November 1 and NaNoWriMo

November 1. It’s that time of the year again when I chicken turkey out. Why’s that? Because November is NaNoWriMo.

Rooster walking around gravel; grey wall in the background

Have you heard of it? NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit that promotes creative writing, but its well-known program is a month-long event which inspires people to write a 50,000-word manuscript in November. Originally, this challenge started among friends in 1999 but has since expanded to hundreds of thousands of participants all around the world. (There’s also an event that happens in the summer called Camp NaNoWriMo.)

Every year, I balk at NaNo because November seems to be both a busy and a short month for me due to Thanksgiving. (Actually, Thanksgiving 2020 was pretty low-key, but that’s another story.)

Thanksgiving sometimes involves traveling, depending on who’s hosting for the year. For 2021, I’ll be hosting a small-ish gathering. This is a prime excuse for not participating, but I’m going to be strong this year. I’ve figured out a way to write and have turkey on the table; I’ll be pre-ordering a Thanksgiving dinner this time around.

Now on to NaNoWriMo: I’ve been inspired to (kinda) join this year because Sisters in Crime (SinC) is offering such great support for the event. (Shameless plug because of my current VP role on the national board of Sisters in Crime: Please join this amazing community of writers and readers!)

Anyway, SinC is helping writers achieve success by providing:

  • 2 write-ins a day, 6 days a week
  • Twitter sprints twice a week
  • A private Facebook group
  • A weekly check-in with other members

(Go to the Sisters in Crime #SinC50K NaNoWriMo Event for more details. It’s free to join for anyone!)

I’m hoping that by doing NaNo in conjunction with a writing community that it’ll help turn my creative wheels. Mind you, I won’t be going all in and becoming an official participant. Fifty thousand words still seems like a lot to crank out in a month! (Math fun: To complete 50K in a month requires writing 1,667 words a day.)

Instead, I’ll probably do a half NaNo. It’s kind of like a half marathon but with writing instead of running. Twenty-five thousands words could be doable.

I’ve already got a premise in mind and even a rough outline. I just need to put pen to paper (or rather, fingers to keyboard).

Flower journal and striped journal plus matching floral pen on desk

It’s been said before that it’s easier to edit something rather than nothing. NaNoWriMo is a great way to jumpstart writing.

Caveat: Even though a 50,000-word document can be a full manuscript, it depends on what genre you’re writing. For example, it’d work for middle grade fiction, but other genres will veer shorter or longer. My literary agency, BookEnds, has a nice set of word count guidelines here.

Also, the mere finishing of a draft is only the first step. There will be a need for revisions and polishing. (That should be another community writing event!)

What’s on your slate for November?

Fall Into Promotion
Twofer Tuesday


  1. I’m doing Nano this year. I decided to try ‘plantsing’ or partial plotting last week. I admit it’s been easier in the past two days to get my word count in. For accountability, I also joined a FB group.

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