Monthly Archives: November 2016

Word-count Wednesday #5

Hello fellow writers!

This is it! The final Word-count Wednesday! Can you believe that Nanowrimo is almost over? If you reach 50,000 words by midnight be sure to validate your word count. The validator might become a little slow in the last hour so try not to wait until last minute.

Early this morning I crossed the finish line, the official final word count was 50,132 words! This is slightly more words than Microsoft Word said I had, so be sure to keep in mind that the validator might not match whatever program you are writing in.nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_winner

I hope you have crossed the finish line along with me, or will in the next few hours but if not you should still be proud of what you’ve accomplished. You have more of your novel written than you did at the beginning of the month whether you wrote 100 words, a thousand words or more. This isn’t the end of all the writing fun either, you can check out the forums for things to keep you busy in ‘Life After Nano’ and you can make a promise to revise and edit your story. This isn’t the end, this is just the beginning! Also, if you’re interested in trying to publish your novel the library has lots of books to help with editing and publishing!


National Square Dance Day

November 29th is National Square Dance Day, a great day to get out and do-si-do! Did you know that square dancing is also the state dance of Illinois?

In 1990, Governor Thompson signed a law that named Square Dancing, the official American folk dance of Illinois. Square dancing gained a lot of popularity in the United States but it has roots that reach back to Europe in the 15th century. You can learn more about square dancing here or check out our books related to square dancing.

Word-count Wednesday #4

Hello fellow writers!

The target word count for today, November 23th is 38,333 words. For once I am a little bit ahead of schedule at 38,910 words, it is part of my plan to enjoy Thanksgiving. Since my family celebrates the holiday, I have tried to build in a little buffer to the word-count. The only time I will have to write tomorrow is after I’ve cleaned the house but before all of the guests arrive. I recommend not worrying about your word-count tomorrow, if you have time to write congratulations, you rock! If not, that’s okay there is still time to catch up.

If you’re somehow already at 50,000 words or you get there this weekend then don’t forget to validate your word-count! You just paste the text of your novel into the validator on the website, and if you have 50,000 words you’ll win! You get access to some snazzy offers by companies that promote Nanowrimo and a nice winner’s certificate. Be aware that the word-count validator on the website will not quite match whatever your writing program is (Word, Pages, etc.), sometimes you will have more words than you thought and sometimes less so be prepared.

This week let’s get some advice from James Patterson to help get us through to the end:

Get into a writing routine. Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.

Don’t stress. I don’t mean to undermine the above, but remember this is one month, not your entire writing career. Try hard, learn from it, and if you don’t get to 50,000 words, figure out what you did wrong so you can get there next time.” (James Patterson 2013 Pep Talk)

There’s just one more week to go! We can do it!

Word-count Wednesday #3

Hello fellow writers!

We’ve reached that middle stretch of Nanowrimo, and November. Today’s word count goal is 26,666 words, and for once I am exactly on track. But regardless of whether you have reached the halfway point in your novel and written around 25,000 words or if you just have a couple thousand written you should be proud of yourself.

But beware, we’ve also reached the point where sometimes the magic fades from your story, where you start to wonder why you are trying to finish this story and whether you should give up and write something else… Guess what? You’re not alone, and even authors like John Green face these sorts of doubts:

At this point, you’ve probably realized that it’s nearly impossible to write a good book in a month. I’ve been at this a while and have yet to write a book in less than three years. All of us harbor secret hopes that a magnificent novel will tumble out of the sky and appear on our screens, but almost universally, writing is hard, slow, and totally unglamorous. So why finish what you’ve started? Because in two weeks, when you are done, you will be grateful for the experience. (John Green 2010 Pep Talk)

Even Chris Baty, who helped launch Nanowrimo and turned it into what it is today, struggled through the midway blues:

NaNoWriMo participants go through their own long, dark nights of the soul halfway through November. If you haven’t experienced one already, you will very soon…[But] the back half of NaNoWriMo has always been a place where writers get their second winds. As long as you keep working, your potatoes will turn back into charismatic protagonists, and your imagination will build a path right out of these mid-month doldrums.

You can help build that path faster by hitting your writing goals for the next three days. This may sound like a small thing, but little, consistent writing achievements open the door to huge writing breakthroughs. (Chris Baty 2012 Pep Talk)

Chris Baty gives even more helpful tips in his book, No Plot, No Problem which you can borrow from the library. So don’t give up! Let’s stay on track and push past these mid-month blues!

Word-count Wednesday #2

Hello fellow writers!
Today’s target word count is 15,000 words! That’s over a quarter of the way through your novel. If you’re caught up or even ahead of schedule congratulations! If you’re behind I want you to know that you’re not alone, as of right now I am at 12,754 words, and to not be discouraged. Sometimes life throws obstacles in your way, and you need to spend time doing other things like homework and that is alright. Just keep chipping away and writing whenever you can, no matter how far you get you’ll have created something amazing at the end of the month. The author of the Bartimaeus trilogy and the Lockwood and Company series, Jonathan Stroud perfectly summed up the magic of what we can accomplish this month:

Alchemists tried for centuries to turn base metals into gold. Every time we sit down and put words on paper, we succeed where they failed. We’re conjuring something out of nothing. (Jonathan Stroud 2008 Pep Talk)

Of course, there are also some strategies that you can use to bulk up your word count if you’re trying to catch up or get ahead:
Word Sprints: A word sprint is a timed writing challenge: set a timer, open up your draft, then race against the clock to add words to your novel. You can either challenge yourself or if you’re better spurred on by competition like me you can join a group word sprint. The personal word sprint option on the website also offers dare such as “Give a minor character a backstory” if you need inspiration. Check it out here!
Dares: A dare challenges you to include new things in your writing, and is a great way to gain an extra bit of inspiration even if they often verge on the ridiculous. You can check out all the dares and tips from other writers at
Good luck with your writing this week and remember we can do this!

Word-count Wednesday #1

As you may have heard November is National Novel Writing Month (also known as Nanowrimo)! At you can sign up, and track your word count as you tackle the challenge of writing 50,000 words (a novel!) during November. This might sound a bit crazy but you will not be alone, there are regions ( that have libraries and coffee shops that hosting write-ins where you can gather and write in a group, and forums ( that have writing tips and prompts. My personal favorite is ‘Nanowrimo Ate My Soul’ which is excellent when you are struggling with the next couple hundred words. Also, all throughout the month of November, I will be attempting Nanowrimo right alongside you, and I will post weekly ‘Word-count Wednesday’ updates.

This week’s word count is 392 words. So clearly I am already a little bit behind (the daily goal is 1,667 words) but never fear this is only the beginning!
Rainbow Rowell started writing Fangirl during Nanowrimo and in her 2013 pep talk (which you can read in its entirety HERE) she wrote:

I kept almost every word I wrote during NaNoWriMo. That 50,000-word pile I made wasn’t a mess at all. It’s some of the bravest writing I’ve ever done…NaNoWriMo helped me push past so many of my doubts and insecurities and bad habits. And I think that’s partly why I love Fangirl so much now—because I remember how swept away I felt when I was writing it.

So let’s not get discouraged! We can write 50,000 words, we just have to start and make a habit of writing every day. Let me know how far into your novel you are, and I will check back in next Wednesday.

National Novel Writing Month

Have you ever wanted to write a book? Well you’re in luck! November is National Novel Writing Month (also known as Nanowrimo). The challenge is to write 50,000 words during the month of November. The goal of this challenge is to encourage writing! You do not need to make your story perfect on the first draft, and Nanowrimo is about writing your first draft, defeating writer’s block and ignoring your ‘inner editor’. To learn more about Nanowrimo and to sign up you can visit:

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

For information about writing including tips you can check out previous Nanowrimo pep talks, and books at the library (click here)!