In October 2003, I discovered NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, in which participants are urged to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. At first, I was like pretty much everyone else who has visited this website — who in their right mind would even consider such a daunting task? I mean, 50,000 words in a month? That is insane! That is ludicrous!
Which all amounted to this: I will take your challenge, Internet. Not only will I take your challenge, but I will win. Oh yes, Internet. I will win.
On midnight of the thirtieth day or November 2003, I had written just over 25,000 words. I had been a first semester junior at the University at Buffalo School of Engineering, and had more school work that I could have ever imagined in my entire life. But I had been taking a creative writing course, and found myself somewhat able to concentrate on writing, and figured that I would combine both the class and NaNoWriMo into one project. 25,000 words later, I sat staring at Microsoft Word with my mouth hanging open, one drip of slobber from the corner of my mouth.
I had admitted defeat.
But I kept with it. I have done it every year since, and have even finished a few times. I have participated in NaNoWrimo, but also Camp NaNoWriMo, which is done over the summer, and the now-defunct Script Frenzy, which was to write a 100-page screenplay in 30 days.
Since moving to the Lehigh Valley, I found the local group of Wrimos, a nickname that participants had given to themselves. They have been nothing but friendly, amazingly helpful people, all in all about twenty people who occasionally meet at any of the area’s Panera Bread locations, and even at the Main Branch of the Bethlehem Public Library. All of the carrying laptop and ideas, all of them just as blocked by their Muses as their neighbor. And together, with coffee and bread, the group helps each other write their 50,000-word novels in 30 days.