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CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? It’s November 1st, and that means it is NaNoWriMo time again! And this year I am EXTREMELY EXCITED to tell you that I am the OFFICIAL AGONY AUNT of NaNoWriMo.

I have already anticipated some questions.

1. What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Thousands of people-hundreds of thousands-will write first drafts of books this month from scratch. Anyone can join. Even you. ESPECIALLY YOU.

2. What is an AGONY AUNT?

An AGONY AUNT is an ADVICE COLUMNIST. I am in the problem solving industry. If you have a NaNoWriMo problem, ask here. I will answer a question EVERY DAY during the month of November. You heard me. EVERY STINKING DAY.

I will start now.

deuscain asked you: Does one just walk into NaNoWriMo?


One can walk into NaNoWriMo, or one can run into it, Muppet arms flailing. One can sail into it, or creep into it, or shimmer in like a golden dawn. One might also consider tunneling one’s way in, or bursting down the door, or lowering oneself gently down like a spider cometh gently from the ceiling into the mouth of a sleeping person. One might also whistle one’s way in with a light step, or stomp one’s way in, as if one is wearing concrete clogs. In fact, there is no limit to the ways one might enter NaNoWriMo!

The important thing is that you do, in fact, go in.

Now, I am assuming what you are actually asking me is if you should just go in without preparation of some sort. That’s what I’m taking from the question. And my answer is, YES. You just do it. Writing is not like going into space or drilling a hole to the center of the earth to find a colony of earth core monsters … you don’t need to make plans or get special equipment. In fact, “preparing” to write is just a form of procrastination. I can’t tell you the number of people who tell me they are “about” to write something. Nothing is stopping you. There is no right time. There is no magic machine or special pen. You don’t have to wait for the stars to be in alignment. You just start.

Which is precisely why NaNoWriMo is so great. it’s gets right to the heart of things. It says, “Sit down and do it.” That is all it takes to write. You don’t even have to do the SITTING part if you don’t want. Many great writers have written standing up!

Go forth and do this thing. Have no fear. Just walk right in.

Auntie MJ


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Posted: Tuesday, November 1st, 2011 @ 6:45 pm
Categories: advice, ask mj, nanowrimo, writing.
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  1. Jamie-Lee Says:

    Question: I know it’s NOVEL writing month, but are non-fic books okay too?

  2. Tessara Says:

    I think they may have just been making a silly Lord of the Rings reference, but I love the response nonetheless.

  3. Simini Says:

    I just finished Name of the Star…Even though I freaked myself out thoroughly reading it in the wee hours of last night, and then could no longer sleep, I can’t wait for more. Love your books. Write write write! (please?)

  4. Bri Says:

    YAY! MJ, I was hoping you’d post on NaNo! This is my third year :3
    I can’t wait for the abundance of your bloginess!

  5. Anna Says:

    I am very disappointed that you did not mention the option of DANUBING into NaNoWriMo.

  6. Just dive in… « Sarah Painter Says:

    [...] the words of Maureen Johnson (who is posting lots of NaNo advice throughout November), I [...]

  7. Ames Says:

    What is the novel? Will it be published on the site FOREVER? *HYPERVENTILATING* Will the title you put on it be FINAL? CAN YOU CHANGE IT? I REALLY DON’T WANT TO PUT SOMETHING ON I CAN NEVER EVER CHANGE. ESPECIALLY IF IT IS ON FOR ETERNITY. And how can you put a excerpt from your novel on there IF YOU HVE NOT WRITTEN THE NOVEL YET?!?? The whole purpose it to write it, so it would not have already have been written!
    Please save me from this madness.

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