Reading about other people’s weirdness in how they approach the task of writing is strangely inspirational!
Which classic novels were all written within a month? And which writer would take all his clothes off as a way of coping with writer’s block? We’re here to inspire you in your writing quest whether you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo or merely trying to complete (nay, perhaps start) a writing project.
This month, many people are taking part in NaNoWriMo, or ‘National Novel Writing Month’, which takes place every November. The idea is to write a novel – to start one if not to complete it – by writing 50,000 words across the month of November. Here at Interesting Literature we thought we’d offer some support for those undertaking NaNoWriMo by showing how even famous and established novelists have had to cope with writer’s block, deadlines, and writing quickly.
Douglas Adams memorably remarked, ‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’…
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Do you often wake up in the morning with the sound of a typewriter or keyboard pound, pound, pounding in your head? Or find yourself tossing and turning in the middle of the night drenched in your own sweat, fighting the urge to get up and go to the computer?
Then you may have Byline Fever.
A little known virus, displaying similar symptoms to the pandemic Swine Flu, Byline Fever has emerged as the new super-bug, which threatens to cut down the Literary Worlds’ finest – those elite purveyors of the written word – the Freelance Writing Community.
Only submitted one article this month? Getting published less and less? Spending most of your day supine on the couch as opposed to erect at your computer? Then read on. You could be a sufferer!
Recent research has proven that many Freelance Writers possess an extra gland in their brains, close to the hypothalamus. Known as the “obsessopineal”, laboratory tests from a large number of afflicted and flailing Freelance Writers have revealed that the secretions of this gland may be primarily responsible for ‘writer’s lethargy’ or the dreaded ‘writus interruptus’.
Symptoms of Byline Fever may include:
* A constant blinding headache from endlessly searching the pages of Writers Market or LWP. * Disturbing thought patterns, such as a pathological fear of never being published or a nagging belief that you are writing drivel.
* An inability to sleep, which results in the afflicted spending most of the night searching the web for possible markets.
* A swollen and painful wrist from scrolling down endless lists of Publishers and Editors in search of one kind or judicious enough to accept your work.
* A fever over 104 degrees – insidious hot and throbbing sensations, accompanied by a diffuse nervous rash from a combination of malnutrition and agonizing about where your next meal is coming from.
Worryingly, there is no known cure for Byline Fever. There are however a number of strategies that Doctors recommend to assist sufferers in the day to day management of their symptoms:
1. Concentrate on writing short articles rather than longer features. Editors will be much more receptive to a cleverly written 500 word piece than a rambling 3000 word feature, screaming sleep deprivation.
2. Seek out new markets. The Livestock Association’s Newsletter may need new blood, Bloggers of the World will happily accept anything and most things written on a bathroom wall attract a huge readership!
3. Write articles way ahead of the times when they should be published – Easter articles on Mothers Day, Mothers Day articles at Christmas, Christmas articles at New Year and articles complaining about husbands at any time.
4. Keep a diary of events and manage your time efficiently. Divide your day into periods spent researching, periods spent writing and periods for relaxation. Remember to include periods when you have your periods and can’t really do anything but lay on the couch, eat chocolate and watch the midday movie.
5. Fight the stigma and isolation caused by your illness by joining a writing group or attending book clubs and author signings that are frequented by similarly afflicted people AND
6. Don’t take writing or yourself too seriously. Creativity is in the eye of the beholder and you probably won’t achieve the dizzy heights of fame that you crave, until you are dead and creating a stink that the neighbours can no longer stomach.
Remember – you can live a long and acceptably mediocre life with Byline Fever. I am the living proof!
Yes I know you’ve been waiting for an update, but it has been a very busy few days. Nonetheless I can confidently assure you that I have written over 15000 words of “The Last Baby Boomer” thus far. Just nothing this weekend….no blog posts anyway….
To make matters worse, I have been having really weird dreams of late. Apocalyptic, frightening and senselessly violent dreams that leave me feeling completely exhausted. One such dream had me at the event that has dominated a good chunk, well really, my whole life. The assassination of JFK. Instead of recounting the crazy turn of events that came out of my brain that morning, I thought that I’d share an interesting article about how entwined JFK’s memory is with the Boomer generation.
The president with the easy grin in whom so much hope was invested. His wife, forever frozen in pink and pillbox hat. The motorcade. The sunny day. The shadowy man in the window with a rifle. Even more shadowy, the man on the nearby “grassy knoll” who perhaps existed, perhaps didn’t. The flickering, silent color film of a leader’s final moments. And the way it is described, even now, by so many Americans: the “loss of innocence” that left us vulnerable to so much of the heartache and tumult that was still to come. If, that is, we were ever truly innocent in the first place.
We should move on, maybe. But we don’t. From that moment in Dallas — that moment scoured and buffed for so long, visited and revisited by so many people with so many agendas for so many years — from that moment until now, Americans will not let go of this event that changed so much and, just as significantly, was thought to have changed so much more. Even as the world lurched forward, Pause was pressed on that moment, and Play has never really been pressed again.
Why? Here’s one two-word answer: baby boomers.
It is they who have carried this torch, they who have fueled its flame. When talk turns to the inevitable question — “Where were you when you heard the president had been shot?” — the dominant answer in American culture is this one: “I was in school.” It is almost as if no adults were around on the Friday of the assassination, except as bit players. This is because baby boomers — who were, indeed, in school that day — are the ones who have shaped the national memories of this event.
For this generation — the Americans who were 17 and under on that day and, today, are from 67 down to, say, 49 — the assassination of John F. Kennedy remains the watershed event that birthed the decade we know as the ’60s and rippled out, year after year, into politics and science and art and culture. It has been a singular snowball rolling down a hill, still gathering debris and holding onto momentum as it hurtles through succeeding generations.
“This murder in broad daylight … Everything changed,” says Oliver Stone, the boomer director who served in Vietnam and made a movie about it before turning his distinctively critical lens on the Kennedy assassination.
Because he knows what becomes clearer with each passing year: For better and for worse, it was the event that defined the generation that has defined the way we look at the world today.
“So, what constitutes a Baby Boomer? Opinions vary, but most agree that a Boomer was born between 1946 and the start of the Vietnam War (about 1963). I, however, submit that a real Boomer is defined by the recollection of a world-changing event: JFK’s assassination.” — Ron Enderland, operator of a blog called “I Remember JFK: A Baby Boomer’s Pleasant Reminiscing Spot”
To define the collective traits of a generation — to broad-brush millions of Americans with a statement like “they think” or “they believe” — is a futile pursuit. Many have tried, particularly with the boomers. Most have fallen short. The group is too diverse.
No comment required
Now that I am well under way with my novel, I actually looked up and breathed for a while today. Decided to take a leisurely scroll through Facebook… and was incensed by what I saw.
It seems that our newly elected conservative government has decided to do away with everything of a social justice nature. In addition it has, true to form, started buddying up with some of the wealthiest citizens of this country, Australia to further line they’re collective pockets.
No surprise, you say, but at the risk of sounding like a Baby Boomer, I have never in all of my years seen such a blatant display of the misuse of power as is being rolled by the LNP today on both a State and Federal level.
Not only is the Hon. Campbell Newman, Premier of Qld, changing the laws of this country almost singlehandedly, but he is not enlisting the assistance of any kind of legal mind on the matter. Yes, bikies that form gangs and run illegal business for profit should be stopped, but there is a process for that very thing. I know a few bikies and they are not all bad. As a Justice of the Peace, I have occasionally had to sign off on a warrant or a demand to hold a suspect without concrete evidence. The role of the JP in this case is to ensure that the police do not infringe on any personal rights that the detained person has, including expediting a release within a reasonable timeframe, should no evidence surface.
Where does a Politician get off changing this rule willy-nilly to allow the Police to keep bikies locked up for an indefinite period?
On the nationwide front, I was saddened to learn that the Federal government, last week abolished AUSAID, our government aid program. As an ex Aid Worker, I can attest to the fact that AUSAID, despite it’s faults, assisted many worthwhile projects to enable some of the world’s poorest to improve their life, health and education. Of prime I importance was a maternal and child welfare program that was actually enabling women in remote areas to better access health services during pregnancy. With the highest rate of maternal and foetal complications in the world, PNG’s cultural and geographical challenges make sit literally a deadly pursuit to attempt to have a baby in most areas of the country.
What the …….hey ho is going on with the world?
My last pet peeve is that, said government is also cutting back programs to decrease emissions and actively seeking to dismantle the carbon tax. But worse than that, they (again without any known consultation), have decided to change the international rules on the language that describes people with refugee status. Detainees now are treated as criminals, kept in sub-standard conditions and not allowed the due process of justice within international frameworks.
Maybe it’s just me, but if bikies, refugees, women in PNG and assorted other groups are denied the generally accepted course of justice, where is that going to take us? Many will be caught in the crossfire, including families and children.
I fear for what the world is becoming and I’m sure this isn’t just because I’m a Baby Boomer!
The second day of the Na No Wri Mo 50000 word novel project. Word count : 7400
Beginnings are easy. With the 50th birthday out of the way, NaNoWriMo came all too soon.
Nursing a stomach ache from lashing out and eating non-gluten free birthdy fare, yesterday was a ‘write off’ (in a good way). Neglected my household chores, didn’t attend my daughter’s school function and no blog post was forthcoming. Instead I wrote. Who knew that gluten intolerance could be so inspiring?
Today-not so. Super softball Saturday, lunch and a movie or two later and I’m frantically typing this pathetic excuse for a blog post…so typical of me.
No excuses. I’m happy with my progress, but…the burning question dances wildy through my gray matter-will I get to write tonight? Methinks not.
The natives are restless. Time to cook.
Editers Edeterz Edditters
I’ve done it, I’ve finally done it! After weeks of dutifully filling in my Submissions Log, scrutinizing Writer’s Market from cover to cover and surfing Writer’s web pages from dawn until dusk, I’ve cracked it. The formula for success as a Freelance Writer!
And being a generous soul, I’ll share it with you. No, please don’t send money. Your success will be thanks enough for me.
It all started a couple of weeks back when my partner, eyeing yet enough rejection letter on my desk, quietly asked when the income was going to start rolling in?
At first I was angry. I mean I’d only just begun my heady journey to fame and fortune as a Writer. I forced myself to calm down – after all, what does HE know about a Writer’s life? About what it takes – the agony, the frustration, the loneliness?
Slowly I raised my eyes and looked into his face. I reassured him that actually I’d been doing very well. I’d sent pieces to about twenty publishers over the past month and had three articles published. Yes I’d received 11 rejection letters. Yes my income thus far amounted to the princely sum of $94.
OK, I wasn’t earning my keep and tended to neglect household chores for the hallowed grounds of cyberspace, endlessly searching for inspiration, but BY GOD, I’M A WRITER! And that’s what we do.
I felt vindicated as I explained to him that things take time. That I’m trying to find my voice, that my rejection letters have been very encouraging’. Blah, blah, blah!
I was uneasy nonetheless. There must be some way to prove to him that I’m going to make it. That the frozen meals and dusty house, will all be a thing of the past when I earn enough to employ a housekeeper to attend to our every need. But it was no use. He was right.
Not being able to sleep, I pulled an ‘all nighter’, analyzing every aspect of the articles that had been accepted for publication AND the ones that had been rejected. Was it timing? Were they new publications? Or was it my brilliant insight into the issues that I was tackling?
Then it dawned on me. Blindingly clear, a revelation so obvious that I couldn’t believe I hadn’t realized it before. It was the Editors – those gatekeepers of the written word. Bless their little hearts.
After searching my Submissions Log once more, I realized that I was indeed right. All the Editors that had accepted my articles had names that started with a ‘T’. Terry, Tracy and Tina!
I hear what you’re saying. Yes it could be a coincidence. There had only been three articles accepted for publication and granted, three out of twenty isn’t the best odds. It could be a random twist of fate. Or was it? I decided to test my theory!
Gathering up all of the pieces that I considered to be publication-worthy, I immediately sent out another 40 submissions. I divided these submissions into two groups and sent one half to Editors with a T’ name and the identical article to Editors with a non-T’ name. A couple of weeks passed and I started to get a few replies. Rejection letter after rejection letter appeared, until, I had an acceptance email from another Tina. Bingo!
Waiting patiently for the mail each day, I discovered, to my amazement, that three ore articles were accepted for publication. One by an Editor, called Thomas, one by a Trudie and the other a Travis.
If you don’t believe me, please feel free to try this method for yourself. Look up your Submissions Log and write down the initial of the first name of all the Editor’s who’ve been kind enough to publish your work. You may well be surprised.
One request though. Whilst there remain Editors on earth whose names begin with T’, please don’t submit to them. They’re mine!
Good luck and good Editor hunting.
Boomer Logic #7 – Do not under any circumstances listen to your partner’s, mother’s, daughter’s, best friend’s or cat’s opinions on your writing. These people are like the ‘devil’, the willing accomplice of an idle mind.”