Mapping the 2012 NaNoLandscape

With November 1 just around the corner, the time has come to map out the month ahead. Read along for important dates to remember, tools for the journey, and an idea of what you can expect over the next five weeks. (Tip: Expect the unexpected!).


Today: Make sure your family, friends, neighbors, pets, the nice check-out lady at the store, and your mail delivery person, all know that you are writing a novel this month. Not only will they ask you about it when they see you (helpfully holding you accountable to your awesome creative goal), they’ll understand why your hair is standing on end and you’re vibrating from some combination of overcaffeination, lack of sleep, and creative euphoria. (Just kidding. Your hair will look great!)

Pop into your regional forum to catch up with local writers and find a write-in near you. (Not homed to a region yet? Join up and get local support from your neighborhood cohorts.)

November 1: Write your first 1,667 and feel great about embarking on this wild, wordy adventure. Tell your inner editor to take a hike for the next 30 days, or else. Watch him/her/it skedaddle, and heave a sigh of relief.

November 2Check your NaNoMail early and often for pep talks from staff and published authors, messages from your fellow Wrimos, and updates from your regional Municipal Liaison (AKA magical ninja heroes of noveling goodness). To stay extra-informed about everything happening in NaNoLand, you can also like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and keep up with our daily blog posts.

November 3: Take some time this weekend to stockpile writerly rewards. When you reach a word-count goal, you’ll have a treat at the ready to reinforce your admirable dedication to this project.

November 5: You hit your weekend target of 6,668 words (or not—that’s okay, too, so long as you keep writing!). Now save your novel-in-progress to a USB drive, or email a copy to yourself or a trusted friend, as part of the first “Back Up Your Novel” Day. These occur every Monday throughout the month, and will ensure that your novel is soundly saved in multiple locations to prevent loss, theft, or destruction.

November 6: If you’re in the US, vote! And keep writing. In whichever order you choose.

November 9: Your goal by the end of the second weekend should be to write at least 18,000 words. Plan to use Saturday and Sunday to catch up (or get ahead) in preparation for Week 2.

November 12: You are entering Week 2, a time when encouragement is key. Be sure to read up on the pep talks from staff and guest authors in your NaNoMail, and peruse all past writerly encouragement in our Pep Talk Archive!

November 14: It’s Donation Day, a public-radio-style fundraiser running from 6 AM to midnight Pacific time. If NaNoWriMo is rocking your creative writing world, please consider making a tax-free contribution to fuel our engines of inspiration for kids, teens, and adults around the globe. And today alone, you’ll be eligible to receive great hourly bonus prizes for making a donation.

November 16: On this ML Appreciation Day, be sure to thank your ML(s) for all they do. Send them a NaNoMail message, high-five them in person, or bring them a bouquet of plush porpoises. Trust me, it’ll be a hit.

November 18: By land, sea, and sky, NaNo-novelists travel from around the world to congregate in San Francisco for the Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon. It’s an extravaganza of noir and noveling: fast-and-furious typing, costumes, raffle prizes, a candy bar, oratories, fabulous food, and more inspired writers than you can shake a gold-tipped cane at! Sound like the most fun you’ll ever have? Find out how you can attend!

November 19: Have you been backing up your novel? No?!?! Well thank goodness it’s “Back up Your Novel Yet Again” Day. Do it. Future You will thank Present You profusely.

November 21: Do a happy dance that you’re three-quarters of the way through the month and still trucking on your novel. Are you not still trucking on your novel? There’s time yet! Visit YWP’s Dare Machine to get your novel restarted.

November 22: NaNo HQ is closed in observation of Thanksgiving. We will raise a goblet of gratitude for Wrimos everywhere; wonderful, wordy novels; and delicious, carb-filled holiday foodstuffs.

November 25: Winning begins! Between now and 11:59:59 PM on November 30, you can cut and paste your 50,000-word novel into the website’s Word Count Validator to be declared an officially official NaNoWriMo Winner!

November 25, later that day: Winner Shirts are back on sale, as the perfect complement to your officially official win. Visit our online store to get yours today, or whenever you cross the finish line!

November 26: Plan out your word-count goals for the final five days of noveling to ensure that you do indeed reach 50,000 words by the end of the month. Deploy emergency measures as necessary.

November 28: Take a quick break from writing like the wind to mark down the date of your region’s TGIO party.

November 30: Write, write, write! You’re in it to win it!

December 1: Validated, won, and done; you’re sleeping like a baby. As you should be. Sleep on, Winner!

As you can see, the month will be overflowing with writing, encouragement, and creative hijinks as your work your way toward the Winner’s Circle and a first draft of your novel.

And we’ll be right there with you. Us and 300,000 of our closest writing buddies.

Looking very forward to trekking through this noveling terrain with you,

NaNoWriMo Program Director

Why ‘Winning’ Isn’t the Main Reason to Tackle NaNoWriMo

While in the process of preparing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), I came across a fascinating post on the Office of Letters and Light blog. Here is an excerpt:

Would you believe that out of all the times I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, I’ve never won once? I know I have a novel in me, but I’ve never had quite the stamina to make it to 50,000 words. Every October, I have new resolve. I say, “This year will be the year!”

And then around the middle of November, Derek Zoolander of the Center for Kids Who Can’t Read Good always seems to be leering over my shoulder, saying, “What is this! A novel for ants?” I watch my word count level out, failing to meet the new goal each day.

Read More (courtesy Office of Letters and Light)