Category Archives: NaNoWriMo


NaNoWriMo Once Mo’

Okay, folks. You’ve got nine days left in NaNoWriMo. How close are you?

As Steph mentioned before she left us, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Or, as I like to think of it, the reason literary agents are deluged with submissions in January.

It’s a concept I think is great and tons of fun. I think that oftentimes, folks just need to write to see if they have a natural gift for it. And other times, it’s just freeing to purge your thoughts onto the page and see what comes out. You never know where you might find a gem.

I do grumble every year when the most aggressive participants whip out query letters for their still warm (because it’s half-baked) new novel in the first week of December. And sure, looking at the website and seeing that over 2 BILLION words have already been logged this month makes me wonder if I’ll be totally swamped come winter. Hints of curmedgeonly nature aside, it actually makes me incredibly optimistic knowing how much work is being done.

Now we just need National Novel Reading Month!


It’s that time again

Well readers, it’s November 1st, which can only mean one thing (aside from the start to the Christmas season in my book). It’s time for National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. This is, of course, the annual communal writing experience that challenges people to start and finish a 50,000 word novel in thirty days. Over the years the movement has grown from a handful of participants to thousands, so there clearly is something to be said for this large-scale timed writing exercise.

The great thing about NaNoWriMo, besides, of course, its celebration of the art of writing, is that it encourages discipline and imperfection. It celebrates the fact that, for better or for worse, writers must develop, write, and complete a novel in only a month. It’s a very quantity-over-quality-minded task, but either way by the time November 30th rolls around, the result is (fingers crossed) a finished novel. And that is something to celebrate. In searching for some reading material about NaNoWriMo, I found this hilarious post from the blog, Terrible Minds, which provides some wonderfully honest observations about this challenge.

So how about you: are you getting in on the fun this year?



by Michael 

There’s been a lot of controversy surrounding this Salon piece by Laura Miller that criticizes the idea of National Novel Writing Month. People are pissed. How dare she tell people not to write, especially when she herself is a writer? One of my favorite publishing bloggers, Carolyn Kellogg of the LA Times’s Jacket Copy, really took her to task, attacking her post sentence by sentence. And, as usual, Carolyn is smart and incisive. Writers do need encouragement, especially since much of their time is spent on a rather solitary activity. I think the communal aspect of NaNoWriMo is fantastic–being held accountable is important. If participating means more butt-in-chair time, then I approve. For authors, I think it can be a great exercise, one through which you can learn new techniques and strategies that can be employed long after the month has passed.

Sadly, though, I think Laura made a good point that she unfortunately tied to NaNoWriMo: if you want to write, read. Reading is absolutely the first, most important step to becoming a writer. And while I have a feeling that many people participating in NaNoWriMo are readers–and probably big readers at that–there are plenty of people who aspire to write books, and even attempt to write them, that don’t read. When I tell people what I do for a living, many of them tell me that they’ve thought of writing a book. Many of those same people also couldn’t recall the last book they read or bought. Talk about awkward party conversations…

I know if you’re following this blog that you’re already readers, so I’m preaching to the choir. But have you met non-reader-writers in your publishing adventures? And do they make you as angry as they do Ms. Miller and me?


Everyone’s got something to say

Ah, NaNoWriMo. That time again already?

For those not already in the know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month. Launched in California ten years ago, it’s essentially a communal writing experience. Over the course of one month (no more!), people are encouraged to write a 50K word novel. The program emphasizes “quantity over quality,” which I find pretty delightful. It celebrates the fact that writers write, and for a lot of people, it’s the first chance they have to finish a novel. Because whether it’s good or bad, the act of completing a novel is, in itself, something to celebrate. I know a lot of NaNoWriMo participants past and present, and it’s always great to see the enthusiasm that comes out of the process.

Of course, there’s also something intimidating about NaNoWriMo: the aftermath. Apparently 676,900,348 have already been written by participants this year. Lord, December’s going to be a busy reading month…

So have you all already joined in the fun? Are you working your way through your 50K words? And if so, what are you doing on our blog? Get back to work!