Sunday, 28 November 2010

NaNoWriMo and me

It's important to me to keep my blog appointments - especially when I have something to say. And that's the only reason I'm doing this at 11:20PM. I have a few ideas that I've penciled in my handy notebook. However, I believe a better time to address any of them, would be in the next post - all being well.

Until November 30, 2010, I will remain caught up in the NaNoWriMo challenge. Just a couple more days to go; just a few thousand words to go. I've sent my mom and a sis a first-read copy. Hmm. Think I might put a few of those ideas on ice and, in the next post, talk about the amazing and ability-discovering adventure that this novel-writing challenge has turned out to be!

My! Who would've thunk it?


Thursday, 18 November 2010

Three questions about being “in the know”

(Talking about the individual here – not businesses/organizations.)

When was the last time you were online - not counting right now? How much time do you spend online everyday? If your job requires it, totally understood. If it doesn’t, how much time would you say you dedicate to surfing or communicating or researching? My guess is, a heck of a lot. (Not very scientific but, you get it.)

Imagine a day away from any Internet connection. You might still have your laptop because, like me, you just have to keep writing, having taken up the #NaNoWriMo challenge. But, I’m talking about no net! Now, what would you do on that day? (Without, you know, tearing out your hair or biting your nails the whole time.) How would you spend your day? Could you possibly enjoy it - especially if you were not on vacation?

Between the Internet and the innumerable media houses – including electronic and print – there is the foreboding feeling that I have to know everything! “They” try to convince me that I simply must know what is happening in every country in every field with every head of state, celebrity and their children and friends and followers!!! And if I don’t know, then, to the rest of those who are riding this train, I am totally off track. "They" wouldn’t let me near an “intelligent” conversation.

But, like, seriously? All those sites that we surf and channels we skip and pages we flip through, what if we should consciously take in everything being thrown at us?! Jeesh! My heads feels heavy just thinking about it.

So, no, I don’t need to know everything. Certainly not that the couple showers together twice a day. No, wait! Let's see just how much info our Agenda-Setting media, who won't be bested by any ol' Tom, Dick or Harry with a cellphone, will be pushing down our throats about the royal-wedding-to-be! Sick of it yet? I think the sensationalism of "commoner weds royalty" has been downright diluted because, well, we've been through the Charles&Camilla saga. No lesson learnt from the hounding of Lady Di? What gives? And that was a time when information sharing, compared to today's real-time, was still in the Stone Age. No matter how glamorous some make it sound; no matter how sensational; no matter how cute; no matter no matter no matter. I do not necessarily need to know. I do not want to be consumed by it all and lose myself in the process. So, I choose. And I live with the consequences of those choices.

And what of those things that I do need to know. (Not even the “I’d like to know.” We’ve skipped past that. For some semblance of guidance on it, see above and apply as required.) But those things I need to know? How bad is the world going to turn out if I don’t get the news the very second it falls? I mean, really, can’t they wait? Well, in truth, some of them really can’t but, a good deal of them sure can! And that right there is a part of the issue. It has got that much more difficult, with the advent of info at the touch of so many buttons on so many instruments, to determine, beforehand, what is urgent and what isn’t. Not until you retrieve the info you know you needed, and thought you needed now, do you realise that, y’know? It could have waited.

What am I missing while spending an inordinate and egregious amount of time online – in any shape, size or form? Life. Well, a chunk of it, anyway. Won’t know how much until later on, I can just feel it. Better shape up now, then. I did say “inordinate and egregious.” Because being online and in the hub of information hubs has become a part of the way we live. So, there’s no getting away from that. We’ve created this monster and now have been conditioned to feed it in order for us to sort of live without the stress we would not have had in the first place, had we not gone (this far) down this road. (And we will be going farther).

Here’s to those of us who maintain solid, healthy, beautiful offline relationships with people that we can hug and kiss and smile with and sing to every so often. Peace, beauty, happiness and love to you!


Monday, 8 November 2010

My two reasons for joining the NaNoWriMo 2010 competition

Have you ever decided to do something, knowing that other people would be watching or somehow become aware of the outcome? You know you’d be on the hook? Think back. Did you do it, eventually? Why? Why not?

I don’t have stats to support the percentage of people who procrastinate on a daily basis; take up challenges in public and never finish; do finish…that sort of thing. I mean, where would I find those anyway? Yahoo it? (LO real L!)

Imagine that you’ve decided to enter a marathon – doesn’t matter which or where. Maybe, say, 99% of the people don’t know you; have never heard of you; don’t care. However, your inner circle of family members, friends, relatives, you know? The people who really matter? They know! Oh my gosh! They so know. They’ve witnessed you practising and, especially if it’s for a ‘cause – have hit up their own friends to sponsor you in your venture. So, even more people know.

Well, more often than not, those within your inner circle – and a few others – will be lined up or watching on TV or linked by BBM, Twitter, FB etc. to remain tuned in to how you are doing. Or, shortly after, to find out how you’ve done.

The NaNoWriMo, which I learned about after the month of NaNoWriMo-madness had begun, is kinda like that. I’ve already told a few people in the inner circle, the 40-odd FB friends, and the 20-odd connections on Twitter. (Way too much pressure to embrace the concept of people following me. Reminds me of a saying by Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin: “There go my people. I must find out where they are going so I can lead them!”) Anyway, that’s the lot. Oh! And now you, the reader of this post.

Now, having started, I have to continue.

THE REASONS (in no particular order)
1. I rock
I try to keep in mind a few tips that the organizers wrote in their confirmation email after I signed up: “You rock for even trying!” That doesn’t give me an out; a sugar-coated pat on the back to say, “There there! It’s okay if you don’t finish in time.” No, what it says to me is that they get it. They get that writing is sometimes as easy as breathing and for the other 99% of the time, it’s as tough as a diamond. (Yes. On purpose – ‘cause I imagine the oohs and aahs when it gets done.) Someone said they wouldn’t wish it on their worst enemy; another, that it’s 3% talent and 97% staying away from the Internet. You get it.

2. The discipline
This venture is actually helping me hone the discipline I need to write better. So many times I’ve had to make a note to self: “You’re a writer.” True. There have durations of quiet; silence; stillness on the writing front. Nothing for the public. My best attempt at publicly keeping the consistency and regularity has been this blog. And, that was after I convinced myself that while I wouldn’t be pressured into saying just anything simply because I blog, I must have a point of view on something!

I’ve written books of poetry, short stories; a book – all unpublished. I’ll get ‘em out. Somehow. The writing I hold most dear, however, is my journal/prayer journal (it metamorphosed) spanning the last 25 years or so. Still at it; still loving it.

November 5, 2010 was my start date for my novel. The thing began on November 1, 2010. No worries. Instead of the 1600+ words recommended to make the deadline, I need to be doing more than that now to catch up. As it is (joyfully) turning out, I’m writing an average of about 2200 words per day. At that rate, I should be back on track in about 12 – 14 days. Do the math. No, serious, do the math.

3. The competition
Especially that I’m competing against myself. That’s how I put it, anyway. I just need to finish this novel. According to the rules – “Unless, I’m wrong, which, you know, I’m not” (Moooooonk!) – to finish (writing a novel of at least 50,000 words) is to win.

I like the part where they talk about shutting up your “inner editor”. He can be so noisy –and I don’t know why mine is a ‘he’. They remind us that December is for editing; just write with “wild abandon!”

Now, did I say two reasons? Anyone who knows me well, knows I’m math-challenged. As I tweeted the other day, I no longer cringe when I make those (especially obvious) mistakes. Now, I could have just gone ahead and replaced the two with three, but, where’s the fun in that? How would I have got that beauty of an opportunity to refer to my tweet? (Heh heh.)

To NaNoWriMo! To Victory! Haroo!