It’s November, a time of turkeys, thanks, and unseasonably early Christmas decorations. And if you happen to be a writer it’s also means National Novel Writing Month.


For those who don’t know National Novel Writing Month is a time of year when writers across the world try to write 50,000 words in a novel. (For reference, 50,000 words is approximately 2/3 the length of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.) To reach that goal amount, a person has to write an average of 1,667 words per day.

Some people use NaNoWriMo to write their very first novel. Others use NaNoWriMo to start new novels or to refocus their work habits, sort of like a New Year’s Resolution for writers. Personally I enjoy NaNoWriMo for the sense of community it builds. It’s the time of year when I can drag my friends to coffee shops and diners for write-ins.

This is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo (and non-coincidentally my third November out of grad school). While I may not make 50,000 words every year, I do tend to write more in the month of November than I do in the average month. And I do find it immensely refocusing. While I tend to write every day, and do take my craft seriously, sometimes writing can get lost in the hub-bub of life–family stress, the day job, and social commitments. November is a time when I have an excuse to prioritize my writing and be the hermit-like introvert I am at heart. And it’s wonderNaNo_cful.

So this November you will find me with my nose to the grindstone, lurking in the corners of coffee shops, chatting about fictional characters, and writing during lunch breaks. For every 500 words I put a sticker on my handy-dandy chart, (I find there are few things more gratifying than a shiny sticker in reward for a task, but your mileage may vary on that methodology), and I expect by the end of the month to see close to 100 stars on it.

Anyone else out there doing NaNo? Do you find it helpful and refocusing or stressful and distracting? Do you use the website, charts, or some other method to keep track of your success?

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