As a little kid, I understood by doing. I rarely listened to music without picking up an instrument, or watched TV without twitching along with the scenes, like those old guys whose shoulders dip and fists clench whenever a boxing match is on. More important to the ultimate course of my life, I couldn’t read without writing.
The word “fanfic” had barely been invented in those pre-internet days, but I spent thousands of pages cloning Tolkien, wrote many proto-novels channeling Joanna Russ, and still commit the occasional Raymond Chandler-esque simile.
Writing has always been a part of my reading. I think it’s a part of any writer’s reading. We understand books by making them.
That’s why I’m a supporter of NaNoWriMo, the month-long festival that invites everyone to become a novelist. A few years ago, Justine and I produced writing tips for every day of November. And my next book is about a young Wrimo who sells her novel to a big publishing house and moves to NYC.
But I’m here today to raise money. This year, the NaNoWriMo Associate Board is focusing on the Young Writers Program, the wing of Nano that assists teen novelists. The YWP is revamping their website, refreshing their already excellent (and free!) curriculum guides for schools who participate in Nano, and expanding their outreach to correctional facilities, halfway houses, and juvenile detention facilities.
This is all great stuff. If you love novels and writers, you should help out. And as a bonus, if you donate in the next month through this website, Justine and I will match the first ten grand of your donations.
Seriously. We all want to see the novel flourish in the future, right? We want young people to understand the form, to embrace its history and its future, and to continue the mad practice of creating these absurdly long, imperfect strings of text.
We all want this.
So click here to read more about the YWP and to donate. Then tell your friends to do the same.