At the weekend I organised (with the help of several people, you know who you are – thanks for the help!) and ran my very first Write In and to show that I am indeed quite mad it was an all-nighter as well(!)
To those that don’t know what a write in is then the aim of it is to qive writers some quite time to work on.. whatever it is they’re working on, be it you’re novel, short story or hell even a dissertation! The write in starts with short bursts of quite writing time (approx 15 mins) and then builds up to say 20, 30, 45 possibly 1 hour, depending on how people feel and then you start working you’re way back down. In between these times there are breaks when you can chat, eat or perhaps do some games to get everyone motivated again.
Where did I get the idea from? I may have borrowed/nicked it from one that was run around the end of NaNoWriMo last year. I didn’t actually go to that one. (I wasn’t doing NaNo last year, I forgot it was on and I recall for some reason that I was incredibly tired that day!) So a lot of me figuring out how a write-in should even work was from me interrogating those people that had gone.
On the whole I think the write-in went pretty well! I got about 4.5k words written, although I’m unsure as to how much of that is just gibberish. By the time we hit 2 am though I think many of us were hitting the “I’m so tired I can’t focus” wall. And I’m pretty sure we ended up having much longer break session that writing periods. One of my friends had bought in a box of movie quiz questions and another some generic quiz questions so we spent quite a while answering those and just chatting. I was pretty awake during these periods (helped by the fact that I was munching on sugary popcorn) and then once we did even a 15 min writing window I would try for the first few minutes and then seriously zone out. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who was doing that either. Even had a conversation on twitter with another person there about the need for coffee.. Only to have someone say after the stint that surely if there was no talking allowed during the writing period we shouldn’t be twittering either… well yes ok I suppose you have a point. 😛
I have learnt though that the next time I organise one (and there will be a next time but not until the summer) that when I send the information out I should probably say that around 10ish we will probably have a really long break so that people can go get food/visit supermarket for food before it closes. As those of us that went to a kebab took a really long time as we had to walk there wait for food to be prepared and come back to eat it. And it worries me a little that those people who came later and then left about midnight might not have got as much out of the night as those who came early and left around midnight or who stayed all night. So next time I will make sure to have a rough schedule and an explanation for what a write-in is when we advertise, but it was a bit hard for me to do that for this one as I honestly had no idea what to expect!
At some point I will have to look at what I’ve written and see if it makes any kind of sense… I’m tempted to not do that until I have the first draft of my novel done. (I’m getting there slowly.) It has though given me time to get to know that character who was giving me so much trouble before, his whole motivation has pretty much changed, and for the better. I can forsee him being quite important in any potential later books! 🙂