Nano Spotlight-A Wrimo’s Journey: Dollars for Words

Well, I said that I’d be back to your regularly unscheduled spotlight soon, so tonight is the time! I’m shining the spotlight on Jennifer, who goes as writerfangirl on the nanowrimo site, and who wanted me to link to her fundraising page. Here’s Jennifer about her Nanowrimo history:

I’ve known about NaNoWriMo since 2001–I believe I heard about it in one of my English classes.  I didn’t know when it was, and had never looked at the page. Sometime after this, I purchased Chris Baty’s book.

In 2003, I had tempted doing NaNoWriMo–but opted not because I was working on my Bachelor’s thesis in Creative Writing. I didn’t even think I could use my short story collection that was my Bachelor’s thesis toward the 50k! I feel like I had another login that I have forgotten about? In any case, in 2005, I signed up and I made a personal pledge to myself: I would complete the 50k or I wouldn’t be a writer.  Since 2007 or 2008, I have been organizing write-ins for people in the Pomona Valley–my little area that is nestled between four different counties, and even cuts into two or three of them, but is its own unique thing. We are not Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange County, or Riverside.  And in fact, Pomona Valley was once considered to be made into a county with Pomona as the county seat, but so was dismissed because of disputes among the different counties.  Pomona Valley has been its own region for NaNoWriMo since 2011.

I love writers, I love writing, and I love reading. I have a BA in Creative Writing, worked at Borders (RIP), was a writing tutor at my community college alma mater, was a fiction editor for the literary journal Rhapsoidia, and am now a creativity coach. My goal is to bring the different pockets of writers that are throughout the Pomona Valley together and to facilitate collaboration.  There are so many wonderfully diverse voices here! Last year we were working with Upland Public Library primarily and this year we are continuing the relationship with the Upland Public Library and are now working with the dA Center for the Arts in POMONA as well!! 😀  I am so happy that we are having regular write-ins in our region’s name sake.  Every year we get more people homing to us and every year we get more write-ins.  My other goal, during NaNoWriMo, is to have a write-in in every Pomona Valley city every day of the week.

I’ve done NaNoWriMo every year since 2005 and have won it seven times (The only two years I didn’t were 2007 and 2009–and 2009 is the year I went to the Night of Writing Dangerously.) Last year I wrote 100,000 words during NaNoWriMo because I wanted to up the ante of the challenge.  This year, I am challenging myself to 250,000 words in 30 days. It’s a two-part scenario, though.  I am also fundraising because I want those words to matter to the lives of other people now. For every dollar I fundraise, I am writing a word–and I am planning that to be 250,000.  😀  Want to help?

What are you writing about?
I am writing about the Greek Gods and gender fluidity. My main character is Iris, the Goddess of the Rainbow, and they don’t remember what they are, are living a human existence in the 21st century in West Hollywood, and find themselves with an array of interesting abilities, including having their gender, physical features, and personality shift depending on their own mood and the moods of others around them.  I have about fourteen characters in this story, most of which I only have names, physical descriptions, and abilities at the moment.  This is a story that fits into my urban fantasy universe that I have been building since that Bachelor’s thesis I completed in 2004. It’s Gods, werewolves, immortals, vampires, fae, and other interesting beings.

What is your favorite book
Ralph Wahlstrom’s The Tao of Writing.  This is the first book about writing that I remember connecting with.  Wahlstrom offers his personal story, intermixing writing exercises (and quite an extensive list of them too!), and brings in spirituality. It was mesmerizing and changed the sort of books that I love reading. I read a lot more books about writing, self-help, and new age/spirituality books now. Non-fiction.  Wahlstrom’s tone was approachable and warm.  I was moved by his words–so much so that I wrote him a letter after reading the book.  The man wrote a note back to me! That made me so happy. 😀

What advice would you give to all your fellow Wrimos?

Everyone can complete NaNoWriMo with the right intention.  Make that declaration to yourself to finish it by November 30th and stick with it. Make time for your writing, every day.  Make a set schedule, a date with your writing if you will, if you need to.  Writing your NaNo is one of those things that is part of your daily routine now, like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and getting dressed.  If you make it an important part of your day, and write the 1667 words a day, you will win. It’s really that simple.

What’s your favorite thing to do on a Saturday night?
Really depends on the Saturday night. During NaNo? Curled up in my bed and writing. 😀

Can you help me reach 250,000 dollars for National Novel Writing Month? Pledging a dollar or more will get you a chance of winning creativity coaching for life from me.  For every dollar you donate, you get that many chances. If you donate 200 dollars you also get the chance of winning a month of creativity coaching.  And also there are t-shirts that you might get too!  I explain everything on my fundraising page:  I will be posting regular updates about my progress, my experiences this NaNo, and other things that comes up this November, so stay tuned!  I appreciate all the help I get.  We are in this together.  ♥♥ (two hearts because the Doctor has two hearts.) THANK YOU!!!

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