I remember this so well. I was on Penn’s campus walking across an intersection in front of the WaWa and talking to my best friend from high school, Emma Kate. We were saying that there were big things we wanted to do, big goals we’d like to at least try once in life. I told her I wanted to write a book, that I’d always wanted to but had probably never made it past writing the first page. I told her there was this thing called NaNoWriMo where a whole bunch of people got together and tried to write 50,000 words in one month. She wanted to run a marathon.
That November, I did dive in and I completed NaNoWriMo, all 50,000 words or it and just in the nick of time, on the last day of November. I really don’t even know what got me to want to finish the book. I didn’t like the idea. I didn’t like writing it. I remember very little about the book. I know there were times I was just writing to fill up space. But I finished and I guess that’s the thing that mattered because that was when I realized that I could write that much. A whole book’s worth.
The sheer volume had been daunting–but look, I’d done it in a month! For awhile after that, writing still tended be an arduous process of slogging through, writing just to fill up space. But somewhere over the years, it became a more thoughtful process and ten times more enjoyable (most of the time…)
My best friend from high school (who was just a couple months ago my Maid of Honor!) ran a marathon that year. And she has run many more since. She’s fought through adversity, too–overcoming a severe blood clot in her lung just days before she was supposed to run the Chicago marathon.
It’s amazing to me that this little insignificant conversation between the two of us on a phone call during my junior year of college has spurned us both on to follow what has now become our greatest passions in life. I’m glad we took each other so seriously.