Me a Wrimo? – A Newbie’s Perspective on NanoWriMo

VaNessa2012a~ By Leigh Duvan

5 months ago I decided to pursue writing fiction on a professional level to fulfill a lifelong dream. My genre: Contemporary Romance.

I found my way to our RWA chapter after a 15 year break from membership and a first writing attempt. My career took over and my love or writing continued with minor professional pursuit. I write blog posts and business articles related to my “non writing” profession on a regular basis. The writing process doesn’t always come easy to me yet it doesn’t scare me either. I have a lot to learn about process and am one to never step away from a challenge. Somehow, someway, that I don’t even remember, I found NanoWriMo back in June.

I started a free account and became a lurker on their website. Fascinated by the challenge of writing 50,000 in 30 days, I contemplated pursuing the challenge. The idea stayed in the back of my mind. The summer came to a close and school started for the kids and life got busy again. October arrived, along with my birthday and an email from letting subscribers know we had less than 30 days until the 2013 Challenge begins. is an organization that serves writers of all genres, not just romance. They expect over 500,000 writers to participate this year.

Here’s a link to their press release announcing November’s National Writing Month:

It’s a simple process.

You sign up for a free account on and fill out your profile where you share a bit about yourself and story. Then come back on November 1st and start entering your daily word counts. At the end of the month if you’ve completed your 50,000 words you submit your story for verification.

And here’s why I like the idea.

a)    You’re goal is to write, write, and write everyday for thirty days which holds you accountable to yourself to reach a goal of 50,000 words

b)   You’re not expected to complete a perfect novel, it’s a draft (that made me feel much better).

c)    Your goal is the get the story out and see what flows. If you like a challenge with a prize at the end, then this is for you. Games like these help me get unstuck.

d)   There’s a whole community of writers in all genres that comes together once a year to go for the challenge and help each other

e)    There’s local meetings and online support to mix and mingle with other writers.

As a matter of fact, I made the “final” decision to participate a few days ago when I went to my local “NanoWriMo 2013 Kick Off Event” here in my town, to check it out and see if it really was a fit. I met other writers of all genres and thank goodness there was one other Contemporary Romance Writer there too.

And so here among my friends, I publicly commit to NanoWriMo 2013 – 50,000 words in thirty days.

Bottom line, I realized that my writing is personal to me and I’m the only one who can do it. Yet as the song sings: We get by with a little help from our friends.

You see, I’m a mom of two busy kids and I have a business that keeps me busy 40-60 hours a week. If I don’t do something like NanoWriMo to challenge me I could see letting more time slip away from me without my stories being told. I’ve already prepped my husband for support.

I’m using this opportunity to jump start myself and remove all excuses. I’d love you to come along with me. Think about it, what’s the worst that can happen? I’m very competitive and I want to complete the full challenge of 50,000 words and you know what? Even 20,000 words would be more than I have complete now and I’d be happy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m going in with the mission of making it all the way.
It’s a 30-day challenge.  A thirty-day habit builder, a thirty-day commitment to my characters.

Find out more about NanoWriMo on their website: and if you decide to participate make sure to let me know and I’ll add you as a buddy.

Leigh Duvan lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband, 2 young children, 2 dogs and the man they call Grampy. She writes sweet and sassy romance and is working her way towards publication of her first Single Title Contemporary. Whenshe’s not writing or reading romance novels, Leigh spends her time researching her characters experiences through her “other life” as a marketing professional in the Technology Industry, which gives her the opportunity to travel the world and meet all kinds of interesting people. You can connect with her at:

14 thoughts on “Me a Wrimo? – A Newbie’s Perspective on NanoWriMo”

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  2. Debra Sennefelder

    Good luck, Leigh. While I won’t be officially participating in NaNo, I will dig into my current WIP and finish it by the end of November. I know several writers who swear by NaNo and it works for them. Enjoy the time to focus on your writing.

  3. I love NaNoWriMo! It’s the reason I started writing fiction again after a twenty year break. Both my debut novel and the follow-up coming out in December began life as NaNoWriMo projects.

    In the end, even if I only write 5,000 words–that’s 5,000 more than I would’ve had if I hadn’t participated.

    You’ll love it. Good luck!

    1. Another NaNo success — wahoo! Agreed….whatever I get written will be more than I started with and that will be a success for me.

  4. I know several authors who DO participate in this — some are already published and some not quite yet — and those who do NaNo seem to really love it. I have not yet succumbed to the urge to participate in NaNoWriMo.
    For me, November always seems to be when I’m in the middle of edits or re-writes, or something else which eats up most of my time, but does not reflect well in daily word counts.
    Perhaps one of these years, I’ll have a November which is “open”.
    I’ve already proven to myself that I can crank out 50k in 30 days, because I just completed a 90k + first draft in six weeks — my 8th completed novel.
    [Three have been published and another should be released within a few weeks.]
    I enjoy writing sprints, so NaNo could be considered something like a dozen back-to-back marathons of sprints, I suppose.

    1. Hey Jeff,
      I love hearing your accomplishments and that you already know you can crank out 50K in 30 days. Congrats on 90K in 6 weeks…Wow! You give me hope 🙂

      Hopefully this challenge will set me on the path of forward motion I’m looking for as a sprint.

  5. Good luck, Leigh! NaNo was the kickstarter for me to write. That book will never see the light of day, but I enjoyed the process so much that I kept writing and was published with Grand Central earlier this year. And it all started because of NaNo.

    Good luck! 1,667 words per day isn’t all that daunting. You can do it!!!

    1. Thanks Abigail. Great point…doesn’t matter what happens with this book — it is the process I’m really after. The discipline and commitment to “get er done”. Great to haer NaNo is what started it for you.

  6. Hi, Leigh. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo the last five years. I “won” the two of those years, but whether I made the 50,000 or not, I have the start of five novels. The book I wrote two years ago is published. I’ll find you on the NaNo site.

    1. Hey Stephanie…I’ll look for you too! Would be great to have a buddy this year! And I love that you have 5 novels started from the process. That is the journey.

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