For the whole month of November, novelists across the country are sitting at their keyboards and traveling on a 50,000 word odyssey, a journey towards writing a novel in a mere 30 days for NaNoWriMo (or National Novel Writing Month). Read the entire article HERE. These are the words from several NaNoWriMo writers:
Debbie Hughes, 54, Petaluma:
Why do NaNoWriMo? Why not? Actually, My degree is English with a Writing Emphasis. But, listening to others got me to put my passion of writing aside for a ‘career’ that paid. I began writing as a child, and always loved to create a story. As time went by I stopped writing altogether.
When I began dating my husband, my Mr Wonderful, I would ride on the back of his motorcycle as we traveled across country. During that time I wrote story after story in my head. I just never put pen to paper or finger to keys, and they stayed in my head.
Now that we are retired, and living our dream of traveling it is time for me to dust off a very old dream and check it off my ‘Bucket List’. That of being an Author, not just a dreamer.
So NaNoWriMo is a concentrated, immersion intensive month to write. Even if the story is not finished, it will have gotten out of my head and into print in some form or another. It may go no further than the 1st draft, but I will have fulfilled a dream I have had since childhood.
We are just a few hours away from November 1st and the start of NaNoWriMo beginning and I am excited and nervous all at the same time. I know it will be the start of a wonderful day as it is my Mother’s 80th birthday celebration as well.
(Most recently lived in Petaluma for 24 years. Now traveling the country, but Sonoma & Marin are my homes of the heart.)
Sarah Long, 17, Lake County:
I write all the time simply because I enjoy writing. NaNoWriMo is a chance to challenge myself to go beyond the usual short stories and design a larger, far more complex world, full of larger, more complex characters and plot lines. It’s a chance to let myself go insane with the possibilities, then create sense from the chaos.
I found out about NaNoWriMo last year when my English teacher told me about it. I did reach my 50,000 words, but unfortunately once the push for the large story was gone, I let the story fade. Part of the reason–which I hope to brave this year and defeat–is the fear of revision. When your sole purpose for a month is to just let the story run from your fingertips, going back and trying to sort out the mistakes and gaping plot holes is a scary task. But the rush you get from the whole month, and from winning, is incredible. NaNoWriMo is in no way easy, but it is an immense amount of fun.
Alicia Orellana, 16, Sonoma:
I joined WriMo mostly for the thought of connecting to other writers, because I was in eighth grade and the only other writer I knew was my best friend. I’ve participated every year since 2009, and in two Camp WriMo’s; but I haven’t ever won. Collectively, my past NaNo novels are about 60,000 words; four years, six events. I do get extra credit in my English class though, for participating, and all of my teachers over the years have cheered me on.
Jaime Evans, 29, Rohnert Park:
I signed up for NaNoWriMo at 7AM this morning (Nov.1). Traffic was good, so my commute went extra fast, and I arrived at school a good 45 minutes before I needed to be in class. I signed up for NaNo ala Hemingway: in the dark, on my iphone, alone. ; )
I am doing NaNo during my busiest month of school- I am a full time student in a teaching credential program. I am doing it because it is one of my life long goals to write books. I know that writing books is one thing I want to do in my life. Life will always be busy; I have to work through all the busy-ness to achieve my goals.
Debbie Koehler, 58, Petaluma:
I joined NaNoWriMo in 2003 as a way to finally get me writing. I struggled for the first two weeks with all the usual blocks—I’m not good enough, I can’t do this, this is insane, I don’t have the time. After two and a half weeks, I gave up, figuring that since I had only written about 7,000 words, there was no point in continuing. A few nights later, I had a dream. I don’t remember what the dream was about, but I woke up totally energized, knowing I had to give this crazy contest one more try. And so, with a little over one week left to NaNoWriMo 2003, I abandoned my original story idea and launched in an entirely new direction—and logged in 33,000 words in the last 8 days of November.
I’ve been hooked ever since. NaNoWriMo works so beautifully because in order to write 50,000 words of a new novel in just thirty days, you have to duct-tape the mouth of your internal editor/critic and just write, write, and write some more. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo eight years (this being my ninth). I’ve crossed the finish line every year except that first one—and yet, I consider 2003 a personal win for me. I proved to myself that I was capable of doing it—and that year gave birth to my fantasy series, The Amoran Trilogy.
Years attempted NaNoWriMo: 8 Years won NaNoWriMo: 7