I stumbled upon NaNoWriMo last year when a colleague asked if I’d ever heard of it. “No,” I had replied, I hadn’t. She couldn’t believe it because I write all the time; everyone in my life knows this. Experimenting with her class using the Young Writers’ Program, this colleague introduced the competition to her Writers’ Workshop class, a course I wasn’t teaching until the following semester, and she invited all her students (in other classes, too) to join her in the challenge. I decided to, also. While I’ve been writing since I was about seven years old, I’d never written such quantity in such a short amount of time. I didn’t know how well I’d do. Preparing for almost all of October helped, most certainly, in making my first go at this competition run smooth. In fact, I surpassed my goal by the deadline.
Now, I’ve completed my third NaNoWriMo challenge, also participating in CampNaNoWriMo in April of last year. In both April and this November, I’ve invited students to join me. Maybe the best part of each of these competitions is passing on the bug: the love for writing that is as necessary as breathing for some of us. The importance of a community of writers has become a paramount lesson in all of this for me. Writers understand one another, they fuel one another, and they inspire, too!
I’m a planner by nature, and, now, after round three, I can securely say there’s something to be said about writing every single day and writing abundantly. The connections I’ve made with other writers and the lessons I’ve learned about myself, as both person and writer, are inestimable.