The Creative Madness of NaNoWriMo

crest_square-1902dc8c2829c4d58f4cd667a59f9259Has it really been a whole year since I started this publishing endeavor? The sound of thousands of inspiring writers clicking thousands of keyboards around the world lets me know that November and National Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) has arrived once more. It was last November that I took my first NaNoWriMo challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in just 30 days.

With some incouragement from friends, I took up the challenge and submerged myself into a month of daily writing. The result was two Chapter/Middle Grade books which I have since published: The Light at the Bottom of the Stairs and Not With My Milk In addition, I wrote about 30,000 words of a series called “Breeze Rider” which I will hopefully finish this year.

NaNoWriMo is a wonderful way to give your inner cravings to become a writer the freedom to give it a go. Participants form communities on line and in person with hosted write-ins and other fun ways to keep the creative juices flowing. The best part is, you don’t have to do it alone. There’s a whole community of supporters out there.

So, for now, I have my writing buddies lined up, my favorite writing music picked out for Pandora and Spotify, the pantry stocked with some good snacks for late night munching, and coffee in hand. It’s not too late to come join me in this month of creative madness.

Home After a Month at Camp NaNoWriMo

Camp-NaNoWriMo-2013-Winner-Campfire-Circle-BadgeApril has come to a close, and with it my month at Camp NaNoWriMo. This was my first time at the virtual camp, and it was an exciting adventure. My cabin buddies were writers from the U.S. and England interested in similar genres, youth or juvenile fiction.  We had already set our personal goals for the month; mine was to write a 10,000-word short story. So, on April 1, with laptop open and junk food at the ready, I went to camp.

In the first days at camp, I found myself procrastinating. I had no idea what my story would be about. Most days I chose to explore the campground instead of writing. I spent time at the camp store; day dreamed beside deep blue pools; turned my imagination loose in dark, echoing caverns; tested my stamina on the endless winding trails; chatted with other campers in the camp forums. Nights, when I should have been writing under the stars, I was singing by the campfire, roasting marshmallows, and telling scary stories about the Block Ness monster (scary stories about writer’s block).

After two weeks of this rowdy camp behavior, I realized that there was a story waiting to get out. A story for my grand nephew’s fourth birthday: “Snow Buster”. It was time to get down to business. I needed to do my part. You see, writing is sort of like using the Ouija Board. You put your hands on the keyboard, start to type, and before you know it, the story tells itself. But you have to put your hands on the keyboard and start typing. So, I traded the glow of firelight for the glow of my laptop keyboard. Over the next few days, a 10,240 word story emerged, and the word Winner! appeared on my camp avatar.

What did I learn from my month at camp? I learned that when you write fast (no editing) and write without fear (no one else has to ever read it) a story will finally rise from the tangle of words and nonsense.