November is National Novel Writing Month

November is National Novel Writing Month
November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I plan to participate. I will, however, be breaking a few rules. The first of which is that I won’t be writing a novel and in the spirit of Kaizen (continuous improvement), my goal will be 500-1000 words a day instead of NaNoWriMo’s 2000 word a day recommendation. So I’m kind of thinking of it as Write Your Heart Out Month. Then next year I will participate following all of the rules. This year is practice.

Although I won’t be writing a novel, I will work on some fiction so I went to the public library’s website and borrowed a digital copy of Fast Fiction: A Guide to Outlining and Writing a First Draft Novel in Thirty Days by Denise Jaden. Jaden wrote two subsequently published novels during NaNoWriMo and teaches readers how to accomplish the same goal, step-by-step.

It’s been awhile since I picked up a book on writing and Fast Fiction reminds me of how writing advice is very similar to general self help advice.

For example, Jaden writes, “Always take the time to remember what makes you excited and passionate about your story, and write from that place about those things.” This is life coaching advice that I’ve been reading for years--remember what inspires and motivates you then focus on those things.

And there is some Law of Attraction/Visualization advice. Jaden says, before you write each day “Engage your mind first. You can think about anything, but my one rule is that you have to think about something you want to think about, not something you need to think about.”

There is also a lesson on being mindful or present in the moment. “During your thirty days of drafting, don’t look back at what you’ve written over the previous days,” writes Jaden. “By looking back you’ll be tempted to edit, and looking back opens the door for self-doubt to creep in.”

Perhaps I became attracted to life coaching for the same reasons I started to write as I find them both life affirming. This quote from Jaden’s book reminds me to have faith: “Stories work their way forward in unique ways.”

Writing can improve your life--and your mind according to an article on by Jenni Ogden who says “I am convinced that creative writing is one of the best exercises we can do for the aging brain.” Ogden contends that creative writing engages both hemispheres of the brain--and reading fiction engages both sides as well, “at least if the reader is engaged in the story.”

On her website, romance author Helena Fairfax cites research findings that say when you read a book and care about characters, your brain releases oxytocin – the bonding chemical. So why not bond with characters of your own creation for an entire month during NaNoWriMo and get that brain aroused and working?

There are rules, but no one will stop you if you need to bend them a little as I will be doing.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual month long event where on November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. “Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline...NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel,” say the organizers in a press release.

Since NaNoWriMo’s inception in 2006 hundreds of novels first drafted during the event have been published. A list is of published works are provided on the website. For more information visit

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