Robin Hawke

Solitary Confinement
November 12, 2011, 3:59 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , , , ,

I can’t forgive myself for what I’ve written this month of November. I hang my head with shame.

If I maintain my current NaNoWriMo progress, my self-imposed confinement ends in four days. Escape is in sight, but my fingers are lethargic. Tempted to write 6,000 words today, to make a last effort to finish in two days, I resist because of my experiences with gorging. A few of my writing buddies envy my steady progress. I envy what they must be writing; their words must be better than mine.

I’ve looked inside, found the blank slate, rubbed it.  My words come because I chain myself to the computer, resist food and water and email. But I have nothing to say. I sit. I wait for words. I type.  I don’t stop. I don’t get up. I wait for words. The discipline trains me.

I grant I’m in training—but not to write better prose, or a better story.

I’m in training to last out blocks, to push past dumb, to lower expectations. It is a small window in a large cell. In four days I win my freedom, no longer an innocent.

Splitting and Spitting

I have given a large chunk of every day to NaNoWriMo. Then, when the chunk is done, I’ve heaped abuse on the three thousand words I’ve written. My behavior is classic. I blame the victim for my ineptitude, for my lack of wit, and for my sorry teabag brain. Despite the embrace of hours and hours, I plan to discard the victim in a divorce that has the earmarks of being a nasty, vocal affair. Somehow, I plan to wrest anything of value, certain scenic ideas, as a settlement. Yes, I’ll abandon the husk for a newer rewrite. With pleasure.

Read entries to the prompt...writing...

NaNoWriMo: The First Week
November 7, 2011, 2:31 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges | Tags: , , , ,

My goal for NaNoWriMo, for the fifty thousand words that become draft zero, was to write clear prose.

I’ve succeeded. If I look at word statistics, I’m writing prose that a third-grader understands. It is approachable and juvenile. My protagonist acts like a playground bully.

I confess: I’m mystified.

I’m meeting goals; I’m following the story; I’m developing characters and situations; I’m discovering; I’m writing.

Part of me, the part that knows I’m writing aggressive dreck, is learning that the relationship between myself and my story is far more sincere and honest than with any other story I’ve told. Words, expectations, resolutions, judgments can’t cloud what happens when I sit down to add another thousand words. That’s good right?

Part of me, the part that intends to take draft zero to completed manuscript, is completely befuddled. How will I manage to jump from inane, remember it is third grade stuff, to something of value to adults? Do I even want to? Is this whole process something of value to one single person, me? Despite quarantining my inner censor this month, those judgmental thoughts tickle my worry.

I begin to understand why so many NaNovels are discarded.

Feel free to add me as a buddy if I haven’t found you…

NaNoWriMo Day 3
November 3, 2011, 10:01 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , ,

The experience reminds me of vomiting. I vomit words 1-1,000. Then I feel so sick, I vomit 1001-1500. The gory glummy stuff gets choked back, stalled while I sweat. Oops, I vomit words 1500-2700. Then, in a last fit of disgust, I quickly vomit the words that will fulfill my goal.

My stomach settles, while my brain mushes together some thoughts about what to eat, what to watch.

The next day, I start fresh; I don’t dare look at the spew on the page before I begin gagging.

Thinking of NaNoWriMo
October 31, 2011, 3:21 PM
Filed under: Quotations | Tags: , , , ,

All writers are vain, selfish, and lazy, and at the very bottom of their motives there lies a mystery. Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand. For all one knows that demon is simply the same instinct that makes a baby squall for attention. And yet it is also true that one can write nothing readable unless one constantly struggles to efface one’s own personality. Good prose is like a windowpane.

—George Orwell

Evaluate Motives: NaNo is a jumpstart, the end draft a beginning place.

Goal for NaNo: Write clear glass prose.

Prep for NaNo: Gesso!

(I think I’m crazy, but I’m going to start a painting. I know I’ll need to incubate–if I paint, maybe stuff will move around in my head enough so that I can write another thousand words.)

Deadlines and NaNoWriMo
October 24, 2011, 8:45 PM
Filed under: All Writing Challenges, Emotions, Life and Stuff | Tags: , ,

I’m imagining the participants of NaNoWriMo, all us writers, staring at our desks in horror. A horror that will grow through Halloween night.

The practical, bills and groceries, last edits, and the impractical, dazed thoughts, are bumping one another, screaming for attention.

I’m resisting the dazed thoughts. I want to experience my first NaNo without predetermination. Despite the severity of my intent, incubation begins, immediately followed by, “Oh, no…to do, to do, to do…”

NaNoWriMo Hoops

I signed up.

I’ve practiced…I’ve stood in place, bent my knees. I’ve kept my eye focused on the basket. Bend, bend. It’s rather a bouncy bend, somewhat satisfying. (Okay, the dribbles in between the bends are even more fun.)

Last night, I let go of the ball and lobbed it toward the basket. I followed through; I signed up, added my name to a long list of participating writers.

Anxious, I await the results of throwing words at paper, though all I expect is a count, 50,000 words by the end of November.

I’m not planning; I’m not plotting. I’m following through. I’m leaving my hand in the air, my wrist cocked until the ball whoofs through the net. Somewhere the score will climb, word by word. Some words I will stick, others not so much. They’ll all add up.

Then? I’ll run after that ball. collect it, go back to the line. Bend my knees. I won’t forget the backspin.

NaNoWriMo 2011