It’s just been pointed out that I’ve titled this post with a paradox. Having started in that vein, I propose to abandon any kind of logical approach and explore the future using every means at my disposal.
‘Stop,’ says my philosopher, ‘you’ve just written another one.’
Hmm, this is going to be trickier than I expected. Try this ink-stained entry from an old autograph book:
Your future lies before you like a carpet of snow
Be careful how you tread it, for every mark will show.
It’s a trite but true piece of advice for rash-living types that, with some adjustment, suits my purpose. Marks being the tools of the would-be-author, I’m taking a lateral interpretation for this aphorism, and am thinking about blank pages in place of snow.
Aptly, three key events can be tracked as this protagonist arrives at her turning point. First was the annual NaNoWriMo challenge.
For a couple of years now I’ve fancied joining in, but my Novembers are busy. Even so, I logged in to the site on the first few days, set myself a title and ventured a few sentences. The trouble is that setting out with the idea that I wouldn’t have time to complete the task meant I lacked momentum to continue. Okay, I thought, I’ll set myself a Writing Month challenge when the work drops off.
As if to keep this to the fore of my best intentions, early in December a birthday-notebook arrived in the post, along with some inspirational pencils. What good friends I have.
Right off I wrote a few HB lines in a blank page of my diary, but the beautiful new notebook I put aside, ready for the CaShoStoWriChall. Yep, I gave my plan a working title. That felt good: that felt like I’d made a commitment, even if I hadn’t set the start date. I was dithering, would it be sensible to begin before all the upheavals of the festive season?
Then, I got into conversation with Katey. She too was thinking about how to complete a writing project, and she was looking for an Accountability Partner. That was, she explained, a system where we would commit to our projects by agreeing work targets, then check in daily and compare word-counts. If a target hadn’t been achieved, the partner was to ask for an explanation, and keep asking until guilt kicked in.
Guilt? Isn’t that a thing connected to scarlet letters and forbidden fruit? That’s not how I want to think. Writing is fun. It’s a leap of imagination that lifts life: it’s an exploration. I can set out with no clear idea of where I’m heading, and find myself picking out events from the confusion of everyday activities, to map a narrative route I had not seen until the moment when the words form on the page.
Katey and I began our partnership on 23rd December, so I think we both accepted that the first week was going to be a little tricky. However, having made the commitment I did find myself obliged to make time for writing. There have been a couple of days where that hasn’t happened. One was justifiable, though the other was the result of inertia.
I felt bad, but it wasn’t guilt: I missed being creative. Besides, just because I hadn’t written didn’t mean I had stopped building stories. I’ve never been able to do that.
This partnership, you’ll understand is not a resolution. It is a commitment to the page that has evolved naturally from character-based linear events. Connecting actions has led, inevitably, to the creation of these six hundred and fourteen words – is that serendipity, or logic after all?