Sunday, November 1, 2009
Ahhh....it's that fabulous time of the year when, still in denial that the lazy, carefree days of summer are long-gone, I embark on a spectacular, mind-boggling writing frenzy. Just when many people start clearing their schedules in preparation for the swarm of activity that accompanies the American Holiday season, I stack another little, teensy, tiny thing on my plate. This November, like last, I will take up the challenge to complete a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. A very, very, rough draft of a novel, but a novel nonetheless. It is now officially National Novel Writing Month. 'Tis the season to be loony. 'Tis the season of NaNoWriMo! Around this time last year I had recently applied for a spot at a women's writing retreat. I imagined myself the following summer spending two weeks in pure writing indulgence, in an ideallic setting, with free meals prepared around the organic garden on the grounds, a beach not too far away, the salt air invigorating my clear mind to the point of literary genius and then I got my rejection letter. Apparently, my writing sample which consisted of some of my first attempts at poetry and a synopsis of a futuristic tale where the country is divided among the technologically advanced and the back-to-basics rebels were not strong enough to fulfill my hopes of "feeling like a real writer when I emerge from the retreat". Can you blame them? Me neither. But what happened instead was that somehow I stumbled upon this insane concept of NaNoWriMo. The first week of NaNo I spent staring at my computer screen, lurking in forums and then staring some more. Week two I started babbling through my fingers, and boy was it fun! For the first time ever, I missed a family function: "I'm so sorry, I can't make it, I didn't reach my word count." Wow. I could just imagine the head-scratching! Week Three, the dishes piled high and mighty and we either ordered out or had leftovers. The "we-eat-healthy-meals-together-at-the-kitchen-table-and-talk Tyrant was unavailable, and my family took full advantage by eating pizza and Chinese in front of the TV every single night! Wow! It was exhilarating! I was a real writer and my family supported me! Week Four came and went like a desert storm and then...Peace. I had done it! I emerged a bona fide writer; not from a respected, exclusive women's writing retreat, but from my own den. Instead of the support of other up-and-coming or established literary soul-mates, I had the support of my family. And most importantly, myself. I still haven't quite finished that novel. But it has lived and grown with me for a full year. What I gained from NanoWriMo was not an agent or a publishing deal, or even a completed manuscript to shop around. What I did gain was my own respect. Looking back, I realize that since completing NaNo last year, I have done some really amazing things. I started telling people I am a writer. I created Musings and started sharing with an audience. I now have clips! I've interviewed wonderfully talented people. I slowly started coming out of my shell and through networking, I've met people I know will be part of my life for as long as I live. I have become the writer I wanted to become. And yes, I got all of this because I participated in NaNoWriMo. I look forward to embarking on a very different journey this time around at NanoWriMo, and I can only imagine where and who I'll be, come December 1st. I'd like to invite every single one of you to participate in NaNoWriMo. There is no one to respond to. There is no money to spend. There is everything to gain. I hope you will join NaNoWriMo 2009 and if you do, keep me posted on how things are going for you. I will certainly post about my experience throughout the month. I wish you all the best with your undertakings this month and always! Inhale love, and exhale fear.