The Burnt Monk Journal

Where Good Stories Go to Ash

Evernote for Simplified, Distraction-Free Writing

Evernote for Simplified, Distraction-Free Writing

by Taylor Pipes,
November 6

Sometimes, you just want to focus on the story at hand.

For writers seeking a simple, distraction-free writing experience, look no further than the newly redesigned Evernote for Web.

When you write, the interface fades away to showcase your ideas, thoughts, and more importantly, the words. When you need it, Evernote for Web beautifully re-emerges. All the familiar Evernote tools, including formatting options, notebooks, search, and tags are a click away.

Here are 7 tips to getting the most mileage from your writing with Evernote for Web.

1. Perfect for writing
Do you prefer a sparse writing environment? Now, you can take your notes full-screen and power through writing surrounded by ample white space. Perfect for short bursts of writing, creating outlines, managing to-do lists, and arranging plot elements. It’s the perfect way to write down ideas and take notes without distractions.

2. Control your viewpoint
Evernote for Web was designed to provide a clean, beautiful workspace. You can utilize a split-screen where your notes, notebooks, shortcuts, and tags are visible to the left. Your current note is accessible to the right.

3. Formatting
Focus on writing, but highlighting select text will give you the option to format your copy. Click to change the font, size, and styles.

4. Categorize and tag on the fly
Add tags to your writing or categorize your note without leaving your writing space.

5. Add photos
If a picture’s worth a thousand words, you’d need fifty to reach your NaNoWriMo goal. If only it were that easy. But, you can still help illustrate your ideas and provide a powerful visual narrative to your story. Simply drag photos right into your writing space, or upload them from the menu using the paperclip icon.

6. Search
One of the strongest features of Evernote is the ability to comprehensively and quickly search your content. With Evernote for Web, you can quickly look for content related to your story.

7. Manage deadlines
Whether you’re writing a 50,000 word novel for NaNoWrimo, or hacking through your college thesis, you’re bound to deal with deadlines. The writing experience in Evernote for Web easily connects you to Reminders to keep you on task.

The Details

This is a dramatic re-imagining of Evernote Web that’s been six years in the making. It’s no longer a second choice, but rather a destination for the creative mind. It’s the workspace you’ll rely on when you simply need to work. No distractions. No interruptions. Just focus.

Just like our previous web client, this update is available now for free to Evernote users. You can switch into an early beta today by going into settings on Evernote Web. Take a look, but we recommend that you use it only if you’re comfortable with beta software. The complete version is coming later this fall.

Evernote, for the win

If you’re competing in NaNoWriMo, or you want to model your writing plan in a similar fashion,

Now, with an integration by FastPencil, authors have a full-fledged tool to create and distribute a book in Evernote, from start to publish. FastPencil is proud to support WriMos by providing 40% off of their distribution package (use promo code NNWM40 at checkout. This offer is valid thru November 30, 2014). You can easily upload your Evernote notes into FastPencil. Learn more.

Evernote Premium will be given to all NaNoWriMo winners.

What’s your key to writing with the new Evernote for Web? Share your story in the comments.


10 short stories written in a single tweet

10 short stories written in a single tweet

by MJ Franklin,
November 5 07:00 AM

Great literature doesn’t always appear in novel format. Sometimes it can be found in a single tweet.

Master wordsmith and October’s MashableReads author Margaret Atwood knows the value that can be found in 140 characters or less. Atwood often uses Twitter to augment her prolific writing, taking to the social network to engage with fans, discuss issues that are important to her and chat about books.

See also: 18 Twitter Short Stories That Prove Tweets Can Be Literary Too

Inspired by Atwood, her active use of Twitter and her new short story collection Stone Mattress, we asked Mashable readers to write their own short story in a single tweet. Submissions ranged from haunting meditations on life to playful Halloween tales. Check out some of our favorites below.


Her purse on Saturday: Cell. NYU alumni pen. Spearmint.
Her purse on Sunday: Cell. NYU alumni pen. Receipt for $49.99. 1 pill. #MashReads

— Alissa Green (@AlissaGreen) October 22, 2014

She was a fugitive from her own past. The best of breed. Each day, she managed to escape 86,400 times #MashReads

— lindsayannnnn (@lindsayannnnn) October 21, 2014

Then life felt as gentle as it was beautiful. A one-man boat, a great ocean, blood, a fleeting consciousness. Finally, happiness. #MashReads

— Jonathan Terry (@JonsMind) October 21, 2014

The bees knew it first. Then the ice. Then the Trees. Then all the world’s mothers. #MashReads

— Tess Clare (@TessClare78) October 20, 2014

To him, there was nothing worse than someone he had once loved denying his existence. She knew this, as they passed in the street #MashReads

— Joe Stevenson (@JobeyJoe11) October 24, 2014


TBT to a moment once known. Familiar faces revealing fading memories – thrown back to an innocence long forgotten #MashReads

— Matt Livingstone (@mlivingstone07) October 22, 2014

He was on a journey of self discovery, a place he had never ventured before, it was his turn to bare it, he opened up the diaper. #MashReads

— AlayneLangford (@AlayneLangford) October 24, 2014

She looked up into the cloudy night. Clears skies hold no tales. Her life would change. Time to buy an umbrella or get wet. #MashReads

— Pat (@lumsays) October 26, 2014

Obstructing plans held too long to move East, read Ulysses & pursue writing was a little pink line on the white bathroom tile #MashReads

— DeenaD (@Deena_Do) October 28, 2014

His heartbeat flitters, and he exhales his last breath. His eyes flicker open, new eyes, green this time. Life begins again. #MashReads

— Kasim Kaey (@kasimkaey) October 20, 2014

Want more great book recommendations from Mashable? Join MashableReads, Mashable’s social book club. You’ll have the chance to win free copies of new novels, and participate in conversations with various authors.

BONUS: Authors in Conversation with MashableReads

See Video:


Whether you just need a little inspiration or you want to build a board about your story, don’t forget about Pinterest as a writing tool. When you need a break, or you’re stuck on an element of your story, sometimes exploring the visual makes a big difference.

20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards for Writers

20 Inspiring Pinterest Boards for Writers

by Carrie Smith,
March 13

Pinterest isn’t just a place for jewelry, clothing or landscape images; it can also help inspire and promote your work as a writer.

If you want to spice up your book, find resources on editing, or organize your writing space, check out these 20 Pinterest boards for writers.

1. Jody Hedlund’s How to Edit board

With everything from infographics, to quotes, to articles and checklists, this colorful resource will help you find the tips you need to clean up your copy.

2. Writer’s Relief’s Getting Help With Your Writing board

Need help developing your novel’s character? Want to find a writing mentor? This board has everything you need to improve your writing, including ways to spice up your stories.

3. Kansas City Public Library’s Book-Inspired Crafts board

Whoever said books are boring never saw a Pinterest board like this! Check out these amazing book-inspired crafts and DIY ideas for any type of book lover.

4. Book Riot’s Cover Lovin’ board

Create inspiring and eye-catching book covers for your upcoming novel or ebook with this vast collection of book cover designs.

5. NaNoWriMo’s Writerly Inspiration board

Make your creative mark with Pins on ways to be more inspired, motivational quotes, writing prompts and more.

6. Your Writer Platform’s Book Promotion and Publicity board

Writers often have to use social media (whether they like it or not!) to spread the word about their work. This board shares tons of resources for promoting, marketing and selling your latest book.

7. Levo League’s Productivity and Organization board

Every writer wants to make their lives easier! From mobile apps, to office organization ideas, to creating weekly checklists, you’ll find something to ensure your writing is a priority.

8. Create as Folk’s Publish a Book board

If you’re looking to publish a book, this board has you covered. It includes tips on marketing your book, getting reviews, establishing a platform and more.

9. Greatist’s Relax and Recover board

As a writer it’s important to nourish your body as well as your mind. Use these ideas to relax, recover and renew your imagination.

10. The Stacey Harris’ Fonts to Love board

Looking for that perfect font to use in your next novel, or cover design? This board has tons of fantastic fonts to choose from.

11. Grammarly’s General English board

The English language is a funny thing, and it contradicts itself a lot. You’ll get a few laughs from reading these Pins, along with a reminder to always proofread your work!

12. Lis Dingjan’s Laptop Cafes board

This board will help you easily find workspaces and cafes that provide the wifi access you need to be productive, no matter where you are in the world.

13. Amanda Patterson’s Interesting Authors board

Learn from the great authors of the past, including facts about their lives and the quotes that made them famous.

14. Bethany Moore’s Music for Writing board

Every writing session should include some motivating music to get you in the mood and keep you on task. It also helps to focus on the music and not the words, which is what this board provides.

15. The Freelancer’s Union Healthy Freelance Living board

Being a successful freelancer is a skill that requires hard work and a positive mindset. Use these Pins to start your day off right and help your motivation last throughout the day.

16. Kayla Gain’s For the Love of Books and Music board

Not all good writing comes from books; many incredible quotes are written as lyrics, poems and screenplays. This board has a great mix of both!

17. Joanna Penn’s Pens, Ink and Notebooks board

For those of us who enjoy putting pen to paper, this board has it all. With these unique pens and journals, your scribbles will be sure to inspire.

18. K.M. Weiland’s The Write Stuff board

For the writing life you’re gonna need the Write Stuff, and this board delivers just that. With ideas for the perfect writing gift and essential food for writing, you’ll find a little bit of everything.

19. The Writing Whisperer’s Art Journaling board

Journaling and doodling can unleash your innovation and remove that frustrating writer’s block. So go ahead and document your writing in a colorful way!

20. Kait Roth’s Books to Read board

With tons of new reads to choose from and beautiful bookshelf “porn” you’ll never run out of ingenuity or ideas for your writing work.

Do you have a favorite writing-related Pinterest board?

5 Ways to boost your word count…. Without cheating

5 Ways to boost your word count…. Without cheating

by Elise VanCise,
October 19

Let’s talk about 5 ways to boost your word count…. Without cheating. The daily word count needed to reach is 1,667 words. That doesn’t seem like an unreasonable amount of words to write in an entire day. (Are they crazy? ) But there are days that life will interfere with our lofty noveling goals. Try one of these when your fingers start to slow.

1. Sprinting
Meet up with the other Wrimos in person or online and see who can write the most words in a set amount of time. Most sprints are 10-20 minutes long. This is great for a tweet-up. You’ll be amazed at how many words you can get down with a couple hours of sprinting. Not to mention the fun!

2. Long Lost Friend /Relative
If you feel your scene is dragging or you just can’t get those words out. Try having your character run into an old friend or relative while they’re out and about. Or even a phone call from them. You can add tons of words as they reminisce about old times or that Thanksgiving when Aunt Mable’s cat ate the stuffing. Even if it’s something you may edit out in the next draft, it will breathe some new life into your muse and pad that count!

3. Disaster Strikes
A hurricane heading in, a freak F5 tornado, earthquake, flood, a 3-10 car pile up. Any one of these can add at least a couple of pages worth of wordiness. You have the before, during, and effects after that might even bring out some qualities you didn’t know your characters had.

4. Kill’em Kill’em All!
Let’s face it. Death is wordy. Not matter how or who gets bumped off you’ve gotten at least 4 scenes from a corpse turning up. The death itself, the discovery, the aftermath, and the funeral, lots and lots of words.

5. Use Your Senses
You have 5 senses taste, touch, scent, sight, sound. Every single environment your characters walk into, or crash into in some cases, holds each of these elements just waiting for you to detail them. A car crash could have the scent of smoke and gasoline in the air. They would see broken glass, dented and crushed cars, hear someone crying for help or a siren approaching, maybe a car horn. Taste blood from a gash, or if gas is thick in the air it will leave a taste on your tongue. They may feel the ache of injury or the rough edges or the broken plastic of the dash. Talk about filling the pages, just let your nose guide you…. Literally.

Okay there you have it 5 ways to get wordy and pad that word count. Now who’s ready to meet up in the 50k Winner’s Circle?

How to Stick to a Writing Schedule

How to Stick to a Writing Schedule

by Melanie Pinola,
October 31 08:00 AM

Practice makes perfect, the old adage goes, and the more you write the better you get at it. Whether you’re blogging for money or writing for yourself—perhaps for November’s NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month—here are some tips to develop a writing habit.

Regular writing is good for your mind and emotional health. Sticking to a schedule and always facing that cruel blank page, however, can feel like torture. As the saying goes, though, "Inspiration is for amateurs—the rest of us just show up and get to work." Here’s how to make showing up easier.

Set Aside a Place to Write

You can be creative anywhere—sitting on the subway or standing on a line—but for the long haul and more consistent creativity, your best bet is to carve out a space where you regularly write. That primes you to get into the right frame of mind as soon as you sit down. Michael Pollan built a place of his own where he could think and write, much like Thoreau and countless others have retreated to specific places to better hone into their work. Set aside a particular place that you do nothing but write or create and you can jump start your creativity.

Make It a Habit

The hardest part of working on something is just getting started. That’s why some of the most successful creative people are suckers for routine. Author and poet Robbie Blair suggests on Lit Reactor that we create a writing ritual and invest in it:

My own ritual is to make myself a cup of tea, load up an instrumental soundtrack, then pull up my current project. By that point, my brain has comfortably tuned itself in for the writing it anticipates.

What I encourage is developing your own rituals that involve things that you already enjoy. From there, a simple investment in your rituals can have a profound impact. It doesn’t matter that no one actually needs 16 different flavors of tea (my current total): Buying new flavors is how I get myself excited about the ritual surrounding my writing. Likewise, I regularly invest in instrumental soundtracks (most recently work by Lindsey Stirling) because it makes me excited to get going.

Many people might tell you to just get up earlier to make the most of those magical morning hours when the words might flow more freely, but, honestly, waking up earlier and forcing yourself to write at 5 am isn’t the solution for everyone. Earlier might be better because your willpower will likely get depleted as the day goes on, but some people are more creative in the evenings. There are all types of writers—after-hours writers, lunch break writers, mini-block writers, and more. Track your time and energy for a week or two to find what’s best for you—and then block out that time on your calendar as an appointment with yourself. Even better: mark off each day you sit down to write and don’t break the chain.

The right writing apps can help, too. Apps like Day One (OS X, iOS) prompt you to regularly journal.

Get Unstuck with Timed Sprints

If the hardest part is just getting started, how do you get over that hurdle? Use a timer—a simple kitchen timer will do—that can reduce your anxiety and just force you to write. Set the timer to just 5 minutes if you want, and you might find yourself writing long after that.

Because you’re being timed and sprinting to write as much as you can, you’ll likely censor yourself less during the writing process—just write whatever comes naturally and edit later. (Don’t waste time doing research while you’re in your writing groove either or edit each sentence as you go along. Give yourself permission to write a few lousy paragraphs or pages.) Rinse and repeat.

Become a Voracious Reader

If you’re a writer, there’s no better "bang for your buck" way to spend your time than to just read more. Read anything and read everything—as a skilled reader. The more "I wish I had written that" pieces you come across, the better your work will be and the more motivated you may be to produce something worthwhile. Other arts can be inspiring too—paintings, movies, photography, and so on. Soak it all up when you’re not actively writing.

Tap into Peer Pressure

Having an "accountability buddy" is a tried-and-true strategy for getting things done. Whether you join an online writing group or simply tell someone about your project and goals, other people can help you stick to the plan. A supportive group can also help you get over the natural fears writers and other artists have: fear of humiliation and fear of the solitude that comes with art-making. There are plenty of online forums and critique circles that can get you closer to publishing your work.

Follow the Two-in-a-Row Rule

You have your schedule, your alarm set, your routine down pat…but one day you break it and just don’t feel like writing, so you don’t (even though you know "not feeling like it" is not a good excuse). We all slip up now and again. Don’t beat yourself up, but also don’t slip twice in a row. Develop a plan for when you might miss a writing session but use the "never miss twice" mindset to get back on track.

Also, be flexible. Your writing schedule might change—often. Life events will throw wrenches in your plan, but you can plan a new schedule. And then stick to that.

Photos by alexkerhead, archer10, mipeixoto, schani, mcclanahoochie.

Love Pocket? Check out all of Lifehacker’s Pocket-related tips, tricks, and downoads here.



words by Chuck Wendig

National Novel Writing Month – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

National Novel Writing Month

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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[hide]This article has multiple issues. Please help improve it or discuss these issues on the talk page.
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Web address
Slogan Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!
No Plot? No Problem![citation needed]
Commercial? No
Launched July 1, 1999; 15 years ago
Alexa rank 1571 (as of November 2011)[1]
Current status Active

National Novel Writing Month, shortened as NaNoWriMo (na-noh-RY-moh),[2] is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process. To ensure this, the website provides participants with tips for writer’s block, local places writers participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection. NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality, encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion.[3] NaNoWriMo’s main goal is to encourage creativity worldwide.[4] The project started in July 1999 with just 21 participants, but by the 2010 event over 200,000 people took part – writing a total of over 2.8 billion words.[5]

Writers wishing to participate first register on the project’s website, where they can post profiles and information about their novels, including synopsis and excerpts. Word counts are validated on the site, with writers submitting a copy of their novel for automatic counting. Municipal leaders and regional forums help connect local writers with one another for holding writing events and to provide encouragement.

There was also an associated script-writing challenge in April called Script Frenzy. This event was cancelled after its 2012 run due to declining participation.[6]




Freelance writer Chris Baty started the project in July 1999 with 21 participants in the San Francisco Bay area. In 2000, it was moved to November "to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather."[7][8][9] and launched an official website, designed by a friend of Baty’s.[8] That year 140 participants signed up for the event, including several from other countries. Baty launched a Yahoo! group to facilitate socialization between participants and, after the posters began asking about guidelines, he set most of the event’s basic ground rules: the novel must be new, cannot be co-authored, and must be submitted in time to be verified. Of the 140 participants, 29 completed the challenge as manually verified by Baty himself.[8][9]

The following year, Baty expected similar numbers but 5,000 participants registered, which he credits to news of the event being spread by bloggers and later being reported on by various news organizations including the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post.[8][9] Though Baty was happy with the large turnout and popularity of the event, it nearly did not happen as the website had a number of problems[8][9] leading to participants being asked to post themselves as winners on an honor system; in the end, 700 people would do so.[9]

2002 saw technical improvements and increased automation to the site and media attention from National Public Radio[2] and CBS Evening News drew increased attention and a participant count of 14,000. The next year, the NaNoWriMo team began the Municipal Liaison program and sent out the first set of pep talk emails. Baty also began work on "No Plot? No Problem!" during the 2003 NaNoWriMo, writing the NaNoWriMo guide concurrent with his own fiction novel.

The event continued to grow strongly every year, and by 2013 over 400,000 people participated (in 2010 it was calculated that 2,872,682,109 words were written.[10])

In 2011, the NaNoWriMo website was given a new layout and forums and Baty announced that he will be stepping down as Executive Directive in January 2012 to pursue a full-time writing career.[11] Grant Faulkner will be taking his position as Executive Director. The redesigned website moved from being based on Drupal to Ruby-on-Rails.[12] During the first month after launch the new website supported over 1,000,000 visitors and more than 39,000,000 pageviews.[13]


Participants’ novels can be on any theme, in any genre of fiction, and in any language. Everything from fanfiction, which uses trademarked characters, to novels in poem format, and even metafiction is allowed; according to the website’s FAQ, "If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel too."[14] Starting at 12:00 am on November 1, novels must reach a minimum of 50,000 words before 11:59:59 pm on November 30, local time.[15] Planning and extensive notes are permitted, but no earlier written material can go into the body of the novel, nor is one allowed to start early and then finish 30 days from that start point.[16]

Participants write either a complete novel of 50,000 words, or simply the first 50,000 words of a novel to be completed later.[17] While 50,000 words is a relatively low word count for a complete novel, it is still significantly more than the 40,000 word mark that distinguishes a novel from a novella. Notable novels of roughly 50,000 words include The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Brave New World, and The Great Gatsby. Some participants set higher goals for themselves, like writing upwards of 100,000 words, or completing two or more separate novels. To win NaNoWriMo, participants must write an average of approximately 1,667 words per day. Organizers of the event say that the aim is simply to get people to start writing, using the deadline as an incentive to get the story going and to put words to paper.[18] This "quantity over quality" philosophy is summarized by the site’s slogan: No Plot? No Problem![19] This is also the title of Chris Baty’s book of advice for NaNoWriMo participants, published in late 2004 by Chronicle Books. There is no fee to participate in NaNoWriMo; registration is only required for novel verification.

No official prizes are awarded for length, quality, or speed. Anyone who reaches the 50,000 word mark is declared a winner. Beginning November 25, participants can submit their novel to be automatically verified for length and receive a printable certificate, an icon they can display on the web, and inclusion on the list of winners. No precautions are taken to prevent cheating; since the only significant reward for winning is the finished novel itself and the satisfaction of having written it, there is little incentive to cheat. Novels are verified for word count by software, and may be scrambled or otherwise encrypted before being submitted for verification, although the software does not keep any other record of text input. It is possible to win without anyone other than the author ever seeing or reading the novel.

In October 2008, the self-publishing company CreateSpace teamed up with NaNoWriMo to begin offering winners a single free, paperback proof copy of their manuscripts, with the option to use the proof to then sell the novel on[20] In 2011, CreateSpace offered winners five free, paperback proof copies of their manuscripts.


The official forums provide a place for advice, information, criticism, support and an opportunity for "collective procrastination."[21] The forums are available from the beginning of October, when signups for the year begin, until late September, when they are archived and the database is wiped in preparation for the next year.

Most regions have one or more Municipal Liaisons (ML) assigned to them, who are volunteers that help with organizing local events. MLs are encouraged to coordinate at least two kinds of meet-ups; a kickoff party, and a "Thank God It’s Over" party to celebrate successes and share novels. Kickoff parties are often held the weekend before November to give local writers a chance to meet and get geared up, although some are held on Halloween night past midnight so writers start writing in a community setting. Other events may be scheduled, including weekend meet-ups or overnight write-ins.[22]

Starting in more recent years, NaNoWriMo now hosts a fundraising Write-a-thon event every November called ‘The Night of Writing Dangerously’, held in San Francisco. The first 250 participants to raise at least $250 receive reservations at this event. It has been described as a "mid-November extravaganza of food, drink, and lots and lots of noveling".[23] From 5 pm to 11 pm, hundreds of writers are gathered together in the Julia Morgan Ballroom to eat, chat, exchange excerpts, enter raffle contests, listen to speeches, meet the staff, but most of all, to write. Every hour or so, a 10–20 minute ‘word war’ is held in which the entire room falls almost completely silent with concentration, save for the sound of keystrokes. Whoever writes the most words in the allotted time frame is temporarily awarded the much-coveted flower pot hat. If a guest reaches the goal of 50,000 words while at the event, they are allowed to ring a bell kept at the stage, and receive much cheering. There are lots of sponsors for this event, many of which are the donors of most of the raffle prizes. In 2011, this fundraiser raised over $50,000.


In 2005, NaNoWriMo started the Young Writers Program (YWP), primarily aimed at classrooms of kindergarten through 12th-grade students. It is also used by homeschoolers. The difference from the regular program and the YWP was that kids could choose how many words to try to write. The standard wordcount goal for a young writer is 30,000. In its inaugural year, the program was used in 150 classrooms and involved 4000 students. Teachers register their classroom for participation and are sent a starter kit of materials to use in the class which includes reward items like stickers and pencils. Lesson plans and writing ideas are also offered as resources to teachers, while students can communicate through the program’s forums.[24]

In September 2006, NaNoWriMo officially became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization operating under the name "The Office of Letters and Light". All contributions are tax-deductible under U.S. law. Donations can be made directly, or users can purchase items such as T-shirts and mugs from the NaNoWriMo store. In 2004, NaNoWriMo partnered with child literacy non-profit Room to Read, and continued that partnership for three years. Fifty percent of net proceeds from 2004 to 2006 were used to build libraries in Southeast Asia; three were built in Cambodia, seven in Laos, and seven in Vietnam. The program was retired in 2007 to refocus resources on NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program.[25]

NaNoWriMo runs a Laptop Loaner program for those who do not have regular access to a computer or word processor. Old, yet functional laptops are donated from NaNoWriMo participants. Those wishing to borrow a laptop are required to cover the cost of shipping it back and must send a $300 deposit along with proof of identity, but are not charged a fee for using the laptops. In 2006, AlphaSmart, Inc. donated 25 brand-new Neos to expand the Laptop Loaner library with the promise of 25 more over the next two years.[26]

A summer version of NaNoWriMo, called Camp NaNoWriMo, launched in 2011. Two sessions were held, one in July and one in August; however, the months were switched to June and August for Camp NaNoWriMo 2012. The two months were then switched to April and July for 2013. The rules used for the main event in November also applied to each Camp NaNoWriMo session.[27] The Camp NaNoWriMo website does not have forums, but participants may choose to join a group of up to eight writers, called a cabin.[28] Each cabin has its own message board, visible only by members of that cabin.

In 2013, January and February were deemed NaNoWriMo’s "Now What?" Months, designed to help novelists during the editing and revision process. To participate, writers must first make a commitment to revisit their novels. This includes signing a contract via NaNoWriMo. The next step is to attend the internet seminars where publishing experts and NaNoWriMo novelists are available to advise writers on the next steps for their draft. After that, participants should communicate on Twitter via the hashtags in order to compare editing notes and interact with agents and publishers. The last step is to stay updated with NaNoWriMo’s blog where encouragement and advice is offered by authors, editors, and agents. The main goal of these "Now What?" Months is to get novelists published.[29]

Published NaNoWriMo novels[edit]

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (July 2013)

Since 2006, roughly 100 NaNoWriMo novels have been published via traditional publishing houses. Many more have been published by smaller presses or self-published.[30] Some notable titles include:


  1. Jump up ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet, Inc. Retrieved 6 November 2011.
  2. ^ Jump up to: a b "All Things Considered Story about NaNoWriMo". 2002-11-07. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  3. Jump up ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (November 3, 2010). "12 reasons to ignore the naysayers: Do NaNoWriMo". Las Angeles Times. Retrieved March 8, 2014.
  4. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month – About".
  5. Jump up ^ Grant, Lindsey (December 1, 2010). "The Office of Letters and Light Blog – The Great NaNoWriMo Stats Party". Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  6. Jump up ^ Important News about Script Frenzy Important News about Script Frenzy (Retrieved June 28, 2012)
  7. Jump up ^ Walsh, Therese (October 2007). "NaNo’s Chris Baty, Part 1".
  8. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e Baty, Chris. "History". National Novel Writing Month. Retrieved November 26, 2009.
  9. ^ Jump up to: a b c d e Platoni, Kara (December 19, 2001). "It was a dark and stormy month…". East Bay Express. Retrieved November 26, 2009.
  10. Jump up ^ "The Great NaNoWriMo Stats Party".
  11. Jump up ^ "The Office of Letters and Light blog". Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  12. Jump up ^ "Breaking News". Retrieved November 24, 2011.
  13. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month – Building A Novel Website". Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  14. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month FAQ".
  15. Jump up ^ "Northern Virginia Daily – Month of Plotting Results in Novels". 2009-10-24. Retrieved 2012-11-22.
  16. Jump up ^ NaNoWriMo FAQ[dead link]
  17. Jump up ^ NaNoWriMo FAQ Entry[dead link]
  18. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month FAQ".
  19. Jump up ^ "Chronicle Books – No Plot? No Problem!".
  20. Jump up ^ "CreateSpace NaNoWriMo". CreateSpace. Retrieved October 29, 2008.
  21. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month Forums".
  22. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month – The Community".
  23. Jump up ^ "Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon Fundraiser".
  24. Jump up ^ "NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program".
  25. Jump up ^ "Libraries in Southeast Asia".
  26. Jump up ^ "AlphaSmart Loaners".
  27. Jump up ^ "Camp NaNoWriMo: About".
  28. Jump up ^ "Camp NaNoWriMo". Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  29. Jump up ^ "NaNoWriMo – Now What".
  30. Jump up ^ "National Novel Writing Month – Published Wrimos".
  31. ^ Jump up to: a b Driscoll, Molly. "NaNoWriMo: 6 things you need to know about the writing challenge". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved March 7, 2014.
  32. Jump up ^ Stacy Conradt. "11 NaNoWriMo Books That Have Been Published". Mental Floss. Retrieved November 29, 2011.
  33. Jump up ^ Herz, Henry L. "Interview with NY Times bestselling THE DARWIN ELEVATOR author Jason Hough". KIDLIT, FANTASY & SCI-FI –> Feed Your Head!. Retrieved 3 August 2014.

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25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo « terribleminds: chuck wendig

Chuck is the author of the published novels: Blackbirds, Mockingbird, Under the Empyrean Sky, Blue Blazes, Double Dead, Bait Dog, Dinocalypse Now, Beyond Dinocalypse and Gods & Monsters: Unclean Spirits. He also the author of the soon-to-be-published novels: The Cormorant, Blightborn (Heartland Book #2), Heartland Book #3, Dinocalypse Forever, Frack You, and The Hellsblood Bride. Also coming soon is his compilation book of writing advice from this very blog: The Kick-Ass Writer, coming from Writers Digest.

He, along with writing partner Lance Weiler, is an alum of the Sundance Film Festival Screenwriter’s Lab (2010). Their short film, Pandemic, showed at the Sundance Film Festival 2011, and their feature film HiM is in development with producers Ted Hope and Anne Carey. Together they co-wrote the digital transmedia drama Collapsus, which was nominated for an International Digital Emmy and a Games 4 Change award.

Chuck has contributed over two million words to the game industry, and was the developer of the popular Hunter: The Vigil game line (White Wolf Game Studios / CCP). He was a frequent contributor to The Escapist, writing about games and pop culture.

Much of his writing advice has been collected in various writing- and storytelling-related e-books.

He currently lives in the forests of Pennsyltucky with wife, two dogs, and tiny human.

He is likely drunk and untrustworthy. This blog is NSFW and probably NSFL.

You may reach him at terribleminds [at] gmail [dot] com.

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Who Is Chuck Wendig?

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter, and game designer. This is his blog. He talks a lot about writing. And food. And the madness of toddlers. He uses lots of naughty language. NSFW. Probably NSFL. Be advised.

25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of the year, then, that normal everyday men and women get a hankering for the taste of ink and misery, thus choosing to step into the arena to tangle with the NaNoWriMo beast.

Here, then, are 25 of my thoughts regarding this month-long pilgrimage into the mouth of the novel — peruse, digest, then discuss. Feel free to hit the comments and add your own thoughts to the tangle.

1. Writing Requires Writing

The oft-repeated refrain, “Writers write,” is as true a sentiment as one can find, and yet so many self-declared writers seem to ignore it just the same. National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo, which sounds like like the more formalized greeting used by Mork when calling home to Ork — demands that writers shit or get off the pot. It says, you’re a writer, soget to scrawling, motherfucker.

2. Writing Requires Finishing

The other giant sucking chest wound that afflicts a great many so-called writers is the inability to finish a single fucking thing. Not a novel, not a script, not a short story. (One wonders how many unfinished manuscripts sit collecting dust like a shelf full of Hummel figurines in an old cat lady’s decrepit Victorian manse.) NaNoWriMo lays down the law: you have a goal and that goal is to finish.

3. Discipline, With A Capital “Do That Shit Every Day, Son”

The way you survive NaNoWriMo is the same way any novelist survives: by spot-welding one’s ass to the office chair every day and putting the words to screen and paper no matter what. Got a headache? Better write. Kid won’t stop crying? Better write. Life is hard and weepy-pissy-sadfaced-panda-noises? Fuck you and write. Covered in killer bees? Maybe today’s not the best day to write. You might want to call somebody. Just don’t pee in fear. Bees can smell fear-urine. Pee is to bees as catnip is to cats.

4. The Magic Number Is 1666

Ahh. The Devil’s vintage. Ahem. Anyway. To hit 50,000 words in one month, you must write at least 1,666 words per day over the 30 day period. I write about 1000 words in an hour, so you’re probably looking at two to three hours worth of work per day. If you choose to not work weekends, you’ll probably need to hit around 2300 words per day. If you’re only working weekends, then ~6000 per day.

5. The Problem With 50,000 Words

Be advised: 50,000 words does not a novel make. It may technically count, but publishers don’t want to hear it. Even in the young adult market I’d say that most novels hover around 60,000 words. You go to a publisher with 50k in hand and call it a novel, they’re going to laugh at you. And whip your naked ass with a towel. And put that shit on YouTube so everybody can have a chortle or three. Someone out there is surely saying, “Yes, but what if I’m self-publishing?” Oh, don’t worry, you intrepid DIY’ers. I’ll get to you.

6. The True Nature Of “Finishing”

For the record, I’m not a fan of referring to one’s sexual climax as “finishing.” It’s so… final. “I have finished. I am complete. Snooze Mode, engaged!” I prefer “arrived.” Sounds so much more festive! As if there’s more on the way! This party’s just getting started! … wait, I’m talking about the wrong type of finishing, aren’t I? Hm. Damn. Ah, yes, NaNoWriMo. Writing 50,000 words is your technical goal — completing a novel in those 50,000 words is not. You can turn in an unfinished novel and be good to go. The only concern there is that 50,000 words serves only as a milestone and come December it again becomes oh-so-easy to settle in with the “I’ve Written Part Of A Novel” crowd. Always remember: the only way through is through.

7. Draft Zero

It helps to look at your NaNoWriMo novel as the zero draft — it has a beginning, it has an ending, it has a whole lot of something in the middle. The puzzle pieces are all on the table and, at the very least, you’ve got an image starting to come together (“is that a dolphin riding side-saddle on a mechanical warhorse through a hail of lasers?”). But the zero draft isn’t done cooking. A proper first draft awaits. A first draft that will see more meat slapped onto those exposed bones, taking your word count into more realistic territory.

8. Quantity Above Quality

Put differently, the end result of any written novel is quality. You’re looking for that thing to shine like a stiletto and be just as sharp. NaNoWriMo doesn’t ask for or judge quality as part of its end goal. To “win” the month, you could theoretically write the phrase “nipple sandwich” 25,000 times and earn yourself a little certificate. Quantity must be spun into quality. You’ve got all the sticks. Now build yourself a house.

9. Beware “Win” Conditions

If you complete NaNoWriMo, I give you permission to feel like a winner. If you don’t, I do not — repeat, awooga, awooga, do not — give you permission to feel like a loser. This is one of the perils of the gamification of novel-writing, the belief that by racking up a certain score (word count) in a pre-set time-frame (one month for everybody), you win. And by not doing this, well, fuck you, put another quarter in the machine, dongface. Which leads me to:

10. We’re Not All Robots Who Follow The Same Pre-Described Program

NaNoWriMo assumes a single way of writing a novel. Part of this equation — “smash brain against keyboard until story bleeds out” — is fairly universal. The rest is not. For every novelist comes a new path cut through the jungle. Some novelists write 1000 words a day. Some 5000 words a day. Some spend more time on planning, others spend a year or more writing. Be advised that NaNoWriMo is not a guaranteed solution, nor is your “failure to thrive” in that program in any way meaningful. I tried it years back and found it just didn’t fit for me. (And yet I remain!) It is not a bellwether of your ability or talent.

11. November Is A Shitty Month

November. The month of Thanksgiving. The month where people start shopping for Christmas. The month where we celebrate National Pomegranate Month (NaPoGraMo?). Yeah. Not a great month to pick to get stuff done. Just be aware that November presents its own unique challenges to novelists of any stripe, much less those doing a combat landing during NaNoWriMo. Know this going in.

12. The Perfect Is The Enemy Of The Good

NaNoWriMo gets one lesson right: writing can at times be like a sprint and you can’t hover over every day’s worth of writing, picking ticks and mites from its hair — you will always find more ticks, more mites. The desire for perfection is like a pit of wet coal silt: it will grab your boots like iron hands and never let you go.

13. Total Suckity-Ass Donkey Crap Is Also The Enemy Of The Good

On the other hand, is this novel is the equivalent of you shitting your diaper and then rubbing your poopy butt up against the walls of your plexiglass enclosure, then what’s the fucking point?

14. You Have Permission To Suck — Temporarily

The point is, you’re not aiming to be a shitty writer with prose on par with a mouthful of toilet water, but you must allow yourself permission to embrace imperfection. You’re not trying to write irreparable fiction, you’re trying to make a go at a flawed story whose bones are good but whose components may need rebuilding. Imperfect is not the same as impossible.

15. NaStoPlaMo

Take October. Name it “National Story Planning Month.” Whatever you’re going to do in November, you don’t have to go in blind. You’ve no requirement, after all, to suddenly leap out of bed on November 1st, crack open your head with an ice ax, and let the story come pouring from the cleft. Spontaneous generation is a myth in science as it is in creative spheres. Plan. Prep. Take a month. Get your mise en place in place.

16. NaEdYoShiMo

December then becomes “National Edit Your Shit Month.” Or, if you need a month away from it, maybe you come back to it in January — but the point is, always come back to it. If you want to do this novel writing thing then you must come to terms with the fact that rewriting is part of a novel’s life-cycle. Repeat the mantra: Writing is when I make the words. Editing is when I make them not shitty.

17. The Stats Bear Ogling

In 2009, NaNo had 167,150 participants, and 32,178 “winners.” That’s a pretty good rate, just shy of 20% completion. The numbers get a bit more telling when you look at the number of published novels that have come out of the entire ten-year program, and that number appears to be below 200 books. Out of the 500,000 or so total participants of NaNo over the years, that’s a very minor 0.04%. This isn’t an indictment against NaNoWriMo but is, however, an illustrative number just the same: it’s harder than the Devil’s dangle-rod in a cobalt-tungsten condom to get published these days.

18. Why Some Authors Dismiss NaNoWriMo

Professional authors — perhaps unfairly — sometimes look at the program with a dismissive sniff or a condescending eye roll. Look at it from their perspective: NaNo participants might seem on par with tourists. Professional authors live here all year. We are what we are all the time. And then others come along and, for one month, dance around on our beaches and poop in the water and pretend to be native. The point is, don’t act like a haole, haole. Don’t be like that girl in college who kissed girls and called herself a lesbian even though she was really just doing it to get other guys hot under the scrotum collar. And pro authors, don’t act like prigs and pricks, either. Drop the dismissal. Most of us are all trying to share the same weird wordmonkey dream, and that’s a thing to be celebrated, not denigrated.

19. Why Some Agents And Editors Despise NaNoWriMo

If the story holds true, agents and editors receive a flush of slush from NaNoWriMo in the months following November. A heaping midden pile of bad prose which, for the record, only serves to block the door for everybody else with its stinky robustness. You may say, “But I’m not going to do that.” Of course you’re not, but somebody probably is. And those that spam every agent or editor with their half-cocked garbage novel should be dragged around by their balls or labia and then fed to a pen full of rutting pigs.

20. The Self-Publishing Marketplace Is Not Your Vomit Bag

Just as you should not run to agents and editors with your fetal draft, you should not instantly fling it like a booger into the marketplace. Novels, like whisky and wine, need time.

21. The NaNoWriMo Website Isn’t Doing Itself Any Favors

The text on the NaNoWriMo website is, for me, a point of dismissal and does little to engender respect from professional writers (as opposed to, say, the participants, who often do earn that respect). Check, for example, the text identifying why you should participate: “The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era’s most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.” Yes, we stupid novelists, what with our interest in quality and our inability to produce a perfect draft in 30 days. Sometimes I want to kick the NaNoWriMo website in its non-existent digital crotch.

22. Engage The Community (But Realize That Writing Is Up To You)

November sees a flurry of activity on the novel-writing front, and you can harness that energy by engaging with the community. Just the same — at the end of the day it’s you and your word count. Nobody can do this shit for you. When it all comes down to it, you’re the one motherfucker who can slay this dragon and make a hat from his skull, a coat from his scales, and a tale from his tongue.

23. Fuck The Police

NaNoWriMo has a lot of rules: you’re supposed to “start fresh,” you’re not really meant to work on non-fiction, blah blah blah. This is all just made-up stuff. It’s not government mandated. This isn’t taxes, for fuck’s sake. Do what you like. Even better: do what the story needs. Hell with the rules. Fuck the police. Write. Write endlessly. Don’t be constrained by this program. It’s just a springboard: use it to launch your way to awesomeness. Anything you don’t like about it, toss it out the window. That certificate you get at the end doesn’t mean dog dick. The only thing that matters is you and your writing.

24. Be Aware Of Variants

Have you seen ROW80, or, A Round of Words in 80 Days? I’ve also seen smaller variants about writing scripts and non-fiction projects. Come up with your own variant if you must. NaNoWriMo is just a means to an end — it’s just one path up the mountain. Other exist, so find them if this one doesn’t seem your speed.

25. November Is Just Your Beginning

If you get to the end of the month with a manuscript — finished or not — in hand, celebrate. Do a little dance. Eat a microwaved pizza, do a shot of tequila, take off your pants and burn them in the fireplace. And then think, “Tomorrow, I’ve got more to do.” Because this is just the start. I don’t mean that to sound punishing — if it sounds punishing, you shouldn’t be a writer. It should be fucking liberating. It should fill your heart with a flutter of eager wings: “Holy shit! I can do this tomorrow, too! I can do this in December and January and any day of the goddamn week I so choose.” Don’t stop on November 30th. You want to do this thing, do this thing. Your energy and effort can turn NaNoWriMo from a month-long gimmick to a life-long love and possibly even a career. Let this foster in you a love of storytelling made real through discipline — and don’t let that love or that discipline wither on the vine come December 1st.

* * *

Want another booze-soaked, profanity-laden shotgun blast of dubious writing advice?


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  • Eve Greenwood

    October 9, 2011 at 8:52 AM // Reply

    I definitely agree that the guidelines are just that — guidelines. No one’s going to kick your door down and riddle you with bullets if you don’t stick to the “rules”. I use NaNoWriMo as a way to power through my novel; I usually find it difficult to sit down and write every day, but this year I aim to write 30,000 words in November and finally finish this first draft. Great advice again, Chuck!

  • Charlie E/N

    October 10, 2011 at 6:45 AM // Reply

    NaNoWriMo can be a great experience. I’ve done it for the last few years now. My first attempt I passed by about 600 words and then had a novella which was good in places, but the edit wasn’t just going to be an edit. I started with an unorthodox narrative type (collective first person present) and then kept falling out of it. That’s a shame as going through the proofreading copy I abandoned like a red-headed stepchild, there’s a lot of greatness. The problem is that I was simultaniously too precious (hence the tiny wordcount) and too disorganised (hence the tense) and to edit it would mean ripping every sentence apart and that’s why I figure I’ll do another draft of it.

    Last year I wrote 70,000 words for a novel I’m now finished with (see step “Fuck to Police”) and was vastly more organised, both in wordcount and plot. This was the third incarnation of a novel I’d prepared for an was ready to go at it full on. This one yielded the best results, and I realised I was far more serious than I was the year before about my work.

    If you reckon you can do it, then definitely try.

  • Toni

    October 11, 2011 at 11:35 PM // Reply

    sir,you are now my new found mentor (whether you like it or not).

    i did nanowrimo last year….during midterms and finals….it was insane…i was insane but i was glad i did it…except i haven’t looked at the story since….it makes me nervous….

  • Nadina Boun

    November 1, 2011 at 7:11 PM // Reply

    Hey, I just joined that Nanowrimo challenge, and I am against the quantity versus quality kind of thing yet by joining I made myself abide by some restraints that will perhaps lead me to complete a long story or novel say, be it in 30 days or longer for that matter, which is more likely to be the case. I usually write poetry, plays and short stories so this is more of a challenge then it is anything else. However, that being said, it was nice to read your post and get others’ intake on this project. I agree with many points you stated here but it could also be a test or experience to many of us who think of adopting the path of writing. Cheers!

  • Sophia Chang

    November 3, 2011 at 11:09 PM // Reply

    I hated those fake lesbians in college! I wrote plays about them!

  • David

    November 29, 2011 at 9:17 AM // Reply

    Just completed my 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and I am really pleased that I did it. I learnt a lot by doing it, not least this myself a good writing work ethic. I am fairly sure that what I have written so far on this novel is complete rubbish, but I’m still proud of my achievement.

  • Mary Beth Frezon

    December 1, 2011 at 11:07 AM // Reply

    Just lived through my first NaNoWriMo, and my first experience in the realm of lengthy writing. I went in blind, and found a story and characters and the whole thing was astounding. I’m not pretending it’s the great novel because it sure isn’t at the moment.

    It was sure a kick in the creative butt though. In the normal creative stuff I do, the idea comes first and some planning, followed by a long period of just persistent work to make the thing come together. I love that and it’s a huge part of my life.

    This was pulling out the ideas as I went, wondering how the heck it was all going to work, trying not to worry about all the final details until I had to. I was amazed that the characters really did seem to know what to do next. The process felt much like reading a book that compelled me to keep going in order to find out what the next page holds.

    In that sense, I think the tone and impetus of NaNoWriMo are spot on – to encourage people to DO something creative. No promises of fame or glory, just the huge personal rush and satisfaction of being there doing it.

  • Andy Decker

    August 27, 2012 at 8:29 PM // Reply

    It’s a month long learning curve for anybody who ever wanted to write a novel and needs some impetus or handholding or motivation via the mob to do so. Everybody has to start somewhere and NaNoWriMo is as good a place as any. It shows people it can be done and instills some of the work ethic required – learn by doing and all that. Even if a person ends up with a bucket of crap it’s their hard-earned bucket of crap. I did my first one in ’05 or so and I thought the amount of writing was impossible. Now if I don’t finish 2,000 words a day I think bad thoughts about myself. And yeah, it’s mostly still crap.

  • Brandon Toropov

    September 1, 2012 at 2:38 PM // Reply

    Awesome overview, for which many thanks, especially the business about ignoring the police. Bravo!

    You may (or may not) want to fix the minor typo on #13 where you have “is the novel” instead of “if the novel” — stopped me, may stop others. Or, if left as is, it may serve as a valuable object lesson in WRITING THE SOLID FIRST DRAFT AND EDITING LATER, PEOPLE!

    A fine piece. Again, many thanks.

  • nikki

    October 8, 2012 at 10:18 PM // Reply

    bit in your face but this is probably the most valuable writeup on Nanoetc that i have read so far. =) i especially like the last few points. I use the challenge mostly to get myself going, i doubt i will be disciplined enough to go all the way in just one month, but i know i will benefit from the pressure and competition a little. also very happy about finding this blog actually..

  • Elizabeth West

    October 14, 2012 at 11:53 AM // Reply

    #16 – That’s my favorite part of writing: rewriting and editing. HATE first drafts. HATE.

    The only reason I’m considering doing NaNoWriMo this year is just to finish the damn current WIP. It’s not my first book, and it’s definitely one of the better concepts I’ve had, but it’s beating its head against the wall for some stupid reason.

    I think I will. I will do it. I’m posting about it right now. And I will link to this post because it is teh awesome.

  • NL

    October 23, 2012 at 11:39 PM // Reply

    Love this article.

    While I disagree with a lot of NaNoWriMo’s rules and “motivators”, I look at it as a vacation. I write every day and put up a lot of words but it gets lonely – just my cat and me. NaNoWriMo is a time where I go out to multiple write-ins every week to spend time with other writers and write. I do get annoyed with a lot of the fledgling writers especially those that give me crap because I spend the month writing poetry/novels in verse rather than the “traditional” novel, and they act like I am not writing anything. News flash: writing 50K of poetry is extremely difficult.

  • Keri Peardon

    October 31, 2012 at 11:11 AM // Reply

    I “NaNered” in 2009 because I was unemployed with no job in sight and was depressed. I thought it was a goal I could reach.

    Little did I expect that I would come away with a viable novel (and plans for two more). I recently published that novel. Last year’s novel is getting broken into two and I hope to publish the first installment next year (although my editing is going slow, so it’s not looking too good). I’m working on a new project this year, which may end up as a novella or as a novel.

    Thanks to NaNo for getting me started, I have recovered my dreams of being a writer (after college writing classes killed all love of writing in me) and hope to be doing it full-time in a year or two.

  • Rachel

    November 1, 2012 at 1:48 PM // Reply

    YOU’RE FUNNY. seriously though

  • amuletts

    November 3, 2012 at 7:59 AM // Reply

    For me NaNoWriMo is a way to stop me going back and endlessly editing the same pages, rather than moving forward with the story. It’s an easy trap to fall in to. It’s also a chance to say to all those people you know who say they want to write a novel ‘stop fannying about and DO IT then.’ If they then proceed to do nothing in future you have the right to stop listening to them go on endlessly about their ‘novel’ and instead tell them to STFU. Seriously – you will not believe the number of ‘writers’ who have never written anything!! IMO if you participate in NaNoWriMo you have the right to call yourself a writer, just not a PROFESSIONAL writer – see the difference there? But yes – embrace writers who actually write, even for just a month.

  • L. Anne Carrington

    November 5, 2012 at 3:27 PM // Reply

    This is my first year of NaNoWriMo. I already started planning my novel in early October after the last novel I finished was published in Kindle format (paperback coming sometime in 2013). I don’t have to bother searching for a publisher, since I’ve had one the last two years or so anyway.

    As for not editing during NaNo? Pffft. I do it anyway, especially now that I’m closing in on the magical first 50,000 words (I started right at midnight on November 1, and had a BIG writing weekend this past one). As my parents used to say, “Do it right or don’t do it at all.” Of course, I’ll probably edit again come December 1, because there’s bound to be something I’ll find that doesn’t satisfy me. I’m picky that way. =D

  • Enigmatic Me

    November 12, 2012 at 12:25 PM // Reply

    I’ve begun posting poems and ‘articles’ on a community based website.. its been interesting, and I like the comments. Though it still (after a couple of years) hasn’t brought me to a point where I share any of my longer written stories. NaNoWriMo appears to be a very good idea. Poetry comes easy… its something I can write within minutes, and post without thinking. A work of fiction, I am guilty of prodding and preening while I write….keeping my word count down and keeping me relatively motionless. I’m looking for something that will actually push me towards movement, help me reconstruct my way of looking at writing. Time will only tell.

  • Linda Brown

    March 1, 2013 at 7:23 AM // Reply

    Ummm!? Well I’m perhaps no writer but I do get complaints from all and sundry about my so called “Long Txt Messages!!” Does that qualify?
    My Son will reward me for short succinct msg., (abreviations extra exta rewards!!) by a simply Reply!
    I often ask him, “Son , is that a threat or a promise?”
    To which naturally I get NO reply.
    My sisters in law, yes all of them, (except one is actually a daughter in law) say,
    “Oh Linda I always KEEP your txt till I get home and I can put my feet up and enjoy!!!!” ????
    Me, still sitting in my car without petrol…it gets dark, darker REALLY DARK!!
    That’s when I txt my Son one of those short and to the point txt’s!
    Love Mum xxx
    Anyway I really had a question referring to your comment on “bees/urine and the smell of fear??
    I wondered if you’d heard of Ones Urinating dude to ANGER!!????
    Or is it just me?
    Thank you

  • iwriterist

    April 11, 2013 at 1:44 AM // Reply

    I’ve read this about 11 times now. The first few times I came for wonderful advice.i have to say the article is very informative and I do come for knowledge purposes. Today, I’m a feeling a little down so I came for a laugh at all the Step Titles. Thank you for making this post.

  • theredlion4

    September 11, 2013 at 1:16 PM // Reply

    Unfortunately, I’m one of those so-called writers who struggles to finish… I do fine with short stories, but when it comes to writing novels I seem to hit a rut and get too stuck on deciding which path the plot should take or little details that get in the way of continuing. I am going to do NaNo for the first time this year, so it was great to read another perspective on it. I think I will end up using it just as a way to force myself to plow through the little details and just keep moving the story forward.

  • Heather

    September 23, 2013 at 1:27 PM // Reply

    The only real problem I have with your blog here, Chuck, is #23.

    NaNoWriMo has no police. Now, we’ve got a forum where, if you ask specifically about the rules, we’ll tell you what they are. But there’s not a lot of them. Hell, you have more “rules” here than we do! What I tell people all the time in the forums is that “this is a self challenge” — there are reasons for the rules we have, but if they don’t work for you, we don’t care. You’re not flouting the police, you’re just doing what thousands have done before you. IN fact, we’ve worked to build a culture of welcoming. Every so often, some new fellow comes along and starts wielding the 8 paragraph “rulebook” like they know something everyone doesn’t.

    And I politely hand him his ass, and tell him to pipe down. “Cheaters” are welcome, and people who call them cheaters get their asses handed to them, as well. Usually by the community, but if they don’t get them, I do.

    We’ve never claimed to have one way of doing it. That’s why I even wrote a blog a while back about being a “loser” and being okay with that.

    In the end, we all want one thing. MORE FUCKING WORDS. Write more fucking words, people, and do it from a smoky dark room in your mom’s basement. Do it in public. Do it with friends. Do it with the forums community. Just fucking do it already.

  • grfrazier

    October 12, 2013 at 12:45 AM // Reply

    Good grief! How can anyone devote time to writing when it’s National Pomegranate Month? I mean, there are parades, community picnics, baking contests … I could go on.

  • stellasvirtualcafe

    October 23, 2013 at 11:39 AM // Reply

    Yup, this is my first NaNoWriMo and I’m seeing it as a springboard into the commitment of a novelist’s life. If I, and my family can hack November, whatever happens, then the woild is my oyster…sort of. Thanks for your points, graphic as they may be. Writing, like love, is a messy business.

  • Raven

    October 30, 2013 at 1:19 PM // Reply

    The numbers at the end get to the truth of the matter for me of late, which I talked about a few months ago on my site ( ), especially the quality over quantity aspect. I do NaNo every month because I’m a writer. That doesn’t make NaNo a bad thing–but I definitely see it as something I’ve outgrown as a professional writer. I love that it encourages others to write! BIC–Butt in chair–is crucial to beginning and continuing a writing career.

  • Alicia Rades

    November 1, 2013 at 6:17 PM // Reply

    I really enjoyed your writing style in this article. It was hilarious. But at the same time, I really didn’t like how you put down NaNoWriMo. It’s not supposed to be a challenge to publish a novel. It’s supposed to encourage writing. Published authors aren’t the only ones with the right to write, and this gives people a reason to write. I think it’s a great challenge and that writing 50,000 words IS an accomplishment.

  • Awillaway

    November 2, 2013 at 3:22 AM // Reply

    I absolutely love this article! I had argued with my husband in years past that a great novel simply could not be written in a month. I have been sitting on a novel for a while now and I am much more guilty of piling up non-finished manuscripts than I am completing my work. I’m seeing Nanowrimo as a challenge to that particular type of behavior than anything else. I’m seeing it as the end of writing as a hobby and the beginning of a viable career.

  • imsupersaiyan

    November 2, 2013 at 6:10 PM // Reply

    LOLLLLLL THIS WAS GREAT! I laughed the whole way through, so true.

  • jdooley

    November 3, 2013 at 10:25 AM // Reply

    Thank you. I’m finishing up the first draft of my first novel this month – a book I started writing in April – and now I think I’ll hold of on submitting to agents until the crush of half-written manuscripts ebbs. I have a lot of editing to do anyway. For what it’s worth, I found this post by doing a search for “does nanowrimo produce a lot of crappy novels” because I can’t imagine producing my novel in a month (currently 123,000 words and counting…)

  • heatherp74

    November 3, 2013 at 6:51 PM // Reply

    I’m going to try it. I wrote almost 2 pages last night but still don’t know if I really have a story!

  • Luv peppy

    November 7, 2013 at 4:15 PM // Reply

    i read this in 15 mins and that’s how long it took me to fall in love with your writing..thanks for sharing this! i followed a link here because i was curious about the i don’t want to leave.

    • Nicole Cushing

      November 12, 2013 at 2:06 PM // Reply

      In regard to 50K not being a real novel… several Mamatas novels are in the neighborhood, as well as the first installment of the new VanderMeer. Common denominator? Publishers outside of the narrow SF/F community (mainstream publisher for VanderMeer, DarkHorse and other indie publishers, for Mamatas).

  • AJ Knauss

    November 29, 2013 at 2:47 PM // Reply

    First novel, took 7 years to write. Not published. Second novel, one year to write, one year to edit, published, selling modestly. Now going back and hacking/editing/gutting the first novel. It is not one size fits all but anything that lights the fire is good. And it has been a fun road mostly…except for those stretches of hating the words on the page and going cross-eyed from the blinky bastard little cursor. Oh, the writer’s life.

  • RCudlitz

    November 30, 2013 at 7:16 PM // Reply

    Just finished and “won” my first NaNoWriMo. Completely dug the ridiculousness. Love the fact that the arbitrary deadline showed me that I was completely full of shit when I said life got in the way of my writing. I’m a mom and not used to putting myself first. Well now my kids can suck it. I am well on my way to a hot mess of a first draft and I couldn’t be happier.

  • sterlingdh

    June 17, 2014 at 5:38 PM // Reply

    Chuck, you are the true definition of “hilarious.” Somehow you are able to combine vulgar writing with down-to-earth inspiration. For that I salute you.

  • Callum Goss (@IBeCallum1)

    July 14, 2014 at 7:55 AM // Reply

    This has been the most entertaining ‘X Things You Should Know About Y’ I have read. It may been longer, but I prefer an entertaining several thousand word piece, as opposed to a strict, boring short piece that if printed and blended into a drink would taste like water. But water doesn’t taste of anything? Shut up!

  • jademwong

    October 25, 2014 at 10:27 AM // Reply

    I don’t know how you do it, Chuck, but the balance between vulgarity and straight-out inspirational hilarity is on point. I stumbled onto this post because I was curious about the NaNo..and this was exactly what I needed to read.

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