It’s been dark and gloomy in Finland for the last couple of weeks. There was snow on the ground for a day, but now the world’s gone bleak again. Today – luckily – the sun is shining.
Why am I on about the season?
It drastically affects my mood. The sun sets after 4 p.m. and I find myself tired, grumpy and unable to do anything practical. I sit inside, watch tv and eat sugary treats until I start feeling even worse. In short, I get S.A.D.-type symptoms.
Yes, this is an excuse to why I haven’t posted on the blog for days.
It’s silly, because I like autumns. I enjoy the colours and the darkness. I love lighting candles and drinking tea under a warm blanket. I like trips to the library; having time to sit down and watch tv; the expectation that winter will be here. But I don’t like feeling that I’m not accomplishing anything.
I stress about things I haven’t done without the energy to do anything about it. And when I manage to cross things off my to-do list, I still don’t feel like I’ve done enough.
It gets better, though.
NaNoWriMo is coming. Winter is coming. I sit in front of a bright lightbox every morning and I’m back in business.
Writing about it – in fact, writing about anything – helps. I get a sense of accomplishment when I see words written on the screen or in my notebook. I have concrete proof that I have done something amazing.
P.S. Our Halloween play is on tonight. Our dress rehearsal went well. Squee!
Today I thought I’d share a quick update on my Halloween play project.
Right now, we’re in rehearsal. It’s been tricky, because our performance has changed locations a couple of times. We’re performing in a Halloween event, so the locations are dependent on their organisation. Our final place is better than the earlier one, but we have to change bits and pieces in order to be seen. There’s a huge solid bit of wall with a rail right in front of us, so all the sitting and lying down had to go.
Photo from today's rehearsal. instagram.com/vaasanylioppilasteatteri
It’s interesting to see my imagination come to life on stage. While I had some idea of our resources during writing, it’s always a surprise to see how it looks. Also, this time it’s me solving all the “how do we show he’s dead without having him on the ground” -problems. Well, me and the co-director, of course. Our actors are also packed with ideas – luckily for us!
We still have a week to go before showtime. At this stage, we’re already perfecting details. Seeing my text performed always feels like a little miracle.
So yesterday I found myself logging on to nanowrimo.org. I have a feeling I’m going to be digging my own grave, but at least I’ll be doing it with a smile on my face.
I know it’s easy to just not participate. Actually, no. It’s really hard. I first joined in 2008 and have since participated at least once a year. Script Frenzies and Camp NaNos have raised my recent NaNos-per-year count to two. The community is amazing, and I have a lot of fun chatting with other Finnish writers. You could say I’m addicted to NaNoWriMo.
Write, write, write.
So what’s the problem?
I took a quick look at my work load during November:
Devising project for my thesis.
Actual thesis writing.
Acting in a cabaret-type show.
Playwriting workshop (will detail this in another post, because it’s pretty exciting).
Other courses at university.
Maintaining a somewhat consistent habit of blogging.
It’s a good thing I like writing, because most of what I do is related to it. The only exception is that a couple of times a week, I get on stage to play an adrenaline-addicted bank robber who loves explosions. Maybe that will balance everything out. I hope.
I already know I’m crazy.
What’s the biggest work load you’ve managed at a time? Have you written NaNoWriMo midst a hectic time in your life? Any tips on how to succeed in balancing all these elements? Share your tips and own crazies in the comments!
As I told you about two weeks ago, I had a 10-minute monologue to write for our theatre’s Halloween special. Well, I did it! Rehearsals started two days ago and we’ve already done an initial read- and run-through of my bit.
Waiter! Another cup of writer fuel, please.
How did it all come together?
I’m so sorry for the inactivity last week. I was so busy I didn’t know what to do with myself, but I’m back now (I think).
I took a short trip to Helsinki last weekend with my friend. While my thesis was not the point of the trip, I made some progress. Most importantly:
Oh, the bookshops!
I came home with three books that are guaranteed to make me learn something new.
The first one is Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation (2010) by Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman. What attracted me to this book was its extensive collection of essays by different contributors, mostly on gender identity and sex/gender radicals. Whether I end up using the book as a source or not, I’m sure it will be an interesting read.
The next book is a Finnish book on the actual craft of thesis writing. It’s called Uusi graduopas (2008; “The Revised Thesis Guide”) by Juha T. Hakala. I’m about half-way through reading the book, and it’s super useful. All you Finnish-speaking students out there – I warmly recommend this book. It’s a general guide into the different elements of thesis writing, with quotes from students and professors to illustrate examples on the advice Hakala gives. I’d call this book an eye-opener.
The third book is Sukupuolen filosofia (2011; “The Philosophy of Gender”, original title Filosofia della sessualità) by Vera Tripodi. It’s translated by Tapani Kilpeläinen. Based on the contents list, this book is a general overview on the philosophy of gender. While I may not end up quoting this book, it will most certainly explain theories and guide me to the original sources. Looks really useful!
So, as always, thesis on my mind. Do you know any of these books? Share your thoughts on them or thesis writing in the comments below!
I’ve known you for seven years now. We meet at least once a year, sometimes twice, but you need to know I never stop thinking about you. I miss you – Septembers and Februaries are the worst, and the months leading up to meeting you fill me with joy. The thought of not getting to meet you fills me with dread.
Editing my Camp NaNo.
You’ve taught me so much about myself.
I feel complete when I’m with you. You make me a better writer with every meeting. You’ve inspired me to be brave and accept myself and my mind. You make sure I stick to schedule, because you know my procrastinating ways. You encourage me every step of the way because you believe in me.
You’ve changed my life.
Without you, I would’ve never succeeded like I have now. You’ve given me the courage to pursue my goals and take myself seriously. You’ve taught me about making mistakes and learning from them.
You make me laugh.
I just have the best time with you. You help me laugh at myself, and I get to laugh with you. Life is more fun when you’re around. All your amazing participants are the best at conversation and support.
You’ve changed my life and I can never thank you enough. I love you. Thank you for these amazing years, and I hope there are many more for us.
I love you, NaNoWriMo.
Psst! NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is a lover I want to share. November is almost here – go check out their website.
The world of writer’s guides is massive. Some are brilliant, some good, some… well, absolutely horrible. Every month, I’ll recommend some of my favourite writer’s guides. Do you read writing guides? Which have been most helpful, and which do you disagree with?
My writer’s guide pick for this October is Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.
I didn’t expect I’d like this guide. I’ve read some Julia Cameron and expected Writing Down the Bones to be similar. In a way, it is. Goldberg writes with a very personal touch and shares her own experiences, much like Cameron. I can’t quite put my finger on the differences between the two, but they are there. Where Cameron’s writing mostly annoyed me, Goldberg’s got me thinking.