NaNoWriMo Winner!

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

I’m engaging my ‘smug mode’ this morning. I challenged myself to do NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) this month, and succeeded! My novel is now… well… written. Unfortunately it’s a long way off me letting anyone actually READ it because I need to reread it, edit it, revise it myself first. But, it exists!

I didn’t think it possible five weeks ago. I realised it would involve me writing about 2,000 words a day, every day, for the whole month. I write my stuff longhand, with pen and paper, then transfer it by two-finger typing to the computer. I didn’t think I could physically do 2,000 words a day like that. In fact, it was proving very tough, so mid month I did a few experiments. I tried speaking the words into my Sony tablet, using ‘Evernote’. Doh! I couldn’t make it capitalise. Then it would miss a few words, so I would say them again, and it would do them twice. Finally I gave up when I said ‘illuminated reindeer’ and it converted it to ‘nominated philanderer’. (And what was I doing with an ‘illuminated reindeer’ anyway in my novel? Ah! You’ll have to read it and find out…)

We went away for a mini-break, so I was forced away from my laptop, and ‘Word’. ‘Evernote’ and the Sony tablet came up trumps this time. I typed my novel into a series of notes in ‘Evernote’. Using the predictive text was fast and accurate for me, and I achieved previously unheard of speeds of typing (for me, anyway). The only problem I had was when I selected the wrong word from the predictive offering on the top bar, but that didn’t happen very often.

I learned a lot, and enjoyed the process. I’ve only written short stories before, and it was quite nice having a whole gang of intricate characters at my beck and call. I rather miss them, now. I might have to start another novel…

Trevor Vincent – what have you done?

Sketchbook

Just a few days ago, my friend Trevor pointed out a cracking little video about sketchbooks and journals, and since then I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. Now it’s forming itself into yet another New Year’s Resolution:

  • to do a drawing – or anything visual – every single day and post it on the web.

At first quite a lot of my drawings will be for my ‘Beetroot’ children’s book project, because I’m challenging myself to do one of them every day until I get the book finished.

I don’t want to stop at that. I have ideas for many more things this year. I’m determined to conquer lino-printing, and also have more ideas to resurrect my character ‘Brixham Bill’.

I need to make sure I do something every day, even the smallest of doodles.

Where to put them?  I couldn’t choose between Tumblr or Pinterest, so I’m creating a visual journal on both.

Have a look: Sketchbook Journal on Tumblr, or Sketchbook Journal Board on Pinterest.

So, curses Trevor Vincent! You’ve inspired me to add another thing to my list for 2014.

Back to the hand

After twenty plus years of using a computer to generate all my graphics and illustrations, I’ve re-discovered my hand. Where has it been all these years?

These last few months I’ve been working on my ‘Black Hole in the Beetroot’ children’s adventure series, and I’m loving losing myself in the ink and wash illustrations.

As well as re-discovering my hand, I’ve finally discovered time-management. I’ve been labouring under a misapprehension these last four decades. It’s a misapprehension that has been a scandalous thief of my time and energy. It was the assumption that each of my days look like this:

Daily enery assumption

when actually they look like this:

Actual daily energy

Every morning I would completely waste my sparkling, creative time doing mundane tasks, usually washing up and cleaning the kitchen from the night before. By the time I had finished my washing up, washing, food prep, shopping, and more, I was well into my ‘Can do mundane tasks’ section.

Now I’ve shifted things around a bit and it’s made all the difference. I make it a rule to get straight on with drawing and writing as soon as I’ve got up and finished my ‘morning pages’ (another story).

I’ve discovered I can do mundane tasks even right into my ‘Useless’ bit of the day, so washing up, and even the week’s big shop, have been relegated to the evening.

I can’t believe how this simple adjustment has changed my life? Why didn’t I do it years ago?