On Friday, to celebrate my 5th(!) NaNoWriMo-win, I went to see Jamie Lenman, the former Reuben frontman who has just come back with a new album of his own. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it turned out to be the best gig I’ve ever been to.
Why, you may ask, was it so amazing (and why am I talking about something seemingly not about either brains or writing)? Well, the song I liked most off his new album, ‘I ain’t your boy’, was all about how he couldn’t be the person he was back when he was in Reuben, and so I never thought he would perform any of those songs. Imagine my surprise when the first bars of one of my favourite Reuben songs started playing!
What I learned from this, what I wanted to convey in this post, is how unexpected events can spark and energise you. Sure it was going to be a good gig anyway, because I love his new music, but there’s nothing like an unexpected boon to get the neurotransmitters all excited.
This is similar to what a good novel can do, if something unexpected happens in it. If one can create something new, unique, one can transform the reader. To write something you hadn’t thought about before, something that comes up naturally, it can give the same kind of high. So, that’s why I participate in NaNoWriMo, that’s why I’m a pantser (i.e. someone who writes without outlining first, not a panther like autocorrect keeps trying to change it to); to surprise myself. Sure, more often than not I surprise myself with the utter drivel that I’m writing, but occasionally, just every once in a while, I am pleasantly surprised by what on earth my characters are doing, or where the plot takes me. And that feeling, that unexpected-Reuben-songs feeling, is why I keep writing.
Now, time to get back to it.
In case you are interested, here’s the double Jamie Lenman single: