Reeling and writhing

Monday, 27 April 2009 — 4:43pm | Literature

Book blogging will resume this Wednesday. This is a promise, and without such a visibly dangling promise I would likely put it off for another week, then another. This does suggest that I should resume reading—not that I ever stopped, although my recent attentions have been disproportionately fixed on the screen rather than the printed page—and that, given how it is currently Monday, calling on the 600-page gorilla that’s been rehearsing its Ruthian slugging in the on-deck circle of my to-be-read stack for weeks now is simply asking for trouble.

In the meantime, I feel a certain duty to direct everyone’s attention to a blog that I am certain nobody follows, but which has resurfaced in a burst of desperate collaborative inspiration, and lived to tell my RSS hotline the tale. (Speaking of which, I highly recommend that you bookmark my RSS feed in your favourite aggregator if you haven’t already. My online presence is known to disappear from time to time, and I don’t expect anyone to like this place enough to reload it in their web browser day after day, wondering if I yet liveth.)

For a number of years now, Steve Smith has coordinated a displaced edition of National Novel Writing Month for those of us who have far too many excuses to be neglectful of the whole shebang in November, when the event typically occurs. Our summer edition has hitherto occurred in May. I have participated three times. I have failed three times.

This year, it is in June. I am not sure this changes anything. And while a pace of 50,000 words a month is probably advisable if I want to have any hope of finishing the project of my current fancy before I depart for my new commitment in the fall, I will not be participating in this edition of the contest.

That shouldn’t stop anyone else, of course—which brings me at long last to the point of my highlighting the U of A NaNoWriMo blog at all: the successful participants of previous years are recounting their experiences and dispensing their advice. I make especial note of Chris Samuel’s story, which never did receive adequate exposure outside the extremities of its Facebook impact zone, and almost—almost—makes up for the ten dollars he didn’t pay me for not fulfilling his fifty-kiloword quota. For fulfil it he did, oh yes. It was written, as the Saracens say.

I highly recommend trying this at least once in your life; if not in June, then in November. I look back now at my prior misfires, all aborted at around the 7,000-word mark because I didn’t feel sufficiently mature or well researched to finish them, and I see them as training wheels rather than wastes of my time. The kind of training wheels that unscrew themselves in a jumble of bolts and hang your knees up for the pavement to flay—but that’s called Building Character.


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