what’s in a name? that which we call a NaNo would by any other name smell as sweet

(Prelude: NaNo, for the uninitiated, is shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, wherein a large number of ordinarily pretty normal human beings try to crank out 50,000 written words in the span of one month—November—presumably finishing a novel in the process.)

I realized yesterday that this year’s NaNo marks 10 years on a few big anniversaries for me.

10 years ago this month, I dove headlong into NaNo Boston for the first time and met many like-minded writerly people who continue to be good friends today, people who are an integral part of my “Boston life.” (Yesterday one of these friends came over for a two-person NaNo write-in. I was like “dude, we’re so old!”) I’d lived in Boston for almost a year at this point, and had made the decision that I actively needed to make friends that weren’t on the internet. So obviously I chose an introverted, internet-centric activity to accomplish this. Anyway, it worked out, and hey—anyone I met that first year in November 2009, it’s been 10 years! We’re so old!

10 years ago this week, I met my partner. His shop was generously hosting a weekly NaNo write-in and I just… wandered in. Into his heart. The rest is history. We’re celebrating our 10-year anniversary early next year. What??

Have I ever finished a book during NaNo? Psh, of course not. Don’t be absurd. My relationship with NaNo has never been about writing. I can write a book at any time of the year. (Or, more likely, I can not write a book at any time of year. I don’t have to just not write it in November.) I usually like to kind of hitch my star to NaNo, to try to channel that energy of so many people being into writing books—how cool!—but I’m under no illusions that I’m going to succeed at any of my writing goals. In terms of writing books, my 10 years of NaNo have been pretty much a bust.

But for me NaNo’s never been about that 50K, really, and overall it’s made my life pretty darn good. Here’s to 10 more years!