Acquisition vs experience


My name is Rachel, and I’m a stationery addict.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a writer. Every form, from essays to novels, from poetry to pamphlets, and even though I’ve grown up in this technological age (I don’t remember life Before Computers) there’s still something magical about filling a notebook. Seeing the ink filling the page up, and the feeling of the words impressed on it afterwards, it’s a feeling of accomplishment you can’t get from a keyboard.

Notebooks, for me, are more than a purchase to look nice, because I like having them. They are an experiential purchase, to enjoy the time spent filling them up, the stories that come out of them. Mark Twain said that “Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer”. As an author, he should have known better. Books absolutely make you richer, and writing them doubly so, even if you aren’t called JK Rowling. There are some experiences you can’t convey in words, but there are others you can only have in them. You can’t quite describe swimming in a volcanic crater lake as the sun sets over the rainforest, but you can’t experience the Silk Road at its peak. Beijing has to be seen to be believed, but the bright colours and new smells of an alien trading port are beyond our reach. Words only give a glimpse of what it’s really like, but even a glimpse is enough to wonder.

And writing them? That really is a whole other world. I’m a Municipal Liaison for National Novel Writing Month, so I may have a vested interest, but I really believe that there is nothing quite as magical as writing a story. The blank page is like a sponge, pulling out of your head things you never knew were in there. Only through writing can you find out just how vast and underused your brain really is, and start to put that right.

NoMoNaNoWriMo Day 10

Target word count for today: 16670 words.
My wordcount: 8610

News: NaNoWriMo is hard when you can’t be bothered with it.

The story is actually flowing quite nicely, when I can drag myself to the keyboard. The characters are making a certain amount of sense and developing into more fully-fledged people than they were before, my descriptions are less clunky than I remember, and I keep coming up with new plotlines.

It’s just making myself write that’s the problem. I finished work early yesterday and still didn’t manage to meet my target, and although I’ve not been in work at all today I’ve also not done any writing. I used to be prolific, churning out 2000 words in an afternoon with no problem, but now it’s like pulling teeth. I’ve slept, I’ve eaten, I’ve procrastinated, and nothing works.

The time has come for drastic action. I need to par-boil the potatoes, which doesn’t really take long enough for me to write, but once that’s done I will get out my cupcake timer and set myself some word sprints to try and get something out. One of the problems is that I’m publishing as I go, so I can’t just write rot and edit it out later.

Still, I have a big, wordy chapter up next, so if I make a start I should get to my target easily. Should.

NoMoNaNoWriMo Day 1

Considering that I’m supposed to have no motivations this year, today went really well. I stayed up until half 1 getting a head start and beat my daily target before I went to bed, and then this evening I managed another few hundred words and got an update online. I would have managed more, except we went out for dinner so I had to watch Strictly when I came home. Tomorrow is back to work, and I’m on lates but busy in the morning, so it will be hard to maintain this momentum. I will try, though. It’s nice, at the moment, to reconnect with characters I’ve not touched in so long.

Here we go!

It’s very nearly November 1st, and the first day of my NoMoNaNoWriMo. I have dug out the plan for a story I abandoned over a year ago, and I am ready to make a fresh start on it. With any luck this month should break the back of what remains to be written. It’s probably never going to be good enough to polish up (it’s fanfiction, and would take a complete rewrite that I don’t think it deserves), but I will at least give closure to the few who are still reading it.

A dead fanfiction in a dead fandom, with characters I’ve lost my touch with. Bring it on.

Wordcount: 0
Boozy hot chocolates: 1
Wine: 1


Declaring 2015 as NoMoNaNoWriMo

Sometimes, if you’re serious about writing, you have to write even when you don’t want to. You have to press on when you’ve got no motivation, no plot and no time.

I don’t want to. It’s not that I don’t know what to write, I just don’t want to write. I’m tired, just thinking about writing makes me feel tired. And I’m going to do NaNoWriMo anyway.

1667 words a day is not hard for me, even on a bad day. I can breeze through that many words in a couple of hours, and even after a long day at work they might be horrible words but they’ll be there. I hand wrote it last year, which might be why the idea of doing it again now fills me with reluctance.

I have five days to get myself in gear. I’m going to dig out an old, abandoned story and reacquaint myself with it, because it needs finishing and might get me back in the mood. Might.

And no matter what, I will finish.

A Weekend Away

I’m sitting on a bus that will take me from work to a training course the next town over. It’s giving me time to do Stuff, the little bits that I need internet access for but which become secondary to the bulk of my internet time, like playing Sims and wrangling my solicitors. More on that later.

Work had been getting to me lately. Not because I don’t like iit. I love my job and have definitely dropped lucky, considering the job I got isn’t the one they advertised and I applied for. But even the best job can become a chore when you do a lot of it. I did 17 hours of overtime in September, and my weekends when I wasn’t working were filled with busyness, like a morris festival and helping my brother find a job and trying to plan his wedding. Blogging has become very much an afterthought, partly because I have too many first thoughts. Currently my journal is about A7 and I don’t fill it in every day. I need to get better at carving that time out for myself.

This weekend just gone, I found that I had three days off in a row. It only happens very occasionally, but because I will be working this Saturday I get a day off during the week, and it happened to be Monday, so gave me three days. This was enough for me to get away, and I hopped on the hour and a half train journey to Blackpool, where I was joined by my best friend. It was an eye-opening experience. My first rollercoaster ride in years, my first overnight trip to Blackpool, my first trip there in, probably, nearly 20 years. It is everything my Mum recalled. Seedy, past it, covered with a veneer of glamour that doesn’t hide the peeling paint and strip joints.

I loved getting away and spending time with Ash, but that doesn’t mean I have to love the place I went.

Sunday Shopping

Today was the Calderdale Model Railway Society’s annual exhibition, and as I hadn’t been for years I decided to go. It was also car boot day right outside the leisure centre where it was being held, so of course we had a look around that as well, and then I decided I was going to do kangaroo for dinner so we had to go to Lidl too.

Lidl, sadly, had no kangaroo (we’re having chicken instead), but they did have a gorgeous pink food processor for just £50. At the car boot sale I cam off even better, with a beautiful pair of decorative jugs for just £1 each. They’re by Laguna Ceramic Arts, about whom I can find nothing, but they were so pretty I had to have them. Now I just need to work out what to do with this stuff until I get the house and have somewhere to store them…

Busy Doing Nothing

I haven’t written much in months. That’s becoming a regular refrain, sadly. I now work in a call centre, a job I love far more than I expected for money I didn’t expect to get. The only problem with it is that it’s full on and constant. Breaks are ad-hoc, grabbed when I can manage it, and lunch is half an hour. I can’t even scribble down ideas, partly because my writing is very rarely safe for work but mostly because you can’t hold onto a train of thought in between taking calls. So the writing and stuff like that has dwindled. I can’t even geek out about stationery so much, because there’s no variation in my life, and thanks to the Data Protection Act, nothing I can take home from work or even write down.

But at the moment, my life is full of interior design magazines. Thanks to work and having money, I’m in the process of buying my first house that’s all of my own. So this blog might come back into use and change a bit, as I fill my life with beautiful things. For a few months, though, it’s all going to be expensive swearing, as it looks like I’m going to have to have the place re-plastered and a new damp proof course installed.

Watch this space. I may yet become an interiors blogger, and at some point I can return to stationery.

What a Test Match that was!

This Sporting Life

The atmosphere and noise generated at Edgbaston Cricket Ground is unequalled in this country. We were there Wednesday and Thursday for the first two days of the Third Ashes Test and from the first ball onwards the noise was unbelievable.

Stuart Broad bowling to Chris Rogers in Australia's second innings Stuart Broad bowling to Chris Rogers in Australia’s second innings

It’s certainly a hostile atmosphere for the opposition to contend with, particularly when the opposition is Australia, but having said that the crowd are always quick to acknowledge good performances by opposition players. Mitchell Johnson scored his 2000th Test run and took his 300th Test wicket in this match and both events were warmly applauded by the capacity crowd. The rest of the time of course he is fair game and ‘The Mitchell Johnson’ song was heard frequently throughout the match. He handles it far better than he used to – probably because his bowling these days is usually anything…

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Well, I’m back

I let my WordPress elapse, and have been away for ages. It elapsed in April, and now it’s July.

The good news is that it’s partly because my job search intensified, with a lot more interviews, and now I’m in work again. Less time, less energy, but more fun and more money, so it’s all good in the end. I know I’ve got a lot of catching up to do, though.