It’s the last month for Novel Dreamers. The writers have run out of time last month, and now to just go home. Well, after one last month.
Go vote for those by the way. They’ll be on the Voting Page shortly.
So thanks for another year. This month, just write what you want to. It’s a free for all. Go for it.
Does This Really Need An Example?
I can’t show you how to do this. Funny, because each month without fail, I have tried. Obviously I’m the oracle of all of this and as such I should be able to tell you exactly what you need to hear to make you pick up your pen/pencil/crayon/writing tablet/whatever you write with and just put some bastard words on paper. I can’t tell you how to feel about things. You know me, so you’re probably hearing the use of the word “bastard” with my mock Sean Bean impression or with a hint of anger. I just like the word. It wasn’t used in malice or frustration, just like the word and didn’t like the sentence without it.
You don’t need me to tell you any of that either. I don’t have any paperwork saying I’m an educated writer. I have no sales reports saying that people like my writing so much that I can live off it. I’ll be very honest with you, the little payments I have received for my writing has been enough to cover a month of rent in the 15 years of writing I’ve done and that includes Theatre, Music, Prose, and that bloody Table Top Role Play Game that I’ve become “the guy” for. I am a fraud that just got tired of hearing people say “I wish I had time to write” so forced them to sit down once a month and write. And forced is a very broad use of the word. I’m not sat next to you with a gun to your head, and every month you don’t write I don’t get angry because life is busy and hard, I literally just put the request in front of you.
That’s what I do for a lot of life, I’ve noticed. A friend wants to do podcast work, so I write the first episode of an audio play that never gets touched because the idea isn’t needed anymore. Another wants to sing and play in a band, so I draw from the pool of friends with talent and say let’s make a go of this. Sometimes I don’t even need to ask. The group just finds itself and I just happen to be the one who ends up organising it until it gets to the point that I don’t have time to organise a night of people just needing an escape.
So when do I escape? I’ve forgotten how, if I’m honest.
If I boil everything I do in a week down to brass taxes, I spend 25-40 hours at a place I resent for cracking the childhood illusion of that high held dream. I then go home and I sit with this screen in front of me for an hour or two. Throughout nearly all of these hours, I have my headphones in playing someone else’s story into my brain. There’s not enough time to actively sit and read a book so audiobooks and podcasts whilst doing the other things are quite useful. If I am not too busy that week, I’ll sit and absorb a story through video game whilst listening to the headphones. I may not actually put a word to the page all night, but there are ideas brewing and fermenting away to the point that at the end of the week when they’re needed, I can pull from the brain without much issue. I will sit and listen to previous recordings of these events and edit them so others can listen. I talk occasionally with my partner about things because she’s very busy with her week and the last thing you need when you’re busy is some numpty to start talking about their weird fantasy works that have nothing to do with your actual proper writing that’s getting a degree and actually means something. And finally I try to occasionally break with puzzles because there is no stopping, just distracting.
Back to that comment of not being educated properly or paid enough to hold a level of authority in all of this. I think the constant streaming of work gives me some authority.
I won’t lie, I am tired of the constant streaming. I need a break but I don’t know how to. Actually no, that’s not true, I want it to stop feeling like work and go back to feeling like fun.
When I was 17, I applied to go to university after 2 years of studying both Theatre and Music and my music teacher was most upset when I said I was going to study Theatre not Music but my reasoning was sound then and I feel it is sound now and should be applied again. I wanted to avoid going to study Music because the thought of having to spend day in day out playing the guitar with some form of judgement that led to a grade took all the fun of it away. I go home and pick up my guitar and relax for a bit. I can’t do that if I have been playing guitar all day for university, or even reading and writing about it for coursework. And that’s where I feel I’ve gone with all of this.
So where do I go from here? I don’t want to stop my weekly writing task, because I’m quite attached to the work I’ve done so far and I’d like to work out how the story finishes. I’ve also started to work on the next story, should me co-writers agree to such a thing. I’ve worked out where the fun is with that. I struggle to keep a hold of it, but I know where it is if it ever gets too much. Maybe I should take the advise I want to give you for the end of this year of writing. I think it’s a fair enough request, as one final challenge for you that I too will try to give example of for sake of a familiar format.
For the love of all that’s holy, write what you like. And don’t hold yourself to stupid deadlines like some fat guy who literally writes his example piece in 30 minutes on the hand in weekend because he feels the month is too long to write for. That’s his time scale, not yours. If you need a deadline, create one for yourself. It could be a RPG session for the end of a week, it could be a date you want to release a song on your soundcloud, it could simply be that your child wants a story before bed. Don’t stop doing what you love, just work out how to do it in the week so I don’t have to keep running these!
I’ll probably start working on Novel Dreamers Year 3 soon.