Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Hooray for wine! (and other bloggers)

The other night I decided to write an entry for a themed short story competition I wanted to enter. The deadline was fast approaching and I didn't have anything in my folders I could recycle. I needed to write something new.

I dutifully sat down at my laptop, flicked through my notebook and read the notes I'd scribbled down about my idea. Okay, so far so good. Not an amazing idea but not bad either.

I started writing.

Then paused to check the word count.

Only 369 words. Oh dear. The entry was supposed to be around 2,000.

I wrote a bit more.

Then paused to check my email.

There was an email waiting that made me very grumpy indeed.

I flicked back to my story, put my fingers to the keys and...


Blocked. Totally blocked. I didn't know where the story was going next and, in light of the email I'd just read, I was in no mood to finish it.

Bugger it, I thought. I'm going to have a large glass of white wine instead.

So I sipped (knocked back) my white wine as I surfed other people's blogs. Several people mentioned they'd finished their entries to the same comp and sent them off.

Arse, I thought. Why am I such a poor excuse for a writer? Why can't I even finish a short story?

I drank another large glass of white wine and turned my attention back to the screen.

"I'm going to finish you," I said to my short story, "even if what I write is total rubbish."

I put my fingers to the keys and typed and typed and typed.

An hour later I wrote 'The End' and went to bed (my head was spinning a bit I'll admit).

The next day I opened the story and read it through, fully expecting it to be total rubbish.

It wasn't. It was ever so slightly confused and I wasn't 100% sure what point I was trying to make but there was enough good stuff there to salvage the story. I started editing it and, when I felt it was as good as it was going to get, I posted it on my writing community and crossed my fingers.

They're going to say it's shit, I thought to myself. They're going to think it's the confused rantings of a drunk mind.

I tried not to think about it and went to do something else instead.

Several hours later I logged into the community to check if anyone had read it yet. Two people had. Eeek! But what had they said?

OHMYGOD. They liked it, they really liked it. It's a winner someone said. Moving without being sentimental the other person said. Just fix a few typos and send it off they said.

So guess what? I AM. Right now.

So hooray for wine. And hooray for the bloggers who inadvertently motivated me to finish it. It doesn't matter if I place in this competition or not. I'm just glad I wrote something that worked.

Hmmm. I wonder if I can drink my way all the way through an 80,000 word novel?


Lily Sheehan said...

I think I will give that a go, any excuse lol i need all the help i can get with my novel

KAREN said...

Good for you!

If I'd drunk more than one glass of wine I'd have slumped over the keyboard in a deep sleep :o)

JJ said...

Yup I'm with Karen, I'd be useless after a glass.

Have you read On Writing yet? (I'm you you have) If you haven't, go check it out before you start relying on wine to make you brilliant!

L-Plate Author said...

Care to share my Southern Comfort, I can't write a bloody word.

Well done for just doing me thinks. xx

SpiralSkies said...

I'm ashamed to confess that some of the best bits of my novel and submissions for the Creative Writing bot of my degree have been writted under the influence of a bottle red.

And, um, I can't write poetry without it. 'Hello, my name's Jen and I'm a poet...' Hmmmm.

Excuses excuses! Well done you though... it was probably the determination rather than the vino but I bet it does well...

Sarah Dunnakey said...

Funnily enough my entry for the same comp was only completed thanks to a large glass of red. I'd got a bit stuck, drank some wine, spouted out lots of words and then spent most of the next day editing. Good luck - like you say, even if we don't get placed, at least we have completed something we are pleased with

Kerry said...

Good luck Cal! My entry was completed with only a slight caffeine buzz but I like your idea better - I'm not sure my spelling needs the extra boozy help though!

Leigh said...

This happens to me all the time (I mean the first bit, when you're fidgeting about unable to settle)!

I am certain alcohol (beer in my case) helps the brain waves to flow (up to a point!), and thus the plot, characterisation, and word count too!

Congratulations! I'm glad it worked. Any excuse, eh?

Quillers said...

Well done on getting that story written, Cally and good luck in the competition! Sometimes a drink can help you relax and turn off that internal editor that keeps telling you it's all rubbish.