Breaking News

Attention 2013 Municipal Liaisons!

Posted on June 06, 2014 by timkim

Hello NaNo community!

This is a special, super-important message for all our 2013 Municipal Liaisons. Returning ML forms are now available! (So are the “Not Returning as ML” forms, which is less exclamation-worthy, but we understand the paths life can take.)

The 2014 NaNo season is approaching like some kind of terrifying cheetah/train hybrid—are you planning to come back as an ML? If you intend to return, you must fill out the form by June 20.

Please check your email inbox for your most recent missive from Paige. If you haven’t received a link to the form, email and I’ll be happy to get you sorted. (Ravenclaw!)

If there are any ML-hopefuls out there: sit tight. New ML applications will be up during the last week of June. In the meantime, you can check out this page for more information about ML-ing.

Paige Knorr
Community Liaison

The Young Writers Program Walkthrough

Posted on September 16, 2013 by Chris Angotti

Every year, kids and teens around the world turbo-charge their writing during the month of November.

We consider NaNoWriMo the ultimate power-up for classroom creativity: with more resources than you can shake a Procrastination Slug at (note: we don’t recommend this) and a community all its own, our Young Writers Program will bring the novel-in-a-month challenge to nearly 100,000 K-12 students in 2013. We do this in a couple of ways:

The first is through our 2,000 brilliant, energetic educators. Starting in September, they order our free classroom kit, take advantage of our Common Core-aligned curricula, and get their students organized in Virtual Classrooms. For a sense of how one teacher makes it all happen, check out Kim Votry’s video of her kids’ planning-to-self-publishing journey.

The second is through our giant crew of independent young writers. Even now, they’re gabbing in our forums, filling out our engaging prewriting workbooks (they’ve got you covered on character building), and revisiting past pep talks for some early inspiration. (Did you know we had two Newbery and two Printz Award winners provide pep last year?)

We’re incredibly proud of the work we do with the YWP. We believe that stories matter for everyone, and that they especially matter for kids and teens. Through noveling, students discover new self-confidence and writing skills—and many even decide on fiction as a lifelong pursuit. It’s an awesome thing to be a part of this.

If you’d like to be a part of the Young Writers Program’s mission, tell your favorite student or educator about it. (The more young creative people, the better!) And remember that all donations directly support our programs: $10 means a halo for you, plus it covers the cost of one free classroom kit.

Thanks for joining us to write this November, and for sharing that creative passion with the next generation. Also, stop shaking that Procrastination Slug. You’re making us all uncomfortable.

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

Our Pockets (and Hearts!) Are Filled!

Posted on July 01, 2013 by Tavia Stewart-Streit

First of all, Happy Camp NaNoWriMo Day! Our July session launches today. Do you want to warm-up for the November challenge? Are you hoping to work on a non-novel creative project? Join us!

Secondly, a huge, heartfelt thank you to all of our amazing donors who helped raise $15K during our NaNoWriMo In Your Pocket Summer Drive! The money raised will go directly and immediately towards enhancing our website for a mobile-friendlier fall launch! (The mock-ups of our new dashboard are in and have inspired multiple rounds of high-fiving here in the office.)

If you missed the chance to donate to attend our Planning for Pantsers and Pantsing for Planners webinar as an Early Bird, do not fret. You can register here until September 16 for $75!

Speaking of Early Bird Specials, are you planning to come out to San Francisco this November for our seventh annual Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon? Raising just $200 for our nonprofit to support NaNoWriMo and its creative-writing programs by the end of July earns your entry ($300 if you’d like to bring a guest). After July, entry goes back up to $250, so get your fundraising on before this offer expires!

Thank you all, again, for all your support!

Getting back to many, many high fives,

Tavia Stewart-Streit
Deputy Director

We’re Extending NaNoWriMo’s Summer Drive!

Posted on June 25, 2013 by Chris Angotti

Last Thursday, we were riveted, awed, and inspired by the thousands of #My1stStory tweets and Facebook posts that flooded in. Young girls fighting Cretan bulls. Magic grenades. Hamsters facing scary life changes.

Let’s just say we now have conclusive proof that storytelling matters. In fact, this year we expect 500,000 people around the world to sign up for NaNoWriMo. Some of them will be writing their first stories. Others will be writing their fifth or tenth or twentieth novel. But all of them will be delving into the grand creative experiment of writing with abandon.

To make sure we can properly support such a crowd of madly typing novelists, we’re extending our “In Your Pocket” summer drive to June 30. Please donate $50: you’ll get a bundle of goodies to further your NaNo noveling explorations—and each $50 supports approximately 20 people writing with us.

Everyone’s story matters. You can help make those stories come to life.

Rooting for all hamsters who face daunting life changes,

Grant Faulkner
Executive Director

More spaces for first stories.

Posted on June 17, 2013 by shelbygibbs

Remember your first story? Maybe it began with a sudden gust of inspiration, or just an inkling of a thought. Either way, in that moment, you cracked open the door to the endless reaches of your own creativity. For the first time, you stepped into a safe space where you could experiment, discover worlds, and belong.

This week, you can help make more of those spaces with us. By donating $50 toward NaNoWriMo’s “In Your Pocket” Summer Drive, you’ll get a staggering bundle of awesome prizes and get us one step closer to our goal of $50,000 and a mobile-friendly, writer-empowering site. We want our writers to have the inspiration of NaNo—wherever their creative endeavors might take them.

We’re more than 10% of the way towards our goal, and we’ve decided to up the ante! Every Summer Drive donor will have the chance to win one shiny new Kindle Fire, which you could use to update your word count in November and, one day, read your polished and published novel! Plus, we’ve got some awesome new web badges you can use to show your support across the interwebs.

Besides donating, what else can you do to help?

  • On Monday, June 24, get a tweet-chat sneak peek of our Planning for Pantsers and Pantsing for Planners webinar. Tell us your tried and true Pantsing and Planning techniques and get a few advance tips from NaNo founder Chris Baty and author Rachael Herron.
  • If it’s cool swag you’re looking for, check out our giant store sale! All NaNoWriMo T-shirts are $10 a piece and 100% guaranteed to not only inspire your noveling genius but also pique the interest of close friends and acquaintances alike.

We’ve got another week left of this drive, friends. That’s a whole week to write the happy ending this story needs, and we’ll need your help to do it.

Shelby Gibbs
Office Captain

NaNoWriMo’s “In Your Pocket” Summer Drive!

Posted on June 10, 2013 by Tavia Stewart-Streit

Feeling underprepared for July’s Camp NaNoWriMo session? Not sure if you have it in you to take on 50K this November?

We’ve got you covered!

By donating $50 to NaNoWriMo’s “In Your Pocket” Summer Drive by June 24, you’ll help us keep the inspiration lifeline flowing from our HQ in Berkeley to all our novelists worldwide (including you!).

Plus, you’ll get a heck of a donor package, including:

  • Access to our Planning for Pantsers and Pantsing for Planners webinar featuring founder Chris Baty!
  • A much-requested “Novelist At Work” door hanger.
  • A NaNoWriMo-crest screen cleaner.

We’re usually not the type to brag, but this has to be the very best NaNo summer drive donor package. Ever.

Our goal is to raise $50,000 and to put this money directly towards the development and design of a more mobile-friendly website, including a way-more-empowering dashboard —the kind of website dashboard that will make it nearly impossible not to finish your novel this year.

So donate today and join us this summer in pocketing all the creative inspiration you need! And while you’re at it, pick up a couple $10 T-shirts before they’re gone for good.

Wishing it were still National Doughnut Day,

Tavia Stewart-Streit
Deputy Director

Your July Creative Project

Posted on June 03, 2013 by Chris Angotti

It’s almost time for another session of Camp NaNoWriMo! July has 31 days and an unlimited amount of potential for your creative project.

Earlier this year, we introduced flexible word-count goals (from 10,000 to 999,999) and the option to write in non-novel genres. Plus, we’ve got a few new things to tell you about:

Day-by-day word-count editing. Missed updating your word count yesterday or last week? Retroactively tally your progress.

Bigger cabins. Even more conversation and mischief, with absolutely no lights-out time.

Cabin notifications. Keep up with your cabin mates via homepage alerts.

Improved cabin assignment. We tweaked some under-the-hood stuff to better match you with fellow campers.

Community pep talks. Every letter of encouragement next month will come from a NaNoWriMo participant.

Visit to commit to your July creative project. There’s a marshmallow stick with your name on it.

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

Camp’s April Session, in a Nutshell

Posted on May 14, 2013 by timkim

Ah, Camp NaNoWriMo. There were so many different things about you this year, with your variable word-count goals and new genres (including those Script Cabins!). The one thing that always stays the same, though? The incredible writers that show up every year.

(Also, the weird purple-ness of the lake water. What is that? I’m not buying this “the magic of imagination” business.)

For those of you who weren’t able to write during the April sessions, let us catch you up (and we hope we’ll see you during our July session!). We present Camp NaNoWriMo April 2013 in a nutshell:


Thanks to everyone for a fantastic Camp session; we’ll see you in July!

Off to test the pH balance of Lake Plotiful,

Tim Kim
Editorial Director

Camp NaNoWriMo’s Inspiring Spaces

Posted on April 14, 2013 by Chris Angotti

Whether you’re participating in Camp NaNoWriMo or not, we’ve got plenty of grounds for you to explore.

Homebase: So far, more than 22,000 stories are being written this April, and nearly 3,800 cabins are packed full of writers itching to see each other cross the finish line.

Camp’s Great Hall: Campers publicly pledge their weekend word-count goals, get inspired by Friday prompts, and share projects over on Facebook. Writers of TV pilots, nutritional cookbooks, and pop-up books have already sounded off.

Camp’s Survival Library: On the blog, our Camp NaNoWriMo Survival Guide and weekly classic pep-talk quotes keep folks moving on up the creative peak.

The Campfire Circle: Fundraisers for Camp NaNoWriMo—and anybody interested—join us for weekly Campfire Live Hangouts, where intrepid counselors Michael and Ari share writing advice, argue about Harry Potter, and ponder how to survive the zombie apocalypse.

No matter what you’re doing this April, keep adventuring!

Tim Kim
Editorial Director

It’s Marathon Day!

Posted on April 13, 2013 by Sarah Mackey

Happy #NaNoThon, everyone!

Welcome to the first-ever NaNoWriMo Writing Marathon! Here’s how the day is going to shake out. From 10 AM to 6 PM Pacific Time (see what time that is for you over here), we’ll be checking in at the top of every hour with a livestream segment on our YouTube channel. These will be chock full of encouragement, updates on the Marathon progress, and a hefty dose of whimsy. (Also, probably some fumbling around with webcams. We’re new to this whole livestreaming business.)

We’ll be leaving you plenty of time between livestream segments to get down to business with whatever project you’re working on, so don’t worry about too many distractions. We’re in the business of encouraging you to write!

In addition to the livestream action, we’ll be tweeting up a storm with the #NaNoThon hashtag. Join us on Twitter and share your progress throughout the day!

And of course, we’ll be accepting your donations throughout the day. Your contributions not only show your intentions to spend some quality time with your writing, but also help us help others find that time to discover their creative selves. It’s an all-around victory for the imagination.

In summary: Donate. Write. Watch. Tweet. Marathon!

Sarah Mackey
Director of Community Engagement

Camp NaNoWriMo is underway!

Posted on April 01, 2013 by Chris Angotti

The bugle calls, the writing begins. Camp NaNoWriMo‘s April session is officially underway.

We have over 20,000 participants so far this month—and with rebel-friendly flexible word-count goals, our campers are working on a wonderful array of projects.

It’s not too late for you to join up! Start a new novel, work on an old one, or go wherever the Camp muse takes you. (The Camp muse looks an awful lot like a jaunty bear, it turns out.)

And if you’re still not sold on jumping in the canoe, find inspiration in the Campfire Circle or meet pals in the “Finding Cabin Mates” forum.

Whether you’re camping or not, be sure to save this date: Saturday, April 13 is our first ever NaNoWriMo Writing Marathon! It’s one gigantic write-in, complete with livestream from HQ and a whole lot of online support. Check the official page for full details.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to catch that darn bear.

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

You’re invited to Camp NaNoWriMo!

Posted on March 05, 2013 by Chris Angotti

We want to invite you to a writing retreat—a serene, supportive place you don’t have to move a muscle to get to… Okay, well, maybe your link-clicking muscle:

Camp NaNoWriMo, now in April and July 2013!

We just reopened the gate for next month’s session, and whether you’re a canoe kingpin or tenting tenderfoot, we’ve got a few new things to show you:

Flexible word-count goals. Your choice, from 10,000 to 999,999.

Rebel- and script-friendliness. Write a memoir, blog series, frenzied script, or anything your creative heart desires.

More cabin options. Choose cabin mates based on age, genre, word-count goal, and desired activity level.

Brand-new Camp merchandise and donation levels. Because what is a camp without a few awesome keepsakes?

Visit to learn more and get settled. Your NaNoWriMo login will work just fine there, as well. (I told you this place was serene.)

See you there,

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

P.S. Don’t forget that we have a whole forum for Camp participants! (If you don’t see it, be sure to un-hide it in your forum preferences.)

Two Truths and a Lie About Camp, “Now What?”, and More!

Posted on February 23, 2013 by timkim

We’re bringing you news about “Now What?”, Camp NaNoWriMo, and other goings-on. The twist? Two bullets are true, and one is a honking lie. Can you figure out which is which?

1. The “Now What?” Months are coming to a close next week, with a final pep talk from Chris Baty.
2. Ten authors, agents, and editors shared their best tips about editing, fleshing out your stories, and pursuing publishing.
3. There is currently an empty cage next to our Executive Director’s desk, symbolizing the unleashed Inner Editor. (We picture him as an adorably grotesque monster.)

1. Camp NaNoWriMo is launching on Tuesday, March 5!
2. For the first time ever, Camp will feature flexible word counts and be open to scripts and other writing formats!
3. The average number of exclamation points used by the Camp Counselors at HQ in any given paragraph is two!

1. The deadline to submit for Pitchapalooza is Friday, March 1. Pitch for the chance to be introduced to the perfect agent for your book!
2. New mugs, posters, and shirts are on their way for Camp and “Now What?” and they are bananas.
3. I am in desperate need of a high-five!

Answer Key:

2. Actually, more than a dozen authors, editors, and industry folk have offered their best advice to everyone revising their NaNo-novels this winter. We’ll also have a recap of our self-publishing webinar with Sarra Cannon and Hugh Howey on the blog soon!

3. I wish the average number was as low as two. No exclamation points makes a sentence feel so dour, though, no? Hi. Hi! Hi. Hi!

1. You could be introduced to the perfect agent, or editor, for your book. Tricky tricky.

Really, the message here is that I am in desperate need of a high-five. Anyone? Anybody?

Holding my hand up with hope,

Tim Kim
Editorial Director

Readying Your Novel for the Show

Posted on February 05, 2013 by timkim


Get energized with “Now What?” pep and revision advice

Dear Revisors of every stripe and age, are your eyes tired of squinting for the light at the end of the revision tunnel? Good news! Marissa Meyer kicks off February with the pep you need to “experience the thrill of falling in love with your book all over again.”

Require even more pep? The “Now What?” Months are chock-full, along with tips about finding beta readers, planning your revision, and more!

Bump brains with self-publishing successes during our webinar

Just behind this door lies the wisdom of mystic author gurus, assembled on February 18 for the first, and quite possibly only time. Independent authors and NaNoWriMo winners Hugh Howey and Sarra Cannon will join Amanda Wilson of Kindle Direct Publishing for a webinar focused on self-publishing.

Check the store for more details. All proceeds go towards NaNoWriMo 2013.

Chin-wag with literary agents during our Twitter chat

Step right up and glean advice from the agents of New Leaf Literary. Joanna, Kathleen, Suzie, and Pouya will expound upon what they look for in a writer, the industry at-large, and take your questions on Tuesday, February 12 at 2 p.m. PST.

Follow along at #NaNoNewLeaf.

Unleash awe with your book pitch

Ladies and gents, gather round: is your manuscript ailing in a drawer, hungry for the light of day? The Book Doctors have just the tonic for you! The third annual NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza is in town. Pitch your novel in 250 words by February 28, and you could win an introduction to an agent or publisher perfect for your story.

Find out how to enter on our blog.

We thank you for your attention, gentle-Wrimos, and look forward to the spectacle of your stories being shiningly perfected before they stream into the world. What show could be greater?

Wishing you silver tongues and funnel cake,

Tim Kim
Editorial Director

Your novel is begging you.

Posted on January 17, 2013 by Chris Angotti

Have you checked out our “Now What?” months yet?

During January and February, we’re supporting you—yes, you—in the revision and publishing process. Remember that novel you wrote a couple months ago? It’s probably pretty good, and begging to be made even better. We think our pep talks and advice from authors, editors, and agents can help. Visit the landing page linked above to see what we’ve posted and what’s to come.

You can also register today for a special “Now What?” webinar with the Book Doctors. On January 24, they’ll present (live from your computer screen!) on editing, pitching, and building an audience for your work. These guys have over 30 years of experience in the book business, and their expert advice is helpful to writers of all levels. After seeing them speak in a small Alaskan fishing town (true story), I’m confident they can motivate anyone to take their book to the next level.

Speaking of encouragement, we know there’s no group better at it than the NaNoWriMo community. This Thursday, January 17 at 5:00 PST, we’re meeting up on Twitter for a big ol’ friendly “Now What?” chat. Come share your revision tips, frustrations, and triumphs with other writers around the world.

“Thanks for doing all this for me,” says your novel (no longer begging). And thanks from us, too.

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

Revision, Publishing, and Raccoons

Posted on January 07, 2013 by Chris Angotti

Welcome back, Wrimos!

Today we embark on one of our goals for 2013: to help with your resolution to revise or publish that November novel. Our new “Now What?” months are made for you—whether you’ve already got a few polished manuscripts under your belt (that’s a very flattering look, by the way) or you’re a first-time editor with a fresh red pen.

Ready to get started? Here’s what to do.

1. Find your rough draft. You may need to pry it from the raccoons in that crawlspace where you threw it on December 1. Or maybe it’s just in a folder on your computer. Either way.

2. Free your inner editor. Grant let his loose, and the two are frolicking as we speak.

3. Check out everything we’re planning (and look for frequent updates) on the “Now What?” landing page. Tomorrow, you’ll also receive (via NaNoMail) your first pep talk on the revision process.

We’ll continue providing pep and advice throughout January and February. We hope these months encourage you to move forward in the next phases of your November adventure. (And selfishly, we can’t wait to have more NaNo-novels on our office bookshelf.)

Limbering up for raccoon encounters,

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

P.S. We know that not everyone is interested in revising a novel at the moment, and we hope you’ll save these resources to use later on. But if you’d like to opt out of “Now What?” notifications for the time being, unclick “Headquarters updates” in your settings.

Hibernating and Looking Ahead

Posted on December 22, 2012 by Chris Angotti

You’ve written “The End” on your manuscript, and it’s about time to add the same to good ol’ 2012. Before we retreat into our respective December caves (I hope mine has latkes and hot chocolate at the end of it), we’ve got a few things to share with you.

Our annual participant survey is up, at ‘em, and ready to record your NaNoWriMo experiences and ideas for 2013. We read all responses and use them to plan our year, so be sure to share your perspective.

Over in the store, we’ve got a fresh stack of winner shirts ready to ship—plus many more items still in stock. Please note: Our fulfillment center will definitely keep the post office busy throughout the holiday season, but we are unfortunately not able to guarantee December 25 delivery.

If you haven’t had a chance to donate yet, consider including NaNo in your end-of-year charitable giving. (We are so close to our fundraising goal!) We’d especially appreciate it if you set up a monthly donation for 2013; more guaranteed funds would allow us to get an early jump on many suggested improvements and initiatives.

Speaking of initiatives, we have something new planned for January and February. If you’re interested in taking your novel to the next level, we want to help. During our “Now What?” months, we’ll support the revision and publishing process with pep talks, advice articles, webinars, and live chats. Look for more details in the new year.

To rest up, the NaNoWriMo office will be closed for its annual nap from December 22 through January 1. We appreciate your patience in waiting for email responses, blog posts, and whimsical Twitter conversation until we return. (Our cave landlord is a real bear about wi-fi usage.)

All the best to you and yours,

Chris Angotti
Director of Programs

Awesomeness, Derbyness, and MLness!

Posted on December 17, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

NaNoWriMo might be over for another year, but the thrills just keep on coming here at HQ.

First of all, today is the annual YouTube fundraising extravaganza Project for Awesome. And this year, the always fabulous Debs and Errol created a video about us! A single click to vote (no signup required!) on December 17-18 could help us receive a significant amount of money. Vote, and spread the word!

Speaking of significant amounts of money, our 2012 Donation Derby winners are in! Huge thanks and giant kudos to these inspiring regions:

League 1, Kodiak Bears
Total donations: Seattle, Washington, USA
Average increase over 2011: South Bay, California, USA
League 2, Siberian Tigers
Total donations: Alaska, USA
Average increase over 2011: Adelaide, Australia
League 3, Komodo Dragons
Total donations: Santa Cruz, California, USA
Average increase over 2011: Santa Cruz, California, USA
League 4, Wolverines
Total donations: Topeka, Kansas, USA
Average increase over 2011: Black Hills, South Dakota, USA
League 5, Tasmanian Devils
Total donations: Prince Edward Island, Canada
Average increase over 2011: Wairarapa, New Zealand
League 6, Badgers
Total donations: Stockholm, Sweden
Average increase over 2011: North Manitoba, Canada

And, finally, a massive thank you to our 2012 Municipal Liaisons for inspiring the world. If you’d like to become a Municipal Liaison in 2013, give us your email address on this form and we’ll notify you when the applications go up!

So much excitement! So little time! So many exclamation marks!


Holiday Shopping, NaNo-Style!

Posted on December 13, 2012 by Tavia Stewart-Streit

Order NaNo-merch today to get your gifts in time for the holidays if you’re in the U.S., or as a post-holiday treat if you’re somewhere else in the world!

What better way to say “Go me/you!” than our 2012 Winner’s T-shirt or 2012 participant “Venn Diagram” T-shirt?

In need of stocking stuffers? The NaNoWriMo USB bracelet is the perfect gift for all the Wrimos in your life!

Want to spread the joy of noveling to your friends and family? No Plot? No Problem! and the Ready, Set, Novel workbook have been proven to transform even the most adamant NaNo-doubters into fervent noveling fiends!

Order these fine gifts and many more before everything sells out for the season!

Happy holidays,

Tavia Stewart-Streit and the NaNoWriMo team

P.S. Don’t forget to donate before the end of the year in order to get your hands on those sweet, sweet 2012 donor goodies!

You wrote a novel! Now what?

Posted on December 07, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

We address exactly this question on the newly posted “I Wrote a Novel, Now What?” page.

First suggestion: If you are a 2012 NaNoWriMo Winner, head over to the Winner Prizes page for all the discount codes and coupon offers from our 2012 sponsors!

Next, take a moment to fill out the Participant Survey and help the staff at NaNoWriMo HQ plan next year’s noveling extravaganza!

And then, ponder other ways to spend this blissful and euphoric post-NaNo time by observing how we are spending ours.

No matter how you choose to fill these December days, we hope you include a healthy measure of self-congratulation and a sense of great accomplishment in what you’ve achieved this year.

To us, you are the bright lights over NaNoLand, illuminating the way forward for aspiring writers everywhere. Thank you for your brilliance!


December Dawns

Posted on December 03, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Happy December, Writers! Are you still celebrating your epic month of creative accomplishment?

Even though NaNoWriMo 2012 has concluded, we’re not going anywhere. Even more inspiration and updates await you here in NaNoLand. Simply read on for info on the next stage of writerly engagement!

Former staff rock star and current publishing phenom Tupelo Hassman has shared her thoughts on your next 11 months of creation. Read up on her recommendations for you and your muse.

If you emerged from this challenge a Winner, today is the final day of our Unlimited Winner’s T-shirt Sale. Get yours before they’re gone!

Mid-week, the “I Wrote a Novel, Now What?” and Winner Prizes pages will be published to the site and accessible via the homepage. Stay tuned!

Back to the clapping and fist-pumping,


The End

Posted on November 30, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

For some of you, December 1 has come already and you’re not even reading this because you’re already enjoying a hard-earned victory nap. Congratulations, champions! We’re high-fiving you from afar for your heroic efforts. Ka-kaa!

For many of us (myself included), the race to the end continues. For anyone still writing madly right up to the moment the calendar flips from November to December, here are a few things to keep you trucking:

A final-countdown pep talk from yours truly that will hopefully have you swinging for the finish with all your creative might.

A NaNoVideo update from our fearless leader Grant about his embattled word count and what he’s doing to boost it.

The best event-end jam. (It works every time!)

Coffee. Or any energy-booster of choice. We have these delectable chocolate-covered coffee beans in the office right now that are pure magic.

So crank the volume, take a sip, and let’s write to the end with visions of our own victory (and subsequent nap) dancing in our heads!

46,398 words

Final-Week Fun

Posted on November 28, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Hard to believe we’re already counting down to “The End”! As we winnow down the remaining days to ‘one’ (and then ‘none’!), here are some fun and easy final-week helpers:

•Check out the Week Four pep from Nick Hornby (yep, that Nick Hornby.) It sure made me feel a lot more confident about my writing.

•Allow intern Ari and her excellent blog post to guide you through the pitfalls and saving graces of this final stretch.

•Take advantage of our newly accessible validation tools. Now you can validate for a win simply by navigating to the My NaNoWriMo menu and selecting, “Validate My Novel.” Copy and paste your entire manuscript into the pop-up validation box, and submit! Winning has never been easier! (Well, other than that whole writing 50,000 words thing.)

•Celebrate your win with one of many triumphant T-shirts (or have the whole set!). And how about a thermos while you’re at it?

We’re rooting for you, Wrimos. Let’s go tackle that win!

42,327 words

Typing Our Way to Triumph

Posted on November 26, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

In this, the fourth week of NaNoWriMo, we want to be extra sure you remember to do the following:

Back up your novel! This is the fourth and final Monday of the month, which means it’s also “Back Up Your Novel Even More” Day. Be sure to save your manuscript by any means necessary. (We’re partial to the dual-purpose USB bracelet, ourselves).

Be daring. With Tavia’s help, your last few thousand words should prove to be the zaniest yet!

Validate! After you’ve hit 50,000 words, navigate to Edit Novel Info under the My NaNoWriMo menu. There you’ll find a link that reads, “I am ready to validate my novel.” Copy and paste your entire manuscript into the validator that pops up, and submit! You’re a Winner! (Please note that our validator may count words slightly differently than your computer program, so don’t be too surprised or disgruntled if at first your total looks a little off!)

Donate. If you’re enjoying this madcap noveling adventure, please consider giving back to ensure that NaNoWriMo returns for another year of creative mayhem. NaNoWriMo is brought to you by you; we run primarily on donations from our participants. Please join our halo-wearing team of heroes by donating today.

Proclaim your victory to the world! While you’re in the store, be sure to claim your Winner’s T-shirt. The unlimited sale is on through December 5!

Go, write, win! That about says it all, writer.

Triumphantly typing,
41,003 words

Unlimited Awesomeness

Posted on November 24, 2012 by Tavia Stewart-Streit

The awesomeness of winning NaNoWriMo has no limits!

So why should we put a limit on how many of these most-awesome 2012 Winner’s T-shirts are for sale?

From now until November 30, we’re going to sell as many of these hot puppies as there are Winners who want one. Note that we will not ship your Winner’s shirt until they are printed (no later than December 5).

Note, also, that these shirts are not actually puppies.

If you order other items along with your Winner’s shirt, those items will be shipped right away, but you will be charged additional shipping to cover the cost of sending the Winner’s shirt separately.

After November 30, we will offer the Winner’s shirt in limited quantities until our stock sells out. In order to guarantee that you get one, you should order during the unlimited sale!

Happy shopping,
Tavia Stewart-Streit

One week to go!

Posted on November 23, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

That’s right, Wrimos. Just seven days left in this noveling marathon. And only one weekend remaining!

We suggest the following for this final weekend of high-velocity writing:

Friday: Join Grant in embracing the messiness of your novel, and set your sights on getting caught up (or ahead!) by Sunday night with 41,675 words.

Saturday: The unlimited Winner’s Shirt sale begins! Details are coming in tomorrow’s Breaking News. Nothing could better prepare you to win that owning a shirt that proclaims your imminent victory!

Sunday: Starting today, your can validate your 50,000-or-more words for an official NaNoWriMo win. Simply copy your novel from the word processor you are working in, and then navigate to the Edit Novel Info page. Click on the link “I am ready to validate my novel,” paste the contents of your novel in the validator, and submit! Get ready to be applauded in the extreme for your heroic accomplishment. (If you are writing by hand, check the Help section for instructions on validating your novel.)

Even though Thanksgiving is over here, I am still raising a glass to you! (My arm is really tired.) I am so grateful for your stories, and the inspiration you give me by continuing to write.

Keep on keepin’ on, novelists!

34,762 words (and counting!)

Charging through the 30Ks

Posted on November 20, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Novelists, the par line says our word counts should be hovering around the low 30Ks by today. Granted, I witnessed quite a few novelists triumphantly cross over into the Winner’s Circle this past weekend. Or, if you’re like me, the writing pace is slightly slower and 30K is yet a bright horizon you’re writing toward. We’ll get there yet!

No matter where you stand, you’re a creative champion and everyone here in the office is applauding you. I encourage you to take a minute to applaud yourself, too!

May I also suggest that we stage a revival of yesterday’s “Back Up Your Novel Yet Again” Day and back up our novels… yet again.

And finally, Marissa Meyer has shared with us her top three writerly antidotes for the dilemmas you may be facing this week. Check your NaNoMail for her wonderfully reassuring words.

Onward, champions!

27,662 words

Fist-bumping from afar

Posted on November 19, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Last night at our Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon in San Francisco, the NaNoWriMo staff met, toasted, and made merry with 250 novelists from around the world. We witnessed an astonishing array of fabulous noir-themed outfits, feats of novel-sprinting prowess, dangerously informative panels, raffle prizes, cupcakes, a candy buffet for the ages, and more creative mojo than you could shake a toothpick full of martini olives at.

In the wake of this brain-strainingly awesome assemblage of inspiring writers, the office is closed for the day. We are catching up on our novels, and coming down from the extreme sugar- and contact-high of the past 48 hours.

For my part, I am looking into event spaces that can accommodate 300,000 novelists and their laptops. And seeking some kind of partnership with an airline willing to donate that many round trip tickets to San Francisco. I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Fingers crossed!

Until then, I have some catching up to do on my novel!

High-fives and fist-bumps,

21,345 words

Weekend the Third

Posted on November 17, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Wrimos, this is our second-to-last opportunity to make the most of our weekends. The total word-count goal by Sunday night is 30,006. That’s three-fifths of the way toward the Winner’s Circle!

To help you get there, we recommend that you:

•Read Scott Westerfeld’s inspiring and incredibly instructive pep talk. There’s virtually no way this won’t make you rethink writer’s block. And pears.

•Incorporate one (or all!) of Tavia’s dares into your novel.

Post your weekend word-count goal for the world to see. If everyone knows what you need to do, chances are better that you’ll actually do it!

Happy writing. Let’s do this thing.

21,007 words

Happy ML Appreciation Day!

Posted on November 16, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

Wrimos! Did you know that today is the most auspicious of days?

That’s right! It’s ML Appreciation Day!

What’s an ML, you ask? An ML is a Municipal Liaison, our beloved and superheroic volunteers. They lead NaNoWriMo chapters in regions around the world, and they go above and beyond for their Wrimos and for us here at HQ, organizing events, encouraging writers, fundraising for NaNoWriMo, and writing their own novels while they’re at it. And that only begins to scratch the surface of their magnificence.

We do not exaggerate when we say we couldn’t do this without them.

If you’ve got a Municipal Liaison in your region, please be sure to appreciate them today! (We recommend forum posts lauding their genius, NaNoMails heralding their glory, and maybe some nice chocolate.) And from all of us here at HQ, a hearty-but-still-insufficient thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

Truly, you are the greatest people in the world.

Virtually hugging you from California,


Midpoint Magic

Posted on November 15, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

On this November 15, halfway between the ‘here’ of starting our novels and the ‘there’ of November 30 and “The End,” we have a lot to celebrate.

First and foremost, you!

We are celebrating you for continuing to work on your novel. For collectively writing over 1.5 billion words with your fellow Wrimos. For helping us meet and exceed yesterday’s Donation Day goal for a grand total of $72,500 raised! That puts us at 50% of our individual small dollar donations needed to cover the cost of NaNoWriMo.

We also have a full house of Wrimos (and two honeymooning couples!) attending this weekend’s Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco. These dangerously awesome authors blew through that fundraising goal as well, raising $60,000 from the friends and family who are sponsoring their attendance at the Write-a-thon.

Congratulations, Wrimos, for making the first half of this month so magically successful. We’ve queued up all kind of thanks for you, awaiting you in NaNoMail and NaNoVideo. And right here, too! Thank you.

Anticipating the second half of November,

18,534 words

Happy Donation Day!

Posted on November 14, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Thank you, amazing donors and Tweeters, for helping us reach $72,557 on Donation Day 2012. (And stay tuned for our staff music video, coming soon!) We love you and good night!

Fundraising Thermometer


Please donate today to help us cover the costs of this free creative writing program and keep inspiring writers around the world. Learn all about our hourly prizes, and stay tuned for updates throughout the day on how much our community has raised for this life-changing adventure.

November 14 is Donation Day!

Posted on November 13, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

NaNoWriMo runs on your donations. Our heroic donors make it possible for 300,000 aspiring writers around the world to get the structure and encouragement they need to write the rough draft of their novels during the month of November.

If you’ve donated to NaNoWriMo this year, thank you for making this event possible! We couldn’t host this festival of creative fulfillment without your help.

On Donation Day, held tomorrow from 6 AM to midnight PST, we hope to raise $50,000 to keep NaNoWriMo steaming forward and inspiring even more writers around the world to write now.

Donate tomorrow and join in the Donation Day fun, which includes hourly (and amazing grand) prizes, updates on our progress throughout the day, and a conversation on Twitter about how NaNo has made a difference in your life with the tag #whatnanomeanstome. Check our Donation Day page for the full low down on the hour-by-hour awesomeness.

NaNoWriMo is brought to you by you. We hope you’re inspired to keep it coming back for writers everywhere, and for years to come.

See you tomorrow when we put the “fun” in fundraising,

15,595 words

The Wonders of Week Two

Posted on November 12, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Happy “Back Up Your Novel Again” Day! Today (and every Monday this month) we celebrate (yep, you guessed it!) the act of backing up our novels. Nobody likes to lose even a minute’s worth of hard-written words, so please save a copy of your novel in a safe, fire-resistant, destruction-proof, vampire-immune place. (Vampires do too attack novels!)

To kick-off the second full week of this writing marathon, be sure to read today’s pep talk from founder and llama ambassador Chris Baty.

NaNoLand is bustling this week as we cross the Mid-Way Mountains, dodge our Inner Editors, engage in the exciting fundraising festivities of Wednesday’s Donation Day, and prepare for our fifth ever Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon in San Francisco on Sunday, November 18.

Whew! I told you it was a busy week. A few things to note about the above:

  • The Mid-Way Mountains are actually a geographic landmark in NaNoLand, located to the north of the Sea of Inspiration and southwest of the Winner’s Circle.
  • Keep your eyes out for the lowdown on Wednesday’s Donation Day, details about which will be posted in tomorrow’s Breaking News! We’ve got some amazing giveaways and an epic grand prize to announce.
  • On Friday, be sure you let your local Municipal Liaison(s) know how much you appreciate him/her/them. Everyone here at HQ will certainly be celebrating their heroic efforts!
  • There are still spots available for the Write-a-thon! The fundraising deadline for attendance is midnight on Wednesday, November 14, so it isn’t too late to sign up and hit the $250 minimum. We’d love to rub trench-coated elbows and have a Cosmonovelton toast with you on Sunday!

Ready to show this week who’s boss (and it isn’t Tony Danza, y’all).

12,864 words

Evading Your Inner Editor

Posted on November 09, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

How’s it going, Wrimos?

As we wade into the waters of Week Two, I hope you’re writing with a modicum speed and confidence, and without any visits from a surly and grousing Inner Editor.

In today’s hilarious and reassuring pep talk from author Karen Russell, she shares her own experience with manifestations of that mean internal voice. I also posted a blast-from-the-past Vintage Video on this very same subject.

This weekend, we’re aiming to cross the 18,000-word mark by Sunday night. Do whatever it takes to ensure that any winds of negativity are well-harnessed, and keep writing toward that—or your own—word-count goal.

No time for any sharky-voiced doubts. Only the wordy and willfull belief that this novel is coming out, no matter what!

9701 words

This Week in Math

Posted on November 07, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Well Wrimos, we’re seven days into November. That’s one quarter of the way through the month, with (hopefully somewhere around) 12,000 words written. Some have already hit the 50,000-word goal, and others (like me) are clawing their way toward caught up.

So just how big is this noveling party? Well, it’s 94 servers strong. 60,000 young writers rockin’. Three guest authors’ pep talks of nine posted, and the first staff pep talk shared. Seven covers of 30 designed. 40% of our expenses covered. Countless cups of coffee consumed. An infinite number of ideas zooming around the planet.

As we each write toward 50,000 words and immeasurable feats of imagination, what’s your Week One number?

6,608 words

The YWP’s 2012 Huckadoo

Posted on November 07, 2012 by Chris Angotti

As NaNoWriMo celebrates the distinction of one million registered users, we’ve also got quite a bash cooking over at the Young Writers Program. We’re on track to pass 60,000 young writers signed up this year—up over 40% from 2011. That’s a whole lot of novels being written in classrooms, libraries, and bedrooms around the world.

Our kids and teens are staying motivated with the most prestigious pep talkers we’ve ever assembled: Lois Lowry and Walter Dean Myers have already contributed, and new YA stars like Ransom Riggs will hold down the month with a heretofore-unheard-of amount of inspiration.

And, our participants are helping each other. For the first time, we asked young writers for their best NaNoWriMo advice. They came through with thoughts on prepping and getting started, and even more for later in November. A tasty sample, apt for this week: “Don’t worry if your ideas seem like huge blobs of jelly right now. Just get them down and you can worry later about rearranging them and reshaping them into delicious novel PB&J sandwiches.”

Also fully restocked with participant-provided challenges: The Dare Machine. Hit the the button on our homepage for a rotating selection of ideas for your next chapter. “Include a sea creature”? “Have a character reveal a terrifying secret”? Don’t mind if I do.

There’s plenty more YWP huckadoo going on outside the site. The School Library Journal covered NaNo in—guess where—school libraries, and we’re always tweeting about educators and students rocking the novel game.

Thanks, as always, for your support of the Young Writers Program. Feel free to mosey on by our party whenever you have the time.

Considering a blobfish with skeletons in his closet,

Chris Angotti
4,644 words

Field Reports on NaNoLand

Posted on November 05, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Before we do anything else, let’s back up our novels. Today is the first of four Mondays in November devoted to saving a copy (or a few) of your work-in-progress. Whether on an external hard drive, via email, in the clouds, or on a super-stylish USB bracelet, save your novel now!

Phew! Glad that’s done.

It was a buzzy weekend in the NaNo wildnerness, with wonderfully diverse reports of Wrimos’ exploits coming in on all channels. We love receiving these transmissions!

Check out Mashable’s write-up on NaNoWriMo’s use of social media. (While you’re at it, like our Facebook page and follow our Twitter feed to get all the references.)

Flavorpill published an amazing mix of NaNo news and authorial advice from literary greats, both past and present.

And last but not least, peruse the “25 Most Effective Tools for NaNoWriMo Success.” (Brace yourself for some serious infographic awesomeness.)

You can also see all past highlights of NaNo in the News, nationally and beyond, in our About section.

Looking up how to send out high-fives in Morse code,

(Still at 1,323 words)

Writing Through the Weekend

Posted on November 02, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Hale and hearty writers, by Sunday night we should all be aiming for a word count of (at least) 6,667 words.

These first-weekend features should help you get from here to there:

-A pep talk full of writerly wisdom from beloved author Kate DiCamillo awaits you in your NaNoMail.

-The 30 Covers, 30 Days art over on the blog is a surefire, multi-media source of inspiration!

-If you haven’t already seen it (or even if you have), you’re bound to feel a creative kick after taking in Tim Kim’s virtuoso performance on NaNoVideo.

-Try out @nanowordsprints on Twitter for a serious boost in your word count.

-And for some of us, the end of daylight savings time means an extra hour of writing time on Sunday. (What a difference an hour can make, right?)

If you’re just hitting the site for the first time, read up on our practical tips for a successful month, too.

Here’s to a wildly inventive and wordy weekend, and may Monday’s sun rise upon elevated word counts everywhere.

1,323 words

Welcome to the Workshop

Posted on November 01, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

No matter what kind of novelist you are, you have something in common with well over 200,000 people around the world: You are here to write. You have a story to tell, and you’ve claimed November as your noveling workshop.

Good for you! You can’t hear us, but there’s an office full of NaNo-staff, 600 volunteer MLs around the world, and dozens of contractors and interns and NaNo-supporters applauding your intrepid spirit and commitment to your creativity.

In addition to donning your tool belt, and posting the “See You in December” sign on your workshop door, we suggest the following steps to help you on your noveling way:

Check your NaNoMail often! It will be frequently filled with messages from regional volunteer Municipal Liaisons (MLs) and fellow writers (Wrimos), as well as pep talks from staff and published authors. You can also set your notification preferences to receive daily digests of your NaNoMail messages and forums threads you are following.

Join a home region, if you haven’t already. You’ll get encouragement from your local ML(s), have access to a regional forum full of writers in your area, and have the opportunity to attend in-person writing events in and around your neighborhood!

Believe it or not, if you donate just $5.00, your chances of winning skyrockets. Statistically, participants who contribute to our nonprofit writing event are more likely to reach the 50,000 word goal by month’s end. It’s a win-win!

Like our Facebook page, follow our Twitter feed, and read our daily blog posts. The more engaged you are with what is happening in NaNoLand, the more invested you’ll be in finishing your novel. When the going gets tough, the tough keep in touch! (Isn’t that how the saying goes?)

If you have a question or need help, please read our FAQs thoroughly before emailing. One person answers the emails of literally all 250,000-plus participants, so we aren’t able to reply if your question is covered in the Help section.

And if you see something that looks wrong or broken, visit the Tech Help and Site Bug Reports forum to see if it’s a known issue. You could be the first to report it!

OK. Now grab that tack hammer, your pen, and a power cord, and let’s get writing!

836 words

A Ten-Pen Salute!

Posted on October 31, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

For many of us, NaNoWriMo begins at the (pen) stroke of midnight… or one second past. But across the world, in the easternmost reaches of NaNoLand, the calendar has already flipped over to November 1.

Throughout the day, more and more Wrimos will be writing the first words of their November novels. I like to think if we sit very quietly, we’ll be able to hear the rising roar of creativity and characters coming to life; a keyboard-clacking cacophony moving westward.

To all the Wrimos already writing, and all who are about to start, I raise my computer and my cup of coffee to you in cheers. (And then put them down, because that is a dangerous maneuver.)

All hail the November novelists!

Emails, updates, and outages

Posted on October 29, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

With only a couple of days to go before NaNoWriMo begins in earnest, we have a lot of information to share with you!

Hopefully you saw the update last week about Wrimos not receiving emails from us. This breaks our hearts, since we want you to get our words of encouragement and suggestions for a successful month of noveling!

We are sending out an email today to your inbox and via NaNoMail, which we’ll also post on the blog tomorrow, to ensure you get news from us one way or another. If you do find that email, entitled “Mapping the 2012 NaNoLandscape” in your spam folder, please mark it as not spam. This will help retrain spam filters and get our updates into more of your inboxes.

For those Wrimos in Sandy’s path, and those who have already experienced its wrath, you’re in our thoughts. Please stay safe! We’ve been aggregating participants’ Facebook suggestions for NaNo-ing during power outages over on the blog. Hopefully that will be a help to (or provide a laugh for) anyone who starts the month without electricity.

Well and wordy wishes,
Lindsey and the whole NaNo Staff

Badges for your social media (and cat)

Posted on October 25, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

During NaNoWriMo, the Guilt Monkeys keep pretty busy nagging you about your word count. But since we’re a boot-strapping nonprofit, we repurpose the monkeys in the off-season and send them out to talk with winning novelists and discover the secret to their success.

The number one tip our Survey Monkeys (and yes, that website is named after them) come back with? Tell the world what you’re up to in November. Shout it from the rooftops. Make sure everyone you know is aware of what you’re striving for and ready and willing to act as your own personal Guilt Monkey.

(Maybe don’t call them that, though. Non-Wrimos get a little funny about it when you say things like “Fetch me a beverage, Guilt Monkey!”)

But how do you spread the word? May we suggest one of our stylish and eye-catching web badges?

We’ve got all sorts of sizes for your social networking needs, including a brand-new, by-popular-demand Facebook cover image! And for our Script Frenzy/Camp/NaNo overachievers, we’ve created an OLL-Star web badge for you to brag about your year-round literary accomplishments.

Your friends and families will be drawn to these babies like a Guilt Monkey to a video game-playing Wrimo, and soon you might even have a real-world writing buddy keeping you company. (That’s yet another secret to success. If your spouse/parent/roommate/cat is writing alongside you, they’re much less likely to complain when you haven’t bathed in four days and haven’t done dishes in a week and a half.)

NaNoWriMo is imminent! There’s no time to waste! Grab your badges, bedazzle your web presence with NaNoWriMo-y goodness, and start practicing your evasive maneuvers to avoid the Guilt Monkey attacks. (A hint: they tend to avoid you when you’re actually writing.)

Wondering if I could tie a web badge to my cat,


Emails from HQ getting blocked

Posted on October 22, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

With just over a week to go before November starts, we are crying salty tears upon learning that many of you are not receiving our email updates! We’re looking into optimizing these sends on our end to ensure that you’ll get all missives sent from NaNoLand.

In the meantime please be sure to set your own spam filter settings to allow email from NaNoWriMo (like and Letters and Light (

And if you do find an email from us in your spam folder, please be sure to indicate that it is not in fact spam. (Many email clients allow you to note when an email is incorrectly filtered.)

Both of the above measures will go a long way toward getting our emails past your spam filter and into your inbox, along with all notifications digests of site updates and NaNoMail messaging. We’ve devoted a forums thread all about this to help you, too.

I have posted the last three emails we’ve sent out here on the site, so you can catch up on news about the site relaunch, my upcoming adventures, and Chris’s hello!

Thanks for your patience and help as we battle this salty-tear-inducing problem,



October 17 is NaNoPrep Day!

Posted on October 16, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

On October 17, we’re going to be blowing up the Twittersphere with all kinds of tips to help prepare you for NaNoWriMo, using the hashtag #nanoprep. Join the conversation and add your own time-tested rituals and approaches! Keep an eye on Facebook for a Prep Day writing prompt, too.

The NaNo Tips and Strategies forums are a great place for non-stop inspiration. And be sure to stop by our page of Pre-NaNo Prep resources, curated specially for you!

For in-person means of getting primed for November, check Sarah Mackey’s great video, NaNoWriMo in the Wild.

We’ll see you all tomorrow for the epic prep-a-thon!

Saying “prep prompt” five times fast and failing,

Collecting Stories For Years to Come

Posted on October 12, 2012 by timkim

I was always a collector. As a kid, this led to some minor acts of theft in my pursuit of completion; thankfully, my days as a young ne’er-do-well are well behind me. These days, I get to collect stories from Wrimos around the world.

Every year, we’re only able to come together around NaNoWriMo and share these stories because of your help. Many of you donate directly, but we also know that there are folks who just aren’t able to right now. The great news is that there are other ways to help:

1. You can sign up through StayClassy for a NaNoWriMo Author Sponsorship, and ask your friends and family to sponsor your novel this November.
2. You can raise funds to attend our annual Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco, where we’ll be writing furiously to ring the 50,000-word gong.
3. You can help us translate to make our site more accessible to our increasingly international writing community.
4. And, of course, Goodsearch is still a great way to help; you can check out the Donating When Broke page for even more details.

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve heard from MLs who are running used book sales to benefit the Young Writers Program, and from participants who are hoping to spend their honeymoon at the Night of Writing Dangerously where they first met. I’ve heard from parents in Germany about their empowered, novel-writing kids; from longtime authors in Arizona about their now year-round writer’s group; and from college students in Toronto who are locked in fierce word-wars between dorms.

The truth is, you aren’t just never-say-die writers who come together to bang out a novel in November. You’re members of a community that is full of stories, and are living proof of the tangible change creative writing can bring to people’s lives.

Every year we talk about the hundreds of thousands of novels that are born because of the community we’ve built together. Here’s to the unheralded millions of stories that spark, too—the romances, the adventures, the triumphs—because of you.

Wrimos forever,


Sightseeing in NaNoLand

Posted on October 05, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

As you know, we’re almost one week into’s relaunch, and we are loving seeing your (virtual) faces in your newly updated profiles and over in the forums. We’re also glad to the max about all the new writers that are joining us for the 2012 season. Welcome!

There’s so much other real estate in NaNoLand beyond our website that’s full to overflowing with great content and lively conversations, and we want to be sure you get the full map so you can explore the whole realm.

OLL’s Blog is bursting with staff reflections, industry-insider interviews, and profiles of Wrimos and writerly communities around the world. (And we just gave away two StoryWonk workshop spots over there as well!) Check out our blog early and often!

The Young Writers Program website just rebooted for November’s party of aspiring novelists ages 17 and younger, and classrooms K-12. We highly recommend you point your favorite educator and/or young writer in that direction. The YWP is not to be missed!

NaNoWriMo’s Facebook page and Twitter feed are growing by the day with more and more book-loving writers with all sorts of things to say. Follow both sites for your fill of writing prompts, event updates, and writerly (and occasionally unwriterly) conversation.

Tour away!

Trying not to liken NaNoLand to a map of Westeros,

Program Director

The Gates Are Open!

Posted on October 01, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

(Let’s pretend I am saying this to you through a megaphone from a grandstand and the website is an awesome carnival behind me.)

Welcome, Wrimos, to the grand reopening of! With just one month to go before our 2012 November noveling extravaganza, we’ve unveiled an updated website jam-packed with tools and incentives new and old to help you write a novel next month.

[horrible megaphone screech]

Ahem. We know you are more than ready to run through these gates, meet old friends, and explore new functionality. If we may make just a few recommendations before we set you free:

-If you’re homed to a region, you’ll now find a link directly to your regional forum under “NaNo Near You” in the main masthead. (Or sign up for a home region here.) Click through to access your regional forum and say hi to your ML(s) and fellow local Wrimos!

-If you stumble upon a bug or something seems broken, head over to the Tech Help & Site Bug Reports forum to find known issues that have been reported, or to post your brand-new one!

-We’ll  be sending out an email with all kinds of site updates and info about exciting new features. Keep an eye on your inbox for that bucket of buttery knowledge.

Now go get that cotton candy!

Program Director

Pre-NaNo excitement abounds!

Posted on September 25, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

October is coming! That means site relaunch, pre-novel planning, and the great NaNoWriMo 2012 countdown!

Because after October… comes November.

Our excitement is manifesting over on the blog in a combo NaNo-prep/StoryWonk giveaway post. Check it out, and comment by October 4 for your chance to win a slot in Lani Diane Rich’s NaNo Pre-Game Class.

And on Twitter, where Sarah is teasing clues throughout the week about our all-star line up of 2012 pep talkers.

And on Facebook, where buzz is building after our epic Chase Community Giving victory.

And in our online store, where shiny new writerly incentives await you.

And in our hearts, where the butterflies of inspiration are emerging from their 11-month gestation, ready to take wing and become beautiful new NaNo-novels!

How’s that for a mixed metaphor?

Lots more where that came from in only 35 days!


You changed NaNoWriMo’s future

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Update: After an incredible show of support from our beloved citizens of NaNoLand, we will be the recipients of a $50,000 grant from Chase. Thank you so much, everyone!

We talk a lot about the incredible community that exists around NaNoWriMo. We see it every day—in the forums, on social media, out in our hundreds of regions all around the world. We love our participants, and we like to think you love us, too.

This week, we want you to help us show the world just how powerful a web-based community can be. It’s the annual Chase Community Giving contest, an event in which nonprofit organizations of all shapes and sizes vie for a share of five million dollars. The top vote-getter gets $250,000, an amount of money that would do so much for the financial security of our small organization.

It can be hard sometimes to explain just how much a virtual community can mean to people. But if NaNoWriMo means something to you, would you help? Take 30 seconds out of your day to vote for us on Facebook, and then help spread the word. Every vote counts, and the higher we move up the standings, the more money we stand to receive.

All you need to do is click through, install the app (you can set it so only you can view it if you’re a little cautious about Facebook apps), and vote for us. It’s a small effort on your part, but it could have a huge impact for us.

Plus, it’s super-fun to obsessively watch us move up in the standings every 12 hours when they update the leaderboard. It’s like watching your word count go up, but without the roller coaster ride of the actual novel-writing! I call that win win.

Wondering if installing a countdown timer in the office would be overkill,


Back-To-School Excitement

Posted on September 11, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Dear Wrimos,

A lot of people say that back-to-school commercials still give them an anxious feeling in the pit of their stomach. They remember the uncertainty of the first day—the confusing locker location, the cruel randomness of the classroom seating chart, the terror of the wrong outfit.

I get it. And as a classroom teacher, I’ve also been on the other side (“Oh no, they’re back“). So by all rights, the average ad for spiral notebooks should send me into a downward spiral of dread.

But these days, I’m excited. Teachers and students arriving back at school means that they’re getting ready to write novels, and we are lucky enough to help them do it. Last week we started ordering for the 2012 NaNoWriMo classroom kit, and hundreds of K–12 educators have already jumped on board. (Not to mention all those youth librarians and ordering Come Write In kits!)

Some tell their kids about the challenge on the very first day; others wait until October to start the project (and unveil the Triumphant Chart of Noveling Progress). No matter when it happens, they introduce NaNo with the knowledge that it will have a profound effect on their students’ writing skills and self-confidence.

If you have an educator or kid in your life, we encourage you to tell them about the Young Writers Program. And if you value the creative work going on in classrooms, libraries, and community centers around the world, please consider a donation.

Now, can someone help me find my locker?

Chris A.
YWP Director

NaNoWriMo 2012 swag in here!

Posted on September 05, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Dearest Wrimos,

Some people anticipate Black Friday shopping year-round. Others line up for hours for the latest, greatest Apple product. But anyone with any taste knows that the most anticipated shopping day of the year is when we release the new NaNoWriMo products.

It’s time to limber up those spending muscles, everyone, because that day is upon us.

That’s right! It’s the all new 2012 NaNoWriMo merchandise and donor goodies, and they are even more fabulous than you’ve been hoping for. This year’s swag is chock full of infographic-y goodness, with more Venn diagrams than a Venn diagram enthusiasts convention.

The shirts! The stickers! The posters! If you’re afraid of circles, the store is going to scare the pants off you. (Did you know fear of circles is called Trypophobia?) Fortunately, we’re fully stocked up on non-circular delights as well, including the super-fab YWP shirt, buttons, and stickers, a halo for your wrist, and the most educational and hilarious thermos the world has ever known.

We’ve also restocked all your most beloved items, including the fastest-selling item in the history of NaNoWriMo: the USB bracelet. Get yours quickly before they sell out again, and pick up a notebook for some analog noveling-on-the-go while you’re at it.

When you make donations and buy merchandise, you help us help the world discover their creative potential—we can’t do it without you. Plus, you get some freaking awesome swag. Everybody wins! Except maybe the people with Trypophobia.

Wondering if I can communicate exclusively in Venn diagrams from now on,


Three cheers for our intrepid Campers!

Posted on August 24, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

As many of you know, June and August in NaNoLand have been populated by intrepid writers penning high-velocity novels in virtual tents, canoes, treetops, and alongside friendly imaginary honey-loving bears at Camp NaNoWriMo.

As the calendar flips to the 25th of August across the globe, these adventuresome novelists are poised to become Camp NaNoWriMo Winners–some for the second time this summer. Imagine, multiple novels in a year!

We hope you’ll join us in cheering them on to victory as they write, paddle, row their way across the finish line.

Goooooooo Campers! Hip, hip, hooray!

Posting this news next to my own imaginary honey bear,


Beta tester recruitment begins!

Posted on August 10, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Are you interested in testing improvements and new functionality on  You, too, could be a member of the beta testing elite: the few, the proud, the beta buggers (as they are affectionately referred to in NaNoLand).

This season, we have lots of new and exciting features, things to fix, and stuff to test. That’s where you’d come in! With access to the private, locked testers’ forum (called the hive), you will learn how to break and re-break components of the site, and report on functionality. No prior site-testing experience is necessary!

With your help, the site will be in tip-top condition for the noveling party in November. To learn more about the requirements, read up on Head Forums Mod Heather Dudley’s post.

Or, if you’d like to help facilitate NaNo this year, and local participant coordination is more your speed, maybe you’d like to be a Municipal Liaison! Applications  close this Sunday, so hurry over to the Becoming an ML page to learn more about what the position entails, and to apply.

We hope to be hanging bug reports and breaking the site—or facilitating local meet-ups and write-ins—alongside you very soon.


We hug you, Wrimos!

Posted on August 01, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

(Well, as you’ll see here, Grant actually kisses you on the cheek.)
Biggest, loudest, most potentially blush-inducing thanks to every one who donated during our summer fundraising drive! Because of you, we raised $33,855 toward NaNoWriMo 2012 improvements. Calloo callay!

You are champions. (See the NaNoVideo next door for more thanks from all of us.)

Beginnings and Endings

Posted on July 31, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Just as the NaNoWriMo Summer Fundraiser comes to an end tonight as midnight, so too will the whole world click over into August 1, and thus, the second session of Camp NaNoWriMo 2012.

This means there is still time!

To get your set of “NaNoLand Critters, Friends, and Heroes” trading cards before the drive ends at midnight local time (that’s where you are, Wrimo).

Or, to chip in what you can toward our foundational fundraising for November’s big event.

To sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo and write a high-octane novel during the month of August.

Yep, plenty of time to throw caution and reason to the winds and say, “Hey! I’ve got a story to tell. I’ve got a novel in me! I support this cause, because it is my cause, too!”

Whether you write in August, November, or any other time of the year, we’re here to help you make your someday-story a now-novel.

Feeling pumped for more frenzied fiction,




Cooking with oil at OLL

Posted on July 24, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

This title should be “Cooking with OLL.” Ha! Get it? (Did you know that I love puns?)

In all seriousness, though, there is a lot going on in NaNoLand and beyond.

We have extended the Amazing Trading Card Summer Fund-Drive Extravaganza until the end of July, in an effort to reach our $50,000 goal and bring you the best November noveling event we can cook up. With oil. (Cough. Sorry.)

To help us host yet another record-busting, creatively explosive, and much improved month of literary abandon, please donate today! (Bonus: You’ll get more pun-filled Breaking News messages like this one! Or, if you hate puns, donate and you’ll never get another pun out of me again.)

Also extra-exciting: The August session of Camp NaNoWriMo is coming! In a matter of days! And it’s got all-new pep, an improved Cabin Message Board interface, and more fun that you can shake a finely sharpened stick at.

Speaking of sharp things, Community Liaison Sarah just poked her head in and asked me to remind all Wrimos that applications for Municipal Liaisons are live! To serve as your NaNoWriMo region’s organizer-in-chief, read up on the requirements and then apply by the August 12 deadline.

And speaking of deadlines, the early bird special for the 2012 Night of Writing Dangerously expires at the end of July. If you’d like to join us at the most magical evening of writing you’ll ever experience, sign up today and raise your money before August 1 to get the special price of $200 (or $300 if you want to bring a guest). Thereafter, prices will go up to $250, $350 if you want to bring a guest.

This Breaking News has turned into quite the humdinger! So much news, so very many puns. I’ll leave you to digest it all, and hope very much to regale you at a future date with more puns (or none at all), perhaps at Camp, or at the Write-a-thon, or right here in the news.

‘Til then,



It’s non-stop action at OLL!

Posted on July 12, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

Oh hello there, Wrimos.

There is so much going on over here at NaNoWriMo HQ that you might be fooled into thinking that it’s November, except that the weather is presumably doing the opposite of whatever the weather does in your neck of the woods in November. A quick rundown of all the goings-on around these parts!

First of all, applications for Municipal Liaisons are now live! If you’d like to serve as your NaNoWriMo region’s organizer-in-chief, find out more about what’s expected and then dazzle us with your application. You’ve got until August 12!

Second of all, the NaNoWriMo Summer Fund Drive is now in its third day and going strong. All three golden mustaches are still up for grabs, and if you pick up a pack of trading cards today with a donation of $50 or more, you’ll help us help you and hundreds of thousands of others around the world reach your creative potential. I see no downside here!

Third of all, we’re almost halfway through the early bird special for the 2012 Night of Writing Dangerously. If you’d like to join us at the most magical evening of writing you’ll ever experience, sign up today and raise your money before the end of July to get the special price of $200, $300 if you want to bring a guest. Prices will go up to $250 on August 1, $350 if you want to bring a guest.

Fourth of all, I don’t really have anything else. I just like hanging out with you guys. How have you been? I like your shoes.

Humming “I’ve got a golden mustache,”


NaNoWriMo’s 2012 Summer Fundraising Drive

Posted on July 10, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Here in NaNoLand, we’re kicking off our summer fundraising drive. The goal? Raising $50,000 to put on another creative-mayhem-filled NaNoWriMo this November. Last year we rebuilt NaNoWriMo on Rails, a massive and essential move that allows us to keep our site up and running no matter how big the November noveling party gets. We got the first draft of the site up and running then… and now is the time to fine-tune for a polished product.

We want to provide the very best, most supportive, and easiest-to-use site for our hundreds of thousands of writers, because all we really want in 2012… is more. More young writers, more outrageous novels, more library partners, more Wrimo tales from around the world, more pictures, and more amazing participant videos. In short, more of you.

The special giveaway for donors of $50-and-up: a package of NaNoLand trading cards featuring several of NaNoLand’s most beloved, feared, and motivational characters. Think the notorious Traveling Shovel of Death, the mysterious Mr. Ian Woon, the irascible Plot Bunny—and more!

We’re printing a limited edition of 1,000 packs, each containing three of the five cards. The more you donate, the more packs of trading cards you get, and the likelier you are to get the complete set of five. Bonus round: In three packs, a lucky Wrimo will find a golden ticket resembling Tom Selleck’s mustache to win an extra-special writing prize:

  • A stylish vintage typewriter donated by California Typewriter.
  • A fantasy writing package donated by Castle in the Air that includes Venetian glass pens, Roman leather journals, hand formulated ink, sealing wax cooked in cauldrons, handmade writing paper, and more.
  • A cuddly version of each character in the trading cards. (Except in the case of the Traveling Shovel of Death, of course. You get the shovel, but cuddly it is not).
  • You can see pictures of all of these in our blog post!

Donate now and see what trading cards you get! Collect all five by donating at a higher level for more than one pack—or get together with your fellow Wrimos and trade. And remember, everyone who donates at $10 or beyond will get their golden donor halo, and will be listed on our NaNoWriMo Brought To You By Page!

Mustachioed operators are standing by,

It’s the most wonderful time of the year

Posted on July 04, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

Okay, maybe it’s actually the second-most wonderful time of the year. (Everyone knows November is the most wonderful time of the year.)

What’s so wonderful, you ask? Signups are open for the 2012 Night of Writing Dangerously!

Our sixth annual fundraising gala is on November 18, and it will be full of the usual glitz, glory, and gluttony. (The good kind of gluttony.) We want you there with us! If you sign up today, you can qualify for the early bird special. For July only, raise $200 ($300 if you want to bring a guest) in order to attend this noir-themed write-a-thon extraordinaire.

On August 1, prices will go back up to $250 ($350 with a guest), so it’s time to get out there and start hustling for donations. Because you don’t want to miss out on the most cosmonovelton-soaked, candy buffet-fueled, 250-of-your-new-friends-inspired night of the year.

Read up on all the details about the Night of Writing Dangerously here, then head on over to StayClassy to sign up. You don’t want to miss it. We don’t want to miss you!

Counting the days until November 18 (it’s 137),


OLL-iverse Overviews

Posted on July 02, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Thanks to the dynamite brain trust of Managing Editor Tim Kim and Intern/Camp Co-counselor Ben Schwartz (loosely referred to around here as the Schwartz-Kim think tank) the OLL blog now features a weekly recap of all happenings in the OLL-iverse every Friday!

Not only does it provide a nice little “week in the life” digest of goings-on in our office, on our event sites, and in our social networking communities, it’s also a showcase for Ben’s original illustrative stylings! (One day soon, we’ll be saying we knew him when…)

I, for one, am a fan. Check out the OLL-iverse Starlog every Friday at our friendly neighborhood blog!




Winners’ CreateSpace Codes

Posted on June 19, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Hi Wrimos,

Just a quick reminder to all you winners of the NaNoWriMo 2011 challenge: Your opportunity to receive five free paperback copies of your novel from CreateSpace ends on June 30.

Hard to believe, but that is only 10 days away!

If you haven’t already redeemed the offer, be sure to read up on the details on the Winner Prizes page. Then use your unique winner’s code to get started over on CreateSpace.

The terms of this winner prize has changed somewhat from previous years’, so be sure to read the instructions carefully. If you have questions, you can send them directly to CreateSpace’s customer service department.

Happy publishing!

Your June Novel Awaits

Posted on May 31, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Many of you equate November with NaNoWriMo. Depending on where in the world you live, the penultimate month and its seasonal changes, holidays, and school deadlines are enriched (or complicated by) the novel that you write in those 30 days.

Close your eyes, scramble all previously held notions of when in the year you bust out that rough draft, and then reopen them. What if you wrote a novel in… June?

Whoa. I know. June is… tomorrow. But it’s not too late to throw your hat in the ring to write a novel with us over at Camp NaNoWriMo.

30 days. 50,000 words. June. (I know. You wanted to say November.)

August, Camp NaNoWriMo’s second session, is also a perfectly acceptable option. And August has 31 days, versus the traditional 30!

Think about it.


Happy Camp-ing, Wrimos!

Posted on May 08, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

For many (maybe even most?) of us, November is noveling season. But there have always been folks for whom November is an inconvenient month to abandon real life. There are also many more folks who want the guilt monkeys and firm deadlines that NaNoWriMo provides more than once a year.

We’re always happy to provide additional guilt monkeys (we got a really great deal on a bulk order a few years back), which is why we launched Camp NaNoWriMo last year. Camp is a chance to enjoy the NaNoWriMo experience in a pared-down, simplified environment. All of the guilt monkeys, none of the November!

Camp NaNoWriMo gives you a place to find writing buddies and join a cabin, receive pep talks from Lindsey and other staff, commiserate with other frantic novelists on Twitter and in the forums, and enjoy more Camp-themed puns and merchandise than you can shake a canoe paddle at.

(Some of the camp-themed puns are better than others. Let’s just pretend that shaking a canoe paddle is something that happens at camp, OK? Great. We never had this conversation. Things in parentheses are secret, right?)

So it is with great paddle-shaking delight that we announce that Camp NaNoWriMo 2012 is open and ready for business! Camp sessions will take place in June and August, and you can participate in either…or both! So mosey on over to the Campsite (get it? I hope you like that pun, because we can’t get enough of it) and start thinking about your epic summer masterpiece.

Excessively excited about camp puns,


What’s in your pocket? (Hopefully, a poem…)

Posted on April 26, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Here at OLL, April is Script Frenzy. But beyond our scriptwriting borders exists another April-bound writing extravaganza: National Poetry Writing Month. And today, April 26, is Poem in Your Pocket Day!

In addition to the scores of Wrimos who are also scribes, there is yet another prolific posse among us… of poets. (I met one of these poet Wrimos in Whole Foods the other day. It was the coolest thing that has ever happened to me at Whole Foods. Or in any grocery store checkout line, for that matter.)

To the poets among us, happy NaPoWriMo and Poem in Your Pocket Day!

We’re inviting poets and non-poets, scribes and novelists, essayists and storytellers of all kinds to join in the conversation about poetry, poems, and favorite poets on Facebook, over on the blog, and on Twitter using the hashtag #pocketpoem. Or start your own!

Wishing I’d written this post in iambic pentameter,


Why we love Script Frenzy!

Posted on April 25, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Today is Donation Day over at Script Frenzy, NaNo’s sister (script)writing event!

Thousands upon thousands of Wrimos participate in this April script-a-palooza and love it because:

-Writing 100 pages of a script in 30 days is the best possible way to spend April.

-Spontaneous acts of creativity keep our writing muscles strong year-round.

-Scripts are uniquely helpful in honing our dialogue-writing skills.

-Program Director Sandra Salas is a scriptwriting sorceress of awesomeness, and gives the most encouraging script advice this side of the great Euphrates (and I don’t even think there’s a contender on the far side!).

-When else do we get the chance to write our own TV show, script, stage play, or graphic novel? With thousands of other scribes? In one month!

Thank you, Script Frenzy, for keeping us writing in new, dynamic, and wholly satisfying ways every April and beyond!

If you <3 the Frenzy, join me in a grateful holler and donate today!





Scripts! Camp! Obscure Lexicon Revival!

Posted on April 04, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

What ho, good Wrimos!

That’s right, I’m bringing “what ho” back. You know you want on board this train.

Speaking of things you want to get on board with, Script Frenzy has pulled out of the station, but you can still hop on and join the party! Maybe you want to adapt your NaNoWriMo masterpiece into a screenplay or graphic novel, or start a whole new adventure. Whatever your fancy may be, we’ve got a seat waiting for you.

In between all that script writing you’re about to start, perhaps your thoughts are also turning to Camp NaNoWriMo? Ours certainly are. Not only are we knee-deep in website upgrades and merchandise designing, we’re also expanding our library partnership, Come Write In, into the Camp world for the first time this year! We’re so excited to work with our beloved booky friends for another event.

If you work at a library and would like to host Camp events this June and/or August, sign up here! And if you are a library-lover, let your local branch know about Come Write In! Libraries that sign up get a sweet kit, tons of tips, and a chance to welcome writers into their natural habitats. (I figure anywhere with that many books is a natural habitat for a writer.)

Script Frenzy! Camp! Libraries! The excitement never stops in these parts.

Commissioning Justin Timberlake to help bring “What ho” back,


Script Frenzy starts this weekend!

Posted on March 30, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Believe it or not, April is nearly upon us! And with April comes Script Frenzy: 30 days and 100 pages of awesome scriptwriting madness. At 12:01:01 AM wherever in this wide world you live, the story magic starts and that 100-page goal goes into full effect.

Still not sure whether you have a script in you? Here are a few thing to think about.

1. You totally have a script in you! A handful of them, in fact. (I looked, and they’re definitely in there.)

2. If you’re not sure what that script might be about, look to your own November novel (or novels). Sara Gruen’s NaNo-novel Water for Elelphants was adapted into a screenplay–and a rocking good movie! Published Wrimo Elizabeth Hayne’s November novel Into the Darkest Corner is being made into a movie, too,  as is Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus.

3. If their NaNo-novels can be adapted, so can yours. (Seriously, I checked.)

3 1/2. Nothing will get you into the scriptwriting mood like Chris Angotti’s amazing font-tastic video.

Depending on where you’re reading this right now, you have roughly 30 hours before it’s time to Stop Watching and Start Writing. So go watch Chris’ video before it’s too late! Then log into Script Frenzy by midnight local time and start writing your next masterpiece.

I mean it!



Posted on March 19, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

That’s right! This Breaking News is taking place in my brain, where I’ve been thinking  a lot about scripts and formatting.

To channel this energy, I collaborated with Script Frenzy Program Director Sandra on a video about this very subject. (We’ve posted the script for the video so you can compare the two!)

But I am not the only one with scripts on the brain.

Board member Elizabeth has written up a tremendous graphic novel resource kit over on the blog. And Community Liaison Sarah and Managing Editor Tim are fielding some great scripty discussions on both the NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy Facebook pages.

Hungry for more? I know I am… Let’s sate our appetites on the endless inspiration and resources served up at!


Congratulations, Pitchapalooza winners!

Posted on March 15, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

The 2012 NaNoWriMo Pitchapalooza winners have been announced! Everyone here at HQ is cheering for Mark and Sheri Durson and Fernando Quijano III.

Learn all about the results here.

A window-rattling round of applause for our amazing Pitchapalooza hosts, the Book Doctors Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry. Thank you for sharing your time, your expertise, and your brilliant brains with us for yet another tremendous season of Pitchapalooza magic!

Still cheering,




The Pitchapalooza Polls Are Open!

Posted on March 07, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

The 25 randomly selected Wrimo pitches are posted and waiting for your eyes! And your vote!

The Pitchapalooza polls are open until March 15, when the fan favorite will be declared along with Arielle and David’s pick for winner. And the competition is already heating up! Head on over and cast your vote today.

The expert Pitchapalooza hosts and Book Doctors have also extended their generous offer of a free 20-minute phone consultation (worth $100) for anyone who buys a copy of The Essential Guide To Getting Your Book Published. Just send a copy of your sales receipt to by March 15th, and prepare to be wowed. (They are that good.)

Also wow-worthy: the amount of awesomeness dawning on OLL’s horizon! (And that very bold mixed metaphor I just wrote…) There’s an email all about it in your inbox (code word: Scrampenzimo) or you can read up on the latest news here.

So wowed I almost forgot to sign off!

[signing off]



The Frenzy Approacheth!

Posted on March 01, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Script Frenzy has relaunched its site in preparation for April’s scriptwriting extravaganza. Head over today to check out the new and updated resources, and enter yourself in a massively awesome giveaway simply by logging in to! (Conveniently, your NaNoWriMo username and password work over at Script Frenzy as well.)

Program Director Sandra has partnered with Seminar, Celtx, and StumbleUpon to offer a random drawing for 14 special goodie packs. Simply log in to Script Frenzy before March 31, 2012, 11:59 (PST)!

Prizes include:

• A playbill signed by the cast of the new Broadway comedy Seminar: Alan Rickman (Yes, the Alan Rickman! As in, Professor Snape, Alan Rickman!), Hamish Linklater, Lily Rabe, Hettienne Park, and Jerry O’Connell.

• A free download of Celtx Plus to help you pen your script.

• A super slick sticker and button bundle.

I know. I said it was massively awesome!

With 30 days to enter your name in the giveaway, and 31 days until the Frenzy begins, the time to Stop Watching and Start Writing draws near…

Accio April!





Posted on February 22, 2012 by Sarah Mackey

It’s been a while since I’ve been in this neck of the woods breaking news with all of you! I’ve missed you. You’re looking lovely today. How’s your cat/baby/new pen treating you?

I’m quite busy getting ready for something very exciting. What exciting thing is that? I’m so glad you asked! You see, it’s almost time for Script Frenzy! And that means I’m on the hunt for that most remarkable creature: the Municipal Liaison. If you enjoy organizing events, motivating writers, and writing encouraging emails, then this is the job for you. You can read more about the job requirements here, and if you think you’d like to give it a whirl, fill out the application form here!

And if that’s not enough to keep you quite occupied, don’t forget about Pitchapalooza! The deadline to submit your pitch is February 29, and that’s coming up fast. (At least, I think it is. You know how leap years are. Tricksy.) Have you perfected your pitch yet? Time’s a ticking!

Failing to resist the urge to add “palooza” to everything I write,


Pick your pep!

Posted on February 16, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Have a burning desire to hear from your favorite novelist this November? Tell us about it! We are collecting your top pep talker picks over on the blog.

Starting next month, we’ll be asking beloved authors around the world to share their advice and insights on the novel-drafting process in the form of a pep talk for NaNoWriMo 2012.

(Because we don’t ask any NaNoWriMo pep talker twice, be sure to reference the pep talk archive to see who has already contributed in the past!)

We also can’t guarantee that every author we ask will say ‘yes’ (or even respond at all…). But asking a broad range of published novelists whose works we adore is the first and most necessary step in collecting a killer cache of writerly encouragement.

Hope springs eternal!

Excited to see who you vote for,


Do you <3 NaNoWriMo?

Posted on February 14, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Happy Valentine’s Day to each and every one of you from all of us at the Office of Letters and Light!

We definitely want to be your Valentine, writer. If you want to be ours, we made you a special little web badge for your blog, twitter feed or Facebook profile.

Check out our special day-of-love blog post for more!

I only wish I had a web badge for each and every Wrimo that read “I <3 (your username)”…

True story.

Appreciating all 300,000 Wrimos with my whole heart,




Love is in the air!

Posted on February 08, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

And a valentine-themed email from Grant is in your inbox. (You can also read it here.)

If that doesn’t inject enough writerly amour into your week, try out this love-ly yet understated poster. For you, or your honey bunches of oats.

In short, we love valentines, books, and you! And this poster. And our new Script Frenzy intern Shelby, Jessie, and Aliza!

Loving love,

Pitchapalooza, ABNA, and you.

Posted on January 31, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Are revising your novel or working on getting it out into the world? Then this Breaking News is for you!

There are five days left to submit your manuscript to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. If you can write a novel in a month, no doubt you can put that final polish on it in five days. Right? Right.

Tomorrow marks the first day of the second-annual Pitchapalooza for NaNoWriMo participants. You can read more from the Pitchapalooza hosts themselves about how exactly this works over on the blog. Submissions are open from February 1-29. Pitch away, Wrimos!

And finally, a giant thank you to everyone who has filled out the NaNoWriMo 2011 Participant Survey. We crossed the 10,000-response threshhold, which was my fervent hope. Double thanks for that! The survey will remain open for another 24 hours if you’d still like to submit your feedback and haven’t gotten around to it yet. We’d love to hear from as many Wrimos as we can wrangle!

To everyone planning to pitch or submit, and to all who have already made the leap: best of luck, and well done! We’re rooting for you!


Make your voice heard! Survey closing soon.

Posted on January 30, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Hear ye, hear ye! Wrimos everywhere, we call upon you to share your opinions before it is too late.

The NaNoWriMo 2011 Participant Survey closes on February 1, and we want to make extra sure we have heard from as many Wrimos as possible.

If you have thoughts or suggestions regarding how NaNoWrimo 2011 went, or what you’d like to see in 2012, please share your feedback here.

Many thanks for your time and brilliance,

Lindsey “town crier” Grant

We still need your good brain!

Posted on January 19, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

And not in a hungry-zombie way…

No, indeed. We just need you to fill out the NaNoWriMo 2011 Participant Survey if you haven’t already. Your input and suggestions are our most important guide to making next year’s event even better! Please share your thoughts before February 1.

And remember, three randomly selected survey respondents receive a $25 credit to the OLL Store!

In summation, yay survey! Boo zombies!

Happily abstaining from brains,



New year, new news!

Posted on January 04, 2012 by Lindsey Grant

Happy 2012, Wrimos!

In the new year, we have a bucketful of newsy bits to share with you.

Keep an eye on your inbox for an announcement about the imminent arrival of OLL’s new Executive Director, Grant Faulkner. We’ll be rolling out the red carpet for his first day on January 9.

We’re paying tribute to founder and outgoing ED Chris Baty, and we need your help sending him off with a flourish and plenty of thank-you confetti! Post your video message for Chris today.

We also still need your feedback on NaNoWriMo in our 2011 Participant Survey! It’s open through February 1. We’d love to hear from you as we work on improving NaNoWriMo in its 14th year. As a thank you for your time and input, we’re giving three randomly selected survey participants a gift certificate to OLL’s Online Store. Giant thanks to everyone who has already filled out the survey!

Are you looking for the next creative project or contest to enter? Look no further! The 2012 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award is coming. You can enter your novel beginning January 23!

All good things in what’s bound to be the best year for creative pursuits yet!








Our December Nap

Posted on December 23, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Well, Wrimos, the time has come for all of us OLL critters to hunker down in our caves and nests for the traditional holiday nap.

The office will reopen on Tuesday, January 3. Until then, have an excellent end-of-2011 and a happy new year!

Best wishes,

Lindsey, Chris A., Sarah, Tim, Chris B., Dan, and Jez



Mid-December Memo!

Posted on December 19, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Though the store sale has ended, our 2011 Participant Survey remains open until February 1. Thanks in advance for taking the time to share your thoughts and suggestions with us. If there’s anyone who should guide event improvements, it’s you, Wrimo!

This week,  I am sending out the first-ever NaNoWriMo revision pep talk to our beloved NaNoWriMo 2011 donors. It contains revision advice from author and NaNo participant Ernessa T. Carter for that 86% of participants who didn’t hit 50K.

If you have not donated and would like to get in on these monthly revision pep talks (as well as the October and November pep from Chris Baty and a cast of published NaNo participants), simply donate $10 or more before December 31! Future pep talks will be sent to your email inbox, and the whole series will also be posted on a special donor-only pep talks page.

Thanks so much to everyone who has donated time or hard-earned money, or spread the word about our programs this year. You make NaNoWriMo possible, and we hug you mightily for that.

Yep. Still hugging you,

Survey! Store Sale! All Things ‘S’!

Posted on December 15, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Hello, December Wrimos!

There’s an email coming your way today with information about an epic store sale and our 2011 Participant Survey! In the event that your spam filter gobbles that missive, or you’re reading this instead of that, here’s the rundown.

The 2011 NaNoWriMo Participant Survey is open and ready for your great thoughts and suggestions. All I want for Christmas is your feedback on how this event went, and how we can improve it next year. (Well, that, and my two front teeth. And a hippopotamus.)

All survey respondents have the option to enter a giveaway for $25 toward the OLL store, too. Hooray for free money!

In celebration of you, a tremendous 2011, and the pure joy of online shopping, we are having a giant sale on all NaNoWriMo merchandise in the OLL Store. Between now and midnight Pacific on Sunday, December 18, all NaNoWriMo items are 20% off. Yeehaw!

Scrounging around for more ‘s’-related news items,



Stop. Derby Time!

Posted on December 08, 2011 by Sarah Mackey

Helloooooo, December!

We’ve been busy bees here at HQ, crunching numbers, analyzing statistics, and trying to remember what we did with our free time back in the days before we wrote novels for fun.

One of the numbers we’ve crunched? Our 2011 Donation Derby Winners! You might have seen some different numbers over the last week, thanks to a glitch in the Matrix, but fortunately, our quick-thinking Derby Queen Emily Bristow captured the correct data at the close of the Derby.

It was an exciting sprint to the end in just about every category. After seven years at the top of the heap, Seattle has been unseated by the Los Angeles region for total donations across all leagues! It was a closely-fought battle, with L.A. at $9245 and Seattle at $9210 at the close of the Derby. Congratulations, Los Angeles, on your amazing accomplishment, and a huge round of applause to the Seattle Ducks for their incredible run!

Let’s take a look at the other winners in the six leagues. (You can learn more about how the Derby works here.)

League Six Total Donations: Los Angeles California, with $9245.
League Six Average Donation Increase: Brimstone Louisiana, with a $20 average increase.

League Five Total Donations: Brantford-Norfolk Ontario, with $385.
League Five Average Donation Increase: Citrus County Florida, with a $7.01667 average increase.

League Four Total Donations and Average Donation Increase: Ireland Elsewhere took both categories with $2605 in donations and an average increase of $24.4321.

League Three Total Donations: Elsewhere in Alberta, with $1485.
League Three Average Donation Increase: Regina Saskatchewan, with a $12.8375 average increase.

League Two Total Donations and Average Donation Increase: Another double win in League Two with Alaska having $2845 in donations and an average increase of $4.39946.

League One Total Donations: Seattle Washington, with $9210.
League One Average Donation Increase: San Francisco California, with a $3.81022 average increase.

Thank you so much to everyone who donated, all our MLs who encouraged those donations and participated in the friendly wagers between regions that boosted fundraising on all fronts, to Emily and Rob for their work on the Donation Derby, and to our winning regions for your outstanding efforts to help bring NaNoWriMo back for another year!

Doing the Donation Derby Dance (like the Hammer Dance, but with more jazz hands),


Life After NaNoWriMo

Posted on December 07, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

NaNoWriMo 2011 may be over, but we’re not going anywhere! Here in the office, we’re tabulating event stats, sending out post-November emails, publishing new resource pages, planning a store sale, moderating the December and Beyond forums, and crafting surveys.

As you can see below, the “I Wrote a Novel, Now What?” page is up and waiting for you! We’ve also posted the Winner Prizes page for anyone who crossed the 50,000-word finish line and claimed their purple winner bar by midnight on November 30.

If it’s stats you want, check out our blog post full of triumphant percentages and astonishing numbers! (And if you post there, you could win a spot in the StoryWonk Revision Workshop!)

Stay tuned for more updates about our victorious Donation Derby winners, a massive store sale, and the 2011 Participant Survey!

It’s no NaNo, but maybe December’s not so bad after all…



We did it!

Posted on December 01, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Whoa. Do you feel different? Heroic, or even a tad superhuman? You should.

We’re so outrageously proud of each and every Wrimo who went on this wild noveling adventure. You lived to tell the tale! (Maybe in next year’s NaNo-novel…)

Check out the December and Beyond forums to see what your fellow Wrimos are up to now that November has ended.

If you were unable to validate your winning novel by midnight on the 30th, please visit the designated Tech Help forums thread to let us know. We’ll be able to manually validate you over the next few days.

Come Monday, the “I Wrote a Novel, Now What?” page will be posted, with advice for how to take the next step with (or without) your November novel. And if you’re a winner, be on the lookout for the Winner Prizes page as well. (It’ll live where the Procrastination Station is now.)

We’re already at work on the NaNo 2011 stats dig-down, coming to the OLL blog soon. Stay tuned for those fun and very math-y numbers!

Ta ’til then,




Cheers to you, wherever you are!

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

This is always a funny time in NaNoLand, when half the world is already in December and rejoicing, while the other half still writes furiously toward the finish line. Those are very different states of being! I will address both side of the dateline accordingly.

For those of you sitting (or sleeping–good for you!) in December 1, happiest high fives to you! We are so proud of you, and wish you many hard-earned naps.

And to those who are still firmly on NaNo time and writing toward midnight, I won’t keep you for long. I’ll just say this: Go, write, and win! I am right here with you, sprinting for the finish. And all of HQ is hollering their hearts out, cheering you on.

Even though November ends soon (and has already ended for many!), we’ll be showering you with lots more information and goodies into December. There’s a post-event pep talk from Audrey Niffenegger coming your way, along with the December 5 posting of the Winner Prizes and “I Wrote a Novel, Now What?” pages. We’re also cooking up surveys galore, and a few more signature NaNoVideos for your enjoyment.

For now, though, I leave you to your celebrating and your word sprinting, respectively.

Sore of finger and hoarse from all that hollering,

In the Eleventh Hour

Posted on November 30, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

In the last hours of this glorious 2011 festival of noveling, we’re celebrating all that you’ve done this month, and the heroic efforts you’re still making. At roughly 30 hours from event-end here in California, previously held NaNo-records are falling left and right.

To cheer you along, you’re getting not one but two messages from HQ in your NaNoMail today: one from me, and another coming soon from Chris Baty. Stay tuned for that!

There’s also a new NaNoVideo featuring my very favorite end-of-November tune, and some searing air drums from Chris A.

And by popular demand, we’re extending the Endless Winner’s Shirt Sale through December 5! Oh, triumphant triumph.

If you have questions about validating, please check the Help section, where answers to the top most-frequently-asked validation questions are displayed.

Alright, word wizards, let’s go become winners.

Ready? Set… Write!




Week Five: In it to win it!

Posted on November 28, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Greetings, NaNoLand!

If you’re in a US-Thanksgiving-celebrating region like I am, I hope you had a wonderful day, and a restful, fun-filled weekend. For my part, I frolicked with my parents and reached some interesting new depths in my NaNo-novel. (The love interest befriended a giraffe, and my heroine learned all about statuaries.)

To everyone in our non-US regions, I hope this was a powerfully wordy weekend for you. You may have noticed that we have mere days remaining in this month-long noveling marathon. Wheeee!

Here in the office, we’ve already had one winner (intern Paige rocked it!) and most staff are well into the 40-thousands. (I am not quite there yet, but I will be soon!)

In honor of the astonishing 2,634,156,859 words that Wrimos have collectively written thus far, we’re celebrating “Back Up Your Novel Even More Day.” It’s a day when we back up our novels. Even more! The only thing worse than never writing your novel is writing your novel and then losing it. Am I right? Let’s back it up!

Stay tuned this week for more pep, video check-ins from staff, and bucket-loads of winners crossing that finish line. Our Unlimited Winner’s Shirt Sale continues through November 30, too!

Ready to rock and roll my way into the 40Ks,

38,850 words

All Things Winning!

Posted on November 23, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Believe it or not, winning starts in our westernmost regions tomorrow! When we wake up here in California, Wrimos in Australia will  already be validating their novels. Amazing!

To celebrate all of the winning novels about to be validated, we are holding an unlimited sale on winner’s shirts through the end of the month. That means we have bottomless stock on all sizes and styles until November 30. You can find more details about this sale in our online store.  Get your triumphant shirt of winning today!

Here are a few important things to note about winning:

-To validate, simply go to Edit Novel Info and select “I am ready to validate my novel.” Copy and paste all 50,000-plus words into the validator box and hit submit!

-If you are validating on a netbook, you may need to zoom out in order to see the “submit” button on the validator. Hit “Ctrl -” to shrink the validator view.

-If you have been writing in Open Office, your word count there will likely be drastically different from our site validator’s word count. Open Office counts curly quotes (these guys: “) as a word, inflating the total word count significantly.

For many of us, winning is still many thousands of words away. Let’s go crank it out!

With my eye on the prize,

29,669 words

Happy ML Appreciation Day!

Posted on November 22, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Wrimos, there are many things that keep NaNoWriMo going year after year.

There are our heroic donors, who make this program possible; all of you amazing participants, whose enthusiasm and creativity provide the whole reason for the event; and then there are our Municipal Liaisons, who donate their time to plan events, fundraise, answer questions, and cheer on their local participants. And they do it all while writing a novel. Without them, NaNoWriMo would just be a website.

We love our MLs. With our all of our novel-loving hearts.

Please take a moment to thank your ML(s)–with a hug, a forums post, a NaNoMail message, or a bouquet of lollipops.

Beaming gratitude from here to all 650 MLs around the world,




Welcome to Week Four

Posted on November 21, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

What a weekend! At the Fifth Annual Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon last night, I met so many amazing Wrimos from around the world. It was a spectacular night full of soaring words counts, winners, and spectacular stories from so many folks about their noveling experiences. And it has made me extra greedy; now I want to meet all of you even more than I than I did before!

Possible? Maybe. Let’s talk.

Today, the OLL staff is having a nap to recover from all of the awesomeness (and candy, donuts, and cookies). And I have some catching up to do, word-count wise…

We’ll be back tomorrow in full Week Four force!

Checking airfare for a 45-country multi-stop ticket,


Weekend the Third

Posted on November 19, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Winner’s Shirts are heeeeeeere! And we are so in love with them. Nothing, but nothing, beats a bear in a party hat. I’ll go to the mat on that.

We suggest getting your shirt now, even if 50K still seems a long way off for you. (It sure does for me…) Already owning the Winner’s Shirt is a top-notch motivator to go ahead and win!

By Sunday night, we should all be rounding 33,340 words. I know; I am behind, too. But we’ll get there together! And if you’re feeling distracted, Sarah has some great advice in her Week Three video pep talk.

Here at HQ, we’re madly scrambling about putting the finishing touches on the Night of Writing Dangerously Write-a-thon plans. I still have an epic amount of mad scrambling to do, so I will leave you with this weekend exhortation:

Go. Write! (And get that Winner’s Shirt!)


Announcements! And oodles of thanks.

Posted on November 17, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Wrimos, donors, and friends, yesterday was an epic day in NaNoLand. We raised $51,645 to help cover the costs of NaNoWriMo and the YWP. Thank you to everyone who spread the word, tweeted and Facebooked on our behalf, and donated to keep our free creative writing programs running strong! You are heroes and heroines in our books. Donation Day 2011 was another great step toward reaching our year-end fundraising goal.

You know what else is wonderful? Author Chris Cleave’s Week Three pep talk. It is sitting in your NaNoMail right now, simply oozing advice and delightful insights. I am such a fan!

And also great? Winner’s Shirts will be in the store tomorrow! These shirts are the very most detailed and congratulatory yet. (Take my word for it. There’s even a trumpet on this shirt!) We’ll post more details when these are available for sale.

In order to get the Winner’s Shirt, I guess we better win, huh?

Back to the writing!




Follow Our Donation Day Progress!

Posted on November 16, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

[Update! As of midnight, we've raised $49,192! We still have a few donations coming in, and we'll post final, final totals tomorrow morning. Thank you so much to everyone who donated! Your support will allow us to inspire 300,000 kids, teens, and adults this fall. We hug you.]

Thank you so much to everyone who is helping us reach our $100,000 fundraising goal today! Your donation makes it possible to continue NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program for aspiring writers around the world. We’ll be updating our progress here, and on our Twitter feed, throughout the day!

You can also track our hourly donor prizes and their winners!

8 AM: Rik won a new mug, plus a bag of coffee signed by all staff.
9 AM: Mainá won Lindsey’s CD of writing jams.
10 AM: Gwen won the poster pack! Five posters of her choice.
11 AM: Debra won Sarah’s personal Skype tour of the office.
12 noon: Minna won the 2011 Winner’s Shirt and a handmade Winner’s Certificate, made by staff.
1 PM: Laurel will have a character named after her in Chris Bay’s 2011 NaNo-novel Everybody Paints.
2 PM: Lynn gets the Tom Selleck magnet!
3 PM: Joe won Chris Angotti’s YWP Prize Spectacular, including a “First-Class Novelist” t-shirt, sticker pack (5), pencil pack (5), and a heartfelt acrostic poem using your name!
4 PM: Michelle is the lucky recipient of Blobby’s little brother Steven, a mini-Squishable T-Rex.
5 PM: Corie gets a photo magnet of the Chris Baty doll and his llama, signed by all the staff!
6 PM: Teresa just won a 2011 NaNoWriMo merch bundle, including a journal, sticker pack, key chain pack, and mug!
7 PM Gregory got a personal thank-you card with stickers and surprises from our forums moderator, Heather!
8 PM Ellen won an epic candy care package put together from Cybele’s Candy Buffet!
9 PM Carol will have her novel synopsis and title submitted for consideration for a 30 Covers, 30 Days book cover design! And get a custom cover design done for her by Tim Kim!
10 PM Joseph won a NaNoWriMo messenger bag?
11 PM Kelly won a special video of writing dares from dare-master Tavia!

Thanks so much to everyone who donated!

Halfway there!

Posted on November 15, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Happy midpoint of the month, Wrimos. I cooked up some encouragement for you, pep-talk style. Check your NaNoMail or read it here!

Here at the HQ, we are busily preparing for tomorrow’s Donation Day festivities: a $100,000 fundraising goal, hourly donor prizes throughout the day, and more eternal gratitude for your support than you could fit into Hermione’s beaded handbag (and that thing’s got an undetectable extension charm on it!).

If we can fill this thermometer in 24 hours, we’ll be well on our way to paying for NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program!

fundraising ideas

Accio donations!


Happy Back Up Your Novel Again Day!

Posted on November 14, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

That’s right. It’s time to save that novel somewhere safe… again! By now, you should have way more words than you did at this time last week. Which means more novel to lose if your computer (or noveling notebook) gets lost or eaten by ravenous honey badgers.

Let’s back up our novels now!

Mischief managed? Good.

Because I also want to tell you that there’s a new (and very excellent) pep talk in your NaNoMail from Deb Olin Unferth. It’s the perfect antidote for the noveling blahs.

This is a big week in NaNoLand, with more pep talks, NaNoVideos, Donation Days, and midpoints of the month than any week that has come before.

Visit us early and often for the first glimpse at everything fun and new!

Off to make some mischief,






Word-sprinting our way forward!

Posted on November 11, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Thank goodness the weekend is here! I know I am many thousand words behind the par line, and will be spending a good part of the next two days sprinting my way back.

By Sunday night, we should all be at 21,671 words. I plan on getting there, and here’s how:

1) Writing rewards. If I hit 17,000 by Saturday, I am definitely going to watch my favorite chick flick. (And if I don’t hit my word count, I’ll admit what movie it is…)

2) Word Sprinting! 1,000 words at a time, with quick stretch breaks in between. If you thrive on prompts and company, try sprinting with @nanowordsprints!

3) Sequestering myself. I am going to take a tip from Chris A.’s video and settle into my maximally productive writing environment to bash out the 8,800 words I’ll need to catch up. (If I don’t hit 21,671 by Sunday, I’ll reveal where that writing spot is!)

Alright, Wrimos. Let’s get into position.

It’s time to sprint!



Assorted Notes for Day 10

Posted on November 10, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Hi Wrimos,

First, and regrettably, we have not cumulatively written 9,223,372,034,714,573,147 words this November, as our home page word-count block purports. There is a joker in the calculator monkeying around with the numbers. We have dispatched a team to catch said joker and take away his calculating powers.

What we have done, though, is trounce the records set by every previous NaNoWriMo in site visits, page views, new visitors, and all those other stats that we just love to geek out about over lunch. Keep up the good work! We are rocking this new site.

We’ve just posted a pep talk from Jonathan Lethem. It certainly challenged me to think about how many times in these first 12,000 words I’ve already talked about my character waking up and going to sleep. (As if these are plot-advancing moments in her life!) I hope Mr. Lethem’s advice helps you as much as it has helped me.

And if you’re signed up to receive notification of new NaNoMail under “Edit My Notifications,” you should receive an email with news of this new pep talk (along with any other content you’re subscribed to!) in our fancy new NaNoWriMo Notifications Digest.

Finally, if you’ve donated and are still missing your halo, we want to be extra sure you get it! Please fill out this “Missing Halo” form. Thank you so much for your donation, and for your patience!

Sending our big Day 10 novel-love!





Yoshi and You: A Week Two Primer

Posted on November 09, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Writers, over the past seven days we have gathered the gold coins of character elements, jumped on the magic mushrooms of plot development, dodged the Goombas of our inner editors, and hurtled ourselves into the next level of this noveling adventure.

Well done. Take a breather and congratulate yourself on everything you’ve accomplished thus far! If you’ve written even one word, you’re in the game. And if you’re still standing on the sidelines, jump on in! It’s fun in here.

Week (cough… Level) Two brings with it all new rewards and challenges. Here are few tips to help you fly through it, hopefully astride a rad dragon of wordiness:

• Read this week’s staff pep! It awaits you in your NaNoMail. (And stay tuned for another published author pep talk later this week!)

• Draft some creative juice off of the amazing NaNo-novel covers over on the blog as part of 30 Covers, 30 Days! The art is amazing, as are the plot synopses.

• Keep up with the daily NaNoToons. (You may find that you relate to them astonishingly well.)

• And, as always, keep attending those local write-ins that MLs are planning in neighborhoods near you. (A NaNoWriMo sticker, often found at these write-ins, is equivalent to about a million magic mushrooms…)

If you have a question about the site, please read our Help section thoroughly before writing in. Office Captain Tim is up to his neck in emails, and, while he wishes he could get back to each and every one of you right away, he’s unable to answer any questions that are already addressed there in the Help section.

Before I send you off in search of Week Two’s many wonders, I want to thank you for tolerating this extended nod to Super Mario Brothers. (I was not allowed to play video games as a kid and so should not be allowed to act like I know what I am talking about as an adult… you’re very kind to indulge me.)

Ready to ride the Week Two dragon! Who’s with me?





Holy new pullover hoodies!

Posted on November 08, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Here at HQ, we’ve had an epiphany regarding writing garb, and it has to do with this new NaNoWriMo pullover hoodie.

We tried a Snuggie, and we tried a Slanket; we even investigated this new phenomenon called the Forever Lazy. But nothing came close to the comfort, wearability, and fashion of this sweatshirt.

It is, quite simply, the most wonderful thing in the world! And it is available now.

Wearing one right now,

November 7 is Back Up Your Novel Day!

Posted on November 07, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Or, if you’re on the other side of the ol’ IDL, it’s November 8!

Whether by external hard drive, CD, USB drive, Google doc, Dropbox, carbon copy, voice dictation device, or facsimile, we encourage you to pause the noveling action long enough to save a copy of your November masterpiece. (Our recommendation? This very handy USB bracelet. Haha. Hand-y.)

We don’t save your novel on in any way, so we want to be sure you’re safeguarded against all forms of novel-destroying disasters. Now, and forever more!

This is the first of four planned novel back-up days this month (though probably the only one demonstrated via puppet show).

Off to celebrate with a back-up. Olé!


Your Wordy Weekend

Posted on November 05, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Hiya, novelist!

We are cruising into weekend #1, which is a great time to get ahead on your word count (or get caught up, in my case).

We have some extra-fun noveling inspiration to go with your weekend as well. (Sound the trumpets!)

Erin Morgenstern, NaNoWriMo participant and author of The Night Circus, has written an amazingly wonderful pep talk for you. Check your NaNoMail now for that magical missive, or revel in her excellent advice here!

The Young Writers Program is churning out epic pep by the bucketful. Sit back and enjoy insights from Gayle Forman, Ally Condie, Lauren Oliver, and Robert Lipsyte. (And see who’s still to come in the month ahead!)

If you haven’t already, be sure to join the region closest to you. Chances are, your local volunteer Municipal Liaison is also sending out noveling encouragement and updates about regional gatherings. (Watch Sarah’s Week One NaNoVideo about the value of the write-in!)

And if that isn’t enough pep to motivate you through this weekend and beyond, Chris Baty is also sharing weekly November pep talks with all 2011 donors. A donation of $10 or more will get you all four of his extra-special (and occasionally strange) writerly musings.(If you donated and are not yet receiving the bonus donor pep, please let us know!)

Now go forth, be wordy, and have a novel-tastic weekend!


Our Global NaNo Community

Posted on November 03, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Did you know that, in addition to the regional writing events that Municipal Liaisons have planned, there are bookstores and libraries in communities around the world opening their doors to noveling Wrimos this November?

Today, we signed up our 480th Come Write In library. In Iceland! We are so excited to be building relationships with so many book-loving community institutions.

Check our updated lists of participating bookstores and libraries to see if there are partners in your community.

Or, if virtual write-ins are more your style, join the 10,000 Wrimos noveling  @nanowordsprints. Participate in the conversation, now 75,000 Wrimos strong, on Facebook. Or follow us on Twitter and connect with the 50,000 Wrimos tweeting alongside us.

Where ever you may be, whether you prefer online or in-person connections, we’ve got a spot for you.

Hope to see you there!



The Bounty of NaNoMail

Posted on November 01, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

From what I’ve seen on Twitter and Facebook, in NaNoMail, and on the forums, it has been quite a busy and productive first day in NaNoLand! In case we haven’t told you recently, we’re so thrilled to be writing with you this November.

As I mentioned in the “Hello, November” video, you can expect to see a lot of encouragement and support coming your way throughout the month. We want to be extra-sure you know where to find it!

I’d like to direct your attention to an important tool on the site, familiar to many of you, that we’re using this year more than ever before: NaNoMail.

There, you’ll receive message from your local Municipal Liaisons, notes from fellow participants, notifications of new writing buddies, as well as news and encouragement from us here at HQ! (In fact, your first pep talk is waiting for you right now.)

If you’ve signed up for notifications of regional messages from your ML (which I highly recommend–it’s efficient and pretty!), you’re already receiving emails with those regional updates posted to NaNoMail. (And if you’d like to subscribe to those messages, simply head on over to Edit My Notifications to sign up for email notifications of regional messages.)

We are also working on a very fancy and useful Notifications Digest that will alert you via email when the site content you’re subscribed to is updated. Content like pep talks from staff, or from our all-star cast of published authors (which will be delivered to NaNoMail as well!).

We’ll keep you updated on the status of that digest. In the meantime, head on over to NaNoMail and get pumped up!

Eating a mountain of leftover Halloween candy,


It starts!

Posted on October 31, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

In mere hours, the whole world will have flipped over into November 1 and thus, NaNoWriMo.

Whether you’ve plotted your way to this moment, or you are flying by the seat of your pants into the great blue beyond of your plot, you’re ready. When it comes to bashing out the first draft of your novel, there is no time like the present.

As questions arise in this noveling process, whether about the guidelines of NaNo or how-tos for the site, I encourage you to consult our handy Help page for answers, and reference the Tech Help and Site Bug Report forum for known issues.

And if it’s good old fashioned encouragement you need, well, we’ve got buckets of that for you as well. Stay tuned over the next couple of days for pep to appear in your NaNoMail, and for new NaNoVideos to appear on the homepage!

Also coming soon to halos for all of our beloved donors currently missing theirs (thank you, and we apologize for the delay!), as well as word count widgets, the API, word count scoreboard, and the Donation Derby.

No matter where you are when you read this (on a subway platform, in a snow bank, working, falling asleep at your computer), I want you to join me now and shout at the top of your novel-loving lungs, “Let the wild rumpus start!”

If it hasn’t already, it will soon enough…

(And thank you, Maurice Sendak, for the timeless joy of that excellent proclamation.)

Let’s get ready to rumpuuus!

Get ready to write!

Posted on October 30, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

In the remaining hours and days before November has us in its thrall, you’ve still got time to do your chores and shopping, resolve any predisposition for cleanliness, accountability, and reachability, and make it know to the world that come November 1, you’ll be busy writing your novel.

Time allowing, we have a few suggestions for some other fun stuff you might squeeze in to help you get ready to write:

Watch our animated short about NaNoWrio’s parent nonprofit, the Office of Letters and Light. (It gets me fired up to write every time I see it!)

Set up a sponsorship for your noveling adventure. Just like getting sponsored for a walk-a-thon, you can ask friends and family to donate on your behalf in support of your courageous creativity!

• Add some local writing events to your calendar! There are write-ins and meets-ups planned in regions all around the world. Find the neighborhood nearest you and note the next gathering.

• While you’re out running errands today or tomorrow, collect some writerly treats for yourself and save them as rewards for when you hit your first few word count goals in the next week. In addition to chocolates, a nice writing pen, or a juicy magazine, you might find some fun prizes in our online gallery of writing goodies.

I can hardly wait to get started! We’ve got pep talks, videos, Procrastination Station topics, blog posts, Facebook conversations, and so much more ready and waiting to shower upon you in the month ahead.

With great anticipation,





Writing Buddies: An Update

Posted on October 29, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Hiya, Wrimos!

We’re still getting all the final implementation in place for event start on November 1. (It’s so close I can already smell the adrenaline and coffee and word padding.)

The latest addition? Writing Buddies!

You’ll see that this menu item has now gone live under My NaNoWriMo. All of your buddies from years past are still porting over from the old site as we speak, so expect to see them populate in your buddy list over the weekend.

I’ll be posting more site updates throughout the weekend, so stay tuned! And have a very happy last-weekend-before-the-noveling-madness.




Navigating NaNoLand

Posted on October 24, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

With less than a week before the noveling begins, there’s plenty you can do to set yourself up for November success!

Update your author and novel info with details about yourself and your November novel!

Join your local region and join the conversation in the regional lounge, a forum for writers in your area!

Like the NaNoWriMo Facebook page, and follow us on Twitter. (You can also follow @NaNoWordSprints if you’re looking for virtual writing companions in November.)

Head over to the OLL Blog for daily staff, intern, and guest writer perspectives on myriad topics, literary and otherwise!

Log some time in the online store. There’s nothing like a shiny new writing prize to get you going next week.

• Give your brain a rest from all this learning and doing and watch some NaNoVideos. (There’ll be a lot more where these came from in the month ahead!)

Visit the Young Writers Program to see what our young authors are up to.

Grab your web badges for posting on your blog, Facebook page, or Twitter account.

Catch up on the NaNoWriMo History before we make history again in 2011!

That’s quite a lot of things to do in the next five days! I’ll let you get to it.

Oh, and before I forget, don’t you forget to congratulate yourself on doing this crazy bananapants literary marathon. You’re already a creative champion!

Congratulating you with all my might,

Site Specifics. (Read Me!)

Posted on October 19, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

Hello Wrimos, new and seasoned, near and far, planners and pantsers alike.

Now that we’ve launched this shiny Rails-built beast, there are a lot of important updates that will help you navigate to its best effect:

• Have a question? Check out newly updated–and very red–Help section to find the answer! (The week’s most frequently asked questions get updated at the top of that page, too!)

• Our fabulous team of 650 Municipal Liaisons are hard at work planning more events than you can shake a stick at! We’re still working on the new-and-improved regional messaging system; until MLs can contact you directly, be sure to stop by your regional lounge to see what they have planned for you!

• Don’t have your halo? Let us know! (Want a halo? A $10 donation gets you one!)

• Your Writing Buddies from years past are still migrating over from the old site to the new. Your Buddy list will appear in your profile, completely intact, before the event starts.

• Your Writing Buddies are bringing your NaNoMail from the past year with them; those messages will appear as if by magic in your inbox by November 1.

• See anything broken or wrong-looking? Please visit our Tech Help and Site Bug Forum. Known issues and updates on functionality are listed there. And if your issue isn’t listed yet, you can add it!

Thanks for reading! You may now resume your regularly scheduled pre-November activities. (And enjoy them while they last. 12 days until the insanity starts!)

Anticipating insanity,



Relaunch, new guts, and Rails!

Posted on October 10, 2011 by Lindsey Grant

To all returning Wrimos, welcome back! We’re so excited to see you. And to all first-timers, a giant long-distance high five for committing to this wordy November adventure! You probably can’t feel it, but I am giving each and every one of you a hearty, loving slap on the back.

I’ve been consulting star charts, the farmer’s almanac, tea leaves, ancient runes, my dream-interpreting book, and the pattern of my cat’s meows, and all of them (well, except the meows) point to the same truth: This is bound to be the biggest and best NaNoWriMo yet. True story!

As many of you know, we’ve relaunched the site on an all-new framework. Where once there was Drupal (hissss), there is now Rails (huzzah!). We think you’ll find the site infinitely more useable and speedy (and all-around shinier and more fun) than ever before.

There are bound to be some funky hiccups in these first few days though, so if you see anything that looks broken, please check the Tech Help and Site Bugs forum for known issues. If the problem you have encountered isn’t already listed, you can add your bug report there!

One important thing to note! Speaking of funky hiccups, all NaNoMail one-year-old and newer will show up in your inbox this week. We uh… cough… left that out of the migration script. Just know it is safe, and will be delivered to you very soon.

Okay, important note concluded.

Three cheers for NaNoWriMo 2011, our auspicious 13th year of creative abandon.

Hip hip, hooray!

NaNoWriMo Program Director