Monday, 29 October 2012

NanoWriMo or NoNanoWriMo? That is the question.

We are fast approaching National Novel Writing Month. I participated in 2009, and successfully completed the writing of a 50,000 novel in 30 days. I got a certificate! It was a crazy, but hugely enjoyable writing experience because basically you don't have time to think; you just have to write like crazy, and let the story take you where it will. There is no time for editing, for having wafty writer moments, for allowing yourself the luxury of angst over a certain character's dilemma or whether you ought to set that piece of action here or there. You write. For 30 days. And after 30 days, you re-read what you've written and cringe quite a lot, but for writerly purposes, it is an excellent exercise in 'Just Shut Up and Get On With It.'

Now, in 2009 I wasn't working full time. I had the luxury of time to be able to faff around with this project. I wasn't coming home late every day feeling exhausted and devoid of any creative thought like I have been for the last 3 years.

And the question is this - can I manage to have a go this year, AND get through the final half term of teaching without having a nervous breakdown? Perhaps, and here is a thought, the writing will actually help me get through the last half term, because frankly, if I had a choice, I wouldn't be going back at all next week. My physical presence might be at work, but my mind is already half way out the door. (Much like many of the students, thinking about it.)

Anyway, I am quite keen to have a go at this year's NaNoWriMo. I've even thought about a subject I could write about. The Hallpikes!

The Hallpikes are a branch of my mother's mother's family. Andy discovered them whilst researching the whole family tree, and they are an interesting bunch. Since the mid-1700s, where Andy first discovered them in Settle, Yorkshire, they have travelled through the ages being cabinet and clock makers, deported to Australia for passing forged notes, hanged for passing forged notes, negligent tug-boat pilots, local heroes in Singapore, persistent bankrupts and drunks with suicidal tendencies (don't let them near razors or The Underground Tube), and the ones who pitched up in London became piano makers, jewellers, respected City clerks and neighbours of Buckingham Palace and Grays Inn. The men were mostly called Vincent, Henry or Christopher, so not wholly inventive when it came to answering the question, 'What shall we call our son, dear?' However, there was one called Richard who, it was reported, regularly knocked back 15 or 16 gins of an evening and died a drunk, aged 42, who couldn't quite handle a razor (see above warning.)

I wonder if Richard ever met James Pimm, who invented Pimms and was from another branch of the same family here down south? They lived around the same time. Perhaps Richard was James' recipe guinea pig?

He might well turn out to be, if I decide to have creative licence on Thursday with NaNoWriMo!


Vera said...

Do it, Denise. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

Denise said...

At the risk of slandering previous generations of my family, and having them haunt me forever, I think I shall, Vera!

Diane Perry said...

I am having my first atempt this year Denise. I am terrifed but excited too. I have a good start as I am on a writers retreat for a while so hope to get lots done there. Good luck if you do decide to go for it. Di x

Denise said...

Di, you'll love it! I did it back in 2009 and it was edgy fun. I hope you are inspired and the words fall effortlessly from your fingertips.

Good luck!