It’s Real This Time by Natalie
My first ever attempt at NaNoWriMo took place when I was approximately nine years old. My mother had found this cool writing activity in her endless expeditions across the internet to find homeschool activities. This particular writing project caught her eye and she proceeded to print off a provided guide to aid the writing of our novel. I will never forget sitting on her bed five years ago and thinking, “A whole novel in just thirty days? I’ve never written anything longer than a page in my whole life!” Of course, to a nine-year-old, this was about the equivalent of asking me to learn Calculus after barely being able to multiply my twelve facts. A few days went by as I began to pull together a painfully basic idea for a novel (I’m pretty sure it was about a dolphin who didn’t fit in or something…) with my mom. We hit a blunt about ten pages into the 100+ page workbook, and my mom resorted to saying, “Perhaps this is for the big kids.” I have to admit, as the little, perfectionist girl I was, that was music to my ears; I had become bored and frustrated just as fast as she did. Writing felt like a chore back then.
Years later in 2013, I, a more put-together fourteen-year-old (I use the term put-together very lightly) came across my long lost friend once again: NaNoWriMo. I’m not going to lie, hearing this clumped-together word actually caused me to cringe a little. However, even though my confidence in my own writing was absolutely pitiful, I decided to jump in headfirst without regret. I went into this NaNo with absolutely zero preparation. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I created this scrappy idea on the spot while the days of November flew by faster than I could say “1,000 words a day?” Yeah… that was a mistake. I ended up giving in with only a few thousand words to my name and yet another idea crumpled in a mental trashcan. Clearly, this was very demoralizing.
2015 rolled around with many new promises, opportunities, and goals to be fulfilled. It’s quite amazing how much a person can change in two, short years. I had totally overhauled my attitude toward writing and creating in general, which drove me to excel in whatever I did the coming year. Alas, my old buddy, NaNo, greeted me again, but this time, with open arms. A beloved friend of mine reminded me of the event this October; with plenty of time to prepare. I looked November in the face and said, “You know what? You’re not that scary. Just because you have millions of people all over the world paying attention to you for one reason doesn’t mean that I, Natalie Cross, will be bested by your challenge. This year, I will prepare with summaries, outlines, prep videos, and motivation from the Creative Writing Club to meet my goal. Watch out November, it’s real this time.”