12 Books in 12 Months

writing books and blogging about it




So the clocks have gone back, in the UK at least, giving us all an extra hour to do something golden and great.  And what have I used those precious extra minutes for?  Finishing stories, perhaps, or planning my literary opus for this year’s fast approaching NaNoWriMo?

Of course not.  I’ve been faffing about.

A lot of people make the assumption that when you’re writing 12 books in 12 months, you don’t do the usual writerly procrastination thing.  Surely there isn’t time?  These are charitable people, who perhaps do not know me very well.  If there’s one thing I can always make time for, it’s wasting time.

Admittedly this year my procrastination has taken on a sheen of productivity, but it’s still happening.  For instance, on Friday night I had every intention of writing, but when it came down to it I knitted instead.

I was able to justify this because I embarked upon a patchwork blanket in January 2009 and it’s been Nearly Done But Not Quite for about a year.  Now that winter is on the way again it seems an entirely sensible and productive thing to finish it, because our flat is about as well insulated as something very poorly insulated – a ruined castle, say, or a cardboard box.  Except actually, this blanket is finished enough to cover more than three quarters of the bed, and we ended up buying an electric under blanket last winter, so we’ll be fine.  And suddenly my knitting doesn’t seem that productive anymore…

Meanwhile yesterday, I met up with a friend in the morning and came home ready to write a ton of stuff… and I fell asleep.  What’s that all about?  I didn’t even have any useful nightmares to incorporate into a horror story.  By the time I woke up it was time to cook tea for another friend coming round, and I didn’t even knit when she was here, I just chatted and watched TV.

Then today there’s this blog.  I ought to be finishing stories right now, or at the very least updating the Ten Tracks site or writing the November Oot for The Broughton Spurtle but instead I am drafting this post, because ‘I haven’t updated for a couple of days and on Twitter I said I would.’  As if there are scores of enraged people who saw that tweet and have now come to the end of their tether en masse – they need their fix of 12 books on this blustery Sunday afternoon or so help them they’re going to tear down this internet.

I don’t feel too horrible about the fact I’m procrastinating, because I think there’s a lot to be said for it.  A huge amount of writing lies in the part where you Think About Things; where ideas are swirling around in the back of your brain whilst you bake scones or catch up on other people’s blogs or click on every link anyone posts on Facebook or Twitter.  However, there comes a time when you have to set this thinking time aside and get something down on the page.

The trick is to stop blogging and get on with it.

Still Writing…

Today I thought I’d revert to type a little bit and talk about how the 12 books in 12 months project is going.  For those of you who haven’t visited before and have been directed here by the Guardian Books page, the title of the blog means exactly what it says – this site is about my endeavour to write a book every month in 2011. If you read back through old entries you’ll find all manner of witty banter about word counts and synonyms and procrastination.  And some pictures of chickens.

However, because it’s August and I’m based in Edinburgh, I’ve been trying to give readers a bit of respite from constant posts saying things like “I haven’t written enough” or “I have written a whole load, read it immediately and give me validation,” by posting about the assorted festivals that are going on this month.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had several guest posts about shows with literary themes, and I’ve written about assorted events at the Book Festival too.

There is more of that to come, including an interview with children’s author Andy Stanton tomorrow, but in amongst it all I’m still trying to write a whole bunch of fiction with which to entertain the masses.  Sometimes it’s good to remind myself.

Continue reading “Still Writing…”

Not-Quite-Half-Way Evaluation

Last night at around 11.15pm I decided that it was time to call it quits on book five and get myself some sleep.  I battered out a few paragraphs to remind myself what I wanted the last couple of chapters to entail, and set about organising my packed lunch for work.  Tuna salad, for those who are nosey about such things…

The word count stands at 30323, and I think it’ll end end up around 36,000 by the time the first draft is finished.  This means that overall this year, I’ve written 165,585 words of fiction across 151 days.  That averages out at 1096.6 words per day, although there have been days when I haven’t written anything at all, and a few when I’ve done 10k in one go.  Averages, dear reader, are relative.

Continue reading “Not-Quite-Half-Way Evaluation”

A Side Note

If you’re at all interested in what I’m doing when not writing about Caligula, this post is for you.  I wouldn’t want you to get the impression I’m doing nothing but faffing about on Wikipedia trying to work out roughly when each of his senators died under mysterious circumstances (although the timeline is taking up quite a lot of time and effort at the moment, and it’s making my brain feel sad).

Until the end of February I am blogging about song lyrics on my ‘professional‘ blog in support of UNESCO’s Let’s Get Lyrical campaign.  So far I’ve mentioned the lyrical stylings of The Smiths, Justin Timberlake, Willow Smith, Amanda Palmer, Sisqo, *NSync, Razorlight and Avril Lavigne.

I try to write about something or other daily on my personal blog, often television (particularly Scottish soap River City) and things that have annoyed me in my internet travels.  This tends to involve a bit of backdating.

This week I’ve also been conducting interviews and writing articles for The Broughton Spurtle and The Edinburgh Reporter, which are both hyperlocal news sites in Edinburgh.  And I’ve gotten involved with a new page of satirical Scottish news stories, called I We Two Three.

It’s good to vary one’s output.

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