Becoming a writer: Putting pen to paper (electronically)

Ok, so it’s taken me a while to get this blog off the ground. I’ve been meaning to start writing for the past few weeks, but things just kept coming up. Like vacuuming and emptying the dishwasher and applying for jobs. The truth is, I’m a little nervous; nervous about bearing my soul to the dreaded internet. Worried that my mere ramblings and hasty, clumsy words might not make particularly fascinating or enthralling reading.

But here’s to trying. Here’s to starting. Here’s to the beginning of things.

So. I want to be a writer. No, I AM a writer. I write everyday, the majority of the time it’s cover letters, but there are words involved…and toil. But I do write creatively. My mind is always ticking away, writing stories, speeches, poems, one liners, sketching out scenarios etc. But lately it seems that all this ‘creative energy’ (pardon this cringey expression) seems to occur when I’m safely away from pen and paper. Like, for example when I’m walking. Or sitting on the bus, thinking about the hideous male sneeze that had enough power to shut the stiff bus windows, only I can’t whack out a pad and pen, for fear of starting a scene when Mr Sneeze leans down only to read my scribbles about his nose noises and their catastrophic reverberations. Writing has become impractical and inconvenient and I hate that.

But there is something else. Guilt has gotten in the way. He stands there (because guilt is most definitely male) fists ready to give me that gut wrenching, sickly feeling. The stomach tensing. That serves to remind me that I should be clawing at the door of employment – not fiddling with my thoughts and various nibs belonging to the vast number of writing implements I possess – every waking moment of my life until it flings open. And it will fling. One day.  But at the moment the door is shut. Tight.

I needed structure.  I needed to stop wallowing in my bed and actually remove myself from the clutch of the covers, shower, apply my face and write. Cover letters -yes- but also a book.

B.O.O.K. A book. One with plenty of pages and a plot. A beginning. A middle. An end. A book with great characters and twists and turns and possibly love. Because books are better with love.

One miserable day not so long ago I stumbled across the amazing NaNoWriMo and this bizarre anagram knocked me out of my woe-is-me-i’m-unemployed funk; long enough for me to read what it stood for, which was National Novel Writing Month. This writing month happens to fall in November and is all about writing a novel in -yes you’ve guessed it- a month! This sounded both ridiculously exciting  but also 100% ludicrous to me. I mean really, who can write a novel of any worth in 30 days? It’s utter madness. And besides it was already the 20th of November when I discovered this phenomenon so I wasn’t even going to attempt writing a novel in 10 days, not with my graduation ceremony in 9 days time. I had to devote those days to worrying about which shoes to wear and composing a reaction to a raucous crowd of graduates having just witnessed me falling flat on my face. These things took time.

So I reverted back to feeling rather glum, irritated that yet again I had missed out on an opportunity. I wasn’t quick enough, not well read enough, not up to speed on writing conventions. So I wallowed for a bit longer and then it dawned on me. I AM a writer and I have the world at my finger tips. I thought about the Bronte’s and Mary Anne Evans; I thought about how they had to adopt male pseudonyms and suddenly I felt strangely fortunate. And grateful.

I haven’t felt grateful for a long time. Which is terrible.

I came to the conclusion in that moment of gratitude that writing a novel in November is clearly overrated. Instead it’s all about writing one but in the better month of December. Yes, the month of Jesus’s birth shall be the month that I write a book. I shall call it The Advent Challenge, or 12 days of Christmas x2 plus 7 or just simply Advent. It will be my very own version of NaNoWriMo! It could catch on. Quite seriously. It could. You know it.

So that is what I shall do. Every day of December I will write the recommended 1,666 words a day so that I have a 50,000 word novel to show at the end of it. It will be crap and pointless, and most probably about something trivial and niche that only interests myself and perhaps a few other rabbit fanatics. If I’m lucky. But it will be a novel nonetheless. Forget my life and Christmas shopping.

Before the year is out, I will have a novel.

Oh, that sounds rather exciting.

And incredibly pretentious.

Wish me luck.


7 thoughts on “Becoming a writer: Putting pen to paper (electronically)

  1. Best of luck to you. I started my NaNoWriMo book and made good progress until a few days ago. I just couldn’t keep up the pace. But I’m extremely grateful for NaNoWriMo for giving me the push to get started. I plan to finish this book — soon.

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