Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Back to Life

Waterlogged books - more crimping than a New Romantic Convention

How are you all? This is a quick hello, (NaNoWriMo month, daily word count to hit) - I'm writing over at Huffington Post Books each week, in case any of you are also taking part in the fun. Come and join in, buddy up (I'm on Nano as Kate Lord Brown). How are you getting on? 

Nano has been a good motivator this year. I had 20,000 of something new, and I'm aiming to finish the first draft by 30th November. It's about 80,000 words in, and at that glorious point where I would rather be in the world of the story than here (when 'here' includes a flooded air conditioner that soaked three years' worth of research books, you may understand why ...). I can cope with a lot of things here, but my usual zen like calm was tested by seeing carousels of sodden books. Anyway, the characters are up and running, infiltrating dreams, chattering away when I'm stuck in a traffic jam, and I'm loving being in the story so I hope that's coming through.

Back in the real world, it's cooling down, and the desert rose is blooming (pic below in case you were wondering what one looks like), the frangipani's shedding its flowers, the nights are long and lavender ... everything is coming back to life, slowly. Work is good. I've come out of some dark days with renewed determination and impatience. Losing one, two, three beloved people in a year has changed me. Writing about love and loss doesn't take much imagination right now. Grief leaves you permeable, skinless. There's a sense very much that it's our turn to step up, the front line generation that has to make it all come out right and find our happily ever after. Maybe you've found the same thing? Perhaps the single best thing about writing - nothing is ever wasted in your life. All of that love and experience can be filtered and transformed into something good.

Do you know that saying by Malamud: 'Teach yourself to work in uncertainty'? It seems more relevant than ever now. Write on spec, write because you love it, because you have to, write the best damn book you can. I'm really looking forward to appearing at Emirates Lit Fest next year. By then this book will have gone through several further drafts, been polished like a gem stone, and submitted. By then I'll be more than ready to meet some wonderful writers, and hopefully a few readers too. Writing is a marathon you run alone, and you have to believe you can reach the finish line, (there was a tweet this morning, the jist of which is talent is useless without perseverance). Nine days to go - come and say hi over at NaNo, and I'll be cheering you on to the end. You can do it.


2 comments:

JES said...

Hello, Kate!

Well, the GOOD news about the air-conditioning mishap is in fact that you're where you are, rather than in back in Jolly Olde. Because, y'know, back home the stuff wouldn't fully dry out for six months... after a full dose of mildew had been permanently installed. Where you are now, you just put the books and papers out on the balcony and let Mother Nature do what she does. :)

I've never done NaNo. Thought of trying it out this year (without formally "announcing" it!) but Things Happeened.

But I do agree with you on one thing: the work has to provide its own motivation. Your own success in that regard continues to make it easier for me (and others, I'm sure) to stay focused on that prize, rather than on some of the flashier, more easily distracting substitutes that offer themselves from time to time.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Hi John - thank you, books dry if a little 'blown' looking ;) NaNo has been a blast - recommend you give it a whirl one year when things are quieter!

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