One of the best things that has come out of NaNoWriMo has been the writing community I have found. For years it was those who just wanted to write. We would see each other frequently through the month of November; share intimate details of how our brains work; suggest and encourage further creations; and then the month would end and we would be done.
I struggled to do more than produce. Mostly, as I said yesterday, because my stories borrowed so much from things created by others, that I wasn’t ready to share it. That changed about a year ago when I was invited to join SIPA. Suddenly I went from 30 days a year of writers, to monthly opportunities to meet people who actually wanted to publish their work.
As much as I love NaNoWriMo, the only purpose of the month is to write volume, nothing else. Most people write their novel and put it away. I know because I did this and every November I enjoy the company of people who just want to write. The act of writing is intimate. The decision to actually publish something from your mind is anxiety inducing. There are many reasons for this.
For me it was the fact that I was writing fan fiction. I wasn’t ready to share it yet. I may not ever be ready to share the fan fiction, but something bigger may come from it. It turns out, I had a lot of original ideas in that fan fiction.
Meeting published authors (even self-published authors) allowed me to take things to a new place. I heard their frustrations, their goals, their secret sources for promotion, and their dreams. I realized I could do this too. I met people who understood what needed to happen to go from NaNoWriMo project to actual book in hand.
More than that, I met people who write amazing works of their own. Laura, who wrote Revealing Hannah: The Myth of Cassandra. I would never have even known about this book had I not been part of SIPA. I would have missed one of the best books I have read this year.
Feeling more comfortable talking about writing and publishing let my colleague Mehmed Ali to share his first book Yousuf Karsh & John Garo: The Search for a Master’s Legacy with me. He literally put it in my hand a week ago. Then there is my friend Jen who just sold her first book to a publisher.
I am so excited that I am surrounded by amazing writers. Not only do they help me become a better writer, but they also help me find new things to read. The more they write, the more I grow as a reader.