Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thursday Review—NaNoWriMo

Last November, our own Lynn Blackburn posted a review ofNaNoWriMo (short for National Novel Writing Month). This year, I thought I’d give you a little heads up BEFORE November arrives.

NaNoWriMo is an idea that has exploded in popularity. The idea is that you write the first draft (minimum of 50,000 words) of a novel in one month. At first this may sound ridiculous, but many writing instructors advocate writing your first draft quickly, without editing. James Scott Bell encourages this in his book, The Art of War for Writers. I highly recommend this book, by the way and it was the very first book reviewed on this blog. Curious to learn more? Click here to read the review.

So how do you get involved with NaNoWriMo?
  • First, visit their website and set up an account.
  • Second, familiarize yourself with their site and the many things they offer.
  • Third, start brainstorming ideas. 
Yep, I’ve found it helps me to have an idea of where I’m going with my novel. I don’t want to get into the whole, plotter or pantster debate, but I highly recommend at least a glimmer of an idea before you start.

And I have the perfect place to help you get ready—My BookTherapy. This group, started by award winning author, Susan May Warren, is dedicated to help writers succeed. Last year, MBT began WriMo, a smaller group of NaNoWriMo writers and the result was phenomenal. They had contests, help groups, everything a manic novelist could need (except chocolate—and I urge you to stock up on that). This year they will continue with the contests and fellowship and I’ve also heard rumors of special WriMo recipes, organization techniques and lots of other fun. I strongly urge everyone pop over and see what they have to offer this year. You will need to register and become a voice. But there's no fee involved for general access.

Still unconvinced it’s for you? Consider this, people participate in NaNo for many reasons—many of them good—here are just a few to consider.

  • For Fun: maybe you’ve been toying with the idea of writing a novel. Here’s your time to give it a try.
  • To Jumpstart Your Next Book: if you write professionally, the work of writing can sometimes get in the way of actual writing. NaNo can help you get back on track.
  • An Accountability Group: Some of us just do better when we have to report on our progress. NaNoWriMo actually requires that.
  • A Deadline and Goal: I don’t know about you, but I can do almost anything for a month—give up chocolate, start an exercise program, get familiar with a new routine. Why not try writing a novel?
  • Company in a Lonely Endeavor: writing is a solitary pursuit and can often be intimidating and discouraging. Aligning with a group that has a shared goal and purpose helps alleviate the loneliness and helps keep us motivated.
  • To Win: yes, I admit it. I’m highly competitive and just thinking about NaNoWriMo gets my adrenalin pumping. 

I’d love to keep up with all of you who are doing NaNoWriMo, so be sure to leave a comment and let us know your NaNoWriMo name (you choose it when you register). Mine is easy to remember:

Also, if you’ve participated in NaNoWriMo previously, we’d like your suggestions and comments on the experience.

So, don’t forget to join the conversation!


  1. I'm an advocate of both NaNoWriMo and the MBTWriMo! I did the mad dash to 50k words last November--and the accomplishment has stayed with me all year! And the encouragement of doing this with a smaller group within the larger NaNoWriMo community was great -- and the prizes were an added incentive!

  2. My first year in the rebel category of Non-fiction. Anxious and excited to start putting my fingers to the keyboard!