Hello, my name is Karen and I am a writer. For many years I have felt I was supposed to write a book. The feeling wouldn't go away, but I never got the sense of what sort of book I should be writing, so I waited for the same sense of purpose that I got with needing to write the book. I waited and thought about it, but still no still small voice whispered to me what this book I was absolutely certain I should be writing should be about. Nothing, not even what genre I should be writing. I tried to be patient. After all it hadn't been my idea to write the book, so I figured I should wait to get further guidance on the matter.
Then one night, in the wee hours of November 1, 2013, I was surfing the net and searching for instructions on how to write a book and came across the NaNoWriMo.org website. I read about the annual challenge that happens every November where people all over the world spend the 30 days of November trying to write a 50,000 word novel. It was as if the voice I had been waiting on was now smacking me upside the head and telling me to stop thinking and talking about writing a book and just write it already!
Alright. But what should I write I asked out loud? Suddenly the age old advice to write what you know popped into my head. Well...that was something but when it comes to writing a book I don't exactly KNOW anything I thought. So I thought and thought and finally decided that what I know is my life and what about my life might be interesting enough for someone else to want to read I asked myself. I finally decided that I should accept the challenge and that I would spend the next thirty days writing about our adventures in parenting our two, now adult children. I figured since they were now both in college and we had survived thus far will very little drama, perhaps we were doing something right and should write it all down to see if there was anything worth sharing with the world. So I worked on writing for the next thirty days, all the time wondering if I was crazy to have taken on this challenge. But I kept at it and also decided to join my local region and see if anyone else in my city was interested in writing. I fully expected to be the only crazy one in our mid-west city to want to write. I didn't know anyone else who called themselves a writer, so I thought I was all alone, but was comforted by the thought that somewhere else in the world, others surely must be taking the challenge with me.
I discovered that there were write-ins happening a regular intervals all around my city and figured if I was in for the challenge, I should be all in and attend a few write-ins and see if they would help me. After the first write-in I was hooked. When the gathering of writers did word sprints I had to write because they would know if I wasn't and I wanted to fit into this writer-ly group in the worst way. So I wrote and you know what? I wrote more than I thought I could. I was typing out one memory after another with twenty plus years of parenting under my belt to draw from. I learned that writing is a group sport. Who knew? After reading over some of what I had written, I realized I could write in a way that might actually enjoy reading.
I made it through the month, and I learned something else about myself. I could write every day. Maybe not a lot some days, but I could write EVERY day. I also learned that I could reach the goal of 50,000 words in less than 30 days! I felt like a million bucks! I was on top of the world. I was a writer, a REAL writer and I could do ANY thing. I gained so much confidence in myself as a person. A person who never used to try new things like writing, like meeting and talking to total strangers in places I had never been before, who never ventured out to strange places because I might get lost. I had a reason to do all those things. I had a goal to achieve. Little old me, a forty-something mom with grown kids was doing all this and being accepted into a group of writers that were mostly young enough to be my kids. There were a few in their late twenties and even some in their thirties, but I was definitely one of the older ones and yet I was taken at face value as a writer and even praised for my enthusiasm. I AM a writer! I am a WRITER! Having met the goal in the time allotted, I am also now a WINNER! I have gained so much from participating in NaNoWriMo these last 4 years! I am a winner and I am a writer and I will likely do NaNoWriMo for the rest of my life.