Buddha bless the internet, because there is no one you can’t find via its many tubes of communication and information. Before the internet I suspect many writers felt bitterly alone in their pursuit to reach the coveted bookshelves of public consumption, because despite what non-writers believe the task of creating a written work is simple. What’s worse is that even when you have real-world contact with other writers you find they actually have no interest in the act of putting words to paper, they would like the writing fairies to come in the night and do it for them. There are no fairies; there’s you and a pen, and your ideas. Writers need to be in contact with other writers that know this, and that’s why places like Gaia, and community projects like SuWriMos are so important.
When we’re forced to write the challenge can often seem daunting. Three months ago I and many others faced the word-goal we set ourselves, and we started anxiously at our prospects of overcoming it. It is significant to remember that at the end of the day whether you match your goal is not what counts, but the fact that you tried, and that given your efforts you got as close as you could. The fact of the matter is, you were writing. How well you wrote isn’t of consequence either.
Often writers feel like they should be able to create a masterful plot in their first attempts at a story, but our craft is no different to the work of a painter or a sculptor. Where they begin with sketches and blocks of clay, we begin the first draft.
The first draft is the best tool you have. In a first draft you can write anything and its acceptable. While this stage is deemed as the most difficult stage, its actuality the most liberating. Here you can throw down any ideas you have in whatever way you want just to test the water. In a first draft bad characterization, too much description and even cliché are appropriate. Here you transmit details in your head to words on a page. That is the function of a first draft; to allow you to go horribly, horribly wrong.
Without writing your story (to whatever degree) poorly, you simply cannot write it to the standard you seek. When a first draft is being written awful parts of the plotline become apparent, the key is to ignore them until you edit, and not to get disheartened by making them. Some people edit as they go, some in stages, some months after their work is complete. But however you edit, you will always be able to establish new ideas and refine plot. Every writer worth his/her salt started with a story far different to the one he/she ended with.
Stay enthusiastic about the story while you get it to paper. When you’ve written down your initial storyline, you make the changes necessary to improve it.
I’m not one to talk; I get so scared that I’ll start writing something poorly, and I’ll lose the enthusiasm necessary to carry on. Once a year with SuWriMos, I am able to bypass that feeling of terror, and join with my fellow dreamers to get words out. That’s why I want to say a big thank-you to my Gaia-gang SuWriMos compatriots.
Final Count: 82,475/100,000.