After participating in the annual NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge for three years, I finally decided to attend their event, Night of Writing Dangerously, for the first time.
I had seen a few pictures that were on the NaNoWriMo Facebook page. I had read the about page on the NaNoWriMo webpage so I had a small understanding of what I was to expect. Being there exceeded expectations.
I had quite a time of it getting into the city of San Francisco ( that’s a story for another time) so when I finally arrived at the event I was quite flustered. The check in process was smooth, the ride up to the ballroom was terrifying ( I hate elevators), but once off the elevators and into the the long ‘L’ shaped hallway leading to the ballroom I had finally arrived. The place was packed with people dressed fancy with laughter and drinks swarming around the crowd.
Now with any sizable crowd I become uncomfortable. There were so many people that making my way through the immediate area was tough. Then, I found an open space and felt I could breath. I found my bearings assessing the people in their finest and saw, with dread, that I would have to push through the sections of floor that had the most people huddled together talking and laughing to reach the bar. After the morning I had and my half failed attempt to reach my hostel (yes I stayed in a Hostel and it wasn’t that bad) I was going to treat myself to a drink (they were free).
With my drink in hand I made my way back to the area of the hallway that wasn’t so crowded with people and stood my ground near a wall trying to catch my breath. For the first ten minutes or so I was content trying to wind down from my mad dash from the airport to my hostel and then to the event. I overheard quite a few interesting conversations and that’s how I amused myself for the first ten minutes or so of the event. A girl came to stand beside me, assume-ably tired of the crazy crowds as well and I struck up a conversation with her.
Soon after that it was time to enter the ballroom. I’m happy to say that it wasn’t bright, but lit up just enough to see each other’s faces, where we should sit, and the front podium. I found a seat for myself at a table that had only one occupant and took a seat. I found myself right off the candy bar. In the middle of the room they had a single table set up with nothing but candy. Chocolates, sweets, and sours of every kind you can think of. After getting my computer set up I converged on the candy table. I wasn’t the only one. There were tons of us who were going either direction trying to fill a small bag full of every kind of candy we could reach.
After sitting back down with my bag full of candy ready to much on throughout the night of writing. (Mostly cause it’s candy and other because the sugar rush would be nice every once in a while.) After sitting with my bag of goodies I snapped a picture, but by that time the massive throng of candy hoarders had dispersed.
The night started off immediately. We had our leader, Sarah Mackey, open the night with a bit of banter and people were free to write, browse the candy bar, talk, scout the bar, or whatever else at will.
The only bad thing I have to say about the night was that my computer keyboard wasn’t working perfectly. My space bar had taken a turn for the worse the day before and so the whole night I was stuck mashing the space bar five times before it would actually work.
We had table word wars, and word sprints and it was all so much fun. The energy in the room was nothing short of amazing with all the clicking from people’s key boards, the low murmur of excited, writing filled, frenzied voices.
During the course of the evening for any writer who hit the end goal of 50,000 words the hosts had a large bell available for those writers to go up and ring it with muster. Those who reached the end goal rang the bell and received a golden crown showing the victory. Throughout the night there were more bell ringers than I thought to keep up with. Honestly, after about the fifth ring I stopped trying to keep track. But when the bell was rung the whole room erupted into happy calls and clapping. It was quite fun to congratulate the early winners.
My favorite portion of the evening was when Marissa Meyer, author of the Luna Chronicles featuring Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, and Winter, moved to the front to speak to all the WriMos present. She spoke about how she started the Lunar Chronicles for her project years ago and she was proud of the organization and all those who participated. She went on to tell us anything is possible. Her speech was wonderful and if I could repeat it verbatim I would. Thank you Marissa for taking time out of your busy tour schedule to come speak to us at Night of Writing Dangerously. Everybody present received a signed copy of Cinder. I already own a copy, but I do NOT mind owning a second especially since it’s signed. I managed to snap a picture.
At the candy bar I had the good fortune to meet Kristina Horner. For those who don’t know, Kristina is a famous BookTuber and NaNoWriMo Queen. She is an amazing talent and I look forward to any and all videos she decides to post.
The girls and I at my table talked between word sprints, table wars, trips to the candy bar or to get coffee. Serves came around tanking drink orders and I tried the famous cosmonovelton (or something like that), it was pretty good. By that time of the night though I didn’t end up finishing that drink and opted for coffee. Now I wish I had payed better attention to how they made it. By the end of the night we had one girl at our table who was writing frantically and I’m glad to report, with just minutes to spare, she reached 50,000. The rest of us parted the ballroom (after many photos that weren’t taken with my phone) all having reached the night’s goal of 25,000 or more words. The night was a great success and I’m glad I actually dressed up for the event. (Sorry, didn’t take any selfies.)
In future I will definitely be attending the Night of Writing Dangerously again. It may not be several years in a row, but I will go back and I will definitely be better prepared. On my way out I snapped one more picture of the near empty ballroom. My very first night in San Francisco was absolutely brilliant! I can’t wait for my next chance to attend the Night of Writing Dangerously.