Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

A note on November

Once again, I’m joining the ranks of amateur novelists, participating in NaNoWriMo.

And once again, I’m reminded how awesome Pittsburgh is: at last count we have over 30 writing events in November, so if you see a group of people frantically typing  (and possibly wearing silly hats), stop over and ask how their word count is doing.

I’ll be back later this week with some more posts, but I just wanted to drop in quickly.  If you’re interested in writing, it’s never to late to start, and we’re a great group to have fun with.  And besides, there’s always good food where we write/meet!

Blog to read: 101 Achievements

I’ve mentioned before on here about my involvement with National Novel Writing Month.  One of the cool things about it, is how writers across Pittsburgh get together for write-ins.  These, along with our kick-off and Thank God It’s Over parties are put together by our Municipal Liaison, Jenn.

She has an awesome blog which I wanted to spotlight, called 101 Achievements.  The idea is her and her husband working on accomplishing 101 different tasks, many of which revolve around cultural and food events in Pittsburgh.  Be sure to check out, and you can track their progress by seeing which achievements have been linked on the sidebar.

My favorite achievement they’ve done?  Number 86: Celebrate something imaginary in a nice restaurant.  They get tons of points for the props they used:

Crowdsourcing a new write-in location

As you’ve probably heard, Borders will be closing three local locations, including Monroeville.  That is where the National Novel Writing Month east write-ins have been held.  We would gather in the cafe, people watch, be amazed at the random electrical outlet up at the ceiling (we called it the spiderman plug) and work on crafting great novels.

Now however, we’re going to need someplace new, so I’d like to ask for some suggestions.  Barring in mind that I’m not actually in charge, I’m just trying to help out our Municipal Liason (who is awesome by the way, I’ll be writing about her awesome blog probably next week).  Here’s what we need in a location:

  • Ability to seat about 10 people (we usually get about that many on the weekend write-ins, and about half that during the week).  We’re not the biggest write-in location, but we’re dependable six or seven write-ins a month
  • Two electrical sockets.  We bring our own surge protectors/power strips.  We’ve learned that lesson from experience.
  • Wi-Fi.  You know, for research… And I wrote my book in Google Docs last year, so it was nice to just write in the cloud.
  • Caffeine.  Totally optional, but we’ll buy food and drink from the location we’re in, and probably whatever else is for sale (I usually left Borders with new books to read)
  • A fondness for strangeness.  We wear funny hats when we write, it helps with the creative process, and allows us to find each other easier.  So when you see me come in wearing a Viking helmet, Mad Hatter hat, or something else equally odd, you’ll know we’re there.

Barnes and Noble is an option, although they have a smaller seating area, and the last few times I was there, their Wi-Fi was pitiful.  We’ve used the Panera in Penn Center in Wilkins, and that was a good spot (plus, unlike the Panera in Monroeville, the staff is friendly and gets my orders correct).

But I guess I’m kind of interested to see if there is some place off the beaten path, I know we had tried to set up some write-ins in Oakmont last year, but I don’t think that ever got off the ground.  We’re generally fairly quiet, bring in business (as well as publishing the fact that we’re at your location a lot), and I can even get you a cool “Write Your Novel Here” window cling to hang up.

So, any ideas?

Urbanophile, Waffle Shop and NaNoWriMo

Couple items for everyone today.  Urbanophile profiled Pittsburgh.  We’ve heard it all before (the Steel bust, our revival, rest of the country claims we don’t matter that much, check the comments for that one), so it’s becoming a bit cliche.  I was alerted to it from The Daily Dish (a British blog that mostly talks about American politics), so it’s getting some traction.  Anyway, take a look, and make sure to check out the comments.

Waffle Shop is looking for a manager.  If you have experience in restaurant management and want to work in one of the most unique restaurants in the country, check it out.

And finally today, writing has been a bit slow on the site due to my annual, crazy dive into National Novel Writing Month.  Pittsburgh has an awesome group writing this year, and you’re more than welcome to join in.  If you’re not up for writing the book that’s been bouncing around you head this year, you can still help out. 

We’re collecting books (new or used) in support of creative writing programs that The Office of Letters and Light (NaNoWriMo’s parent organization) offers free in schools around the world.  You can drop off books at any of the events listed on our forum (or just see what we’re talking about), and learn more about the book drive here.

Leave a comment if you need help finding a time/place to donate books, I’ll make sure you get hooked up with someone in your area.

I think I have some awesome posts in the works, and maybe even a give-away, so stay tuned!

NaNoWriMo end of month stats

Once again, I participated in National Novel Writing Month, where people around the world (yes, it says National, but it’s really international) set out to write 50,000 word novels in 30 days.

It’s crazy, a lot of fun, and I went to a lot of really awesome write-ins this year, where I donned my viking helmet, and we were also graced by pirate hats and bunny ears.

Anyway, Pittsburgh came in 40th place, writers in the Steel City producing over nine million words.  Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Now that it is over, I find myself with all kinds of extra time, and most free moments I stop and think that I should be working on my novel.  More posts coming soon, enjoy the snow everybody!

Writing at Panera

Once again, I’ll be spending November writing a 50,000 word novel.  As of this writing, there are currently over 1,000 (1,080) participants from Pittsburgh.  Right now, five of us are busily writing at Panera Bread in Wilkins, and write-ins are happening all the time, all over the city.

Join in if you want, or watch as we attempt to beat both Sacramento and Philadelphia in a word-war that will be going on all month.

In the meantime, I’ll be back later tonight and all this week with Waffle Shop Week.  The good folks from CMU went a bit crazy with the uploads, and there’s all kinds of syrup-ey goodness to share.  And I’ll be back on Tuesday with another installment of PATransit Tuesday.  I’ll be chronicling some Christmas Creep, and later in the month, geeking out to Star Wars in Concert.

Enjoy the beautiful day everybody, catch you later!

Nothing left to write

NaNoWriMo 2008No, I’m not leaving metblogs, just writing about a fun event that comes around every year.  November is National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo.  This crazy event challenges amateur (and professional) writers around the world to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  The goal is quantity over quality: understanding you’re going to write crap, but for once, actually sitting down, undertaking a massive creative feat, and turning off your inner editor for a month of twists and turns through the story coming from your mind.

In total, the authors writing in Pittsburgh wrote over seven million words (7, 391,876 to be exact), placing it in 33rd out of over 400 regions.  That is a crazy number.  50,000 words is around 80 pages (single spaced in Word), I can’t even imagine seven million.

So now, after all the write-ins taking place Downtown and in Cranberry, Oakland and Monroeville, a kick-off party at the Waterfront and a Thank God It’s Over party at  Spaghetti Warehouse, the writers (including myself) find themselves with no pressing deadline, no excuse to consume mass amounts of caffeine and alienate themselves from friends and family (well, except the usual excuses).  And it is a strange feeling.  But it is nice to relax, and remember that there are other things to do besides write each day.  And in the meantime, until next November, I can breathe a little easier, as I wait for midnight on November 1 when I can start the mad dash towards 50,000 once again.

Want to read more about NaNoWriMo, or their sister project, Script Frenzy, check it out at the links.  And come November, join us!  It’s fun, free, and a great way to meet some really awesome people from around Pittsburgh.

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