How many of you out there are participating in NaNoWriMo? How many of you even know what NaNoWriMo is?

For those of you who’ve never heard of it, “NaNoWriMo” stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It happens every November, and perhaps is best described as a writing marathon, which writers sign up for (it’s free!) with the goal of writing a novel in a month.  Sounds crazy, right?

And it is, in a way.  But crazy in a GOOD way!

While I’m not doing NaNo myself this year in an official way, I’m unofficially using it as a motivator for keeping my new book moving forward.  (Which it is, yay!)   I have some young friends who signed up for the Young Writers Program, though (click here to learn more about it).  They’re busily writing away toward their goals, so I thought it would be fun to interview two of them.

Here’s what Eliza, a 4th grader in Oregon, has to say about the experience:

Q.  Could you tell other young aspiring writers a little bit about NaNo, and how you decided to get involved with it?

A.  Nanowrimo is a great way for anyone to just get their words and ideas down on paper with no restrictions, just for fun. I decided to get involved in it because my sister Molly had lots of fun with it.

Q.  How many years have you done it now?

A.  3 years.

Q.  How does it help motivate you?

A.  Just being able to write stuff down and come back later to make changes gives it all an exciting “rush and hurry” sort of feel.

Q.  What are you hoping to accomplish this year?

A.  4,000 words and a good book.

Q.  What advice would you give someone who’s thinking about doing it?

A.  Stop thinking and get it done. (And have fun!!!!)

Thanks, Eliza!  Happy NaNo-ing!   

Now here’s Margaret, a 7th grader from Georgia, who wrote a little essay about the experience for us:

NaNoWriMo is an adventure.  A fast-paced, finger-flying adventure.  Last year, when I did Youth Writers Program (YWP) NaNo for the first time, I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I knew that I was going to be writing a novel and only had the month of November to do it.  And I also knew that I loved to write and NaNoWriMo was a place where I could.

I set my word count goal as 25,000 words.  In YWP NaNoWriMo, you set a goal for yourself and try to reach it during the month.  I didn’t really know what my story would be like, but I had what I call “puzzle pieces.”  These puzzle pieces consisted of the skeleton of what my story would be–a few ideas toward the plot line, some interesting character names, and a couple of phrases that I thought were so witty that I had to include them somewhere.  Then the adventure began.  Motivation had struck and I was writing like a maniac.  But what was so unique was that in a way, I had no choice to let everything go and hold nothing back.  Writer’s block tried to stop me more than a few times, but I just kept on writing and the puzzle pieces I had started with began to fit together and form a story.

Another neat thing about NaNo is that even in the quiet of my room while I’m writing, I know that there are thousands of kids out in the world who are just like me.  They love to write and they’re ready to go on this month-long adventure to create a story.  Maybe next year, you’ll come on this journey with us–this crazy, exhilirating adventure that is NaNoWriMo.

Wow, you make it sound irresistible, Margaret!  Thanks!

Anybody else out there doing NaNo?  Feel free to chime in and let us know how it’s going!  We’ll check back in with you all at the end of the month to see how things went.  Have fun!


40 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo”

  1. I have heard about it, actually. I did Nanowrimo last year, although have not done the young writers program. It sounds great, and I will be sure to try it!!

  2. Woah i was going to do that for the gifted and intelligent program but I didnt have time 🙁 My friend is doing it though and its about the sun leaving our galaxy and drifting into space 😀

  3. Wow! That sounds SO cool and fun! I was also wondering, is NaNoWriMo something that you have to be in a club or something to get credit for writing all that? Pondering this because I know that since they don’t offer those type of groups where I live, people may not believe me if I reach a huge goal.

    Maybe I should start a group like that.

    Heather? Your thoughts?

    • No club involved, some schools give credit for it, I think (the Young Writers Program). It’s all online, all self-motivated, all free. I think it would be SUPER fun to do it with a group of friends, and spur each other on to greatness!

  4. I’ve known about Nanowrimo for a long time but I’ve never done it. I have to say, I would find it very stressful. I’m the kind of person that likes to take my time doing things, so it would be really hard for me to write something in just a month. Plus, I like writing poetry and short stories better than novels so I don’t really see any point in doing it. I totally get why it would be fun for other people though.

    • I totally understand, Zoe. Deadlines CAN be stressful, but they can also be motivating. The point of NaNo isn’t to produce something fabulous in a month, it’s just to produce SOMETHING. To get words on paper that can later be revised and polished. But poetry and short stories are great, too, and don’t even need NaNo! I say continue doing what you love. 🙂

  5. Is this in Canada too?? I know a friend of mine does it every year and she is from MI, I just never have heard of it here…

    • Yep, it’s world-wide. It’s all Internet-based, so anyone with an Internet connection can do it. And some communities (like mine here in Portland, Oregon) have live events and gatherings and even prizes at the end. It’s a lot of fun.

  6. I’m writing 50,000 thousand words for NaNoWriMo. I was hoping you would do a pep talk for the YWP (which I am doing), but this is good enough. I just finished reading Wish You Were Eyre, and that has given me a lot of inspiration for my novel. On a sadder note, as I was coming to the end of the book, I noticed you had Megan talk in a very conclusive way, I realized you were ending the series. A bit of my heart was torn out when I finished it, but I can always read the whole series again. I just want to say that reading The Mother-Daughter Book Club has given me so much inspiration to write, draw, and so much more. The daughters of the book club are the most relatable characters I have ever read about. I don’t want to offend you, but reading your blog and knowing that you are “real” has made me sad because I have to come to terms with the fact that Megan, Emma, Jess, Cassidy and Becca are just fictional characters. But I do love the way you can talk to your fans in such a personal way, and you are my favorite modern day author.

    • What a lovely comment, Katia — thank you so much. And I’m sorry I’m not fictional ha ha. (I TOTALLY understand what you mean — and actually, even though I know Jane Austen is a real person and her characters are fictional, I’m still convinced there’s an alternate universe where Lizzie Bennet and Mr. Darcy and all the others from her books are living.) 🙂

    • I’m so glad to hear this! TOAD is dear to my heart! (well, you know what I mean — not ALL toads, just THIS toad ha ha)

      • Hahahahaha You are an AMAZINGGG author! You are as great as Louisa May Alcott, Lucy Maud Montgomery, Jean Webster, Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte combined! I love all of your books!!! You have inspired so many people and someday I want to be just like you!! <3

  7. I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this year and was wondering, does it have to be all one novel or can it be like little short stories? I write 1,000 word essays every week for my language arts class and was wondering if I could use those stories.

    • I think you can do whatever you’d like, Alicia — the point is just to motivate you to jump in there and write!

      • okay, Thanks! I love to write, and even though I am only just stepping foot into the writing world, I can’t wait to get started! Thanks for all your inspiring books!

  8. Yes I’ve hear about it! I really want to do, especially since I work really well under pressure of deadlines. But I can’t, because I have sooo much schoolwork! Darn. Just wondering, how many words do people usually try to write during NaNo?

    • For adults, I think it’s 50,000 words, for the young writers program maybe half that? Not entirely sure. At any rate, the idea is to set a goal of some sort to motivate us all to actually sit down and do the work (which is the hardest part, of course)!

  9. Hi heather! Yesterday i signed up for NaNoWriMo i really like it so far! Ive been writing my novel on paper and when i went on the site to type…i couldnt find were i type my novel. Please help!!!


    • Grace, I think you just write it longhand or type it at home, then log in the word count online, not your novel. At least that’s how I think it works…

  10. I just have the most perfect timing! Right when I have to pack everything up and move to my new house I find out about this! Right now I’m working on finishing this one book I’m writing and I still have MANY details to add before I feel ready to let my friends edit it. The parts that they have read so far they say is great and they keep bugging me to give them more to read. Anyways, it’s such a shame I have to pack everything up because that means I have to step away from my novel for a bit. I feel like I’m so close yet so far away from finishing it.

  11. That’s so cool. I am going to join a writing contest for my city. It has to be a historical fiction on Mesa, Arizona (where I live)The problem is there is nothing really historical here. I so would have done tombstone if it was just anywhere in Arizona. 😛

    • Hmmmm. NOTHING historical in Mesa? Remember, it doesn’t have to be ancient history — maybe something that happened 20 or 30 years ago as opposed to 100 years ago, you know? I’ll bet you can find one little tidbit of local history and spin it into a fun story…

      • Yeah I know Mesa is still pretty new though. I mean the oldest house in the city is 50 years old the majority is 10-30 years. I trying to find out more on why people started to settle here and like 70 years ago. It is something about them not wanting to go Tempe, AZ.

  12. Heather I need help!!!!! I just accidently pledged to write a novel in a month! I am freaking out. I was going to do it but then i decided not to when i had already fill out the form. Can you email them and tell them i did not mean to do that? Please help!!!!I would but i do not know how. Please please help!!!

    • Deep breath, Allie. You haven’t signed your life away! It’s all on the honor system, and there’s nothing that says you HAVE to write a novel. The whole point is just to give you a way to make yourself accountable — to YOU, not to anyone else. If it makes you feel any better, I signed up for it last year and the year before and didn’t complete a novel either time. BUT I got a good START on one, and that was valuable to me, and the whole point really. (If you want out completely, you can “unsubscribe” at the bottom of any emails that they send you, OK?)

  13. Oh! Oh! Excitement! 😀 I’m doing NaNoWriMo!! I did it last year too and I love it. My word count this year is 70,000 words–a big goal, but I think I can make it with a lot of hard work and a little luck 🙂

  14. I wish I could do that contest but to much on my plate. Why do I have to be so busy all of the time. I mean I barely have time to check out the internet. I writing this at 9:00 at night. 😉

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