NaNoWriMo Day 1: Report from the Frontlines

In all my “National Writing Encouragement Day” excitement last week, I forgot to mention that I’d signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) myself this year, a quest of literary insanity in which participants from all over the world compete against the clock to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days. That translates into a daily writing average of 1,667 words — not necessarily good words. Just words.

I tried NaNo twice before — failed miserably. Wait. I take that back. I didn’t complete the 50K word goal, but I guess I can’t call the effort a miserable failure — it did get me in the writing state of mind. That was back before I was writing full time, so anything helped. Not long after, I began working on TWENTY BOY SUMMER and spent the next few years doing that rather than participating in NaNo. Then I was on to FIXING DELILAH HANNAFORD, which I just completed revising. But this year, when NaNo came around, the timing was perfect again. I was done with Delilah, I’m awaiting agent feedback on a partial of my third book, and here I am, sitting in this perfect storm of an opportunity to start something new. And I mean totally new — a completely different style and genre then my previous contemporary YA romance type stuff.

NaNoWriMo kicked off at midnight this morning, November 1. Between the wee hours of 12 and 4:30 AM (which was really like 5:30 because the clocks rolled back midway through it all), I hit 2,323 words. There’s no accounting for taste here, but it’s kind of a big deal for me. Like a custom theme-song, dance-worthy big deal, because I’m the kind of writer who labors over every sentence and edits as I go. It’s a slow process for me — sometimes painfully so. But I’m using NaNo to work on that, allowing myself to write fast and revise later.

It’s been one day. So far, so good. More to come. Speaking of which, time to get back to work!

Best of luck to all the NaNo peeps out there! I’m sarahockler on the boards if you want to buddy me.

Grounded From NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMoToday kicks off National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, a collective mad dash to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

According to the site, NaNoWriMo is “celebrating ten years of literary abandon” this year. Hey, there’s even a viking helmet!

NaNo’s official swag shop says the logo, emblazoned on t-shirts and coffee mugs and other fun stuff, “boldly proclaims your November literary ambitions while connecting you to a writing lineage that stretches back to the 50,000-word Norse sagas penned by sensitive, coffee-drinking Vikings on the backs of walruses.”

Well. Now you know.

I have in my possession neither a viking helmet nor a walrus writing companion (nor a NaNo t-shirt or mug, but if you’re looking for holiday gift ideas, I would prefer the walrus writing companion), but even if I did, I wouldn’t be able to join the literary hordes in plundering and pillaging the world of words this month.

Sad But True: Top Ten Reasons Why Sarah is Grounded from NaNo

  1. My friends and family already hate me for going into hiding over my current work-in-progress
  2. My Mac battery is acting all wonky, making it impossible to write in coffee shops and complain loudly and publicly about the trials and tribulations of being a literary superstar (aka “Kind of a Big Deal Around Here”)
  3. NaNo would seriously cut into my Facebook face time
  4. My husband will leave me if I keep coming up with excuses for why I don’t have time to shower
  5. My agent will kill me if I start working on something else before turning in book 2
  6. My editor — yeah, ibid on book 2
  7. I’ve just about forgotten what the sun looks like
  8. I don’t have enough leftover Halloween candy to get me through the 1,666.7 words-per-day output required
  9. I don’t have enough wine to get me through the 1,666.7 words-per-day output required
  10. I forgot to pay the idea fairy this month, so I won’t be able to work on anything new until December 1, and then, only if I pay her double plus interest

But alas! Just because I can’t get m’ NaNo on this year doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! If you’ve been waiting for a sign from the universe to start that novel, let this be it! Go to and sign up now. I’ll be cheering from the sidelines for all of you adventurous writers, and I’ll be checking in on your progress via NaNo’s community forums, WrimoRadio, and author blogs.

So? What are you waiting for1?

1. Yes, T.S., I’m taking to you!

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Friends, Writers, Models, Love.

I somehow caused a minor freak-out among you Coloradoans in an email about my Web site last night when I casually mentioned that I’d stopped sleeping in preparation for our move back to NY (you know, since Denver is such a shiny happy morning person town and NY is full of vampires who never sleep). Everyone – I mean everyone – in the mile-high called or emailed or in one case (*ahem* TRISH) showed up at my cube for a personal lashing.

Let me clarify that we’re not moving tomorrow or the day after that or even in 2007. We’re moving in, like, April. But still… 6 months will go fast (especially when you’re a hallucinating, sleep-deprived zombie). According to the secret little calendar I keep in my desk drawer to mark off the time left in the office, I’ve only got 110 BIC (butt in chair) days to go. You might wanna get in line to start showin’ the love soon.

Enough about morning people. For our New York friends and family, please sign up for your rotation in the Freeloader Support Network (FSN). By donating floor or bed space for just one week to a month (don’t let us limit your generosity!), you, too, can take part in this exciting, ground-breaking experiment whereby Alex and I will live rent-free for an entire year on a rotational, revolving basis until all of our once-cherished friends grow weary from our constant presence. In return for your gracious hospitality, we’ll write your name on a temporary honorary notebook-paper-plaque in permanent, licorice-scented magic marker for prominent, short-term display in each of our lovely host homes. As an added incentive, if you throw in food, we’ll draw hearts in cherry-scented marker around your name!!!


NaNoWriMoI really think I’m on to something here. Anyway, while you’re checking your calendars and your spouses’ tolerance level for uninvited, unemployed, unshowered (but loyal and loveable) guests, please join me in wishing all of this year’s participating NaNoWriMo authors (speaking of unshowered) the best of luck! I wish I could join in, but I’ve been working on book 2 and can’t get off track. Plus… America’s Next Top Model. Oh, don’t tell Alex I said that. It’s this dirty little secret between us. He knows the show makes me feel entirely inadequate as a person, which is why I love it, but whatever. Just because I put on glitter lip gloss and ask him about boob jobs and leg extensions while crying in front of the mirror during commercials does not mean I shouldn’t watch the most intellectually-stimulating show of our time.

Besides, there’s a Web site. Tap tap tap.

“What are you doing, Bims?” (that’s what he calls me)
“Uhm, working on those book two revisions…”
“Oh, okay. I’m glad you turned off that trashy show.”

He pretends he doesn’t know. He pretends he doesn’t want to watch the show himself. He’s very sweet that way.