NaNoWriMo Month! What Have I Done???

Posted November 1, 2012 by Kathy Davie in

I’ve done it. I’ve taken the leap. Argh, what have I done? I should be committed! I’ve signed up to write a 50,000-page novel in the month of November under the auspices of NaNoWriMo, a.k.a., National Novel Writing Month, which is sponsored by The Office of Letters and Light (OLL).

Which means what exactly?

NaNoWriMo is the excuse so many of us need to write the stories that have been flitting across our minds, taking up room in our subconscious, pecking away at our procrastinating fingers. It’s an opportunity to at least make a start at writing down our ideas and who knows, with all the support and promotional efforts, maybe we’ll get farther than we could have ever expected.

“Founded by freelance writer Chris Baty and 20 other overcaffeinated yahoos in 1999”, when last year’s NaNoWriMo concluded, there were over “36,843 writers who wrote 50,000-plus” words in 2011.

It’s incentive.

It costs nothing to sign-up. Although there are plenty of links requesting donations.

There are no penalties if you don’t achieve the 50,000 words the writing marathon requests. NaNoWriMo is simply a committment you make to yourself to sit down and write for 30 days at 1,667 words per day. And yes, there have been some New York Times best sellers that have resulted from a NaNoWriMo—books such as Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

There is support for writers with OLL’s press release mentioning write-ins and cheerleaders. The write-ins are held in a number of cities throughout the U.S. and I’m guessing the world, at coffee shops, bookstores, and libraries. The cheerleaders are a range of people from neighbors down the block to the likes of Lemony Snicket and Mercedes Lackey through daily blogs and emails. Which seems a bit overwhelming.

We’ll see. It’s my first time round trying this out. It’ll be interesting to see how it works and…gulp…how well I work! I’ll try to post my experiences on a regular basis.

Per the OLL press release, there are no judges or prizes. And “entries are deleted from the server before anyone even reads them”. Which rather begs the question as to how a publisher discovers these 50,000-plus masterpieces…?

What the heck, I reckon it’s worth a shot…


An international nonprofit, The Office of Letters and Light is based in Oakland and their intention is to provide kids and adults the “inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to reach their creative potential” with a variety of writing events.

For more information, visit National Novel Writing Month‘s webpage, or email the press office about NaNoWriMo participants in your area.


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