It’s past midnight… And that means that it’s the day before NaNoWriMo starts!!
Also known as Halloween, in certain parts of the world.
I don’t exactly remember when Halloween turned into the day before NaNoWriMo, but I think it was in my first couple of years of college, before I had ever even won once. It’s been that ever since, although there are times that I also celebrate Halloween. I do enjoy giving out candy, and costumes are fun, though mine tend to be too cerebral most of the time, and no one gets them. Ah well.
I first participated in NaNoWriMo as a senior in highschool in 2001, the first year it really became a “thing”. It’s a point of pride for me that my user number for the site is extremely low, (443) though that’s a totally geeky thing to be aware of. (I myself am only aware of it because a couple of years ago, I constantly warred with a buddy, and we had one of those word war widgets going that required our user names. Okay, I know this isn’t helping. Anyway.)
Back then, I primarily thought of myself as a writer. By that I mean, if you asked me to describe myself, “writer” would be one of the first words out of my mouth. I constantly wrote–in class, with friends, on the bus, late at night. I spent my Friday nights writing. No, really. I would write until dawn sometimes, and then take a walk and see the world through hazy eyes, before crawling into bed. Very early on a Saturday morning is still one of my favorite times to be awake.
Since then, I’ve changed. I’ve stopped writing nearly as much, generally because other things come along and take over my interest. Art is the big one. Knitting, spinning. For the last year it was roller derby, and last October was one of the few times in the last 8 years that October 31st meant “Halloween” to me first, “Day-Before-NaNoWriMo” second.
But I keep coming back for NaNoWriMo. I love the community, the excitement. It’s a time that I can recapture that love of writing.
When I was in 7th grade, I was sure that my biggest accomplishment in my life was to be a writer. A published author. An incredibly successful published author, along the lines of J.K. Rowling (though that was pre-Harry Potter). Now, I’m not so sure about that. There’s an awful lot else out there that I want to do.
I haven’t given up hope of being published someday, but if all I ever do is write a novel a year during National Novel Writing Month, reveling in the joy of writing and the fun of being with other writers, I think that will make my teenage self happy.