After what might be the most unusual Thanksgiving in the United States, which followed the most unusual Election year, during the most unusual international health crisis, three days remain in National Novel Writing Month where our valiant heroines and heroes of the keyboard are ever-tap-typing and inking towards that 50K word goal.

On this day in 2013, I announced to the then-500 followers of this humble Medium publication that I’d crossed the 50K finish line. Today I’m at 40K, and there are 15,025 of you! 🎉

Maybe I’ll make 50K, but my real, rebellious goal this month was to produce…

How do I NaNo, again?

Posts to check out:

Grant Faulkner, Executive Director for the National Novel Writing Month nonprofit shares from the NaNoWriMo forums:

Stephanie Block, Board Member of the National Novel Writing Month nonprofit shares what she loves about NaNoWriMo.

I did not wake up this morning motivated to write. I was sluggish after drinking wine last night with friends in my “pod.”

But yesterday I declared on Twitter:

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So I got up, made coffee, opened my writing notebook, and inked my way through three pages of meandering thoughts including the never helpful, what am I doing with my life?

Word count: 378. Not terrible.

I updated my word count on the NaNoWriMo website, and saw I’d earned a badge:

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Follow image link to social media banners

Dear NaNoWriMo writers, past, present, and future,

Leo, a middle-school student in the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program once said to me, “I can’t write a novel every month, so November is my month to write a novel.”

When October wanes, Leo’s sage words tickle my imagination. I can’t write a novel first draft every month, but I have written one every November since 2012. When I met Rachael Herron at the Night of Writing Dangerously in 2018, I learned Rachael calls this process fast drafting and she doesn’t limit the practice to November.

Why write a novel now?

There’s so much going on in the world and…

My dog and I have walked McLaren Park daily ... it's such a gorgeous less popular gem in the southern end of San Francisco. Love this s/o to this part of SF.

Dear November Novelists,

It’s after 2pm and I’ve done everything but add to my novel’s word count. I did my morning pages, made a lavish breakfast, talked to friends, walked my dog, cleaned the kitchen, watched Netflix (I’m watching Episodes with Matt LeBlanc, you?), walked the dog again…all the while guilt accumulated with each word I didn’t add to my novel.

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As seen on my dog walk. Do fairies and sprites live here?

I forgot that in middle of NaNoWriMo, my motivation and creativity usually diminish to the equivalent of a wrung-out kitchen sponge.

Then I read Grant Faulkner’s post on this well-known phenomenon. …

The Californian’s Dilemma

I’ve been through a Bay Area exodus before

A person taking a photo of a San Francisco street at the top of its hill on a foggy day.
A person taking a photo of a San Francisco street at the top of its hill on a foggy day.
Photo: Westend61/Getty Images

This week in The Bold Italic, we are publishing The Californian’s Dilemma, a series that goes beyond the headlines about the “California Exodus,” featuring essays from San Franciscans about why they’re choosing to stay or leave. Check back daily for new essays.

I was 11 when I first visited San Francisco and decided, with the innocence and might of youth, that I had to live here.

The memories of that day trip I took with my family are fragmented; hazy around the edges. San Francisco shared characteristics with my hometown of Salinas, California, about an hour and a half south…

NaNoWriMo, Week 3

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sketchbook I use for daily writing

Dear Inner Editor,

Let’s make a deal, an arrangement, an agreement.

November, NaNoWriMo, that is Creator’s month. She and I will write fast and furious, we will use tons of adverbs, we will write messily and sloppily and be open to whatever direction appears before us, interesting and exciting.

We will ignore the rules of punctuation, we will go willy-nilly with verb tenses and typos. We will write run on sentences and use comma splices with wild abandon. At times we will be whiny and complain on the page about life outside the book we are creating.

Posts to read during idle moments, and in between writing sprints.

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Advice from the NaNoWriMo Executive Director, Grant Faulkner:

Want to know more about Grant? The Book Doctors posted an interview with him.

People around Medium participating and writing about NaNo:

These folks adapted the NaNo idea and made it their own:

These brave humans are sharing their drafts as they write:

And I respect those who’ve tried out NaNo, and found it’s not for them:

Have you written a post about NaNoWriMo on Medium — share it in a response!

Want to submit a post to the NaNoWriMo pub on Medium? Leave a private note or response on this post and I’ll add your account.

Thanks for writing, ‘Wrimos! Your creativity and your story matters!

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Morning raven.

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo began when my alarm sang a merry tune at 5:30am. I hit snooze. Inside my imagination, my characters glared at me, rolled over and went back to bed.

When I rose, two snooze cycles later and sat in front of my open laptop, I expected my characters to flow through a scene just following a major confrontation. I wanted my main character to spill a tiny bit of her secrets but not all of them.

Nothing happened.

Fear raged while my creativity still slept. This is stupid. Pointless. You should have stayed in bed. Your characters…

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The office felt spooky today. Maybe it was the colorful, yet ominous, message on the light brite, or possibly my colleagues dressed in costumes.

A trio of women were ‘20’s flappers, reminiscent of The Great Gatsby, and another wore an iconic long red cape paired with a white bonnet, and said her name was Offred. Robin Hood and Cookie Monster popped by, along with an egg and a pink squid. A quartet were dressed as sushi hand rolls, and a different trio were space.

How many Halloween costumes are inspired by stories? What would Halloween be without fiction? We might…

Julie Russell

Board Member of National Novel Writing Month nonprofit, Member of Alabama Street Writers’ Group, Production Engineer at Medium. Opinions are all, always mine.

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