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note to self: i’ll be there for you, always

written june 6, 2021. Photo by Kristine Cinate on Unsplash I have always looked for myself in other people. I think the idea was that they would somehow hold the pieces of me that I felt were missing. That maybe, if I wrapped my identity up in theirs enough, we would somehow make a whole person. It's not healthy to live like this, but I did it anyway — burning through relationships and searching for something I couldn't quite name. It was never enough, not to be myself, but it was never enough to latch my identity to other people, either. I got close, several times — I thought I had reached the pinnacle of self discovery. I thought I had completed myself. But in the end, relying on other people to help build yourself is never a viable way to do things. It's only recently that I've started to become comfortable with the idea of being enough, as I am, on my own. Several years ago, in this same position, I would have searched for another person to attach my identity onto,

Five Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo: Reprise

On a whim, I was looking at old posts from October 2011 this evening. Exactly three years ago now, I put up this post, 5 Reasons Why I Love NaNoWriMo. While I'm sort-of-kind-of-maybe-patiently waiting for the NaNo site to let me add my new novel to my profile (NaNo staff, I completely sympathize with technical troubles and wish you luck), I'm going to indulge myself in remembering, again, what makes NaNo so freakin' awesome.

1. The community.

Time and time again, it's the community that keeps dragging bringing me back. The feeling of thousands of writers coming together all at one time to make something amazing is beautiful. I've met some of my best friends through NaNo connecting us, and some of my existing friendships have become deeper because of NaNo. I rarely feel as connected to my writing buddies as I do during NaNoWriMo. (This reason is number one because it's a big one. It also plays into point #4, but we'll get to that.)

2. The feeling in the air.

This sounds dumb, but bear with me. There's a specific feeling that hits around, well, October 11th. It's the one of fall, and turning leaves, and fresh starts. And I love that feeling. While it may not be specifically related to NaNo, and I might have these feelings anyway, it's still irrevocably tied in my memory to all the NaNoWriMos I've done in the past, and the incredible emotions of excitement it's stirred up in me over the years. As Anne of Green Gables said, "I'm so glad I live in a world with Octobers." (Or something akin to that; forgive me, I paraphrased.) And now I'm about to mangle the quote even more by saying, I'm so glad I live in a world with NaNoWriMo... and writing.

3. The incentive. 

Simply put, NaNo makes me get off my butt and write. While this past year I think I've gotten a lot better about writing often, there were years where November was the only time I'd actually start and (sort of) finish something. Without it, I honestly don't know if I'd be where I am today as a writer. NaNoWriMo has taught me to write no matter what, and thankfully, that inspiration and drive to write has started to overflow into the rest of the year for me as well. But I still don't think you can beat the frenzy of trying to write 50k in a month. That's just an incredible feeling.

4. Sharing my novel with the world, and feeling validated as a writer.

I know, I know. This point isn't exactly the most selfless point in the world. Nevertheless, sometimes being a writer can become a lonely existence. Let's face it, it can be hard when you're stuck in your own head all of the time. I think we can all relate to the feeling of feeling proud of the characters and the worlds that we've created (when we're not beating up on ourselves mercilessly, that is). We want others to love our characters as much as we love them, but aren't sure if they will, and I think that's a very human and understandable trait. Writing is a very solitary activity, so having an outlet to share about it can be very helpful. Oftentimes, whether in the form of NaNo buddies or setting up my NaNo profile each year, NaNoWriMo is that outlet for me. It gives me (more of) an excuse to talk about my writing, to make covers, to write a synopsis. While I can do this the rest of the year (and I do), there's nothing that beats uploading your cover to the NaNo site and being able to feel like you're (more of) a real author. It's really therapeutic and exciting to share about writing, especially because writing is usually a very insular activity that often means locking ourselves in a room and pounding out words. Sharing about my writing and feeling the community surrounding me is one thing I look forward to about NaNo every year. COME SOON NANO SITE.

In addition, NaNoWriMo makes me feel so empowered about my writing and my hopes and dreams for my books. The NaNo staff, in their various taglines, updates, and pep talks, are really great about encouraging writers and telling them that the world does need their book. It makes me feel so legitimized and validated, and I really appreciate that.

5. Getting a first draft.

My current WIP, Petrichor, was my NaNo novel last year, and though it will have edits to go through like any book, NaNo helped me lay the foundation for what it would become. Too many times I've come up with a novel idea and then just... let it sit there. Those novels will have what I usually think is a great concept, lovable characters, and a really nice aesthetic and Pinterest board. Sometimes it even has a full-on novel playlist. But you know what it doesn't have? Words. Often these novels remain a legendary headcanon kept solely in my head. And that's a problem. I've often regretted not writing these things down while I had a hold of the muse, while I had a vision. Because sometimes, time has stolen the vision of what I wanted that novel to be, even though I once kept it so clearly in my head. Thanks to NaNo, I've avoided that problem with at least some of my novels. I've laid the groundwork for some very important books of mine, including Petrichor. Some of them I may never return to, but the point is, at least I wrote them.

. . . . . .

I could say so much more about NaNo. This is my sixth year participating, which blows my mind. It's changed my life, and I don't know what I'd be like if I hadn't joined it under strong encouragement from my friend Georgie in 2009. It's one of my most favorite things ever. For me, it's the most wonderful time of the year, or at least one of them. (I apologize to Christmas and the creator of that song, Andy Williams. Don't worry, I love Christmas too.) And though it may sound cheesy, I'm grateful for NaNoWriMo and the way it has changed and shaped my life.

What about you? What are YOUR five things you love about NaNo?


  1. I have never done NaNo so I don't have a 5-things....but I probably will AFTERWARDS. x) I think it's kind of awesome just knowing that thousands and thousands of people all over the planet are writing stories at the same time as you. THAT is just cool to think about.

  2. THIS. This, this, this, this! ALL OF IT. You took every single one of my thoughts and feelings on NaNo and put them into words. Yes, yes, yes!!!

    The community most definitely! Writing is a very lonely occupation, but during NaNo you know you're doing it right along thousands upon thousands of others. And, as you said, making a cover and sharing what you're writing with someone other than just, well,'s an amazing feeling. NaNo makes writing feel so much...bigger, somehow. It's a bigger than life feeling. And the NaNo staff makes it so much fun!

    THE FEELING. I know precisely what you're saying!!! The second the cooler weather of fall hits I instantly get pounded with all the excitement and anticipation of NaNo and overwhelmed with happy memories of my previous NaNos. The cooler weather, drinking lattes, taking my laptop outside to write--it all brings on the thrills of NaNo to me. That feeling of NaNo coming is probably my favorite of all.

    DEFINITELY the incentive. If it wasn't for NaNo I wouldn't be nearly as far with my writing as I am now, or as passionate about it. I always loved writing, but it was after my first NaNo that I realized that's what I wanted to do with my life. I owe NaNo so much.

    And nothing beats having a first draft, written quickly at that!

    So, basically, YES. Your 5 reasons are precisely mine. Like you, NaNo has absolutely changed my life. I'm so looking forward to this year's! :D

  3. I love this post! I agree with the "feeling in the air", this is only my second year(though thrid NaNo as I did camp) but I am noticeably more excited with the prospect of NaNoWriMo just around the corner.

    All lot of my five would be a lot like yours. I love how it inspires me to write harder and faster and better than ever. I love how much fun I have with the whole writing community. I love making fun blog posts about it. =)

    Anyways, great post and good luck with NaNo!

  4. I don't have five things that I love about NaNo. I've tried participating in the last few years time and time again, but as it turns out, I never have time. If I manage to set half an hour aside to write something, I'm already utterly happy. Only this half an hour tends to go into my blog. This year I've decided despite my budy schedule to do as much for NaNo as I can. I already know that I won't manage the 50000 words, but even if I get 30000 I'll be more than happy. My co-blogger and I are only doing NaNo themed posts in November, so I hope that'll help a bit.
    And I know what you mean about the air in October. I actually started planning my story more in depth on October 11th... :)


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