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November’s “NaNoWriMo” Challenge, and Why I’m Likely Going to be Wearing a Silly Costume in December

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It’s November, and that means it’s time for NaNoWriMo!

This tongue-twisting acronym stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” Every November, authors around the world challenge themselves to complete a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one!) in 30 days.

This is my second year participating in the challenge, because naturally, with a new, extra-busy schedule that I’m just learning how to juggle, I couldn’t resist adding just ONE more thing to the docket.

To be completely honest, since releasing my first novel this June, I’ve had a hard time mustering up the will to dive deeply into my second. NaNoWriMo is proving to be the proverbial kick in the pants I needed to refocus my energies and WRITE.

As that second book has been sitting in my computer files since LAST NaNoWriMo, nearly untouched, I’m not starting a brand new project.

Instead, my goal this month is to expand it by 40,000-50,000 words. Once that’s done, I plan to use the following month (well, let’s be honest, December’s crazy. Lets say the next two months) to polish it up so that it’s ready for beta-readers. God-willing, I’d like to have it ready to release in the next year.

To help motivate myself, AND to help motivate the next generation of authors, I’ve instituted a couple of classroom challenges for my 5th and 6th grade students.

They have the opportunity to participate in individual word-count challenges (with prizes), and also a group challenge. Here’s our classroom chart for the group challenge:

They just got over 25,000 yesterday.

The little squirrel marks the number of words the class of 20 has written cumulatively this month. The ultimate goal is to reach the 50,000 mark by November 30th.

We’re one week in, and they’ve already impressed me- they’ve passed 25,000 words! Sure, it’s 20 kids working together, and a couple of them have done about half of the total between them. Still, even if I take the word counts of those fast writers out of the total,ย  the remaining 10-12 year olds have averaged about 1,000 words each in ONE WEEK.

If you can’t tell, I’m pretty proud of my kids.

Of course, if they make 50,000, I’ll have to pay a price… (Yep, this is where the silly costume comes in.)

You see, their motivation was that, if they reached 50,000 words, they’d get a day off of class for a party…and for the party I would dress up as any animal they chose.

When I complimented one girl on her writing this week, she just shrugged, smiled, and said, “Eh, we just want to see you dress up like a manatee.”

Well. I’ve never dressed as a sea mammal before… this might take some creativity.

I’ve charted my progress for them to see as well. Mind you, being only one person, my squirrel avatar is climbing a bit more slowly.

There I am! Waaaaay down there.

Still, even if I can’t compete with 20 students eager to see their teacher looking silly, I’m pretty pleased to be nearing the 10,000 word mark of my goal.

It’s been good to write again- good to loose myself in the flow of a story coming to life.

Of course, taking NaNoWriMo on means that my house is a mess and I’m running behind on everything else- for instance, this post was supposed to be for Wednesday, but Wednesday came and went before I’d noticed!

Mercifully, I have a guest poster stopping by next week- author JPC Allen is publishing a new short story in an anthology, and she’s very kindly made my site one of her pre-release stops. (I have her first short published work, and it’s fantastic. I’m excited for this new one!)

I’ve also been working to squeeze a little reading time in- author Jean Lee is posting her personal NaNo project on her site (free reading!!!) daily. I’m about three installments behind, and can’t wait to see what’s going on!

As I’m always looking for more history to read, I’ve also been trying to keep up with GP Cox’s Pacific Paratrooper site- if you’re interested in the Second World War’s Pacific Theater and aren’t following him, you really should be. (I was very honored that he was kind enough to include a review of my book in one of his recent posts.)

To all of you other wonderful bloggers out there who I follow, but haven’t visited in awhile, I’m looking forward to playing catch-up and seeing what you all have been up to once I surface from the NaNo madness…unless you’d like to tell me here?

Writers, how have your writing journeys been going? Are you doing NaNoWriMo, or steering clear?

Everyone else- how is fall treating you? Have you taken on any new endeavors with the changing season?

In any case, I’m wishing you all the best! Many thanks for visiting.






25 thoughts on “November’s “NaNoWriMo” Challenge, and Why I’m Likely Going to be Wearing a Silly Costume in December”

    1. That’s a great idea, Joy! Also, the whole “NaNo” group hosts camps throughout the year (if you like a group to go along with:) ) I have yet to check one out, so that’s all I know, though!


  1. Hooray for excuses to write! I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but using it as an excuse to brush up a novel that’s already written but needed a refit. So while it’s not “raw word output,” it’s still a lot of work! I’m just over a third-way done with it content-wise, but most of the work was in the back half, so… lots of work to do yet!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good for you, Jon! Yeah, the brushing up takes more time than the word count, I think. I know some of these chapters are pretty awful- I’m just hoping that there will be some gold in the dross when I start going over it…hoping REALLY hard! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah — sometimes “plain awful” is better though because then you HAVE to edit it! When something’s decent, then you just kinda have to work harder to figure out how to make it better!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! It’s been a joy to watch them get excited about this project- a good challenge for the kids who enjoy writing, and a new incentive for those who don’t ๐Ÿ˜€


  2. Oh, thank you so much, Anne! Can I just say how lovely those trees are? You painted them, I bet, you amazing artistic soul, you xxxxxx I do hope you share your manatee costume, because I’m not sure how to swing one, either….I mean, I’m thinking giant grey something, like a sweater? How to do the face? They have a walrus, jowel-ish face…hmmmmmmmm….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HA! I did paint it, sitting on the faculty room floor one morning (managed not to get paint on my ‘teacher clothes’ too, which is unusual ๐Ÿ˜.) I’m glad you like it, and I will absolutely share pictures- I am kind if hoping they settle on a different animal…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You are inspiring young people to push themselves and in what better field than writing? I think itโ€™s ingenious of you to offer them a group cooperation challenge, as well. The future will prove your efforts. Your past studentsโ€™ successes will reflect back to you. How beneficial it would be if we writers had such creative prompting and encouragement in our homes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I just got an idea. For manatee – wear over-sized grey shirt and sweat pants and stuff them like making a chubby Santa, using pillows maybe. You can use paints on your face to mimic manatee face and whiskers. Your kids will relate if your Self shines through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HA! Great idea, Annette! (Spoiler for next week’s post- they made over 53,000 already and have picked a different mammal. I suppose I will have to share pictures… ๐Ÿ˜ณ)


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