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Remember that travel computer I bought a while back? I was going on a trip with my dad and rather than taking my full laptop through the airport, I decided to buy a Surface Go 3 as a dedicated travel laptop and backup machine.
It's proven to be pretty useful, and I've been taking it on day trips and when I go to coffee shops and restaurants to write.
Today I'm actually writing this from Denver's Fan Expo, basically our Comic Con, where we have a community table for NaNoWriMo. It seems appropriate to be writing while sitting at a community table for a writing organization.
Yesterday we also had a panel, Introduction to NaNoWriMo. Most years that seems to be the panel that the con powers-that-be select from the options my co-ML submits, which I guess makes sense since not everyone knows what NaNoWriMo is. It's a fun panel to do though! We usually start with an overview of NaNoWriMo and then let people ask questions.
Yesterday we got the usual mix of questions about NaNoWriMo, but we also got more questions about writing. Here are a few of the more memorable questions we were asked, and how we answered.
How do you maintain the habit of writing every day?
Amusingly, this questions was asked with the addendum, "as professionals." One of my co-MLs and I immediately turned to one another and both said, "We're professionals now?!" and then laughed and high-fived as we both had the same immediate response.
More seriously, though, I think writing every day is something all writers struggle with. I frequently use NaNoWriMo to create that habit of writing every day, with the goal of not burning myself out by pushing myself too hard during the month. NaNoWriMo helps because of all the writing events you can go to to maintain the habit. My co-ML also touched upon the idea of scheduling writing into every day, which works for some people but not always for me (which is why I'm hoping July Camp helps get me going again).
How do you make your writing *not trash*?
The explanation for this question was that she had been working on a novel, and had revised it a couple of times, and said it was still trash.
I am well familiar with this feeling of revising and revising and still not feeling like it's right. That's how I felt with the first version of Ruby. I had to set it aside for a little while and realize that it was the issues with the plot and the character motivation that had me unhappy with the story. Once I realized that and started rewriting the whole thing with the issues fixed, I've been pretty happy with it.
Of course my co-ML pointed out something really important, which is that imposter syndrome is a real thing. Even she, who has published books, feels it. So just because you feel like it's trash, doesn't mean it is.
My co-ML also talked about the value of a good critique group. I have had a couple of failed efforts to join critique groups, but she has found a good one that has been extremely helpful for her. I made sure to note that a good critique group won't just criticize, it'll also tell you what you're doing right. There are too many misguided, novice critique groups who think that criticizing someone else's writing makes theirs better.
Happy Camp NaNoWriMo!
I wrote everything above at the con, but was forced to put my computer away before I was able to publish the post. Now I'm home, and completely exhausted from the weekend! Tomorrow I plan to get back to work on my novel and start logging words for Camp.