Chances are, if you’re following your favorite writers, you may have come across NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, before. If you haven’t, and even for those who might have heard of it but don’t really know what it’s all about, it takes place every year in the month of November. Started in 1998 by Chris Baty and some of his friends, the objective is simple: write 50,000 words during the month of November.
So why should you care about NaNoWriMo?
A couple reasons:
Writers are, at bottom, natural communicators. We may not all be extroverts, but the act of writing is first an act of self-knowledge and second an act of disclosure, an attempt to make clear the interior of our landscape. Communication takes two people: the one speaking, and the one listening. If your favorite author is participating, and talks about it on their blog, why not drop them a note and say, “Good luck.” It’ll mean the world to them, and you’ll get to see into their world a little deeper.
Voracious readers are, many times, good storytellers. They have an ear for Story because they read so much. I remember I was at a reader convention a few year ago, and behind me in line were two ladies waiting to get into the same event. They noticed my “author” badge, and the one lit up right away. “You’re an author?” I said that I was, and asked what they liked to read. I noticed the one was super talkative, excited, and clearly gaga to be at an event where she could meet real authors. I asked her, “I bet you’re a born storyteller. You ever thought about writing?” She gaped at me. Her friend, though, seized her arm and said, “You are!” She turned to me. “She is. You have no idea!” She turned back to her friend, still clamped to her arm. “You always are telling stories! You…” and off she went, telling her friend that she was a storyteller, that she could maybe write a book someday, and of course it would be a good story.
This is not an isolated incident. I’ve met many, many writers who just don’t know they’re writers yet.
So if this is you, or someone you know, why not give NaNo a try? You don’t even have to tell anyone. Check out the NaNo site, and poke around for groups in your area or have a conversation on the forums. Last year, over 430,000 thousand people participated around the world. There’s no reason you can’t be one of them.
Go ahead. Write something. I won’t tell on you.
– E.E. Cummings
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