Monday, December 31, 2012

National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. I highly recommend it to anyone who is having trouble getting either the inspiration or the discipline to write. I've been feeling like an impostor since winning Writers of the Future (a feeling that seems to be fairly common among the winners) and needed to break out of it. NaNoWriMo proved just the thing. I took a new idea that had been rattling around in my head for only a couple of months and took off writing. Sixteen days later, I had a 40,000 word first draft. A month later, I'm working on a third draft and have the first chapters out to my highly tolerant and helpful associates in the two writing groups I participate in.

Which brings up writing groups and I can highly recommend them as well. The longer a writer stares at their prose, the less they see. It's the forest and trees metaphor. A fresh set of eyes will find the weaknesses in your story far faster than the author could. Too often we can't see our own assumptions within our writing and need a third party to honestly evaluate it. The group members should be supportive but not hold back on their critiques. I get some of the best comments on my writing from the people who hate it. It's difficult not to balk at criticism, but it is necessary to hone the work and it helps if the environment is supportive. If you write and are not part of a group, consider joining one.