NaNoLJers is a livejournal community run by Amber Stults (as of December 2011) which I founded in 2005.I created it selfishly, so that I’d have a group of people I would feel accountable to in regard to my NaNoWriMo novel. On the unselfish side of my motivations, you have the fact I truly wanted to help other people achieve their NaNoWriMo goals too.
Since 2005 NaNoLJers has grown into a community of about 1,000 people but it’s really quiet. Like, really, really quiet, except in May, October and November. That’s because in May we run a writing challenge called Writo De Mayo. November is obviously all about NaNoWriMo and October is about pre-NaNo excitement LOL Still, there are writing prompts, exercises and the like posted on a regular basis (some of them by yours truly) and a great bunch of people are members. If you poke them just right they sometimes even come out to chat outside of the busy periods. Sometimes…
Anyway, before I stepped down as the community leader I started what I hope will become a NaNoLJers tradition — the annual anthology.
Putting together the guidelines was a little tricky and required a lot of tinkering. The thing about NaNoLJers (gawd, could I say that word anymore? LOL) is that we’ve got members at every stage of their writing careers. Some are professional writers and some are just starting out. I wanted to find a way to showcase everyone’s work no matter where they fit on the spectrum. I think we managed it here. Members of the community didn’t submit work for consideration, they submitted it for publication. That way there was no judgement. Less fear. Make no mistake, putting your work ‘out there’ for people to read for the first time (especially) is terrifying. I wanted to minimize that.
I decided to call this anthology Winding Path for three reasons:
- The title fit with the cover image that we, as a writing community, had chosen to use as the cover.
- One of the pieces sent in for inclusion was titled Winding Path
- This anthology took a very winding path toward completion. First there was the endless tweaking of the guidelines for ‘submission’ and then deadlines kept getting pushed back, and finally I had some personal issues with focus and getting things done that pushed back it’s completion even further.
It’s done now, and looks pretty spiffy, even if I do say so myself. It was the first time I’d ever done the entire layout for a .pdf myself (Jo does that stuff for Niteblade) and I learned a crapload of things in the process. That should hopefully make things go smoother next time I do a layout. I tried to do the cover design but then the following conversation took place:
Me: *grumble, swear, grumble*
Jo: You okay?
Me: No. I’m not a graphics person. I don’t do graphics, I do words!
Jo: I do graphics. For a living, even. *gently takes my laptop away*
I think he did a gorgeous job, far better than I could have.
So, if you’re curious you can download a copy of the NaNoLJers Anthology (completely free) at our community page:
~ Winding Path ~
It contains stories by Clare Revell, Amber Stults, Debbie Gorsuch, Emi Bullard, Reb Kreyling, Jade Brooke and yours truly. I’m hoping that next year we’ll have even greater interest and a bigger collection to show for it at the end. If you think you’d like to be a part of that, just join the community and keep an eye open for the guidelines I’ll be putting up sometime around June. Or just read the anthology. It’s all good.