I just finished an 11 day writing retreat (self-imposed and self-directed) in Ubud, in Bali. 7000 words of the novel down in that time, bringing me to a current total of 22,074 words (not that I'm counting!) I stayed at Temuku Villas Ubud, which I can recommend for a quiet place to write. Ubud is lovely, and the resort was nestled in amongst the rice paddies, such as shown above. It is my first writing-focused trip ever, and I will do it again, although in future I will do a larger number of day trips and excursions to break up the writing a little more.
This trip means that I have now spent time writing in Indonesia, Italy, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Singapore and of course, at home in Melbourne.
Further to my last post in October last year, as of yesterday evening I am the proud owner of 10,194 words towards the long-anticipated (by me and me alone!) novel. I have written that 10k since the morning of 31 December 2016, which is not a bad strike rate considering there has been lots of revision happening at the same time. I know that opinion is divided on that topic - should you just 'dump a first draft' or edit as you go - but some old habits die hard, and I can't help tinkering even as I move the body of text forward.
Of course, quantity is not quality, but I am just pleased that a first draft is finally underway. And if you run into me in person, please don't ask me what it's about - I'm not quite ready to share just yet. It's all still gestating, and hopefully metamorphosing into something good, but it is early days.
This process - tackling a long fiction form - is new and fascinating to me. My long, long apprenticeship (more than 15 years of regular publication under the belt) in non-fictional journal articles and essays is not proving a hindrance, despite the radical difference in the literary forms. If anything, it is banishing any hesitation or sense of 'block' - I am well used to writing without prevarication to meet deadlines, and I am just treating this like a normal writing assignment in some respects.
And it all started with one word, the 'trigger' word, that made me sit down and dive nto the whole thing in earnest. That word was: "balloon". I know. Obscure.