For those new to my blog, the Hands that Mold series of posts is about the people in my life that have helped shape me into the writer I am today.
This post is about NaNoWriMo and the WriMos.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about NaNoWriMo before, but for those who don’t know yet, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNo is an amazing event that happens in November every year. The challenge for participants, called WriMos, is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. More specifically, to start and finish a novel in a month.
I started taking this amazing adventure with other writers in 2010 when I did the challenge with my friend Manda. I was hooked from the start and haven’t missed a year since. In 2014 I started doing Camp NaNo in April and July as well and haven’t missed one of those since I started either.
One of the most amazing things about NaNo is the practice of writing each and every day. It’s great for getting into (or back into) this habit. It’s also great because it gives me a goal and deadline to work toward, which is amazingly helpful in motivating me to write no matter what else is going on.
The absolute most amazing thing about NaNoWriMo is most definitely my fellow WriMos. Whether they are a helpful ML (that’s a Municipal Liaison, or local volunteer) or just a fellow writer I know from on-line or in-person write-ins and meet ups, WriMos are universally inspiring and exciting to meet and get to know.
The people I’ve met through NaNo have helped me believe in myself more as a writer. They’ve encouraged me to meet and exceed my own goals and expectations. There are many WriMos who have gone on to self-publish and make names for themselves. NaNo has brought some of them in to do Webinars with the NaNo community, and I’ve been fortunate enough to participate in one, as well as meet a few of them in person. One of the most inspiring stories is Hugh Howey, who by some random chance I met a few times before he hit it big. Another is Sarra Cannon, who I was fortunate enough to get to know one year at a weekly write-in when we lived in the same region.
Many other WriMos in my region, including two of the MLs, are also published authors, whether self-published or with agents and professional publishers. They’ve all been amazing about sharing what they’ve learned in their own journey to publication and encouraging me to pursue my own writing and publishing goals. Without them there to talk about it with me and encourage me, I might not have decided to self-publish.
My fellow WriMos have worked with me in critique groups, and some have beta read entire novels for me. They are always happy to meet up for a write-in, both during November and the rest of the year. Many of them see me every week because of that. They are an amazing group of dedicated writers working hard to make a go of things and get their stories out there. I can’t imagine my life without them and I hope I’ll always have such a vibrant group of fellow writers to work beside and with as we write, edit, and publish.
Over the years, WriMos have helped me work through plotting problems, character problems, and motivation problems. If I was stuck at a write-in, someone was always willing to talk with me about the issue and give suggestions for how to work past it.
The writing community that developed around NaNoWriMo in my region has been truly amazing and I want to thank each and every WriMo I’ve had the pleasure of meeting with and writing beside over the years.
Having a group of supportive fellow writers is an amazing thing. I found mine through NaNoWriMo. Where else can you find fellow writers to connect with? Where is your favorite place to meet new writers to share the journey with? For that matter, where do you find fellow readers to share books and recommendations with?
*Title Image Courtesy of NaNoWriMo.org