Beyond NaNoWriMo

This article was written for, and was first published by, Writers & Artists in October 2015.

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“Everyone has a book in them, but in most cases that’s where it should stay”

Truth or creation killing put-down? Where would we book lovers be if authors did not have the courage to follow their dreams?

My fiction writing started in earnest two years ago. I had been writing opinion pieces on my personal blog for some time but had not yet delved into fantasy. Like so many readers, I harboured a vague notion that one day I would like to write a novel. I had plot ideas, and had even jotted down a few opening chapters, but had taken it no further. NaNoWriMo offered me the tantalising opportunity to see if I could produce a full script with a beginning, a middle and an end; to see if I had the skills required to create a story that others might choose to read.

That first NaNoWriMo experience was a total buzz. I dived eagerly into the challenge and completed my 50,000 words in just under three weeks. I discovered along the way that I loved writing fiction, that it gave me an outlet for so much internalised anger and pain. I produced as crappy a piece of writing as you are ever likely to read and it will never see the light of day. You can thank me for that.

Still though, I had enjoyed myself to an unexpected degree and wished to continue. To avoid losing the readers of my existing blog, who had not signed up to read make believe stories, I decided to set up a second blog. I named it ‘Dreams and Demons’, the roots of my ideas.

I experimented with flash fiction, stories of under 1000 words, and submitted to several online sites. I became a regular contributor to a weekly challenge hosted by Tipsy Lit, and received positive feedback from readers. Buoyed by this I put my stories up elsewhere: Readwave, Wattpad and Flash Fiction Magazine. Those who took the time to read commented that they enjoyed my plot development, the unexpected twists and dark themes. I rode high on their praise and the buzz remained.

When Tipsy Lit changed direction I sought out another home and found Yeah Write. I wrote micro and flash fiction pieces, winning a few of their weekly awards. My success encouraged me to explore further. At 99Fiction I won my first ever cash prize, which remains the only money I have ever gained from writing.

And then Yeah Write introduced moderation. Their volunteer editors checked each submission and would only accept those deemed worthy. It turned out that I had issues with punctuation and grammar.

I bought the Penguin Writer’s manual and studied its wisdom, but the fun had been taken away. Those well-meaning words of constructive criticism crushed my creative spirit. I continued to try, I wanted to improve. Grammar matters, and authors must be strong enough to accept critiques. It seemed that I could not.

NaNoWriMo came around again and I decided to see if it would work its magic as it had before. I sat at my desk and banged out those 50,000 words. This time I knew as I went along that what I was writing was below par. I had some good ideas. I could craft a story but it was nothing special. The longer form didn’t suit me and, after a year of creativity, even my short stories were running short on innovation.

At this stage I had been a book blogger for six months. I was reading and reviewing some fabulous works, many from little known authors who deserved wider recognition. I recognised that I was not, and never could be, one of them.

I am grateful to the editors at Yeah Write. They have saved me so much time trying to be something I am not. They have saved readers the effort of reading yet another poorly written tome.

I believe that my fiction writing has helped me to become a better book reviewer. I understand the skill and sheer hard work that is required to produce a well written, compelling and polished novel. I understand how hurtful it can be when readers criticise, the buzz that positive feedback generates.

I will still occasionally write a short story, just for the fun of being creative, but I no longer aspire to anything further. I will not be taking part in NaNoWriMo this year.

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Jackie Law is a wife, mother, hen keeper and writer. Born and raised in Belfast during the height of The Troubles, she is now enjoying the peace of rural life in Wiltshire. She posts book reviews and other musings on her personal blog. You can follow her on Twitter here. Her dreams and demons continue to make her what she is.

Beyond NaNoWriMo

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This week I have a guest post up on the Writers & Artists blog. Do check it out:

Writer Jackie Law discusses what she learnt about her writing from NaNoWriMo – and why you always need to be honest with yourself.

Click this link to read the post: Beyond NaNoWriMo | Writers & Artists

Blowing my own trumpet

Last year I completed the NaNoWriMo challenge, an exercise that not only gave me a (very) rough draft of a novel that I was rather pleased with but also gave me more confidence in my ability to write fiction. Despite having spent much of my life making up stories in my head, even going so far as to write a few down, I had never been willing to talk much about my creations, nor to let anyone else read those that I committed to paper or hard drive.

The main lessons that I learnt from taking part in NaNoWriMo were that I find writing fiction great fun, a welcome escape and a stress release. When I came to the end of my draft novel I wanted to set it aside for a time before I returned for the first rewrite, but I knew for sure that I didn’t want to stop writing. It was at around this time that I came across Tipsy Lit and their Prompted challenges.

Not only does this reader’s and writer’s community publish a wide variety of fiction and non fiction pieces, run an online book club and host discussions on everything from books to booze; it also invites entries for a weekly competition. It was these Prompted challenges that drew me to get involved.

Each Monday a prompt is released and writers are invited to create a work of flash fiction (a story of around 500 words) which they link to a Prompted post on the following Friday. All entries are then included in a poll set up on the following day and readers have 24 hours to vote for their favourite entry. The story that attracts the largest number of votes will be published on the front page of the site on Sunday.

Up until this point the only writing that I had published were the posts on my own blog. I wrote a post inspired by a Tipsy Lit weekly prompt before realising that they were looking for works of fiction (note to self, read the instructions before you start). Undeterred I decided that I would write a short story as well, and what fun I had doing so. I knew that I had discovered a style of writing that I wished to explore further.

Why do people follow blogs? I can see no reason other than they like the writing style and content of what is published. Having gained a following for this blog I did not, therefore, wish to radically change it by starting to include the short works of  fiction that I now wished to offer for others to read. I decided to set up a second blog for my stories, thereby creating Dreams and Demons.

I have yet to win a Prompted challenge, not least because on each week I have entered I have been up against an author named Duncan Swallow from nobodysreadingme (if ever a blog name did not reflect the content then this is it). Week after week he just keeps attracting more votes than anyone else. Read some of his stories to find out why (he also publishes on ReadWave and Wattpad, as do I, but to keep up with his work it is best to follow him on Twitter where his handle is @duncanswallow1).

As well as Duncan though, I have also been up against quite a number of other impressive entries and normally manage to gain a few votes which is pleasing. More importantly, I am offered useful feedback and am enjoying the creative process and practice.

As a result of entering my work I was invited by the welcoming and friendly lady who envisaged and created Tipsy Lit, Ericka Clay, to submit a story that I had not published elsewhere for consideration. I was quite delighted when it was accepted for publication and thus, today, one of my short stories has been published on the Tipsy Lit front page.

Do go across to read Repercussions and let me know what you think. While you are there, check out the rest of the site, there is a lot of good content.

I know that I have a long way to go in my writing adventure so to have someone else believe that I am worth publishing is delightful. I still feel something of an imposter describing myself as a writer. The encouragement that I have received from this inclusive and friendly community gives me hope that, if I keep practising, perhaps one day I will get there.

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My day

I am joining in again this week with the Manic Mondays Blog Hop. 

Perfection Pending

Today was going to be a good day. Determined to restart my attempts at healthier living I made sure that I had a relaxing weekend to prepare. I allowed myself all the little treats that I would no longer be indulging in and left a few jobs undone because, you know, I was going to be busy and active and achieve loads each day. Might as well make sure I have plenty to do on day one, yes?

Despite going to bed a little later than usual I woke up when my husband left for work at 5.30am. He is very good at leaving the house quietly and I often sleep through this, or at least drop back to sleep after he has gone. Not this morning though. Never mind, it gave me time to drink a cup of tea or two and go on line before starting my busy day.

As soon as the kids had left for school I got the dishwasher going and started my first load of laundry. By the time the bedrooms and kitchen were tidied I was ready to sort clothes and set up load two. I was determined to walk down to the gym, but first had to service my little flock of hens. I noted that, despite my elder son’s best efforts yesterday, there were still a lot of leaves to be cleared in the garden.

But I had promised myself that I would get to the gym today and have a swim. I went inside and sat down with a cup of coffee because, you know, I just felt like one. And while I was enjoying that welcome beverage, I had a quick browse on line.

Okay, so now half the morning has gone. I thought that I could fit in a quick swim at least, and then maybe get out into the garden with my rake. Good plan, except that after my swim I realised that I was very hungry. A bit of lunch was needed, nothing too much. And another cup of coffee. And a biscuit.

Now it is nearly time for the kids to get in from school and I seem to be on line again, how did that happen?

But it has been a good day. I validated my NaNoWriMo story and was declared a Winner! I should have loads more time each day now that my writing can take a back seat for a while, although I do seem to be filling that time with reading instead. And going on line.

I will not let the fact that my week has started less well than I envisaged put me off. Perhaps if I go and grab that rake right now I will be able to salvage something of my attempt to turn over a new leaf (apologies for that truly dreadful pun).

I could really use another cup of coffee though.

I hope that your Monday has been more productive than mine.

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To read the other posts taking part in this Blog Hop, click on the link below.

Virtual hugs

One of the things that I like about blogging on WordPress is the sense of community that I feel exists amongst bloggers who follow each other regularly and take the time to comment on posts. I do sometimes submit a comment and then afterwards worry that what I have written may be taken the wrong way. Once I have released it into the ether I lose control. I am a worrier and I worry that it may not be read as I meant. Still, I continue to comment because I love to get comments on my posts. It makes me think that someone might actually be reading them.

Anyway, today one of the blogs that I follow mentioned me in a post as a new friend. Wow! I feel as if I have been given a virtual hug. You don’t believe me? Go check out It’s Time to Close the Internet. Everything Has Already Been Written. | Are You Finished Yet?. Actually go check out this blog anyway, it’s great.

I can be a bit particular about my personal space so virtual hugs are perfect. I mean, I love it when my kids hug me, although as they are now teenagers this is an increasingly rare event. I can also cope with a show of affection from my other half, but I am not a hug everyone in the room with ease sort of person. When in company I generally crave an invisibility cloak so that I can people watch without garnering any attention.

On the internet though, I like attention. I have been so busy with my NaNoWriMo writing that I haven’t managed to be on line so much over the past couple of weeks. I hate to miss posts from my favourite bloggers and there have been some link ups that I really want to take part in but haven’t yet managed to squeeze in.

However, I am loving writing my ‘novel’. I put quotes around that because the words that are emerging may provide a rough first stab at a plan but are nowhere near good enough to call anything other than imaginative outpourings from my over stacked brain. I think I may be feeling so good just because my head is lighter having got all those words and ideas out.

I went for a lovely walk today with a friend and came back with so many plot tangents to consider as as well as damp, muddy boots. I wanted to write but I had to sort dinner and laundry and sit down with a cup of tea. I am seriously considering getting up at stupid o’clock tomorrow just so that I can write before anybody else needs me. Not that my truculent trio actually need me, but thinking that they might gives me a sense of purpose.

It feels as though my head acts like a toilet cistern (lovely analogy there don’t you think?). I write and write and write until my head has unloaded and I feel good. Then I go about my day, and my walk or swim or just browsing the internet fills me up with more thoughts that I want to write about. Is it any wonder I forget why I went upstairs, or to unload the washing machine?

I have made an effort this week to do some other things too, like visit the gym and talk to my sister on the phone, before I sit down to create. Except then I am bang in the middle of this intricate plot that I have mapped out when I am called away by some family member who has appeared unexpectedly because those two hours didn’t seem to happen. Writing causes time travel folks, always forwards.

If you are reading this because my new friend sent you across then I hope you don’t feel disappointed with my eclectic musings. Rest assured that my regular readers (hi big sister) are always welcome too.

"Writing", 22 November 2008

Memory

After just over a week of fairly intense but ultimately satisfying creative writing, the word count on my NaNoWriMo story reached the half way mark late yesterday afternoon. To celebrate I gave myself the evening off. I have found that, when I am writing, the time just disappears. I am keeping up with the essential tasks needed to keep my little household ticking over but am managing little else.

What to do then with this time off that I granted myself? I chose to pick up a book that I received for my birthday several months ago and have been looking forward to reading. This turned out to be quite an intense and thought provoking experience in itself.

The book, ‘My Father’s House’ by Bethany Dawson, is set in Ireland, primarily the North, and revolves around a family whose son moved to Dublin and has not been in touch for over five years. It opens with his return to the family fold following news that his father is dying of cancer. I have so far read about half the book and have found the memories it evokes disturbing.

The author has managed to create a tale that captures Northern Ireland and family life in a way that I find uncomfortably too close to home. Just like the protagonist in the story, I escaped what I felt was a claustrophobic life and suffer guilt at having abandoned my perceived duty to my wider family. The part of the book that I have read so far suggests that unhappy memories are being suppressed; I cannot relate to that. If anything my guilt stems from the fact that I was loved so much yet felt suffocated by the expectations of those who cared for me.

Throughout my time in England I have come across other ladies around my age who were raised in Northern Ireland and still have large families living ‘back home’. They talk of missing the place, the closeness of the communities and the contact with the extended family members who were rarely far away. It was these aspects that I wished to escape. I felt smothered and unable to move without whatever I was doing being discussed and, too often, criticised. I longed for the freedom to do as I pleased without being held to account by those who loved me.

Northern Ireland folk are as friendly and welcoming as anyone could wish for. Families are close and supportive, yet much of what individuals personally feel or experience was never discussed when I lived there. There were so many things that were taboo, topics that were avoided, ignored or concealed. This book evokes these attitudes and I found reading about this familiar yet forgotten way of living difficult.

As ever I am aware that my antipathy towards such attitudes is at odds with the majority of those I know. I am the odd one out which I guess is why I wanted to leave so much. The book has opened up memories that have discomfited me.

Memory is a strange beast. Sometimes when I talk to my sister, who grew up in the same house as me and experienced the same people and way of life, I realise that we watched what was going on through different lenses. We did not talk freely of our issues back then, although when we get together now we can be more open. There were four of us living in that house and I sometimes feel that we barely knew each other.

There was love and there was support in abundance, but we each did our best to act out the role that was expected of us. We lived our personal lives in secret, and have generally continued to do so. Edited highlights are shared but so much of our daily thoughts and experiences remain unspoken and unknown.

The characters that the author has created in this book remind me of so many I knew. The guilt, the expectations, the resentments, the love. It is not a heavy or difficult book but, for me, it is raw.

Of course I cannot say if my experience is in any way typical, or even if any of my family members would feel as I do, but I am disturbed by this book because it opens up a box that I had not realised I prefer to keep closed. It uncovers my selfishness for leaving and returning only when I feel I must.

I have made a new life for myself and it feels far removed from the life I was raised to lead. The choices that I made were right for me but I must now live with the knowledge that, in doing so, I may have caused hurt. I was expected to marry and stay to raise my children close to what was considered my home. I feel guilty for escaping, guilty for not wishing to return. That is the price I paid for my freedom, but those who loved me also paid the price of loss and they were given no choice.

With half the book still to read I have yet to discover if there were other reasons for the protagonist in the story to break away. Perhaps my guilt is as much because my reasons were totally selfish. I needed to get out to preserve myself but this book has made me think about what my actions cost those I left behind.

As we do not talk about these things I will never know if my parents blamed me for leaving, if my guilt is even justified. I do know that, unlike many of those I speak to from similar backgrounds, I have never had any wish to return.

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Time management

Yesterday my children returned to school and my husband returned to work after the half term break. Despite not doing a great deal of note I enjoyed this holiday. I am in a good place at the moment as regards personal space. I seem to have found a balance that suits me between supporting my family and doing things for myself. I am managing not to allow how I think others expect me to behave to push me in directions that make me feel uncomfortable.

As well as my reading and writing I visited the gym a few times, spent time in the garden with my hens and completed a few of the housework type jobs that demanded my attention loudly enough. I even managed a bit of sewing and baking over the course of the week. I am so not a domestic goddess but there were no disasters. I can reflect on the results of my efforts with some satisfaction.

The holiday ended with the start of NaNoWriMo. It is now Day 5 of this challenge and I am enjoying taking part far more than I expected to. Of course, I enjoy writing or I would not have chosen to sign up. So far though the task has been a real mood lifter. As I watch my word count climb I can feel my spirits rise with it. My family are allowing me the space and time requested and my story is flowing.

Yesterday I also started a distance learning psychology course with the University of Warwick. I spent a very enjoyable few hours completing some interesting and, at times, counter intuitive background reading before taking part in an experiment; my visual reaction times are embarrassingly slow! I then had to complete a short test which seemed to be aimed at ensuring I had understood the concepts discussed; so far so good.

I found the coursework fascinating; there was so much new information to take in and consider. The results of some of the studies discussed made me question a lot of aspects of the way I and many of my friends think. It would appear that we are not nearly as knowledgeable and reasoned as we may like to believe.

By the time I had worked my way through all my usual, mundane chores; cleaning, laundry, dishes, cooking; my day was gone. These personal challenges that I have taken on may be enjoyable and rewarding in themselves, but the issue in completing them seems likely to be finding the time to give them the attention they demand if the standards that I wish to achieve are to be maintained.

I struggle with lengthy goals. I don’t mean things that take years but rather things that take more than a few weeks. When I can see an end to a task I want to reach it as quickly as possible. I find it hard to pace myself and enjoy the journey.

When I was at school I would try to complete homework at the first opportunity after it was set. I found that I couldn’t relax knowing that there was work to be done; I couldn’t enjoy down time with the knowledge that I had tasks that still needed to be completed, even if not immediately.

In my final year at university I took part in a programme that allowed older students to mark first year student’s work. We were given model answers and a dozen or so papers each and would spend a few hours going through each submission, adding helpful comments and awarding marks. Most students completed this task over a week or so. I would try to sit down on the night I picked up the papers and complete the marking in one sitting. I would then return the papers to faculty the next day. I wanted to do the job and do it to a high standard, but I also wanted it done and out of the way. I would worry that something unforeseen may occur that would prevent me meeting the deadline and I would end up letting my tutors down.

These days I have a similar attitude to relaxation. I prefer to prepare meals that need to sit in the oven or bubble in a pot before serving rather than something that requires last minute attention. I worry that, if a meal is needed at a certain time and something goes wrong, then I will have failed; a child may be late to an appointment and it will be my fault. Once the prep has been done and all that is needed is for cooking time to elapse then I can relax. My job is done, I have completed all that can be expected of me.

I am noticing this attitude in the way that I am tackling NaNoWriMo. I catch myself thinking that, even though I am slowly getting ahead of my required, daily word count, that 50,000 word mark still seems so far away. I struggle with pacing myself, wanting to race to the end.

Sometimes it takes a concious effort not to do this with the books I read. I want to know what happens so rush to finish where I could derive more enjoyment from putting the story down and granting myself thinking time.

When jobs cannot be completed (there is no end to housework) I can procrastinate with the best of them, my ironing pile is testament to that. When a challenge takes too long to yield results (such as losing weight) then I struggle to find the motivation to continue beyond the initial determination. It is those goals that are within sight and attainable with just a bit more effort that I rush to complete.

Time management is an interesting concept. Am I a good time manager because I accomplish tasks quickly? I would consider my time better spent if I could pace myself. Efficiency and effectiveness are all very well but when we do something for pleasure, rushing it seems foolish. Yes I get a buzz out of the final accomplishment, but if it’s purpose is enjoyment why rush?

Perhaps one of my problems is that if I put something down for too long then there is a risk that it will be abandoned. There are books that I have not finished, a cross stitch project that I was deriving satisfaction from but has not been picked up in over a year. If I am to conclude a task then I need to internally schedule time for it and then stick with that. I like organisation and routine; the unexpected, including random surprises, stress me.

Perhaps the most important thing in good time management is learning what suits us as individuals and then working to fit that way of living into our days. I know that I need to have control over what I do and how I do it. I rail against being told what is best for me. When I am granted the freedom to follow a path of my choosing then I can work on improving how I accomplish tasks in a way that enhances my quality of life.

The author George R.R. Martin has stated that there are two types of writers, the architects and the gardeners. For someone who likes her life to be so strictly under my control, planned out and organised, I am a little surprised to discover that my writing style is more like the gardener. I have no idea where my NaNoWriMo story is going to end up. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I am so eager to progress, that I may find out.

I created the graphic myself.

Finding my groove

Day two of National Novel Writing Month (NoNoWriMo) and I am feeling stoked. The ideas keep coming, the words are flowing and I am on an absolute high. Of course I am aware that this is unlikely to continue for the entire month. For now though I am enjoying a whole new experience in the joys of creativity. I had not expected this challenge to be quite so pleasurable.

In other news, it has been a busy week for my little household. Having failed to complete the helmet of my daughter’s Loki costume I was required to dye her hair black to enable her to cosplay to her satisfaction at the opening night of Thor: The Dark World. This is her at our local train station, subjugating her first minion on her way to the cinema. Apparently, random strangers approached her asking to be photographed alongside the character she played – what fun!

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The following evening was Halloween and she set out with friends to watch a showing of Frankenstein at our local cinema. I realised by the excitement I felt at these opportunities and experiences she was enjoying, that I was starting to live vicariously. Talk about a wake up call! I quickly put the brakes on that and returned to my own life. Much as I love to be involved in my childrens’ plans and activities I do not wish to invade their space. Plus I have my own life to live and I am fine with that.

Yesterday I made sure to take time out to go to the gym with my neglected husband, and then to hang around for a swim and a spot of relaxation with him in the sauna and hot tub. It is rather too easy to stay busy with the house and garden, or to get engrossed in our respective screen based activities (I write, he plays on line sudoku), and to neglect spending time interacting. I find swimming to be great for pulling my thoughts together and suspect I will go to the pool often in the coming weeks as my NaNo ideas inevitably start to wane.

When I asked my little family to grant me the time and space to write for NaNoWriMo I was gently mocked, but actually they have been very good so far about supporting me. My daughter is also taking part, this will be her third year as a participant, so we are comparing work counts and progress. She has been so busy socialising this week, and has a ton of homework to catch up on, that I am having an easier time of it for now. All the housework that I did earlier to assuage my guilt at spending so much time at my desk is paying dividends.

And my library, oh my library! What an inspirational space this is proving to be. What writer wouldn’t be inspired in such surroundings?

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For those who voiced concern, my elderly, moulting hen seemed a little better today. Our weather continues to be unpredictable but my little flock were able to free range today and laid me a good number of eggs. Another storm seems to be brewing this evening so I hope that the noises made by the wind and falling debris do not distress them overnight. Even safely shut up in their coops they can be spooked by unexpected noises.

I have made pleasing progress today with my writing so shall grant myself an evening off to spend time with whichever family members choose to join me. The half term holiday is nearly over; I have enjoyed it enormously.

Writing challenge

I have signed up to take part in National Novel Writing Month (NoNoWriMo). This is a writing challenge that requires participants to produce a unique, short novel (50,000 words) between the 1st and 30th of November. The point of the exercise is to write a complete, lengthy story. The result is not expected to be publishable.

I have no plans to attempt to write a book for publication. Although I have plenty of ideas in my head, I do not consider that I have the skill or the discipline to put together a polished manuscript. I am under no illusions about the difficulties that writers have getting their work accepted by a publisher. I am well aware that there are a very large number of people out there who think that they have a book inside them. Many talented writers do and will still not achieve their dream.

What I wish to achieve is an improvement. I play the piano (badly) and would like to refine my limited skills. No matter how much I practice though, I am never going to make the grade as a concert pianist. This does not mean that I should give up playing; I enjoy making music, even if I am only doing so for myself. I see my desire to improve as a worthwhile aspiration, even if it will lead nowhere tangible.

Likewise with my writing. I would like to be a better writer and the only way this is likely to happen is if I practice. I can read widely, compare and contrast the styles of various authors and commentators, but if I do not sit down and create my own, unique text then I will never hone what limited skills I may possess.

Writing is my hobby and gives me pleasure. WordPress is my club, where I can share with others who pursue the same interest as well as enabling me to put my thoughts and ideas out to a wider audience via social media. Feedback from readers gives me an insight into how my writing comes across to others; the pieces that I am most satisfied with are often not the ones that are best received.

I also create works of fiction but these are on going and incomplete. By taking part in NaNoWriMo I will be encouraged to finish a story, even if it is not as polished as I would wish. I have a habit of returning to works again and again, changing a word or a phrase here, tidying up the plot there, rather than getting down a complete first draft before entering the editing phase. I want to see if I am capable of taking a tale through to a decent conclusion.

A lot of people look on NaNoWriMo as an exercise in creating bad writing. By demanding a set word count in a given time frame, with no quality checks along the way, the resulting ‘novel’ is unlikely to be the next best seller. For me, however, this is not the point; I will use it to see what I am capable of producing. I do not expect anyone else to read the results of this exercise, just as I do not expect anyone else to listen to me play the piano (I really am an untidy musician).

There seems to be a certain amount of snobbery amongst some writers. Those who are capable of earning a living from the regular, quality output that they produce may look on the plethora of amateurs who populate the blogosphere with a degree of contempt, but I find this attitude disappointing. If writing gives pleasure then I would encourage this pursuit as much as I would encourage those who partake in any other creative hobby. I admire the established writers who are willing to help and encourage the amateurs, even if their output leaves much to be desired.

November is already a busy month for me and by taking on the NaNoWrMo challenge I am setting myself up to be more time pressured than I am used to. It will be interesting to see how I cope. I will not be putting the story that I write out on this blog; I have no wish to share what is likely to be an unimpressive piece of writing.

You will, however, be able to track my progress via the little widget I have installed on my sidebar; the aim is to reach a word count of 50,000 by the end of November. It is easy to start a new project fired with enthusiasm. I wonder will I have the resolve to continue when life demands my time and my ideas wane. It wouldn’t be a challenge if I expected it to be easy; roll on November that we may begin.

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