And so we've arrived at the final countdown. The last few days of November are waiting.
How's it gone? Here in New England it is the evening of the 26th. The supermarkets are crammed with turkeys, and every conversation focuses on how far people intend to travel for Thanksgiving. My mind rests upon how this month has gone for everyone. Did you make the progress that you hoped for? Did you conjure the words, or edit the words, or polish the words to the extent that you planned at the start of the month?
And the thing I wonder about most, as we visit this little cafe that sits in the cloud, is how our target-setting and aspirations have affected our writing practice.
I will be the first to confess that I have struggled. Those first few days when I found time to write for an hour and work on my opening chapter were soon lost: I was preparing for my GRE examination, drafting my applications for university admission, chasing down pieces of paper which evidenced the marks and levels of my previous education. To be honest, it could have been anything. It was a series of those moments when real life interrupts one's writing - familiar to all of us, I am sure.
In the middle of the month, I felt as though I had fallen off the bandwagon and I watched with envy as emails arrived explaining how well it was going for other writers. But I scrambled and floundered and snatched at words, doing my best to reestablish a kind of writing practice.
And I found it. My first chapter - my goal for this month - has not been fully written, but it has segued into a short story which has taken me in directions I had not expected. And my commitment to my writing practice has resulted in:
- a concretization of some of the major characters in my book;
- a short story set in Vermont about social disengagement, the recession, and gun ownership;
- a personal statement and the collation of a manuscript for my university application;
- and a renewed sense that as a writer I am not alone.
The last of these is the most precious. I can visualize Linda Dawn writing at her desk in Toronto; I can hear Sara's voice offering guidance from her home in Spain; I can imagine Dale working in Cardiff and Jan finding her pen in California and so many other members of our community who are scattered across the globe and who come together in this place because of their interest in writing.
I hope that you'll feel able to comment on how it's gone: to drop me an email, to comment on this post, or send a message via our Facebook page. Our successes - that determination to snatch some time, to find some words, to write - is worthy of celebration. Despite all that November has thrown at us, we're still writing, we're still wanting to write, we are still writers.
Enjoy the rest of the month (and, if the mood takes you, eat turkey).