Monday, November 5, 2012

I'm a NANO addict and YOU should be too!

“Thirty days and nights of literary abandon!”

I first heard about NANO via one of my very cool critique partners, Tami Klockau, who had been an active participant for several years. When she gave me the low down, I thought she was out of her mind.

Writers devote themselves to a fresh project and during NANA they strive to:

-          Complete the first draft of a NOVEL in ONE month
-          To do so, their expected daily word count sits around 1600 words
-          Miss a day, or two, and you have to power out the extra pages to catch up and get back on track

Like I said, crazy, right? But the next year I gave NANO a shot and while I didn’t cross the 50k finish line, I had substantially increased my word count that month. By about 30k.

Nothing to sneeze at. Plus, the supportive (possibly distracting) forums,  the pep talks from bestselling authors, and the community spirit is uplifting. Writing is usually a solitary art – but during NANO writers seek each other out. Host write-ins, come together with their notebooks, laptops, coffee, and / or stronger beverages to WRITE.

It’s pretty nifty.

And so every year since I have either participated on the sly (without actually registering) or have gone full out and signed up to share my experience with other keen NANO souls.

Have I ever made the 50k? Nope. Not once. But each November my word counts soar – on new or current projects.  That’s gold in my books. If you’re one of the doubting sorts, how about the success story of like that of young adult fiction author, Denise Jaden: - a fellow Canadian author I was lucky enough to meet during our debut publishing year with the Class of 2k10:

Denise is a loyal NANO participant (aka, aWrimo) and several of her published novels were NANO efforts. She crosses the finish line – as do many other writers – published or otherwise.

Whether you use NANO as a motivational tool to increase your general word count, or you’re focused on the first draft end game – I encourage writers to give NANO a shot.
WARNING: You may become just a smidge addicted.

I’m registered as JudithG – if you’re a Wrimo – let’s cheer each other on!

ASIDE: I have to give Tami a shameless plug. If you’re into spinning yarns, and not the literary sort – I’m talking crochet or knitting – Tami has the most AMAZING online shop: Candy Skein:


Judith Graves is the author of the Skinned series, paranormal fiction with a bite.


  1. Thanks Judith! It's great to hear your story with Nano. And that's the thing...everyone has their own story and the way they use the month-long writing challenge. This is the first year I'll be taking a vacation through part of November, so I'm crazy-writing to try to get ahead. And so far (fingers very crossed) I'm really enjoying my story.

  2. Hey Denise, yes, NANO is what you make it and it sort of changes for me each year. I noticed your NANO word count thus far is scary good - I'm sure you'll bounce back after the vacation and catch up super quicklike. ;) Enjoy the break!

  3. Good on you Judith,
    hats off to everyone doing Nano. I know I can't make those daily targets and I'd end up getting horribly depressed. BUT, I am plotting like crazy for a new book ...

    But, it's inspiring to see so many people making such great word counts every day. Go for it!

  4. Thanks, Ebony - that's precisely why I didn't register the first few times - but now I cheer the others on and just keep plugging away at my "advanced" pace. ;) Enjoy the plotting! My favourite part of the process.

  5. Good luck on NaNo this year everyone! I wish I could do it this year. I miss the intensity as the words flow and the hours tick by. Thanks for the plug, Judith!

  6. Maybe this is the year you'll make it to 50K! It's my first year participating and I'm going kinda slow so I know how you feel.