I recently came across a duo on YouTube called Stripped Cover Lit, two guys from Kansas City who smoke cigars, fawn over Dickinson and Chuck Palahniuk (or however the fuck you spell it) and argue about the merits of Harry Potter. Essentially my dream content. Recently they announced that they were going to be hosting a summer writing challenge, something like NaNoWriMo but considerably more chill, and far less terrifying, and I decided I needed to join in.
The #HotandSticky challenge sounds like a great way to cultivate a writing lifestyle. Rather than the month long hysteria of NaNoWriMo, the plan for #HotandSticky is to write 488 words a day over June, July, August and September. At the end you will have a slightly longer word count and will have spent a longer amount of time with your novel in your head and will have a worked on a writing practice that is actually far more sustainable in the long run, which are all excellent things!
Basically I love imagining and playing out scenes, creating worlds and characters and finding story lines that perfectly express some big world changing truth I've apparently decided needs to be shared. I love the planning, the character maps and scratching out phrases in freshly bought moleskines, as they come organically from mind to paper, beautifully formed and perfect just as they are.
And then I remember that writing is hard. Most of the time the words come out ugly and clunky first time, there are huge great gaps between the scenes you've already thought up that you have to try and fill with something interesting and anything, everything seems to get in the way of getting words down.
I have been struggling with motivation to write since I graduated in July last year, having left University and my English Literature with Creative Writing degree. I was used to being in a community of people who loved and appreciated literature and spending hours at a time having my writer's ego stroked by tutors and students in my creative writing seminars, now I work a full time job and have limited access to 'writer friends' or people whom I can bounce ideas off, and have generally found myself stagnating creatively. I have been slowly coming back round to writing, in a sort of grouchy, resigned acknowledgment that if this is what I want to do with the rest of my life the I should probably start doing it the fuck now.
So to recap: Over the summer, June, July, August and September (and one day of October because that'll get a nice neat word count at the end) I'll be writing 488 words a day, or more realistically writing double that sometimes because I was too lazy to do my words the previous day. If you'd like to get involved, go watch the video and get stuck into the Twitter conversation where I think most of this will be happening over at #hotandsticky.
I'm currently in the process of recruiting Kieran and Holly in joining me so I will hopefully have real life buddies to write with too... and will be able to indulge that fantasy of a 'Moveable Feast' style writer's friendship group I've always wanted.
I have rambled for a long time and let's face it, after a while all this just becomes me distracting myself from actually writing. I'm hoping to post some weekly updates and progress reports, as well as any advice I formulate along the way. If you fancy giving this a go please do! It'll be so much fun!
Thank you for reading,