Welcome to November, known to writers around the world as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). This is the month when somewhere close to 300,000 over-caffeinated aspiring novelists put their normal lives on the back burner and crank out 50,000 words each in the 30 days between Nov 1st and Nov 30th. It’s an insane and exhilarating experience that’s been happening since 1999 when freelance writer Chris Baty founded the event with some other crazy writer friends.

My first Nanowrimo was in 2009. I completed the challenge, cranking out 50,000 words of crap before midnight on November 30th. I wasn’t disappointed that the event didn’t deliver a product I could work on editing and eventually submit somewhere. That wasn’t the point. For me, the point was about seeing if I could actually write that many words in so few days, AND if I could get over my Type-A self and just write, damn it!

In 2010, though part of me longed to go for a repeat victory, I decided not to participate in Nanowrimo. I wrote a post explaining why I had to bail on Nano that year. In 2011, I avoided the question completely by pretending ignorance of the event.

Now it’s 2012, and I’ve decided to make a run at Nano’s brass ring for a second time. I feel slightly more prepared this time (I have an idea and some characters and I have also just finished reading the section on structure in Larry Brooks’ excellent book, Story Engineering (more on that later). I’m about to brush up on Scrivener and give that a trial run. I am also completely prepared to abandon all my plans and just write ANYTHING to reach my 50,000 words. I’m in a good place.

Before I start to tune out the rest of the world, however … I’m curious to know how many of you are also participating, have participated in the past, or might participate in the future.

Note: Nano starts TODAY – Nov 1st – and it’s NEVER to late to join up and start hammering those keys!

If you’re still unsure, check out all the great resources and pep talks on I also recommend Ali Luke’s post, 4 Reasons You Should do NaNoWriMo … and 4 Reasons You Shouldn’t.Β 

Do you have Nanowrimo stories to share? How about a pep talk for your fellow writers? Any final words of advice? Give it all up in the comments. Β 

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of voice and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

49 thoughts on “Eeny-meeny-miny-Nano

    • The beauty of Nano? That’s no problem! πŸ™‚
      Have you read Chris Baty’s book No Plot – No Problem? It’ll take the edge off any anxiety you might have.
      BUT – don’t read it now. Just write – anything! πŸ™‚

  1. This is my first NaNo and I am also planning to write. My day job as a tech wtiter means I am constantly eliminating words…so this is my chance to put them back in the world! I am scribe42 if you want to be writing buddies.

    • Excellent – congrats!
      I will definitely look you up.
      Now – get back to adding those words back into the world.

  2. First time for me. Wasn’t even considering it until 2 days ago, when I signed up thinking what the hell, why not. Then realised how many family engagements I have in November! This isn’t going to go as well as I’d hoped. πŸ™‚ Good luck to everyone doing it!

  3. I’m a first timer… wouldn’t even be contemplating it had I not starting following this blog. It was in an earlier post that I first learned of the organization/challenge and it is because of many of the posts here, including your, that I feel up to the challenge. Bring it on!!!

    • That is SO awesome! I’m “JamieLee” on Nano – look me up and we can be writing buddies. I’d love to cheer you on. πŸ™‚

  4. This is my first nanowrimo and I am very excited. I always make excuses for not finishing or starting stories. This month will be a great exercise in follow thru! I will force myself to put my ego aside and just write. Let the games begin…

    • … and may the odds be ever in your favor …
      Wait – what? Sorry – involuntary channeling of the Hunger Games. πŸ˜‰

      Congrats and welcome to the insanity.
      Ditch the ego and let ‘er rip!

  5. First time. Been planning for awhile, off and on, and then this past month really started working on some chapter outlines, writing character profiles, etc. Then I hemmed and hawed for a couple of weeks because I got a bad case of shingles and felt horrible while simultaneously playing substitute for someone at work who was involved in an unexpected accident. (Shingles really puts a damper on the Muse, just sayin’!)
    Then the power went out! And I’m thinking, “God, really, are you KIDDING me?”
    Then my Reasonable Self said to my Evil Self, “Shut the hell up and go to Radio Shack and get a car charger and use your daughter’s laptop and if you have to, put a darn pencil in your hand. Quit your whining and just do it.”

    So I am. Going to finish a few of my outlines today starting at noon and then tonight sitting down and start my 1,600 words for today.

    And this weekend I am going to be a word maniac.

    So there, Evil Self!

    • Way to kick your Evil Self to the curb!
      SO glad you’re sticking with it, Laura. Don’t give up. Nothing will stop you – flood, hellfire, whatever. Just keep the words coming.

      See you on the Nano site? I’m “JamieLee” – look me up! πŸ™‚

  6. I’ve done it every year since 2006… I love it, even though it’s sort of insane. I have a vague idea of my story but we’ll see where November takes it!

    • Excellent – I’m in a similarly undirected boat, Kate. I’ve got the skeleton of an idea, but am just now playing to see where it might lead.

      Good luck & look me up if you like: I’m JamieLee on the nano site.

  7. I’m joining in today! I’m not writing a fictional novel, but I’m writing a devotional book and my goal is to complete 52 vignettes so that I will have a book of weekly devotionals when all is said and done. Starting my daily writing right now! Thanks for your timely blog post.

    • Wonderful, Heather!

      You remind me of a great point – that your Nano project does not have to be a novel, or even fiction. People use this time to write non-fiction books, collections of short stories … anything, really.

      The point is just to put words on the page – drag them out of your head and commit them to living in the real world.

      Good luck!

    • So glad Wendy inspired you! (That was a great post – talk about a fertile imagination!)

      Good luck & thanks for sharing your post … even though I might not have time to read it until December! πŸ˜‰

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  9. thanks for this post! – first timer here, looking forward to this, if for nothing more than an opportunity to practice ego-suspension and flow – who knows what’ll happen?

    • The possibilities are endless … er … priceless … whatever – they are really cool!

      Good luck! Have FUN.

  10. Thanks so much for the nudge, Jamie–I needed this exact project to help me complete a thesis for the 2 year writing program I’m completing in May. In our weekly workshop class, some of my colleagues are writing pieces that are way longer and inspired than mine…I’m kind of stuck at the 4-5 page long point.
    So…I’m heading over to sign up–looking for a humor writing buddy. Any takers?

    • Oh – I wish I could say I do humor, but that’s an area in which I’m sorely lacking … doesn’t flow easily for me at all. I admire people who have the knack for that.

      So glad you’re jumping in. I hope that the experience serves you well. πŸ™‚

  11. Thanks for this post. I hadn’t heard of this event until now. I’m thinking of participating but don’t know where I’ll find the time! No ideas, but I could probably write a short story collection. Hmm!

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  13. I heard about this for the first time last year. I thought, “Intimidating!” This year i decided to go for it! I’m still figuring out the particulars on the NaNoWriMo site but I’ll get there.

    My daughter is autistic. I have always wondered what she would express if she could speak and write. At the moment it feels like words being dumped “on paper” (even though I’m keying) but that’s okay. 3000 words and counting so far!

    You can find me as Cathy G – thanks!

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  16. I’m very excited to try this for the first time. I work in PR and write constantly, but miss writing fiction, which is where my real training is from — it’s a difficult transition, but I think it’s worth it. Thanks for the information!

    • I know exactly what you mean about the difficult transition. Writing marcom copy all day is, I think, more of a roadblock to creative writing than if I built stone walls all day. Switching gears from one type of writing to the other is tricky, but worth it.

      Good luck & enjoy!

    • There’s nothing wrong with skipping a year or two. πŸ˜‰ I did. The last two years there was just No Way it was going to happen, so I didn’t even torture myself. Not worth the agony.

      Good luck with your novel (at whatever pace works for you), and I hope the day job goes well, too.

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