I first did Nanowrimo back in 2002. I wrote a chick flick kind of novel, something that would have then been classified as chick lit, only there was no sex.
I mostly wrote it so I could make jokes about laying pipe; the main male character was a specialty plumber.
It was a super fun month, in no small part because my friends were engaged and encouraging — they wanted me to write and they wanted to read the outpouring of pages. I wrote every single day, and often went over the day’s output with a friend up at the local Steak ‘n’ Shake or Denny’s. I typed — but I also wrote longhand, on legal pad pages, in my cramped and loopy scrawl.
Now that I’m not even sure I know where that manuscript is, I’m actually kind of sad about it.
In 2002, I was a school teacher, with a still-fresh degree in Creative Writing. I wrote that novel just to see if I could, to see if I had that many words in me. When I won, I surprised myself. And then when I did it again the next year, I was just as shocked.
In 2012, I’ve got a day job but I’m also published enough to consider myself a professional writer. It’s primarily nonfiction, and a lot of it is centered around body issues. But I don’t think I’d be here doing this if I hadn’t gained the confidence that came with surprising myself, with doing something I didn’t think I was going to be able to do.
I owe my agent this novel manuscript I have open on another screen. That definitely wouldn’t have happened without my first Nanowrimo experience.
That’s why this year, I’m participating again. I’m marianne over on the Nanowrimo forums — if you see me, say hi and ask me how my word count is. I don’t know if I’ll finish this year, but I know that whatever I write, it’ll be a good time and it’ll make me a better writer.
Hope to see you there.