Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NaNoWriMo and the best part about it.

Okay. I got some explaining to do. I've been slacking off on my blog again and that is unacceptable.

It's November for crying out loud, there's so much going on there is no reason for it. Thanksgiving. NaNoWriMo. Not to mention the two-year anniversary of my blog here.

I've also released a new novelette this past week. Reception has been pretty good already, so be sure you check that out if you haven't already!

Of course, there's also always the flip side. It's two years this Friday that my grandpa passed away, and my entire month of October was...interesting, to say the least. It's surprising how people important to you, that you thought you'd never see again can suddenly pop back up.

So to say things have been rather difficult for me for the past couple months would not be an understatement. I'm not ashamed to say I've been fighting with depression.

That's really not an uncommon thing for authors though. Writing is a very solitary occupation. Between writing, revising, and editing, it's not hard to rack up six to eight hours a day where you're eschewing any kind of interaction with other people. More often than not, you're also doing that inside, in an office type room. So you're going to be lacking in personal interaction and probably sunlight and fresh air, too. The kind of environment an illness like depression can thrive in, especially when returns on your efforts seem sparse.

Things only get worse if your social life outside of your writing isn't exactly fulfilling either. A supportive family becomes that much more important.

Then we have November, and NaNoWriMo. (Check out my own NaNoWriMo adventure from last year here. Or just click on the line to your right that says "Building a Book" )

This can be a very big deal. No expectations of quality. Just a deadline, a personal challenge. It's also so much more than that. People working through NaNoWriMo set up so many events to help people through the challenge. Group writing sessions, message boards, forums, meet-and-greets, and accomplishment parties. 

Yes, a lot of people will say NaNoWriMo is just an excuse for people to write and self-publish a lot of crap that isn't worth the screens you read them on. I don't think that's the best part of the event though. I think the best part is the fact that they've taken one of the most isolated tasks and careers on the planet and turned it into a group effort.

Sure, there are websites like AbsoluteWrite that have forums for writers that are full year-round, but they aren't as well known, and while they do occasionally set up meetings, the population of those forums are much less. Meanwhile, NaNoWriMo has groups set up by location, making it easy to meet up with a fair number of people in your area.

So while the personal challenge is nice, the best part of NaNoWriMo is the connections you can make through it. It might as well be called an Author Support Group.

So, I hope you all forgive me for slacking off. :-P I know technically I still have another blog post to do before the holiday, but given how much I've been on time for the past couple months, I'm just going to say in now in the (fairly likely) event I don't manage another post.

So Happy Thanksgiving all, don't die on Black Friday!

~ Shaun

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