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National Novel Writing Month

#ThursdayThoughts: Facing Day Two of NaNoWriMo

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This will be my second time taking the National Novel Writing Month challenge, also known as NaNoWriMo.  The first time I did it in 2009, it really was a tool to help me cope with the loss of a friend to cancer that September.  I didn’t finish because the story I was writing forced me to go back and examine parts of our youth that were painful reminders of her absence by November 18, 2009, the day that would have been her 36th birthday, it really was too much an emotional ride for me to take. So I put the story away. In the years since, the story has continued to linger in the recesses of my mind— sometimes I…

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Tips You Need to Know in Time for NaNoWriMo

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It’s almost November 1st, and for thousands of writers across the world that only means one thing: it’s time for NaNoWriMo! Short for National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo challenges authors to try and finish an entire novel throughout November. The goal is to produce 50,000 words by the end of the month, kick-starting the writing process in an organized and immersive way. Writing a book is never easy, and it’s certainly not any easier to cram it all into just 4 weeks. But NaNoWriMo isn’t necessarily about creating a perfect draft – it’s about making your writing a priority and finally diving headlong into a big project. The month-long event has only grown and grown over the years, swelling up…

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Why I Don’t Regret Failing the NaNoWriMo Challenge. Twice.

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For authors, November isn’t just a month of pumpkins and first snows. It’s also NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, that time of year where thousands of writers across the world dedicate themselves to writing a novel in just one month. When I first heard about NaNoWriMo, I knew I wanted to try. As an author, one of my biggest struggles is with motivation, staying on track and forcing myself to finish projects. I tend to start new books every time I’m frustrated with a current draft, which means I have about 50 first chapters to 50 different novels I’m planning on writing some day. It was with this attitude that I decided to throw myself into NaNoWriMo the first…

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NaNoWriMo: Is Your Inspiration Fading? Here are 3 Tips to Keep Writing

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Here you are, halfway through November—National Novel Writing Month—and there’s about a gazillion and one things you seem to be doing other than writing. What’s happened to your carefully laid plans for writing a certain word count every day? What happened to prioritizing your writing (and letting the kids have takeout Chinese for supper!)? How about keeping your momentum going all month? Ouch, huh? After the buildup and fanfare of November 1, inspiration and motivation both have a way of fizzing away under the pressures of real life. But they don’t have to! Let’s examine three ways you can boost your inspiration in the middle of NaNoWriMo and regain both your focus and your forward motion. Don’t Wait for Inspiration…

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Welcome to NaNoWriMo! What It Is and How You Can Start Writing a Novel

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The idea of writing a novel may sound romantic and exciting, but in reality it’s a pretty daunting proposition. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo to those in the know) and you might be thinking about joining the hundreds of thousands of people who seek to complete the writer’s holy grail—a fully written, 50,000-word manuscript—within a month. Yes, it can be done. Read on. Started in November 2000, the competition has grown from 140 participants to more than 400,000. Not every NaNoWriMo author writes a classic, but a few bestsellers that began during NaNoWriMo include Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen and The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. If you’re on the fence about NaNoWriMo, or worried you won’t…

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Something for the NaNoWriMo weary: History’s most famous unknown authors

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Just when you think that the Muses have conspired to drive you mad and dash all but your most horrid dreams in the wake of National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo to the initiated) your comrade-in-arms, the Bookish Diva, has a bit of sadistic frivolity to perk you up—as long as you do not ask me about my own NaNoWriMo word count. Literary success is a lofty goal for most of us who put pen to paper or finger tips to keyboard. At one time in this writer’s life the prospect of dying unknown, in obscurity, would have been the worst possible fate. Then I discovered the goodness that is The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure (Melville House, November 4,…

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NaNoWriMo – More than scarves and gluttony

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Aside from scarves and gluttony, what does November have in store for you?  Perhaps you’ve heard that it’s National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo, as it’s affectionately called by the initiated, is now in its 14th year. The goal for participants is to write a 50,000-word novel, from scratch, in the 30 days of November. Last year, over 341,000 people participated all over the world (the designation of “national” seems to be arbitrary). These intrepid writers come from a variety of backgrounds, from published authors to first-time novelists. Why do so many people sign up for the event? Reasons vary, of course, but one major attraction is having the pressure of a deadline. There is nothing like a deadline for motivation,…

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