Are you a creative or academic writer with a large project in mind? The UW-Madison Writing Center, Program in Creative Writing, and Madison Writing Assistance invite you to join fellow writers on campus and in the Madison community during the month of November as we celebrate National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and Academic Writing Month (AcWriMo)! Your goal: 50,000 words by the end of November.
The most successful writers often have one thing in common–they make writing a habit. That’s where community comes in. When you write as a part of the UW NaNoWriMo or AcWriMo community, others will be alongside you (online, in spirit), SUPPORTING YOU as you build your writing habit and CELEBRATING YOU when you accomplish your goals.
The Writing Center’s coordinator Gabbi Kelenyi will be in touch with everyone who registers to provide encouragement and information about upcoming events. Have questions? Contact Gabbi at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Perks of Participation
- Every Sunday, you will receive the week’s Pep Talk and that week’s schedule of events with any pertinent links and details.
- Each week, the Writing Center will host two writing sprints via Twitter. These will happen on different days at different times each week in order to try accommodate a variety of schedules.
- As the weeks progress, there will be more opportunities to share information about you, your progress, and pieces of your work.
- Throughout the month, you can volunteer to be featured in our weekly emails in the Writer Spotlight by filling out this form.
- Submit your work to our Work-In-Progress Showcase! Is a piece of writing ever really finished? Submit your 1-page or under work-in-progress pieces (free writes, writing sprints, trials, outline, typos, notes, and all!) to be featured in our Works-In-Progress Showcase at the end of the month! Submissions open NOW and close at 11:59pm CST on Saturday, 11/21.
- Submit your work to our Madison Flash Fiction Showcase! Flash fiction is short fiction, and we’d like to showcase your 1-page or under creative work or excerpt! Submit a short story, personal essay, sneak preview, or an excerpt from your larger creative piece to our Madison Flash Fiction Showcase at the end of the month. Submissions open NOW and close at 11:59pm CST on Saturday, 11/21.
- Register now for our culminating event, The Publishing Panel! Join us on Friday, November 20th, at 5:30PM CST via Zoom to hear from publishing professionals, Dennis Lloyd of UW Press and Alisa Plant of LSU Press, as well as professional writers and writing teachers, Susanna Daniel & Michelle Wildgen of Madison Writers’ Studio (authors of our Week 2 Pep Talk!), Steven Wright of Creative Writing & the Law School at UW-Madison, and Porter Shreve of Creative Writing at UW-Madison, about their publishing experiences and expertise! Check out the Publishing Panel web page for more information about our panelists and the panel.
We’re encouraging all of our writers to use this goal sheet to build community, establish your goals, and make a plan to achieve them!
Daily Word Count Tracker
Keep track of your daily word count towards that 50,000 word goal by using our Personal Word Count Tracking Spreadsheet. Then, add up your daily totals at the end of the week, and submit them to the team total using this form.
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What’s happening this week, 11/1-11/7:
- Welcome to NaNoWriMo/ AcWriMo! PEP TALK by Chris Chambers
- Chris Chambers is the editor of Midwest Review, a literary and art magazine from and about the midwest. Chambers is a writer, an editor, and a teacher. He’s taught writing in high schools and universities, and now teaches in community centers and in prisons. His work has been published widely in magazines and anthologies including Best American Mystery Stories, French Quarter Fiction, The Southern Review, Washington Square, and BOMB Magazine. Learn more about Chris and his work here.
- Writing Sprints: 25 minutes of sustained writing via Twitter.
- Wednesday, 11/2, at 5:00pm CST, hosted by Maria Mummert, Faculty Associate at The Writing Center
- Friday, 11/6, at 8:00am CST, hosted by Angela Zito, Faculty Associate at The Writing Center and Interim Director of Madison Writing Assistance
- And show your UW NaNoWriMo and UW AcWriMo pride by using this badge/image on your social media profiles, as your email account pictures, and any other way you can think of to show off your participation!
Finally, to bring your participation to the next level, consider joining the larger conversation on NaNoWriMo’s Madison Forum and AcWriMo!
What’s happening this week, 11/8-11/14:
- Keep Going, Writers! Pep Talk by Susanna Daniel of Madison Writers’ Studio
- Susanna Daniel is a co-founder of the Madison Writers’ Studio with author Michelle Wildgen. Daniel is a novelist and a writing instructor; at the Madison Writers’ Studio, she brings MFA-level instruction to small group workshops about writing books and creativity. She’s the author of two novels, Stiltsville and Sea Creatures. Daniel’s writing has been published in Newsweek, Slate, One Story, Epoch, and among others. Learn more about Susanna Daniel here.
- Writing Sprints: 25 minutes of sustained writing via Twitter
- Tuesday, 11/10, at 12pm CST, hosted by Maria Mummert, Faculty Associate at The Writing Center
- Thursday, 11/12, at 8pm CST, hosted by Chrissy Widmayer, Assistant Director of The Writing Center
- Why join a writing sprint? Writing sprints** are a great way to schedule and protect your writing time, to get words on the page even on a day that you perhaps weren’t planning to write or don’t have much time to write. Writing sprints are fun, low-stakes ways to increase your writing endurance and notice what aids or hinders your writing process: you’ll be surprised by how many words you can get on the page in just 25 minutes and how that number grows over time, in different situations, and in response to different prompts or writing tasks. Give a writing sprint a shot with our amazing Writing Center career staff and TA leaders this week!
You’ve been writing for a week! Show your UW Writing Pride and show off your progress by donning one or more of these badges/ images on your social media, email, and contact profiles!
What’s happening this week, 11/15-11/21:
You’re Doin’ It, Writers! Pep Talk by Gabriel Louis, 2019-2020 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow in the Program in Creative Writing at UW-Madison
Gabriel Louis was the 2019-2020 Carol Houck Smith Fiction Fellow at University of Wisconsin-Madison. Originally from Washington, D.C., he has a BA from Columbia University and an MFA from Washington University in St. Louis. Louis has been a Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center, and a Writer-in-Residence at Free Minds Book Club and Writing Workshop, and at St. Albans School. His work has appeared in Subtropics and The Kenyon Review, and he is a fiction editor at Fence.
Give a Writing Sprint (25 minutes of sustained writing via Twitter) a shot with our amazing Writing Center career staff and TA leaders this week. Shout out to Mary Beth, Derrick, and Lisa for joining in the fun last week!
Monday, 11/16, at 8am CST, hosted by Angela Zito, Faculty Associate at The Writing Center and Interim Director of Madison Writing Assistance
Saturday, 11/21, at 11am CST, hosted by Gabbi Kelenyi, Coordinator of Multicultural & Social Justice Initiatives at The Writing Center
You’ve been writing for 2 weeks! Show your UW Writing Pride and show off your progress by donning one or more of these badges/ images on your social media, email, and contact profiles!
What’s happening this week, 11/22-11/28:
- Finish Strong, Writers! Pep Talk by Dr. Kristina Huang, Assistant Professor in the English Department at UW-Madison
- Dr. Kristina Huang studies Anglophone literature of the long eighteenth century with a special emphasis on the intellectual history and social movements of the early Black Atlantic world. Dr. Huang is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Plotting Black Life in the Long Eighteenth Century. Learn more about Dr. Huang here.
- Tomorrow and Tuesday are your last chances to try a Writing Sprint (25 minutes of sustained writing via Twitter)!
- Monday, 11/23, at 5pm CST, hosted by Lisa Marvel Johnson, Faculty Associate at The Writing Center
- Tuesday, 11/24, at 8am CST, hosted by Angela Zito, Faculty Associate at The Writing Center and Interim Director of Madison Writing Assistance
- Check out our Madison Flash Fiction Submission! Click here to catch a sneak preview of Katalina Lee’s young adult novel, Lady of Twilight and Stars. Thank you for sharing it with us, Katalina!
- Thanks to everyone who was able to make it to our culminating event, the Publishing Panel on Friday! Here’s a screenshot from our event.
- Check out the post about our NaNoWriMo/ AcWriMo celebration coming out on Tuesday, 11/24, on the Writing Center’s blog, Another Word.
What’s happening this week, 11/29-11/30:
- Please take our experience survey to let us know what you liked best about our NaNoWriMo/ AcWriMo celebration and how we can improve it next year!
- The survey will remain open for your responses until Friday, December 4th, at 11:59pm CST.
- Check out our Madison Flash Fiction Submission!
- Click here to catch a sneak preview of Katalina Lee’s young adult novel, Lady of Twilight and Stars.
- Check out the post about our NaNoWriMo/AcWriMo celebration!
- Posted on the Writing Center’s blog, Another Word, last Tuesday 🙂
- You completed NaNoWriMo and/or AcWriMo!
- Show your UW Writing Pride and your accomplishment by donning one or more of these *NEW* badges/ images on your social media, email, and contact profiles!
Weekly Writer Spotlights
Get inspired by these members of our NaNoWriMo/ AcWriMo Community!
Say Hello to…
Marilyn is working on her new book with us during NaNoWriMo and AcWriMo!
Apoorva is working on a publication and drafting a project proposal as a part of our month-long celebration!
Katalina is working on finishing a fictional YA [young adult] novel with us for NaNoWriMo!
Shuqi is working on a 2000-word paper for class with us for AcWriMo!
Annushka is a 5th grader, and writing is one of her biggest passions📝! She has just started brainstorming ideas for her creative writing and drawing for NaNoWriMo. 😊
Quishanta is working on the introduction to her own book, an editorial research paper on gun violence, and other poems or short stories that come to her during NaNoWriMo and AcWriMo.
Stella is working on a new novel with us during NaNoWriMo!
Claudia is working on their Main Area Paper, which is one of the milestones in their PhD Studies in Educational Psychology, with us for AcWriMo!
Livier is working on their memoir with us for both NaNoWriMo and AcWriMo!
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received or learned through experience about writers and/or writing?
Marilyn: That there is nothing to it but to do it.
Apoorva: One quote that has inspired me while writing is the following by Calvin Coolidge: “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Katalina: Creative writing wise, I’ve learned that it is okay to not know where the story is heading, and that making drastic changes to the story, even if it is a major plot change, is also okay! Growth and transformation is always natural, and do not be scared to change something just because the story has been progressing the same for so long.
Shuqi: Keep writing. Improvement is on the way.
Annushka: I have learned how to express my feeling and how to be really creative.🎨📝
Quishanta: The best piece of advice I could give anyone I guess would be if you may come upon and get Writer’s Block don’t fret, just write across the page line per line lots of different exclamation points until a word or/and letter pops in your head and write that down whatever it may be. If you get nothing else after that, start on something else like numbers or shapes till another word or/and letter pops up and continue to do whatever you have to do just, don’t stop WRITING! This ALLLWAYS helps me out A LOT, but I rarely get Writer’s Block because there’s soooo much to write about, it’s CRAZY!
Stella: I love Ray Bradbury’s book Zen in the Art of Writing, and I’d recommend it to all writers and creatives. One of the best pieces of advice I got from it is that you have to continue to live life and consume all kinds of stories to fuel your own muse, and your experiences eventually come together in unexpected ways.
Claudia: Writing is an iterative process. Write everyday, the important thing is to show up even if you don’t feel like it!
Livier: Be positive.
What's a pep talk?
Pep talks are inspirational messages written by experienced writers; they offer words of wisdom, motivation, and confidence. They can share experiences, tips and tricks, strategies for when the writing gets tough, or inspiring ideas or insights. The format and content is up to the author, but the purpose is always the same: to encourage and inspire other writers.
What's a writing sprint?
Writing sprints are timed bursts of focused writing that help writers get more words on the page! Writing is typically thought of as an endurance sport. However, a sprint here and there can help writers reduce instances of writer’s block and overcome time constraints, thereby building more endurance. Various members of the Writing Center’s staff will facilitate these 25-minute sprints and provide optional prompts for writers in need of inspiration. These are opportunities to write with others, make and share progress, celebrate small victories, and protect pockets of writing time.
Join the conversation!
Join the conversation on social media via the Writing Center’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. We’ll be using the hashtags #UWNaNoWriMo #UWAcWriMo.