Why? Why a writing challenge? Why March to May?

Let us start with a story. Once upon a time there was a young, middle-aged, older woman named Karen who loved to write. She wrote poetry. She wrote short stories. Then one day she heard about National Novel Writing Month. Being a hip writer, she quickly started calling it NaNoWriMo like all the other writers. The Challenge was simple, write 50 thousand words in a month that when read in the proper order make a good story.

She planned and prepared. Notebooks were abused, Scrivener was prepped, and research was printed and taped to every possible open space around the monitor of her computer, and on the desk, and on the wall behind the desk. November 1st, 5 thousand words. She was on fire. November 2nd, 3 thousand words. Still killing it. November 3rd, 1500 words. And so forth until around November 14th when she realized that one of her main characters needed to be taller, and from Wisconsin, and a girl. Scrambling as hard as she could to correct her writing, she never caught up. Then family started showing up in her house bringing Turkey and sides and they insisted on her leaving the computer and taking a bath. Then they wanted to talk to her and do things with her, even though her protagonist at that very moment was struggling to crawl out of that vast cavern and rescue his beloved owl.

When December 1st arrived, her story was not completed. Her Scrivener was in such a disarray her best friend thought it had a virus.
January 1st she made a New Year’s Resolution to finish the story, but like all the New Year’s Resolutions she made, it never made it past January 18th. But you knew the one about giving up chocolate wouldn’t stick.

Poor Karen. Her story lay broken, pushed to the back by filing taxes and fundraisers and so forth.

We have all been in Karen’s shoes. After January, we push it back until we have more time and the more we push it away, the harder it becomes to pick it up again until November.

But we are writers, aren’t we? Why do we respond so well to NaNoWriMo? I’m betting it’s because we feel a part of a bigger community when we write. We can Tweet about our stories and get a response from someone who knows exactly what we are talking about.


  1. Pick your story. It could be something you’ve been waiting to work on. It could be a sequel. It could be a new adventure. Fact or Fiction. Just find that one story you’ve been itching to tell.
  2. 61 days. That’s it. 61 days to plot, plan, and tell your story. No, you probably won’t write the Great American Novel during this challenge. Stretch yourself a little. You are a writer. So Write!
  3. Check in using #MarchToMay Share your progress. Ask for help. No, you don’t have to give us a word count every day. That is a complete waste of your writing time. But keep us all updated. We want to know if things are going smoothly. But we also want to help if you need an idea or could use a fresh perspective.
  4. May 1st, come back and post your progress. Finished? Great! Still working on it? Wonderful! Are you going to post your story on your blog? Post a link! We want to read it. Are you going to publish? Awesome, share your title and author name so we can find you.

We are called a writing community. Well, here’s an opportunity to be a part of a real community. And here’s your challenge.

J. Leigh James said that we should have some sort of badge or banner that we can display showing our participation. I’ll work on it. In the Meanwhile…Get the word out. Challenge your other writer friends. Encourage students to participate.

Let’s Write!

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