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nishaanned

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2 reviews

Review for The Office of Letters and Light, Berkeley, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

Last year The Office of Letters and Light launched Camp NaNoWriMo, a July version of the November event. This came at the most perfect time. I had already participated in the November event, so successfully that I was still going with my novel by the time July rolled around again. But oh was I suffering with the lack of motivation. In November, I reached the 50K word goal in 15 days. Yes, that's exactly the half the allotted time. By July, I was desperate for someone to help me finish this behemoth of a novel. And there was Camp NaNo. I couldn't believe my luck. Naturally I signed up immediately. And yes, there were a few snags, a few technical hitches but my lord, once those got ironed out --- and pretty fast too --- my novel trundled steadily along and the feeling was incredible. NaNoWriMo tells me I am not alone when I'm slaving away at my laptop on a novel that may never see the light of day. And the people at OLL make that possible for me. There's no telling how valuable that is, how grateful I am for their existence and the fact that they listened! They actually listened when I put in my November feedback survey how much I wanted another version of NaNo during the year. They actually gave me what I wanted, what I needed. For that I will always be grateful, never mind the goodies they also send when I've attained the goal. This year I can't wait to do Camp NaNo again, never mind waiting til November. And yes, this is another novel.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My motivation, my sense of belonging, emotional and technological support. Result: 253,000 words in a week less than a full year.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them more money to make the technological upgrades they need to make MY NaNo experience all the better and more rewarding.

How would you describe the help you got from this organization?

Life-changing

How likely are you to recommend this organization to a friend?

Definitely

How do you feel you were treated by this organization?

Very Well

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2011

How did you find this group?

Possibly through Neil Gaiman's blog back in 2002.

What, if any, change in your life has this group encouraged?

Setting myself a difficult goal and encouraging me towards it, then rewarding me so much for reaching it, and making me want to do it all over again.

Role:  Client Served & Wrote a novel over the course of a year. Used two sessions of this organisation to help that goal.
 

Review for The Office of Letters and Light, Berkeley, CA, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I can't clearly remember now where I heard about NaNoWriMo because it's been seven years and more now that it's been such a stalwart part of my creative and online and real life. Perhaps it was Neil Gaiman's blog? Whatever it was, when I discovered the NaNoWriMo program and the OLL people behind it, I couldn't believe it. There was a dream come true right on my screen. Someone giving me the excuse and the opportunity and the encouragement to do something I've always secretly selfishly yearned for --- to just write and write and not beat myself up about it. To take a whole month just to write and not worry about anything else. To shut up and just do it.

I did NaNo in 2003 for the first time and it was the most exhilarating experience of my life. Until last year when I did it again and found myself surpassing even that experience. Put it this way: you're supposed to write 50 thousand words in 30 days. I wrote 50 thousand words in 15 days.

And it was precisely because I could. Because for once in the year, I wasn't hellishly alone, striving towards some never-achievable goal. No, because of NaNo and the OLL blog and the forums, I knew I was part of a community, that there were all these people working towards the same goal, who understood me perfectly and why I was doing what I was doing, who were by the mere fact of this site encouraging me to develop creatively and intellectually.

That's the ephemerel ethereal stuff. Practically, I know I wrote so much because the clever people at OLL had provided me with tools, with a progress page that tracked my wordcount and showed me in graph form exactly how much I needed to write, how far ahead or behind my daily goal I was, how close or how far from the main goal I was. See, they had thought about exactly what I needed and given it to me when I didn't even realise how huge a motivation factor that would be.

Now it's March and I haven't written anything because I don't have that daily goal to strive towards. And it kinda sucks. But equally I know that November will roll around again. And I know that the past November experience was so valuable I cannot let those words go to waste. So I'm beavering away, muttering as I do.

The NaNo servers crashed on the first two days of November and first I was shocked, then irritated, then vaguely proud that so many writers had apparently signed up. And then I felt so horrifically sorry for the poor computer people who were working ridiculously stupid hours so that I, who had paid nothing, could get the motivation I couldn't summon up myself.

Which is why, when it came time for donations, I promptly gave fifty dollars, an amount I could hardly spare since last year I earned less than twenty K. But these people had given me something invaluable and I would be utterly heartless and ungrateful if I didn't give back. If only so they could keep giving me what I needed.

And if the tools and encouragement weren't enough, then they had networked cleverly enough that I was rewarded with a way to see my novel in print form with the CreateSpace code. Talk about an impossible dream come true! And not only that, every writer's secret desire: a wordprocessing program made just for you in the form of Scrivener.

Really, I don't think you could give enough money to OLL. They do so much and they deserve so much more.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

my writing life, my social life. I met several dear friends through NaNo, one of whom asked me to be maid of honour at her wedding. And I wouldn't trade the NaNo experience of sheer gruelling hard work for anything.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

give them enough money so that their servers never crash again.

Was your donation impactful?

Definitely

How likely is it that you would recommend that a friend donate to this group?

Definitely

How likely are you to donate to this group again?

Definitely

What specific problem, purpose, priority, or project prompted your gift?

The NaNoWriMo program.

Why did you make your donation at this time?

Because they needed the money.

What would you tell others about this organization?

That it does priceless work and needs to be widely promoted and funded.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Role:  Donor & I participated in the NaNoWriMo program.