney's genius SpringKazNo which I somehow managed to TOTALLY miss until about a week ago, when it was too late to join up, dammit.
No, that's not really accurate. It's not 'somehow' managed to miss. It's 'missed because the end of March and all of April this year have been kind of a no-go zone as far as writing is concerned'. This is why I put a progress metre for Katana up there, because I hoped it would motivate me a bit.
Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.
I don't really talk about it much on this blog, but I'm a carer for my dad, who is disabled. You might remember that earlier this year I switched from a thrice (thrice, what a nice word, I should use it more often) weekly posting schedule to twice weekly. This was because my dad was moving onto a new form of treatment which would would take place at home and I knew that this was going to take a lot more of my (ha ha) 'spare' time.
What none of us - me, my dad, or my mum, who is obviously also involved - realised was just how much there was going to be to this new system of home treatment, how many hours we would need to dedicate to training for and learning how to do it, and how much time the treatment itself would take up. It took us all completely by surprise, and for the past six weeks or so I've been desperately scrambling to keep up, trying to convince myself that I *can* do this, that it'll all work out, and we're doing the right thing. Basically, my whole family has been in crisis mode, and although I've been trying my best to keep Katana #2 ticking over, I haven't made nearly the progress that I hoped I would have by this stage.
Now I feel like I've reached a bit of a crossroads.
My dad is doing brilliantly on his new treatment, and has more energy and positivity than I've seen for absolutely ages - years. That makes me very happy. I think we're getting on top of all the stuff we need to learn and I'm no longer feeling constantly overwhelmed, tearful and depressed.
At the same time, though, I'm coming to an understanding of how the new routine is going to work, and there's no getting around it: my writing time has been drastically cut down. I'd estimate I've lost about half the hours I would previously have spent writing, and that's not going to change much from now on.
I've still got way more hours to play with than I did back when I was doing an office job, and I managed to write three books back then. But if I don't adjust and learn to work around this, it's going to have a big impact on my productivity. So what I need now? Is something to kickstart me into getting words down on paper again.
Dear Readers, I really want us to write together.
It doesn't matter if you feel like writing poetry or short stories. Novels or synopses. Blog posts or entries on Tumblr. Just so long as you write something - anything creative - you're welcome to take part! If you want to use this as a way to help you finish the novel you have on deadline, that's brilliant. If you want to use it to start creative writing for the first time ever? Also fantastic!
Pick a target for yourself. Something realistic and achieveable for you, something that you can hit with a bit of effort. Nothing feels as depressing as failing right away because you pushed yourself too hard. But once you've picked that target, stick to it. Because nothing feels as good as pushing through, working hard, and reaching your goal. And when I said realistic? I meant it! If you don't think you can realistically manage to write more than five lines every day? THAT IS 100% A-OK for InCreWriMa too! On the other hand? Don't be too easy on yourself either. There's more satisfaction in going the extra mile than in never putting on your running shoes because you're afraid of blisters.
The really important thing about this is that we're going to do it together. It's supposed to be exciting, and fun, and motivating, and part of that is being around to help and support each other. Every Thursday in May I'm going to do a check in post. I will be completely honest with you about how many words I wrote in the preceding week, if I struggled or had a great time, and how I'm feeling about the book. I might even do breakdowns as to how many words/pages I managed each day, if you're interested in that much detail.
I hope you guys will be equally honest in the comments. If you caught a cold, felt awful, and wrote two words the whole week, we'll offer encouragement and reassurance. If you blew past your target and wrote pages and pages more than you expected, you'll get high-fives and cheers.
At the end of the month, we'll all do a review and round-up of what we've accomplished. And any commentors who checked in on every single IntCreWriMa Thursday (that's five, from May 3rd, to May 31st) will be eligible to go into another giveaway prize draw and maybe receive special surprise presents. My surprise presents? Rock. You want to be eligible, trust me! Especially since the giveaway will be open to everyone, from the brilliantly coloured beatles dwelling on the hot, eastenmost rocks of Timbuktu to the tiny dwarf Artic rabbits hopping around on the snow of the polar icecap.
I'm really excited about this idea, Dear Readers, and I hope you are too! But don't get too excited; take some time to think about whether this seems like fun to you, and what a REALISTIC target would be. Don't rush in and commit yourself too fast. I don't want anyone to put undue pressure on themselves or to take part if it's not right for them just now. I don't want to see any comments pledging certain amounts of words per day, or anything like that, in the comments today. The first check-in post will be Thursday this week. That's when I'll tell you my target and ask for yours.
I would like to know what you all think, though! Let me have it in the comments :)