Now that the month of novel writing is over I hope there will be more activity on the internet. NaNoWriMo, as it is fondly known by those who participate, takes over the month of November. The aim is to write a 50k story in that month, and of course it means dropping everything else in favour of writing.
I don't take part, and so I notice how Blog posts drop off, comments are few, people disappear from Twitter and Facebook, critique groups don't move very much during the month. It demonstrates how much writers inhabit these places, or, put another way, how many people out there want to write a story even in these days when book publishing is supposedly in recession.
One answer to avoid the slow down would be to cultivate people who are not likely to launch themselves into NaNoWriMo, but how do you know? The most unexpected people turn out to have ambitions to write a book...some day. I attended a Girls' Night In at Hexham Library last night as a panel member, and was pleased to see so many people turn out on a freezing cold night, some travelling lonely country roads from villages in the Pennines where snow covered the ground. We told them how we'd begun to write, how we wrote, what we wrote etc etc. and they asked if our stories were ever altered by publishers, did we have any input on covers, how did it feel if stories or titles were altered? I suspect we had some budding authors right there in the audience.
For me it began years ago, back in the days of typewriters and Sno-pak, and it was tediously slow. I fiddled about in between real life and never finished anything, but then three things happened in the early nineties: computers came in at work, and I had to learn how to use them. I saw the possibilities and got a computer at home, and writing moved up a gear. Then I retired, and a whole new chapter of life began. First book finally completed, offered and accepted. I was hooked.