Need to Write a Novel Next Month? Shut Up and Write

Even the best intentioned writers can find working at home one distraction after another. Whether it’s tidying their desk, creating just the right the level of comfort, snacking, or checking social media, writers can find many things to do before writing one sentence.

As they settle down and achieve some focus, the phone rings, someone knocks on the door, or the cat knocks over a plant. What is a writer to do?

Well, Shut Up and Write!

Shut Up and Write―or SUAW―is not merely a piece of sage advice. It’s a movement that was started in San Francisco by a collective of writers in 2007 and has spread primarily through social media.

Author Jane Eaton Hamilton brought SUAW to Salt Spring from Vancouver this past summer, but she originally discovered it in Toronto. She has since returned to Vancouver, so Salt Spring writers, such as Friday hosts Derek Capitaine and Mary Rose MacLachlan, are continuing to host the meetups at the Salt Spring Island Public Library

Any type of writer can come: students, poets, novelists, nonfiction writers―anyone. The point is to make writing less isolating and more social. The Pomodoro technique is used: after 25 minutes of quiet writing, writers take a 5-minute break. Then it repeats itself. This technique has resulted in completed and submitted stories.

That is great news for writers who are undertaking the ambitious task of writing an entire novel next month. November is the National Novel Writing Month. For these writers, SUAW provides a great space to relax and focus―and write a lot!

SUAW hosts are offering more opportunities to shut up and write at the library in November (see schedule below). Writers can come for all or part of a session and can write on paper, laptops, or iPads―whatever works for you. Internet is available for research.

Kim Woolcock, a new participant said, “SUAW works because of the energy in the room. Everyone is working on something similar [and] focusing at the same time. You write because everyone else is. There are no distractions; you have come here for this purpose. Then you get to take those breaks with people and chat about what you’re working on.”

Derek commented, “The notion that you have to put aside 4 hours and write in one stretch―well, you don’t. But you do need to get yourself in that rhythm of finding the time. At the Friday session, we only get two or three 25-minute spurts in there, but that’s still a focused chunk of writing... it’s going to start moving your writing project forward a little bit more.” Now that is sage advice!

NaNoWriMo writerscan contact the hosts through the Shut Up and Write Salt Spring Facebook page or email Derek at derek.capitaine[at]gmail[dot]com.
Wednesday, November 2 - 12 pm to 3 pm (Room 103)
Wednesday, November 9 - 10 am to 4 pm (Room 103)
Thursday, November 10 - 10 am to 12:30 pm (Room 106)
Wednesday, November 16 - 10 am to 3 pm (Room 103)
Thursday, November 17 - 10 am to 12:30 pm (Room 106)
Wednesday, November 23 - 1 pm to 7 pm (Room 103)
Thursday, November 24 - 10 am to 12:30 pm (Room 106)
Wednesday, November 30 - 1 pm to 7 pm (Room 103)

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By Coreen Boucher

Staff Writer, Salt Spring Exchange News

October 19, 2016 8:08 PM

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