When October rolled around this year, I felt a sense of nervous anticipation in the air that almost felt foreign to me. I couldn’t figure out why I felt nervous and excited at the same time, and I know it wasn’t because of my brother’s wedding this month (but there is nervous anticipation for that, too). It wasn’t until I got an email from my inbox with this subject when I was reminded why there’s a certain thrill to October:
[NaNoWriMo HQ] New site is live!
Of course! October means it’s less than a month until National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! :)
(NaNo -what? Here’s NaNo in a Nutshell for you! :) )
This is actually my cue to panic, really, but before I do some official panicking, I suppose a history of my relationship with NaNoWriMo is in order. I started NaNoWriMo back in 2004. I was a junior in college, then, and it was a very busy time for me, but I was missing my “literary” life. I took up Computer Science back in college, thinking that I could always squeeze in writing in between my technical life. I joined the school’s literary folio when I was a freshman but quit because of lack of time. I stopped writing my stories after that because I had to focus on school, but come that time in 2004, I felt the itch to write again. I knew some friend who have joined NaNoWriMo before, and after some thinking, I finally bit the bullet and joined.
I failed on my first year at 33,000+ words because I lost the juice to write for my story, plus I had school projects to finish. I felt a bit bad for losing, but one of the Filipinos I found in the forums told me I had to win the next year, or else. :P Come 2005, I came in with a pretty good idea for a story and won. I’ve won NaNoWriMo every year since.
What is it with NaNoWriMo that gets me going? I honestly don’t know. I’ve only written for the joy of writing with really no intention of submitting my work for publishing. Oh sure, I dream of getting published some day, but since I lack the formal education in writing, I just kept the drafts in my computer, showing them only to those interested in reading. I mostly use NaNoWriMo as an excuse to be creative and as a month where I have a deadline that everyone expects me to meet, as opposed to having my own deadline that I can always procrastinate in.
And it has always, always been fun. I always surprise myself year after year, learning things about myself that I didn’t know and learning when I am at my best in my writing based on what I did the rest of the year. I’d also like to believe that joining NaNoWriMo has helped me improve my writing. Not in terms of grammar of course (God knows I don’t have the perfect grip on English grammar), or even in vocabulary, but in how I write. Case in point: I used to be a very dialogue person and I really don’t like writing descriptions. After a couple of NaNo novels, I found out that I can do a decent description of a particular setting, like an office. ;)
But you know what makes my NaNoWriMo fun? It’s the community. The Filipino NaNoWriMo community (aka Pinoywrimo) started in 2005 after we found ourselves a regional lounge and nominated our first ever municipal liaisons (ML). Come 2007, I was nominated to become the new ML after our first ML, Erwin, passed away and his co-ML, Inez, went to the US for her PHd. Ever since then, I have been in charge of the craziest and most inspiring group of budding novelists in the country. :) These people make the craziness of writing 50,000+ words (or more!) in a month more fun. I love seeing what they write, I love hearing their stories on how they met their word count goal, I love seeing them and holding write-ins for them. I don’t think I’d keep coming back to NaNoWriMo if it weren’t for these writers. :)
Last year was especially hard NaNoWriMo for me because I experienced a serious burn out, and I think I was still traumatized by the flood that I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I lay low with all NaNoWriMo related activities after, but now that it’s October again, I can’t help but feel the buzz in the air. I know it’s crazy of me to still go do this on top of my work, personal life and all the reading I have challenged myself to do, but the year just wouldn’t be complete without writing a novel. It just wouldn’t. Like what the poster up there says, I love books so much that I am going to write one. ;)
Besides, where would all the fantasy novels I read this year go if I won’t write my first fantasy novel? :D
How about you? Are you joining NaNoWriMo This year? Let me know so we can be writing buddies! November is going to be so much fun. *grin*