Win an HPB Gift Card during National Novel Writing Month

For a lot of writers, Halloween signifies something very different than candy and costumes — it is the last day of freedom before the start of National Novel Writing Month, which begins at 12:01am on November 1 every year. Now in its 12th year, NaNoWriMo (what it’s called amongst the Rhinos who participate) challenges writers of any walk of life to write a 50,000 word novel between November 1 and 30 each year.

This is my second serious attempt to complete NaNoWriMo; I sorta kinda thought about it two years ago, but last year I really gave it a valiant try — which lasted approximately 36 hours. At the time, I had a small sapling of an idea that I quickly realized needed a major boost of worldbuilding, plotting, and character development before I could even begin to pound out 2,000 words a day. Since then, I’ve worked pretty diligently on the development of that idea (which I still love) and have now been counting down the days to November 1 when I could finally start writing it.

So here’s my question: how many of you, our brilliant HPB booklovers all around the country, are also writers? Are you giving NaNoWriMo a go? Have you always wanted to write a novel (or just write anything) but felt like you didn’t have a support system, or maybe just needed a good kick in the pants? We’d love to get to know our HPB writers out there — so let us know who you are in the comments (what you write, what you read, what you’d love to spend your days working on if you had unlimited time and resources) and we’ll do a random HPB giftcard drawing (because after all, good writers are always avid readers — am I right?)

Otherwise, wish me luck! Keep me accountable! I’ll posted my progress throughout the month (and if I crash and burn, please make me feel super guilty. I respond well to guilt :)) If you are also sacrificing your life for the next 30 days, visit the NaNoWriMo site, which has some helpful suggestions on staying on track – including connecting with other Rhinos in your area, participating in write-ins, and keeping each other accountable. You can also follow @nanowrimo on Twitter.

— Kristen D.

P.S. Not to douse all this hope I’m gathering here, but this “So You Want to Write a Novel” video is a really funny dose of reality for everyone who’s ever thought about publishing (it went rapid-fire around the internet last fall & is still just as relevant now.)

78 thoughts on “Win an HPB Gift Card during National Novel Writing Month

  1. This will be my 11th year doing NaNoWriMo! I can't believe how much the program has grown since a good friend and I stumbled upon the challenge and gave it a go. I've won every year but one – which means that this will be my 10th year of success! (I am v. optimistic this time around). As a veteran NaNo-er my advice is the same that you'll hear from Chris Baty – just keep writing and do NOT delete. Never hate yourself for what comes out and let the characters take you along with them. You'll be surprised what develops. Happy NaNo-ing!

  2. I've attempted this challenge before but, given that I work in retail, by the middle of the month I typically find myself with a seriously diminished amount of free time. Because of this, I'm going to skip the actual challenge and focus more on the novel I've been working on for a few years now as my own little tribute to NaNoWriMo.

  3. Hello HPB, et al. I have never tried to write a novel, much less, to finish in 30 days (why couldn't they pick a month with 31 days — you know, for last-minute editing?). Sounds like fun. I think I'll end up cheating, though, and take an extra month or six. I have a nice library at home — about 1,000 books, all from HPB, and about 950 of them from the clearance shelves. Thanks, HPB!!!

  4. I love to write, but with college applications taking up all my time, I dont think NaNoWriMo will work this year (although Id love to try it!). I would love to write a novel, but definitely lack the motivation. I write mostly short stories and love all types of books, it depends on my mood. Id love to start a novel and hopefully will do so when I get a little more free time.

  5. I am an avid reader and love to write. Currently most of my writing is personal journal writing,which I try to do everyday. I am working on a fantasy novel, but I will be taking time off from that to work on NaNoWriMo. Good wishes to all who are giving NaNo a go this year!

  6. I have "won" NaNo 3 years in a row now, but haven't managed to polish any of those manuscripts like I always plan to. Perhaps that's because I'm a graduate student, full time office manager, part time substance abuse counselor, wife, and mother. I read in most genres, and tend to write either paranormal (think, superhuman abilities, ghosts, and the occasional were-creature… the rest of my complex sci-fi ideas never pan out) or mainstream novels with psychological themes. I've published a few short stories but am still toiling away on the illusive Novel.

  7. I have started writing a children's series using dogs as the main characters who will help teach children the facial expressions associated with emotions. But, within the last year my life has taken a wild ride and everyone tells me that it would make a great book, so I think I might take this challenge up and see what I can achieve in 30 days. If I had endless time, I would love to write and travel all across the country and write on the front porches of America! But until then, I must work to pay the bills.

  8. I call myself a writer. I try and write short stories and poetry. I enter poetry contests all the time. I enjoy reading a lot of different things. I really enjoy something of the wall like "God's Other Son". I'm a long long time customer and fan of HPB. Trying to write a strange fiction novel. I wish all writers good luck!

  9. This is my 7th year in NaNo and hopefully my fifth win. Doing a children's mystery this year which is a tad off the beaten path of fantasy. But I have fun every year doing it!!

  10. This will be my third attempt at NaNoWriMo. I've failed miserably in the past, but this year I'm prepared. I have a solid outline, and I've made myself a schedule to keep myself on task.

  11. Having seen my friends- both online and in RW- obsess about their word count during this time of the year, you would think that I would be scared away from this. But no, this year, I am trying my hand at it- and so far, I am at 2700+ words towards my goal.I figure I would write what I know the most about- ME! A semi-biographical book, with essays on family, friends, past loves (that is going to eat up ALOT of my 50K) and a few random memories thrown in. I plan to use this as a way for my friends to get to know me more after I am gone.As for what I am reading- welll, I am about 3/4 of the way through "Star Trek New Froniter Blind Man;s Bluff" by Peter David and started "Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: Adventure of the Stalwart Companions"

  12. I'm definitely going for NaNoWriMo again! I owe it everything. Before I started NaNoWriMo back in 2008, I couldn't finish any of the novels I started. I was such a perfectionist that I couldn't bear to make mistakes–I would write and rewrite my first few chapters until I was sick of what I was doing. Finally, I just decided to plow through and finish something. NaNoWriMo gave me a support group and a goal, and before I knew it, I had finished my first proper first draft! It's so, so empowering.NaNoWriMo is not about writing a publishable work, it's about learning how to finish and being okay with making mistakes. I genuinely feel these are two of the best lessons I've ever learned.I write fantasy, sci-fi, and young adult. Right now I'm on a classics kick–The Three Musketeers, Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm, and Frankenstein are my latest reads. And of course, if I didn't have to go back to my job, I'd do nothing but write and putter around the house!Good luck to you on your NaNoWriMo experience! I wish you the best and I hope you win. 😀

  13. Writing started out, for me, as mainly a musical endeavor– writing songs, poetry, and whatnot. But as I continued writing, I became drawn to more elaborate prose and have written a few short stories and screenplays. I'm currently working on a novel which I plan to do lots of work on throw NaNoWriMo, but obviously that's a daunting task but I've had plenty of encouraging reading lately to push me forward. I was pleasantly surprised by the Hunger Games Trilogy and am planning on reading "On the Road" next and hope Kerouac gives me the inspiration I need. Hopefully I'll get a HPB gift card and can indulge in some more reading!

  14. I'm an avid reader and never seem to be without a book or some kind of reading material. My husband says that I read like other people breathe. I read alot of horror, alot of suspense, true crime and non fiction. It all ends up in my writing somehow. I don't know how many years I've been doing NaNo, but I've won the last 5 times I've done it. I got a short story published in a zombie anthology this year and now I'm ready to do it again! This year's story is complicated, but I'm really excited about it. I wish that I could do nothing but stay home and write all the time. But if tonight's struggle for word count is any indicator, that may not be such a good idea. I have tons of ideas. We'll see how they pan out.

  15. I read anything I can get my hands on. I've written plays, poems, short stories, essays. I want to write a children's book because I still remember all the influential things I read when I was a kid, and I want to be that for some other child.

  16. I'm an avid reader and I love writing! (Oh-ho, and also an employee at HPB!) I'm a poet and I love writing fantasy/horror. I'm working on NaNoWriMo too and I'm encouraging my fellow employees and friends to get involved. I wish you the best of luck~

  17. I have never considered myself an author. I did write one novel but only as a "challenge" that we did as a family to encourage our homeschoolers to write. I am however a voracious reader and would love to win an HPB gift card. THanks.

  18. I recently started a book blog, and that is consuming a lot of time, so I don't think I can participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I've considered it for about 5 years, but have yet to jump on the bandwagon. It will happen eventually!

  19. I just have never had a great story to tell. I can see myself putting together a quirky non-fiction item together. When is that month?

  20. I am a sewer and dyer by nature, but a reader at heart. I wish I had more time to just read. To read EVERYTHING. So many things to learn and absorb! I love scifi/fantasy primarily, which is is followed by books on pattern making, and then historical fiction based on fact. Otherwise, I wouldn't know crap about history. Sad truth, y'all. Anyway, I am doing NaNoWriMo this year, and it's more of my reward time to do the writing, and it feels great. Naturally, it's a scifi/fantasy blend with a bunch of made up stuff. Which is awesome.

  21. I wish I was able to participate in NaNo this year but I host Thanksgiving and it also happens to be my 10 year anniversary with the husband so we are taking a trip mid November. Sadly none of this is conducive to writing a novel in a month. Hopefully I can plan better next year!!Good luck to all NaNoers this year!!

  22. I've always loved to write but feel like I don't have the imagination to create an entire novel. My writing skills tend more towards the editing and reviewing of the works of other authors. Since I'm an avid reader, I let my book review blog act as my creative outlet! Not quite as satisfactory as writing my own novel, but I know what my limits are…and I just wish I had the time to push them out further, but right now I don't!

  23. I've known about NaNoWriMo for years and years and years. I'm giving it a go this year for the fun of it—I've always secretly wanted to be a writer, so we'll see how this goes. As to what I read—a ridiculous amount of YA novels, throw in some classics, biographies, a few contemporary novels and Lord of the Rings. That sounds about right.

  24. ive done and won Nano for the past three years, i won so now im trying to turn my novel into a screenplay. I love bookstores bk i can walk in a find a book. For the most part i hav no fave authors, just books . i love country music, which helps fuel my writing along with mountain dew.

  25. Hi- first year trying this but life and work are getting in the way. I have made some progress though. Reading everything from Outlander to DiscWorld to Redwall. I like strong world building and escaping normal life.

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