Hugh Howey

Bestselling author of Wool and other books. Currently sailing around the world.

NaNoWriMo is Almost Here!

Just received the yearly kick-off email from NaNo’s director. Thought I’d post it up here so those of you who have never participated can get an idea of what we go through and what our schedule is like.


Greetings, writer!

Whether this is your first, fifth, or thirteenth NaNoWriMo, it’s always helpful to have a guide to the next five weeks or so.

Take a moment to time travel into the future with me as we preview your November noveling adventure! (And then save this somewhere safe so that you can refer to it during the event!)

This week: Warn your friends, family, neighbors, and pets about the upcoming challenge. The more people who know what you’re working on, the more accountable you’ll feel and the likelier you are to hit the 50,000-word goal. (And the family hamster will be a lot more understanding when you don’t refresh his chlorophyll chips as regularly.)

To stay extra-informed about everything happening in NaNoLand, you can also like our Facebook page, follow us on Twitter, and read up on our daily blog posts.

This weekend: Check your local regional forum for kick-off parties and any midnight write-ins on October 31. (Once you’ve joined the region closest to you, be sure you’ve set your notification preferences to receive email notifications about new messages from your ML!)

November 1: Join the round-the-clock writing @NaNoWordSprints. Hit 1,667 words for the first time. Rejoice. Then keep writing.

November 3: Check your on-site NaNoMail for a pep talk. All 2011 pep talks and most HQ announcements will be sent to your NaNoMail this month. (You can also set your notification preferences to receive an email when new NaNoMail is delivered to your inbox.)

November 4: If you’re a donor, receive Founder and Executive Director (and marmot-whisperer) Chris Baty’s first November Bonus Donor Pep Talk. If you’re not a donor, contribute just $10 or more to get weekly November encouragement from Chris. From December 2011-September 2012, you’ll also receive monthly revision pep talks from published Wrimos! Donate today!

November 5: Take full advantage of this first weekend. While your novel is young and your senses remain sharp, aim for a couple of 5,000-word days!

November 7: Participate in the first “Back Up Your Novel Day” of the month. Explore NaNoLand further and visit the Young Writers Program website.

November 8: Check out the first week of 30 Covers, 30 Days over on the OLL Blog. 30 designers are creating 30 book covers based on the plot synopses of Wrimos’ NaNo-novels!

November 10: Watch Tavia’s NaNoVideo Dares and incorporate your favorite one into the next scene of your novel.

November 11: Set a weekend goal to hit 22,000 before you go to bed on Sunday night.

November 12: Drop a bomb on your story. Not necessarily a literal bomb; it could be a plague, a rabid dog with a vendetta, or a miraculous rain shower of sparkly gift-granting silk worms. Mix it up!

November 13: Reward yourself for hitting 22,000 words. You eat novels for breakfast!

November 14: It’s “Back Up Your Novel Again Day.” Back up that novel. Again!

November 15: Kick up your heels and do a jig for reaching the mid-point of the month. Check your regional lounge for a local Midway Party in a neighborhood near you.

November 16: It’s Donation Day, a public-radio-style fundraiser. If you haven’t already, make a small donation to keep our servers running and our free creative writing programs strong for another year.

November 18: Take a mini-break from your novel to celebrate Occult Day. Check your horoscope, make a potion, or even better, have your main character do both. (Also, congratulate yourself for skipping National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day on November 15.)

November 21: You guessed it! “Back Up Your Novel Yet Again Day” is upon us, and you must back up your novel. Yet again.

November 22: To commemorate ML Appreciation Day and recognize the valiant efforts of your Municipal Liaison, send your regional volunteer(s) a NaNoMail message, or post a thanks in your regional forum.

November 24: Americans celebrate Thanksgiving. HQ is closed until Monday, November 28.

November 25: Winning begins on Go ahead and claim your Winner’s shirt in the store! (With that magical talisman, you’re sure to hit 50K by midnight on November 30!)

November 27: You can’t believe there are only four days left to finish your novel. Then you remember that you have nothing to worry about! You’re all caught up at 46,676 words. (And if you’re not, take a break and re-read all of the pep talks from the month. Feeling rejuvenated, word-sprint your way to 45K and grab a big ol’ treat for your efforts.)

November 28: Back up your novel even more, because, well, it’s “Back Up Your Novel Even More Day”! (Can you tell we really care about backing up your masterpiece?)

November 29: Mark your calendar for your region’s TGIO party. The end is near.

November 30: Write, write, write until you hit 50,000. Upload your novel and get whisked to the Winner Goodies page. Print your Winner’s Certificate, and do a happy dance.

December 1: Give that hamster a treat. He’s been a champ.

I hope this gives you an idea of what to look out for during the month ahead. There will be a lot of writing, a lot of celebrating your achievements, and plenty of backing up that novel. Right?

Keep an eye out for another email tomorrow, this time from Chris Baty. Spoiler: It contains wizards. True story!

Looking so forward to noveling with you,


NaNoWriMo Program Director

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