November is National Novel Writing Month. 30 days and nights of literary abandon. Cool idea. Write like the clappers and don’t look back.

And why? 

The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

I’m laughing already, because it’s so easy to get caught in the ‘edit-as-you-go’ loop when you’re writing. I think my own record was six lines of text in two hours. Woeful hit-rate. Kick-butt paragraph if I do say so myself, but point taken: NaNoWriMo might do me some good.

The other side of this, of course, is that when you’re writing like the clappers you’re going flat-out horizontal but not always touching the vertical. You don’t have time to mine the intricacies of the text.

Sometimes you need to let the text assist you to tell the story. Sometimes just the very act of stopping to think of a different way of saying something – a different word even – can trigger a cascade of ideas and prespectives.

Then again, sometimes you just need to get off your butt (or sit harder on it?) and start typing.

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