The power of encouragement from other writers

As I blogged about a month ago, my new writing schedule sees me aiming to dedicate an hour each evening to writing – with a calendar to mark with circles, squares or crosses as per my success. Just after I started that, one of the other moderators over at the Mythic Scribes forums, Phil, created a new thread in the communities section of the forum called “Recharge your novel month“. The aim was to write an hour a day during the month of February – and because I was trying to do that anyway, I signed up and started posting my daily progress.

Now, this post isn’t an update on my progress with my new schedule – I plan on going that at the end of each month, and post that month’s completed calendar to show it. But I will say that on February 4th, life got in the way and a variety of other life things combined, over the course of the following 12 days, to leave me unable to write for that almost two week period. Work deadlines and overtime, house problems, getting a new flat. Those sorts of things. That’s not the point.

Since I’ve been back on track – just four days so far – reading about what others have accomplished each day and how they feel about their novels, and adding to the thread with my own progress, has really given me a motivation boost. Writing is a lonely business, and I’m not the kind to share what I’ve written until the later stages, after completion and editing. It can be isolating. But the ability to post, yesterday, that I’d completed my opening scene gave me a second wave of the sense of achievement that came from actually finishing the scene. It made me feel part of something, which in turn made me feel better about my writing.

This is a bit of a revelation really. It shouldn’t be; I’ve done NaNoWriMo several times, and if that isn’t about mutual support I don’t know what is. Maybe I was doing it wrong. Maybe I’ve just forgotten what it was like. But to be honest, it’s a long time since I’ve felt this good about what I’m writing, and I think the community aspect of it is part of that. I’m not sure my writing is of a noticeably higher quality that what I was writing two years ago. The story is perhaps a little more carefully thought out – the product of a lot of hit and miss before getting all the components right. The pace is certainly higher than it was for all of 2012 and most of 2013 (except the first half of November) – with about 9,000 words in the last month (yes, that’s the fastest non-NaNoWriMo pace I’ve had in two years). The last four days have really picked up the pace – I’ve written about 3,500 words in those four days.

It’s amazing the difference a little confidence gives to my productivity – and amazing how much confidence I’ve been able to draw from the simple act of telling others I’ve written an hour, made progress, finished a scene, and reading about how they’ve done the same.

I’m not sure how things will go in March. The Recharge Your Novel Month will be over, though I’ll try to keep to the schedule just because it’s what I was planning anyway. Complications like moving into the new flat might see a few X’s come this time next month. But I’m feeling good about the future, and I put that down to support from other writers in the same position, and the hope that comes from being able to move out of the horrible house I currently live in to the new flat.

1 thought on “The power of encouragement from other writers

  1. I just noticed this blog post you made and I’m really glad that you found more confidence and excitement from participating in this Recharge Your Novel Month. To be honest, I didn’t really expect much from it when I suggested the idea, but I’m really happy to see all the great progress everyone is making. That’s one reason I believe community is so important for writers. You’re right, writing is a lonely business, that’s why I’m always open to anyone saying, “Dude, I’m having a cruddy month. Can I just talk about what I’m working on?” We all have to be accountable for ourselves at the end of the day and I’ve been trying that more and more myself as time goes by. I’ve been super lucky to have a good amount of time to work on things (until the end of March when it comes crashing to a halt), but I hope I can carry over my routines from February to just be something I do from now on. So awesome that you got your motivation back, but if you ever need a boost, feel free to ask. (I’m sure I’ll need to do the same!)

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