Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Nano carrots

“What the hell’s she talking about?” I hear you say. “That’s just a photo of a pile of books.”

Work with me here, people. You’ve heard the expression about the carrot being a better motivator than the stick. Well, I explained this one to the two eldest ducklings this month, along with a practical demonstration.

They both signed up for the Young Writers’ version of Nano again this year. In order to avoid a repeat of last year, where Demon Duck stopped writing after a week and I had to take 1500 words of dictation from her on the last day to get her over the finish line, I bought her a book she’s been begging for.

“This is your Nano carrot,” I said. “You don’t get to read it till you finish Nano.”

Hers is the Young Samurai novel, and she finished her 3,000 words before school this morning.

Drama Duck had no trouble finishing last year – she was done a week before the deadline. That suggested to me that her wordcount goal was too easy for her, and I wanted to encourage her to tackle a bigger project. Out came Nano carrot number two, the new Rick Riordan novel.

“If you make your goal 8,000 words instead of 5,000, you can have this book when you finish.”

And hey presto! She marched up the stairs last night, having finished her wordcount, and swiped the prize off the pile in triumph.

The third one, of course, is for me: Jackie French’s new novel Oracle. I read a good review of it in the papers a couple of weeks ago, and I’m looking forward to it. Adventures in ancient Greece are always fun.

And yes, I get to read my Nano carrot too. I put in a big effort yesterday, because I knew today would be crazy, wrote nearly 4,000 words and just scraped across the finish line. Thank goodness. It was a real struggle this year.

Just to add to the challenge, our computer guy arrived in the middle of the day yesterday and took over my computer for a couple of hours. Aaargh! What’s a girl to do when she’s thrown off her computer?

Why, go and sew something to relieve her feelings, of course.

I’m so in love with this bird fabric, this is the third thing I’ve made with it, and I’m not done yet. The whole of that particular range is so delicious I could eat it. (If, you know, I had one of those weird disorders where people eat stuff they’re not supposed to, like coal or chalk. I would eat only the most bright and beautiful of fabrics.)

Isn’t it gorgeous? I think this will be a pillow for my bed. Yum yum. Someone pass me a knife and fork.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Dear Blog

Dear Blog,

I’m sorry I haven’t spoken to you in a while. Don’t give me that sad puppy dog face – I still love you, honest. You’re great. It’s not you, it’s me.

Me and that Nano guy. I’ve been seeing a lot of him this month. Between him and end-of-year madness and the Carnivore travelling a lot, things have been rather busy around here.

I know you think I take you for granted, only seeing you when I feel like it. Not like that Nano guy. My God! He’s so demanding. It doesn’t matter what you do for him one day, he expects you to show up again the very next day and do it all again. And the next day, and the one after that … I tell you, I’m exhausted. I’ve come that close to breaking it off with him – not once, but several times. This year his demands seem so much harder than previous years. I really thought I couldn’t stick it out for the whole month.

So here we are, with only three days left in November. I know you feel neglected, but hey! Get in line! What haven’t I neglected this month? You’re no Robinson Crusoe.

Just. Can’t. Wait. For November to be OVER. I’m at just over 45,000 words tonight, so I’m pretty sure of getting my 50,000 words in. But AAARRGH!! I still don’t have a handle on this book I’m writing. Still blundering around in the dark. How can I be this far through the story and not really be able to say what it’s about? If I manage to get a coherent plotline out of this mess it’ll be a bloody miracle.

So, anyway, dear blog, I promise I’ll be back soon to lavish love and affection on you. We both just have to hang on for three more days and life will be back to normal. Kind of. Well, there is Christmas around the corner, you know, which on top of everything else involves every person I’ve ever met suddenly deciding they have to catch up with me before then as if they all think the world is going to end on December 25th.

So, yeah. Maybe “promise” is too strong a word, but you know I could never leave you. In the words of the immortal Arnie: “I’ll be back.”


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

And they're racing!

No, not the Melbourne Cup, which ran today. I’m so uninterested in horse racing I forgot all about it till it was over. Still don’t know who won. Probably some horse.

No, I’m talking about the really important race that runs every November: NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Though really they should be considering changing it to IntNoWriMo, since it is an international event these days, with people all over the world taking part.

I was very tempted not to join in this year, through fatigue and general lack of ideas. But Drama Duck and Demon Duck were both keen to give the kids’ version a go again, and of course they wanted me to play too. Still I seesawed back and forth. The night before it started I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to do it. My idea was so weeny and had such gaping holes in it where there should be things like plot and character.

Yet there I was yesterday, typing like a demon. And I achieved a personal best – 4039 words in one day. I can still hardly believe it. If you’d asked me that morning if I thought I’d ever be able to write so many words in one day, let alone that day, with only my skeletal idea to prop me up, my answer would have been a resounding no.

Now it’s day 2, and I’m still going strong. Just waiting for the wheels to fall off. A story arc would be nice, maybe some character motivations – even a title. I’ll just have to put my trust in the process and hope that these things will come in time. So far they always have, but it’s damn scary when you’re on this side of the process, waiting for the magic to happen.

Just don’t ask me what it’s about, okay? I have Absolutely. No. Bloody. Idea.

Isn’t Nano fun??