I’ve heard from people much cooler than I am that NaNoWriMo (that’s National Novel Writing Month for the uninitiated) has become something of a cliche among “real” writers (whoever they are.)

30 days, 50,000 words, rough drafts, crazy writing, hanging out in cafes talking about the books you dream of publishing…to some that seems a little narcissistic.  Does the world really need that many would-be novelists?

Well, I have two responses to that.  First of all, I can think of dozens of novels that changed my life and I’m glad every one of those writers was self-centered enough to write them.  And secondly, I’m a NaNoWriMo believer.

I’ve participated in NaNoWriMos off and on since 2009.  Most of the time I’ve won, in 2014 as a new mom I lost epically, and most of what I wrote was pretty bad.  But then again, most of what all writers write is pretty bad.  There’s this thing called practice that has to be done to get better, and when you do get better there’s this thing called editing.

This year, I discovered that NaNoWriMo also has a Camp version.  Well, anyone who has followed this blog at all probably knows how much I like anything called camp, so after struggling to fit writing into my life as a new mom, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo in April.  I had no idea where it would take me.

I didn’t know when I started that what I would end up doing is writing a lot of flash fiction.  Or that I would love it.

I didn’t know that I would find a wonderful, supportive community of writers who inspired me to go beyond just writing into sharing and editing, and all those next steps.  Camp NaNoWriMo is so much like camp that it has cabins.  They’re awesome.  Shout out to mine, Inspirationville, you rock!

I didn’t know that just a month after finishing camp I would launch a flash fiction podcast.  I didn’t know that now, halfway through just my second camp I would be a podcast editor reading short story submissions from writers all over the world so I can bring their writing to you.

Here’s the thing about trying things: you don’t know where they will take you.  You won’t know until you go there.

So what’s the challenge you’ve been shying away from.  Writing every day?  Taking on that big project?  Writing a novel?  Selling one?

Do you have a dream of where you will be as a writer?  I did, and this isn’t it.  This is something different, something awesome, something that I got to by tackling one adventure at a time.

Camp is halfway over, but there’s still room there for you.  And if that’s not the challenge you need to take on, there’s something out there that is.  You don’t know where it will take you, but it just might be someplace fabulous.

Have a great trip!