Thank you NaNo!
I owe a giant thank you to NaNoWriMo- National Novel Writing Month, for those of you writers who are living a sheltered life. Now you ask “How the actual F*** did a website change your life?” Bare with me folks, it’s about to get real.
I gave NaNoWriMo it’s first trial run in 2009 after someone in one of my classes told me about it (that was 9 years ago, I can’t remember her name. Sorry person!) and I decided that scrapping my grades for the entire month of November would eventually be worth it. I wrote that whole month, beat the 50k limit, and had a couple friends read it a couple years later only to realize that “Shit, maybe I’m really not that bad afterall!” But high school is important, and I told myself I needed to finish it.
College eats your soul almost as hard as high school did. At least in high school you don’t have to pay bookoo dollars on textbooks, and you aren’t stuffed into a giant room full of hungover people trying not to vomit on themselves while a teacher that might as well have just talked to walls ranted at you with a well-paid passion. I had gone through high school believing entirely that college is the only way to succeed (a ranting blog post that may come up in the future), and I shelved my writing projects to pursue a higher education. But then 2015 happened…
I was halfway through a degree that I felt was just forced, and I was overworked and tired (for those of you with arguing thoughts in your head, I also had two part-time/equally full-time jobs and averaged a 60 hour work week on top of school. Get off my back you naysayers). I gave up on school and focused on work. But 2015 was the year that I blindly jumped back into NaNoWriMo with my now-partner Brandon and changed the coursework of my entire life. I wasn’t looking back.
I finished NaNo that year and felt a strange new weight on my shoulders that I was prepared to wear for the rest of my life: Purpose. In one month alone my writing had gone from “ohhh this is nice! *awkward throat clear*” to “Wow, this is really good. When can I read more?” I started on a couple of freelance websites, selling my soul for just enough money to afford the gum off of sidewalks to build up a writing resume. December of 2015 Brandon and I sat in my car post-NaNo, listening to music, talking about life, and essentially making a change. We picked out a name for the company, talked about possibilities and growth, and we went our separate ways to stew in the idea of a company.
By January we were starting the official paperwork, and then bada-bing-bada-boom we were a company! We delved nose-first into a dark pool and hoped that we would see some light. In hindsight we were naive to think so, but how many people at 23 can say “I started a company”? Well, we can! We learned a lot about the industry and the market, as well as ourselves.
By now you are thinking “Boy, has she derailed, what does any of this have to do with NaNoWriMo?” But here’s the thing; it made me realize my worth and each year that I participate I notice a difference in my writing. Without NaNoWriMo I would be in crippling debt trying to pay off my students loans with a degree that practically means nothing in this day and age, working at a shitty job with shitty people, probably developing an addiction, and probably settling into a marriage with someone that I only care about when I’m locked into a room with them (okay okay, maybe I’m being a little dramatic). But instead I’m sitting here in my own office, still in debt, still struggling sometimes, but fully enjoying my life.
So again, I send out a huge in-caps THANK YOU to NaNoWriMo for bringing me out of my shell in high school and allowing me to pursue a passion that my family still doesn’t understand.
-The undyingly grateful Courtney.
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