• Julie Luek
  • [Making the Leap] Are You Participating in a NaNo?
[Making the Leap] Are You Participating in a NaNo?
Written by
Julie Luek
October 2013
Written by
Julie Luek
October 2013

When I first took this writing leap, I had so much to learn! All right, honestly, I still do. But I like to think I've come a long way in the last two years.


The first year I seriously tackled this writing plan I kept hear about something called NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. In case you're living under an internetless rock or are like I was, a total novice, here's what it is: every November writers, published and unpublished, dreamers, and anyone who has ever wanted to write a book can participate in the official NaNoWriMo contest. The idea is to write a novel (at least 50k words), from start to finish, in 30 days. Seem impossible? Writers from all walks of life successfully complete NaNo every year. You won't get a spit n' polished version of your book, but it just might be the motivation you need to get the words written.


The official National Novel Writer Month website provides all kinds of fun encouragements. You can find other writer buddies to cheer you on, enter and track your word count and read pep talks to keep you going. With writers all over the world participating, there is an exciting energy and a feeling of being part of something bigger. For many writers, it's just the needed incentive to get seated in a chair and start typing. 




But let's say you've already written a novel and are still in the editing process, but you don't want to be left out of the mad writing fun. Not a problem. If you Google "NaNoReviMo" or "NaNoReMo", you might catch a few blogs participating in National Novel Revision Month. This is for people who need a serious motivational kick to get their editing and revisions completed. Last year, when I thought I was going to write a novel, I joined in with a Facebook group who were all in the throes of revision. Every day they posted their progress and group members even donated prizes, awarded to those who successfully met their goals. Maybe this is more where you're at. If you can't find a group, start asking around or start your own-- you might find a few others who want to join you.




If blogging is your writing thing, you may want to jump on board BlogHer's National Blog Post Month going on in October with a fall theme. They offer monthly themes, badges and an official sign up. 




Today, I read a blog by She Writes member, Shannon Lawrence, who is working on a series of short stories. She decided November would be her official ShaNoShoStoWriEdSubMo. Huh? Oh, Shannon's Novel and Short Story Writing, Editing and Submitting Month. Whew-- that's a mouthful. If you are working on short stories, get in touch with Shannon for a little motivational writing companionship.





This year, I'm participating in NaNonFiWriMo or National Nonfiction Writer's Month. Yup, there's an official site for this one too. My goal is to write and complete at least one nonfiction submission a week for various anthologies. 


There's nothing magical about the month of November, but knowing that other writers around the world will be buckling down to work on their projects may just be the impetus you need to shut out the world and dig into your own writing. 


What about you? Will you be participating in a National-Fill-In-The-Blank-Month in November? Why not start asking around. You might find the perfect grassroots or official NaNo group out there for you--or create your own.

The social media world of writers may be awfully quiet during November. You might as well join the writing frenzy!


Happy NaWriLikThWinMo,

(That's: National Write Like The Wind Month)



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  • Lifan Writing

    Hi Julie,
    A nice time to write in the spirit of writing.
    Many thanks for the information. Last weekend, I signed up for the NaNonFiWrimo and hope to come up with a proposal by the end of the month for a book. So far I have started on four chapters and have written about 2000 words. It is a cliche that we reap what we sow but so often we are all so caught up with winning the game of life that we take for granted the things that really matter. I hope to write something that is not preachy and even funny just to share my thoughts that ego is the centre of our unhappiness if that makes sense at all. Happy writing month !!

  • Anne Louise O\'Connell

    Patricia, if you're looking for buddies you can type their name in a search and when you find their profile just click on the Add Buddy button. To see who your buddies already are, go to your profile, click on My NaNoWriMo and on the drop down menu you'll see 'Writing Buddies'. Then you can click on the 'Buddy of' tab from that page and see who has buddied you. If you haven't already buddied them, you can buddy them back. Does that make sense?

  • Anne Louise O\'Connell

    Hey Liz, Found you and added you as a buddy!

  • Julie Luek

    Way to buck the system, Jen! Happy writing. 

  • JeninCanada

    I'm Eladrin over at Nanowrimo and am participating as a rebel; going to do NON FICTION! :D See you there!

  • Patricia Robertson

    How do you find writing buddies? I couldn't find it on website.

  • Liz Gelb-O\'Connor

    Hi Anne, my nano name is: LG OCONNOR. I'll take a look for you today :-)

    Yes, the characters are loud, noisy, and screaming to be put onto the page. I'm amazed what they are willing to share with me, and how much they trust me to help them find a HEA. 

  • Anne Louise O\'Connell

    Liz... What's your Nano name? I searched for you and couldn't find you. I'm Anne the Writer... (I know, original, right?)

  • Anne Louise O\'Connell

    Ooo... Liz, I feel your excitement! My creativity seems to kick in while I'm sleeping, especially if I've been able to have total uninterrupted writing time for several days on end. I see characters vividly and plots seem to develop in my subconscious mind :)

    Deonne, are you from New Mexico? If that's you, I've just added you as a buddy!

  • Julie Luek

    I'm so glad people are finding Na-Whatever buddies!

  • Deonne Kahler

    My NaNo name, oddly enough, is deonne - would love to be buddies with you all! (Preeva, I just buddied you.)

  • Julie Luek

    Drop me an email at [email protected] and let's talk about what we're doing. :)

  • Oh yes, yes, YES please, Julie - would love a NaNonFiWriMo buddy :)

  • Julie Luek

    Callie! Yay-- a nonfic soul sister. I'm going to drop you a note with my email if you need/want a buddy for this journey. 

  • Hiiiii Julie, I'm participating in the NaNonFiWriMo challenge this year, too - much more my cup of tea (and genre!).

  • Preeva Tramiel

    Julie, and Liz,

    I don't drive as much as Liz, and my book seems to gather characters faster than plot points, but "no plot no problems" as Chris Baty says.

  • Liz Gelb-O\'Connor

    Julie, I do! When you get the feeling, you need to ride the wave. Surf's up! :-)

  • Julie Luek

    Oh Liz-- don't you just love when ideas slam into you and grow and you get that feeling in the pit of your stomach that says, "this is IT!" Best to you!

  • Liz Gelb-O\'Connor

    Thanks, Julie :-) Yes, I'm outlining and have a ton of notes. The idea slammed into me two weeks ago when I drove back and forth between NJ & PA three days in a row. Nine hours of commuting time on the same straight highway provided a nice venue for jumpstarting my creativity. Most exciting part: as a die-hard 3rd person POV writer, I'm going dual 1st person POV in present tense. Here we go!

    Preeva - Great! Will keep an eye out for you. I think you were looking for recommendations below: Sylvia Day and Maya Banks might be good for you...

  • Julie Luek

    Liz-- How wonderful! If you think of it, let me know how it's going for you. What a big and exciting undertaking this will be. Are you outlining ahead of time? 

  • Preeva Tramiel

    I'll look for you on the NaNo site, would love to buddy with all the writers here.  My Nano name is palmpeebs

  • Liz Gelb-O\'Connor

    I'm trying it for the first time this year! Going off the urban fantasy / paranormal romance series reservation and writing a stand-alone contemporary romance. Please feel free to reach out and buddy: LG OCONNOR. Good luck everyone!

  • Julie Luek

    Oh best to you Perle! May November be prosperous, fun and creative for you. 

  • Perle Champion

    Definitely doint NanoWriMo and have since 2004. I half heartedly edited it and mailed it out here and there, but never had (took) the time to pursue. Corporate job took took too much of my time.  Now having retired from the corporate world, I'm writing and painting full time, and hopeful for this year's project.

  • Ann Hamilton

    To Julie - yes, one of my NaNo projects, Expecting, will be published next summer.  I'm lucky because I've written for TV and film for years so that helps with forcing myself to sit at a computer for hours and hours.  Selling the book was tough - finding an agent, very tough.  The rejections - hideous.  How much money you get paid versus how many hours you worked on the project - ha ha.  Will I do it again?  Absolutely.

    To Anne - congrats on your books.  Your advice is the advice I always give.  In NaNo, never ever look back.  Keep moving forward.  Editing can start in December.  I'm Red Mosquito so add me as a buddy if you'd like.  

    Good luck to everybody who tries it.  It's fun!