Thanks so much for your thoughts on what makes autumn feel so special. I really enjoyed reading all your comments!
But fall isn't just the season for pumpkin lattes and Snuggies. It's also the season for global masochism -- er, a worldwide writing marathon. That's right (no pun intended) -- National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo) is almost upon us once again!
What is this NaNoWriMo beast? Well, according to founder Chris Baty, "National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30." NaNoWriMo began when Baty decided that, at last, he wanted to actually write that novel he'd always talked about/dreamed of writing. So he checked how long the shortest novel on his shelf was (about 50,000 words) and decided to write that amount in a month. And he did. The next year, he did again, and friends joined him. Each year after that, Baty and more folks with writerly dreams joined in until it became the global event that it is today. You can read more about NaNoWriMo's history here.
But NaNo is not just a fun and freakishly insane event. Baty and his team at The Office of Letters and Light also run Script Frenzy (a month long script-writing challenge) in the spring, orchestrate the Young Writers Program for both NaNo and Script Frenzy to allow students in grades K-12 to participate both in school and independently, builds libraries in needy areas around the world, and more. So they do lots of empowering stuff, and each year thousands of folks write millions of words that might never have seen the light of day otherwise. I think that's really, really cool.
I have participated in (and "won"!) NaNoWriMo every year starting in 2005, with the exception of when I was in Malaysia for half of November in 2008. As a result of NaNoWriMo, I have met and befriend a handful of fun and fabulous local writers, created four novel-length stories, and walk away from each November with a sense of creative accomplishment and page upon page of words to prove it.
But most importantly (for me, anyway) is the fact that each new NaNoWriMo reminds me that yes, I do love to write, no matter how hard and hair-pulling-inducing it can be, and that I can even write fiction well, if only I take the time to sit and do it. It reminds me that 95% of writing is really the art of applying the seat of the pants to the seat of the chair. It reminds me that writing is exhilarating and terrifying and completely, unreservedly worth every sweaty, carpal tunnel-inducing second.
So that's why I crank out a novel every November. That's why I've donated to The Office of Letters and Light for the past two years. And that is also why I've decided to raise money to support the efforts of those who make NaNoWriMo possible.
Here's my thinking. I've pledged to try to raise $50 (US) for NaNoWriMo. I have nearly 70 Google followers, 30 Facebook like-ers, and an amazing 214 subscribers. If every Google follower donated one dollar, that's nearly $70 right there. If every subscriber donated fifty cents, that's over $100 donated.
All that to say -- if everyone associated with this little blog of mine gives just a little, we can together give quite a bit back to the army of volunteers, interns, and underpaid workers behind the awesomeness that is National Novel Writing Month.
Let me add that I do not receive anything in return for fundraising for NaNoWriMo. No stickers, no special fake tattoos, no widgets, and certainly no cash. I'm raising money because I think National Novel Writing Month is great. End of story.
So if you'd like to get in on the action and contribute to my goal of raising $50 for NaNoWriMo this year, please visit my donation page here. While you're there, you can read an informative and witty letter, scope out a photo of my NaNo-ing away in 2007, and watch my fund-o-meter rise. Check it out, y'all. To support me, just click on the "Sponsor Me" button on my fund-raising page. Oh, and all donations are tax-deductible. Righteous!
Speaking of united little efforts to accomplish something really big, the Blue Like Jazz movie is on! Due to contributions from folks like you and I (meaning people who are not gagillionaires), the movie begins production tomorrow. Blue Like Jazz fans rallied to try to raise the $125,000 dollars needed. The final donated total is a whopping $345,992. How's that for an amazing story? Read author Don Miller's thank you here.
If you'd like to support thousands of NaNo-licious stories (some of which might even turn out to be as relevant and life-affecting as Don Miller's Blue Like Jazz), visit my donation page here. You can also check out my NaNo user page here and watching my word count rise (hopefully) once November hits. Click on the "Support NaNoWriMo" tab in the black area at the top of any page on To the Fullest to access the donation page.
And thank you -- for reading this blog, for supporting and encouraging me, and for any contribution you make to the insane splendor of National Novel Writing Month. You mean the world to me, wonderful readers.