I put out a couple of thousand words a week here on stuartlennon.com, a portion of them reserved for Members. Membership is about supporting me as a writer, and is yours for £3 a month or £24 a year. I get some cash towards the costs of maintaining a site, and one day, perhaps a coffee or two. You get access to Members-only posts, and a Slack group. Members have access to the posts in writing and in audio form.
Recently, I have been publishing the first drafts of my travel journal. With a little help from my friends, I'm walking the Camino de Santiago, in annual instalments. Or at least I was, until this Covid thing came along.
Unable to complete the final leg until next year - I'm looking to start a new series of posts for Members.
I declared my intention to write a novel back in 2015 and do have two, maybe three sort of draft things in a folder here in my office. Months go past when I'm simply too busy to write. (I actually tell myself that this is the truth.) The reality is that the drafts are "crap" (technical writing term). All first drafts are, so the wisdom goes. While those drafts remain in my drawer, I can maintain the illusion that I'm a good writer. If I put those drafts out into the world, then everyone will know that I'm fantasising about being able to write, and that I should stick to talking about anti-money laundering and working on spread sheets. Honestly, if you want to feel vulnerable, publish some words. It's terrifying.
The novel is high stakes. Often, I read blog posts back and spot errors or clumsy phrasing. I change them without a second thought. When I find similar things in the novel, I feel inadequate, guilty and a fraud. Silly really.
Like any large project, writing a novel is daunting. There's so much of it! So many things to think about. Research. Fact-checking. Characterisation, plot holes, rewrites. It's huge! And like any large project, it gets done one little task at a time. Novels generally have chapters, but when writing, I don't think of chapters but of scenes. Our hero checks in to a hotel and we find out a little about him. Might be a couple of hundred words, might be a thousand. Sort of blog post length, really.
You can see where I'm going here. As of next week, I'm going to start putting out a draft of my debut novel, scene by scene. Members are invited to feedback on it in Slack as it emerges, if they have the time and inclination. There's no guarantee that the version published on the blog will be wholly preserved in the "final" version, but Members get a free copy of that final collated version when it's ready.
I have no idea if this is a good idea, or a terrible one, but I'm excited. For one thing, if #Camino is anything to go by, it will get the bloody thing out of my drawer. Self-publishing by stealth. So - if you do want to support a writer - now would be a good time to sign up. Be in on scene 1, next week.
Hopefully, I will complete the Camino Francés in 2022 and finish off that project too.