Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A Writer's Holy Days

November is National Novel Writing Month or, for those in the know, NaNoWriMo. The month-long challenge that began in 1999 with 21 novelists has evolved to a much larger production; lots and lots of writers log in and attempt to finish a complete novel (or at least, 50,000 words) during November. At the NaNoWriMo site (, you can sign up and update your word count, socialize and commiserate with other writers, even read samples of what everyone else is doing.

But what I like best about this month of writer-mania is that whether you’re participating or not, everyone is talking about it. Which means, everyone is talking about writing. And for thirty days, it’s like the best club ever. Or it’s like Ramadan, or Lent, this group undertaking. And like those religious periods, it permeates your life whether you’re doing what you think you should be doing, or what you’d like to be doing, or not. Maybe you’ve jumped in with both feet, notebooks and outlines primed, ready to belt out that complete novel. Maybe you’re working on something, but can only manage 15,000 words over the course of the month. Maybe you’re not writing right now at all, but you’re thinking about it. Hearing other writer’s stories, challenges, and triumphs can only be encouraging. I like to hear about what everyone is writing and how they’re doing along the way. I like to remind myself that so many writers are out there, quietly plugging away, usually without notice.

I have participated in past years, and will be this year, sort of. Autumn tends to be a productive time for me anyway, so I’ve been working on that story collection, the one I keep saying I’m almost finished with. Well, I really am almost finished now, aiming for the end of October. In November, I’d like to get started on notes for the next thing, a novel of BIG IDEAS I’ve been ruminating over in a very dark corner of my mind. So I may not, technically, be writing in November (according to the NaNoWriMo requirements), but I’ll be in it with everyone who is. Rooting you on, feeling your joy and pain.


  1. I have never heard of this before. Sounds like a trip for sure! I will follow along to see how it turns out this year.

  2. This will be my third NaNo and I hope to win. It's great fun, especially when the first draft gets written.

  3. Good luck, Debbie. Yes, nothing like finishing that first draft! Happy writing, everyone.


"As soon as we express something, we devalue it strangely. We believe ourselves to have dived down into the depths of the abyss, and when we once again reach the surface, the drops of water on our pale fingertips no longer resemble the ocean from which they came...Nevertheless, the treasure shimmers in the darkness unchanged." ---Franz Kafka