Tuesday, 1 May 2012

INTERNATIONAL CREATIVE WRITING MAY

Hello, hello, hello - and happy Tuesday to all!

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 :)

22 comments:

Liz said...

That sounds like a brill idea Zoë, and just what I need to get writing again can the targets be something other than a certain amount of words?

Aimen said...

asdsdfkj; this sounds like an AWESOME idea! ^__^
I've been studying for my exams for the past two months and I'm finally going to be done tomorrow afternoon. I've barely worked on my novel since January so this will be a great opportunity for me to wrap up the first draft. Who knows? It might just be the first original draft I ever finish. (fingers crossed)
In any case, I will definitely be working hard this month
:)

amy_celestia said...

This is an awesome idea! I have so many writing projects up in the air at the moment, I'll welcome some motivation to get some of them nailed down! Only it's going to be hard for me to do anything major, since I have big, scary exams this month :(
But I have recently dug out an old story of mine and bought a nice new notebook for it which I can scribble in during revision breaks, so maybe I'll make that my InCreWriMa project!

Rachel Balcombe said...

amy_celestia, my thoughts exactly! I really want to do this but my target is going to have to be something fairly small so I don't turn it into an excuse not to do revision (so very tempting!).

Zoë Marriott said...

Yay! I'm so glad that you all like the idea!

Yes, Liz - the target can be whatever you feel is right for you. If you want to make it a target to reach a certain point in your novel, or write four poems, or just to complete 20 pages of notes in May, that's fine.

:) :) :)

Rebecca Lindsay said...

This sounds like an ACE idea! I'm about 3/4 of the way through my first draft of my book and I want to try and get it finished soon, so this is the perfect oppertunity to try!
See you Thursday :D

Jenni said...

I love this so much! I have some uni commitments left for May (1 assignment and 1 exam) but I've been eyeing up an exciting new project that this may well be perfect for. I'll definitely be back to pledge on Thursday :D

Zoë Marriott said...

This is so great! There's this amazing sense of excitement that comes when loads of enthusiastic people come together like this - I'm really stoked :)

Isabel said...

This is a great idea, and I hope it helps you organize your writing time more efficiently! What you've been doing for your dad is really admirable and it looks like it's making a huge difference, so it would be fantastic if you could juggle both those full-time jobs effectively in the future.

I will most likely be participating, although I will have to think what my goal might be. Thanks for the opportunity!

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: I'd be really glad to have you take part, hun - but remember, realistic goals. I know you have a lot of work to do as well.

Giora said...

Your idea, Zoe, about writing as a group while supporting each other is great. But my comment is about you and your mum taking care of your dad when he's vulnerable. While it cut on your hours of writing, it might inspire you to for novel about that topic. Kyunq Sook Shin from Korea had a huge best seller "Please Look After Mom." Sometimes the hours of writing are not lost, but just building inside a great touching novel that can inspire millions in similar situation. Best wishes for your dad.

Alex Hayman said...

That sounds brilliant! I've never actually commented on your blog before, but I will definitely strive to do so for the next four Thursdays, at least!

And what you're doing for your dad is great, I hope the treatment continues to go well!

Zoë Marriott said...

Giora: Thank you, that's a very positive way to look at it.

Alex: Yay! I hope that you enjoy it :)

A.J. Mullarky said...

I really admire you Zoe! I will certainly write with you, I have been Queen of Procrastination recently. My goal is to finish the play I've started which already has performance dates in November. I'm aiming for 60-70 pages and am currently on 34. I will keep you updated :)

Zoë Marriott said...

Alex: Don't forget to come back and share your goal with everyone officially on the first check-in post tomorrow! That's when we'll all be talking about what we want to achieve and why :)

Elyndra said...

I just finished Script Frenzy and have nothing to do till next month, so this came at exactly the right time. I’ve been reading this blog for a while now and have been meaning to comment, but I never manage to do so. I often write and then delete replies to blogs or forums, certain no one cares what I have to say. Stupid, I know, but I can’t help it. So perhaps this could serve a dual purpose. I have a lot of unfinished bits and pieces lying around in need of some attention and this might help me post a reply to something for a change. Either way this sounds like a fun idea.

Zoë Marriott said...

Elyndra: Never mind - I appreciate all the people who visit me here, including the ones who don't comment. And I really do hope that you decide to join us. There's no pressure at all to post if you don't want to, you can just follow along with us silently. But there will be a warm welcome and encouragement for you if you do decide to post.

Ruby97 said...

This sounds like a great idea! i think i might have to join this :) i only found out about it now so i hope i can still join! Such a good Idea Zoe, thanks :)

Jean said...

A day late but here and writing...
I want to get through a first draft of a short book before the May 21st. Prizes that rock are always welcome!

Zoë Marriott said...

Ruby: I hope you'll go and check in on the Thursday post, then :)

Jean: Wow, that's an ambitious goal! If you'd like to be eligible for the prizes, you need to go on to Thursday's post, which is the first check in, and just make yourself known there. Good luck!

Lisa-Marie Jordan said...

I just heard about this great challenge! I think it's just what I need to get back to writing!

Zoë Marriott said...

Lisa: Thanks! If you'd like to be eligible for the prizes, you should nip over to the next post - the first check in - and share your InCreWriMa goal with us there :)

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