There are many benefits to collectivising a writing effort. NaNoWriMo is a very visible example, and I love the camaraderie it injects into the very solitary process of writing. It’s easy to get buried in self-doubt when you’re accountable only to yourself, and solitude is an excellent breeding ground for the million-and-one ways that we sabotage our writing efforts. The thing is, when your story exists only inside your head, it’s perfect. The narrative flows, the characters sparkle, the world builds itself in front of your awestruck mind’s eye. And then you sit down to write the thing and the blank page opens up in front of you, looking all blank and unwritten-on, and your creative muscles seize up. Words emerge, but they’re not necessarily the words you’d heard when the story was unwritten, and they seem clunky. Unwieldy. Graceless.
Solidarity, word-count chasers: November is YOUR month. If you’re taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year, I wish you the very best of luck. I know writers whose novels have happened as a direct result of the accountability NaNoWriMo affords. (I also know writers for whom the format has the opposite effect, by the way, so, as ever with writing processes, there are no absolutes. If you’re not taking part, or if NaNo hasn’t worked for you in the past, please know that it’s not my thing either and keep looking for the process that suits your creative flow.)
Blog updates on the first of every month.