NaNoWriMo Is Not the Name of Pocahontas's Sister

So NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow–I hate that abbreviation but what are you going to do?–and millions of people will sit down and start to type. Since I’ve been writing a lot lately, I thought I’d give it another try this year, but although I can find my dashboard on the website, I can’t find the place to put in the word count. It hasn’t started and I’ve failed. Then I thought I’d cut and paste their explanation of what NaNoWriMo is. Couldn’t find it. Either I’m inept–a strong possibility–or their website needs work. So I went to Wikipedia:

National Novel Writing Month, shortened as NaNoWriMo (na-noh-ry-moh),[2] is an annual internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. NaNoWriMo challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process. To ensure this, the website provides participants with tips for writer’s block, local places writers participating in NaNoWriMo are meeting, and an online community of support. The idea is to focus on completion instead of perfection. NaNoWriMo focuses on the length of a work rather than the quality, encouraging writers to finish their first draft so that it can later be edited at the author’s discretion.[3] NaNoWriMo’s main goal is to encourage creativity worldwide.[4] The project started in July 1999 with just 21 participants, but by the 2010 event over 200,000 people took part โ€“ writing a total of over 2.8 billion words.[5]

There you go. Write 50,000 words in November and . . . I forget what they do for you. Writing 50,000 words should be reward enough.

So who who’s playing this year? And what are you writing? Tell all.

58 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Is Not the Name of Pocahontas's Sister

  1. I guess they should rename it to InNoWriMo because I’m sure it’s spilled oder the national borders by now. At least I’m considering it here in Germany.

    Would you have the extra time to do it? And by they way, what happened to the Liz book – did you finish that or put it on the back burner?

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    1. It’s not really extra time since I’m starting Monday Street. I’d be doing it anyway, really, so yep, I think I’m going to do it. Assuming I figure out where to put my word count.
      Liz is on the back burner because Cat is cooking.

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  2. You get a virtual certificate and you can put it on your website ๐Ÿ™‚

    You also get 50K (or some amount) words you didn’t have, which is really the only reason to to it. Or, you know, if you’re the wonderful Lani Diane Rich, you get to be the first person to have your NANO manuscript bought and published ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. I’m using a modified version of NaNo to get me back into the habit of writing every dat. I haven’t signed up, and started last Saturday just to ease myself in. I did download someone’s spreadsheet that tracks my progress. I had to laugh when one field “At This Rate You’ll be Finished By …” showed red and the word “Never”. But it is interesting to see how little by little the word count gets me going. My first day of writing had me finish by February 15, 2015. Now I’m down to December 5, 2014. I’ve got 20,000 words to finish my mystery. After many years of writing, I’m finally getting it, and am looking forward to revisions. Mostly because the mystery needs to be bumped up.

    I don’t sign up for NaNo because I don’t do well with these types of challenges. I either drop out or just lie about my progress ๐Ÿ™‚

    Good luck to all participating.

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        1. Susanne, this spreadsheet is fabulous. All I had to do was change the start date to today and it updated everything below with the current dates. As I’m one of those goal-setters who likes to track her progress, I think I’m going to be using this thing for all my writing project. Thanks for sharing it!

          Jenny, thanks for the reminder and motivational kick in the pants to do nano.

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  4. Once you’ve created your novel listing at the nanowrimo.org website, you can update the word count by clicking on the My Novels option under My NaNoWriMo in the menu. Click on Edit by your novel and you can update your word count there. However, if it’s like other years, once Nov. 1 comes they’ll add a much easier, more obvious way, usually at the top of the page.

    Here’s the description I used in an article on National Novel Writing Month a few years ago:

    It’s time to face facts. It is unlikely, by this point in your life, that you will ever be Batman. Nor will you likely become a millionaire, sadly, or a captain of industry, or a world-famous recording artist.

    But you could be a novelist.

    Possibly not a good novelist; that takes skill and experience and artistry. But that’s not what National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is all about, anyway. No, in the world of literary achievement NaNoWriMo is the Play-Doh Fun Factory of words. Participants are required to pump out 50,000 of them during the month of November, in a novel-shape. Quality is largely optional and will most likely just get in your way.

    NaNoWriMo began 12 years ago in San Francisco when waiter and frustrated would-be novelist Chris Baty convinced 20 friends to take a month and hit an insane deadline for no good reason other than to see if they could. And, challenging and jeering and cheering each other on, they went at it together. “We had taken the cloistered, agonized novel-writing process and transformed it into something that was half literary marathon and half block party,” Baty said on the event’s website at nanowrimo.org. “We called it noveling.”

    It turned out that novel-writing as a community bloodsport was a lot of fun. So they moved it to November the next year and did it again. And again. And every year, as word got out, it grew.

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  5. IIRC, the word count field does not show up/go live until Nov 1, so I don’t think you’ve failed, you’re just early to the party :-).

    Over at 8LW a few weeks ago, Micki brought up NaNo and I said I was absolutely not participating this year, as I am in over my head on ‘final’ revisions of my WIP (rev 3 or 4, depending upon how I count it). But now that completion timeline has been moved up, and I am reconsidering NaNo. My 2015 writing plan includes 3 romance novellas (among other things), and one of them is partially under construction, so I will probably work on that. Tentative title: The Lady’s Masquerade (but my titles tend not to stick past the first draft).

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  6. I’m not ready to start writing a first draft yet. Instead, I’m planning to use November for a Discovery intensive. Although I’ve got an editing job to do as well, so I’m talking about a couple of hours a day. Then maybe I’ll be ready to do my draft-in-a-month in about February.

    I’d have loved to do NaNo, but I’ve realized I need to take my time and find my rhythm first.

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  7. I’m doing it again. Last year was the first year I didn’t hit the goal. That’s not going to happen this year.

    I’m writing a series of apocalypse stories connected by fluid characters (in one story, they’re teenage girls, in another they’re teenage girl robots, in another they’re adults, but they’re always, always sisters). I figure if I run out of steam on one, I’ll still have nine other ideas to go.

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  8. For all who are participating have fun & write tons! If I ever wrote something more than an article or an email, it may be a quilting book or booklet or maybe only a pattern. Start small & see if I could finish it.

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  9. I want to. I really, really want to.
    I just have to find the time somewhere between my full-time job, my second part-time-but-can-do-it-at-home job, the kids and their activities, the house that outright refuses to clean itself, and of course my hubby, who likes it when I come to bed at a decent hour (and honestly I like that too!).

    It just has to be a rough draft, right? So, I’m thinking verbal diarrhea. Clean it up later.

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  10. I am not doing it myself, but I am an Enabler. I am hosting at my house a twelve-hour Write-In for members of the Washington Romance Writers. We have 49 people signed up to come. I have a good-sized house, but it will be cosy.

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  11. I did NaNoWriMo once, many moons ago. I didn’t think I’d ever do it again because of the mandatory sitting and the lower back pain. Funnily enough, I finished my WIP yesterday. It could sit and stew for a month while I do NaNo, probably be much better for the wait, and then I’d do discovery over the holidays and a rewrite in the New Year. Thinking. Thinking.
    Oh, and did anyone see Eileen Dreyer on Jeopardy last night? She was terrific.

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  12. In November, I’ve got to edit 50K+ (more like 60K) words, so no NaNo for me. It will still be a write-every-day thing with substantial productivity pressure. The WIP is a second draft, so it’s editing and adding new words to fill in gaps in the first draft that was written NaNo style, except in two months instead of one, and it’s due the end of January, so I really need to get it done now in order to have time for it to sit a month and then get polished in January. I’ve got either three or four books slotted to come out in 2015, so I can’t even THINK about slacking off!

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  13. I am doing NaNo this year and excited about it. If anyone wants to be writing buddies, my user name is wyndes. ( I have no idea what it means to be writing buddies, but it sounded fun and you get a badge.)

    I have always been terrible at NaNo. I give up within the first ten days after falling farther and farther behind. The pressure of it gets to me almost immediately. But I am going to enjoy it this year and write a book that is pure fun … and, oh, I just realized, it’s fanfiction! Fan fiction of my own fiction, though. The setting is going to be the town I’ve written three books and a couple short stories in already, and my plot ninjas–preplanned–are that every time I get stuck, I will bring in a character I already know for a scene or two. I expect that someday it will get turned into the conclusion of the series, but in November, it’s going to be a joyful draft where all the unfinished happy endings (a wedding, a baby) etc are the backdrop to a new romance. And I am NOT going to let the pressure get to me. The words don’t need to be good as long as the writing is fun.

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      1. Well, I managed my 1667 words today (plus 3!) so I’m off to a better start than in any previous year! And I’m not going to quit writing, I’m just not a fast writer. Alas.

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      1. It’s only as complicated as you want it to be. Writing buddies can be ignored. And while it’s fun to aim for a word count, it’s not the most important thing. The important thing is stuffing that inner editor in a box, and just writing with joy and abandon. At least in my experience. You don’t work for NaNo . . . you make NaNo work for you (-:.

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      2. As far as I can tell, writing buddies just means it’s easy to either send encouragement or be competitive. I did get more motivated to write this morning when I realized that one of my writing buddies was already 500 words in!

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  14. I’m not a writer, but I do take November to do something daily, and intensive. It was working daily in 2008 that helped me develop the process I use now for making fabric landscapes, and I could use the focus again. Sometimes I just faff about doing something fun – because playing at the craft can be useful too.

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    1. I followed someone online a few years back who made some sort of art thing — a small collage, I think — every single day for a year, and then immediately posted them to a site for sale (I think it was ebay, but all of the details elude me right now). I thought it was a really nifty idea and definitely inspirational. A month sounds a lot more feasible though.

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  15. I did NaNoWriMo two years ago, and had a blast. I think my schoolwork suffered, but since I don’t remember for sure, it probably didn’t suffer in any important direction. Last year I was in Ireland so I didn’t NaNo, but I’m excited to do it again this year. I’m re-writing the story I did two years ago, which is fun, because now I know what I’m writing about and who the characters are, but I’m also a little scared. I’ve never liked anything enough to rewrite it before. I don’t actually login and use the NaNo website or anything though. I just listen to Lani and Alistair’s NaNo podcast, and do a little dance in my chair to the outro music, and use the word-count tool in Microsoft Word. Fingers crossed!

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  16. I was going to try again (I have failed several years, often so spectacularly as to have written ZERO words) but I have enough other things going on (full time teacher, two part-time jobs in teacher training/recruitment, grad school, and, oh, right, pregnant) that I may skip even the futile gesture of signing up this year.

    I’ve always thought November was a terrible month to choose, though. It’s got a family/traveling holiday, it’s only 30 days long, and it’s near the end of a marking period… Of course, I’ve never managed to make another month in to a Personal Novel Writing Month, either, so I guess I shouldn’t complain… Oh, look, I just did!

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    1. I run an artists’ cooperative shop, so once it hits Black Friday, I’m kind of toast. Not a great month for me to do it either.

      I did NANO one year, and the book I write was actually the one that got me my agent, with very little edits of that first 50K. On the other hand, I had a 21 page outline, so I was ready to go. But this year November will be catching up on the jewelry making I didn’t do last month, and maybe working on the WIP.

      Hope y’all have fun, though!

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  17. Call me crazy but I’m in this year. I’m writing a novel tentatively titled Intrusive. It’s sort of anti-fanfiction. I am so disgusted by the final season of SOA that I decided to take a hero who is intelligent enough to read Emma Goldman, not a biker, and arc him into someone lovable rather than the stupid monster Jax has become.
    It will be nothing like SOA, however. I know this only makes sense to me.
    Can’t say this enough, though. I recently had VSG surgery so my weight will be decreasing as my word count is increasing. Yay!
    If you’re in and looking for writing buddies – I am Judy3times

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  18. Posting without reading comments.

    The action is the reward. Even if you don’t finish, 50000 words is a good start.

    And if you’re worried ’bout it, go check out chuck Wendig’s blog Terrible Minds where he tells you not to sweat Nanowrimo, for reasons. Somewhat profane, but worth it.

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  19. This will be my fifth year doing NaNo. I don’t always win, but I get lots of words. I work better under pressure. ๐Ÿ™‚ Also, getting ready for NaNo forced me to finish the third revision of my WIP, so it can sit for a month, while I work on a new one. Glad you’re joining NaNoWriMo, Jenny.

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  20. Up at the Top where it says Hello, (your name) 0 words so far>
    That’s where you put the word count.
    I am doing Nano to put a Burr under my butt and revise last year’s Nano novel. I also had to finish a revision of my mid grade novel before I could start.This will be the first time I’ve used NaNo to revise. Not sure if it will work, I have Lani on my blog on Tuesday November 25th and I am very Thankful!

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  21. Your posts have my mind clicking on story structure and using photos. Thank you so much! My 2009 Nano got published this year. I’ve written two NaNo novels since than. I have to get one of them into a place where someone else can read my work and not run screaming.

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  22. I’m planning to finish the first draft of Demons Don’t the inspirational, paranormal, romantic black comedy I started at McDaniel. I’m currently at 79,000 words and the first draft looks likely to run 120,000 so another 50K should get me there. Then I just have to figure out how to chop 20 or so out….

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  23. I’m working on an idea that came up when Jilly threw up a writing challenge on 8LW. Working title is: “Bunny Blavatsky: Fin de Siecle Spirit Photographer.”

    She is NOT going to get kidnapped by demons and give up photography in the first act. That’s about all I know. (God, I hope I’m right!)

    I’m freaking out slightly because of the world-building. I like building a fantasy world. And last year, my NaNo was about the real world, but it was near-future/now, so it was researchable. But it’s harder to find stuff about New York in 1899 for two reasons: lots of stuff, and not the right kind of stuff. I couldn’t find a picture of a ball in New York City! Floats, yeah. Automobiles? A YouTube video! Lots of gossipy bits about the Arion Society balls (Arion, by the way, is after a god, and means Melodious). Maybe the streets were too crowded for proper perspective? Or people couldn’t take photos at night? Or my google-fu needs improving?

    But, freak-out aside, it’s been very fun so far. This is going to be a great week!

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    1. I think you’d be better looking for illustrations rather than photographs. I’m pretty sure photography was still limited to available light at that time – i.e. Studios would have had windows and skylights to enable an indoor shot with people. They could probably shoot empty interiors, but wouldn’t have had a fast enough shutter to shoot moving people. There were illustrated papers (in the UK the best known is ‘The Illustrated London News’, which also covered a lot of international stories). I’d also look at contemporary paintings; women’s magazine illustrations; and modern films set in that era. Good luck!

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      1. Thanks! I’m making progress and did find some pictures . . . also that the ball may have been cancelled in 1899 because of a giant snowstorm. (Trouble! Probably caused by some angry weather woman down in Florida, making her way up to New York City to succor her poor, beleaguered niece.) Flash was an option for at least a decade, depending on the source, but it was very dangerous to the photographer and sometimes to the bystanders.

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    2. There’s a book, Tenderloin, by Samuel Hopkins Adams, about Parkhurst and Tammany Hall that would give you a good feel for the era if you can find it. It was witten a lot later, but Adams grew up during that time, so it’s a great period piece. I thought I had a copy, but I don’t see it on my shelf.

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  24. You can interact as much or as little as you want with the NaNoWriMo site… the main goal is to free write, to focus on a quantitative goal so you can turn off the inner editor and write badly; it’s about the process, not the end result. Then In January you read the draft and see what is worth keeping, and start revisions. The hardest part for me is giving myself the OK to write crap, to write knowing that the work will be really, really bad, that my ideas might fizzle and be crappy, too… but I’m going to try for 50,000 words this year to prove to myself that I can do it. I think about writing a lot more than I actually write, so NaNoWriMo for me is work time, time to get something, no matter how bad, on the page. You can’t edit a blank page, right?

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  25. Jeanne, your Demons Donโ€™t book sounds great… I’d pick it up in the bookstore if that description was on the back cover. Good luck finishing it! (Let us know when you do ’cause I’d like to read it).

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    1. Thanks, Kelly. It’s an odd one, but I’m having a lot of fun with it, although my husband finds it deeply disturbing that I spend so much time speculating what it would be like to work for Satan….

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  26. I’m doing it this year for the first time because I have a book I *really* want done by Jan.

    My username is mothella12 if any Argh people want to be my writing buddy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  27. I’m doing it. After doing nonfiction for a few years, I’m doing a novel that’s basically a mash up and then taken into the far future, just for kicks. I’ll never get anywhere with it because I never do, but at least I’ll entertain myself at the start of it.

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  28. Hi All, I am attempting NaNo too! Find me there as WriteOn13 – I couldn’t find anyone above, but I think you have to create your novel for this NaNo 1st, then other people can find you???

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