Listening to Alan Bennett
As you do, when you are writing a novel in a month and you're supposed to be writing an article about greenhouses but you want to boost your novel wordcount, and Mr Bennett turns up on Radio 4 reading from his diaries.
And what did he say about writing? He said that a writer is only a writer when they are writing - not when they are researching, or doing background reading (and I'd add, or editing) and having had things published in the past only means you were a writer then, not that you are a writer now.
This had the clear sound of truth to me. I'm not a writer when I'm published but when I'm writing, it's a process not an outcome for me, and looking at past publication credits has no power whereas looking at the story I'm writing now, and seeing it begin to shape itself well on the page, has the strength of validation.
Steve Ovett said something once about knowing you're a runner when you pass the others in the race, not when you collect the medal. It's the same feeling, I think. And for the NaNoers who are looking at the final seven days of intense novel writing ahead, it's probably utterly incomprehensible - but I know that in December I'll get half a dozen emails from people saying how empty life feels now they aren't writing.
NaNo Word Count - 52510!