Friday, October 19, 2012
Nanowrimo: Where it All Started For Me
November is approaching and with it comes the gauntlet of National Write A Novel Month ("Nanowrimo"); a keyboard-pounding, hair-pulling, teeth-gnashing exercise in willpower, wherein participants are challenged to write a complete novel in 30 days.
I succeeded in 2010 and have no plans to EVER do it again. But had I not participated 2 years ago, I doubt I would be writing today.
I'd always had a interest in writing, from the time I was in high school and even through college, going so far as to take a couple of creative writing classes. I'd crank out shorts left and right, giving them to friends and local publications as "filler" material. Nothing serious, just something to occupy time between classes, studying and drinking. When I moved on to "the real world" I stopped writing. Period.
For 15 years I didn't even try to create anything. I was too busy working, getting married, raising kids and so on.
But in 2010 a friend of mine suggested giving Nanowrimo a shot. I figured I'd accept the dare and give it a try. Much to my surprise I really enjoyed the experience and finished close to 90k words with 11 days left in the month of November.
I really haven't stopped writing since then.
I "punished" my friend (sorry, Steve!) by asking him to read the work I produced. I think it took him most of the summer to struggle through the piece. When finished my manuscript looked like every page had contracted a terminal case of chicken pox.
In the words of Edward Gorey it was "Dreadful. Dreadful! DREADFUL!"
I'm still buying him rounds of beer for that extraordinary act of valor.
But it did jump start my long idling creative engine and I can't thank Steve or Nanowrimo enough.
I'm still never, ever going to try it again. Once was enough.