Tag: NaNoWriMo

So You Think You Might Want to Participate in NaNoWriMo (And You’re Scared)

I have participated in National Novel Writing Month (affectionately called NaNo) since 2007, a memorable year in which I distracted myself from my horrifically soul-sucking job by ignoring my duties and writing a cheesy romance novel. It was messy and poorly planned (I believe I may have started late that year), but it was also the first time I’d really tried to write a long story. The experience was stressful and terrifying and incredible.

nanowrimo_logoNaNo is a sort of lurking beast in my life—it’s always somewhere in my mind throughout the year—but it’s a beast I’ve fallen in love with. The best thing about NaNo is that it is all about process and journey. We operate in a world where there is an emphasis on product that can be borderline paralyzing. This mentality is actually the biggest reason I see people drop out of or talk themselves out of participating in NaNo.

The thing about NaNo is that while it is goal-oriented (word count), there isn’t anyone waiting at “the finish line.” You can’t really get it wrong. The purpose of NaNo is to get people writing—to create productivity, to encourage creativity, to push people out of comfort zones, and to foster positive feelings. I can’t stress that enough. NaNo is meant to make us feel good! We’ve tried something new. We’ve pushed past our comfort zones. We’ve been creative. Yay!

That right there, new friend, is all you need. Sure, it’s immensely gratifying to make it to that 50k words. But honestly, the NaNo that really feels like my greatest achievement was 2008, when I wrote 2000 words. Total. Because I had a one-month-old baby and sleep was a distant dream. But damn. I wrote 2000 words of a story I hadn’t planned with a one-month-old baby. That has win all over it.

In sum, you can do it. What it is can be totally up to you. What I love most about NaNo is the camaraderie. Friendships made, creativity spurred, and that feeling of “Wow, I didn’t think I had that in me.” Are you sort of on the fence? Come find me. I’ll convince you, and no matter where your journey goes, I’ll cheerlead the crap out of your journey, because it is all always valuable.

My NaNo success tips (tailor or ignore these at will):

Find an accountability buddy: Whether this is online or in person. Having someone to talk to, to motivate you, to keep you accountable to your personal goals has been so vital to my success every year.

Work in writing sprints: I do these with my buddy. We sit down—online, we aren’t in the same place— and either set a small word goal or a time limit (something totally manageable, like 20-45 minutes). We don’t talk or allow ourselves to do anything else. It’s just time to write. I find it super effective.

Set manageable goals: What time do you write best? How can you utilize your time? Are you goal- or deadline-oriented or not? I personally love making a spreadsheet. I have a daily word goal (1667 words per day for 30 days=win). My spreadsheet includes my total words as I go and also tells me how far ahead or behind I am. This is good because then I can plan for days when I won’t be writing, but can also allot time in the days ahead to catch up.

Be forgiving: Do not allow this to become a time or exercise where you beat yourself up. I cannot stress enough that this is supposed to be fun! Give yourself rewards! Celebrate your success on social media. Buy yourself chocolate. 

Interested in signing up or checking things out? Check out their website. There are a ton of resources there, including information on meetings and write-a-thons in your area. There are discussion boards for almost everything, including research help and genre specific information. And you can find buddies. Buddies are good!

Here’s Why I Should Sign Up for NaNoWriMo

Every year I’m intrigued by the event that is NaNoWriMo. And every year I fail to sign up. Me. The aspiring writer can’t manage to participate in NaNo. Why you might ask? Well let me tell you. I’m busy. It’s as simple as that. I get busy, time flies by and before I know it I forgot to sign up and I’m saying “That’s okay, I’ll just do it next year.” Which is always the biggest lie I tell myself. I have yet to sign up and I doubt that this year will be much different. But even though I have three jobs, am a full time student graduating in May, and running a club on campus, here’s why I should sign up, and here’s why ANYONE with a busy schedule should sign up:

  • It gives you goals and goals are good. I know that I work really well when I have an ultimate goal. NaNo lets you set your own goals and it helps you reach them in a realistic setting.
  • You have a great support system. There are HUNDREDS of BILLIONS of people (okay maybe not that many, but still a lot) working on their writing that would love to help you and encourage you along the way.
  • You will have a finished-ish product. I’m not saying it will be perfect, but it will be finished none the less. And then all of the cliché blood, sweat, and tears that you poured into that manuscript will have been worth it (or so I’m told).
  • It’s FUN. It really is fun. Because you get a break from homework and school and can just write. So instead of watching Netflix for three hours at night maybe you choose to write 5,000 words instead. Or maybe 100 if you’re like me and need more “realistic” goals.

Whatever your reasoning, or whatever your desire, NaNo is a great opportunity. Maybe I’ll even do it this year (she said as she winked). I know I’ll be telling all of my Creative Writing kiddos to join! Plus, if you want to do NaNo and you join Creative Writing Club, I’ll give you time to write. BONUS. You were coming to the meeting anyway, and now I’m giving you a chance to write, and I’ll tell you lots of encouraging things as you write your little heart out!

Getting Inspired For Writing

National Novel Writing Month

Ever think about writing a novel?
Ever think about writing a whole novel in JUST A MONTH?
Ever think that it would be utterly crazy and wild?
Ever think it help to have tools to keep you on track and a community to give you support and cheer you on?

Yes, yes, yes, yes

National Novel Writing Month

National Novel Writing month is coming up soon!!

You can sign up for free and access many tools that will help spur you on in your writing.

You don’t have to finish writing a whole novel, but it will help you get started on accomplishing that secret dream.  The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month.  Small groups form to help support each other. You can find out about local events and become part of a global movement.  Hundreds of thousands of people join each year for this fun and inspiring event. Last year there were over 668,000 people around the world!

Just go to http://nanowrimo.org/ for more information

The pep talks alone make it entirely worth signing up!

If you don’t really want to write a novel,

To get EVERYONE started in writing the Writing Center @ MSU is having a Write-a-thon on October 18th.  It is a great time where you join a small group of fellow community members and spend a few minutes getting inspired and then time just writing.  The groups walk to several different locations and let the surroundings add to the enriching experience.  Don’t miss this chance to write with like-minded people, to feel connected to a larger community, and to get that much needed boost in your writing.


This year’s theme is hunger. It is a broad topic that can link to whatever you want. OF COURSE, you can write about anything, but it is surprising the fresh ideas you will get from the facilitators and surroundings.

The write-a-thon starts in the main writing center (Room 300 in Bessey Hall) at 1:00pm and goes until about 4:00pm.  You can leave whenever you want, so come and join us for as long as you can.

For more information go to the Writing Center’s Write-a-thon page. We hope to see you there!



It’s that time again! November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and at The Writing Center we are excitedly anticipating its arrival.

The goal of NaNoWriMo is to encourage its participants to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. It sounds intimidating, but its bark is really worse than its bite. The main purpose that the organizers of NaNoWriMo have is to encourage you to participate. NaNoWriMo isn’t a “if you ain’t first, you’re last” event, the hope is that you’ll write, period. That said, the 50,000 word limit is purely arbitrary, but you do get a nifty certificate if you get there.

Plus, we would be happy to work with you on your novels in The Writing Center!

The local Great Lansing community has your back too! Here is a list of upcoming NaNoWriMo events in the area.

  • Write Ins every Thursday in November (except Thanksgiving) at Old Chicago Okemos starting at 7 pm.
  • Write Ins every Saturday at The Avenue Cafe starting at 11 am.
  • TGIO party Sunday December 1 – Time and Place TBD

Word Wars to Spur You on to Write

Logo for the National Novel Writing Month

Do you like to run? Ever train for a 3K, 5K or marathon? What helps motivate you to keep running even if you get bored, tired, or your legs are absolutely killing you? Does the thought of competition motivate you to go further and dig deep within you to keep going? Does knowing that others are running at your side, watching and cheering you on, spur you forward?

Final papers and projects are coming due, there is a lot of very important writing that you need to do. Often just writing and churning out the words can get the creative inspirations going. Yet, sitting and looking at a blank screen will cause writer’s block to totally take over. If you find yourself sitting there, not knowing what to write next, perhaps finding a writing buddy to do Word Wars is just the thing that you need

If you signed up to write in the National Novel Writing Month you will already know about “Word Wars.” They have bulletin boards where users can sign up to have 10 or 15 minute challenges with another writer. You push the button and start writing, both of you race to the finish line and see how much you can write when you focus for those few minutes. Just be sure to not post your email address on the site- follow the directions. Click here to find out more.

If you don’t want to sign up, just make your own Word Wars, get a classmate or friend, set a timer and WRITE.  You might be amazed at how much you can get done.

When you are done writing, or if you are still stuck with writer’s block, make an appointment to meet with a friendly consultant at The Writing Center @ MSU.  We can help you any step along the way.  Don’t wait until the last minute and find that the schedule is full.  Make an appointment today!

Beyond NaNoWriMo

You may have already seen Ruth’s post about National Novel Writing Month, the month long writing marathon open to anyone interested. While NaNoWriMo has been going on since 1999, other versions of this intensive writing activity are popping up this year. Here are a few other examples that play off of NaNoWriMo’s crazy-intense goals. For digital writers, check out:

Digital Writing Month (DigiWriMo):

Because NaNoWriMo defines its novel-length writing challenge as 50,000 words, DigiWriMo follows their word count challenge. The point of DigiWriMo is to try to write 50,000 words digitally-by blogging, tweeting, whatever you’d like. The challenge is to think creatively: not only about what you write, but how people interact with what you write as well. See more about how DigiWriMo got started by reading this interview with the cofounders; or to participate, follow this link.

For academic writers (I’m looking at you, mentally-blocked dissertaters), there are a few option:

Academic Book Writing Month (AcBoWriMo):

AcBoWriMo started last year as a beta project when PhD2Published blogger, Charlotte Frost, challenged herself and a colleague to tackle all of their soon-due academic writing during NaNoWriMo. This might be a great way for those of us writing dissertations, theses, or even the dreaded semester-long essay to try to get a bulk of it done quickly. It doesn’t all have to be written gold, but at least it gives you a starting point to revise from. Check this out to see the (relatively) relaxed rules of AcBoWriMo. Interestingly, the 2011 AcBoWriMo inspired the #AcWri twitter tag and “fortnightly” live chats. This year, AcBoWriMo has turned into:

Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo):

In order to not exclude those not writing books, the AcWriMo folks have dropped the “Bo” from their name. Again, PhD2Published leads the charge for Academic Writing Month, but The Chronicle of Higher Education has picked up the call this year as well.

So, what writing competition are you considering? What one do you wish you felt up to tackle?


Happy NaNoWriMo!

National Novel Writing Month

In case you don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is the massive worldwide marathon for writers, only anyone can participate. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. You can join a community of writers and collaboratively track your progress; there is a total collective word count and whatever you write will add to the world total.

If you ever wanted to write a novel, or dreamed of being a writer, or if you want to improve your writing, or if you dread writing, or if you just always dreamed of being part of a large, worldwide movement…this is YOUR opportunity!

Check out the NaNoWriMo website to register (it’s free); you can check your progress, get pep talks and support, connect with other writers, and add to the world total.

For NaNoWriMo, quality is not the focus, the focus is to just do it. It is not too late to join, you can start today!