Writing is contagious

Or: NaNoWriMo and why you want to try it

It was sometime in 2014 when I first heard of NaNoWriMo in a TED talk about how 30 days is all it takes to form a habit. This particular piece of information went right over my head at the time. It popped up again a year later while I was watching an Ariel Bissett video, on which she mentioned it. It was only then that the two things connected to each other in my head. Yeah, my brain works fast like that.

Next thing I did was what I always do in such cases: I Googled that s**t.

I discovered this -to my innocent eyes- innovative idea and immediately thought, “I can do this!” and promptly signed up for the 2015 NaNoWriMo event. Long story short, it was a minor disaster, not so much because I didn’t reach 50K, but mostly because I was unaware of the use I could have made out of NaNo.

Skip to November 2016

So, here I was, another year later, extremely determined to do it right this time. I joined my local NaNo group, I went to meetings, I met other people who were doing the same. I still remember the first day I went to meet everyone. I felt awkward, since I was all like “I am Greek, living in Greece all my life, yet I write in English. They are all gonna think I am a freak.” Guess what. Nobody thought that. Guess again! They also wrote in English! This is what I had missed out on the first time.

The month that went by was magical for me. I learnt about authors’ struggles, we all did a lot of sharing, we talked about our shortcomings, we had copious word sprints. And above all, we had coffee and lunch. And we wrote. It was harder to maintain momentum when we were not together, yet we had online support. I reached day 28 with almost 41,000 words under my belt. I was like “aw, shoot, I was this close.” The group was like “you can do this, we have faith in you,” yet they had only known me for less than a month. They got into my head. I hit 50K ten minutes before midnight, on November 30. Was the piece award-worthy, you will ask? Well, no, but it is a start.

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What I am trying to say here is this: You have uttered the phrase “I will write a novel some day,” yet it never seemed like the right time to do so. Well, that time is now. Even though November is gone, the April NaNo camp is currently underway. Even if you haven’t officially joined, you can still attend the local write-ins. The other NaNoers will welcome you.

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