The National Writing Month is in full swing, so what better time to visit their corporate headquarters?
Although I personally have never entered into the NaNoWriMo fray of writing a novel in one month, I know several people who have participated. Friends from Canada, the UK, and Australia, have sung its praises for years. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of yearly participants.
Like many people, I assumed that the whole deal was run out of someone’s breakfast nook. Or at least that’s the impression I got when looking at their website. And I do believe that it did start out of Chris Baty’s apartment back in 1999. Then last year, while looking into NaNoWriMo, I stumbled upon the fact that they had a physical presence a short drive from my present home. I knew I had to go.
The Office of Letters and Light, (NaNoWriMo HQ), is located on that last little smidgen of South Berkeley, CA, before it turns into Oakland. One hundred years ago, their office had been a small store – a tailor’s…. a grocery store…hardware & horse tackle? The glass windowed store front now showcases an old school desk on one side, and a typewriter on the other. The front door opens into a long, narrow shop, bright and gleaming, and quite a contrast to the grey day outdoors.
I was greeted by Chris Angotti, their Chief Operating Officer, who welcomed me to look around and take pictures. Even though everyone was in the middle of all-out-craziness – this being November, all were pleasant and smiling and happy to answer my questions.
The poster on the wall for The Night of Writing Dangerously, caught my eye. It’s a fabulous night of dining and drinking and writing at the beautiful Julia Morgan Ballroom in San Francisco. When I mentioned that it sounded like a blast, but that I would not get one word written at a party, another staffer said I should just come to enjoy the atmosphere. It does sound rather enticing.
|A block from HQ in 1946 (Bay Area News Group.)|
For those who participate, I have nothing but admiration. For those who actually achieve 50,000 words in one month…I am astounded. On their website it states that "Our experiences since 1999 show that 50,000 words is a challenging but achievable goal, even for people with full-times jobs and children."
Oh dear....where have I gone wrong? In the past year I have written at least 50,000 words, but that is a combination of three different books that I started. Nonetheless, the efforts of the tens of thousands who are currently banging away at their typewriters, is quite inspirational. Maybe I'll hammer out another few chapters over the weekend.