Writing by its nature is a solitary activity. But that changes every November when writers from throughout the world come together in small groups to support each other as they individually attempt to tackle a Herculean challenge – write 50,000 words in one month.
It’s all part of NaNoWriMo, short for National Novel Writing Month. The official Cape Cod group of intrepid writers have dedicated their Novembers to accomplishing this feat for the past 12 years. Since 2017, they have met once a week at CapeSpace where they encourage one another to accomplish their NaNoWriMo goals.
“NaNoWriMo isn’t just about writing,” said the group’s Municipal Liaison Lori Watson. “It’s about community and connection and setting aside 30 days to do something you really love to do.”
In the middle of this year’s NaNoWriMo, we sat down with several participants to talk about their passion for writing and the bonds they have formed through this shared activity.
Lori Watson (Forestdale)
How many NaNoWriMos have you participated in? Thirteen.
This year’s genre: I’m working on final edits for three short stories I’m getting ready to self-publish on Kindle. One is steampunk. One is a Christian-themed horror. And one is more literary fiction.
What do you like about CapeSpace? It is a beautiful setting to work in and it’s calm. Just having this room has been great and the people have been wonderful.
What do you love about writing? Writing is something I’ve always had to do. For me, it’s how I express myself, how I process and just create.
Jessica Clay (South Dennis)
How many NaNoWriMos have you participated in? Zero. I’m a first timer!
Why did you decide to participate this year? I had a psychic and a palm reader tell me I had to write my memoir this summer.
This year’s genre: Memoir
How has the experience been? I love the write-ins [at CapeSpace]. That is what motivates me to get the writing done.
What do you love about writing? That I get to know myself in new ways and my experiences in new ways. I think reading goes hand-in-hand with writing and [through reading] you get to learn from other people’s experiences and other people’s stories.
Erin Germaine (Harwich)
How many NaNoWriMos have you participated in? Fifteen.
Why do you continue to participate in NaNoWriMo? This year I’m taking off, but I will be back next year. The community is just a wonderful group. These people have become my friends and I’m just here [at CapeSpace] cheering them on. I wanted to be a part of the feeling of NaNo.
What’s your pitch for someone considering participating in NaNoWriMo next year? It’s nice to have other people who are going through the same thing who can offer up suggestions like, “What if you tried this?” or “What if you tried that?”
What do you like about CapeSpace? It’s just a very welcoming, comfortable place to gather. We felt like we were at home from the very beginning.
Paudraig Curran (East Bridgewater)
How many NaNoWriMos have you participated in? Seven.
This year’s genre: High fantasy
What do you love about writing? I like creating the world and creating the characters… Hypothetically, I kind of control where it goes, but there have been times when the story has taken a complete left turn that I didn’t expect at all.
What do you like best about NaNoWriMo? When there is a group of people working towards the same goal, it kind of provides a boost, at least for me… It’s peer pressure, but in a good way. So many people here are intent on creating art which is nice to see.
Kiersten Drew (Yarmouth)
How many NaNoWriMos have you participated in? I think I’m on 10 now. I’ve been doing this since high school.
This year’s genre: Fantasy
What do you like best about NaNoWriMo? I love the community and challenging myself to still write while planning a wedding [in December] and moving into a new house.
What do you love about writing? I like being able to put the stories in my head onto paper. It’s just a sense of accomplishment, even if I don’t share them.
What do you like about CapeSpace? This is such a gorgeous venue. I like how welcoming a community it is and how bright and cheery everyone is.