Dec 12, 2012

Writing isn't a solitary venture

NaNoWriMo is done, and while I haven't finished my story yet I did hit 50K. It was a lot harder than I expected. I was on a role for the first week and a half, churning out almost 25,000 by the 10th of November when I left my site to head to IST (in-service training, for those confused by Peace Corps lingo.)

But as always, I find the hardest part of NaNo to be from 25K to 35K. At this point, I find I'm no longer exploring my my world through writing and discovering new things about my world or character. Plot is the forefront in my mind, what I have to push through. In the past, I've always slowed down when going through this part of my novel.

This year though, I almost stopped. For two weeks, I just couldn't get the motivation to open my computer and type. Sure, I was surrounded by friends and spent my days training, but I was less busy than doing NaNo in college where I had to worry about friends, school and a job. Once I got home to Huruta, I found myself having to complete 17K in a week, and still having to get through my hump.

Something was different this year, and it wasn't that when I now type after 8 pm I hear hyenas instead of cars. While I've usually had to play catch up at the end, I'm rarely more than a couple thousand behind schedule.

I didn't understand what it was until 10 pm on the 30th when my word count finally passed 50K. I just smiled to myself, closed my computer, placed it next to my pillow, covered myself in my sheet, and fell asleep. It didn't feel as momentous, as such a pridefull acomplishment as the previous two years, no matter how much I sprinted towards the end.

There was no one to celebrate my NaNo win with. I had tried to explain it to people, but no one was really interested and some didn't get. In the States, my NaNoWriMoTowners would be going to a post NaNo party, they'd be explaining thier stories, swapping manuscripts.

This NaNo was lonely. I had no access to the fourms to help me with plot or character problems. I had no access to the chat room or twitter for word wars and word sprints. I had no one to ask about how my word count was, no one to sit next to in a cafe while we typed away, no verbal or electronic support. I had no writing community.

I know they say writing is a solitary activity, and it can be done as such easier than other hobbies, but it's a horrible way of doing it. If you take away all the people who work at publishing houses and magazine, all the editors and thier assistants and just focus on the act of writing, it's still not very solitary. Your friends and family may only have a surface interest in what you're doing, but they are still supporting you (hopefully). And all the other writers I know have some connections to other writers, usually through writing groups or blog communities.

And really, I've been missing all you guys during my 6th months in Ethiopia. I feel so out of the loop on your WIPs, agent findings, sales, and just general life. It was very stark during NaNo, because the blog writing community is awesome in every way and I could have used you last month.

So, thank you all for supporing me in the writing life in the past, and coming over to my Peace Corps blog to support me in that life too. I'm still writing, I've got so much time to kill (though I could be working on that kindle book collection too), and thinking of what I can say to you guys when I can properly catch up keeps me going sometimes.

You're all proof that writing is a interactive activity. It sucks any other way.


  1. I'll give you the cheers you deserve! *Pops cork as confetti rains down* We're still here for you even though you're far away. Writing is meant to be shared, that's the point of publishing in the end. So glad you won!!

  2. It's awesome that you managed 50k even when you are so far out of your normal routine!!!! Yay for you!!!

    I remember the moment I finished, and gave a Whoop - my kids and Hubby knew what it meant and what I'd done. So yes, having people around is great. But I also had a private smile and tiny whoops that lasted a lot longer than Hubby and the kids would have put up with :-)