I think NaNoWriMo is still fabulous, and here’s why.

Once upon a time, I was working in a very stressful job where I didn’t have two days off in a row. There simply wasn’t enough time for the mind and body to rest, and since my day(s) off never landed on a weekend (and I worked holidays), I found it extremely hard as an introverted soul, to have that restoration time that is so important to a quiet person’s health and survival.

I turned to reading for enjoyment during this time – a tried and true favorite activity – and dove into a series of books by a British author who had a series about a young, female, Irish immigrant in the early 1900’s, who finds her calling as a private detective.

On one evening, I asked myself the following question: If I were to write a book, what would it be about? My answer was simply: A thief.

That evening’s thoughts changed the course of the next ten years of my life. I became obsessed with this project, and of learning about the business and craft of writing. So much so that I found myself in small classes and workshops with New York Times bestselling authors, traveled to do onsite research for my novel to London and Denver, attended conferences in Los Angeles, and eventually had the chance to meet the very author of the detective series whose book of an Irish detective had inspired thoughts towards a happy journey.

Asking one question started all that. Oh, how I love my questions!

The time spent on the novel were some of the happiest and most peaceful moments of my life. The novel ended up being crap – it died a painful death alongside my marriage, only months apart, but it had certainly been a passion project. It taught me a lot about writing, and a great deal about myself.

One of the great, early discoveries in my writing journey was discovering something called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, for short. It’s a challenge where you write 50,000 words in the month of November. That’s about 1,667 words a day.

Many different types of writers use this challenge for many different reasons. For me, it was about planting my butt in a chair, putting words on a page and building a solid writing habit. It was about overcoming my fear of having people read my work. It was about being a part of a community of (introspective) people I could relate to and feel comfortable with when I stepped outside to meet them or met them online.

Writers understand each other when it comes to the need for contemplative moments of quiet. It’s not at all weird to talk about your muses and be carrying around a notebook everywhere you go in case inspiration strikes. It’s not weird to have a collection of journals with beautiful covers that will never be written in. (You know who you are and I know you’re out there.)

I was thankful that I was living in Seattle the first year I tried it. There is a passionate community that participates each year that rivals London. (I admit to once harboring dreams of being in London during the month of November.) And as I look back at the last six years or more as my life has dramatically changed since first participating in NaNoWriMo, I’m grateful that it is something that hasn’t changed. It still exists and it is still going strong. That makes it fabulous.

I haven’t participated in NaNoWriMo for many years now. Each November that passes, some part of me weeps for the loss of time because of too much “adulting” and the weight of changes I’ve endured. It’s taken me some time to get to the point where I could give myself permission to do things that bring me joy again and some days I still struggle. My grief from unexpected loss has held on to me for longer than it should’ve, but the healing process has finally taken a major turn this year and participating in NaNoWriMo is on the radar again.

I’m ready for fabulous. I’m ready to feel fabulous. So I’m going to be one of the hundreds of thousands of people from around the world pounding furiously on the keyboard during the month of November this year.

I talked about starting over, about deleting what’s come before and clarifying my perspective of how to live life, in a previous post. And I’ve decided to do that with NaNoWriMo. I’ve created a new account and made “Consistency” my project. I’ve no plans for a novel this year, just a solid effort to plant my butt in a chair and build back the habit that speaks more to my soul than any other activity in this world. (Don’t be fooled, I’m still a Planner, and not a Pantser.)

If you’re participating, and want a writing buddy, you can search for me under my username, jenniferiswriting. If you just want to cheer me on, you can do that, too!

Good luck to all who are on their own Journey of Fabulous, and happy writing.

Need a subtle hint in the morning that you need to make time in your day for writing? Try a bathmat. This one. From the Quiet Endeavours Etsy shop!

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Pictured, is the bathmat of writing champions.

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