Friday, 30 October 2015

Yes or No to NaNo? How to get back into your writing

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National Novel Writing Month
Hard to believe, but it’s that time again! November is looming up fast and November for many writers means National Novel WritingMonth. Thirty days of frenzy and exhaustion as they try to rack up 50,000 words by 23.59 on the 30th.

NaNoWriMo is in many ways a Very Very Good Thing. So much of the writing life is about procrastination, waiting for conditions to be better, writing in fits and starts – a month in which you dedicate yourself to major production levels is a month where you can discover what you’re capable of. Many writers are amazed, once they get into it, to find just how much they can achieve. They start December with a pile of messy pages, but pages which can lead to other pages, pages which can be edited into shape.

So, yay for NaNo.

But I’m not doing it this year.

If you follow me on Facebook or Twitter, or you’ve read my last blogpost, you’ll know that this year has been all about distraction. Service providers have let me down and my days, weeks and months have been filled with lists, correspondence, shouty scenes and anxiety. Even now, I’m barely coming out of it.

If I sign up for NaNo this time round, the dark side of it may be revealed – it’s another form of pressure and I really don’t need any extra pressure right now. The voice, that voice any writer is so familiar with, the shrill nagging ‘Why can’t you just get on with it!’ voice, will raise its decibel-level even more.

I have projects. I have ideas. I also have clients whose work needs editing, workshops to run … so my own work will have to wait a little while longer. I’m fairly OK about that. I believe in the work. It can keep, just a little while longer.

Are you contemplating doing NaNo? I genuinely think it’s worth considering. I’ve done it before, and always on my own terms – I've written posts about previous years’ NaNoWriMos, including the technique that I’ve found served me best when aiming for ultimate productivity. You can find my posts here and here, and earlier ones here and here.

If you are doing NaNo, you could do part of it at my next writers’ retreat, Fictionfire by the Spires: Reboot and Troubleshoot, here in Oxford from 7-8 November. The title tells you what I’ll be focussing on. I’ll run four workshops designed to get you back in touch with your writing and help you with issues you’re having with your project. There will be peaceful time for you to just … write. There will be constant tea and coffee. And buffet lunches. And cake – there must always be cake.

It’ll be fun. The group will be small (maximum 8 people), friendly, supportive. You’ll be in Oxford, one of the most gorgeous cities in the world.

To find out more about what’s involved, visit my website.

Here’s what people had to say about my two previous writers’ retreat weekends, in St Ives in Cornwall:
‘It took me out of my day-to-day environment with all its everyday complications and gave me a space in which to write.’ C.J.

‘I can’t recommend this event highly enough! If ever you have the opportunity to attend one of Lorna’s workshops, grab it with both hands!’ C.W.

Can’t make this one? Sign up on the website to my mailing list, to be kept informed.

And if you’re doing NaNo, enjoy the ride!

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