5 Reasons You Should Try NaNoWriMo with Us


My name is Lucy Hallowell and I am crazy about NaNoWriMo (or as my sister calls it “nana-shmizana”). What the devil is it? NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which is a crazy idea a couple of writers had to write 50,000 words in the month of November. It’s grown from a handful of writers to hundreds of thousands of folks who decide to take up the challenge each year.

book pages in the shape of a heart

If you have been hanging around for a bit you may already know that I love NaNo and have done my best to recruit friends, family, and complete strangers to participate. I got my mom to do it twice. I’ve roped Valerie Anne in at least three times. I am no longer content to wheedle folks on Twitter, I want you to do NaNo this November and here are five reasons why.

1. We need you to write that book.

You can’t go on the interwebs or Twitter or anywhere, really, without hearing about how we need more diverse books. It’s an awesome thing to see agents and writers and publishers all talking about how we need books written by diverse folks about diverse characters. But, all that talk isn’t going to hack it. So, we need you to write that book you’ve been mulling because everyone deserves to see themselves as the hero of the story but that won’t happen if you don’t write it.

2. You’ve always wanted to write a book.

The first time I did NaNo was in 2010. I had pondered writing a book the way I had pondered taking a trip to Antarctica. It seemed like a neat idea and maybe I would do it before I died but I didn’t exactly know where to start. I needed a push and NaNo was the kick in the butt I needed. There are pep talks and graphs and helpful hints and everything you need to get started and keep going through the 30 days.

3. Chicks dig it.

OK, so this one is a little vapid but by the end of the month you will have a novel you can brag about. You will have written 50,000 words. We had dinner with some friends from college who didn’t know I had written a book and when my wife mentioned it their jaws dropped. They didn’t even ask if it was any good, they just sat and stared in awe for a second. “Sure,” I said, “I’ve written a couple.” Bragging rights are worth it. I promise.

woman pictured writing in journal

4. The hard is what makes it great.

Writing a novel is hard. Writing a novel in 30 days borders on crazy. It’s a grind. You have to be disciplined and write you 1,667 words a day every day. There will be a point at which you will curse yourself (and me if I got you into it). I promise you will feel like punching me around the seventeenth of the month but I also swear that there will be unexpected moments of pure magic when you type words that you didn’t know you could write and the story comes together in a way you didn’t imagine it would. In the words of Jimmy Dugan, “If it were easy everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.”

5. We’re going to do it with you.

OK, I saved the best for last. This year, some of the AfterEllen writers are going to take on NaNoWriMo and we want to do it with you. We are creating an online, AfterEllen writers’ group and we want you to join in. Who is the we? I have convinced Ali Davis (@Ali_Davis) Eboni Rafus (@EboniRafus), Elaine Atwell (@elaineatwell), Jenna Lykes (@jennalykes), Valerie Anne (@PunkyStarshine), to join me (@lucyhallowell) in this insanity display of awesomeness.

This is the first in a series of posts I will write throughout the month of November. I am up for writing pep talks, or giving writing advice, or answering questions, or sharing snippets of stories, or whatever else you might like to see here. My hope is that we can have a discussion about writing in the comments section. If you have a question you want answered, a topic discussed in a later post, or want to toss around writing ideas you can leave it in the comments. Feel free to tweet at me if you have suggestions or questions. You can also find me over on the NaNo site and be my writing buddy.

I love NaNo with all my heart and I hope this year you will love it too. This November, we’re in this together. Let’s create an awesome writing group and write some kick ass stories.

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