On inertia and the physics of stopping too long

Last year, back in November I completed Nanowrimo.

I remembered telling myself to take a break for one month, and get to editing the draft once the new year begins.

Well it’s March, almost April in fact, and I have not edited the draft at all.

Granted, work and real life came into the equation – and a couple of things cropped up which I could not have possibly foreseen. But still, these are excuses.

Nanowrimo was easier because all I had to do was to write without caring about the quality. But now that I am sitting down properly to edit it into a proper manuscript, I realised there are so many things to look out for, accuracy, details, convincing motivations and characters, compelling reasons. Would this reason really be enough to compel this character to do this? Is this plot idea plausible? Do people really do that? Is this how a species would behave? Is this what a prince would do? Is this really the way people talk back then? Is this analogy or metaphor too anarchic for the times, or too modern for the story?

Sigh.

So I am forcing myself to read up reference materials and background information. And I’m trying to edit. But I keep getting sidetracked.

***

I’m trying to get myself to blog more regularly as well to keep my habit of writing consistently. Truth be told I have a lot of entries I want to write, but it would involve researching and I am usually too lazy to do so.

Inertia. What a terrible concept. Once you stop, it’s so hard to start moving again.

reminiscing in prose

Dusk arrives earlier in Melbourne than it does in Singapore. We are walking along Collins Street and the fading sun lends a golden glow. It’s getting darker, and it’s getting colder. I zip my jacket up and wind the scarf around my neck. I am not yet sick of the cold. We find a table outside Lindt Chocolate Cafe and share a box of macarons as the evening stretches into night.

It has been a long day. Twelve in Melbourne, probably ten in Singapore. I am outside on the balcony wearing a cardigan over my clothes. The cold does not hit me at first, but as I sit down on the cold metal stool the wind chills me down to my bone. I am trying to text someone but my fingers are numb and I am already starting to tremble from the cold. I may be the only one with the shakes. The rest have already adapted to the cold.

End of the first day on the Great Ocean Road. It’s barely eight pm and the roads are empty, the stores closed, the town dark and quiet. We check into a motel and I step outside to light up. It’s so damn quiet I can hear the crash of waves, the sound of the ocean just a block away. I remember thinking to myself that I would like to stay there forever, it’s so damn peaceful.

We get out of the car and walk to the beach. Someone is burning their garbage up across the road and the smoke drifts over the stretch of sand. So we continue walking on, to the slippery rocks and seaweed tendrils so long and large that they resemble kelpy octopuses.  There are waves, huge waves, at the end of the rocks. Bless wants to go to the edge of the rocks to see the waves and I follow, but at the same time I am afraid. Despite my fascination with the ocean I have a deep fear of it, and the further we get from the car the more nervous I am. We are so far away from the car now that the car is a miniscule black rectangle in the distance behind us.

We decide to head back.

I tell Bless about the topic of parallel universes on the way back. Quantum physics believe that there are an infinite number of universes out there, and everytime a choice is made the universe splits into two. Every time you flip a coin, the universe splits into two separate realities – one in which you get the heads, one in which you get the tail. Every time you make a decision, every time you make a choice, the universe splits. Infinite number of universes, infinite.

In returns she tells me about this Chinese horror show that she watched once on cable and never knew what movie it was. This female writer stumbles into another dimension where all the forgotten things of the world are, including a child she has aborted years and years ago. I would like to watch it but Googling doesn’t help.

I miss how liberated I feel when I was in Melbourne.

_____

Like many other people around the globe, I am not sure what I really really want.

Post-mortem

Some post-mortem about Nanowrimo.

Found this through Howalt’s blog: Wordle, a word cloud generator that you could use to generate word clouds of just about anything. You could use it to see what are the most commonly used words in a blog, a website, etc… and in my case, I used it to see what are the words I used the most in my Nano draft:

As Howalt said: It’s a really good tool to see if your text overuses certain words. So hmm, in my draft there’s too much ‘looked’ and ‘eyes’ going on. And why does ‘back’ appear so often too?

So now you know I have a main character called Aylwin, and there’s a girl called Vanessa. Rowena is Aylwin’s sister, Merrill is Aylwin’s friend, Strommer is Vanessa’s uncle.

I wrote consciously, aware of the word count, and as a result my story ended almost perfectly with the word count, even though real novels are longer than 50,000 words normally. But my draft needs a lot, a lot of revising, and even rewriting, so I am hoping that eventually it will shape up to be more lengthy and coherent.

2 things.

2 things that made me very happy today:

– Finally got my hands on the Yellow Bastard.

– I completed Nanowrimo.

I am very, very contented. 🙂

It may not be the best thing I ever wrote, but it was done through sheer perseverance, and of that I am proud. Proud that I stood to my commitment and wrote every night; save for one night, proud that I ignored my inner editor telling me that I am writing crap and instead just type and type and type and type and type and type and type until my brain matter was fuckin’ leaking out of my ears.

Because writing every night for 26 days straight has instilled in me a habit of writing, something that is important to me to learn (but never got the hang of)

I have discovered trying to write 1667 words is like going against the tide when you are tired, cranky and just want to sleep instead of typing.

Yet it’s this dogged determination that allows people to write 50,000 words within a month. Every night counts.

I did it. Am happy. 🙂

wordcount

 

Nanowrimo keeps me at home, out of the streets, away from alcohol, and smokes. I am squeaky-clean geeky. I am that girl who goes straight home after work. I wouldn’t have imagined it possible but my liver and my lungs are possibly the cleanest they have been for years.

NaNoWriMo

Can I do it? Can I do it? Oh I don’t know. =/

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo, and I’ve written about 4000-plus words. I’ve been self-psychoing myself, saying you can do it Ally! It’s just er, 50 000 words!, reading tweets on #nanowrimo to motivate myself, and reading the word counts of other people to push myself to do more.

In case you are wondering, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is in essence a movement/campaign for hapless wannabe writers to write 50 000 words in 30 days. It’s a global phenomenon for about ten years now, and this is what creator Chris Baty says about it:

You’re basically looking at the worst writing contest in the history of writing contests—spending 30 days toiling away on a novel that nobody ever reads. But the fact that nobody reads it is a really empowering aspect of NaNoWriMo. You can turn off the inner editor that slows so many of us when we sit down to write a first draft. You really do have a chance to free yourself from the inner voice that says you’re a horrible writer and that you have no business doing this. You can run amok in imagination for 30 days. Once you’ve done that, it forever changes the way you write first drafts.

So it works out to about 1,667 words every day. It all sounds very fine and dandy and easy but as I am not exactly known for my iron-forge willpower, sticking to writing an essay every single bloody day, for 30 days, is kind of a big deal.

But hopefully I can do it!

PS: Nanowrimo is just about getting the writing done out of the way. At this point of time I do not know whether my writing’s of the quality to be published, or it will be horrible crap that will burn my eyes.

On a sidenote:

Ridiculously egoistic self-proclaimed bestselling writers piss me off. Self publishing your novels does not maketh you a bestselling writer. Also, spamming my email and Facebook to get me to buy your book isn’t the best way to generate goodwill.

demons

our demons don’t really die,
they just lie dormant.
until we are at our most vulnerable – then they emerge and eat us alive.

they don’t come in the light of day
during our happier moments
or even at night, when there’s someone at our side.

so you give up the fight
thinking that you have gotten rid of them
from the recesses of your mind.

Pain is good.

Pain is good.

Physical, emotional, psychological pain; pain in all its guises from anger, grief, anguish, jealousy to stress.

Because it reminds us that we are still human; that we are capable of feeling. Reminds us that we are vulnerable and that we can fall and we can fall and be the worse off for it. Reminds us that we aren’t superheroes. Reminds us that we have our limits. Keeps us on our toes; keeps us alive when we would have thrown ourselves uninhibitedly into the fire.

The cowards that we are; pain keeps us safe.

Pain is good. Because there’s no growth without pain; there’s no progress without sacrifice.

If pain was non-existent, our every happy moment would be monotonous. A single flat lifeline with no spikes or valleys. Can’t be redeemed if a person hadn’t fallen before. Can’t be saved.

Pain is good.

Deep thoughts, Ally. Deep thoughts.