Every year in the Twin Cities our NaNoWriMo group puts on a crazy event called the 28 Hour Writing Tour. As the name suggests, we spend 28 hours roaming from site to site around the city writing our novels. In essence it’s a super long, wandering write-in. A write-in is when writers gather in a library, coffee shop, restaurant or anywhere else for the purposes of writing in each other’s presence.
A little history – About six years ago (give or take) one of our writers (CallipygianKing) was behind in his word count and wanted to something drastic to catch up. So he decided that he was going to go on a massive write in, moving ever 3 – 4 hours until he was caught up. He said so on the regional forums, and several other people in similar situations thought it was a great idea and joined him. It took approximately 28 hours and thus was born our tour. Which has been a wildly popular event.
Recently the planning of the tour has fallen to me, though I share the responsibility with anyone who will take it up. A couple of years ago the tour was so big that some of the businesses along the way asked us not to come back, so we split it into three different routes that were all supposed to meet up at midnight and continue with the survivors as one route the next morning.
That worked fairly well until the business that housed us overnight folded. We were unable to negotiate a replacement in the same neighborhood this year, so we found a location that would let us in for the cheep price of free, though it was relatively far from the planned route. Not perfect but still a wonderful find.
So this year, I started at 10:00 am on the Northern Route at Your Mom’s Basement. A lovely little gamer shop with sandwiches, waffles, ice cream and free wi-fi. Not to mention the owners really love us so the give ups the things that we request. Got to love that. There were six of us, including one of the owners who is also a writer, there tapping away and getting a good start on our word counts.
At 2:00 pm a few of us transfered to the Event Horizon run by the Geek Partnership Society (GPS). A lovely little community center housed in a strangely remodeled factor of some sort. In any case there were young gamers in one room and a spaghetti dinner in the other while we were there. We picked up a few more people including a couple of young writers. One of the young writers learned the value of delayed gratification when she asked for a piece of the reward chocolate that was being passed around. Her mother made her set a goal and held her piece for her until she achieved it. One of the young gamers came out of their story telling game to see what we were doing and promptly turned to his dad to say “I wanna do that.” We pointed Dad to the the Young Writers Program website and encouraged the young man (who might just have been a little interested in the young girl with our group) to go ahead and sign up.
From there we moved to Wilde Roast Cafe where I enjoyed my favorite gluten free French Dip Sandwich and some gelato. I also produced double what I had written at the two previous stops combined. In the news of the weird category, the guy at the next table just happened to be a teacher I worked with last year.
The overnight was when things started to fade. For one, people arrived earlier than expected and I wasn’t there to open the door. Then the folks who went to the bar stops on the other two routes decided to go home rather than come to the community center where we were overnighting. Without saying anything, so we were waiting by the door for them to come until 3:00 am. Oh well, their loss. Unfortunately I was also getting tired and hit a wall, so I napped in a couch that tried to eat me whole. For a nap it was comfortable enough and it gave me the energy to make it the rest of the way through the night. My word count was sliding though and I barely managed 3K during the over night.
Morning was a traditional breakfast at Nina’s Coffee Cafe. There were only three of us left from the overnight (from a high point of six – so only a 50% drop off). We were joined by two more first thing, though they both had to leave for various reasons leaving just the three of us from the overnight still standing. By 10:00 the other two (a couple) left for medical reasons and I was the last one standing. Well not to be undone by this, I soldiered on. Of course by now my brain was pretty close to fried and strange things started happening. I live for this. A new twist appeared in my story that made some of the other things I’d thought were weak writing that would have to be edited out make so much more sense. There’s a god involved. Had been since the beginning. Oh wow. I’m going to have to go back and add clues, but that’s the joy of it.
At 11:00 I transfered for the last time to the Mall of America (MOA) specifically to the cafe inside the Barnes and Noble. I was the first to arrive, and didn’t know how long I would make it all by myself. It wasn’t too long before friends started appearing out of the woodwork and soon I was surrounded by better rested authors encouraging me to keep writing. By 2:00, 28 hours after the start of this nonsense I had added 15,000 words to my novel and was sitting just over 61,000 so far. The story isn’t over yet, but I still have 11 days to get there.
As a treat, one of my friends led me to Cupcake so that I could experience gluten free cupcakes the way they were meant to be. As I write this, I’m still awake at 7:50 on Sunday, I’ve lost even more coherence since those last words at 2:00, but I wanted to get this down before I forgot any of it. It’s probably too late for that, but I’ll never know. Also, I have to work Monday and the last thing I need to do is wake up in the middle of the night because I went to bed too early. It’s a crazy thing we do here in Minnesota, but we love it. I’ll do it again next year, because it is so worth it.