Thursday, October 27, 2011


My writer friends know what that title means. For the rest of you, I will try not to bore you too much with the details. November is National Novel Writing Month.
Or a challenge for the insane. Because, you see, if you are sane November 1st, you surely won't be on November 30th. The challenge is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. That's 1667 words a day. Words out of thin air, because you are not supposed to actually write anything until 12:01 am Nov. 1st. It's all based on an honor system. There are no judges, no referees, no umpires. You are just expected to follow the rules. And at the end there is no big cash award. Only the satisfaction that you did it. Oh, there is a certificate you can print off and some sponsors who offer items for the verified 'winners'.
"Why would you do this, you ask?"
"I don't know." How's that for a definitive answer. When I first heard about this challenge, I thought to myself, "Self, you should do this. You've always wanted to write a novel. But, there was always excuses. Not enough time. What if I can't do it? What if it turns out to be a load of stinking crap?" But, then I thought, "What better way to kick your butt in gear."
So five years ago, I jumped into the fray. I soon found out I wasn't alone. There were over 100,000 people taking the wild ride with me from all over the world. There is a web site with awesome support and forums where you can commiserate with others. And everyone cheers everyone on.
That first year I only made it to 24,000 words. But, that's 24,000 more words toward a novel than I had October 31st.  Every year after, I've made it to 50,000. My 2009 novel is finished and currently in the hands of an editor in New York. And, I plan on finishing a couple of the other ones.
You would think I would be confident going into this November. But, for some reason, I'm not. Because I know how hard it is. I know that by week two, I'll be exhausted and ready to quit. And, I know that at some point I'll get behind and have to type my fingers bloody to finish on time. My son thinks I'm crazy. And maybe I am. But it's a good kind of crazy. Right?


  1. I'm write there with you Wanda. Can't wait. Or maybe I can! Have so much to do before Nov 1.... I like Jano better, but Nano works for what I have to get done this year. Glad we can be Nano buddies!

  2. It does seems a little crazy if you really take the time to think about it. My husband definitely doesn't get my obsession with it. I didn't learn about it until early 2009, so my first was that year. Last year when I reached 40k, I ran out of motivation and almost quit, but I talked myself into going on.

    This year I'm really excited. I'm a total panster. Thinking a whole plot out ruins it for me. I like to get bits and pieces together and see where they lead.

  3. Stephanie, I may try Jano too, but to finish a work in progress. And buddies it is. Becky, I'm a pantser too and I think that's what gets me so nervous. Not knowing whether or not my characters will lead me to victory or not.

  4. You're not crazy, Wanda. You're motivated! That's a good thing. I did NANO last year, but I'll wait for JANO this year. I can't do both, and I have so many things that need to be edited. Good for you, though. I'll be rooting for you.

  5. Congratulations on your 2009 novel at the publishers. Mine is still waiting to be edited, I started and that is where it sits. I will be back visiting you to ensure that you don't give up after two weeks. I know it's a trying time but we can do it!

    Geri aka Mona Prowl

  6. Yes, it's a "good crazy". I look forward to taking this adventure with so many inspired people such as yourself. Great job getting the 2009 efforts to the publisher! I'll enjoy keeping track of your progress.

  7. Thanks Geri and Rita. Sometimes a little encouragement is all it takes to get you over a hump. Good luck to both of you, too.

  8. I remember now you explaining this to me one Thanksgiving. I think its great and some day soon you will be published. I do enjoy your writing. Hope you have a greatand relaxing Turkey Day!