It’s That Time Again!


Autumn is upon us, and most serious writers know what that means: It’s time for NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.

If you haven’t heard of it, it begins in November every year. The goal is to write a novel (at least 50,000 words) in a single month. But don’t wait until November: sign up now to start getting tips, hints, and ideas before then.

It’s ironic that it’s called National Novel Writing Month, since it’s open to people all over the world.

This is my third year for NaNoWriMo, and this time I’m determined to complete a novel—something I’ve yet to do.

That’s the thing about the program: it encourages you to write, but doesn’t nag you about it. And if you don’t complete your book in the time allotted for it, nobody’s going to call you out on it. Some people—like me—take longer to write their stories. But even if you can’t complete it, at least you’ve made a start, and you can continue long after the challenge is over.

If you do finish your novel—either during the month or after—you’ll have the satisfaction that you’ve written a book!  It might not be the next Great American Novel, but at least you wrote it.

And that’s more than most people do.


NaNoWriMo. No, it’s not a voodoo curse, although it might as well be. National Novel Writing Month, which begins on November 1 of each year, is when writers all around the world sit down at their keyboards will a common goal: to write 50,000 words by the end of the month.

The results don’t have to be a polished novel; on the contrary, the idea is to simply complete a first draft, no matter how rough it might be. The editing and polishing come later.


NaNoWriMo began in (1999) with 21 authors in the San Francisco Bay area. The latest figures available (2013) show the following:

NaNoWriMo 2013 counted 310,000 adult novelists, plus an additional 89,500 young writers. There were 651 Municipal Liaisons in 595 regions, 650 Come Write In libraries and bookstores, and 2,000 YWP classrooms. We also had a darn wonderful Night of Writing Dangerously, with the first non-staff keynote by NaNo-novelist Gennifer Albin.

Here in Rochester, you can hook up with other writers via the Facebook page.

I’m trying something new this year: my depression makes it hard for me to keep focused on my writing for a full month, and so I’ve never been able to complete a novel. So this year I’m going to capitalize on my mental state and incorporate it into the makeup of my protagonist.

I’ve always viewed depression as a challenge rather than an obstacle. I’m pretty sure I could have given in to it years ago and qualified for a Social Security disability pension, but that would be letting the depression win, and that’s something I’m not ready to do yet.

Instead, I’m channeling my depression into The Melancholy Vampire.

I’ll post the link when I’m done.

National Novel Writing Month 2016

October brings changing colors and falling leaves. Some of us are old enough to remember the smell of burning leaves. Even now, there’s the joy of raking up a huge pile of leaves, only to run and jump into it.

Pumpkin spice coffee is everywhere. It’s a month of changes, of leaving one season behind and anticipating the delights of the next one.

For some of us, October means it’s time to get serious about our writing. November is only a couple of weeks away, and November means National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short.


What Is NaNoWriMo?

In essence, NaNoWriMo is a put-up-or-shut-up event for writers. It’s the month when anyone who has ever considered writing a novel can do so in a supportive atmosphere. As it says on the web site:

The NaNoWriMo season is officially dawning! No good launch is accomplished alone. Thankfully, there’s a whole crew of writers setting off to explore creative universes with you this November.

In hundreds of regions around the world, NaNoWriMo’s Municipal Liaisons are leading writing events to help your novel soar. Make sure to check your regional calendar to find an event near you!

The emphasis is on quantity, not quality. The idea is to complete your novel as a rough draft, and then go back later and edit it.

By concentrating on words, you’re encouraged to simply write your story; punctuation, spelling, grammar—all of that can wait until you’re done. For me, that takes a huge load off my shoulders, as I’m the kind of writer who agonizes over every single word, comma, period, phrase; by ignoring everything but the words them selves, I’m free to simply tell the tale.

You’re Not Alone

As romantic is the image of the lonely writer’s garret, in NaNoWriMo you don’t work in a vacuum. There are local and regional support groups to help you. And it’s not a competition. There are no trophies, just the sheer satisfaction of knowing you’ve finally done what you’ve always promised yourself you were going to do: write your novel.

A Special Offer From Literature and Latte

Scrivener is a complete writing studio wrapped up in a single program. I can’t overstate how much it has helped me in my writing. And you can download and use a free NaNoWriMo version to use to write your novel.

Here’s the offer:

Special Trial Version
Scrivener’s trial normally runs for thirty days of use, but so that you can start using Scrivener before NaNoWriMo begins without worrying about the trial expiring part-way through November, the special NaNo trial available on this page will run from the moment you start using it all the way up until December 7th. So you can download it, get used to its features, use it for your writing throughout November, and if you like it you can buy Scrivener at a discounted price using one of the special offers below.

What are the special offers?

50% Discount for All NaNoWriMo 2016 Winners
If you achieve your 50,000 words to become a NaNoWriMo 2016 Winner, you will be eligible for a 50% discount off the regular license of Scrivener (which is normally $45 for the Mac version and $40 for the Windows version). Details will appear on the Winner Goodies page at the start of December.
20% Discount for Everyone Else
Even if you don’t reach your target this year, you can still get 20% off the regular price of Scrivener by entering the discount code NaNoWriMo the coupon code text field of our online web store.

No More Excuses

So there you have it. If you’re finally ready to write your novel, hop on over to the NaNoWriMo web site and get started.