November 1 is a good day.

“NaNoWriMo starts today!” I exclaimed to my friend Kathryn just before physics class.

“What?” She asked.

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is widely hailed by writers of all shapes and sizes to be simultaneously the most excruciating and amazing month of the year. It’s a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. That’s right. One month, 50k words.

I have never officially participated in NaNoWriMo (abbreviated Nano bc let’s be honest, that’s a mouthful). I’ve casually observed from the sidelines, envious of the many words that my writer friends were garnering. But this time around, I’m in. I’ve signed up on Nano’s official website (username is Sheepgirl9901 if you were wondering), I’ve got a general idea of the story I will write (HEY I HAVE A PINTEREST BOARD FOR IT) and I’ve got my free trial of Scrivener to waste time outlining.

Great, you’re probably thinking. Thanks for the update, go write all the words, get moving, finish this update. But wait. I’m not finished yet. You thought I was going to talk about Nano, but I’m actually going to talk about the artists that inspire me and was only using Nano as a segway.

All this hype about writing every day in November has caused me to reflect on the artists that truly inspire me, and why. There are WAY too many to list out in a single blog post, and they each warrant their very own post, but here’s a few of my favorites, both well-known and virtually unknown:

Maggie Stiefvater.

My CoAuthor, Caroline and Maggie.

I have read a total of two of Maggie’s many books, AND GOT TO MEET HER IN PERSON (picture of Caroline meeting her bc I couldn't find my picture) and that’s enough for me to know that she is high on my list of inspirations. By far my favorite of Maggie’s books I’ve read is The Scorpio Races. Fun fact - today is actually Scorpio Race Day! Anyway, Maggie is a fearless creative, car enthusiast, and celtic music writer.

When it comes to creative work ethic, Maggie might beat them all. She worked from the ground up to become a portrait artist, then switches careers completely to become a writer. Also: she has a hilarious sense of humor, incredible legend/myth building abilities, and a poetically simple writing style that gives me shivers.

J.K. Rowling.

Harry Potter is always the first book series I list when asked about my favorites. It captured my heart the first time I read it. My friend and I even had our very own Harry Potter themed Halloween Party, in which we dressed as Hermione and Professor Trelawney (In case you were wondering, I was Trelawney. I threw together a costume in about five minutes with pieces from my closet. Sybill and I would be kindred style spirits)

J.K. Rowling started from the bottom. She was working as a waitress, divorced, with a fairly useless college degree that left her in debt and trying to support a daughter on her own.

Yet out of that rock bottom, she built Harry Potter, which has gone on to inspire, touch, and capture audiences around the world. I once heard a statistic that it’s the best-selling children’s book series of all time, and it’s easy to see why. The themes Rowling explores throughout the series speak to children and adults alike. Her characters are memorable and we can’t get enough of Hogwarts.

J.K. Rowling inspires me by her audacity to pursue her dreams even when they failed her. She was persistent in sending in manuscript after manuscript to publishers before finally getting published. Her outlook on failure alone is uplifting. You go, Joanna.

Lin Manuel-Miranda.

You knew he had to be somewhere on the list. Miranda is the creative genius behind the Broadway musical Hamilton. To be honest, I don’t know as much about him as I’d like to - but what I do know is this: he tried something new, put a new spin on a buried story, and stepped out on a limb to do so. He wasn’t afraid to put hip hop and rap into a Broadway musical. And he wasn’t afraid to pursue something as potentially dry as a Founding Father’s life in musical form. Now that’s inspiring.

Ruth Speer.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I follow a lot of people. Like, a LOT. The reason for this is that I find innumerable artist’s accounts on Instagram and can’t help but follow them for the amazing art they produce. There’s one artist in particular who’s tickled my fancy, and that’s Ruth Speer (username SeptemberWildflowers). Her beautiful, Renaissance-esque art brings together an old-world feel with modern touches all in soft pastel pallets. I always want to pick up the paintbrush after scrolling through her feed.

Well, this went on for longer than I expected. I’m already starting to procrastinate writing on my novel, and it’s only November 1st! What will the next month hold?

Are any of you doing NaNoWriMo? Who are your inspirations? Let me know in the comments. :)