October 29, 2011

For those of you who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month challenges its participants to write 50,000 words from 1-30 November. I signed up two years ago ten days late and never came close to “winning” (I may have eeked out 3,000 words, which I cannot even find). Mathematically, to get 5o,000 words, you have to write about 1,667 per day. I just did a trial run and got 1,877 words in about 45 minutes. I can do this! And now I’ve told my blog, so it kind of makes me want to stay faithful.

Mind you, I have a lot on at the moment. I’m preparing for an exhibition at the end of the month. We finally set a date. I am designing a high school yearbook. I work for a church. I am recording my music. I am a very social person.

However, I have also gone to two writing events this week, both of which were very inspiring. One was a networking event where you met actual writers, publishers, aspiring writers, and students studying either writing or publishing. I used to be terrified of networking in university and went to some university posh dinners and networking events to see what they were like. I realise the secret to such events now is the ability to come with encouragement. Don’t go to these events hoping to receive, but go to listen. Listening works with most people I meet. If you want to have friends ask, “How are you?” and wait through the one-word answer and the ensuing silence for the honest answer. With many people, there is no awkward silence, but paragraphs. Everyone’s favourite topic, admitted or not, is his or herself.

Today, I went to an event at the Scottish National Poetry Library. I heard from two publishers of literary magazines. I bought an issue of Dark Horse, which has beautiful type setting and essays that go way over my head (i.e. challenge me!). The poems are of the sort where every word is carefully measured. All this for £5. It is a publication for Americans and Scots with headquarters in both nations. How could I not be interested in an idea that sits so carefully close to my current situation? The biggest takeaway from this lecture was to only submit to publications that you would want to publish your work and wait until things are ready because it’s too late to take it back once it’s out there. (Made me really think about recording my songs and if I was certain about the lyrics).

When I get photos back from my gig photographer, I’ll write a post about my gig. Maybe all this motivation to complete NaNoWriMo (so fun to say aloud) this year is a result of feeling like a rockstar the day after my gig just as much as I did last night.


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