November Novel Writing Month

Na No Wri Mo Sounds like words to an African tribal dance if I didn’t know better. In 2007, I read about this National Novel Writing Month contest which takes place in November. This contest has been happening since 1999. Thanks to the internet the amount of contestants, called NaNoers, went from 21 in 1999 to 94,000 in 2007.

This year I decided to check into the details. The contest is free to enter. At the end of the month I would have to have fifty thousand words to finish in the contest. Then in December the novel can be edited and polished. A winner is picked from the entries. There is a list of writers that have had a novel published after entering it in this contest.

From what I read the authors are winging their story. They aren’t expected to know where the novel is going, but every day just pick up where they left off. Don’t worry about a chapter by chapter plot synopsis or an outline. This approach to writing is not new to me. It’s the way I approached all my books. The secret is in going back to rework the story, edit and polish it into a work you can be proud to have your name on.

On a whim I entered the 6th of November. So I was already five days behind which worried me. I tried to tell myself two thousands words a day doesn’t sound like a lot for me. Once I made up for those six days that is, fifty thousand words should be no problem. Little did I know that this would be one of those months when I would be gone at least half of the thirty days. Little things have gotten in the way of my writing a novel like a wedding, book signing, dental visits and now Thanksgiving.

Several November days, I spent most of the afternoon emailing libraries in Iowa, Missouri and Pennsylvania to let them know about my two Amish books listed in Ingram Distribution Catalog. In the email I mentioned that I had an online bookstore that all my books can be purchased from, thinking that libraries could go to the website to look at the books. Maybe even buy books from my site.

Quite an undertaking to do that many emails when I realized how many libraries there were in each state. Made me glad for copy and paste. For Iowa, I mentioned that I lived here. As for Missouri, I had emailed the libraries last year when I published my Civil War book which is a fact/fiction book based in Vernon County, Missouri. Maybe they will remember me. Maybe not. I’ve been told many emails about new books target libraries. As for Pennsylvania, residents buy my Amish books more than any other state. One theme that was on most library sites in that state was the fact state funding had been cut for libraries which meant their budgets had to be reduced. This didn’t sound like a good time to be advertising books for sale, but my self published, paperback books are inexpensive compared to books from publishers that are sold in bookstores. Perhaps, a library’s reduced budget would be a reason to buy my books. Now I wait and see. If I have any luck with these libraries, I still have 48 states to go.


There’s something to be said for incentive. Being in the NaNoWriMo contest has given me that. I had the story line all plotted in my head for some time but advertising and starting the new website had kept me from getting started on the book. Now I am well under way. Maybe not far enough along for NaNoWriMo, but looking forward to releasing it sometime next year.

Thanksgiving is upon us. As with many family gatherings, relatives have to travel. We go to Marion to my younger brother’s for lunch. As usual, he has barbecued turkey on the menu. Not such an undertaking the way he does it. The grill is in the garage out of the wind. There’s a thermometer inserted in the turkey that transmit to a sensor in the kitchen so he can watch the rising temperature. Once or twice, my brother runs outside to check briefly just to be on the safe side. The rest of the time he is visiting with us and watching a parade.

For the evening meal, we rush forty miles or so from Marion to Belle Plaine to my husband’s mother’s house for another big meal. Sometimes I think it was a mistake to put Thanksgiving and Christmas so close on the calendar. We no sooner get our appetites back from Thanksgiving and Christmas comes with more food. Come to think of it. We are truly blessed and should count our blessings every day. We have our families close and plenty to eat.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving and travel safe. I’ll be back next Tuesday.