05. National Novel Writing Month: Join us for the insanity!


It’s here! National Novel Writing Month has officially begun. Between November 1st and November 30th, thousands of writers across the globe will be sitting down at their desks and churning out new novels! Lacy and I are excited to be doing NaNoWriMo together for the first time, and with all of you for the first time. On today’s episode, Lacy and I will discuss what we’re anticipating and dreading the most about the month ahead, along with our personal NaNoWriMo strategies and philosophies. But first, we’re honored to have Tim Kim as our guest on the show. Tim is the editorial director at National Novel Writing Month, a 501©(3) nonprofit, and the largest writing event in the world. He has worked for Once magazine, WIRED, San Francisco magazine, and at Conde Nast. He’s here to answer our questions about NaNoWriMo and tell us how to make the project work for us! (27:54)

Connect with the Postmasters!

If you’re a Postmasters fan and you’re doing NaNoWriMo, let us hear from you, too! Post your word count on our Facebook page or tweet it to us @postmasters2. You can (and should) also add us as NaNoWriMo buddies on the NaNoWriMo website. — Add Audrey / Add Lacy


“You have to silence your inner editor.” — Tim Kim

“NaNoWriMo is all about getting that first draft done and expressing your voice without self-consciousness.” — Tim Kim

“We call it National Novel Writing Month, but really it’s more like National First Draft Writing Month.” — Tim Kim

“I didn’t know what 1,000 words a day looked like before this.” — Lacy

“Thinking about writing is not actually writing, as it turns out.” — Lacy
(“Don’t you hate that?” — Audrey)

“There’s a part of NaNoWriMo–or any daily writing commitment–that’s about faith you’ll write something good, even if it’s just a sentence.” — Audrey

“That’s my rule: Do not read anything you’ve written before, because it will either a) depress you or b) take up  your time.” — Lacy

“So, this idea that the story is in the block of marble, but you must create the block of marble first in order to get to it… maybe that’s NaNoWriMo.” — Audrey

Who’s Who

Chris Baty, Founder of NaNoWriMo, is an author and a teacher. Visit Chris’s website.

Other NaNoWriMo programs — Young Writers Program and Come Write In

Don’t break the chain! Jerry Seinfeld’s method for creative success.

Annie Dillard on writing daily:

Writing a book is like taming a lion – every day you stay out of the cage, it’s more dangerous to step inside.

Ali Smith (author of There But For The) — Read about her writing process.

Jennifer Egan (author of A Visit From the Goon Squad) — Read about her writing process.

Scrivener is an award-winning word processor and project management tool for the Mac and Windows that has been enthusiastically adopted by best-selling novelists and novices alike. As a NaNoWriMo 2013 winner, you will be eligible for a 50% discount on Scrivener’s regular license on either the Mac or Windows platform—see the “Winner’s Goodies” page on December 5 for details. For those who participated and didn’t make their 50,000 words, use the code NANOWRIMO for 20% off until January 1, 2014. Also, because “Scrivener’s first users were Wrimos”, they’re also offering a special trial version that will last you all the way throughout November, even if you’ve tried Scrivener before. Learn more about the Special Trial Version on Scrivener’s website.

Ernest Hemingway always left the writing desk with something left in the tank. Found this in A Moveable Feast:

I had learned already never to empty the well of my writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

NaNoWriMo Success Stories

Since 2006, over 100 NaNoWriMo novels have been released by traditional publishing houses. Hundreds have found homes at smaller presses, countless more have been self-published. Find full lists of these “Published Wrimos” on the NaNoWriMo website. The following were noted during the episode:

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern (Her NaNoWriMo project was the “roughest of rough drafts”.)

Closing Quote

A story is not like a road to follow … it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time.
~ Alice Munro

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