HEADS-UP: It’s that time of year – Time to Write Your Novel in a Month, NaNoWriMo


Logo courtesy of NaNoWriMo for National Novel Writing Month / Fair use

“First steps are always the hardest but until they are taken the notion of progress remains only a notion and not an achievement.” Aberjhani, Illuminated Corners: Collected Essays and Articles Volume

In 1999, Chris Baty founded [inter]National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), write 50,000 words or 1,667 words per day between November 1 and November 30. That first year NaNoWriMo started with twenty-one of Chris Baty’s friends and 149 participants. Now there are more than 300,000 writers (individually, in classrooms, and in families) in ninety countries participating. Chris teaches at Standford University, wrote No Plot? No Problem! and co-wrote Ready, Set, Novel.



The idea is to write, write, write … no editing until you’ve completed your 50,000. It’s a way to keep writers on a roll. The effort to simultaneously edit and write is often the cause of writer’s block. Rewrites, editing and proofing are on hold until you’ve completed the project.

“Since NaNoWriMo is organized to get people writing, the rules are kept broad and straightforward:

  1. Writing starts at 12:00: a.m. on November 1 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. on November 30, local time.
  2. No one is allowed to start early and finish 30 days from that start point
  3. Novels must reach a minimum of 50,000 words before the end of November. These words can either be a complete novel of 50,000 words or the first 50,000 words of a novel to be completed later.
  4. Planning and extensive notes are permitted, but no material written before the November 1 start date can go into the body of the novel.
  5. Participants’ novels can be on any theme, genre of fiction, and language. Everything from fanfiction, which uses trademarked characters, to novels in poem format, and metafiction is allowed; according to the website’s FAQ, ‘If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel too.'” Wikipedia

When you sign-up for NaNoWriMo, you (among other things) create a profile, name your novel (a working title), get encouragement from pros, connect with social networking friends (find me under G Jamie Dedes), and meet with others in your area to work together at cafés and bookstores.  Whole classes and families sign-up. Years ago, my daughter-in-law and I did it together for at least two years.

As it happens, NaNoWriMo taught me about what I don’t want to do and I had fun in the process. One problem for the poet when it comes to longer works is that poetry allows us to say what we want to say with the great power of economy, not something to be underestimated.

I’m doing NaNoWriMo this year because I’ve been playing with an idea for a novella after someone characterized my writing as “alien” and someone else said “other worldly.” We do learn from and are inspired by readers and critics. Those characterizations made me think of magical realism, a thought that captured me attention and fired my passion. Magical realism will be my experiment this year.

“Magical realism, magic realism, or marvelous realism is a genre of narrative fiction and, more broadly, art (literature, painting, film, theatre, etc.) that, while encompassing a range of subtly different concepts, expresses a primarily realistic view of the real world while also adding or revealing magical elements. It is sometimes called fabulism, in reference to the conventions of fables, myths, and allegory. “Magical realism”, perhaps the most common term, often refers to fiction and literature in particular, with magic or the supernatural presented in an otherwise real-world or mundane setting.

“The terms are broadly descriptive rather than critically rigorous. Matthew Strecher defines magic realism as “what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe”. Many writers are categorized as “magical realists”, which confuses the term and its wide definition. Irene Guenther tackles the German roots of the term, and how art is related to literature. Magical realism is often associated with Latin American literature, particularly authors including genre founders Gabriel García Márquez, Miguel Angel Asturias, Jorge Luis Borges, Elena Garro, Juan Rulfo, Rómulo Gallegos, and Isabel Allende. In English literature, its chief exponents include Salman Rushdie, Alice Hoffman, and Nick Joaquin.” Wikipedia

I know many reading here have participated over the years but this will be news to some.  I encourage you to join in. If nothing else, you will exercise your imagination and writing muscle, learn somethings about yourself, and end the year on a productive note.

“Since 2006, hundreds of novels first drafted during NaNoWriMo have been published.” HERE is a list of NaNoWriMo books that are published. There are quite a few names you will recognize.

“The world needs your novel.” Chris Baty

To sign-up and learn more link HERE.


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The River Journal, The Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woma

“bud and lieu”. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt


“Your days are numbered. Use them to throw open the windows of your soul to the sun. If you do not, the sun will soon set, and you with it.”  Marcus Aurelius, The Emperor’s Handbook

These responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, In Lieu of Flowers (re: legacy and/or eulogy), October 17, 2018 variously prove a sense of humor, a spiritual leaning, and/or a practical perspective on the inevitable for all of us. Kudos and thanks to Gary W. Bowers, Paul Brookes, Deb y Felio (Debbie Felio), Tamam Tracy Moncur, Carol Mikoda, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Anjum Wasim Dar. Special thanks and welcome to Jen Goldie, joining us for the first time.  Well done, poets.

In addition to their words, I’ve included links to blogs or websites where available. I hope you’ll visit these poets and get to know their work better. It is likely you can catch up with others via Facebook.

Enjoy! … and do come out to play tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.

Unknown to Us

She left a legacy.
A legacy of love.
That’s all it was,
Simple and pure of spirit.

She left a legacy,
A legacy of hope.
That’s all it was,
Simple and pure of heart.

She left a legacy.
A legacy of caring.
That’s all it was,
Simple and pure of mind.

She left a legacy.

© 2018, J.E.Goldie

Don’t Miss Me

Take our times together
and apart
as memories to savor
or not.

Don’t miss me
Take challenges for me,
Be my eyes,
Be my voice,
Be my heart,

And remember this.
We’ll never be apart

© 2018, J.E.Goldie

J.E. GOLDIE (Jen) tells us: The more I learn..the more I realize how little I know about myself….and others. I continue to learn.I’ve reached an age where knowledge exceeds impetuosity And where wisdom allows freedom, An age where unreasonable demands without question become irreconcileable. I give you this wisdom and take mine, as you go through the current demands of your life be sure this is your course, because if the course is not yours and is demanded of you, Be sure you want to accept the regret since You will change the lives and times of others. Are you ready? Unreasonable demands without question are irreconcileable. The atmosphere will be extremely stressfull for you if the course is not yours. .

What your head knows, your heart doesn’t always remember…..

An old/new friend showed this quote to me. It brought tears to my eyes.

“Never let success hide its emptiness from you, achievement its nothingness, toil its desolation. And so…keep alive the incentive to push on further, that pain in the soul which drives us beyond ourselves…Do not look back. And do not dream about the future, either. It will neither give you back the past, nor satisfy your other daydreams. Your duty, your reward—your destiny—are here and now.” Dag Hammarskjöld (1905–1961), Swedish statesman and diplomat, 1961.

bud and lieu

in lieu of flowers
have a beer
or soda water
sparkled clear
or pinetop freshness
golly gosh
or kiss enmeshness
(use mouth; wash)

for when i’ve died
and journey ends
i’ll be relaxing
with my friends
who went before
and saved a seat
or barstool where
we toast, complete;

so ixnay tears
omit that flower
and raise your glass:
it’s Happy Hour.

© 2018, Gary W. Bowers (One With Clay, Image and Text)


wears piles of shoes and bags
new white shirts never opened

charity irons
creases out of the forgotten

sometimes a relative

gives a story
in feel of used cloth

weighs time in threads
how a story continues

nothing is possessed
If you never heard

a previous owner

only shoes have tongues
fail to speak of their wearer

except in wear

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

O, Lady Of The Breath (Six Vacanas)

1. You Rise

from my forest and leave
out of the gob and earth falls.

It shivers renewed,

welcomes a similar you
into my gob.

You excite my spring buds,
allow the earth to rise, again.

2. Can’t Let

you stay long in the dark,
or the earth will rot.

I can’t let you out for long,
or the earth will rot.

Let’s follow this pattern.
I’ll briefly allow you into my dark wood,

But please don’t take woodsmoke, car fumes,
coal dust, iron filings, water in with you,

else I’ll hack you out. These companions
quicken the rot.

3. Help With The

tasting snake in my cave
form the words I need to say.

Take my words out into air
loud enough for others to hear.

Please don’t say you are weak
and can’t carry such a weight.

Please don’t say I failed to welcome
enough of you into the forest.

4. My Dad Let You

in with pungent watercolours on his back,
stink of Clwyd cowpats and fresh mountain air,

but when he scraped boilers you secretly
took into his forest asbestosis strands

that speed his rot and ruin. I can’t understand
your thought in all of this

5. My Sister Threw You

out over her steering wheel,
her forest crushed by molded plastic.

She tried to welcome you back
but the wood was gone,

so you gust over her grave
under an overseeing tree.

O, my lady of the breath.
I welcome your coming and going.

6. Your Cheyne Stokes

delay before my unconscious Nanna
let you in.

I waited a minute, a 10-20
second episode of
stopped breath

suddenly her welcome
let you in

deeper and again
deeper in and out.

then delay

then delay

then delay

her welcome of you
and delay I watched seven days

until she refused your entry for good.

Gave me a legacy of breath.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)

The Afterthoughts

When this brain Is medically dead . will I pray I locked the door?

or made presentable by morticians knife fret I left the Box plugged in;

then lowered so others cast first soil or flame-grilled to fine urn ash tell myself I left the oven on;

(From my first chapbook”The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley”)

or gladly leave this legacy a real reminder how I used to be.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow / Inspiration. History. Imagination)


I leave to each and all of you

in equal and careful measure

my love everlasting, ever new

it is my only treasure

that and hearty laughter

shared in close and distant quarter

may you hear it long after

my ashes settle in the water

when in the best of times

with family and friends

hear me in your laughing

bringing hope that knows no end

and when the time for sadness

comes into your lonely days

may the mystery of love once planted

help you navigate the waves

nothing more have I to offer

life itself could only know

those times of love and laughter

and how it made a family grow.

© 2018, Deb y Felio

..side parting..

looking for a legacy

i find nothing / no words

no comfortable leavings

parting on the wrong side

can be painful

some hide secrets

i do not

we hope you will feel good

about pins

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..the book..

is discussed at length,
the book is bound for

nightmares. it starts
early evening. retiring
to the upper rooms

the rags are torn ready
to close, to bind his
book in definitely.

it is an inheritance.
he talked about wills,
put his head under the cover,

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher

The Last Symphony

The melodious singing of the church choir intensifies emotions replacing tears with a melancholy joy. I am on the outside peering in the dimension I vacated a week ago. In walks the bass striding to the beat of distant drums. My reasonably long life has come to an end as I prepare to make my transition. Piano lines racing and spacing…fingers flying… harmonic overtones filling in what was. I can hear the accolades,in lieu of flowers, the resolutions that say when I took Jesus in my heart was the start of new beginnings for me. Trombone sounds announce a life supreme…the tambourine marks time. I become the wife…the mother…the grandmother I should be. I am the teacher that cares for her students working diligently to enable them to succeed. I give back to the community…working to ameliorate poverty. Blue tones…chords dissonant…syncopated rhythms inspire my march against hatred…enabling me to poetically protest ignorance…racism…fanaticism…sexism and economic discrimination in the world’s richest nation. Last message to My Country Tis of Thee…choose God not money…choose God not money…choose God not money. God is LOVE! The bass takes my hand…stepping high. A crescendo of symphonic tones fills the atmosphere for God is near. Jazz stands on the horizon beckoning. The coffin is now closed on my life.

© 2018, Tamam Tracy Moncur 

Diary of an Inner City Teacher “is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncur exposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.

Tamam Tracy Moncur

“Tamam Tracy Moncur was born in Oakland, California. She attended elementary school in Oakland, and attended middle and high school in Berkeley. She was a civil rights activist in San Francisco prior to relocating to the East Coast. She met her husband, renowned jazz musician Grachan Moncur III in New York City. They were burned out of their apartment in Harlem, and eventually her husband s grandmother was able to secure an apartment for them in Newark, New Jersey, in one of the high rise projects that existed at that time. Tamam in the past has worked with her husband arranging musical compositions and performing. In her spare time, she has self published several poetry booklets, co-produced a CD of music and poetry, and collaborated with her family to produce a play that her mother wrote. She also has written short stories and a novel, but this project, Diary of an Inner City Teacher, is very close to her heart. She invites you to walk with her on her personal journey so you can perceive the classroom experience from a different perspective and become an advocate for change in the development of innovative schools for the future.”

Tamam’s Diary of an Inner City Teacher is available HERE. I just got the Kindle version and look forward to reading it. / J.D.

Smile at Fear

for everything
to flow in this direction.
It’s not
a competition.
Wind and water may
want to rush past
but not when
I have created
a meandering path to draw them
around corners,
into nooks,
leaving traces of

In lieu of flowers,
please sing:
gather many
ensembles to set
the air
v i b r a t i n g.

Smile at Death
Remember me
in melody.

© 2018, Carol Mikoda

Leaving Love as a Precious Gage

(in Urdu and English)

کہتے ہیں چاہت اندھی  ہوتی ہے 
یہ دل اور روح  کا لطیف  رشتہ 
اس میں کیا پرکھنا کیا   عمر کا  تقاضا  کرنا  
  جب کوئی  خوشبو   چپکے  سے روح  میں  سما  جا نے
تو کسی  سے  کیا  شکوہ  یا  شکوہ یا شکایت  کرنا 
بس یہ کرنا کے  کہ کسی کو دکھی نہ کرنا 
احترم ن  آخری  بار  پکارا  پھول  آپکو 
اب  آداب  باغے شاہی  تو  سیکھ  لو  پہلے 
پھر کسی  گل  و  شہزادی  کو چاہنے  کی  جرات  کرنا 
دنیا سے چلے جاؤگے  انجم  
کچھ  اپنی  چمکتی  خوشبو 
یھاں  چھوڑ  دینا
پھر  آسمان  پر  جا کر 
سکوں  بھری  چاندنی 
نچھاور کرنا 
love is blind and so we say,it
 finds to the heart and soul –its way-
so why think about age 
why judge  the clayey cage
when  sweet fragrance engulfs
the spirit then lament not, nor
pity thyself nor cry, for 
love is a precious gage
so grieve no heart on Earth
nor make bleak a life
you will soon be away
from struggle trial and strife
before I cease to be I called you
 a flower  a tender rose petal
and now I must learn the laws
of the garden’, accept the nettle 
maybe in time I may find
 the  true bright light, till
then on the high night sky
will be to shine , and sigh
so I leave behind some love
some  effulgent fragrance with 
 perpetual  radiance ,remember,
peace is- only with complacence
© 2018, Anjum Wasim Dar (Poetic Oceans)


Poet and writer, I was once columnist and the associate editor of a regional employment publication. Currently I run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers.

My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation Press, The River Journal, The Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman