No, I'm not yawning because NaNoWriMo is boring - the opposite is true, in fact. For me, at least, it got off to a very interesting start.
In the town next door to us, Westport Library is a haven for all things writerly. The library decided this year to do a very special event for NaNoers - they would have an overnight write-in on October 31st to November 1st, from 11pm to 8am, to give us a jump-start to NaNo. They invited Patricia Dunn, YA author of Rebels by Accident, as a guest speaker.
She managed to attend the event despite suffering from a bit of a cold, and she had some good words of motivation to get us started. Her core message was about being a published writer versus an unpublished one - she said that a published writer has only one thing to distinguish him/her, and that thing is tenacity. It brought to mind a quote from one of my favorite movies, Galaxy Quest: "Never give up! Never surrender!" It is a sentiment I agree with wholeheartedly. If you keep persevering, you WILL get published.
After Ms. Dunn's motivational talk, they let us free inside the library at about 12:30am. We all found a quiet corner somewhere and got to work. It was a bit creepy being in the library after hours - it reminded me of a book I LOVED as a kid, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. The book is about a girl who runs away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she is able to roam the hallways at night when all the visitors have left. I felt a bit like an intruder myself as I selected my own quiet corner and got out my laptop to type away until the dawn.
I think there were probably about twenty to twenty-five writers starting out at 11pm. I noticed, though, as the night wore on and I took walks around the library every hour or so to keep myself awake that, one by one, many of the writers vanished. At about 4am, I noticed six writers still there. Everyone else seemed to have skedaddled.
At 8am, those of us left regathered, somewhat bleary-eyed, in the main room. We gave a tally of our word counts, with one writer having a grand total of over 9,000 words written during the night - she was the big "winner" of the event, and she received a prize for her efforts. I had a more modest 7,500. Others were both higher and lower. But it was a great event, and it got me writing a good chunk of my new book, so I'm very thankful for it.
Hopefully, I'll be able to attend more local write-ins. But if I can't find the time - or a babysitter for my kids - I really enjoyed starting out NaNoWriMo this way. I hope Westport Library holds this event again next year.
Who the heck is Alison McBain?
I am a freelance writer and poet with over two hundred short pieces published in magazines and anthologies. Check out my 2024 writing challenge to write a book a week at Author Versus AI. For more info, please check out my "About Me" page.
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