I’ve been feeling really nostalgic lately. Part of it’s the weather, of course: the leaves are falling, and we’re moving into the holidays. It’s more than just that, though. As I write this, I’m watching the Kansas City Royals, my hometown baseball team, play a World Series game, and I’m feverishly writing as I finish up a deadline project. Last year, I watched the Royals in the first World Series they’d played in since I was a little girl — and I was feverishly finishing up editing drafts of The Localist book.
The Localist went on sale late in November 2014, and it pushed me into a whirlwind year of book promotion, a book tour, a whole lot of speaking engagements, and the amazing feeling of having a successful book that people were actually buying and reading. It was all a lot of hard work, but it had incredible high points, and for those I’m very grateful.
All this déjà vu is making me think not only of The Localist, but also of the first book I wrote — a novel. I wrote it a decade ago, and like most first novels, it’s sitting in a drawer unpublished … which is just where it should be, because it’s not very good. But I had an amazing time writing it, and it was the first time since college that I’d really enjoyed the process of writing.
I wrote that book during National Novel Writing Month (or Nanowrimo for short), a month-long creative writing project that happens every November and encourages everyone, not just writers, to give writing a novel a shot. I absolutely loved it.
So when I was thinking through Localist book promotions for November and December — what I’d blog about, how I’d keep promoting the book, what I’d do to mark The Localist’s anniversary and how I’d write about local shopping for Christmas — I made a kind of crazy decision. Instead producing the big blog and social media push I’d been planning, I just decided … well, not to do it. I’ve decided to take a break from promotion and blogging and write a National Novel Writing Month instead. I still think localism is important, but I also think fiction is important. And I know it’s important for me to take a break every so often, and to work on feeding my creativity instead of constantly draining it.
I’m working on a blog about shopping local for Christmas that I’ll share with you guys in a few days, but after that I’m hoping to be deep in the world of a novel I’m writing, so I probably won’t show up too much here on the blog. I might even take a Christmas break, something I haven’t done since opening a retail store five years ago. Until then, if you miss me, buy a copy of The Localist here, at your favorite independent bookstore, or as a Localist ebook.
I’d also love it if you’d join me in writing a novel for Nanowrimo. It really is a wonderful event (I’ve done it a handful of times in the past ten years), and it’s great for waking up creativity. As a writer, I have a particular fondness for it, but most of my friends who’ve done it haven’t been writers, and they’ve loved it as well. Nanowrimo is totally free, and there are pretty much no rules: You don’t even plan or plot early — just start writing on November 1, and if you write 50,000 words of fiction before December, you win! You can find me on Nanowrimo as @crollwagen, or follow me on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.
Thanks to all my readers — of the blog and the book — for making this an incredible year. Your encouragement has absolutely been my favorite part of the process.
Carrie Rollwagen is author of The Localist: Think Independent, Buy Local and Reclaim the American Dream, creator of 30 Days of Local Praise and co-founder of Church Street Coffee & Books. Find her on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter @crollwagen.