As many of you know, I’ve spent the last four years doing a degree in Creative writing, with a side of psychology. It’s been a long road, especially after I fell and banged my head.
But, to the credit of the University of Gloucestershire, and my tutors, we got through it – they were amazingly supportive and helpful and made sure I was in the best position possible to make my degree work for me. I can’t praise them enough.
But – I’m delighted to confirm that I got a 2:1.
So, now I’m a graduate. Wooohooo!
I’m so excited. Not only did I get to meet Stephen Fry AND Mark Carwardine this weekend at the Cheltenham Literary festival, who both signed my book, and join Neil Gaiman (05)John and Carol Barrowman(08), and Toni Morrison(08) on my pride of place ’signed’ corner, but we’re nearly at Nanowrimo 09!
For those of you that don’t know what it is (where have you BEEN, it’s been running now for 11 years!) basically you go mad for 30 glorious and (legal) stimulant of your choice fuelled days (mine is Coca-Cola and fresh air, alongside copious hugs from the kids and my other half, and write 50k. I take it a step further and aim to do three books during that time – two main, one alt (and I’ll announce what they are this year on Wednesday). Not only do I write three books a year (or at least try – and make it most years to around 120k), but I’m also an ML and a full time student.
I’m actually ready (writing wise at least) this year. I have two different writing software projects –and WriteWay Pro. I’ve *got* both because they suit the different styles of writing I use, and makes it easier for me to spend time actually writing instead of bending the program to my will.
I also, as a first, grabbed the spreadsheets that have been published for the Nanowrimo – I’ve seen lots of nice ones, but this one (by salzke (nanowrimo username) ) is really cool. Easy to customise to what I need (because it’s a pain in the ass to unlock a sheet and find all the different places that it’s using 50k in it’s calculations instead of, say 150k), and pretty too .
I’m already having to make concessions to my other plans – one Nano is part of my dissertation, and I’ll probably be submitting a fragment of the other one for my assignment in December, because there’s no other way to handle it, without going noisily mad.
So, who else is ready?
Comfort, especially as a writer, is a funny thing.
Lots of people say that they’d be comfortable earning lots of money, and doing the things they love. Others are sure it’s not about the money, but want to share something with the world.
But how much of that is about actual comfort, and how much is expectation based on perception of success?
I used to think that writing was the be all and end all in my life – slowly though, other things have crept in – I’m learning lingustics which is language in one of it’s purest forms, because forensic linguistics is about the best thing I can think of doing with my life. But I don’t write nearly as much (for myself) as I’d like. I’ve cut back on my blogging – I’m not sure where my world actually *is* any more. I love writing to death, but at the end of the day, beyond uni, I don’t write. I never thought there’d be a day where I said I hadn’t written something beyond emails, but there are now whole groups of days when I don’t write. I’m too bone tired – too much on. And I don’t think I wrote nearly enough last year for Uni either….
I don’t read nearly as much as I used to either – but part of that, I think , is because I’ve put my ereader down *somewhere* and I can’t find it. Some of it is just because again, there’s no time in the day.
One of the biggies is that as a family, I need to contribute meaningfully – up until recently, we recieved enough funding from the University to just about manage that ‘meaningful’ support – but this last year saw them cut it back, again, which means I either have to find extra funds or cut back again – which isn’t a pleasant prospect to be honest. So money has an aspect in my comfort, because without it, unfortunately, I can’t AFFORD to write. But that makes me question whether I’ve got the right perspective on writing anyway. I can still write, just not as often – but for me, without that be a comfort, or would that cause more harm than it prevents? I mean, I used to tell people that if I didn’t write, I’d go mad. And in some ways it’s true. I don’t write and the thought of creating worlds torments me, but it’s a dull itch rather than an all consuming fire.
What are your thoughts? Where’s comfort for you, and what conditions do you have on it?