Saturday, October 28, 2017

NaNoWriMo is Almost Here!

Has a book idea been nagging you for a while now? Well, it might be time to stop thinking about it and put it down on paper because National Novel Writing Month starts on Wednesday. If you’re not familiar with NaNoWriMo, it’s a month-long event that takes place every November. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel from November 1-30. The website,, has resources to help inspire you, and it also awards various writing badges. Seriously, badges. You know you want one.

Need further motivation? A lot of NaNoWriMo novels have gone on to land publishing deals including Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. And although 50,000 words is a bit short for an adult novel, it’s a great length for middle grade if that’s your genre.

I decided to tackle NaNoWriMo exactly three years ago this Wednesday after my cousin, and fellow scribe, posed a challenge for someone to join her in doing it. I’d never participated before, but I’d had this idea in my head for over a year. It was one of those ideas that takes hold of your brain and refuses to let go no matter how much you tell it to leave you alone.

I decided my cousin’s challenge was just the push I needed to finally put this idea down on paper. After all, I’d been thinking about these characters and this story for so long, it was like I knew them already. I furiously wrote every day that month. I didn’t reach 50,000 words, so I guess I didn’t technically win NaNoWriMo. But I did finish my very first middle grade novel, complete at 32,000 words.

A NaNoWriMo book is the roughest of first drafts, and mine was no exception. I worked for a few months on revising that NaNoWriMo book until I felt comfortable sending it out to literary agents. The feedback I got was that it needed more revisions. Fast-forward about eight months, 15,000 more words, and a complete and total rewrite later, and I had my agent. That book, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, is on book store shelves today. And I’m not sure it would have happened if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo.

Sometimes all we need is a little encouragement, a little shove, to get going on a story. NaNoWriMo can be that shove you need this November. If you think you might be ready to attack that idea of yours, go to right now and get moving.


  1. Love this Dusti! My second book is a NaNoWriMo book and I love the camaraderie of doing a draft each November!

    1. Awesome, Wendy! I love NaNoWriMo success stories :)

    2. So true! Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year???

    3. I would love to, but no :( Just have too much going on.