Terryn: How did you first hear about Nanowrimo? What did you think about it?Chakka: I heard about it and first registered almost six years ago, but I never completed it. I don’t remember exactly how I first heard about it, but I’m sure it was via the internet. I think I was intimidated by the empty page. I didn’t feel like I could just write without knowing where the story was going.
T.: Why did you decide to participate?
Chakka: I’ve had an idea for a story for about six years. I’m still not sure if I want it to be a screenplay or a novel, but I took an Intro to Fiction class at StoryStudio in Chicago this fall and I gained some tools that have helped me understand the story I want to write for the first time. I thought a collective challenge with other writers would help me stay motivated.
T.: What was the inspiration behind starting AfroNoWriMo? What has the response been like from the group members? What was your motivation for selecting the participants?
Chakka: A couple of years ago, I saw this photo of a writer’s group that included Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, Ntozake Shange, June Jordan, Lori Sharpe, and Audrey Edwards. I thought “Wow! All that power in one room!” I know people from various disciplines, industries and cities that wanted to commit to writing more, and who I felt could create an incredibly powerful group as well. So I wanted to bring them together. Another dose of inspiration to start AfroWriMo (WriMo= Write More, formerly known as AfroNoWriMo) was the workshop and support aspect of the fiction class I took. I wanted to duplicate that with a group of people who I admire. I dropped the No (for novel) from the group name because there are members who are working on increasing their output of non-fiction work and blogging as well.
The response has been more than I could ever dream of and I look forward to extending the functions of the group beyond daily prompts and inspiration sharing. At some point, I want each member of the group to share their writing and have an e-workshop of the piece via Google Hangouts, where they can get feedback on their work.
T.: What’s your goal for the whole thing? Is the group open to other folks?