Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Buddies, Challenges, and NANOWRIMO

Challenges and friends to write with are important when you're writing with a day job.

Humans seem to be, by nature, competitive beings. We are not truly happy unless we have goals and someone we can share them with. Minion and Maverick are among my writing buddies. We rail together, cheer together, laugh together and cry together. We work out small challenges for one another in order to keep us all going. This helps in a normal week to keep focused and keep on track with writing, especially with so many other things going on that otherwise might be put first. For some people, these writing buddies are a loose conglomerations of friends, like ours, but can be as organized as attending a full writing group weekly or monthly. It really depends on what works best for you.

NANOWRIMO is a whole other level of challenge from a the one presented by friends. It ups the ante. As Minion has said, it offers a freedom to be limitlessly creative and a challenge to do a high volume in only one month. While it's difficult for the first time NANOer and it never becomes a complete breeze, it gives you a reason for -- as they put it on their website -- “literary abandon” that normally you wouldn't dare try. Actually, I find it opens eyes to what's honestly possible for you to do creatively, even if you have your day job.

If you don't already have a group of writing friends to work with, ask around. Find a couple of people you trust and whom you work well with. Set challenges and goals for each other. I'd say that the following are the only real rules you need:

- Keep in mind some people work well with structure, some don't. Work with your friends to find a happy medium and create something that keeps you working creatively.

- Keep it simple. Different people have different restrictions on their time. Some people can't afford to spend much time during the work week, some can't afford to give up the weekend. Remember that if you make a challenge to difficult, no one wins and no one enjoys the game.

- Keep it fun. This is supposed to be something you all enjoy.

Until next time!

-The Odd Angle (20096 and counting)

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