Guest post: NaNoWriMo – more than an acronym by Pat W. Coffey

Posted by | October 25, 2013 | Guest Blog, Writing | 2 Comments


National Novel Writing Month’s challenge is simple: 50,000 words, 30 days, no excuses.

It is an exhilarating experience. It motivates a writer to fuel his or her creativity. The writing begins at midnight November 1 and ends at midnight on November 30. Participants push all other non-essential activities aside and write. You challenge yourself. You manage your time. You track your progress. This challenge gives a writer a chance to push his or her abilities to the edge and sometimes beyond.

Writers expand their network by communicating and commiserating on forums, with writing buddies on NaNoWriMo’s official site, and at local write-ins. Search NaNoWriMo’s blog and discussion pages on Tumblr to hear what others are experiencing. Check out NaNoWriMo’s Twitter and Facebook sites to communicate with other WriMos (writers who participate) throughout the United States and internationally. During November 2012, more than 3 million writers worldwide participated in NaNoWriMo., the official website, reboots on October 1 of each year. Future WriMo candidates can view the website and consider the benefits of writing with the world. The end product of your November effort is a rough draft of a book. The municipal liaison and the Pep Talk writers encourage participants to write and not to worry about typos or editing. Although NaNoWriMo encourages writers to complete at least 50,000 words in a month, organizers remind everyone it is the journey, not the outcome that is the real reward.

When I participated in NaNoWriMo, I made a daily goal of 1,682 words give or take a few. I wrote in a car while driving across the country for a week, on a plane, at home, in coffee shops, and at my regional group’s write-ins. I wrote anywhere, anytime, anyplace. I wanted the book I visualized to appear. This intense focus was exhilarating. It gave me a rhythm and schedule that helped me succeed. My 50,000 words were completed in less than 30 days.

You may ask did I do anything else or just write? You can work your full-time job and complete this challenge. My life was busy with deadlines to meet, family demands, Thanksgiving dinner to prepare, unforeseen upheaval, and everyday living. You may have to ignore the dust bunnies, only do essential laundry, eat soup and sandwiches, and write at weird hours, but it can be done. I recommend this challenge to all writers, veterans and novices alike. It is a creative rush worthy of the effort. The end result: A first draft of a novel, memoir, or non-fiction book puts you on the road to more writing. One of the great aspects of this incredible challenge is you are in control. You pace yourself against yourself. You are like a cross-country runner, trying to make your time (word count).

Let everyone know you are not cooking this year for Thanksgiving. Instead, you are going to give your writing career a boost. advertises that November allows writers to write with “wild abandonment.” You owe it to yourself to check out this site. Join the world, writing from your heart and soul.

(NaNoWriMo is one of the many writing experiences executed by the Office of Letters and Lights, 3354 Adeline St., Berkeley, CA,

Pat W. Coffey writes a biweekly blog, listens to her poetry muses and writes novels. She has written for a Fortune 500 corporation and major retailer in the intermountain area. She donates her writing skills to various non-profits in the form of newsletters, editing, and communication plans. A graduate of Westminster College in Salt Lake City, Utah and DePaul University in Chicago, Ill. she has received multiple writing awards from the Utah Chapter of the International Association of Business Communicator including the Terry Farmer Award for Communication Excellence. Her industry contributions have lead to multiple awards including the American Express Chairman’s Award for Quality.

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