Last November I signed on for NaNoWriMoNational Novel Writing Month is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants approach to writing a 50,000 word (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.  It’s pretty much about quantity, as in lengthy (and often laughable) prose. I had plenty of that. Quality? Not so much. The website’s FAQ says if you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel too. The whole idea is to make you take a risk without obsessing about perfection. It’s the BIC (Butt In Chair) technique, but with lower expectations.

NaNoWriMo teases you ~ You’ll be able to make obscure references to passages from your novel at parties. It tempts you ~ You’ll stop being one of those people who say, “I’ve always wanted to write a novel,” and become one of those people who can say, “Oh, a novel? It’s such a funny story–I’ve written three.

How could I resist?  So I blogged about NaNoWriMo and jumped right in.–-yes-you/

The “no plot,no problem” mantra got me started and the deadline as incentive kept me going until the day…

… I quit.  I didn’t reach 50,000 words.  I didn’t make it onto the Winner’s List.  I didn’t receive a certificate or an icon to display here.

Looked at the calendar lately? It’s almost November again.  I see outside my window what Emily saw outside of hers.

“The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry’s cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.
The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I’ll put a trinket on.” 
Good advice, Emily.  I stumbled on my trinket here…. 


It’s Robert Lee Brewer’s November PAD Chapbook Challenge.

Here’s the deal ~ you write a poem each day, based on a prompt.

During the month of November, you don’t think about finished drafts; just crank out rough drafts each day. December is for editing.

poetry magnets

Robert’s current official rules for the challenge:

  • No registration is required. You just show up each day, take a look at the prompt, and poem away.
  • Challenge begins on morning of November 1, 2011 (Atlanta, Georgia, time). I’ll post a prompt, my own attempt at a poem, and then you’ll be free to write a poem of your own.
  • Challenge continues until noon on December 1, 2011 (again, ATL time). The last prompt will appear on November 30, but I like to give a little extra poeming time for poets on the other side of the planet.
  • Beginning December 1 (or earlier, I suppose), poets revise and organize their poems into poetry manuscripts of 10-20 pages. The 10-20 pages does not include any TOC, bio info, etc., that a poet may wish to include; that’s all considered “extra stuff.” Manuscripts can only include one poem per page, but one poem can run on multiple pages.
  • Deadline for submitting manuscripts this is December 31, 2011, at 11:59 p.m. (Atlanta, Georgia, time).That’s slightly earlier than in the past, but most poets have submitted by this deadline in previous challenges–so we’ll try it out.
  • Any poet can participate. Published, unpublished, American, Canadian, Australian, Brazilian, Russian, etc. Last year’s winning manuscript, in fact, was written by a citizen of India.
  • Poets do not have to post poems to the blog to participate. However, it does make it more fun to share poems and feedback throughout the month. But it’s totally your call.
  • Winner announced on Groundhog Day 2012. That’s February 2, 2012, for those who are not familiar with the most important holiday of the year (in the Brewer household anyway). As always, manuscripts will be judged by Tammy (poet and wife) and myself. It’s a great excuse to break out the hot chocolate and read other poets’ poetry to each other. Thanks!
  • FYI : Robert Lee Brewer is the editor of Writer’s Market, Poet’s Market and, in addition to maintaining the Poetic Asides blog

So, Readers, who’s in? Crack your knuckles, roll up your sleeves,

and Just. Do. It.

One poem at a time.

Hey, it’s November….Put a trinket on.

Toni 10/24/11

10 thoughts on “JUST SAY NO TO NaNoWriMo

  1. i started nanowrimo last year and thought about it again this year but i don’t have the discipline to do it. the guy who wrote the enourmously popular book the shack seemed to be a nanowrimo quantity writer, n’est pas? he did ok with it.

    anyway no nano for me this time around…maybe the poem thingy will work. thanks for telling about it.


    1. Hurrah Ellie! Welcome to Poemania! WWWW kickstarted the challenge today at lunch. Actually Patty used her cattle-prod of a poem about regurgitated undigested animal parts to raise the collective enthusiasm level at the table. Need I say, it didn’t interfere with the pleasure of paninis. And now we are five…..


  2. I’m rummaging for my trinkets! I’m thinking about my poem-a-day as an “amuse-bouche”–that mini-appetizer that the chef sends out just because he can before the meal gets into full gear? Or maybe the poem-writing, er, poetry, will be like that tiny dish of sorbet the waiter brings between course to cleanse the palate. I’ve registered as a formal user of the writer’s digest site, so do I go there each day to get the prompt or will it come via e-mail? Thanks, Toni.


    1. Patty,
      I subscribed to the feed so I’ll read the latest post on my Google reader. But going there each day might be fun, a place to post and share and have a chuckle or three.
      Maybe even make new friends/subscribers. 🙂
      Have you considered ‘school’ as a theme? An overarching concept, as they say. Perfect complement to your series. Whaddya think?


        1. or as in See Arne Step Up to the Plate. How’s that for an overarching theme ~ possibility of policy, pizza and pitcher poems, oh my. You can’t lose!


  3. I’m thinking that I am more the “trinket” type (Come see my collection of beads-that-could-be-jewelry-soon.). Perhaps it is my failure to commit flaw that has been working overtime? Being retired seems to make me run the other way from prolonged assignments–too much like homework? More than likely, I’m just too lazy, but I’ve been known to surprise myself. Hope springs eternal(ly)–an English major can’t let go–ha!!! M.


    1. Mary,
      I know you’re going to surprise us, you always do. Hmm, beads that become jewelry. Like stringing words together to make a poem. Remember your poem ‘Puzzled’?
      Pieces to assemble. See a theme emerging here? “a fresh landscape, full of possibilities'” ? Just leave the bones, beaks and wings for NatureGirl.


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