Sign up to the newsletter

Writers' & Artists' Blog

Back in the Saddle Again

Writing advice

My first NaNoWriMo winners’ certificate indicates that I participated and won for the first time in 2005. I can’t say it feels like yesterday, but I do have some clear memories of the experience. I didn’t know if I could write a complete story; I had never really tried. I didn’t know if I could create living characters, or even make it to the end of the first chapter. All I had was an idea for a book: who would be in it, why they would be there, and how it would end. I was scared of failing but I was driven by a deep need to find out what I could do.

After years of being a driven proto-professional, I had fallen off the cliff of motherhood. I was unemployed and at home with a toddler. Doing NaNoWriMo was the suggestion of a friend in a similar situation. “Just try it,” she said, like any good pusher. So I signed up on the website and set up a desk. I even made a calculation of how many words I would have to produce per day. Then, on November 1st, I sat down and started. …

Read more | 0 comments

Why You Should Take Part In NaNoWriMo

Writing advice

When I was first asked to make a guest blog post about NaNoWriMo, I was probably not in the best position to do so.  I had fallen out of love with my plot and while I was still pretty sure how the story was supposed to end, I had no idea how to even begin this novel.  I was frustrated and worried that November 1st would roll around and I would be unable to find the words to even begin the story.  And so, I confess that I was thinking of throwing in the towel.

What kept me from backing out of NaNoWriMo, however, were my writing buddies who refused to let me walk away before I’d even started.

I was asked to talk about why I think NaNoWriMo is beneficial to writers.  There is certainly a good deal that I can say in regards to this.  I could tell you that NaNoWriMo is for ALL writers, from hobbyist to professional to everyone in between.  I could talk about how for one month out of the year, we are given the permission to focus, heart and soul, on one of the …

Read more | 0 comments

NaNoWriMo Profile: Katie Gerrard


Name: Katie Gerrard


Hometown: London

Occupation: Employment Adviser

When/where do you write? With a job and young children I need to make time to write. I enjoy a blissful few hours at home on Tuesday and Friday mornings so this will be my bulk writing time and I’ll sneak an hour or two in the evenings after the kids are in bed.

Writing background: I’m lucky enough to have two non-fiction books published by the wonderful people over at Avalonia Books; “Odin’s Gateways’ a beginner’s guide to the runes and ‘Seidr: The gate is open’ about Nordic witchcraft.

Moving over to creative writing has been more challenging than I ever imagined. I’ve had some small successes; a short story accepted for an anthology and becoming shortlisted for the Writers' and Artists' historical fiction competition but it’s fair to say I’m still honing my craft. I was delighted to be part of the WoMentoring project and lucked out with my mentor, …

Read more | 0 comments

My NaNoWriMo Experience

Steve Wilson

During the years leading up to November 2011, I was regularly writing short stories, but I didn’t contemplate taking on anything longer than about 5,000 words as I didn’t think I’d be able to maintain anything approaching novel length. I did have an idea for a longer work, and did some initial note jotting for it, but that was as far as it went – until one of my colleagues at my local writing group, told us all how he had taken the NaNoWriMo plunge in 2010, and had come out of it with a first draft of his historical novel.

I was intrigued by this, and decided to look a little further into the process. I registered on the site in October 2011, and then did something I’d never previously done – I spent the rest of the month plotting out my novel, Who Wants To Live Forever, taking the idea I’d had some years previously as a starting point. I found this to be the single most important part of the process. By the time November 1st arrived, I knew who my characters were, what …

Read more | 2 comments

The Key To NaNoWrimo Success

Sharon Sant

People who know me will point and laugh at the title of this blog post. Planning is not a word that features strongly in my vocabulary and I’m certainly not known for it. In life I tend to be quite spontaneous, often impulsive, and my writing frequently follows that ethos. This is not a problem for the most part (we all work differently, after all) but throw into the mix a time constraint, and that’s when my natural way of working becomes an issue. 

The first time I participated in NaNoWriMo I used it to write the last instalment in my young adult Sky Song trilogy. The first two books, Sky Song and The Young Moon, had already been written, and the overall story had progressed to a point at which the final book could only follow a certain path. In lieu of a plan, I had the denouement the previous two instalments had driven me towards and the last book, Not of Our Sky, almost wrote itself.  Page after page flashed by, the words tumbling out. How easy, I thought, is this …

Read more | 2 comments