No, it’s not the latest reality show from VH1. It’s my National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) experience!
Last year I wrote my NaNoWriMo entry in a relative vacuum (perhaps one of many reasons I bailed out at 20,000 words), but this year I’m excited to say that I have three writing buddies who were already buddies to begin with. They also all happen to be men whose names begin with R. What can I say? I’m a girl with a type.
The first to join my writing group this fall was my friend Ross. Actually, he’s a guy I dated for a couple of years in college who is now married to a friend of mine’s younger sister. Awkward? Not at all. Why would you think that? I mean, how could I talk so freely about how not awkward that is unless it were totally not awkward, right? [insert high pitched, but totally not nervous laughter here]. Seriously, it’s exciting to see him challenging himself to write long-form fiction for the first time.
The other two are Ryan and Rob, whom I count among my very best friends in the world. The former and I bonded over Virginia Woolf during a summer at Oxford and have been alternately challenging, supporting and inciting each other to laughter ever since. Ryan and I exchanged playlists a few weeks ago, each of us creating an era-specific mix to help the other stay inspired in November.
And as for Rob, well, some may find this hard to believe, but Rob has been my friend since we were six years old. That’s more than 30 years, y’all. He is truly more like a brother than a friend, not just to me, but to my husband as well. It’s a gift.
People often comment about the longstanding, deep friendships in my novels. I can tell you that those relationships are certainly (fictionalized) reflections of what I am so blessed to have in my real life. Some writers prefer an isolated life, which I can understand, but that’s just not how I’m wired. I need that interaction and support, the stimulation of good conversation and mutual accountability.
Every writer needs a support system: whether it’s a richly woven web of relationships like mine; the simple acceptance of a spouse or partner who can take the kids while you write; or even a writing buddy who is time zones away, but can give you a pep talk just when you need it. The writing life can be difficult; but strong relationships can make it a little easier and a little more worthwhile. Who are your biggest supporters? Where would more support be helpful?
If you’re doing NaNoWriMo like me this month, feel free to connect with me and become part of my web. [Warning: once you’re in, it’s hard to get out!] The Writer’s Challenge Feature is on hold until December while I scramble for those word count goals, but we’ll be back with more fun stuff in chilly weather. Good luck, everyone!