Ready, Set, Write! It’s time for #NaNoWriMo and #AcWriMo. -->

Where instructors and editors talk writing.

Ready, Set, Write! It’s time for #NaNoWriMo and #AcWriMo.

Do you thrive under pressure? Need to set a few goals for yourself and your writing? Want to challenge yourself in your writing?

November marks the beginning of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo). This is the month for writers and academics across the globe to come together for accountability and motivation to start that novel they’ve always wanted to write or to work on an academic writing project. It’s a great chance for writers to get involved in a goal-oriented and fun writing community!

AcWriMo: Are you in?

Have you ever considered jumping on the writing bandwagon? Tobias Ball (Dissertation Editor and Developmental Editing Coordinator), Amber Cook (Manager of Program Outreach and Faculty Support), and Nathan Sacks (Writing Instructor) of our Writing Center staff have participated or are considering participating in NaNoWriMo. Here’s what they have to say:

Why did you choose to participate in AcWriMo and/or NaNoWriMo?

Tobias Ball (Dissertation Editor and Developmental Editing Coordinator): “I did it because [a coworker] ...suggested I give it a try. I had an idea for a novel that I had not yet started, so I went for it.”

Amber Cook (Manager of Program Outreach and Faculty Support): “I needed a kickstart for a writing project I’d been dreaming about for a while. I was always overwhelmed at the idea of committing to such a long-term goal, so having a month-long challenge made it seem much more doable.”

Nathan Sacks (Writing Instructor): “Any writing practice is good writing practice, and I look at NaNoWriMo as a chance to work on a completely new project I have never thought of or worked on before.”

You participated in NaNoWriMo in the past. What were the drawbacks to participating?

Tobias: “There were no drawbacks. It was fun and I wrote 85,000 words in 4 weeks. It felt good to start and complete something.”

Amber: “I got really behind on my Netflix queue. :) [Also] November is a tough month, with Thanksgiving travel and pre-holiday business, and I lost some steam at the end last time. I have a desk job, so it was sometimes hard to make myself spend yet another few hours at a desk for so many days in a row.”

What particular challenges did you experience or do you expect to encounter?

Tobias: “My regular pattern is to start my day with about an hour of writing. […] I added some writing time at night.”

Nathan: “If you can’t write one day because of an emergency or other reason, it may be harder to get back on the saddle and keep working for the rest of November. [Another challenge is] running up against the limits of my knowledge and imagination, which is always when I generate the best stuff.”

What benefit would it be to Walden students to participate in AcWriMo and/or NaNoWriMo?

Amber: “The short-term nature of the challenge helps keep the end in sight, so it doesn’t seem as overwhelming as, say, a 12-month project. It also provides a helpful accountability framework, allowing you to connect with others on the same solitary journey and reminding you to stay on track with your page count.”

Are YOU up for the challenge? See PhD2Published's AcWriMo 2014 announcement and the NaNoWriMo official website for more details.
Practice: For the next 10 minutes, think about a writing goal that you have for this month. Then, declare your goal in the comments! Remember to provide feedback to other writers to help them stay motivated and accountable towards their goals.  


Rachel Grammer
 is a writing instructor and the coordinator of student messaging at the Walden Writing Center. The best writing advice she has received is to turn off the "internal editor" when beginning a paper--a great tip for starting AcWriMo or NaNoWriMo!

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  1. My goal is to work past the life emergencies that have plagued me this autumn and to write daily from 9am to 2pm daily for one month in 20 minutes stretches. Realizing this may not happen because of life around me until the 26th, I will write each day for 28 days.

    1. Lisa, thanks for sharing with us! That's a great goal, and it's also wise to take life circumstances into account so that the goal is realistic. Good luck, and let us know how it goes!