Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Fiction, Nonfiction or Memoir…What Will You Write in November?

Do you have a family history project on the back burner? A novel inside your head you have always wanted to write? A half-written nonfiction manuscript stashed somewhere on your computer’s hard drive? November is the perfect time to tap into your creativity and finally get that first draft in place!

Image credit: Pixabay

If you are ready, here are three ways to stop dreaming and start writing.

1. Sign up for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. The very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999 (see Yes, it is an ambitious goal, but could be the “kick in the pants” you need to overcome your fears and get serious about storytelling. If you are committed to cranking out 50,000 words by November 30, click here to create your official NaNoWriMo profile (it’s super easy, I promise. I signed up today).

2. Be a rebel. You may ask, “Do I have to write a novel?”  If a novel is not your thing, don’t despair. You can still participate in NaNoWriMo. See the “What Genres Can I Write In?” section on their website. There is even a special group called NaNo Rebels in the forums for those who works don’t qualify as lengthy fiction. While I have pondered the possibility of writing a novel someday, my own writing roots are planted firmly in the area of creative nonfiction, so for this year I plan to focus on a project for this genre.  I am looking forward to being a “NaNo Rebel.”  Perhaps you can join me?

3. At the very least—start a Blog. Not quite ready to commit to word counts, deadlines, or peer pressure?  Then aim for a smaller goal. Blogging is a great way to take those baby steps to complete a writing project of a bigger scope (sign up for a free account on sites such as Blogger,WordPress, or TypePad). Even if you just wrote 500-600 words once a week (one blog post), you would be making progress. Begin with a small time commitment such as 15 minutes per day (come on, we can all find 15 minutes!) and then work your way up to longer sessions. Schedule this time on your calendar, block out all other distractions (such as Facebook, or other time wasters, social media) and set an alarm or timer. Write until the alarm or timer sounds. You can even make your blog private if you are not ready to share your posts with the world. The goal is to write something—anything.  Remember: You can’t edit a blank page!

Speaking of blogging, during November I will be sharing writing tips and resources on this blog (articles, books, videos, etc.), as well as a number of my favorite writing tools (writing software, productivity apps, and more). If I see any discounts or deals on such products I will also share the information with you. I've even teamed up with my friend and colleague Thomas MacEntee of GeneaBloggers—each week there will be a unique contest on the GeneaBloggers website, where you will be able to enter to win some great prizes (stay tuned or more information). 

In addition, after years of making the excuse that “I don’t have time for NaNoWriMo,” I have decided to take the plunge myself and make the commitment to write those 50,000 words. I am going to focus on a project that has been waiting in the wings for over 10 years, and it is time to finally finish this book. After so many stops and starts, I decided I just need to start with a clean slate. I will share with you here my adventures, progress, successes and frustrations. 

Onward to November!  Let’s start writing!

Copyright 2015, Lisa A. Alzo

All Rights Reserved


Cheryll Toney Holley said...

There's also "Write Non-Fiction in November" which provides a lot of support and resources for nonfiction writers. Their website is

Lisa A. Alzo said...

Yes, Cheryll, I have heard of Write Nonfiction in November. NaNoWriMo seems to be publicized a bit more so that's why I posted about it. My own project may turn out not be entirely nonfiction and so I signed up for NaNoWriMo. Thanks for sharing the information.

mandorac said...

I signed up, my author name is mandorac. I tried finding you, Lisa, but no luck.

Lisa A. Alzo said...

Hello, Mandorac:

I will be participating as GenWriter.


mandorac said...

Great! I'll look for you there! :-)

Kristin said...

Maybe this is just what I need to finally get my book-in-my-mind organized and on paper.

Jana Last said...


I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

Have a great weekend!

Kelly Martin said...

Good advice! You make me wanna write!