Late in 2006, I stumbled across a link for something called “NaNoWriMo“. I don’t remember exactly how I found the link, but I clicked on it. It was early in November at this point and NaNoWriMo (which I’ll explain later) had already started. I found the concept interesting, but knew there was no way I could start something like that on such short notice. So I put in my information for a “Remind me next year!” email, and went about my life.
October 2007 hit and I got an email….
We got this email today from your imagination. It was misaddressed to us, so we’re sending it along to you. We hope it finds you well.
This is your imagination. I know work, school, and general craziness have been keeping us apart lately. But there’s something we need to do together this November.
It’s called National Novel Writing Month. For it, we’ll bash out a 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in 30 days. You and me. Writing a book. Together.
I need you to sign us up. Because I don’t have any arms.
Boy, did I debate about that email! 50,000 words? 30 days? It took me a 2 1/2 years to finish the first draft for Sentinels of Mysera. The 2nd book (which is now the 3rd book), Cavern of the Clan, wasn’t even finished yet, and I had been plugging away on that for over a year at least. I knew I would write the 3rd (now 4th) book of the Sentinels series if I did attempt NaNo, but I just didn’t know if I could do it.
If you want to read more about how that first NaNo went for me, you can view an almost daily breakdown on my old Livejournal page.
NaNoWriMo 2007 had it’s struggles, but in the end, I won. I completed the 50,000 word goal in 30 days. Actually, I wrote 50,311 words in 27 days. The euphoria from that was huge. After all the struggles from the previous few years with my writing, I’d done something I’d thought impossible.
And you know what?
Part of my NaNo profile page
See those little purple circles in the middle right of the screen. Purple means a win. I have won every year I attempted NaNo. I won while working in the school and delivering newspapers. I won while pregnant with my first child. I won when that child was an infant. I WON with 2 month old TWINS! I’ve overcome carpal tunnel, snowstorms, writer’s block, and dead computers.
Over the last 8 years, I have done NaNoWriMo. There have been years where what I wrote during NaNo was the ONLY thing I wrote all year. But I’ve done it. I will continue to do it, even when the doing seems impossible. I’ve learned through NaNoWriMo that I can make time for my writing, that I can set a writing goal and achieve it, and most importantly, it’s kept me writing even during the toughest of years. NaNoWriMo has taught me the value of butt in chair, fingers on keyboard, and just writing that first draft. No edits, no revisions. JUST WRITE!
Now, if you are a writer, or want to be a writer, I highly recommend NaNoWriMo. Log in, make a profile, and find your region. Seriously, find out if there are any other writers in your area! That is one of the best things about NaNoWriMo. There is a sense of community that many writers don’t have. I keep in touch with one of writers from my first NaNo. I’ve got a number of new friends that I’ve met simply by showing up at the coffee shop on the day of a Write-In. One of the cast members of Redwall Survivor is actually one of my NaNo buddies (through an ironic twist of fate).
I’ll be talking more about NaNoWriMo in the future, because November is coming. I’ve got an idea of what I’ll be writing and I’ll keep you posted here. If you do decided to jump in and join NaNo, look me up. My NaNo name is Juleneifier. I’m always willing to add buddies. Let me know you came to me from here.
Ever heard of NaNoWriMo? Have you done it? Did you win or did you chalk it up as a learning experience? Comment below and let me know!