NaNoWriMo is over! I put an exclamation point because I feel I should celebrate the month, but I'm actually sad it's over. I already can't wait until next year.
I made it, only because I'd been counting in my head the last few days. I also forgot I'd taken an entire 4K chapter out to focus on it, so I put all docs together, did a real count, and found I'd won. It was a little anticlimactic, because I'd geared up for a real big last minute push of 3.5K.
In my book, participating is winning, whether you win or not.
Now I'm going to ask you a favor.
Amateurs are the best gift an art has. They are the biggest supporters, the most enthusiastic in the world of their art. They buy the most, they thank the artist, they encourage the artist.
They make the community. They are the foot soldiers. We would be NOWHERE without amateurs.
Back in the day, amateur was a noble word. Professionals were not regarded quite as nobly, because they took money for their art, while amateurs pursued their passions out of love. Remember when the Olympics were strictly amateur-only?
If every citizen wrote a novel next November, I guarantee book sales would skyrocket. And how would you feel to be part of such enthusiasm, whether you were published or not? Whether you could write 50K in a month or not?
For those young people hoping to be writers some day, there is nothing better than practice. They need to write. They need the freedom to write whatever the hell they want, to find their voice, discover what in themselves wants to come out.
For young and old, professional and amateur, NaNoWriMo gets you in the habit of writing. For me, it helped me find my flow again. I've been grinding for months, and it's been driving me nuts.
NaNoWriMo isn't just a bunch of people writing shit. It's about people celebrating the love of the novel. It's about igniting and supporting that passion in a generation of young people.
Everyone is saying that young people are not reading enough. Well, guess what? If you check out the videos that follow, you'll see that young people are celebrating the written word. How much better can that get? They even have a special Young Writer's Program for kids and teens.
It is our duty to support young people, to keep "the line" going. It is our duty to support and encourage the amateur, just as they support and enable us to do the best job in the world. It is our duty to support the celebration of our art, to spread the love of it amongst many.
It's time for us, as writers, to stop separating ourselves: published, reader, kinda published, unpublished, self-published, hack. It's time for us to band together and celebrate each other, appreciate each of us expressing our enthusiasm for the novel in our own unique way. No one wants to wake up in a world where the enthusiasm for the novel is dead.
It is our responsibility to pass the love on, to support the next generation.
With 119,286 writers enthusiastic enough to sign up for NaNoWriMo, with classrooms and entire schools participating in the Young Writer's Program, I feel contributing to The Office of Letters and Light is a big way to do that.
Will you contribute $10? Spread the word? Spread the enthusiasm? Too broke to contribute money but still want to support?
Need more proof of the value of NaNo? Here ya' go: