It is November, and that only means one thing. It is National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo for short.
Autumn is my favorite time of year. Football is in full swing. Warm mugs of coffee replace the cold brew. Eggnog cartons line supermarket fridges. There are weekend hayrides, face paintings, corn mazes, ring-toss games, and more as fall festivals and fairs are underway. Local farmers’ markets are selling off the last of the summer crop. Many of us can begin switching our thermostats over to heating mode — anything below 60° in my home state of Alabama is jeans and jacket weather. Walks around the neighborhood or park are ablaze with reds, browns, and oranges as the yearly cycles start to wind down. It is always a magical time that offers one last explosion of life before winter comes.
November is smack in the middle of it all. While it can be a busy month for many, it is always the ideal time for writing. The changing season creates moments worth capturing and stories to savor.
Between the hustle and bustle of autumn activities and upcoming holidays, the season also has those quiet moments that allow us to reflect on the world around us. There is a calmness in the cooling air for those who slow down and simply observe.
This is the season where I get the itch to write fiction. While I enjoy the work I do here at the Tavern, I am a novelist at heart. If I am fortunate, I will one day publish a novel. Until then, there is this worldwide movement known as NaNoWriMo. It is an event where 1,000s of people attempt to write a 50,000-word first draft.
There is also a massive community around the challenge. It is sort of like group therapy for those crazy enough to attempt it.
It is a wild ride that is only driven by grit and coffee. There are no guaranteed publishing deals or trophies at the end of the road. The reward is a printable certificate, self-pride, and a month of household chores you likely skipped out on. You may bask in the glory of an achievement few others have accomplished. Many crash and burn by the end of Week #1.
But, if you are a writer, the techniques and lessons you learn along the way are well worth it.
I have a B.A. in English and am a published tech book author. Nothing has taught me more practical writing skills than my participation and victory in NaNoWriMo 2018. School gave me the foundation, but NaNoWriMo taught me about word sprints and how to disable my inner editor.
I will once again participate in NaNoWriMo. I was unable to do so over the past couple of years because of preexisting obligations. But I have that itch again and need to see this thing through.
While NaNoWriMo is not directly related to WordPress (though many participants blog their journey via the platform), there is a spin-off of the event for bloggers:
National Blog Posting Month.
NaBloPoMo does not roll off the tongue quite as well, and it has never reached the global success of NaNoWriMo. There is not even an official website dedicated to the month-long blogging challenge. However, it was once popular enough that WordPress.com hyped it for several years. The last announcement seems to be from 2014.
In 2006, blogger Eden Kennedy began NaBloPoMo in response to the NaNoWriMo mania. Not everyone has the time or desire to write 50,000 words in a month, but many want to up their writing game. Instead of averaging 1,667 words per day, the challenge is merely to blog something — anything — every day throughout November.
Our frenemies over at Post Status have also been running a similar event called #ClickPublish throughout the year via Slack. Today is the start of a new month-long challenge in which WordPress professionals might participate. Side note: “Click Publish” is much better branding than NaBloPoMo.
If you are looking for an excuse to wipe the dust off your WordPress blog, what better reason than a 30-day publishing challenge?
Any of our readers up for it? Feel free to let us know in the comments, and share your articles if you jump on the bandwagon.
“I have a B.A. in English and am a published tech book author.” OK, me too. And I write fiction! I’m participating in the Internet Writing Workshop these days, but what fascinates me is using WordPress for a community or at least individual (for now) literary workshop. Being able to work on my flash fiction pieces, etc. Something like the fabulous Iceberg editor (reviewed here) could be great, or maybe something as simple as the toolbelt markdown editor stuffed inside a Verse block. What I wish is if there were an easy way to show versions of a story, say, in a verse block, but the revisions currently show the block syntax html. Other blocks currently very useful for writing are Rich Tabor’s task list, etc. blocks which were also reviewed here. Currently working with Astra + Toolset for content modeling, I hope to be moving to full set editing some time not too far away, and create a usable writer’s setup with a block based theme plus suitable content model plus maybe a couple of custom plugins (or custom blocks directly). Thanks for the write-up on writing!