They keep you up at night or wake you early in the morning. They are the characters that are swirling and dancing in all writers. They want out of our brains and onto the paper or screen. It’s time to let them out! Send them on their story journey. Let your characters flow into the story you weave. It’s National Novel Writing Month, your designated month for unabashed writing.

November is the month, and the challenge is on by NaNoWrIMO.ORG to write 50,000 words in November. This equates to a strong and very rough draft of your novel. It’s your jump start to get your story out of your head.

How can this be done? In simplest terms, 1,667 words per day. Just sit down and let them flow. All the excuses are out the window according to a post by NY Book Editors. I need a plan. I need an outline. What about my plot chart? For those of you who are planners, this may be hard. I count myself among you. But when I wrote the first draft of my book during Nano-WriMO a few years ago, it was the most freeing feeling to just sit down everyday and write. My story lines and characters took me in many directions I could have never planned. I ended the month and the draft with 55,152 words and a giant YIPPEE!

To make this fun and a way to connect with others doing the same thing, check out the NANOWriMO website and log in. There are resources and community forums by region of the country, and around the world, that let you know you’re not alone in this challenge. Check around your local community for other writers taking the challenge. Some writer groups hold writing events to help encourage one another. These events include just time to write among other writers, word games to stimulate wordsmithing, and other fun writing exercises for getting those novels drafted.

Move the Halloween candy wrappers aside, and welcome November with a challenge that could be the first step in your next (or first) published book.

I’m in, are you?

7 Tips for accepting the challenge:

  1. If you hit writer’s block, stop and get a glass of water. Drink it. Sit down and write a scene with one of your other characters.
  2. Phone a trusted writing friend if you find yourself slowing down and talk about your story. A fifteen-minute conversation may spur some new ideas.
  3. Even if you are writing a scene and you know there are flaws, keep writing. Something good will come of it in the next draft.
  4. Carve the time anywhere – lunch, carpool, a few minutes before bed.
  5. Mid-month slow-down? Look how far you’ve come! Connect with other writers and keep going.
  6. Feel like you are getting behind in your word count? Keep going. On the off chance you don’t end up with 50,000 words, you will be so much further along.
  7. Remember, no editing, just writing.

Let’s connect:
Facebook and Twitter: @KHRWriter
Instagram: KHRichardson5

Not mean criticism, professional, critique to make us better writers.  We must listen to those who have gone before us, who are a few steps (or dozens) ahead of us. Jerry Jenkins is just such a writer.

Here he shares his most popular sites for writing. Enjoy — https://www.jerryjenkins.com/mostpopularposts/


Betty is a friend of mine who has mentored and encouraged me greatly this year. Her books are well written and completely enjoyable to read.

Betty Thomason Owens

You barely know what you’re doing. Walking up to the front desk or table, you sign in. Newby WriterSomeone hands you a few things you’re too nervous to look at, including a name badge that you promptly drop.

You’ve just arrived at your first writers conference and you haven’t a clue what comes next.

Following the drone of voices, you find yourself in a room filled with excited people. Many of them smile at you and introduce themselves. Business cards exchange hands. This will happen often during the conference, so keep yours handy.

After whatever opening ceremonies your conference offers, the keynote speaker is introduced. He or she encourages and challenges you. Sometimes they make you laugh. Often, they share their horror stories about how they got their start. Bungling, novice writers, swimming against the current. Somehow making it through all the jumble. It’s hard, hard work! But it’s worth it…

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Good thoughts…

Linda W. Yezak

Writers Tools

In “Five Quick Steps Toward More Mature Writing,” I mentioned that ellipses, dashes, semicolons, colons, and italic are “specialty tools” to be used infrequently so as not to dilute their effectiveness. Certain sentence structures fall in the category of “specialty tools,” too. Short, choppy sentences have their purpose, as do long, run-on sentences. The one-line or one-word paragraph structure is a specialty tool. All these tools have a distinct purpose in writing, and when they’re used too often, they lose their effectiveness in that one moment when you really need them to shine.

Here are just a few of the other tools in our box:

Vocabulary: This tool comes in all shapes and sizes, and is the one thing we as authors can not do without. We need to be adding to our supply on a regular basis–particularly when it comes to strong verbs. Always be in search of…

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internet distraction

Dec. 15th

Dearest Dan,

THREE DAYS!! In fact you may not get this letter before leaving for home. I’m looking forward to our Christmas together. How would you feel about you and your dad coming over to mom’s for Christmas dinner?

I’m wrapping everything up and will be home sometime on the 18th, probably in the evening.

Love you,


December 10th

Dear Maggie,

Hey there, how are you doing? Dad called tonight. Seemed a little weird that he would call; he rarely calls. He really didn’t have much to say. We just talked about my school and his work. Guess being semi-retired has him a little restless. He will find something to fill his time and energy.

Mark doesn’t have anywhere to go for Christmas so I think he’s coming home with me. His parents are going to Hawaii for the holidays to celebrate their 30th anniversary and he doesn’t want to go to his sister’s.

This weekend is our last one before HELL week. We’re going to rent all of the Star Wars movies and do a marathon Friday night. I’m thinking a lot of pizza and chips will be consumed…

I will be home on the 18th for Christmas break. Looking forward to being in the same town with you for a few weeks. I have to be back on January 5th to get ready for classes.

Enough about me. Tell me about you. What’s going on with spring auditions?

I love you.


writers retreat