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Let’s talk about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which took place in November and occupied all of my waking, non-working hours. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in one month. This being my second year participating in NaNo, I can tell you it is no easy feat. Last year I hit 50k by the skin of my teeth on the last day of writing. The result would become Off Pitch, and I am so happy that I joined in the festivities.
This year – rather than starting a brand new first draft as is the tradition – I decided to take on the role of NaNo rebel and work on tying up some of the loose ends I have hanging about in my writing life. I set three tasks for myself to hit my 50k goal: 1.) Write a short story to submit for consideration in an anthology, 2.) Finally finish the first draft of book 2 of the Unbecoming Humans series (It’s been over a year. It was long overdue), and 3.) Start rewriting the first book of the Unbecoming Humans series so that I can have it ready to start querying in the spring.
Writing has been an uphill battle for me all year. Going into NaNo, I was apprehensive that I would be able to write anything at all, let alone 50,000 words. With that in mind, it was no surprise to me that I ended the month with barely over 30,000 words. The completionist gamer in me will forever be mortified at not having that winner’s mark for the year on my official NaNoWriMo profile page until the end of time (or the end of net neutrality, whichever comes first).
However, the experience was a lesson in humility for me and my overbearing ego. After sitting in a dry spell for months, banging out 30,000 words in one month felt really good. I am writing again. I am moving forward again. That is everything I needed from from the experience, and if that was all I got out of it, it would have been enough.
But it wasn’t! This year I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the weekly write-in’s held at my local library. I’ve been desperate to make some local writing friends, and I finally did! The feeling of sitting in a room with a dozen other socially awkward people feverishly banging away on their keyboards lit a fire under my ass like few other things can. The writers I met were such encouraging, positive folks, and I am so grateful to them for welcoming me into the weirdness.
My favorite part of NaNoWriMo isn’t the winning, or the late night writing sessions spent staring at my computer until my brain can no longer form words. My very favorite part of NaNo is the camaraderie, the air of excitement that grows within the writing community as we band together to cheer one another on, share in our tribulations, and celebrate in one another’s victories. It’s something that many of us do for one another year-round and one of the reasons I love the writing community so much. But there’s something extra special about coming together to race towards the same goal. I love you all for the support we share, and I thank everyone who worked to make this a special experience for everyone who participated.
Moving forward, I have some very exciting news to share! Several writer friends and I have started a podcast about writing life and our various creative endeavors! We already have several episodes up for your listening pleasure. If you’re interested in hearing about our creative journeys, writing advice, and media recommendations you can check out the aptly named Work In Progress podcast at https://thewippodcast.com/.
We’re having so much fun with our foray into podcasting. We’re each at different places in our creative journeys and we’re trying to offer unique perspectives on writing advice and whatever else floats into our conversations. If you have any burning questions about us or anything vaguely related to creating things, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact us on our official WIP Twitter page @theWIPpod.
Last, but not least, Sapphicathon starts December 14th! I’m going to write up a separate post with all the girly details and a few recommendations from my own reading list in a couple of days, but I wanted to give you a little bit of notice if you want to join in the party. Sapphicathon is a two-week-long celebration of women-loving-women in literature. The goal? Read as many books focused on women-loving-women as your heart desires, the more diverse your selections the better. This party is all about lifting up under-represented voices and celebrating the beautiful diversity in our queer community. You can find more details about Sapphicathon – including a handy bingo card with categories to guide your reading selections and a list of recommendations for each category – on the Cats and Paperbacks blog, or on the official @sapphicathon Twitter page.
Phew! That was a lot of news for one post. I hope you’ll tune into the WIP podcast and keep an eye out for my official Sapphicathon post in the next couple of days. Be sure to let me know if you plan to participate in the Sapphicathon festivities so we can celebrate together!