In 2007, after my initial success with National Novel Writing Month, I regretted that it was only a yearly thing–the thrill of pouring my soul into a story with such a tight deadline (50,000 words in 30 days) was still thrumming in my veins weeks after the final midnight toll. Of course, I planned on writing more, but the challenge had been a wonderful experience and I wished I didn’t have to wait another twelve months to do it.
Thankfully, in late December of that year, I discovered JanNoWriMo, a small, close-knit community of writers who gathered on a forum dedicated to January Novel Writing Month. It wasn’t nearly as big a community as NaNoWriMo, and there was no shiny proofcopies available for the winners, but that didn’t matter. The writers were friendly, kind people with amazing talent, and they welcomed me into their community.
For the next few years, I became one of the year-round folks, those who stuck around the forum long after January had passed. As there was no local writers’ group where I lived, this forum became my home as a writer, where I could share tears and triumphs with others like me. I made friends, encouraged people with their writing, hashed out ideas, and shared my stories for others to enjoy.
Sadly, a couple of years ago, the forum suddenly became unavailable. Issues with the webhost, most likely, but the person handling it was never able to sort it out again, and now JanNoWriMo is only a memory as far as the internet is concerned.
There are other writing forums out there, some that I’ve been a member on, others that I may join someday. However, I will never forget my fellow JanNoers and all the fun we had. Some I am still in contact with, others I hope to be able to contact again in the future. The forums may never live again–in fact, that this point I doubt they will, or would be the same if they did–but the memories I made there are part of what helped me blossom as a writer when I was just starting out, and I will cherish them forever.