What NaNoWriMo Means to the Ferrets

All the Ferrets!

The Ferrets, October 2012. NaNoWriMo was approaching quickly, and they were all together for the first time.

It’s that time of year when the world goes insane, every word you hear seems to say, “NaNoWriMo is approaching way too fast!”

Ahem.

Sorry, Christmas Waltz is one of my favorite Christmas songs, so it only seemed appropriate to mutilate it for NaNoWriMo.

In the midst of the soon-approaching holiday madness, there’s something coming up that is very special for all the Ferrets.

National Novel Writing Month

Because the Ferrets wouldn’t exist except for NaNoWriMo.

National Novel Writing Month is described as thirty days and nights of literary abandon – the event for everyone who has ever wanted to write a book ‘someday’. Well, readers, ‘someday’ is November 1st. The goal is 50,000 words.

Today, you’re going to read a little bit from each Ferret about  why we love NaNoWriMo, and every Monday from here on out until the end of November, we will give you some advice or encouragement to get you through the NaNo journey.

Links to each of our profiles on the NaNoWriMo site will be included here, so please feel free to add us as a writing buddy!

Rebekah says:

I first heard about, and participated in, NaNoWriMo in 2003, I… finished the first week with 5,000 words, and didn’t write for the rest of the month. After that, I participated sporadically until 2009. That was when this introvert bit the bullet and got involved with the local group. I hit 50,000 words in 30 days for the first time. (I had written 50k on a single story before this, but not in 30 days.)

I have participated each year since then and have won each time. The accountability of working with a group has helped to keep me on track so many times, especially with our Box of Doom challenges. You never know what you’re capable of until you try something.

Even if you like to write alone, the group support of NaNo is so very important, especially if you can get involved with your local group. Sometimes it’s hard to find people to support you in this crazy journey of writing, whether you’re aiming for publication, or just trying to process your life. NaNo provides the groundwork for those relationships.

However, you have to be downright insane to want to be a Municipal Liaison on top of everything. And, well, I am.

Rebekah can be found as Taethowen at NaNoWriMo.org.

Michelle says:

I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2006, the same year I graduated college and precisely one year after swearing up and down I would never try to write 50,000 words in less than three months ever again. (There’s a longer story about that in my NaNo bio.)

That November was the first time I’d written something for myself, something fiction, in close to three years. It was the first time in a long time that I remembered the joy of writing, how much fun it could be. And it reaffirmed my desire to be a writer in a way few other things have.

That’s one of the reasons I signed up to be an ML: to hopefully pass that on to other people. And now? Now my favorite part of NaNo is seeing people cross the finish line at the end of the month and the absolute shock and amazement on their faces when they do. Even if they don’t hit 50,000 words, they almost always write far more than they ever expected they could. And to have helped out with that, just a little? Is absolutely phenomenal.

Michelle can be found as The Barenaked Critic at NaNoWriMo.org.

Lissa says:

I first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2010. Though I didn’t finish my novel in 30 days, my word count did hit 50k, therefore making me a ‘winner’. I pushed myself so hard that first year to prove to myself I COULD do it, and I was elated when I did.

But NaNo didn’t just confirm that I could work hard and well when given the focus. It taught me that the relatively solitary pursuit of writing didn’t have to be something I did alone. The camaraderie I found with local writers as we cheered each other on and worked through sticky plot points was sometimes more important and exciting than the creative process itself. NaNo gave me the friendship of not only the girls who would later form the Ferrets, but that of several other writers as well. Some of those people I see for one month out of the year, others I keep contact with year-round, but I am thankful for all.

November is my once-a-year ‘excuse’ to myself to write with abandon, play with plot bunnies, make hilarious and awful mistakes, and revel in the type of sometimes-awkward, often-awesome friendships only creative people can really understand. And to all of the non-literary people in my life, it’s my once-a-year ‘excuse’ to be left alone with my work!

Lissa can be found as Quidam87 at NaNoWriMo.org.

Jessica says:

Michelle dragged me into NaNo my first year. Writing 50,000 words in one month sounded absolutely crazy.

Excuses sprang up immediately:
“I don’t have time to write 50,000!”
“I didn’t know what to write.”
“Nothing I write will be any good!”
“What if I fail?”

So I signed up anyway. I slogged my way through November. I didn’t write every day. What I did write fell short of the grand ideas I had for my story. It was *hard* to keep going.

I kept writing anyway. Along the way, I found joy in the journey. Challenges like Box of Doom made me write faster than I ever believed possible. I didn’t have time to agonize and second-guess myself. I just needed words!

So I kept writing. Seeing my wordcount meter grow into a tiny forest made me feel amazing. I made friends. We laughed and cried over our stories together.

I didn’t make 50,000 words that first year. But I had more words than if I had never started. And I kept writing.

The next year I did a little better. And a little better. I’ve hit 50k two years in a row now.

I’d love to share the journey and the struggle with you. I hope to see you at NaNo this year!

And above all, keep writing.

Jessica can be found as JadeKitsune at NaNoWriMo.org.

Eris says:

Editor note: slight language warning ;). Eris can be a bit enthusiastic.

My first NaNoWrimo was a few years ago, in 2011. As corny as it sounds, it really did change my life. I met some amazing people just when I needed them the most, people who continue to influence and encourage me today. It was also the first time I realized, really felt in my gut, that I could do this whole writer thing. I learned that I could keep my head above water in a pool filled with really talented and ambitious people. I may only be newly come to the madness that is NaNoWriMo, but I can already tell that I am going to be a life-long participant.

Bonus:

NaNoWriMo is a fucking gift, and I will stab anyone in the eye socket who dares try to tell me otherwise.

Eris can be found as Eris O’Reilly at NaNoWriMo.org.

Serena says:

The first time I signed on to try the madness that is NaNoWriMo was in 2009, just before midnight on October 29th, with absolutely no idea what I was going to do or if I could even get to 50,000 words – the only ‘serious’ original writing I had done before was an attempt at a novel when I was thirteen. (It is a good thing that this novel now resides only on a broken floppy disk at the bottom of a drawer. Very good.)

I managed to come up with a page’s worth of bullet-pointed notes for a story, and I kept writing every day for the whole month – came out of it with 65,050 words, to my amazement, and a salvageable first draft. After November ended, I never stopped writing every day – I still do now, no matter how bad the day or my lack of ideas.

NaNoWriMo is honestly one of the most fun, maddening, simple, entertaining, and complicated things I have ever decided to do – much less on such a whim! – and also one of the best. It improved my writing an immense amount, introduced me to the notion of socialising with other writers and asking for their help – online and in person – and gave me a new madly-fun challenge to aim for every year.

And by now, everyone I know who isn’t a writer is at least getting used to the fact that I go crazy(ier than normal) every November!

Serena can be found as Kalira9 at NaNoWriMo.org.

So what are you waiting for? After all our testimonials, how can you not want to do NaNoWriMo? Go sign up!

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