NANOWRIMO … it’s the middle of Week 2

compcoffeeI was out of town this weekend and didn’t get much writing done. Here’s a bit of motivation to keep you writing during November: National Writing Month. These tips are from the NANOWRIMO site:

1)It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. Really. You’ve read a lot of novels, so you’re completely up to the challenge of writing one. If you feel more comfortable outlining your story ahead of time, do so. But it’s also fine to just wing it. Write every day, and a book-worthy story will appear, even if you’re not sure what that story might be right now.

2) Do not edit as you go. Editing is for December. Think of November as an experiment in pure output. Even if it’s hard at first, leave ugly prose and poorly written passages on the page to be cleaned up later. Your inner editor will be very grumpy about this, but your inner editor is a nitpicky jerk who foolishly believes that it is possible to write a brilliant first draft if you write it slowly enough. It isn’t. Every book you’ve ever loved started out as a beautifully flawed first draft. In November, embrace imperfection and see where it takes you.

3) Tell everyone you know that you’re writing a novel in November. This will pay big dividends in Week Two, when the only thing keeping you from quitting is the fear of looking pathetic in front of all the people who’ve had to hear about your novel for the past month. Seriously. Email them now about your awesome new book. The looming specter of personal humiliation is a very reliable muse.

3.5) There will be times you’ll want to quit during November. This is okay. Everyone who wins NaNoWriMo wanted to quit at some point in November. Stick it out. See it through. Week Two can be hard. Week Three is much better. Week Four will make you want to yodel.

Their site, at has lots of other motivation, procrastination and fun. When you log in to track your first hundred words, or first 10,000 words, take a look around. You’re in good company.

Be sure to sign up for the your home town region, so you’ll be aware of NANOWRIMO parties in your area, and your words are added to the total for your city. I’m in the Chicago region, which barely made the top ten list last year. I won’t be the one to let it fall lower.

No matter what you choose to write, you will write more in November by doing this, and you will end the month with a significant accomplishment.

Write away!!

Helen Gallagher


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