Books have always been my escape, my refuge from the storm of the world. When I was a little girl I never wanted to be a princess, a doctor, or a ballerina. I have wanted to be a writer as far back as I can remember. My first book was “Patches, the All Patched-Up Bear”, written for my school’s Young Author’s Day. I wrote lots of little stories and even won the State Poetry Championship in 1992.
My parents were afraid that becoming a writer was a bad dream, that I wouldn’t be able to make money at it and wouldn’t be able to help support my family, so I was discouraged and told that I couldn’t do it. When you tell a kid that they can’t do something enough, they begin to believe it. Though the dream never died, I didn’t pursue the dream and years have gone by where I’d only occasionally think about it, sometimes making a pathetic attempt to write, but never taking it seriously.
Then, I found Nanowrimo.
National Novel Writer’s Month takes place in November of each year and is the Boston Marathon for writers. In thirty days, someone participating in Nanowrimo has to write 50,000 words in one month, or about 1666 words a day. That may not sound very hard, but it is intense and most don’t finish though a good number of people do.
Since 2006, more than 100 NaNoWriMo projects have been published by the traditional publishing houses and hundreds more have been published through smaller firms. I have met wonderful people, each engaged in the same goal and all have been welcoming, helpful and supportive. It has been an amazing experience.
But, what happens in December? The community is still active, quarterly “camps” encourage continued writing, at self-set goals. Campers are divided into smaller groups, or “cabins”, and the groups support one another towards their goals.
Now I write almost daily, adding to the word count of my blossoming novel. I can’t wait to finish, and I can’t help but think that if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo, I’d still be dabbling without direction.