This is the story of Nanowrimo for me.
One day, in London, a friend told me about a writing competition where you write your novel against the clock. I signed up and then in the first week, a bunch of shit happened and I was too busy and blah blah blah.
Then I moved country and I had no friends and nothing to do so I wrote my first 50 000 word manuscript. Chuffed with my success, I came back from a holiday inspired by a concert and wrote my first 100 000 word manuscript over the course of 6 months or so. It was wild.
The next year, I decided to share the nanowrimo love with my students. My book nerd kids showed up after school and we had 5 minute dance parties, raisins and hot chocolate. I made a printed book of their best bits. I still have it. The next year: some new kids, some kids who had left school showed up. Same raisins, same hot chocolate, added popcorn into the mix. And I just kept doing it.
A librarian got in contact and we tried to run a library project together in my geography lessons. It wasn’t a rousing success but it wasn’t a bust. I mentioned Nanowrimo and he let us have our wrap party in the library. It was super sweet.
The next year, I was pretty sure I would be leaving the school (if not the town, if not the country) but I wanted to make sure my nanos had somewhere to go. So, I tried to make Nanowrimo more of a town thing. It didn’t really work for a lot of reasons but my students had somewhere to go. So, we would write in the town library and it was all good times.
I left that school and felt awful about it but I had to go. The next year, the library was hosting Nanowrimo again and so I got involved again but this time without having to organise a thing.
My twitter from when I was trying to get all the town interested was still up and so I had the twitter handles of my old students. And they were getting excited about Nanowrimo! Whether they were in our town or not. They were going to write-ins in their new city. Or thinking about their plots.
And I felt so warm and fuzzy, I cannot even describe. Like, it was just a way to share a love of books with my book-nerd kids. That is all it was. Just a bit of fun. And it turned out to be life changing. It turned out to be something good in their lives. And I went to our write-ins and they are growing and changing and I just feel so proud of them.
I haven’t won since that first time but, in a way, I have won every single year since I started the club.