Having been cheerfully defeated by NanoWriMo for the second year running, I’m now dusting off my pom-poms to cheerlead for the lovely Gina Hepburn‘s novel instead. I’m chalking up not finishing this year to working on a continuing novel, which is a huge improvement on last year’s defeat-by-day-job.
So, why take part in the first place if I’m going to bow out before the half-way line? Because there’s a lot of joy in starting something new, a frisson of the possible and the unexplored. I knew that before starting, but I also learnt that running out of steam and ideas made me appreciate what was going well in the novel-in-progress. I started NaNoWriMo with a scenario, a visceral image and an opening line; that’s pretty much where it stayed. In contrast, when I’m writing on the novel-in-progress I’m exploring a story.
Another way of feeling the same smug sense of satisfaction is editing friends’ writing. Beyond the joy of giving (constructive) feedback and experiencing pride in their accomplishments, picking up on what they’re doing right helps me highlight what I’m doing right in my own work. Sure, it makes me look more critically at my everyday errors (long descriptions of breakfast. Possibly due to writing first thing in the morning), but the pat on the back helps me sit back down at the keyboard with a smile that often lasts past the first ten minutes of typing.