I have a lot to say about this past month. Only trouble is, I don’t know what it’s going to be. So many new and exciting experiences, so many lovely people. I need to organise my thoughts before I start.

In the meantime, I must respond to the award that Rachael was kind enough to bestow on me:

Liebster Award

Rachael, who will also appear at the beginning of my account of the past month, has asked me five questions. Let’s see if I can answer them, despite a dire lack of sleep.

1. What motivates you to write? I started writing because I wanted to raise awareness of social anxiety, and I realised that writing was the way I could do that. I haven’t let go of that goal and it’s still a big motivation, but now other things spur me on, too. I enjoy writing and look forward to putting pen to paper, especially when I do that literally, away from the computer. And belonging to a writing group means that I have to produce work to submit to the group. The comments from the group also keep me on the writing path.

2. What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever done? Well, it’s not skydiving or bungee jumping because I haven’t done those. I don’t think it’s any ride at a funfair. Judging by anxiety levels, I think it could be a job interview – the one in which I had to face five interviewers a once.

3. What’s the best advice (about writing, or life in general) you’ve ever received? This might be the best. It’s been said by many people in many different ways and applies to writing and life in general. Don’t wait for something to happen; make it happen.

4. How would you like to be remembered? That’s easy. As someone who raised awareness of social anxiety.

5. What’s your favourite line (this can be from a poem, a book, or it could be a quote you like)? Possibly this: “A cage went in search of a bird.” It’s by Kafka, but seeing that quote hasn’t encouraged me to read any of his work.

How did I do? I’m surprised I managed to write anything in this state.

Back soon with my account of an exciting month – after catching up on some of the blogs I’ve missed.

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Yesterday’s post brought this interesting comment from David Rory:

Sorry if this is one of those daft obvious questions – but why?
I see lots of writers getting involved in this kind of exercise and I’ve always wondered what are they are meant to achieve?
I guess I just can’t get my head round the idea of writing as an exercise in maths or strength building, like lifting weights.
I genuinely don’t get the motivation.
Once I’m ready to write I just do it and go on to the end. The word count per day is just not an issue for consideration. When I’m in the flow it can be anything from 800 to 4000+ per day.
I’m not meaning to be critical at all. I am truly interested to know what benefit you see in this kind of exercise.

I decided my reply needed a new post – this one.

If you can write like that, without any extra motivation, that’s wonderful. Carry on doing what you do. I wrote my first novel in that way. I knew my characters, I planned the whole story and even divided it up into chapters. Then I just wrote whenever I had time. I had a message I wanted to get out and I was keen to do it as fast as possible.

After writing my novel, I sent it to friends who liked it and made a few cautious comments. Then I joined my writing group, where I received many less cautious comments and learned a lot about writing. I rewrote the novel and attempted to find a publisher but eventually realised that my story, despite being enjoyed especially by those who could empathise with the characters, wouldn’t appeal to a publisher.

Now, I have more of an idea of what works and less confidence. I wonder if there’s any point to all this writing. Will I ever be able to get my message out?

Also, I like to write short stories. I’ve had more success with them, at the writing group and in the wide world. But short story writing isn’t the same as novel writing. There’s nothing pushing you to continue. Once you finish a story, that’s it. You can start a new one or you can chat on Twitter, have your goes in ongoing Scrabble games, tidy the kitchen.

Exercises like 100k in 100 days provide the motivation. Participants can post their achievements. And they can discuss any difficulties they might have with others who are attempting to do the same thing and will provide support.

That’s my reply. Would anyone else like to comment?