NaNoWriMo Cometh: A Terribleminds Primer

This past weekend, I spoke at the Crossroads Writers Conference in Macon, Georgia. I’ll presumably get to a full recap eventually (wherein I explain a weekend where I encountered people like: my first nervous fan, a former dominatrix, Delilah Dawson with her 1989 cell phone, Nathan “Baby Goose” Edmondson, Robert “Not-An-Accessory-To-Murder” Venditti, and various other awesome humans).

I also met Chris Baty, who is of course the big brain behind NaNoWriMo.

Now, I have my reservations about NaNoWriMo (which I pronounce “wree-mo,” as in, “NaNoWriMo Williams, The Adventure Begins”, even though it is, I’m told, technically “wry-mo”). I think like with all “get-thee-to-the-writery” initiatives, it’s a perfect fit for some and for others an anchor around their ankles, so you just gotta know what’s right for you and what works and not blame yourself when what’s really going on is you’re just adhering to a process that isn’t really your process.

Square peg, circle hole, and all that.

So, that being said, I also know that National Novel Writing Month gets a helluva lot of you up off your leafy, moldering bed of sadness and shame — and anything that forces you to shake off the barnacles and get your ass out to sea is good by me. (Actually, Baty had a good Grace Hopper quote comparing writers to seafaring vessels: “A ship in port is safe… but that’s not what ships are built for.”)


So, first up, I figure I’ll ask: who’s doing NaNoWriMo?

Have you done it before? What was your experience?

What are your hopes and reservations for doing it again?

Also — here’s a list of ten posts here at terribleminds that maybe, just maybe, will help you start to prep for the coming tide of furious frenzied cram-a-holic novel-writing come the month of November.

25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWrimo

25 Things You Should Know About Writing A Novel

25 Things To Do Before Starting Your Next Novel

25 Ways To Plot, Plan, And Prep Your Story

25 Things You Should Know About Story Structure

25 Things To Know About Writing Your First Chapter

25 Ways To Fight Your Story’s Mushy Middle

Shot Through The Heart: Your Story’s Throughline

The Inkslinger’s Invocation

And, finally:

The Secret To Writing

Now, you may also know that I have a number of writing books available.

This month and next I’ll be offering a couple specials on said books, should that tickle your most private of private parts. And of course, I hope that it does. *tickle tickle*

The two specials for the month of Rock-Out-With-Your-Cocktober-Out are:


You can buy the PDFs of:

250 Things You Should Know About Writing

500 Ways To Be A Better Writer

500 More Ways To Be A Better Writer

and 500 Ways To Tell A Better Story

For just $7.50 (normally, it’d be $10).

This only works if you buy direct, please note, by using the link below.

Or, you may instead want:


If you procure both Confessions Of A Freelance Penmonkey and Revenge Of The Penmonkey during the month of October, I’ll send you one of my other writing books (i.e. any of the above 250 or 500 “lists of 25” books) for free. That does not require direct procurement from me. Here all you need to do is email me proof of purchase to terribleminds at gmail dot com and let me know what book you and and, boom, I’ll send you the link to download. Dig? Dug.

Thanks, all, looking forward to hearing from you crazy ink-mad story-devils.


  • I’ve done NaNoWriMo 6 times, “won” 5. The main advantage is that it encourages BICHOK. The disadvantage is that it doesn’t keep your butt in your chair after Nov. 30th when you have a 50,000-word novel to rewrite. I now have 6 ugly first drafts awaiting my attention. This year, I’m setting myself a goal of completing the rewrite of last year’s NaNo novel, so starting in December I can concentrate on revisions.

    All that to say, NaNo is a great catalyst for a new novel, but once that month is over you’re left with an ugly little stepchild of a novel in front of you, and it’s your own responsibility to shape it into something pretty.

  • I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo this year, or maybe ever. I think it’s a great idea, but as Chuck says, ‘square peg, round hole’. I’m still in the process of discovering what kind of writer I am. At the moment I think I’m a better short story writer than I would be a novel writer. It may happen one day, but I think I will have to be struck from the blue with an idea which absolutely demands — DEMANDS — to expand out into the space of a novel. Hasn’t happened yet.

  • NaNo? Always.

    This will be my fourth year doing NaNo, and unfortunately this year I am not physically proximate with the gang that got me all flippin’ excited about it the two years previous.

    Plus. This time I have a full-time job. A writing job, but still. Who knows if I’ll even get to the 50k mark, let alone my record 100,001 words in November?

    Plus plus. I am a major big-time plotter. And I have no idea what I’ll be writing.

    So you see there are several dilemmas which would turn a mere mortal off to doing NaNo for this year. Fortunately, I am no mere mortal, and still intend on hammering out 50k words of gold.

  • This will be my fifth NaNoWriMo. At first it was just a for-fun get 50k words on a page, ooh look what I did! Sort of thing. But the last year I did it (2010, took a year off for school) I really enjoyed what came out of that month and have been editing and toying with finishing it for possible (self?) publication someday.

    This year I’m hoping it’ll jump start me back into regular writing (I haven’t in a long time) as well as be a blast.

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