I heard about NaNoWriMo about 8 years ago now while I was living in Portland, OR.  I had no idea what it was or what it would take to participate and for the first few years I halfheartedly participated.  I wrote a few thousand words, and plotted out a few ideas.  I was definitely trying desperately to be a planner. I thought that I would write better and get past my blocks if I knew what every single chapter held.  But I always failed a few chapters in.

Then, about four years ago, I switched to being a planster (planner mixed with someone who writes by the seat of their pants) and just did a general outline/plot point.  Then I just sat down, and let the words come.  I also became more involved in the NaNoWriMo community locally here in Eugene, OR and I met some really great friends.  Soon I was going to every write in I possibly could, and I was learning how much I loved tea.  Tea became my go to drink during NaNo.

All of a sudden, I had a finished manuscript.  The first time I typed “The End” I was ecstatic.  I told my parents and my friends.  I blasted it all over the internet.  I was so proud of myself for finally finishing something, for finally becoming a writer.  And that was the moment I knew I could do this.  I realized I thrived as a planster.  I could plot just enough, and then let my imagination go wild.  If I got stuck, I would think of something, anything, that could move the scene forward, and then make that happen.  It didn’t matter if it didn’t fit with the plot, because plots are allowed to change (this was a huge revelation for me as well).

I didn’t fully commit to being a writer that year, but it became something I dabbled in throughout the next 12 months until the next NaNo and soon it occupied my mind on the daily.  The next NaNo I didn’t finish, but I won the following two NaNo’s and had another two books written.  Now I have a total of 3 finished manuscripts and so many more ideas in my head I can’t get them down on paper fast enough.

This year I became more invested in my writing career.  I started paying more attention to my author page on Facebook.  I began editing my first book from four years ago and realized how much my writing style has changed over time and how much better I’ve become.  I started a twitter, and I started this blog.  I have even done both Camp NaNo’s this year (currently in one) which I’ve never done before, and am beyond excited for this coming November.

If you’ve ever thought about writing a book, the NaNoWriMo community is really the best place to start.  There are so many amazing resources and so many amazing people to help guide you through the process, to share your challenges with, and to celebrate with you when you finish.  And they make for some of the best conversationalists since you can discuss literally any topic in the universe and somehow it will pertain to writing a book.

Go forth and write my friends.

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