Sunday, November 8, 2009
This is not so much a place as an event. For the past five years, I have participated in National Novel Writing Month, known to the participants as NaNoWriMo. My first two years, I was highly successful, clocking 72,000 words in 2005 and 51K in 2006. 2007 and 2008 were not as good to me, I made it to 15K in my third go, but only 5500 words last year. I was busy teaching and acting and everything else, what can I say? I slept when I would have been writing.
The common denominator for all those years was my location. I was on the Palouse, where a core of about ten people in the Moscow/Pullman areas got together once a week or so to write. They're nice people, but I didn't really have much in common with them, and the write-ins were often at times or locations I couldn't make, so I did most of my writing on my own, at home, in my office or at a local coffee shop. I wasn't even planning on participating in NaNo this year, but decided to sign up to encourage and support a friend.
Because I was no longer on the Palouse, I changed my home region to Chicago. And what a difference that has made.
ChiWriMo is one of the top ten groups in the world participating in NaNoWriMo. In terms of numbers, we are the 9th largest city. And it's tremendously active. There were at least 100 people at the kickoff party on November 1, which was held at the 44th Ward Dinner Party (they reserved the entire restaurant). There are anywhere from two to four write-ins per day, scheduled for locations all over the city, check out the calendar on their homepage (linked above).
Because I'm new to the city, and trying to make a community for myself, I decided to attend several events, including the statewide write-in on Saturday, and I'm so happy I have. Not only have I made tremendous strides on my wordcount, I've met some lovely people and discovered some new places to eat.
ChiWriMo has three really hardworking Municipal Liasons who run the entire thing, and I've met two of them (probably also the third, but I really don't know for sure). They're making some great choices in terms of creating a fun, competetive, supportive atmosphere for NaNo, and I'm pleased enough to be a part of it that I might actually finish this year, though since I currently don't have anything else going on, perhaps that shouldn't be a surprise.
Anyway, if you participate in NaNo, and you're in Chicagoland, you should definitely see what ChiWriMo has to offer. They're awesome.