Writing in the Wild (a.k.a. Norway)

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Camp NaNoWriMo is officially over. Many reached their goals and many might have fallen short, but everyone deserves a round of applause for the great effort they put into their projects in July. The fact that you were willing to sit down and try at all is greatly to your credit. If you tried and failed, that’s okay – you didn’t really fail. Because you tried. If you don’t try at all, that’s when you have already failed.

I’m finding it a bit strange to be back in the ‘real world’. I love the community of NaNoWriMo and in the past few days found myself returning to the forums every day to look for scraps of new comments, trying to convince myself it wasn’t over.

Which, of course, it really isn’t. There is always a community of writers if you reach out for them. The website NaNoWriMo doesn’t shut down between July and November, and I know there are a lot of other writers like me who work just as hard in the months between as they do during the month-long events. People are there, with you, even when you don’t see them.

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For August, there are a couple of goals that I intend to work on just as hard as the NaNoWriMo goals. I’m using the goal tracker on their website for one of them – revise a further 30.000 words of Spiralling Draft Two during the month. I also want to finish writing (if not posting) my online series, Valentine & Maxwell. I finally managed to outline it beginning to end, and since the short story break is still on, I can devote myself to it more.

Other goals for August include outlining five short story ideas and getting a little further on with the Perrinne Legacy 1 outline, but those things are being pushed to the end of the month because right now my attention is already split – I am not doing all this writing from the safety and stability of regular life, balancing it with work and social obligations that I’m used to. For the next two weeks, I have a great deal more social obligations.

I am writing from the wild; a foreign place where old friends and family members roam free, eager for my attention and where sentimentality keeps dragging me to visit all sorts of old, nearly forgotten spots. A place walled in by mountains that occasionally look like they’re going to rise up and keep me from ever leaving. I am talking, of course, of Norway.

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I’m visiting Norway until the 19th. This might be the longest time I have gone between visits, with a year and a half since I saw any of my old friends and places. In case it hasn’t been clear from several posts, socializing is not something I enjoy, and even when doing it with someone whose company I enjoy, it still becomes a drain of energy after a while without time alone.

But when you’re visiting your place of origin, it’s a given that there is a lot of socializing involved, and I have surrendered myself to that. There are, after all, people here I always miss and would love to spend time with. The downside is that I of course still have all this writing to do, and while I am determined to keep it up consistently,  some days will be harder than others.

So how are you supposed to balance social obligations with something that you consider your real work, but that not everyone sees that way since you don’t get paid for it? Is there a way to do it that doesn’t appear rude and dismissive to the people around me?

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In Prague, everyone who knows me knows how serious I am about writing, how committed and devoted I am to it. They know it’s the most important thing to me. When I say I have to spend the night writing, they just accept that. They talk to me often enough to get it. But people who haven’t seen me for a long time and don’t see me on a regular basis? Will they understand in the same way? I like to think so, but the thought is still there in the back of my head, that saying I need to go home to write will come across to them as a dismissal of their company.

But when you have a passion and a goal, I don’t suppose it will do to let that kind of fear keep you from doing what you have to. You need to have faith that those who care about you can see how important that passion is, because I’m doing it either way.

Goals only get achieved when you put the time and effort in. It doesn’t matter if I only manage to scrape out 500 words some days during my visit. That’s 500 more than if I let myself say “but I’m on vacation” and don’t write a single word.

Happy writing and productivity to every beautiful person out there. I hope you’re doing everything in your power to reach those goals you dream about. And I hope you’re remembering to take care of yourselves in the meantime. Goals are important, but so are being around to reach them!

Rain S.

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