Helga’s Post #10 — This blogging thingie is getting tougher each week. Scratching my head to find a topic that won’t put my readers to sleep. It must be that the hourglass is filling up on the bottom, indicating time spent on our writing challenge. Focus on your novel, my inner voice screams, not the blog!
In fact, we are almost exactly at mid-point!
Some venerable members (or is it member?) of our group have now arrived at the middle of their novel (200 pages!), galloping ahead, leaving the rest of us in the dust (speaking strictly for myself.).
Speedwriting is what I need to stay in the saddle. Or not? To confess, I am somewhat of a slow writer. Probable cause: I want my writing to be as good as I can make it from the get-go (a BIG mistake if you write to a deadline!) Spelling errors, grammar screw-ups, wrongly placed commas, misplaced apostrophes, poorly placed paragraphs – these are things that give me heartburn. In my own writing especially. Even in my first draft.
Where did I pick up this useless obsession? It goes back a long way.
My German teacher from Grade 4 onwards insisted on perfection in our written work. I remember her well. Her name was ‘Fräulein Klein’, a petite blonde in her early thirties. She was clever about it too. No punishment if we screwed up. Instead, if we handed in a flawlessly written essay, she would give us a piece of chocolate. Doesn’t sound like a big deal? Picture this: Europe was still reeling from the aftermath of WWII. Chocolate in the fifties in Vienna? An unimaginable treat. I wondered about Fräulein Klein’s supply chain, but even at our tender age we had a pretty good idea. We suspected she had connections to the Allied Forces who still occupied Vienna until 1955. We were sure she didn’t get her inexhaustible supply from the Russians; they had little to give away. The French and the Brits were too stingy, so surely it must have been the Americans. They liked to give out treats to the local population, especially to kids. My first chewing gum was a gift from a Yankee soldier. Happy Thanksgiving, America!
English is my second language, but somehow this attention to detail has carried over. Not that my grammar is perfect, far from it. I still make mistakes, particularly in the use of certain words over others, because your brain is programmed to think in your mother tongue first. Still trying to override that.
Unfortunately, nobody gives me chocolate any more for correct spelling.
Pages written to date: 43
Research books read: 4
Number of nights slept without thinking about plot: 0
Pieces of chocolates received: 0
‘It’s not that chocolates are a substitute for love. Love is a substitute for chocolate. Chocolate is, let’s face it, far more reliable than a man.’ (Miranda Ingram)