More November Writing Sprees

If you’re ready to write your wrist off in November, but a novel just isn’t your thing, consider these options:


According to sponsor BlogHer, National Blog Post Month, “is a bloggy response to book writing’s NaNoWriMo.”

The goal is to blog for blogging’s sake, once a day. BlogHer has a sign-up page and offers blogging prompts to get you typing. Sign up by 11 p.m. EST on Nov. 5, and you’ll even have a chance to win prizes if you’ve been blogging daily.

The Naked Writer Project

Got more than enough work on your plate in November (and a minivan-full of relatives arriving for Thanksgiving)? Do you just like to watch?

No judgment here!

Writer Silvia Hartmann has exposed her entire creative process for readers who’d like to see a novel-in-progress. My Social Media Club Editorial Board buddy, the awesome Syed M. Raza, clued me in to The Naked Writer Project.  Hartmann is using social media (mainly Facebook, as well as Twitter) to alert readers when she’s on Google Drive, writing the next section of her novel, a fantasy fiction called The Dragon Lords.

Hartmann got her title from reader suggestions – and she’s used the Google Drive platform to solicit feedback as she goes along, so the novel continually evolved for Naked Writer Project participants.

Related post:

A Cornucopia of Virtual Storytelling – NaNoWriMo and Twitter Fiction Festival


A Cornucopia of Virtual Storytelling

If you’ve ever dreamed of sharing a story with the world, November offers an abundance of online opportunities for writers.

The month kicks off, as it has for the past 13 years, with NaNoWriMo, the nickname for National Novel Writing Month, in which tens of thousands of writers scramble to complete a 50,000-word novel while friends, the spouse you’ve been ignoring, and fellow authors follow your progress online.

Meanwhile, Twitter – yes, the social platform that restricts writers to 140-characters-per-post – is getting in the game with the just-announced Twitter Fiction Festival, a five-day virtual storytelling event that begins Nov. 28.

30 Days & Nights of Literary Abandon

Last year, starting on Nov. 1, more than 256,000 writers pledged to participate in the annual NaNoWriMo event; 36,843 typed “The End” by the Nov. 30 deadline.

As many writers and writing books will tell you, it’s crucial to banish “the Editor” who hovers over your shoulder, continually shouting disapproving, censorious comments in your ear as you create. Just write, writers are encouraged. Get your hand moving across the page!

This is the point of NaNoWriMo: “Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.”

The NaNoWriMo website offers a virtual community of support (and live events in your neighborhood), as well as forums for sharing your angst and glories with other authors, writing tips and support, a Young Writers Program, and a virtual space to track your progress, share your work and read novels by fellow participants.


“Twitter is a place to tell stories,” Andrew Fitzgerald, of Twitter’s media team, reminds us on the Twitter blog. “Often those stories are about news, or politics, or perhaps sports or music, but it turns out Twitter is a great place for telling fictional stories, too.”

The Atlantic, The New Yorker and others have used Twitter’s live-blogging platform to experiment with storytelling, and now Twitter wants to push the medium even further. For writers who want to participate, submit your proposal to Twitter by Thursday, Nov. 15, explaining how you want to tell your story using existing Twitter tools, like chats, or inventing entirely new ones. The only requirement is that your story unfold sometime during the five-day festival.

Twitter will announce the names of the selected participating authors on Nov. 19, and the festival gets under way on Nov. 28. You can follow the event at the hashtag: #twitterfiction.

What about you? Is there a novel you’ve been aching to send out into the world? Curious about the possibilities of tweaking Twitter to tell your short stories? I’d love to hear about it in the Comments.

Forget Flat Abs in Seven Days, Can You Write a Novel in a Month?

NaNoWriMo commences bright and early on Nov. 1, giving us ink-stained wretches about two weeks to clear our schedules and say goodbye to loved ones.

For the uninitiated, November is National Novel Writing Month – a theme month whose acronym can make you feel like Mork from Ork when trying to explain to skeptical friends what’s caused you to shun sunshine, shopping and TV while holed up in your apartment for 30 days and nights.

There’s plenty of debate about what it’s possible to create in a month – and what of that might be salvageable for a later draft – but, the purpose of NaNoWriMo is to write the first draft of a 50,000-word novel in 30 days, to keep your hand moving across the keyboard or page with nary a backward glance for editing or second guessing. “To write,” as the NaNoWriMo website puts it, “without having to obsess over quality.”

The endeavor encourages participants to start from scratch (rather than waste time agonizing over a partially developed outline or manuscript) and accept that almost every writer on the planet produces, to paraphrase Anne Lamott, crummy first drafts.

The NaNoWriMo website offers plenty of support, resources, advice and meet-ups in your area. It’s completely honest about expectations and the fact that you shouldn’t set yourself up to unleash the next Pride and Prejudice on the world come Nov. 30.

They understand how difficult it is for writers to shed the burdens of the workaday world and dedicate their schedules to creating – even if it is only a month. They’re realistic that at the end of 30 days, your spouse, partner, parents, children and/or boss are going to expect you to reappear and spend more time in their lives. But, they also believe that, if you’re a writer, one month isn’t too much to ask for.

The discipline it takes to write every day forms good habits and strengthens muscles we sometimes don’t even realize we have.

NaNoWriMo is kind of like the room of one’s own that writers need in order to imagine and create.

I’ve had good intentions in past years about doing NaNoWriMo, going so far as to make pacts with writer friends who planned to do it, too. One thing I’ve discovered about those previous (all unsuccessful) attempts was that the moment we let Day One slip by without churning out our 1,667 words (50,000 words divided by 30 days), we’d lost the game before it ever really got started.

I’ve also thought long and hard about whether it would be more helpful to bang out a novel in 30 days or to nail down one, fully realized short story. Perhaps NaShoStoWriMo is more my style. Because once you get in the habit of writing your own stuff, just for you, it’s a lot easier to keep going. And, after all, you can always designate any month of the year your personal NaNoWriMo, NaShoStoWriMo, NaPoWriMo (for poets), NaScreWriMo (screenwriters), NaBloWriMo (bloggers), etc., if November, with that pesky Tryptophan-laden, out-of-town-relative-packed holiday at the end of the month, doesn’t work for you.

So, NaShoStoWriMo is what I’ll be doing with my November evenings and weekends, when I’m not focused on clients.

How about you? Have you tried NaNoWriMo before? Are you tempted to join in this year? Have you ever given yourself a month (or six, or 12) to achieve something that really mattered to you? Share your thoughts in the Comments.