Great Book for Writers…NaNo or Not


I’ve never written a book review on here before.


NaNoBook - sig


And I’m not going to.

I will say that this book is made of awesome.

I’m late to the party. I should have posted about No Plot? No Problem! in October before all you nutty NaNos took on the completely insane challenge of finishing a book in thirty days.

But I’m here now. Because I am having a problem. A writing problem. (I’ll post more about that later.)

So I was searching my bookshelves for some inspiration when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a marvelous book sat unread for two years! And in November, to boot. Before I write another word, let me say I have never participated in NaNoWriMo. And. Yet.

This is a stupendously marvelous writing book. Yup. It’s all that and a bag of chips.

Oh, no! Not (another) book about writing.

Well, technically, it is. Sort of. But not really. In other words, it’s not a “this is how you are supposed to write” book. It’s a cheerleader (with more clothes). A guide. A tiny, written friend with advice and support. Also, just enough writing tips and anecdotes for me to call it a writing book but not enough to drive you crazy or contradict all the other books you’ve read about how to write. It even offers to take your “Inner Editor” so you can write a shitty first draft that would “absolutely horrify it”.

The entire first part of the book contains tidbits of remarkable wisdom like “don’t write within view of a bed”, sections like “Eating Your Way to 50,000 Words” & “The Happy Side Effects of Limited Planning” (which appeals to me very much), along with tips like how to host a writing day:

Ask all attendees to turn off the ringers on their cell phones, and set a timer so everyone knows exactly when each session ends and the glorious break time begins. Should anyone continue to type after the alarm marking the end of the session sounds, chop off their fingers. Don’t be afraid to be a tyrant. (53)

And the excellent “law of exuberant imperfection”:

The first law of exuberant imperfection is essentially this: The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy. 

the older we get, the more scared we are to try new things. . . . what do we do when we have free time? The tried-and-true activities we’ve already perfected. Like talking on the phone. Or walking up and down stairs. Or getting drunk. . . . Exuberant imperfection allows you to circumvent those limiting feelings entirely. (32-33)

And this charming truth:

The universe loves novelists. During the novel-prep and book-writing period, you’ll watch, delighted, as the cosmos parts to reveal a rich vein of pilferable, copyright-free material explicitly for your noveling use. A couple will sit down next to you on the bus and proceed to have an argument. . . (72)

Right? Oh, man, I love when that happens. *sigh*

The second part is dedicated specifically to NaNo participants—broken down by weeks. Very helpful if you’re into that sort of thing. And more power to you. (Really. Love and respect to my fellow writers during this hectic Novembery time.)

Reading through this again made me realize two things. Three, actually. 1. Chris is funny. He is. 2. I’m not trying to crank out 50,000 words in a month and this book is still wonderful. 3. My husband has always supported my writing.


NaNo Book - sig

How cool is this?


You can get a copy here, if you so desire. But it’s different from mine because I have an old copy, as you can see from the inscription here, and Chris has made all sorts of shiny, new words for you.

32 thoughts on “Great Book for Writers…NaNo or Not

  1. Super awesome husband and a bag of chips! I might just get this book even though I’m not novelling let alone NaNo-ing. I like the idea of some of the group write-in things. Even one day a month with a buddie would be a nice way to focus in an unlonely way!
    (Love: It’s all that and a bag of chips!)
    Lisa xx

    Liked by 2 people

  2. The thought of writing a novel terrifies me. But the more I write, the more I’m finding I’m drawn to the idea. This book sounds ideal. Thanks so much for the share. And the card and words from your hubby? The sweetest ever. Writer Mum, Best Mum. Love it… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw, thanks. It is wicked sweet. ❤
      The thought of writing a novel scares me, too. I hope you go with your feeling of wanting to write. I know how you feel. I do. I think, for those of us who haven't written a lot of fiction, it's especially scary even thought we've written so much (if that makes any sense). But your writing (the bits of fiction I've read) is fantastic. Maybe we should just not think about it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • I think they do, too. They apply to writing in general. If you look at non-instructional books about writing, even if they’re by fiction authors, the advice applies to all writing, really. The writer life, writer mindset. (Yes, busted. It is a long time to sit forgotten…) O_o

      Liked by 1 person

  3. He’s a keeper! 😉 Thanks for the book recommendation. I’m not writing a novel (though never say never) but I dig anything writing-related. I just finished Elizabeth Gilbert’s Big Magic which I loved (even though I didn’t love Eat Pray Love, though her following book was pretty good!). It talks about creativity and it’s pretty inspiring.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Despite this being my 4th year with NaNo, I’ve never read this book. It might be something I pick up now, though I have a habit of not actually reading any of the books I buy about writing… :\

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This looks like an awesome book! I admit I harbor fantasies of novel writing (although where I get off on that idea, since I don’t write any other fiction now and haven’t for years…. *Shrugs* ) and I should put this one on my reading list. Another book I’m dying to look at (and perhaps you’d be interested in too) is “Jumpstart your novel,” by Mark Teppo. He has a 9 grid system that I did in a 2 hour convention panel with him… it was awesome. The panel was a teaser for the book, of course, but given that I outlined my steampunk romance novel in a really rather plausible way… well, it make me a believer. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have faith in your novel-writing abilities. I know what you mean, though, and how you feel. I’ve written more fiction than nonfiction lately… Don’t know what I’m doing. I am THRILLED to check out that book! Thanks! (Also, the panel sounds awesome — and I look forward to reading your book.) What are you waiting for?! Write it!


  6. I tried NaNoWriMo last year, and it was more challenging that I even expected it to be – but I’m not much of a writer so… yeah… This book looks like a really fun and interesting read.

    Liked by 1 person

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