“Writing is the dragon that lives underneath my floorboards. The one I incessantly feed for fear it may turn and devour my ass. Writing is the friend who doesn’t return my phone calls; the itch I’m unable to scratch; a dinner invitation from a cannibal; elevator music for a narcoleptic. Writing is the hope of lifting all boats by pissing in the ocean. Writing isn’t something that makes me happy like a good cup of coffee. It’s just something I do because not writing, as I’ve found, is so much worse.”
― Quentin R. Bufogle

Last year we had our inaugural bake sale fundraiser, and it was absolute success.  It’s time again to turn bread into bread! 

There are TWO dates for this event: the drop-off day, and the sale itself.  If you are interested in participating, the drop-off day is the important day for you! That’s: Saturday, October 5.

How it works:  The drop-off is at Minion Erika’s House, 22111 Edmunton, SCS mi 48080, from 12pm-4pm.  You bring your contribution to the drop-off, and leadership will take it to the bake sale.  Easy peasy!

What Should I Bake?  Good ideas are:

  • Family size desserts, such as whole cakes, pies, tarts, cobblers, etc
  • Big fat cookies, brownies, lemon and pecan squares, other sorts of traybakes, etc
  • Breakfast pastries like scones, whole coffeecakes, pans of cinnamon rolls, etc.
  • Breads: whole loaves, bags of rolls, quickbreads like pumpkin, banana, etc
  • Your grandma’s super special something!

What’s not so good an idea?

  • Teeny tiny individual things (unless they’re bundled together in a package.)
  • Anything that needs refrigeration.
  • Cupcakes, rice crispy treats, muffins, cake pops (they just don’t sell for some reason)
  • Anything store bought.

Things to Remember

  • Include a label or note with your offering of what it’s called.
  • Cut traybakes like brownies into large squares (like the size of a nano sticker!) rather than tiny squares.
  • You need to bring your offering in/on something, and you won’t get that dish back, so don’t bring your favorite baking pan.  Cake circles and disposable paper baking pans are available where baking supplies are sold, or a dollar store plastic plate can look very nice.

I want to help, but I can’t bake!

That’s okay!  Maybe someone can help you!  Do you have a mom or granny who’s the baker in the family?  A brother who went through culinary school you can trade some computer repair for help?  A friend or fellow Wrimo that brings the BEST stuff to potlucks?  Maybe you can buy the ingredients and learn a valuable skill in the process.

No, seriously, I will poison someone.  There will probably be fire.

If you really want to help out, you can bring cash money to the drop zone instead of a baked good.  We will be getting some ribbons and packaging and printing thank you notes and info cards, and a little cash will help cover those things.

Can I come to the bake sale?

Sure!  The address for the church is: 20475 Sunningdale Park, Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236.  The sale will be from 9am-1pm on Sunday (the day after the drop-off.)  We just have to be sure to be courteous to the parishioners and not disrupt their space.  NOTE:  If there is an emergency at the church, we will be postponed until the following Sunday, and we will make an announcement.

The Last Events

The end is in sight!  There are only two more chances to surround yourself in kindred nano spirits this year.  The times and places and all those deets are in the forum threads and on the calendar, so head over there to set your clocks and check your maps.

The first is the One Last Push party, hosted as always by the gracious ML Eric.  Ever been to the Push?  It’s pretty awesome.  I’ve only been once myself and am very much looking forward to going back this year.  Bring a snack, if you’re so inclined.  Bringing a power strip isn’t such a bad idea, either.

If you’re sitting comfortably, you might find yourself a nice little spot in the living or dining room where you can chat and share your battle stories.  If you need every second to get your words in, head on down to the basement where it’s nothing but word wars and silence in the Productivity Gulag (Patent Pending).

Then Sunday, once it’s all over with and you’ve taken Saturday to sigh and rest and lick your wounds, we have the Thank Goodness It’s Over Party in Royal Oak.  Trying out a new location this year, you’re welcome to bring snacks to share for a little potluck.  If you’re feeling especially brave, bring an excerpt of your novel and you could win the Most Likely to be Published award.  We’ll hang out and have a nice, chill time.

EXCEPT for the part where we’ll announce the first ever winners of our first ever Team Championship!  Members of the winning team will receive their congratulatory buttons and sign their names in the Golden Notebook.  We will not be officially announcing the winner on ANY of the online things until AFTER we announce at the TGIO.  So be there or be informed late.

Good Luck, everyone!


This event is TODAY, and you need to come!  It is a GREAT event.

It runs from 1pm til 9pm, and the map and directions are in the calendar, and the facebook event, and the thread in the forum.

What is it?  Well, let me tell you.  We’ll meet at 1pm.  The Word Wars start at 1:30 and go constantly until about 8:15.  We will go on a tight schedule, with only fifteen minutes of break time in between each war.  Fifteen minutes, thirty minutes, thirty minutes, FORTY FIVE MINUTES!  Three times!  And another thirty minutes, fifteen minutes.  Don’t worry, there’s an hour break for dinner, and the pizza is on us!  We’ll wrap things up with a small raffle.  Did you want to get a Team Championship poster, but couldn’t?  Well, here’s your chance!  We’re raffling one off.  As well as a few other odds and ends from the prize bin.

Now, keep this hush hush, but our host is a real live marine, and if we’re nice, he might yell at us to WORK HARDER.

Sound intense?  Well, it had better.  This is a write in meant to stretch you to your limits.  Last year our words per person beat out Midway!  You know how much you gotta write to beat out Midway?  A lot, that’s how much.  I wrote NINE THOUSAND WORDS last year at the inaugural (and shorter) Boot Camp, and I hope to do ten thousand this year.  That is a reasonable goal.  You can do it, too!

So many wars, so much swag, pizza, prizes, what’s not to love!  You can work off all your Thanksgiving calories through your fingers!


PS: I haven’t forgotten about doing the fundraising update.  I’ll get it done this weekend, I promise.  This past week was just too much madness.


Strategies for Survival:  It’s Okay to Quit

This is going to be a sho1rt one, and the last in the harsh reality comfort sort of series we’ve got going here.

If you need to quit, it’s okay.

Yes, I did just spend the last post encouraging you to keep going, and keep trying, even if you know you’re not going to win.  I meant it, too.  You should.  Mostly.  Probably.

But let’s say that something has happened that is preventing your words that is really big.  Really heavy.  Maybe really distressing.

Or let’s say that for some reason looking at the hole you’re in is REALLY stressing you out.  You got off to a bad start and it’s just gotten worse and instead of feeling inspired by your story, you just feel bummed.

Or your schedule just filed up with nonsense to the point that you can’t go to any of the events you wanted to go to anyway, so you don’t have the benefit of having a good time while losing.

If you open your document and feel sadness instead of fun, and you KNOW you’re not going to get past it, AND you just don’t have it in you to start something new, you know what?  You can quit, and it’s okay.

Don’t quit for good!  Don’t let this one bad experience get SO BAD that you never want to do it again!  Just the opposite.  Nano will ALWAYS be there for you next year.  Even camp comes twice a year, in case you can’t wait that long.

Sometimes, it’s not so much about giving up as it is about letting go, and I will tell you my letting go story, of the VERY FIRST time I tried nano.

The year was 2005.  I had JUST heard of nano a few weeks before.  It sounded so fun!  So cool!  I didn’t even know that the website was a thing or that there was a community or anything!  I just thought it was a go ahead and do it sort of thing.  (Meanwhile, in reality, ML Owen was two years into doing it, and three years away from becoming ML Owen.  Perspective!)  I had a little idea, based on the mechanations of some coworkers that I thought I could plunk into a fantasy setting about the political maneuvering of women in a harem, and that was about it.  No plot, no characters, but who cares, let’s go!

Yeah, I failed.  Almost a week into the month, I had a paragraph, and no idea what I wanted to do.  The blank page was giving me SO much stress.  And I was so disappointed in myself.  I thought I was going to do this cool thing, and I had failed, miserably.  I was venting my woes to a school friend, and she said words I will never forget.

“You know…you don’t HAVE to do it.”

She was right!  I DIDN’T have to do it!  I could stop!  So I did.  I deleted that file, and I never looked back.  And I don’t think I’ve ever felt such relief.

A few years later, I got back into when a different friend did, lost that first year (but kept writing to the end, see previous post) won the next year, and have won every year since, except that year I had a herniated disk and figured if I had any words at all between school and waiting for surgery it was close enough to a win for me.

Enough about me, back to you.

If you feel like trying to finish your nano is giving you more stress than happiness, give yourself permission to stop.  Don’t feel bad about it.  The ONLY thing that really matters about nano is having a good time, and if you’re not, there is no shame, no blame, in letting it go.

Just don’t forget to come to kick off next year.

Strategies for Survival:  Failure is an Option

So we spend a lot of time talking about success and winning and pushing through, and believe me, we mean every bit of it.  You can be ten thousand words behind and I still still be right there to tell you that you can TOTALLY do it!  We are all about the success.

But you know what?  Failure is also an option.  And that is NOT a negative statement.

There comes a time in a wrimos life when they look at their word count at some point during the month and realize that fifty thousand is just NOT going to happen.  Let’s be real about that.  Sometimes it just does not happen.  So let’s talk about what happens when it doesn’t.

A lot of people quit.  It’s a thing that happens.  They get discouraged by failing, and they give it up.  Maybe say that they just can’t do it.  Maybe feel bad about it, like they’ve REALLY failed something.  Like it says something about them as a writer.  And in the worst case circumstances, sometimes people never try nano again.

It’s understandable to think why a person might think that way, to be honest.  After all, for all of the encouragement we offer each other, and we offer a LOT of encouragement, most of it is centered around success.  People crow about their successes.  It can throw inevitable failure into sharp relief.

But it doesn’t HAVE to be that way.  Did you write a thousand words?  That’s a thousand words you didn’t have before.  Can you get just a thousand words more in the rest of the month?  That’s reason enough to keep going.

So you don’t win.  So what?  The glory of nano is that it is absolutely and hundred percent risk free.  Nothing bad happens if you lose.  You just give it a try again next year.  You work on your writing throughout the year.  You maybe try a different strategy for planning.  (You maybe try planning?)  Or maybe the reason you didn’t make it this year was because LIFE HAPPENED and you know that things might not all fall apart like that again next year.

But you DON’T have quit.  You can keep trying to get as many words as you can before the end of the year.  Give yourself something to build on!  Still come to the writein.  DEFINITELY come to the events.  Remember, nano is mostly about the community, and the having a good time with like minded creative people.  You don’t have to be winning to have a good time.

So take it easy on yourself.  Go ahead and have fun losing.

Twenty On, Twenty Off


Do you need to grind out a BUNCH of words?  Do you find that when you sit down to write, you stare blankly in between Facebook and Youtube and the Wikipedia research rabbit hole?  This might be the strategy for you.

Humans can’t focus on one thing intensely for an indefinite amount of time.  This is a great evolutionary strategy so predators don’t get you, but it’s not that great for your word count.  Wht ARE we good at, aside from power walking a mammoth to death?  Short bursts of intense concentration.

Pick a time. Fifteen or twenty minutes is a pretty good bet, but you could go shorter or longer to suit your needs.  Set a timer.  Write like the wind!  Then when the timer goes off, STOP!  Reset the timer.  Now do something else.  Anything else.  Play on Facebook, check the forums, text your friend.  Go to the bathroom.  Get a snack.  Get up and stretch your butt.  Or go knock out a few minutes worth of chores.  But whatever you do, do NOT look at your novel again until the timer goes off.  Personally, this is the only way I manage to get any laundry done during November.  (Especially if I’m at a frustrating point in my writing.  Then folding that laundry becomes REALLY IMPORTANT.)

Repeat as often as you need to until you have all the words you need for the day.  You’ll be swimming in words before you know it.