Tuesday, September 04, 2007
Wandering in the desert
I feel hollow inside, as Margaret Atwood described once in one of her books (can't recall... Edible Woman maybe?) Feel like my skull is a hollowed out melon, with nothing left but the rind... that's it; soft, crunchy with not much nutritional value.
Still, I live to write another day... The competition was amazing; intense, exciting, exhausting and very satisfying. I found that I ran out of time (I guess that's probably a common enough complaint.) Still, I was literally watching the minutes tick down on my computer clock, going Noooo, it's only 11:51pm, I still have 9 minutes left! Of course, if I'd known all that ahead of time, I probably wouldn't have participated in the following time-wasters:
*Looked after my friend's dogs (Mind you, the breaks outside with doggies, were lots of fun and helped refresh me to write again. Brody barking for 3 hrs. at night was a drag though.)
*Gone shopping Saturday (no matter how badly I needed goodies & booze. Why didn't I go Friday? Who knows..)
*Had a shower Sunday (big waste of time!)
*Cooked food that required more prep time than 15 minutes.
*Dressed (just writing naked would probably save tons of time.)
*Had fun with my Mom. Although, breaks are necessary, and having fun with your Mom is not a waste of time. Just wish I'd postponed it 'til.. I dunno.. today??
*Talked on the phone with all my friends.<- very good time waster.
That being said, talking briefly with Carol, and longer with Troy helped with my writer's resolve.. Sometimes you NEED to hear voices of reason (or insanity) to help goad you along to your goal. So, I wouldn't change that.
Things I'd change if I were to do it again?:
*Get more sleep the previous night. I was completely wound and anxious Friday night, so I got very little sleep before the actual event. The pre-competition tiredness slowed me down for sure.
*Try and eat more healthy food and less caffeine. After 3 days of Cola, Coffee, beer and Margarita slushies (thanks to my good buddy Myra!), my gut rot was horrible and I staggered around seeking antacid before bed, every single night.
*Try not to be too irritated with interruptions, stay relaxed (Sorry Clay!)
*Look AWAY from the screen occasionally.
*Try writing in a notebook in a variety of places--that might be a nice change, plus you're not tethered to the house, computer etc. I'm sure Clay would've enjoyed getting on the computer at some point on the weekend..
*Try doing a brief outline before plunging into the exercise; probably would've helped with pre-competition anxiety.
That all being said, I would love to do this challenge again next year, and highly recommend it as a great way to kick the ass out of writer's block. Like Scott McCloud's 24-hr comic, which I've mentioned about a billion times on this Blog, having that kind've deadline really gets your heart going. You'll either make it, or you'll explode. Since our survival instincts are pretty strong, you'll find that at the end of the 3 days, you'll probably have some kind've manuscript.
It was nice getting pre- and post- emails from the organizers of the 3-Day competition as well. I found it heartening.
"...Dear future and returning 3-Day Novelists...If you need a
break from your novel, there's an entrant discussion forum...But don't spend too much time there during the contest! Get outside for a walk now and then, too."
"...Dear 3-dayers...We hope you're not too tormented in these final hours, or, if you are, that it's valuable torment..."
I also found reading their site (ACK another time waster!!) during the competition helped to cheer me up and made me feel a little less alone and insane. Especially the "Survival Tips" section.
As for the physical part of the writing; my eyes feel like small grapes rolled in talcum powder and left on a deck to dry. Seriously. My hands and feet have swollen (probably due to an overdose of salty products in the food department.) My hands in particular feel very stiff and non-responsive, even typing this is pretty uncomfortable. My shoulders, back and neck are sore, even though I had a couple of quick massages from the Clay dude. I'm thinking an hour's massage, or soaking in a place like Crystal Seas or something would be really nice.
Well, I guess those are my thoughts. As for the work itself, I'll post another Blog about the DETAILS for those interested. Basically, at the end of it all, I was left with 131 pgs, double spaced in 12pt font, that I'll be running off to Staples later on today to get them to print 2 copies. I'll be slapping copy #1 in an envelope and mailing it off to Vancouver tomorrow (deadline is this Friday!)
We find out news on the contest winners in January. GAH. Can we wait that long? Maybe I'll knock off a few more novels in the interim.. hahahahahahaAHAHAHAHaaha...ahh..ehh.. nah. :-)
Cheers, thanks for reading & being supportive!
PS--Here's my friend Myra's great doggies, that kept me company Saturday & Sunday. Can you guess which one will get invited back next time? ;-)