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A Little #NaNoWriMo Encouragement….

Published December 2, 2015 by Ashley Townsend

It seems a few of us didn’t quite reach NaNoWriMo Conqueror status this year, although many of us exceeded 50,000 words in previous months. Hey, it’s ebb and flow in the writing process, and we can’t always hit our goals in any given month, no matter how hard we push and slave and abuse our coffee IVs and social network and neglect that thing called “sleep.” So to encourage those who, like me, fell just shy of their goal last month, I thought I’d share this email I received from the NaNo team. I found it to be pretty encouraging, and I hope you do, too. Remember, no one will ever write your novel, and whether you are published or not, as long as you keep writing, no one can ever take your story from you. Be proud of what you accomplished this month, and don’t worry, fellow dreamers. We’ll get ’em next year! ^_^

AND congrats to the winners of NaNoWriMo season–you all worked hard, and I can’t wait to read your WIPs soon!

NaNoWriMo Logo

Dear Writer,

You might not have hit 50,000 words this month, but you did something tremendously important:

  • You felt a story stirring in your heart, and you began to explore it.
  • You bravely signed up to make creativity a priority in November.
  • You created a beginning—a beginning that will lead to other beginnings.

Sometimes an illness or the demands of life can sidetrack a creative endeavor. Sometimes a story just isn’t quite ready to be written. But don’t despair. A novel travels the same labyrinthian and nettlesome path that its main characters do—overcoming setbacks, facing down gnarly antagonists, and then moving forward toward the light. You built a cocoon for your novel this November. A butterfly will emerge.

So I urge you to keep your creative fires burning and ready yourself to reach 50,000 words next NaNoWriMo. Here are three things you can do if you haven’t already:

  1. Donate to celebrate your novel’s genesis—and to finish it!
  2. Keep the writing conversation going in NaNo’s forums (the lights are on all year!)

  3. Sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo in April to renew your creative commitment.

Most importantly, please keep believing in the transformational magic of creativity, and how it can amplify life in all ways. Our stories connect us. Our stories make us who we are. The world needs your novel, so please write it.

Saluting you for your many future NaNo wins!

Grant Faulkner
Executive Director

P.S. Today is #GivingTuesday—a celebration of generosity. You can also donate to support a classroom in NaNo’s Young Writers Program. We sent 2,000 free novel writing kits to classrooms in 2015. In 2016, we’d like to expand our reach by sending 500 more kits to classrooms near and far. After you donate, let the world know.

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And So it Begins Again!

Published August 20, 2013 by Ashley Townsend

Ah, the first week of the fall semester. *gives a prolonged sniff* Can you smell it in the air? Smells like teen spirit! Actually, it really has more of an odor of desperation as everyone scrambles to get a perfect schedule, tie up their summer fun with a pretty bow, and try to navigate the swirling mass of students who are just as desperate as them to salvage what’s left of their summer. Let the games begin!

run

For some reason, watching that mass of students herding toward the library or through the quad reminds me of the wildebeest scene in The Lion King, only you’re Mufasa, and you just pray you don’t lose your balance and get trampled by the herd. Then, of course, there are always a few hecklers milling about on the grass, cackling like hyenas, and you’re just thinking you can’t wait to be king and graduate. Pretty much sums up the first week of class before you settle into the groove of things.

hye

Then there are those students who, before the first week of class is over, have their online postings and responses completed, extra credit in the making, and already love probing the instructor with “insightful” questions that launch the teacher into an excited diatribe on economics or the beauty of mathematical science in raising marmosets in some jungle, or whatever, that causes class to go way over. And then, if you’re like me and don’t mentally get into the groove until week two (when you map out and color-coordinate the rest of the semester), yet somehow manage to roll out of bed each morning, you most likely have toothpicks propping your eyelids open and a cup of dark Joe in your clenched fist. Seriously, the amount of coffee consumed by American college students during the first and last weeks of each semester is astounding.

asleep

So, basically, there are four types of students, fantastically speaking: The Dragons, Zombie Children, the ghosts, and the Unicorns.

dragon

Dragons are pretty self-explanatory; they’re the students who overachieve and stress themselves out by accomplishing every task with absolute perfection a week before anything is due. They won’t have to take the final, but they’ll be in therapy that day anyway. Oh, yeah, and sometimes they breathe fire. Awesome!

warm

The Zombies tend to stumble into their early morning class with a beanie smashed on their head and a strong espresso in hand. Their eyes are generally glazed over, but somehow they manage to complete the assignment that morning and get a pretty good grade. Come on, admit it; you’ve been a zombie at one point or another in your college careers.

invi

The Ghosts kind of just, well, vanish after the first week of class, only taking on a tangible human form to turn in large assignments and take tests. You’ve probably thought you’ve seen them around town, but when you look back, they’re gone. Whenever the teacher calls on someone to answer a question, she never quite seems to notice them, like they’re the Invisible Man, or something. Yet somehow they manage a passing grade.

univ

And then there are the Unicorns. Super-human, mystical creatures of beauty. They seem to flit in and out of class without a care, acing everything slapped onto their desk. They do the extra credit, though it’s unnecessary, and the instructor is instantly their best friend. Worse still; they never seem to need coffee. This type of personality is actively sought out by other students when it comes time to group-up, so snag ‘em first!

So, what category do you fit into? Most of us probably have a smattering of each, though we can’t seem to disappear as easily as the Ghosts do. May the fittest survive! And the rest of you, sit back and enjoy the show!

Jeneca Zody

writer and artist

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