All About Your Host: Cathy
Several years ago, I embarked on the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge–the awesome project where you begin a novel November 1 and finish by November 30. I wrote on lunch breaks, after my kids went to bed, during basketball games, and (no kidding) in the grocery store checkout line. It was intense and I worked my little fingers to nubs. At the end of the month, I didn’t have a completed novel. But I had three-quarters of one. And better than that, a real sense of how to move on from there. Until that point, I’d been editing my book into cement. Instead of moving forward, I was rereading everything I wrote and reworking it. When you work as an editor, it’s what you tend to do.
But NaNoWriMo forced me to give the previous day’s work a cursory glance and then MOVE ON. What I ended up with was a big, sprawling piece of crap. But the bones were there, and I was able to finish that first draft, then go back and do all the beloved editing I wanted. And then do it again. And again. And again. And again.
It worked. It’s finished. It’s on an agent’s desk as we speak, and I’m waiting. But even if this book is never sold, I have figured out that the most important element in writing is…wait for it…
And so, after Karen and I brainstormed a while, we came up with Write Despite. We’re not trying to compete with NaNoWriMo. We’re embracing it. Changing it up. And offering much the same impetus to push forward with the work, but at a controlled, committed pace that might just instill a daily writing habit and offer the discipline and routine practice we all need to write that book—or play, or stories, or anything else.
Karen is a much more dutiful writer than me—always has been. Which pisses me off. But I WILL keep up with her for this year. We both have husbands, kids, full-time jobs, pets, mortgages, and nearly overwhelming urges to veg in front of Mad Men, all while we work on our novels.
If you choose to make this journey with us, welcome, and best of luck. We can’t wait to see what you end up with. And we’re around if you need us.