It’s coming – NaNoWriMo


Only 28 more days until NaNoWriMo!

“NaNoWriMo,” short for “National Novel Writing Month,” takes place from November 1st-30th.  The concept comes from Chris Baty’s book No Plot?  No Problem:  A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.

By writing a 50,000-word novel on the fly, in the midst of busy lives, the writers who make this commitment squeeze in the time any way they can, fearlessly plowing through both word-counts and bags of Sour Patch Kids.  The goals are many and varied, but the general upshot is that would-be novelists overcome their hesitation about taking on the daunting task of starting a novel, and fulfill the dream of having written a book.  A lot of preconceptions about writing get blown away, too.

Why November, you ask?  According to the author who started this self-professed craziness (originally in July of 1999 before later moving the annual event to November), the weather is miserable, and the holidays haven’t really gotten going yet (I assume NaNoWriMo-ers take time off to eat some turkey).  Hey, and it doesn’t hurt to be able to tell the relatives you only see every December that you’ve completed a novel.  During the month of October, many NaNoWriMo-ers gear up for the writing siege to come, stocking up on snacks, caffeinated beverages, scoping out late-night coffee shops with an abundance of electrical outlets, hugging their children, etc.

In addition to Baty’s book, which is an inspirational resource and a great place to start, NaNoWriMo has a website (included below), with all sorts of helpful tips and group support/mutual lamentation.

National Novel Writing Month

Stay tuned to further posts this month regarding some of Chris Baty’s unusual perspectives/ approaches to the writing process, such as “No Plot? No Problem!” (his book title) and the writer’s “Two Magna Cartas.”

So who’s planning to participate in National Novel Writing Month this year?  I’d also love to hear from those who have done NaNoWriMo in the past.  What was your experience?

Until next time,

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21 thoughts on “It’s coming – NaNoWriMo”

  1. CE SchwilkCE Schwilk

    I am! I don’t know why – I’m already over-committed as it is, but, y’know…why should I let that stop me?! 🙂

    I’ve done Nano about 6 times – only won my first year! Maybe it was the trauma from that year that’s made me lose (horribly!) every year since then??? Don’t know. Working on my own blog entry about the exact same subject!

    Have you done Nano, Kathy???

  2. Leanne ShirtliffeLeanne Shirtliffe

    I am!

    I do NaNo with my eighth and ninth graders. NaNo has a fab Young Writers Program division in which students/children can set their own word count goals. Last year I had 8 students write 25k or more (including 3 who wrote 50k!) I set 30K as my goal, but it was basically a non-fiction book proposal…so not a novel.

    This year, I’m doing it again, and I’m going to try for 50k too. I’m going to write my NF book (humour/parenting genre).

    I’m also doing it with my family. My husband did NaNo last year (and made it). I’m going to give my Gr 2 twins different word count goals (small). So, we’re writing as a family. This will be easy for my daughter; no doubt I’ll make some allowances for my son (though he has plenty of story ideas!)

    Good luck, Kathy. Can’t wait to read about your progress!

  3. Jemi FraserJemi Fraser

    I’ve done NaNo 3 times now – and won each time. I don’t think I’m going to do it this year. I’m in the midst of editing and would really like to get this ms polished up. Actually the story is last year’s nano novel. 🙂

    I love NaNo though – it’s a lot of fun. it’s a real incentive to write, write, write!

  4. Renee Schuls-JacobsonRenee Schuls-Jacobson

    I did NaNo one year — before boy was born. I admire Leanne who is integrating NaNo into her curriculum. I’m stuck with Comp. 101 stuff which really cuts into my own writing time. So I’m just saying no to NaNo this year. I wish everyone lots of success with their endeavors.

  5. NatalieNatalie

    NaNo scares me. Writing by the seat of my pants sounds a wee bit terrifying….lol…with a full time job and full time life, I am just not sure how I’d survive. But to those who do it, woot woot!!

  6. Marian AllenMarian Allen

    I’ve done NaNo 3 times and won each time. I finished up with rough drafts of books in a series. I plan to do another one this year. Eventually, I’ll write a series bible and then revise the books.

    The reason I love NaNo is that I tend to be a very slow writer, one of those people who go back and rewrite before going on. NaNo forces me to bull through and just skip the bits that don’t make sense. I know I can come back and fix it, and NaNo is training me to do that in months other than November. 🙂

  7. Gene LemppGene Lempp

    This will be my first time doing NaNo and I’m really looking forward to it. I am pushing hard to outline for it but not sure how well I’ll succeed. Even if it turns out as drek though, I know I’ll learn a great deal through the experience. To me, this is a win win proposition.

    By the way, I’m open to having more NaNo buddies. I’m on the site as GeneLempp.

    Looking forward to a fun time 🙂

  8. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    The timing of NaNo works out for me simply because I’m just about ready to jump into a new wip. The fanfare of NaNo hypes that for me too. 🙂

  9. AmberAmber

    This year will be my first! I have mixed feelings about how it will go, since I am a pantser through and through and it seems like pounding out 50k words in a month might require at least a LITTLE forethought and planning.

    But I am mostly excited. I’ll be talking more about my feelings soon over at

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