Sunday, December 9, 2012

Crazy? I Was Crazy Once . . .

It was called the NaNoWriMo Challenge.

A few months ago, Mik and I discovered that our mutual friend Meghan discovered we all had something in common; we all loved to write. So we did the most natural thing for a group of would-be-novelists; we formed a writer's support group.

Our credo was simple, we would get together to write, we would set up goals to help each other write, we would feed each other and play writing games. Pretty soon it became our weekly ritual. In October we added two new members, Alex and Adopted Roommate.

As a group of young professionals/students who love to write fiction, it also made sense for us to attempt to do the National Novel Writing Challenge. For those of you who don't know what that is, click here or here's the short version - write 50,000 words of a new novel draft in 30 days. As members of Cafe Chi (the name we gave our group) we decided to accept this challenge because, well we're crazy. Of course.

Trying to write the majority of a first draft was an incredible experience, I learned so much about myself as a writer and a person. Some of the favourite things I learned include:

-when you are doing such an all encompassing goal, good friends going through the same thing are a wonderful asset. We had many boot camps where we all sit in my living room and just focus on our writing together.

-sleep is something we should always be grateful for.

-eating vegetables is something not to forget.

-I read a quote once for which I can not remember the author, but he said being a writer was like having homework every night for the rest of your life. That is pretty accurate. I found that if I didn't apply myself everyday, catching up the next day was too much and I then I got exasperated.

-the best thing to know; stop giving yourself excuses, shut up and just write.

By some miracle, I actually ended up taking my own advice for once, and completed my goal in 28 days instead of 30! Isn't getting what you wanted the best feeling there is?

Whether we hit the 50,000 word mark or a revised goal, our whole group went out to celebrate on December 1. We all grew as writers, grew closer as friends, and then followed my favourite writing advice:

"Shut up, and keep writing!"