NaNoWriMo, or for plebeians, National Novel Writing Month, takes place annually from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.
Each year, thousands of people all over the world get together with a common goal: write 50,000 words.
It does not have to be a novel and it doesn’t even have to be good; 50,000 words is your only goal. If you reach this lofty goal you can say you “won.” There is no prize but the bragging rights and the joy you feel after completing such an enormous task.
The NaNoWriMo organization helps you out by organizing get togethers with other WriMos, or participants, at Write-Ins in local places to get you connected with other people that also enjoy causing themselves pain.
For WriMos that live too far away from the Write-In locations, they have Virtual Write-Ins on their YouTube page that allow participants to become a part of something bigger, which I would argue is one of the most important aspects of NaNoWriMo.
Ever since I was a young kid, writing was one of my favorite things to do.
I could go anywhere, real or make-believe, between the pages of a world that I designed.
In my hometown, I have been blessed with a writing group sponsored by my local library where I could go and get critique and guidance.
However, once I came to college, I was away from my writing club.
I lost motivation. I lost my sounding board and my support group.
When I went away to school, my mentor at the local library reminded me of NaNoWriMo.
I had not participated in two years, and I had never won, but it stuck in my head through the first half of my fall semester of freshman year. Could I write a novel in a month? I tried that year, and only got about 10,000 words in, but the community was incredible. They helped me every step of the way, from naming my main character, to giving me much-needed pep talks. I eventually finished that novel, but NaNoWriMo rekindled my passion for writing.
I participated both my sophomore and my junior year, not winning either time, but always writing. It doesn’t matter if I win or not, because by the end of November, I’ve still written chapters and chapters of a book that I would have never even started had it not been for NaNo.
This year, I am doing it again. It is stressful to keep up with the word count, and most days I am battling just to hit yesterday’s goal.
I may win, or I may not. For me, NaNoWriMo isn’t about the 50,000 words or the Nov. 30th deadline.
It is about the friends that I meet, the ideas that I imagine and the creativity that I keep alive.
NaNoWriMo keeps me excited about being creative, and it forces me to set aside time to write, even if it’s only for one month out of the whole year.
Even though I may be overloading my body’s circuits with caffeine and bothering my friends with plot hole questions such as: “Shelby, do you think a mind-reader would really do this? I’m not sure,” or “Can you read this? I’ll share it with you on Google.”
I am so grateful that NaNoWriMo has given me a chance to keep my childhood passion alive through adulthood.