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Guest Post - NaNoWriMo

posted Nov 20, 2012, 4:27 AM by Christine Brower-Cohen
November 20, 2012
Mimi Cross is a multi-talented singer, song-writer, and now, novelist, that I met at a writer's workshop. We immediately hit it off and formed a small writing group with another woman we met at the workshop. Below is a guest post in which she shares her writing tips for a successful NaNoWriMo. Enjoy!

Hi, Christine, thanks for having me as a guest on your blog J

My first NaNoWriMo experience was in 2009. I loved it so much, I’ve participated every year since. This year I’m taking a break, but only because I’m working on editing and revising one of my NaNo manuscripts.

For all those folks who are participating this year, here are some tips to try. They worked for me, so they can work for you. Good luck, Wrimos!

Take Five for NaNoWriMo

Write 50,000 words in 30 days? How? This puzzle has five easy pieces.

1. A Carrot. Set up your reward, NOW.

The SCBWI conference in NYC was the reward I chose for my first NaNo. The conference is in February this year, and registration is open. If you are writing for children and you aren’t a member of SCBWI, I strongly suggest you join—even if you don’t use the winter conference for your reward. This community of writers and editors and agents is your tribe. http://www.scbwi.org

Other possible rewards: Chocolate—actually no, you ought to stock up on that for your writing. How about a nice dinner out? Or you could get some new clothes, or a puppy, a new car, a trip around the world . . . Seriously? Make sure your can actually pay for your reward! Like I said, plan it now.

2.A Website.

I told myself I didn’t need to spend time I didn’t have on the NaNoWriMo site, as refreshingly irreverent and hilarious as it is. Then, I saw the template for my own personal page. I’m an artist—give me any parameter, please! The template is an opportunity to organize.

After a few days of writing I uploaded my title and text and got a word count. I was right on! I uploaded my excerpt that any NaNoWriMo participant would be able to read. Wait!Are you kidding? I’m not telling ANYONE about this! Hmm.

3. A Secret. Enter my pseudonym. The name my son gave me. He was three at the time of my first NaNo. (I didn’t ask for a new name, guess he just figured I needed one. Psychic.) Having a name that felt lucky for me was freeing and—anonymous.

After two weeks, when I realized I’d succeed, (there’s not enough space here to chronicle my doubts, I’ll simply say the NaNo community is awesome! See my blog for advice I gave a blocked writer who supported me in my darkest hour. Wacky, but it works!) I uploaded my picture and confessed my true identity. I added my website link.

My page read, “Mimi Cross The author of I Woke Up One Morning in November and I Realized I Love You the story of two young musicians who become confused during their creative journey, mistaking the highs and lows of their musical efforts for the ups and downs of life itself.” Proof—I was writing a novel.

4. A Circle. At some point I told several accomplished writers what I was doing. Why? I’d be embarrassed if I didn’t complete my goal. Wisely, I chose creative, generous people. All month long, behind the music of Philip Glass, Phish and Böjrk, (the artists my characters listened to at high volumes) I could hear the voices of my mentors cheering.

5. A Rockstar. Don’t Look Back. That’s right, D.A. Pennebaker’s documentary film covering Bob Dylan’s 1965 tour of the UK. If you’re weak like Orpheus, if you turn back and read what you have written, your novel may vanish forever like Eurydice. Write like a runner. Sprint. Outrun your inner critic. Fly. Flow. Let go. Remember Franny and Zooey. A writer writes. NaNoWriMo is about writing. Save the reading—and editing—for later.

Magically enough—and there were many magical moments during my NaNo adventure, I’m convinced there are unseen universal energies at work when it comes to writing—my story developed a beginning, middle and end. One day it will be ready to share.

Here’s the kicker:

As of today, 10/30/2012, I Woke Up One Morning in November and I Realized I Love You still isn’t edited, but that’s okay, because what my first NaNo experience did was clear the pipes.

That's right—3 days before I finished my first NaNo, a blazing new idea lit up my brain. As of today, that manuscript is in the hands of agents—yes, I mean today, right now. So keep your fingers crossed for me, because it’s the first book of a trilogy that’s nearly complete.

Who knew noveling was so addicting?

Remember writers; you can do this. You really can. Let go and allow National Novel Writing Month to have its way with you. It just might change your life.



Wow!  Great guest post!  Thank you, Mimi.

Happy reading and writing,


Christine Brower-Cohen


my teacher webpage