Well, hello, fellow WriMo’s, future WriMo writers, and curious readers! The time has come once again for all the crazy writers in the world to come together in a mission to write an entire book in just 30 days! Yes, everybody, it is time for “an idyllic writer’s retreat smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life.” April is here–sound the alarm for everyone to grab onto their keyboards and hold on for dear life as we write or die in an attempt to make our dreams of writing our very own novel a reality.
You might be thinking, “What in the world is this crazy girl going on about?” If so, let me enlighten you, and introduce you to the magical world that is NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which usually takes place in November. In November, thousands of writers all over the world commit to writing a 50,000 word novel about whatever they want. You can choose fiction, nonfiction, short stories, poetry, whatever you want; you just need to have 50,000 words by November 30th. It is a month filled with adrenaline, sleepless nights, coffee overdoses, and asking yourself why on earth you thought this would be fun. You get to have writing word wars with fellow WriMo’s to try to beat the others word count in a designated time, weird writing prompts you have to incorporate into your story, and lots and lots of fun-filled write-ins online, or in places around your community, where you get to meet up with other people just as crazy as you are. It is emotional, utterly exhausting and stressful, but it’s so fun! I can’t even explain the energy that is all over the internet during November. But, it’s not just in November.
It is also in April and July–you can partake in Camp NaNoWriMo, a modified version of the November madness. You can actually choose your word count goal to write as many or as little words as you want, it’s your own personal challenge to yourself. You get put into “cabins,” which are groups of writers online you can talk to and get to know during the month of April or July. You can challenge and encourage one another, or socialize with them and share your experiences and advice with one another.
In April 2018, I started a book that I am hoping to finish this April. My book is a rare genre in NaNo: a personal memoir, a nonfiction novel. I have compiled journal entries, poems, and other writings from my high school years and written reflections on each piece. Those years in my life were especially hard for me.
My Dad was abusive–psychologically, mentally, and on occasion even physically. He was an alcoholic, showing the first signs of Alzheimer’s. However, it was not until a year after I graduated from high school that he was diagnosed with the disease and the pieces started coming together.
My journal was my only safe haven, the one friend I could say anything to–without saying anything out loud. Looking back at my journal, it is easy to see the manipulation and brainwashing that was going on in my mind. I want to educate people about the kinds of abuse that are so often looked over, but can be most damaging in the long term. I plan to do this by sharing my writing about my traumatic events and how they affected me.
Even if I can educate a single school counselor who is able to recognize when a student is showing signs of abuse, or I can somehow show one victim that the world they live in is not normal, and there is a reason why they are in so much pain and that what they feel is completely normal, if I can help even one person get out of a situation that I was in my whole childhood, then all the tears, panic attacks, and unending flashbacks would be worth more than any pain I’ve ever been through. Though I began this project for others, I have been able to do more healing in a few short months than I ever thought was possible even years into the future.
Last April, I started with a goal of 30,000 words. By the end of the month and was surprised at how easy it was. In November, I tackled the big 50K for the first time and was able to get all but five chapters written in that time frame.
Now this April, I want to finish the last few chapters, then the difficult part comes–the hell that is editing. Writing is the easy part. My thoughts jump from one place to the next, and I repeat myself multiple times, and since I jumped around while writing it, some things will be out of order. So I’m going to have to reorganize and make everything flow together smoothly. But that is a journey for another month.
I want to share this final part of my journey with you this month. As I work to wrap up this emotionally charged writing project, I would like to invite you to share my journey this April. I will write a summary of how things went–my emotions, how the writing itself is coming, how I’m doing with my word count goal, and my overall thoughts for the week. I’m excited to be bringing this project to it’s completed form so I can start preparing it for others to read. If you’re joining as a camper this April, share your progress with me in the comments. I would love to hear how it’s going.
If you want to try doing camp but are not ready to jump in the last second. Take this month and June to outline your story, figure out your plot, your characters, and develop the world they live in, then you can go ahead in July to join the fun.
I hope you enjoy coming on this journey with me. Have a great time at camp and happy writing to you all!