Originally published as part of Scottish Book Trust‘s Journeys project. Read it on their website here. 2. Pushing a chair on the blue lino floor of the kitchen, learning how to walk. 6. Walking to the school gate in the cold tiled hallway looking for milk with my name on it. 7. Pushing a metal …
Just over a week ago, I got a chance to tell a story out loud to an audience at this event as part of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival 2014. Not a made-up story, a real story.
I rarely write down what happens to me. Well, that’s a lie, I’ve kept a journal for over ten years, on and off, but I’ve never written down my own experiences for others to look at.
This morning, I went for a run. I did some long division and paper calculations afterwards, and it turns out that I ran at an average speed of 3.4 mph, which my running app doesn’t even classify as running. “Are you sure you didn’t walk?” it winks. Yes, I am, thankyouverymuch.
A very misleading introduction. Obviously, in the spirit of Murakami, I am not actually talking about running. I want to talk about sprinting when you write.
I have trained myself to produce a lot of words in not a lot of time. My fingers know how to type quickly, pretty much of their own accord, with little input from my brain. With four NaNoWriMos under my belt, I’m a trained sprinter. It’s the only way I know how; throw down lots of words and then painstakingly sieve through them to find the good ones. Efficient? Not really. The first draft gets done in a hurry, but working for quantity rather than quality also means having to discard large chunks of the initial draft in editing mode. But sprinting gets the words out, and it works for me.
I’m working on my dissertation for my MSc in Creative Writing. It’s a novella called “The Days of the Flood”, and it’s about a division of a company that gets flooded as a corporate disciplinary measure. Don’t worry, nobody’s died or anything.
There’s a dog in the office. His name is Sterlington. He’s a golden lab (those exist, right?) and he is afraid of the water.
Now, the problem is that I’ve never actually met a dog.
Ideas happen at the most inconvenient of times. My first zine came into existence during a survey course on English literature, in October 2011. While my lecturer talked about Beowulf, I sat in the first row, drawing a poster in a notebook, creating the zine’s tumblr page on my laptop and tweeting out to my followers on twitter from my phone.