November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. It started in 1999, and is basicallya challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November—a first draft of a novel.
I was going to do it in 2008, but I chickened out. The whole idea was really daunting. This year, since I’ve started work on a novel anyway, I’m going to do it. However, I’m not holding myself up to 50,000 words (1,667 a day). I’ll be happy if I write 500 words.
For me, this is to keep me writing and to build up momentum. My novel actually began as a memoir, but I couldn’t remember all of the details of events. So I decided to fictionalize it. I already had the bulk of it written, but little did I know that fictionalizing it would be more work than merely changing all of the pronouns from first-person to third! Fictionalizing gave me a lot of freedom, and I changed a ton of what I’d written so far.
Before the pandemic, I rarely took a writing class/workshop. My anxiety was such that I was afraid to be around new people. (I still am.) I had taken a few classes online, but they were asynchronous, meaning you logged in when you were able after the instructor posted a new assignment, and then turned in the homework by the due date.
Once Covid hit, many of the same writing studios/workshops held classes online via Zoom. These were known as live classes. You and your classmates and teacher met at the same time every week, “live.” Despite my anxiety, I was able to attend live classes. I was still afraid of new people, but the security of being on the Internet tempered that fear. I even kept my camera on. And unlike an in-person class, students can be from all over the world.
That doesn’t mean I was without anxiety, like about speaking up in class or worse, being called on. I usually felt like I had nothing important to say. One class I took was live, but instead of being held on Zoom, it was via a chat box where people typed in their comments during an allotted time. I couldn’t get a word in edgewise, so I didn’t like the format.
Here is a list of writing studios/workshops from which I have taken classes and liked (in no particular order). There are definitely more out there.
So in July, I sent in an application to the Anne LaBastille Memorial Writers Residency. According to the website, announcements were to be made August 23rd. That date has come and gone, and I haven’t heard a word nor seen anything on the site. Obviously, this is frustrating. Getting that one fiction spot for writers who aren’t from the area is a long shot, but still.
At this point, I’m guessing that I didn’t get it or I would have heard. I mean, the residency begins in 2 or 3 weeks. Still, it’d be nice to have an answer, even if it’s a rejection.