Writing has never been a group thing to me. I don’t track down other writers to talk to them about the process. I don’t go to forums and chat about plotting and character development. I don’t hang out in coffee houses with other writers and discuss the finer points of the gerund. That’s just not what writing is to me. The very idea of talking about a first draft with a total stranger is akin to discussing bodily fluids with someone you met on the bus. And if you think that’s a needlessly gross analogy, you’ve never read one of my first drafts.
And NANOWRIMO is all about the sharing. NANOWRIMO is the guy on the bus who tells you waaay too much about what’s going on and it’s really hard to get used to. I’ve been writing like I always do: head down and eyes on my own paper. I didn’t watch the little videos. I didn’t read the letters of encouragement. I didn’t go to the forums.
But then I needed to procrastinate, so I watched a video or two and some of the tips were helpful and the cheery attitudes were helpful. I started going to the forums and reading other people’s posts and winced once or twice when I read horror stories of lost pages and falling behind the deadline and struggling to catch up. And I identified with it. I’ve lost work before, whole passages lost to the aether. I know that awful feeling in the pit of my gut when I realize I have to rewrite something and it’s never going to be like the original words and it won’t ever be as good.
And it’s weird, because I’m feeling a sense of belonging. I feel like these people understand the annoying problems of writing, the little triumphs and the depressing feeling when you realize you’ve been writing utter shit for an entire day. So I’m trying to reach out. I’m trying to get involved in a…community. There have been a few tentative posts, awkward attempts at saying, “HI I WRITE THINGS TOO BFFS?”
I still don’t know how I feel about all this touchy-feely, “let’s hug cause we write” thing, but I’m going to at least try. I’m going to try and stop being a curmudgeonly hermit grump. Maybe I’ll even start a forum thread.