It’s the virtual writing world squared: the mostly virtual National Novel Writing Month extravaganza, coupled with the totally virtual Second Life NaNoWriMo writers!

As NaNoWriMo winds down, hundreds of thousands of words have risen counters at the NaNoWriMo website and at writers’ gatherings throughout SL (including the Milk Wood Gypsy Camp for writers, shown in the photo below).

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I’m one of the slackers, unfortunately.  I’m not going to get even halfway to the 50,000 words written in November that entitles you to claim yourself a “winner” of the NaNoWriMo sprint. But that doesn’t matter, because I’ve been too busy this month sending agents queries, partials, and even a full manuscript of the novel I gave birth to in the 2008 NaNoWriMo.

Still, I’ve joined in several times on the NaNo “write-ins” at the lovely Milk Wood writing community in Second Life, and have spent time at my own writing area at Story Mountain Center for Writers, my home place in SL.  And even though I’ve written very few words of my next novel, I’ve loved the writers’ energy I tap into whenever I do go “inworld” to write.

As I’ve said before, Second Life offers a great NaNo writing community, spread over several locations where writers hang out.  Some of the highlights of this year’s NaNo month in SL:

  • At least six Second Life groups have formed for the sole purpose of writers supporting each other during “WriMo.”
  • The fabulous Kghia Gherardi has hosted write-ins every Monday night at Bookstacks Pub.
  • Harriet Gausman’s Milk Wood writing center has had nearly daily events at their “Gypsy Camp”:  write-ins, “word wars,” and writing dashes to spur writers on to that 50K-word mark.
  • The Written Word group in SL has had at least weekly activities at their “camp” (see photo below) at the London School of Journalism Woodlands to bring writers together for “the quietest event on SL, apart from meditation,” as the group’s leader Jilly Kidd put it.

Just about every writers’ community, center, cafe, and pub in SL offers space to WriMos to come and write.

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If you haven’t started on those 50,000 words, it’s probably too late to try to get there before midnight December 1, but it’s not too late to log in and get the experience of a virtual write-in. And the best part is that the writers and supporting organizations go full-force all year round!

Are you NaNo-ing this year?  How are you doing and where do you get your best support and motivation? In Second Life?  On the NaNo website?  Another virtual world?  Or the so-called “real world”?  Post a comment and share!

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This blog has kept me extremely busy the past few months.

“What?” you say, “then where are you hiding all the posts I don’t see??”

Well, not just this blog, but several other blogs, as well as all the other riches I’ve discovered in Second Life.

I can hear you now:  “Has this woman gone completely nuts??”

Not yet. But OK, that’s enough dissembling for the moment. :-D

4-23-10_rock This blog, and all things related to Second Life, have, in fact, indirectly caused my days to be filled to the brim with all the tasks related to the novel I’m currently working on.  Which is why I haven’t taken the time to write many blog posts or do much exploring in virtual worlds.

Oxymoronic, I know.  But let me explain.

I’ve been a writer for almost as long as I’ve known how to scribble a word onto a piece of paper.  My greatest passion has always been to write fiction—short stories, novels, a little poetry.  As of February 2008, I’d written a number of stories and poems, even had some luck with publishing a few.  I was struggling through the umpteenth draft (actually, only the fifth) of what I’ve come to call my apprentice novel.  It wasn’t my first, but it was the first I’d completed and revised enough times to say I’d “crafted” a novel.

In the years before that, when work and life “permitted,” I’d go for stretches where I’d write every day; then I’d stumble through just as many periods, and perhaps longer ones, where I would only think about writing every day. Two and a half years ago, I was at one of my peaks of procrastination, and just about anything could distract me—including my work as a corporate training consultant.

It was under that guise that I decided to explore Second Life.  I’d heard this virtual world was being used as a new medium for training by corporations, and I thought I should find out how I could add it to my training toolkit.

But I’ve come to learn I generally never know what anything is really about.  And SL was definitely not about expanding my training consulting practice, I quickly discovered.

It was about expanding my creative writing.

So thanks to the people I’ve met in SL—good friends, fellow writers, distinguished authors—and to all of the incredible ways Second Life supports writing and the other arts, this virtual world has sparked an acceleration in my writing career unlike anything since I learned how to make stories out of words.

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One of Second Life's pleasures--hanging out with a group of writers every Monday

Previous posts on this blog are full of the details of how that happened, and there’s no need to repeat them.  It’s the summary that I’m looking at today, the big picture of how my writing life has blossomed in the wake of discovering the SL writing community.

  • I’ve vicariously lived through the roller-coaster experience of having a novel published, thanks to my best friend in SL and writing partner in first life, Cynthia Hand, whose debut novel Unearthly has just gone into production at HarperCollins and will be released next winter.  That experience has given me an incredible education in the publishing business.
  • On average, I’ve written at least 5 days out of every week for most of the past two years, even if it was for just a few minutes.
  • In addition to the education I’ve received from observing Cynthia’s experience, I’ve learned more about the craft and business of writing from writers in SL in the past two years than in the previous ten, I’d wager.
  • I’m about two days away from finishing the third draft of my second novel, the one I hope will be published as my debut novel.

How does that explain my claim this blog has kept me very busy lately?

  1. Second Life inspired this blog.
  2. This blog inspired me to explore in even more ways how a virtual world like SL could spur my writing.
  3. SL’s writing community and the writing friendships there inspired me to write, write, write!
  4. Thus this blog has indirectly kept me too busy writing my novel to write blog posts lately.

Is that a convolutedly-good enough excuse for you?  LOL (one of my favorite SL expressions – laughing out loud).

The one thing writers can be almost as creative about as their writing, is their rational-sounding excuses for not writing. It’s ingrained, it’s a habit; I needed one of those excuses to justify working on my novel instead of this blog!  And I’ve got my fingers crossed that it will all be worth it. (I’ll report back on the outcome!)

But I’ll bet you can come up with far more imaginative reasons than that for excusing why you haven’t done something or other.  I’d love to hear them, so please add yours in the comments section and we can LOL together!

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