News from NaNoLand

October Newsletter News from NaNoLand

It’s that time of year again! People all over the world are beginning to plot, plan, and stock up on coffee! NaNoWriMo is approaching. If you don’t know, National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, challenges participants to write a 50,000 word draft of a novel in the 30 days of November. 2018 saw 295,396 participants world wide and an

additional 101,328 student writers joining in on the Young Writers Program. NaNoWriMo believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds-on and off the page. NaNoWriMo is also a non-profit. While it is free to participate they do ask for donations to keep the site up and running and more importantly they provide a K-12 curriculum and resources and tools for free to teachers, underfunded schools, homeschool families, and more. Last year they were able to provide 2,500 classrooms with kits.


The NaNoWriMo organization is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary this year. Here in our own community of Fort Stockton we have several participants, some of whom will be joining for their 10th year participating. In 2018 Fort Stockton participants wrote a total of 338,703 words. Several of those projects are in various stages of production from still being written and added to and edited with hopes to pursue publishing. Over the years this group has written over 3,016,000 words, some of which have gone on to be published!

If you have ever thought that someday you’d like to write a novel then join NaNoWriMo and take those first steps to make that dream happen today! During November we have several events throughout the month to keep you encouraged and provide support to help you accomplish that goal. Contact Sarah Shuttleworth at if you would like more information or check out

Saturday October 19th Plot In 2-3 pm @the Garage

Friday November 1st Kickoff party 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 6th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 13th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 20th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

November 26th Come Write In 5-6 pm @the Garage

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News from NaNoLand

July Newsletter: News from NaNoLand

Camp NaNoWriMo by Sarah Shuttleworth

Have you ever thought ‘Someday I’d like to write a novel’? Have you heard of NaNoWriMo and thought that the idea of writing 50,000 words in one month seems daunting? Well I’ve got the perfect thing for you to test those waters and push yourself to write that story! Camp NaNoWriMo is a virtual writer’s retreat, designed for maximum flexibility and crea- tivity. NaNoWriMo has Camp sessions in both April and July, and they welcome word-count goals between 30 and 1,000,000. Maybe a novel isn’t exactly what you had in mind. Camp NaNoWriMo writers can tackle any project they’d like including new novel drafts, revision, poetry, scripts, and short stories. You set your own goal whether it’s to write a certain number of words, hours, minutes, lines, or pages.

If you would like more information, have questions about how NaNoWriMo works, or would just like to connect with other writers who will be writing with literary abandon this July contact Sarah Shuttleworth at

National Novel Writing Month is also a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes your story matters. They know that writing makes the world a more crea- tive, vibrant place. Through NaNoWriMo, Camp NaNoWriMo, and the Young Writers Program, they work hard to empower and encourage that vibrant creativity. And, they can’t do it without writers like you.


  • Encourages you to focus on a novel! Bonus points for 1st drafts.
  • One goal everyone shares: 50,000 words in 30 days.
  • Hundreds of in-person write-ins led by local Municipal Liaisons.
  • A 100% fun writing challenge that believes your story matters… and that you can totally write it.


Camp NaNoWriMo

  • Focus on any writing project: novel, short story, cookbook…
  • Set an individual goal! You can even track time instead of words.
  • Join a virtual “cabin” to create your own cohort of up to 20 folks.
  • A 100% fun writing challenge that believes your story matters… and that you can totally write it.

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News from NaNoLand

December Newsletter: News from NaNoLand Wrap Up

National Novel Writers Month Wrap Up by Sarah Shuttleworth

National Novel Writing Month has come and gone. Several members of Critique Cafe joined in the challenge and each pledged to write 50,000 words during November. November is typically a very busy time of the year but this group powered through all of life’s obstacles, challenges, schedules, and events. The participating group wrote an amazing 338,713 words!

During the month we gathered together at various events to come to- gether and write. We had several short write ins at local Come Write In location The Garage Coffee, Music, and More. We had our first ever Write In Motion event where we travelled around town stopping at vari- ous locations to write for a couple hours before moving on to the next one. We also had my personal favorite annual event, the Afternoon of Writing Dangerously. During that event we spend an entire afternoon writing and eating, it’s a potluck and not only can this group write well but they can cook well too! During this years Afternoon of Writing Dangerously a total of 26,260 words were written!

Overall I am really proud of the whole group. One wrote while waiting at the hospital for a grand-baby to be born. Some wrote in free moments at work. Some wrote in cars on the way to visit family. All worked really hard and no matter what their final totals were, have a story they can now start to edit and polish. In the end we had six complete their goal and made it to that 50,000 word count. Now the fun begins as we begin on the editing journey! Well maybe after a nap…nanowrimo

News from NaNoLand

November Newsletter: News from NaNoLand

National Novel Writers Month by Sarah Shuttleworth


In November of 2010 I saw someone post on Facebook about a writing chal- lenge he was participating in called NaNoWriMo. I’d heard about it before so I knew vaguely what it was. On a whim I looked up the site, made an account, and unknowingly started a journey that would change my life. On November 4th, 2010 I started writing a novel with no plot and no idea how to even write a novel. I posted about joining the challenge and to my delight I had friends in Fort Stockton who were participating. That month we got together several times and had a blast writing and encouraging each other. Once it was done we missed those writing sessions and wanted to do something to progress our writing all year round. Critique Cafe was born from that and has since become something very special to me. I look forward to all of our meetings and have met some amazing people through this group.

When November 2011 was getting close I saw an application to become a Municipal Liaison for the organization. I applied and was appointed as ML for the Elsewhere in Texas region. Since then I have organized meetings every year for our group. I’ve watched as we’ve grown from a couple of friends meeting in a living room to a writing family filling up a coffee shop. NaNoWriMo has become something I’m passionate about. My goal as an ML is to encourage as many people as I can along this writing journey. In the years since our local group has been participating we’ve written collectively over 2, 678, 000 words! Some of those words have gone on to be edited and published! I’m very proud of our group and very passionate about what NaNoWriMo can do for creative lives. So if you’ve ever thought that someday you’d like to write a novel, come join us. You won’t regret it


News from NaNoLand

October Newsletter: News from NaNoLand

National Novel Writers Month by Sarah Shuttleworth

The very first NaNoWriMo took place in July 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area. That first year there were 21 participants. 20 years later there are more than 400,000 participants from all around the world are expected to participate this November. So what exactly is NaNoWriMo? National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1st, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30th. Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel. National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

“Too many people think they’re not a ‘creative type,’ but to be human is to be a ‘creative type’. NaNoWriMo teaches you to believe that your story matters, to trust the gambols of your imagination, and to make the blank page a launching pad to explore new universes. That’s important because when we create, we cultivate meaning. Our stories remind us that we’re alive, and what being alive means,” says Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of NaNoWriMo.

So how can you join in on the fun? Sign up on After you’ve signed up come to a local meeting! Fort Stockton has a local group that meets regularly during the month of November for Write-ins. Write-ins are full of fun, games, encouragement, and writing! You can also contact local Municipal Liaison for NaNoWriMo Sarah Shuttleworth at to ask any questions, request more information, or find out when and where the next meeting will be.

Is there an age limit to participate? No! Younger aspiring novelists can join the Young Writers Program