Today is November 30th. November is nearly finished and with it the journey that was NaNoWriMo.
NaNo is billed as “30 days and nights of literary abandon,” but that doesn’t even begin to cover the truth of the matter. It is a roller coaster ride of highs and lows, all crammed into 30 little days at a hectic time of the year.
Some days you are on a writing high, words flow from your fingertips in spurts of genius, your plot rolls along perfectly, your characters are real, and it’s easy.
Some days you are sunk into the deepest pits of despair. Each word is torn from you almost painfully, your plot is a quagmire of insecurity, your characters are flatter than stick figures and it’s the most difficult thing you’ve ever done.
And you know what? There is an exhilaration that causes that is rarely match in today’s world. Especially when you have a ready made community of people experiencing the exact same thing you are, with the exact same goals and dreams.
NaNoWriMo brings together writers from all over the world. Some of them only write during NaNo, some write year round. Some never share their work with anyone, some are published authors along for the ride. Young, old, rich, poor. All are brought together for a singular goal of “literary abandon,” whether their goal is 50,000 words, doing better than last year, or finishing a complete rough draft.
Maybe NaNoWriMo doesn’t change the world. Maybe it doesn’t even matter in the greater scheme of things. That doesn’t matter when it allows a few thousand people to connect, with each other, and with their inner story teller. We are writers, and we are NaNoWriMo.
For those of you who haven’t reached your goal yet, there are losers, but you aren’t it. You know who the losers are? They are the ones who didn’t try. They are the ones who didn’t write 5 or 49000 brand new words of a novel. They are the ones who gave up on themselves before even taking up the torch. If you gave it a shot, you won, because no matter what else happened, you wrote something. Taking up the challenge makes you a winner, even if you don’t have a purple bar to prove it.
And you know what else? There is always next year.
If you would like to help support NaNoWriMo and the Young Writer’s Program, please consider a small donation to the Office of Letters and Light. Help them bring the joy of writing to another generation.