This weekend I took part in a marathon, but there was no sweat, no lycra and no medal at the end of it – only words!
My local writing group organised a writing marathon, timed perfectly to kickstart the month of November when many people take up the NaNoWriMo challenge of writing a 50k word novel in a month. I’m not NaNoWriMo-ing this year, but I signed up for the marathon because I was excited at the prospect of an intensive day of writing. Left to my own devices, I write a steady 1000 words per day, but what could I produce if pushed? Would I reach a deeper state of creativity? Or would I freeze up and have a blank page while everyone else was scribbling away madly?
I needn’t have worried. The organisers, Susan and Karen, had prepared warm-up exercises to gradually get us into our stride, and there was inspiration all around us in Bury library which doubles as a museum.
|Bury library & museum|
Some of us were regular writers, others had come along because they had ideas for books, screenplays or projects which they hadn’t had the time or the confidence to begin.
On laptops or by hand, the aim was simply to write - not critique - and boy, did we write!
I filled pages of my notebook with unexpected new characters who may form the basis of future stories, and by the afternoon I was itching to work on my novel in progress so I took myself off to the library café and got stuck in. At the end of the day I'd written around 3000 words, and everyone else agreed they’d found it productive too. Some people had had fun experimenting with new genres, and others recounted how they’d broken through personal barriers to begin a project they’d long dreamed of.
Here’s wishing the best to everyone who took part. I do believe there are similarities with long-distance running: writing is about endurance, discipline, and dedication. There may even be injuries along the way...
|That writer's gremlin: RSI|
But the satisfaction of completing a story and being able to show it to the world is a reward in itself and, in my opinion, beats a medal any day.