A personal journey through NaPoWriMo with Andy N

Looking back, I cannot remember how I found out about NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month) but I remember the stage in my life. In 2011, I had got laid off from working at the Co-Operative, a job I had dearly loved working for the past 5 and a half years contracting Diabetes as I left.

After months off looking for another job I ended up working at a call centre for a housing association on Salford Quays at the start of 2012 which I won’t name which I pretty quickly didn’t enjoy and I remember going for walks around the quays trying to clear my head before having to go back into that office.

I am guessing I found out about NaPoWriMo through facebook but to explain it more to people who don’t know it NaPoWriMo or National Poetry Writing Month to give it its full title is a online creative project held annually in which participants attempt to write at least a poem each day for the one full month (April).

A lady called Maureen Thorson, a poet and publisher of Big Games Books   research shows set up the project on March 17, 2003 as an online project on her blog the history books. She then invited other poets with blogs it also shows to join her in the project and listed the participating poets and it took off from there.

The first year I attempted NaPoWriMo, I used to be sat outside on the Quays happily looking at the optional prompt every day every lunchtime writing whatever came into my head from the prompt. Some of the pieces were frankly dreadful and some definitely are best forgotten about, but each were a challenge in itself just to force yourself into writing each day and by the end of April I was completely shattered out.

A year later, determinated to do better I did it again and in a much happier state of mind and a much better job, I did it again following nearly all of the exercises and managed to produce a good few drafts of poems that originally went into my second full length poetry book “The End of Summer.” a few years later.

It could have being easy to do the same over and over the years that followed but in 2014, I decided off the cuff with no planning to write a 30 part poetry sequence. The idea for this came from hearing two people chat about a metrolink (light railway) journey they had bought being on a few nights before which had nearly crashed and before I knew I was in the middle of it with no idea where it was going really excited.

The second and third parts followed hand in hand over the next few two years with brief outlines wrote (A page or so of notes but no poems) over NaPoWriMo for the next two years with good ratings for it. However, the last three parts which followed over more NaPoWriMos started getting more and more complex and the notes that were built up started turning into pages and pages until I eventually finished off the full story in 2019 with a cliffhanger which I may return to in the future.

After that for 2020, I did a new sequence series called ‘Fragments of David’ which were 30 10 line length poems dealing with the mystery of a death of a man called David just to challenge myself to stick to a stick format and like the original Ghost Story completely unplanned.

I could have carried this story on into this year, but I wanted to try something new which I won’t reveal tons on yet as I am still thinking it through last night called Haiku of Life which will at least a Haiku a day and I have ideas for doing more sequences over Aprils in future years.

I love doing NaPoWriMo even though by the end of some years I am glad to get to the end off it as it helps me navigator my thoughts in a different way to the way I would write poetry in the rest of the year like a epic train journey which although does drive me a little crazy some years, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

And neither should you.

You can read more about NaPoWriMo at https://www.napowrimo.net/

My NaPoWriMo sequence for this year will appear on my blog at http://onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com/

(Image is by Ren Williams)

Andy N is the author of four full length poetry collections - the most recent being the Streets were all we could see. He is also the host / creator of 'Spoken Label' - a author / writer chat series as well as Podcast series such as Reading in Bed, Comics Unity, Wrestle-Up and the Koll, Andy N and Amanda show. He also ambient music under the name of Ocean in a Bottle. His official blog is onewriterandhispc.blogspot.com Occasionally he does sleep.