Working on this musical has taught me a lot about filmmaking, script writing, and the importance of time management, but there’s also a bit of an odd consequence that came about because of it as well.  Errol and I have been working together for just under a year.  We had technically met only a short time before that when I went to a Debs and Errol gig (the first one in fact!).  Before that, I didn’t even know of his existence.

Which was odd, as we were both in the same NaNoWriMo region and both had been participating in NaNo for years.  For those of you who know Errol at all, he is a well known presence on the NaNo forums and makes a concentrated effort to make sure he meets everyone involved in Toronto NaNo.  So when we first met, he was understandably surprised that not only did he not know me from NaNo, but that I had no clue he was involved either. I’m pretty sure the conversation went like this:

“You do NaNo?!  But why didn’t I see you on the forums or at events?!”

“Because I was writing!”

Which is true.  But the other truth is, I’m fairly shy.  I started doing NaNo back in 2006 along with my roommate.  I’m pretty sure I went to a total of one event.  There were tons of people, all excited and eager, none of whom I knew.  I am not the greatest at initiating conversation to begin with, and while it was fun to meet new people, I felt fairly overwhelmed and decided that NaNo was just for writing.  The forums I didn’t touch at all.  They were extremely daunting, and still are.

And for years, that has been my experience of NaNo.  I wrote, updated my word count and left it at that.  So when it came time to write the musical, I suddenly realized I only had half the NaNo experience to draw from.  As we wrote and filmed, it sunk in even more just how much I was missing.  I knew a ton about the motivation to write, the battle to reach the word count, the feeling of a dismal failure as well as the joy of success, but I had no inkling about what it was like to be in the NaNo community.  Errol had to fill in a lot of those blanks.  Heck, I didn’t even know what an ML was and I was playing one!

So at Errol’s insistence, I went to the NaNo forums when they opened up, partly to spread word about our musical but also to try and see what I had been missing all these years.  And then an odd thing happened.  I began to get more involved and invested.  Sure, my forum posts are fairly sporadic (forums have never been my forte), but there are people on the forum that I’ve begun to regularly respond to.

I went to my first Kick-off party this year, and it was amazing to meet new people only to learn that I’ve actually known them for over two months now online.  I’m connecting more with people over twitter.  I’m commiserating with others over word counts.  I’m even starting to look forward to some of the events coming up.  Of course, I will never reach Errol levels of social enthusiasm (few can :D), but I can at least appreciate how important NaNo is to many people.  It’s about writing, yes, but then it’s also about being part of a community.  A slightly insane community, but a community none the less :D. It feels good to be a part of it.

Now if I can only figure out how to quote on the forums…Gargh, forums are hard.

Manda

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