11.11.2009

Nearing Ten Thousand Words!

9147 now...and having fun meeting other people doing this odd project at Write Ins, while my own work is feeling like shoveling gravel into a bottomless pit. Ah well, for once numbers (my word count) are more entrancing than words. That's a first.

How Writing Works on NanoWriMo

Word Count: 7611.

Forcing my hand to the keyboard seems to be working. The deadline and need to follow through on the Nano commitment are making me write every day, and in those sessions I'm not judging and second guessing everything I think of to write. I'm just starting to type, no matter what.

The pattern of my work quality in this setting seems to be:

OK beginning
Boring repetitive crap for a while
Better stuff
One or two really hot cracking pages. Really, really good stuff.

Then I stop.

I'm aware when reading and seeing this pattern that I want it all to be like the last bit...to pop off the page. A good novel should be like a blow to the head, someone said. I've clearly had too many blows to the head to remember who.

But I guess I've not had TOO many to see that trying to put everything down as good as how good it will eventually be has been slowing dreadfully my progress. A project like Nano has come along to show me that, and I intend to keep that lesson tatooed on my brain even after this month ends.

Because just as heartbreaking as writing a crap novel would be, never finishing would be even worse.

11.08.2009

4411: the good news

With a little socializing thrown in, at a write-in with other Nanos in SF, I'm up to 4411!

11.07.2009

Word Up: 2994

Two days of Nanoing and I'm close to 3000 words. Hoping to do more later, and hit up a write-in in San Francisco tomorrow.

The tenor and pace of the writing is really changed with the volume being paramount and deadline looming. I'm not doing what I usually do, the tinkering and fixing of the previous piece, and that is pushing me to go further faster. It's good. I'm also making handwritten notes for ideas on what to write on when I get the BIC (butt in chair). Stockpiling these notes makes me feel surer that when I do sit, I'll be able to do it and not stall around.

I'm pretty sure I wouldn't want to start writing a novel this way, but getting into a current project and getting it up to speed and a greater volume works well, for me.

11.06.2009

NaNoWriMo: One More Signed Up

Exciting news: I've signed up for NaNoWriMo, a free way to get writing done by being cajoled and encouraged by a bunch of other people trying to get writing done. And it's already working! I'm back off to it now...but I'll be posting my word counts here and am going to try to set up one of those word counter dealies too.

4.01.2009

Defenders of Facebook? Slaggers of Facebook? Please Respond!

My students and I were discussing the relative merits of Facebook last night in class. We're reading Fahrenheit 451, and examining the vision of how technology interferes with society that Bradbury put forth in that novel, specifically how technology aids and abets in the comprehensive distration of the society from the war and other social ills, and how technology disconnects us not only from the larger world but from each other.

Many of my students are parents of teenagers, and some of those view FB as the equivalent of talking on the phone for hours like they did as teens. Others see a real reduction in the level of in-depth or quality communication skills possessed by their teens, who have been trained to interact in fragmented spurts, using few or non-words and looking at no one.

So, does FB increase communication skills by sheer volume, or reduce communication skills by lowering the bar of interaction to the lowest level possible? Does FB make our worlds more complete and integrated by keeping us connected to friends and loved ones, or does it give a false sense of connectedness enabled by technology? Does FB lead to more face time with those we care about, or is it an insidious replacement for person to person shared experience and conversation?

3.01.2009

Bloggers Rest Easy: Facebook is Empty

After about the millionth person prodding me to join...you know, the "book" that isn't one, I cyberstrolled through it t'other day, and found, yes, nothing.

Facebook is essentially a group of people you know well, a little or not at all, saying these riveting and edifying words: "What's Uuuup?"

It's nothingland. Done well, it's nothinglandia.

The precursor to this phenomenon was of course the blogosphere, wherein some bloggers stripped off the tatters of their remaining privacy and bared all to the cybermasses. All they bared was most often excruciatingly boring, but we're not ashamed to bore strangers.

With Facebook, we're boring our friends and family. And our "friends". There is if possible even less real content on Facebook than on the most TMI blogs, because the tools for posting are all designed down to a sentence or two.

Whenever my daughter is on the phone, and she's asked by the caller "what are you doing?" she answers, matter of factly, "I'm talking on the phone."

This brilliant response is the source of the FBer's confusion. When Facebook asks you what you're doing, the only answer is, "I'm on Facebook", which is to say, "I'm wasting time on the computer, gathering useless factlets about people I know and don't know and my relatives, instead of talking to them or seeing them in person. Instead of having real experiences or interactions. I'm "relationshipping" with my "friends" who have "friended" me."

(Shudder.)

It's all too Farhenheit 451 for comfort. That book was positively Oracle at Delphi accurate, my friends. Right down to the seashell earpods (see:ipods), right down to the replacement of real family and friends with their projected facsimiles on screens that surround us.

If you need me, I'll be camped down by the river with the other professors, books stuffed into my coat and into my mind, hiding from the vicious cyberdog that hunts us.