As November nears, this writer is spooked


One of the most frightening days of the year is just around the corner.

National Novel Writing Month begins Nov. 1. (Flickr: Hawthorne Ave.)

National Novel Writing Month begins Nov. 1. (Flickr: Hawthorne Ave.)

This day lurks in dark shadows, mocking me, daring me to come closer, come closer.

And I am not talking about Halloween.

No, I am referring to something that is the stuff of my nightmares – National Novel Writing Month.

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Beginning November 1, this annual event invites writers from around the world to participate in a month-long pledge to roll up their sleeves, put their thinking caps on and get writing.

The goal? A completed 50,000 word novel in 30 days.

Read: Dust off that manuscript and banish your fears

I’m sorry, but for this old girl, it just doesn’t get any scarier than that. For years, I have watched this month come and go, too afraid to dip my toes into the bone-chilling waters of failure.

Rather, I inch myself back from the edge, telling myself that “next year” I will give it a go. I will. I promise.

This year, I am diving in.

According to, in 2012 “341,375 participants started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.”

Roughly half a million writers are expected to take up the challenge in 2013, the website reports.

And here is the fascinating fact that has me hooked: since the organization was founded in 1999, over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published.

They include Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants,” Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus,” Hugh Howey’s “Wool,” Rainbow Rowell’s “Fangirl,” Jason Hough’s “The Darwin Elevator” and Marissa Meyer’s “Cinder.”

What do you think? Are you ready to take the plunge with me?

Kerri S. Mabee is managing editor at Learn more about her at


Kerri S. Mabee

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