I’m not finishing up. No, no. Not at all. Mainly because I haven’t written much this month toward the 50,000 word count. However, I am part of the ChiWriMo Facebook group (the Chicagoland NaNoWriMo participants). It’s great to see an encouraging bunch of individuals. Most of us have never met each other before and many of us won’t meet all 375 members in the group. Unless you attend any of the weekly write-ins at various locations in the suburbs or in the Loop, you won’t meet any of your fellow writers, but it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter if you never met up with anyone for a write-in or even if you have.
I think what is most impressive about NaNoWriMo is the sense of community and the support you receive from these strangers. Everyone is virtually reaching the same goal: to write 50,000 words. This has been mostly defined as a “novel,” but I’ve seen some members of the group confess that they are going to write a collection of short stories, essays, and whatever else they feel like writing. Honestly, NaNoWriMo should just be seen as a motivator to get writing again. And for those who actually want to accept the challenge and write one cohesive novel, then bravo and congratulations to them! It’s a skill and a challenge, and something they should be very proud.
One member of the group posted this morning:
“My word count? 1550. That’s less than 50K, by the way. But you know what? It’s 1550 more words than I had a month ago. I can honestly feel that I’ve won, this, my first year, not just because I have very low standards ( !! ), but because I wrote ANYTHING, something that was not happening in the months prior to Nano. I have found the ChiWriMo community on FB to be very wonderful and inspiring, and have learned many lessons over the month. I hope you will all continue to post updates here.”
I think this writer has truly expressed what our craft means: community, inspiration, support. I felt this support and emotion in a few of my creative writing workshops in college. First semester my senior year, my creative writing workshop was a group of sixteen students of various writing backgrounds and interests, but despite our differences, we supported each other positively and constructively, offering any suggestions and aid that might be of use. Nothing could be more conducive to the writing process than a group of supportive and positive individuals who share the same passion as you.
So, to my NaNoWriMo and writer friends: keep writing, stay focused, and know you have someone to lean on!