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On your marks... get set... write!

WeCoNaMo. It’s a thing.

It’s that time of year again, when strings of words are shortened to new conglomerations of letters that mean little to those not in the know. They are the Brangelina, Tomkat or Shamy of the writing and illustration business.

I came across these a year ago – I’d handed in my last university assignment for the year, and suddenly felt like I had a stack of free time. November is fast becoming known (to me at least, and hopefully the world if it catches on) as WeCoNaMo. And what, pray tell, is WeCoNaMo, I hear you ask? Weird Conglomeration Name Month. And here’s why:

This year's NaNoWriMo badge.

The 2014 NaNoWriMo participant badge

Short for: National Novel Writing Month.

Slogan: The world needs your novel. Aim: To write a 50,000-word novel in a month. About: NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organisation based in the USA, and now runs internationally with different regions run by volunteer Municipal Liaisons. Check the website for the long list of published novels written during NaNoWriMo. There is no one victor– everyone who hits the target is a winner. There are also great deals on offer from sponsors. All the planning can be done beforehand, but the actual text within the book must be penned, or typed, in November. Experience: I stumbled across this last year in mid-October, and after writing picture books took it as a challenge to write a novel. I had one idea in mind; then realised I needed more time to plan, so switched to another project. The online support is great – there are discussion areas, you can find writing buddies, and there are regional write-ins and get-togethers for anyone wanting some offline support. A word counter provides motivation, and there regional and genre-specific word count tallies. The blogs and posts from authors were great – and reassuring that there is no right way to go about it – do what works for you. For me, the urge to edit as I went was strong, but I ignored it (well, maybe not completely) and did get down a first draft of 35,000 words of a children’s series, which is being considered by a publisher at the moment. I didn’t reach the target, but was motivated to write consistently, not rewrite constantly, and feel like part of the writing community. And it turns out I’m a rebel – those who write outside the rules – in my case writing a series of books instead of one novel – are NaNoWriMo Rebels. Next step: a motorcycle.

Register at:

The funky online badge for PiBoIdMo, by Vin Vogel.

Short for: Picture Book Idea Month Aim: A come up with one picture book idea a day for a month. About: PiBoIdMo was founded by Tara Lazar, who was sick of novelists having all the fun in November. You don’t have to post your ideas – just register by 7 November, then afterwards sign a pledge that you’ve come up with 30 ideas. There are also prizes on offer, and, again, anyone who completes the challenge is considered a winner. Experience: I found this easier than I thought, and smashed the total. It was a fantastic way of collecting random ideas, including character names, settings, or just weird and whacky thoughts, which could then be used as inspiration for picture books. Register at:

Short for: National Novel Editing Month Slogan: Your novel, reborn. Aim: To complete 50 hours of editing in one month: March. Experience: I’m yet to do this, but it sounds great for anyone who’s got a book (such as one written for NaNoWriMo) and needs to concentrate on editing. Unfortunately, the NaNoEdMo states it’s on hiatus for 2014, but will hopefully be back next year. And there’s no reason why you can’t aim for that goal anyway. *Update, January 2018: NaNoEdmo is continuing at a new website - the correct information is listed below. Website:

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