In 2007, my first year of returning to University as an adult learner, I stumbled upon a crazy challenge known as National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo). The challenge was to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Despite a full course load at school, as a closet writer with a plethora of characters dancing in my head, I HAD to accept this challenge. So, I created my account at www.nanowrimo.org , read the rules, and got writing.
Did I meet the challenge? You bet! I crushed 50,000 words for a few years, then life got in the way. Although I participated, I didn’t reach the goal of 50,000 words again until 2020, but the few words I did write are words that wouldn’t have been written if I hadn’t tried, and stories that would have been lost if I hadn’t put those ideas down on paper.
After a brief hiatus, I am once again ready to challenge myself. You may ask, Why would anyone want to participate in such a crazy event? The rewards are many. As part of the Ottawa Region and then SDG Region, I was able to meet many other writers, attend in-person and virtual write-ins with like minded people, ask for and give help to other writers, and create a body of work that might not have been created otherwise. Maybe I haven’t written The Great Canadian Novel yet, but that isn’t the point. The point is to shut off the inner critic, get those words written, and then tidy that messy, chaotic, beautiful first draft during the "Now What?" months of January and February.
This year, NaNoWriMo celebrates its 25th Anniversary! I encourage you to check out the website at www.nanowrimo.org. The NaNo Resource Hub has tons of information to help you get started, including Pep Talks by famous authors, a NaNo Prep 101 resource, Revision Resources, and so much more. For Educators looking to encourage students to write, NaNo sponsors the Young Writers Program, plus there’s a blog, YouTube channel, and Instagram.
Don’t forget that the SDG Library has an excellent selection of books, Great Courses, and eResources to help hone your writing skills including the ones found in the following list. Use some of these suggested reads to find inspiration and guidance, no matter what genre you write in.
Please join me this year on this crazy, wonderful, sometimes-frustrating but mostly satisfying journey. Add me (Jharper) as a NaNo buddy, so we can share our writing journeys. See you soon!