I like to say I unofficially participated in NaNoWriMo years ago one summer before NaNoWriMo existed. I was house-sitting in New Mexico, and I challenged myself to write 1,500 words each day for the summer to develop a novel, but I didn’t quite hit my word count. I lacked pep talks, write-ins, and a community of accountability and encouragement.
I officially participated in 2010, however, when the inspirational zealot and whirling dervish of novel writing Chris Baty cajoled me into participating.
It was really wonderful. I’d become a victim of my “precious pondering,” which had plowed deep ruts into my creativity. I “wrote with abandon” for a month and developed a novel I’d been thinking about for years and took it in many directions that I wouldn’t have risked otherwise.
And then I joined the board of National Novel Writing Month because I thought it was the most powerful creative nonprofit on the planet. And then Chris Baty stepped down from being executive director and told me I should apply for the job. I resisted at first, but he gave me a couple of nudges, and I thought, why not, what more could I do with my life than to help spread the glories of creativity.
I spent 12 years as Executive Director of the largest writing event in the world, practically blinded by the creative sparks around me.
Most of all, I learned how important NaNoWriMo’s mantra, “Your story matters,” is because every story starts with a fundamental belief that your story matters.
If you don’t believe your story matters, you won’t write the first words of your story.
If you don’t believe your story matters, you won’t be vulnerable on the page and write your truth boldly.
If you don’t believe your story matters, you won’t enter into a creative community.
I’ve dedicated my life to helping people realize their story matters.