Like some people collect keychains, shotglasses, flattened souvenir quarters, I have always collected words, ever since I was a little girl. The dictionary was my best friend (along with his good pal thesaurus) and I would spend many stormy nights huddled beneath the covers with a flashlight, feasting on words. No, actually, that part is a lie. I never actually had to conceal my terrible reading addiction, because I come from a pair of reading addicts who are just as hooked as I am (although I sometimes think maybe I missed out on some great childhood tradition, by never having read beneath the sheets). Family dinners we would bond in silence, books propped between the dinner plate and the juice glass.
I learned to read when I was three, but even before then I was an author, dictating stories to my mother as she patiently wrote them down. And I decided I wanted to be the youngest author in the world. It was disappointing when that didn’t pan out, but I never stopped writing. I wrote poetry, short stories, plays. I kept stacks of journals. I had notebooks filled with characters, plots and half written stories.
I still have bits and pieces of unfinished tales, scraps of worlds and scenes and people. I still turn daily to my dictionary, to my thesaurus. I still bury myself in textbooks and paperbacks. Never stop reading. Never stop writing.
In less than a month I will be joining thousands of people across the world in the pursuit of words. This will be my second year participating in National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. The official challenge is to write a 50k word novel in 30 days. I made my 50k with ease last year, so I’m upping my personal word goal to 75k. I will spend long hours in front of the computer, fingers dancing across the keys, words sailing across the screen, subsisting on copious amounts of sugar and caffeine. I will write without stopping, I will write without correcting, I will write without thinking. Quantity over quality; it’s all about getting it all out, on paper, in text.
People ask, what do you get if you win? As if the sheer act of writing fifty thousand words in thirty days isn’t prize enough. Self-pride, accomplishment, admiration from your peers; but most of all, get the words out, got to get the words out. It’s all about the words.
NaNoWriMo is coming. Are you ready?