One night, last week, I went on the NaNoWriMo 2015 site site to enter my word count for the night when I saw the message below:
“Winning Starts on November 20!”
Last year about this time, I was teaching Composition I at one college and Composition II at another and dog-paddling along on my work-in-progress, Man After Midnight, on NaNoWriMo 2014.Last year, the idea that I could actually finish early was impossible, even unfathomable. Merely allowing myself to think about it would have driven me crazy.
But this year? In spite of teaching three classes turning in just as four batches of essays before the semester is over, here I am back for more.
Color me fearless.
Pumped about jumping into a whole new work, Crimson Feathers, a paranormal romance with a healthy dose of reality, I could hardly wait for October to get out of the way. With a synopsis, a pitch, and a fistful of character sketches, I was primed to jump into my story and could hardly wait for October to get out of the way. In the meantime, I had managed to come down with write-in fever that raged like California wildfire and even spread into the minds of some students after I offered them extra credit for attending the presentations, signing up and posting a novel idea on NaNoWriMo, to staying the course and pounding out a 50,000 first draft of a novel of their own.
Although jobs and other commitments caused some to fall by the wayside, one has stayed strong since the second night. Tonight, as she and I worked on our stories, I almost forgot for that two hours that I was her professor and she was my student. For tonight, we were mighty writers on fire. She was working on her NaNo WIP. Since I finished and received my Winner Certificate on Friday, November 20, I was writing yet a more expanded synopsis of my work.
It has been an exciting three weeks with presentations at the Judith Carrier Library at Tarrant County College’s Southeast Campus every Tuesday, from November 3 to tonight’s finale on November 24. Hosted by Liliana Cano, a library employee, and Yvonne Jocks, a creative writing professor, the presentation has been a huge success, at least in this writer’s mind. Even though we had brief presentations on November 10 and 17, we spent most of the evening in a write-in that, for some, could last as long as 10:00 p.m.
On November 10, one of my English colleagues, Emilee Taylor, brought a presentation on revision and editing.
On November 17, Charles Renthrope, a former TCCD student, talked about the children’s book, Escape From Smoothie Mountain that he and his wife authored.
Tonight was the final presentation and party. People who had been attending received decals, collapsible water bottles, and certificates with their names and titles of their books on them.To come, Writers Cubes, for further inspiration.
Now that I am a two-time winner of NaNoWriMo, I have gained the confidence to help others find their way around the NaNoWriMo site. Tonight, as a reporter from the Collegian, our campus newspaper, interviewed me, one of her questions was this: “What advice would you give an aspiring writer?”
My answer was the same one I continue to tell myself over and over. And over: “Whatever happens, keep writing.”