Thursday, November 03, 2005

Day 3: Camaraderie

This morning I got up at an insanely early hour to write another 1,000 words on the So-Called Novel. I'm currently about 2,000 words behind where I "should" be for today, if you divide NaNo's 50,000-word monthly goal into 30-day increments. But since the weekends are for catch-up, it's not word-count that pushed me to get out of bed, turn on my laptop, and start cranking out still-sleepy prose.

No, this morning I was motivated by guilt...or, more accurately, camaraderie. Last night my coaching colleague Donna and I led a tele-workshop (our first!) for blocked writers. We had about a dozen people show up on the call, all of them facing blocks of various sorts. As people went around the group and offered one word to describe how they felt about their writing projects, I heard a string of adjectives that accurately describes the ebb and flow of emotion you experience when you try to write a daunting project: stalled, flummoxed, perplexed, frustrated. Given these negative emotions, why would any of us choose to write...and why would any of us choose to continue writing when warm beds and real lives so alluringly beckon?

This morning, I got out of bed at an insanely early time because I knew later this morning folks would be checking this blog to see if I'm still standing, still writing, on my NaNo journey...and I knew that later this afternoon, I'll be sending participants in last night's tele-class the URL for this site. Knowing that the folks I talked to last night might check on me this afternoon, I couldn't face the thought of them finding I'd done nothing on my present project since last talking to them. How can I as a coach and tele-workshop leader tell people to make time to write (even a little!) everyday if I'm not willing to get out of bed to do the same?

In his book No Plot? No Problem!, NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty uses the phrase "writing in packs" to refer to this social aspect of writing. Although we carry the image of a writer working alone, it's very difficult to keep writing if you're the only one doing it. Several participants in last night's tele-workshop remarked that it's somehow encouraging to know that other people are facing the same or similar problems as they work on daunting projects...and I know that when I was working on my dissertation, it was immensely helpful to have a coach (along with several writing buddies) who offered that sense of camaraderie while I was slogging away with a seemingly un-finishable task.

Even though I was physically alone when I got up at that insanely early hour to write another 1,000 words toward my So-Called Novel, I didn't feel alone. Instead, I felt the camaraderie of knowing other people sometimes feel stalled, flummoxed, perplexed, and frustrated just like I do. And I felt the camaraderie of knowing there are folks who might occasionally check in here, both to see how I'm doing and to share the setbacks and successes along their segment of the writing road.

So, tell are you currently feeling about your writing project, whatever it might be? Where and how do you find writerly camaraderie? And when's the best time for you to pound out words: early morning, late at night, midday, or otherwise?
Word-count: 3,018
Last line: As she looked around her at the wide, now watery expanse of Winston Street, Alexa realized that she and Rebecca were the literal floats in a sort of impromptu parade, folks who had not yet left their homes (but who were slowly rousing from sleep) standing on their water-surrounded porches to watch the stream of rowboats, rubber rafts, and weekend kayaks that were ferrying people up and down the normally fast-trafficked street.


At 11/03/2005 8:51 AM, Blogger Tamar said...

Early morning. Best time for me!

At 11/03/2005 3:02 PM, Blogger Lorianne said...

Yep, I'm a morning writer, too...which is odd since in high school & college I was a nightowl. I think living for a couple years in a Zen Center changed me for good: we got up every morning at 5 am, so that killed my ability to write into the wee hours!

At 11/03/2005 3:25 PM, Blogger Beltane said...

I feel crap for missing the telephone conference last night. I remembered up until about 5pm, then taking my kids to Kung Fu and the vagaries of the day after that ruined all memory and thought. I'm rotten disappointed :(

At 11/03/2005 3:29 PM, Blogger Lorianne said...

Oh, don't worry. I'm sending out some follow-up info to everyone who registered...and we'll probably offer something similar (or an ongoing class on the same topic) in the future.

So please don't feel *too* crappy: when the time is right, another opportunity will arise! :-)

At 11/03/2005 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


This is a riot! I can't imagine you ever short of words!

(I've been reading your blog, on and off, for sometime :))

Tis always worthwhile!


At 11/04/2005 8:57 AM, Blogger Lorianne said...

Yeah, I don't usually have any trouble cranking out's finding the *time* that is the challenge! :-)

But one thing I learned last November is that it's not too difficult to catch up on word-count if you have an occasional weekend "writing day." So we'll see what my word-count looks like by Monday!


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