What is this weird string of code, you may ask?
Those who are familiar with the term will recognise it as the abbreviated term for National Poetry Writing Month – which is April. I think the equivalent novel writing month (NaNoWriMo – November) has received far more popularity, but Poetry month is definitely on the rise. You can visit the website here.
Like many other poets I connect with online, I’ve been participating in the Month by writing one poem a day. That’s the general rule! It doesn’t have to be a complete poem, even a draft (which has been mostly the case), but a few other projects have sprung from this activity too.
I participated in the Month last year too, and I felt like that time I came out with a plethora of poems which seemed to fit quite coherently into a body of work that could be published together if I wanted to. At the time I had quite a singular focus, and I think that really showed in what I ended up with. Quite a few of those poems have since been included in anthologies. This year’s output has been far more eclectic… And dare I say it – more exciting!
It’s a habit of mine to work on quite a few different literary projects at once. I can’t help it. Typing and DOING can never keep up with the stream of ideas, and this can be really quite frustrating. I record every concept but sometimes returning to an idea doesn’t fill you with the same spark you had when you thought of it. So much of it I shelve for a future time when I might not have so many ideas.
Anyway, I’ve been forcing myself to be easy-going (quite the oxymoron) when it came to NaPoWriMo. The point was to develop a good flow of writing, so that I would be comfortable sitting down and just making a lot of it up, rather than feel the pressure to make something that’s perfect every time. Because who does that, really? It’s enough to put you off even trying. I honestly think this is why so many potential storytellers don’t even try. It’s the anticipation of failure.
So I’ve been writing all sorts of things, predominantly poems and short stories for two potential projects later in the year. I’ve also been doing a bit of brainstorming for an inclusion in a science fiction anthology later in the year which requires up to ten poems from each author. The publisher already has 7 from me, and they’re keen to receive more.
Working on these has actually prompted another unexpected project… But one that feels, well, RIGHT. In the past six months or so I’ve been really keen to write a novel or novella, but none of the ideas I came up with felt like the write one, so they ended up as short stories or poems. But this one seems to have enough in it to make it to a full and rounded length, as well as being character lead, whilst still discussing certain philosophical issues. It sprung from a poem I wrote, and within half an hour I had a rough one page plan of plot, and narrative. So I’m going for it! And furthermore, I’m setting myself a target. I’m to write 1,000 words a day in order to have a first draft within a couple of months. Whether this story is any good is one thing, but I think it’s time I forced myself to see something at this length through despite the doubts, despite pulling my own hair out, despite the days when I can hardly string two words together. I can do this.
So wish me luck, and maybe you’ll be hearing more about this project soon…