nanoupdate #2: the pros and cons of typewriters

I’m a bit of a typewriter nerd.

Well, no, not nerd or geek, because that kind of implies that I am knowledgable in some way about typewriters. What I actually am is a typewriter fetishist. Polite cough. Sorry. But there’s no way around it: I know next to nothing about the invention, use, or maintenance of typewriters; I know that the Qwerty keyboard was invented to stop the little flicky key-bits from jamming but – see! I don’t even know what the little flicky key-bits are called!

What I do know is that I love writing on typewriters but that, five days in, I’m already slightly anxious about my decision to write my nanonovel on my clunky old Brother electric. Probably because I just sent half an hour MANUALLY TALLYING MY WORD COUNT. Yeah. Technology ain’t all bad.

 

Here’s my pros and cons for the Typewriter Experience so far.

PROS:

I can type as fast as I can think of a sentence – my touch typing skills are certainly up to scratch.

Using a typewriter automatically switches off my inner editor – ‘cos I can’t go back and change what I’ve just typed. Perfect for Nanowrimo’s word count boosting, 50,000-or-die mentality.

It’s pretty! My typewriter itself might not be the most adorable retro piece – it’s way too 80s for that – but I like the way the words look on the page. I like having a physical stack of pages to measure my progress against.

CONS:

Sometimes my fingers go a little too fast, and switch into muscle memory mode before I can stop them, typing something instead of someone more times than I can count. Correction tape is a precious commodity, I only use it for the really big cock ups, so there’s a lot of back spacing and typing rows of x’s over things.

Hesitating before I write something, because it feels more like a permanent decision. That inner editor of mine is a mouthy little bitch who won’t take a hint.

NO WORD COUNT FUNCTION. RARGH LAUREN SMASH.

________________

Word count: 4,363 words. Slow start big finish.

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nanoupdate #1

So… yeah. Day four? Day four. Oh, my word count? Wow, everyone is so obsessed with length here.

So I’ve had a pretty bad start to NaNoWriMo 2012 in terms of words on the page. My tried and trusted method is the 1667-words-per-day-no-matter-what: I say tried and trusted because I’ve only “won” NaNoWriMo once and that was what I did. Sometimes I even went over 1667, just to give myself a little bit of a buffer in case the next day was a bad day.

November 2012 seems to be a bad month; at least when it comes to my novel. If you are any other project – random short stories, pearly-white and perfect first stanzas to future earth-shattering epics, then man, am I showering you with love and attention right now. But The Novel, poor thing, I think it might be able to tell that I am forcing myself through that “quality time” of ours. It’s taken me until Day Four to do what I needed to do: 1) block some time out of my calendar where what I’m meant to be doing is writing and 2) have someone there to make sure I do it. Apparently I am useless without the buddy system. This afternoon my best friend and I wandered down to the park and sat in the sun, ate vegan chips and apples, talked about how scary birds are, and then we made some goddamn ART. We were both dealing with a spot of rustiness, she sketching after some time off, me writing fiction again after months of gig reviews and artist interviews, so it was an awkward but ultimately productive afternoon. I am no where near meeting my word targets, but at least I’ve actually started moving – however slowly – toward them.

Another thing I have learnt about my writing process, darling is that I am a planner. If I’d spent even five minutes doing a bit of self-assessment I probably could have put two and two together and come to the same astounding conclusion, but as it is it turns out I learn by making an idiot out of myself. Thankfully, this time, it was just to myself, no one else.

I discovered, in drawing up a family tree of my characters, that I’d managed to put one of my characters into two different families within the same paragraph. I’d read through the paragraph once before I realised this and not even noticed. I had to sit down and make an elaborate family tree, draw a little map of my universe, and start picking careers and personality traits for my characters before the penny would deign to drop.* And I thought brainstorming was just something they taught us in high school
English when we were planning essays.

So in conclusion, my new business cards are going to read something like this:

Lauren Strickland
idiot, procrastinator, novelist

Am keeping on going, and come hell or high water I will win this year; the t-shirt design is just too damn cute.

* Side note: there was a reason I had to quit playing The Sims.