Thursday, November 10, 2016

A hiatus in my blog

I've just realised I never did a post last week and now the weekend is almost upon us again, so this is just to apologise and say there might be a few (What is the plural?) in my blogging and also in my blog reading this month.

The reason for this is that I'm doing something I never imagined I'd do and that's the NaNofiWriMo. You've all heard of that, haven't you? Right, then its the National Non-fiction Writing Month (I don't know what's national about it as it seems to happen everywhere). The aim of this challenge is to write the first draft of a book in a month. Now I have never put pressure on myself like this before and in truth, I don't really believe in it, so why am I doing it?

Well, when we came back from our summer travels I had a diary full of the stories from our faring adventures, and I was intending to sit down and write a full-length travelogue. For some reason, however, I just wasn't able to write more than a couple of chapters, and I've come to the conclusion that it's the diary that's proving to be the stumbling  block.

I've never before used a diary  to write a memoir. Actually, I've never been good at keeping them, so the most I've had are a few anecdotes that I've written in notebooks and scrappy journals that have lasted a matter days. For the rest, I've used photos, talked to people who were there (or should I say 'person', because mostly, it's been Koos), studied maps and looked up historical details or weather situations on the internet. And above all, I've relied heavily on my memory, which I'm happy to say is still pretty good. I've always been able transport myself back in time to a place and situation and re-live the moment with all the feelings, scents and sights it has evoked. I'm also quite adept at recalling conversations, especially funny ones (although I should say I can also remember arguments I've had with people almost word for word, and that's not so healthy as I sometimes re-live those too. This can leave me in a filthy mood that's quite mystifying to anyone I happen to be with who hasn't been in on my mental processes).

That aside, what is all this leading to? Well, it came to me that if I was ever going to finish this travelogue, I should ditch the diary and just get on with writing it from memory. I was getting far too bogged down in details and losing the magic of the impressions I had on the journey. But, because it's a travelogue that covers just a month and not a few years, I couldn't afford to let any of the sequence of events fade or lose the vivid recollections, so I knew I needed to write it fast...which brings me back to why I'm doing the NaNofiWriMo.

I just want to get it all down and then I can edit it. I forget who it was who said somewhat cryptically 'you can't edit a blank page' but that's what has driven me to do this. And it's working! I'm averaging about 1400 words a day, so if I can maintain this pace, I'll have my first draft done by the end of the month.

As to when it will get published....that's anybody's guess at this stage. It depends on how many re-writes I have to do; at least there will be something to work on! All the same, it does mean I'll be blogging less and reading less too. I hope you'll all forgive my lack of attention to your blogs, but in the now famous words of one Arnold Schwarzeneger...'I'll be back'. I promise! I love blogging too much to miss it for long.

Have a good weekend everyone, and whatever despair you are in over the world today, just remember that lovely song of George Harrison's, All Things Must Pass.