Monday, September 28, 2009

The Joy Diet

I’m supposed to be reading The Joy Diet and sharing the work book experience with the book blogging group. But if I’m to be honest, I don’t want to do it.

Is there any reason? Yes. And it is so very easy to refer everything to NaNo. In that way, I don’t have to explain myself. The truth is I just have this very strong sense of not wanting to do it. And when I have such strong feelings to something, I have to follow it! Make sense?

Having said that, I support my fellow bloggers & creatives to participate and share their Joy Diet experience. I’ll visit their blogs to read about their wonderful adventure.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Hybrid Tangles & Salvador Dali

Another Sunday for the Hybrid Tangles.

I did two this week. I believe this one was too busy, like I was trying too hard.

This one's a lot better, espeically when I put it along side Salvador Dali's "Tail Bone Woman" from his painting - Burning Giraffe (1936 - 1937).

Currently our National Gallery Victoria is exhibiting
Salvador Dali's work. I went to see his painting and other artwork twice and will be going again next week before the exhibition closed.

Dali and Me:

Since I discovered my inclination to write "strange tales" a few years ago and the way I develop stories from viusalisation, I've been scouting drawings & artists for inspiration. Through my reasearch, I found that I was especially drawn to surrealism. And naturally, I can't stay away from Dali. I've known about Dali's exhibition since last June and have been waiting eagerly to view his work in real.

And what an expereince I had! Not only I'm crazily in love with his work, I note that Dali and his paintings begin to zip into my stories. My writings, both plot turn and the prose, are taking on a surreal flavour. I'm wondering where Dali is leading me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

NaNo Training Report

BEWARE … this is a very long post …

NaNo is about writing a 50,000 words novel in 30 days time. As the organizer stresses that it’s all about QUANTITY and not quality.

This works out to be 1700 words per day. I don’t know about my fellow writers, but to me this is a very, very tall order.

My current daily word count is about 200 per day and it takes me about an hour to an hour and a half to get it. Main reason that I keep such low word count is to ensure that I have no excuse not to do it on a daily basis. This is how I have managed to keep writing 6 days a week since Jan this year.

My “intuitive” way of writing contributes to the hour which I need to get to the 200 mark. That is to say that I don’t plan or plot. I start writing with a vague sense of the story. First draft to me is always about “discovery”.

Now, if I’m to stick to my existing writing schedule for NaNo, I’ll need to write (at least) 8 hours / day for 30 days to get to the 50K mark. This is not really practical, I mean, unless I’m to take a month’s off my work. (I work 4-days a week.) I need to find a way to up my word count.

This is where “training” comes in my mind. Well, obviously, I dramatize it! :) It is more about me finding ways to write up to 1900 words a day, how many hours (in real time) I need and if I can cope, especially during my work day.

From 01/09, I included a +10% rule to my daily word count. That is to use the previous day’s word count as a base, I require myself to up 10% from it for each day’s output. According to my plan, I’m to reach 1700 mark on 23/09, but I hit 1901 on 17/09! It took me about 4+ hours (during work day) to get to 1901.

A few things I learn about getting 1901 words in a day:

1) Allow yourself to write crap

Every time I hesitated or felt that the Internal Editor was about to appear, I said to myself: “You’re allowed to write crap! You’re to write crap! You’re writing crap!” I know this might sound a bit extremes, but the point was I somehow (re)gained a sense of absolute freedom for creating.

2) Overwriting

When I’m writing up a scene, event or even dialogue in the story, my aim is to exhaust that scene, event or dialogue. I only finish the scene when I have nothing else to say about it. Then I move onto the next part of the story. A tell tale sign for me to gauge this is when I begin to repeat the same description, details etc.

3) Mind Games

Because I got so used to 200 words a day, I realize my mind is using the 200 as a unit count. So when I feel resistance coming up, I just tell myself: “Just another 200 words!”

And when I find 1900 words an overwhelming number, I tell myself: “Just 9 sets of 200.” From this re-wording, my mind find the entire writing process easier to handle.

4+ hours of writing time:

Unless I decide to become a plotter, if I stick to my “discovery” way of writing, I just have to (pardon my language) suck it up!

The trick here is to split the 4 hours into sustainable sessions. My maximum concentration span is about 2 to 2.5 hours, so I splits the sessions from min. 1 hour per session to 2.5 hours per session.


On the one hand I’m tired, tense and stress most of the time. But on the other hand, I had a strong sense of achievement and satisfaction which I had missed from my writing for a long time.


With such extensive overwriting, I know I’ll pay a huge price when come time for rewriting. But that’s part of the deal. I’m also trying to remember it’s always easier to trim and cut than to grow something.

Now, I won’t lie to you, so far I’ve only done this once (i.e. 1900 words in 1 day). Can I repeat it for 30 days? I don’t know. But I believe that it’s not a good idea to drill myself like that through out Oct. I need to conserve both creative and physical energy for the grand final.

For now, I’ll turn my attention to develop story idea for NaNo. However to keep the writing muscle supple for NaNo, I’m thinking to use STOS #5 to do an “advance training” (i.e. 1900 words per day for 6 consecutive days) around mid Oct. What do you think?

P.S. - STOS #4 (draft) was finished at 10,162 words in 12 days and ahead of original schedule all because of overwriting. (Since the writing of STOS from Jan, average word count of each STOS draft is about 5,000 words and takes about 1 month to finish.)

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hybrid Tangles and Others

A new tangle for Sunday. I did this one last night to keep my promise.

The NaNo training went well! :) I achieved the goal sooner than I expected, but at a price. Anyway, I'm still trying to process the experience and will report it next week.

The Joy Diet from Jamie Ridler's book blogging group has started but I'm having second thoughts about doing it. Apart from time clash with NaNo (November), I'm one of those people who actually don't like to have a metre long to-do list. I avoid multi-tasking as much as possible. Looking at my current project list and schedule, can I manage? I'm thinking ...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NaNo Training

Just a quick one to say that I’m undergoing training for NaNo;)

Will tell you all about it when I’m finished in about a week’s time.

But don’t worry, I’ll continue to post the Hybrid Tangles and visit your blogs.

Cheers & have a wonderful week!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Hybrid Tangles

Too tired after 3 days of writing, so I'm just gonna post the tangles only. Hope you like it! :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Writer's Extreme Sport

I'm not a sports fan and the only exercise I do everyday is to walk Pepper for about half an hour. But I love watching extreme sports programme and dream that one day I could be a mountaineer or a rock climber. Well I got my chance! Kind of …

I'm joining NaNoWriMo 2009, which to me is the writer's extreme sport.

For those who are not familiar with NaNo, here is my brief summary of it.

- NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month
(I short it to NaNo. The NaNoWriMo is really difficult to say, try it!)

- Origin: USA

- Programme: To write a 50,000 words novel in 30 days time.

- Starts on 1st November and finishes on 30th November 2009.

- Central idea is QUANTITY not quality.

For more details, please check here.

I’ve been thinking, obsessively, about this for two weekends and wrote down pages and pages of the whys. Here are some of them:

1) To show that I’m a bloody freaking writer --> Yes, I am!

2) To show that I can do it --> Yes, I can …??!!!

3) Shoot for the moon, if fails, at least I hit some stars?! --> Or maybe my own feet! Ouch!!!

4) I want their web badge & winner badge!!! --> Childish, yeah, so what!

5) Maybe I’ll get a workable novel from it? --> ??!!!!

6) Maybe this is the challenge which will push me to be great? --> More likely to push yourself to exhaustion!

7) Possibly the best birthday gift I’ve ever given to myself (Nov is my birthday month! WooHoooo!!) --> Hey you, get that? ;)

8) Anyone who is serious about writing should try this at least for once! --> You mean self-torture …

9) To further loosen the in habitation that I have to be a (published / good) writer. --> Now that is a good point :)

To go through such extreme writing sport, I’m developing a game plan and will write about it in future posts.

O.K. who else is going to play this extreme sport with me?

P.S. I must be either insane or just simply being stupid to want to write 50,000 words in a month!

P.P.S. I chose today to post about NaNo because I love Signs. How many 999 you could get in your life’s time? Not too many. So I took this as something very special!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Hybrid Tangles

The tangles-drawing is really addictive! I kept wandering off thinking about patterns while working on STOS. And I found myself looking at things differently. All of a sudden, things appear to me not as objects, but shapes and patterns. This led me to browse through art books at Borders and came home with V&A Pattern Box Set (Victoria and Albert Museum). I'm thinking of using it as reference to create some new tangles. Not sure if I can do it, but it's worth a try, right?

Here are some of this week's Hybrid Tangles. Tell me what you think! :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Perfect Day

Yesterday was perfect, because:

1) The server was down in my office. Can’t do the company report. I used the time to finish my daily writing of STOS # 4 (daily word count achieved) and the free writing exercise.

2) Typed up the written notes from last 4 days’ “write EVERYTHING down”.

3) Flesh out my DIY writing lesson plan for the next 6 months.

4) Had an hour Djembe lesson with the drummer girl, Simone. Woke up this morning with bruised finger. I’m now officially a Djembe drummer! ;)

5) Practice a tricky (at least to me) zentangle pattern and created a new Hybrid Tangles. Quite pleased with it. Will fine tune it and perhaps post it on Sunday.