Annie On Writing

December 8, 2012

Just start

It seems ridiculous, but one of the biggest challenges writers are confronted with is to “just start’ writing.

With a blank screen, that little black dash flashing obscenely the whole time, the experience of committing a word can be both daunting and frustrating. Most writers seek the perfect word, or string of words to begin, and if this doesn’t immediately flow, will be paralysed, distracted or discouraged.

Writers guilt is heightened in December particularly. NaNoWriMo has just finished for the year and the social network is buzzing with the success stories of writers who ‘made it.’ Equally, there are those in the camp who ‘didn’t make it’. Whilst I had to stop writing at 15k part way into November, I don’t share this negative view or label.  I certainly congratulate those whose mental tenacity and motivation ensured they crossed the word limit line; but on the same hand, I wouldn’t diminish the effort any participant afforded.

The mere act of signing up for NaNoWriMo is an obstacle many writers shy away from. Committing to focus on a story and characters, to build a world and guide words through the challenges for a period of time is cause enough to celebrate.  There are many participants who, like me, have a substantial start or insight into characters and storylines which can now be left to brew, and continue at a more leisurely pace. Although I’d have been delighted to have 50K under my belt this year, I am very happy with (most) of the words written this year.  I join the writers who ‘just started’ – and continued to write as a daily habit.

NaNoWriMo is much more than pumping out 50,000 words. Its about giving birth to new worlds, stories, bringing writing communities together and establishing the writing habit. The act of interrupting the normal pattern of life to ensure writing became the most important activity each day, even for a short time, in my humble opinion, qualifies that person as winning and as a writer.

This year at Write Anything, we have focused on taking risks, of writing dangerously. Celebrate if you took the risk and signed up for NaNo. Be at peace with your decision not to participate, or if you had to drop out. Give yourself a pat on the back if you wrote a string of words you actually like. Celebrate if you have a basic draft you would be happy to redraft and edit. Pop some champagne corks, if you have a story you would like to see published.

No matter where you have ended up after NaNo, continue with the daily writing habit, complete your drafts and begin the great edit. Perhaps you’ll decide to join next years NaNo. Or perhaps you’ll be too busy promoting your newly published book!

Those who ‘just started’ are a long way further down the track than those who were too fearful to begin.


1 Comment »

  1. Great post. Congrats on your 15k completed!


    Comment by Gwen — December 10, 2012 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

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