Posted by & filed under Writing and Writers. 13 comments

Last November was different.

I had a good job.Good pay. Good hours. Good vacations. Good opportunities. I had a good apartment. No rent. No roommates. No am-I-going-to-make-rent stress. And I had a social life in one of the best cities in the world.

But I left.

I flew halfway around the world, from Beijing to Buffalo. I left the good job, the apartment, and – hardest of all – the friends and life of Beijing. As great as living in China was, there were practical difficulties that made writing – or, more accurately, publishing – difficult.

So I came back.

I came back for one reason. To write. And if I’m not going to push my writing till I fucking pass out on my keyboard, well, then, there’s a nice spot on the other side of the planet where I could be making good use of my life. So what am I waiting for? I’m here to write. And that means challenge. Challenge grows skill, and my skills are getting restless.

So so I’m upping the pressure.

I’m taking all the scribbling, rambling, backpedaling, and erasing that’s usually done behind closed doors, and moving it into public space.

Yeah, that’s a thing.

It’s called livewriting. That’s exactly what it sounds like. Writing live, either alone, like this or in a more cooperative effort, like this. I’m not at the cooperative stage yet. (Baby steps!) But I will be putting my writing efforts out in real time for all to see.

This is a serious challenge for me.

Not the whole OMG-PEOPLE-WILL-SEE part. I’ve put enough of my stuff online that, when it comes to my writing, I have no shame. But, as anyone who was around for NaNoWriMo 2011 may remember, I do not generally write in a linear fashion. Author Dean Wesley Smith would call my kind of writer a Put-inner, not a Take-Outer. I write skeletons. Then I go back and add flesh. Then I go back and add more flesh. And so on.

For NaNoWriMo 2011, I challenged myself to write Skyland linearly. Each chapter, one after another after another went online. Of course, one year later and I’m still adding in (and taking out!) But the basic Beginning-Middle-End to the story was there. This meant my fellow NaNos and others could follow along. I got feedback, I got encouragement, and (if I may say so myself) I got a damn good story out of it.

And I need more.

More challenge. More practice. More feedback. More Oh-My-Fucking-God-I’m-Crazy-Why-The-Hell-Am-I-Doing-This? Because ultimately that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about. And I didn’t come all the way back from China to NOT sit on my ass and write as hard as I could.

So I’m throwing the doors to the study open and having a fucking party. So come on in. RSVPs not needed. Write. Read. Chug coffee. Have conversations with people who aren’t there. Write till you drop. That’s what I’ll be doing come November 1, 2012.

Wanna join?

PS. So, um, anyone ever actually done live writing before? Ever read (uh… watched?) it? Maybe I didn’t mention, I have no idea what I’m doing!

13 Responses to “Livewriting NaNoWriMo 2012”

      • Jonathan

        I did very much like “Ask”. Does the live writing thing go both ways? Are you looking for writing of others? Is this to view your process and comment or not? I am in on a time limited basis.

        • aeliusblythe

          I am not right now looking for others’ writing specifically. While people can definitely give me recommendations, I’m not quite at the collaboration stage yet! I can barely handle my own thoughts at the moment……

          • Janet

            Most of the time my uttered langgaue is fairly tame after all, one wouldn’t want to scare the horses. What I am actually thinking but not saying might be rather different.But when I get behind the wheel of a car, I turn into the foulest-mouthed harridan spraying out effs, and bees and cees at anybody who has the temerity to cross my path. My physical langgaue also detriorates as I happily wave different combinations of fingers at white-van-men and beemers and contort my facial muscles into the most unflattering arrangements.And I am only mildly ashamed since this splenic swear venting is wonderfully therapeutic and harms no-one.

    • aeliusblythe

      Thanks! Luck is the only way this will work, I think. I didn’t think livewriting would ever be something I’d want to do either, but………. well, ask me again in a month!

  1. bledcarrot

    Now this is interesting – and brave. I love the idea, it’s always fascinating to catch a glimpse into the internal organs of a piece so to speak, but there’s still a part of me that worries that ‘pulling back the curtain’ and revealing the wizard will ruin the magic of Oz. But perhaps that’s part of the fun. Iinteresting to hear your practical difficulties writing in China. I’ve been thinking recently about moving back so I can get more time to write. Nothing kills the creative spirit like a 9 – 5 and a familiar environment. And I do miss bao zi. KTV not so much., Anyway I’m in for this party! As long as you don’t mind a stranger hovering on the fringe tapping his foot awkwardly to the music and avoiding eye contact.

    • aeliusblythe

      You’re right about “pulling back the curtain.” Same reason I hate reading news or biographies about my favorite writers – I prefer to know as little as possible! (e.g. Want to ruin your childhood? Google Roald Dahl.) And I think the same could be said for the editing process. I don’t want to see either the stupidity or brilliant inner mechanics of an work of art. I also don’t watch special features on DVDs! Honestly, I myself have never followed livewriting. It just sounds like a fun challenge – at least for the one writing!

      And China….. it’s a balancing act, I think. Living there definitely allowed for massive amounts of writing time. To be honest, I’ll probably go back next year. I didn’t “quit my job to write” so much as take a break to do what I can’t do there. And yes, the creative spirit is definitely stirred by the perspective of such a different and vibrant place.

      And the food! Bao zi was one of my favorite things to eat. And eggplant – ANYTHING eggplant! (Why do we only smother it in tomato sauce here?)

      Somehow I managed a KTV-free 3 years in China. If I go back I will probably have to make that rite of passage eventually……

      • bledcarrot

        ohh yes the eggplant…the one that came in the clay pot in the oil…i still dream about that sometimes. I’m from Australia, where putting tomato sauce on things is pretty much a national passtime and we don’t care so much what it is we’re putting it on. My culinary preference before living in China was meat.’ China taught me to appreciate so many different foods. There’s not much I don’t eat now. Still haven’t come round to the whole pig/chicken feet thing though. I don’t care what it supposedly does for your skin :/

        • aeliusblythe

          LOL yeah…. I never could get into eating feet either! Or some other miscellaneous bits in the “chicken soup” (chopped up chicken in oil!) I think I appreciate meat more after China, because there is was usually just for flavor, rather than as the main course. My biggest food problem now is the complete and total inability to taste salt in normal quantities after living in Shandong province. (Where most food is SUPER salty!)


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