NaBloPoMo, NaNoWriMo, SoFoBoMo… Say What?


“I love deadlines. I like the whooshing noise they make as they pass by” -Douglas Adams

I currently have -what? 5 days left to participate in NaBloPoMo –  which stands for National Blog Posting Month.  According to the website, it “is the epicenter of daily blogging! People who want to set the habit of blogging by doing it every day for a month, including weekends, can come here for moral support, inspiration, and the camaraderie that only marathon blogging can provide.”

Now, I registered, but I haven’t really been to the central website.  I got pretty frustrated trying to make and download a badge for my website, so I gave up.  So far, I have only missed two days at the beginning when I didn’t know about the month.  And I wrote two extra entries to make up for that.

With five days left to go, and only 6 days left of summer vacation, I am sometimes fishing in vain for blog fodder.  Yesterday, I got involved in looking for similar contests that take place over a month, more or less.

I happened to come across SoFoBoMo, which is short for Solo Photo Book Month.  This is a group event where a bunch of photographers all make solo photo books start to finish, in 31 days, at more or less the same time. It’s modeled loosely on NaNoWriMo, where participating writers all write novels in a month, and NaSoAlMo, where musicians write and record solo albums in a month.  This time around, the fuzzy month is any 31 day period you please, provided that it starts no earlier than May 1, 2009, and ends no later than June 30, 2009, at midnight in your local time zone.

I, of course, have taken part in NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month,  which is in the month of November.  It is described as “a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word – 1,700 words a day) novel by midnight, November 30.”

The think I like a lot about Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo group is that they also have prepared lesson plans for teachers to encourage their students to participate as well.  Check out the Young Writers Program for lesson plans in three levels: Elementary, Middle School, and High School.

National Novel Editing Month (NaNoEdMo) is “an online community of writers who, having written a novel, gather together every March for moral support in order to edit their work, whether for their own personal satisfaction or perhaps even for publishing. March is chosen primarily because National Novel Writing Month, which requires you to write a novel, is in November. Setting NoNoEdMo in March gives you a three month break from that novel so you have fresh eyes when you go back to edit it. Fifty hours is considered by some to be a minimum to substantially edit a novel of reasonable length.

While doing my research, I found out that right now is JulNoWriMo (July Novel Writing Month) is a writing contest identical to NaNoWriMo. (from the website) Why not just wait until November? – Simple answer: we can’t. For some of us, November was a hectic time and we never got the chance to write that story evolving in our brains! For the rest of us, we just crave to write more. We’re insane.

There are also two more Novel Writing Sites and both of those take place in January.  JanNoWriMo stands for January Novel Writing Month. Their site explains the difference:  “Well, firstly, we work in a different month. We also allow the continuation of previous novels. Finally, in addition to the site-wide goal of 50,000 words, we also have a system for personal goals lower than/higher than 50,000.”

This is not to be confused with JaNoWriMo: the community for January Novel Writing Month, which is “not affiliated with NaNoWriMo, but taking the ideas laid out there and in Chris Baty’s book No Plot, No Problem! this is a month-long project to write a 50,000 word novel in one month! “

They explain further: “A lot of people have a hard time with the official NaNoWriMo because it takes place in November. November has a lot of school commitments, Thanksgiving, elections, holiday shopping, and heaven help you if you work retail!

January, on the other hand, is a much better month for starting new challenges. You can even make “write a novel” one of your New Years Resolutions and be done before February 1! And most people are already awake at midnight on January 1st anyway! Plus, January has a whole extra day to finish your novel!

The rules are the same as NaNoWriMo– 50,000 words of a NEW novel. A “novel” is defined as a work of significant length of prose fiction. “New” means you didn’t write it before.

Then, there’s April Fools –  April Fools is “very much like NaNoWriMo but with some small, yet powerful differences.  April Fools is for writers who want to use that nano like energy to help them create a piece of writing in one month. The differences, however, are marked. You chose your own goal … 500 words or 200,000 words, or anything in between.”

Of course, I have Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, so I can write a book any time I want… in theory.  There is something nice about working with a group to keep you on track, however.  That is why her companion website has a message board that reviews the steps every month. You sign up for it when you buy the book.   If you are curious,  see this  Writer’s Digest Review , which has sample worksheets and chapters from the book.  I like it a lot, and plan to use it before or by NaNoWriMo.

Now, let’s say you’ve written your novel – what now?  Well, there’s  – wait for it! – National Novel Publishing Year!  NaNoPubYe “has been in existence since 2004, the brainchild of one of our own in search of a plan to follow after the craziness of NaNoWriMo. You’ll find support here for bringing your manuscript from rough draft to hauling the thing out the door to the post office. Our year-long plan offers support at each step of the way, and is flexible enough to mix and modify as fits your needs. Join PubYe today and become part of a community that supports you all the way to publication!

I didn’t see when it started – I would think it would be in January – or maybe after NaNoEdMo?  I’ll get back to you on that.

Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants take on the challenge of writing 100 pages (20,000 words?) of scripted material in the month of April. As part of a donation-funded nonprofit, Script Frenzy charges no fee to participate; there are also no valuable prizes awarded or “best” scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages is victorious and awe-inspiring and will receive a handsome Script Frenzy Winner’s Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact.

Script Frenzy, because it is also by Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo people  – also has a young writers program… Great resources, including  how to write a comic book and workbooks for elementary, middle and high school students.

National Play Writing Month (NaPlWrMo – there really should be another “a” in there…) is a different challenge, and it takes place in November (not associated with NaNoWriMo, obviously).  This is from the website:


1.Start writing at 12:00am on November 1st. *Not* before.

2.Stop writing by November 30th at 11:59pm at the latest.

3. Your play must be a brand new play ( no screenplay) ; ie: you can not work on a previously started draft. ( yes, we changed it this year, sorry)

4.Your draft has to be at least 75 pages. (we’re talking a standard script page such as this one, offered by The Playwriting Seminars site  or something close enough to that, with a font no larger than 12pt courier). 75 pages is what we consider good length for a full length play these days. You can write more of course but consider the life of your play after you’ve written it and consider that 75 page plays get produced a lot more frequently than 90 page plays or 5 act tragedies.

The Three Minute Film Festival, I think, was started by the same people as NaNoWriMo, but is now run separately.  Here, you have the month of July to make a finished 3 minute mini film – any medium, but must be burned on DVD.  They even have a gala showing on August 8 in San Francisco, where people dress up in black tie and watch (all???) the films.

For musicians there is the RPM Challenge, where participants record an album in a month (28 days).  Their requirement is 10 songs or 35 minutes of original material recorded during the month of February.  There is also February Album Writing Month where you write 14 songs in 28 days.  I don’t remember which one I heard about on NPR.

24 Hour Comics Day is an annual event where cartoonists around the world each try to create 24 pages of comics in 24 hours. Last year, over 1200 cartoonists took part at events in 17 countries. Sponsored by ComicsPRO, the website has lots of great resources for planning your own city’s celebration.  The next one is October 3rd, 2009.

I tried to go to the website(s?) of NaNoMangO, which seemed to have wrapped up in June.  The site seems to be in transition – the closest I could find was a LiveJournal Community on the event.  NaNoMangO is the cartoonist’s version of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. While the goal for NaNoWriMo is to write a 175-page novel in a month, the goal of the twice-yearly NaNoMangO is 30 pages of sequential art in thirty days.  I guess that means that the next one is in January?

The only thing that I looked up that didn’t seem to exist was a challenge for National Poetry Month in April.  Nope, there’s no writing contest yet, but you can have a poem sent to you every day for that month.

So, I’ve been thinking: lets start our own month of poetry!  In May, I really got into collecting poetry formats and I’ll bet there are enough activities for one month.  Scholastic has some great resources on writing poetry,
As Does

Oh, I almost forgot:  November is National Lifewriting Month, “an opportunity to celebrate and share our personal and family stories. More and more ordinary people are discovering that memoirs make a meaningful legacy to leave to the next generation, and that writing them is a rewarding hobby with many benefits for families and communities, too.” There is a Table of Contents outlining the different memoir and scrapbooking activities to be found.


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