What surprised you the most while participating in NaNoWriMo? [Writing Prompt]
Julie Russell

We Are Not Alone — A Meta #NaNoWriMo Writing Prompt

I did it. I decided that I would join in the insane thousands and take on this challenge of National Novel Writing Month. I decided that I would do this with mere days left in October. Did I mention the last time I have written anything fiction would have been at least 10 or more years ago?

So I set out on this adventure to write like the wind with whatever thoughts or ideas came to mind. I spent the precious few days in October contemplating a story idea so compelling that I could write for 50,000 words and not run out of things to say. All of that considered, I believe I did well. During November, I wrote and wrote and wrote, some two hours every night. I’m an obsessive person — the fact I could stay dedicated wasn’t a strange idea to me.

What was strange was the incredible upwelling of community support.

Originally, I had planned on simply writing in isolation, putting my story together, and checking off the box that I did it. Within days of starting, I connected with Shawn White (@swpax), who was also a Wrimo, and he was not only participating, but publishing his work online in progress for the world to see. Really, dude? Your rough draft, seat-of-your-pants story was going to be out there?

Turns out that his brand of crazy was mine too, and now my entire story is available, publicly, on Medium. His support and encouraging words were what surprised me the most. Think about it — someone who I have only loosely conversed with in the Twittersphere became an avid reader of the first fiction I ever wrote, simply for the reason that we were in this together. Someone CARED enough about my pursuit that they supported that. The fact that Shawn was taking time to read it invigorated me to not only finish #NaNo, but to do a really good job!

So now, as I have successfully won the challenge and am taking some much needed time away from writing the story, I think back to the journey. That first page. The first cliff hanger or shocking surprise. The wall. The major plot hole. The irrational character responses. The triumph. The big finish. The elation of finishing a challenge.

But above all those things, the fact that someone, somewhere was taking time out of their busy lives to read my in progress story just floors me. People are good. I’m humbled and thankful that I didn’t go down this adventure alone, because experiences shared are a lot more memorable and a lot more fun. Thanks Shawn, thanks Medium (I see you Julie!) and everyone else who supported me in this endeavour.

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I certainly have no shortage of things to be thankful for. Of course, that part is not surprising to me at all #grateful.

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