That’s the only thing you can try to do after a day like yesterday, right?  Three events, from one in the afternoon to one in the morning.  I wrote a little over seven thousand words and hit a wall just before the night owl ended.

A big huge thanks to Joe and Dev for hosting us.  This was all Joe’s idea at the end of last year, and the event was brilliant.  Good snacks, nice quiet atmosphere, it was very good.

Then I got home at two in the morning and slept until eleven o’clock.  and today has been a blissfully slow day of errands and chores.

So you’re not getting much today, sorry!  See you tomorrow.

Saturday (Night!) Update

Can you believe it’s already the tenth?  It seems both like Nano just started, and like it’s been going on forever.  Crazy, right?

First of all, we are only two hours away from our first ever Night Owl event, a late night write in hosted by the illustrious newlyweds Joe and Dev.  All hail and many thanks to Joe and Dev for being the kind of crazy people that are willing to open their home to a bunch of weirdos from the internet.  You make the world a better place.  If you’re in the super special time window of reading this post before the event begins, you can get all of the information on the forum, where there is a thread of details, and also the address.

So it’s Saturday night.  It’s a beautiful wordy weekend.  I (Erika) just finished a very successful write in in the Detroit/Grosse Pointe area, where it took a five minute sprint to break the tie in points between the Emerald Dragons and Golden Phoenixes.  Owen and I are now at the Saturday night biggby (beause we are crazy people doing three events in a row today) both with our magical team headbands which are clearly the difference maker in words.

How about that team Championship?!  It’s going GREAT and you guys are all great.  The words are coming fast!  Participation is high!  Smack talk is smacking on facebook.  If you haven’t joined the fun yet, there is still time!  See any of the million things we have in a million places for info on taking the quiz and joining a team, or just message anyone in leadership.  Seriously, we’re having a great time and you should play.  If you have facebook and are not a member, you should join Nanowrimotown.  Although everything we post tends to get posted in many places, there are a lot of reminders, a lot of fun banter, and people post all kinds of interesting stuff, not just in November, but throughout the year.

It’s true that we are currently way behind in our war with Seattle, but that’s okay.  You know why?  Cuz it’s all in good fun, and we all want each other to succeed.  So there’s no consequence to losing!  Isn’t that great?  There are threads in both our forum and theirs for banter.  If you would like a nemesis, they still have a whole lot of people that signed up on their end that weren’t matched with any of us, and they need partners.  Not surprising, considering how many bazillions of people they have over there.  If you have a nemesis, go ahead and ask for another one!  Go nuts!  Sometimes you can make a good friend from a nemesis.

Fundraising update:  Our current fundraising efforts sit at about $60 cash, 6 posters and 3 shirts.  We need a miniumum order of 12 shirts to place the order, so if you’re on the fence, now is the time!  Cutoff for shirts and posters orders is midway, so you have one week to go.

Please especially consider a poster.  This design is year specific, and will not be available after this year.  It’s our first one, so we feel warm and fuzzy about it.  Minion Laura and I made it and we’re really proud of it.

That’s it for now!  See you tomorrow, when the second third of the month.

Strategies for Survival: Eat a Vegetable

In other words, take care of yourself.

Seriously, guys.  It’s a miracle we survive this every year.

Nano is a great time to have fun, interact with our friends, and stretch our creative muscles.  But what about our regular muscles?  And our stomachs, and heads, and all the rest of us?  We’re pretty hard on ourselves, aren’t we?

Sitting in coffee shops for hours on end, drinking coffee for hours on end, pulling late nights to get our words in, not to mention all those awesome potlucks full of tasty snacks.  It all seems like such a good idea at the time, and it’s such a bad idea afterwards.

And THEN you’ve got all the dangers of the impending winter: stuck indoors, everyone is sniffling, flu season is starting, and the stress of Nano is compounded by stress at school, busy seasons at work, and the holidays.  Ever notice how many wrimos wind up fighting a bug partway through the month?  Is it any wonder why?

So that’s why my theme for this year’s nano is Eat a Vegetable.  Let’s all try this year to take care of ourselves.

Eat a Vegetable:  and maybe some whole grains.  Like, every day.  Seriously.  Scurvy is threatening to set in.  Is your belly sore?  It’s cuz you’re full of coffee and cookies, ya numpty.  It might be too late to do a ton of meal prep and fill up your November freezer, (or maybe it’s not: I don’t know your life) but kinda try to think every day about eating something solid and decent that isn’t fast food or snacks.  It’s not like I’m saying not to eat that dessert.  I probably made that dessert.  I’m just saying to chase it with some roughage before your digestive tract grinds to a screeching halt.

Ease up on the Caffeine: I know, sacrilege!   But if you haven’t wrecked your stomach on junk food, you’ve probably wrecked it on too much coffee, too much tea (not really a thing), or if you’re like me, too much coffee AND tea with too much sugar and probably more dairy than you REALLY should be consuming.  (Peppermint white mocha?  Yes, please.)  Just maybe think twice before ordering your third drink, or pot, of the day, and have a little decaf.  By all means, keep up the jokes about drinking coffee til you can see through time.  That’s part of our nano culture, and it’s fun.  But still, drink some water.

Also, Drink some Water:  Oh, yeah.  Water.  Lots of it!  The old eight glasses a day thing might be an arbitrary myth, but in general, hydration is happiness.  Drink some water whenever you’re thirsty and then some more on top of that.  Try a glass of water for every caffeinated or alcoholic beverage you consume, as well as with each meal, and then whenever it moves you to drink some more.  “Voiding Clear = Happy Mountaineer!”  Your kidneys will thank you.

Get up and Stretch:  Walk around.  Move your body.  Sitting too still in one place for too long is bad for your back, your neck, your muscles, your circulation, your digestion (there’s that sad belly again), your everything.  Staring at your screen too long is bad for your eyes and will give you a headache.  Every hour or so, AT LEAST, stand up, stretch, move your body.  Get some water while you’re at it.  Go to the bathroom.  Get a snack.  Just MOVE.  Before your legs swell up and your back and head are aching and everything is just the worst.  One of these years someone is going to throw a blood clot at Midway and then we’re ALL going to have a bad day.

Go to Sleep:  I’m up too late already, but I promise, I’m going to bed very, very soon.  The occasional late night isn’t going to hurt anyone, but you know you, and you know how much sleep you need to really be productive and to feel like a decent human being.  Be a decent human being.  Get some sleep.  The words will still be there in the morning.

Take a Shower, and Brush your Teeth:  You will feel better when you are clean.  The rest of us at the writein will also feel better when you are clean.

Calm Your Tits:  We get ourselves all worked up over this, and some of us are a ball of anxiety from day one to thirty.  (Just take a look at the MLs if you want to see a human being crack.  😛 )  Just take a moment to chill out.  If you need to, for your physical, mental, or emotional well-being, it is okay for you to skip the event, or even turn the computer off for the day.  It will be okay.  Promise.

Interact with Your Loved Ones:  Nano completely dominated my social calendar during the entirety of November, and during most of October.  And parts of August and September as well.  I have twenty events on my calendar just this month, just for nano.  It’s a LOT.  But you don’t want your mom to forget what you look like, or your spouse to assume you’ve left and are never coming back.  Take some time with your non-nano family.  Be present.  Your life doesn’t stop when nano starts.

Here’s hoping that we can all have a great nano, and also that our bodies will still exist when we’re done.  Now, I’m going to get up, stretch, brush my teeth, and head to bed.   🙂


Strategies for Survival: Week 2

Also known as: Welcome to Hell.

Week two of Nano is a special sort of suffering.  The initial burst of adrenaline has worn off, but the thrill of the impending finale hasn’t kicked in yet.  Week two is the hardest to slog through.

Of course, maybe you’re the sort of person who starts strong, stays strong, and ends strong, and for you, it doesn’t matter what time of the month it is.  Sorry, kids, this post is not for you.  This is for the rest of us.  Like me, who is supposed to be in bed in a few minutes and only has about a hundred words down for the day.

Yeah, and here I am a day later, supposed to be going to bed again, still at the same words, and not likely to do much better tomorrow on my longest day of the week.  The curse of the week two is strong.

So how to cope with it?  I wish I had better answers, but the reality, is, you just have to push through.  If you’ve been following the strategies for success, hopefully you have a bit of a buffer for these slow days.  Or you’re managing to struggle through and squeeze out enough to stay on track.  Or maybe you’re falling behind a bit, but don’t worry, you can overcome this.  Just don’t get discouraged.  Every nano has a Week Two (although not always during the second week, if you know what I mean) and every nano, people manage to get through it.  You will too.

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.

Strategies for Success: Go to Write Ins

It’s a few days into Nano, and you might be plugging along, or you might be struggling.  Might be a little bit of both.  But so many people find that having other wrimos around is a HUGE motivator to get those words out.

You’ve been to write ins, right?  Know how they work?

Check out the calendar; it will tell you what events are going on where and when.  There is a calendar on this site, and also in our regional forum. The regional forum also has a master list of write ins, AND a thread for each event.  Throw a rock at our space and you will hit information about write ins.

No write in by you?  Want there to be one?  Check the FAQ on this page, or the How to Plan a Write In thread on the forum for instructions.

So you’re going to the write in.  You’re at the coffee shop.  Or Panara.  Or library.  Whatever.  Now what?  First, find your people.  If there’s a leadership person at the event, they will have a blue lanyard and/or a blue T shirt that says Nanowrimotown.  Just look for the crowd of nerds with laptops.  Join those nerds.  Start socializing.  Start writing.  Write ins have word wars where you will battle for swag!  Great way to boost your word count.  People will be around to encourage you.  You can get buttons!  If you’re a tangible reward driven person, write ins are the thing for you.


Strategies for Success:  Write Every Day

Nothing will help you more than this.  Nothing.  No matter what you do, write EVERY day.  Update EVERY day.  First of all, your badges on the main site activate when you update multiple days in a row, and one of them is for updating all thirty days.  Yes, if it’s the fourth and you haven’t already updated that ship has sailed, but there’s twenty six days left after today, so update every single one of them.

Like we talked about before, there are going to be days when you just can’t stomach the idea of writing a word.  It’s really hard to make yourself write when everything has exploded around you, or you’re just exhausted.  But make yourself do it.  Even if it’s just a hundred words.  Even if it’s just ten.  Because if you can make yourself write ten, without the pressure to do more, you might just make it to a hundred.  And once you get to a hundred, MAYBE you can get enough momentum to make it to five hundred.  Or maybe not.  But once you miss a day, it’s WAY too easy to miss more days.  It turns into a downward spiral that leads you to a hole that feels like such an impossibility to get out of.  And even though you CAN dig yourself out of a hole, and sometimes holes happen, don’t get into the hole if you don’t have to.

Saturday General Update


FIRST of all, as of right now, we are ahead in our war with Seattle by almost 300 words!  The official widget will be up in the forum sometime today.

If you would like to be matched with a nemesis from Seattle, fill out the form HERE

Now, that war with Seattle is VERY important, and we all need to pull together to tie up our best of three fight.  But we have something even BIGGER for just us in Motown: the inaugural TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP!  You’ve probably heard us talking about it.  That’s because it is awesome, it is going to be awesome, and we need you to make it awesome!  Check out the Team Championship page for more details, or the thread in the forum.

In a nutshell, we are dividing ourselves into three majestic teams:  The Golden Phoenix, the Emerald Dragon, and the Silver Unicorn.  Each team is headed by one ML and two minions, who will lead their teams to glory!

The main challenge is a word war for the whole month between the teams.  The winners will be able to sign their names in the Golden Notebook at the TGIO party.  But that’s not all!  We also have team buttons with your mythical beast, AND opportunities for extra swag!  Leadership will be running a variety of team based challenges at write ins throughout the month.  Fight for glory and buttons!

How do you get in on this most awesome of challenges?  The first step is signing up.  Go HERE to take our assignment quiz.  This highly scientific process will help us divide you into your destined team.  You’ll get an email with your team assignment, and also the names of your two nemeses, with whom you will do personal battle throughout the month.  This is separate from the war with Seattle.  You don’t HAVE to sign up for a Seattle nemesis, but if you get assigned a team by tonight, you will be assigned your team nemeses.  After that, it’s up to you how you do mighty battle.  Hardcore competition, super supportive, nothing at all; it’s all up to you and all in good fun.

But first you have to sign up!  You must!  It’s almost time to divide the teams, and there are WAY more people in our wonderful region than have currently taken the quiz, so I KNOW that some of you still need to take it.



Fundraising update:  Cash donations are estimated at around $35 currently.

Strategies for Success: Front Loading

There are a lot of tips and tricks for winning, and one of the first ones you can take advantage of is front Loading.  (Another is paying attention to how your word counter counts dashes and adjust appropriately, but that’s another show.)

Front loading is the practice of trying to write as much as you can in the first few days or week.  It’s a good strategy, for a couple of reasons.

One, it’s easier sometimes to write when you’re int hat first blush of excitement.  The words just pour out.  Not to mention that if you’re plantsing, you might have an idea for some scenes, but that’s about all you get.  Once that list runs out, you’ll be working as you go.

You’re also going to have some days in November that no matter how much you want to, and no matter how much you try, you are still going to get hardly anything done.  Your life will explode somehow during the month.  It happens to us all.  Busy season at work.  Family stuff happens.  School.  You get sick.  Your dog gets sick.  Thanksgiving along can tank a person’s word count for days (or boost it, depending on how your schedule goes).

Working from ahead is a LOT easier than trying to catch up from behind.  Feeling like you need to write a few thousand words before you can even START for the day can be discouraging.  But keeping ahead of that goal line on your chart (you stare at your chart all the time, right?  right?) is very awesome.

So if you’ve got an extra hour today, pump out a few hundred extra words, even if you’ve already met your goal.  Then maybe a few hundred more.  You’ll thank yourself at the end of the month.