Celebrating NaNoWriMo’s 20th Anniversary, featuring NaNoWriMo Founder Chris Baty

Sep 30, 2019

Chris Baty

It’s NaNoWriMo prep season—and its 20th anniversary, so this week’s episode celebrates some of the organization’s achievements and milestones, and Brooke and Grant talk about word counts, community, and what keeps them writing. We’re reairing last year’s fabulous interview with NaNoWriMo’s founder, Chris Baty, which is sure to inspire anyone thinking about doing NaNoWriMo to jump in with both feet this November. We hope you will.


Chris Baty accidentally founded National Novel Writing Month in 1999, and oversaw the event’s growth from 21 friends to more than 300,000 writers in 90 countries. Chris now serves as a Board Member Emeritus for NaNoWriMo, and spends his days teaching classes at Stanford University’s Writer’s Studio, helping Dropbox with word-wrangling, and endlessly revising his own novels. He’s the author of No Plot? No Problem! and the co-author of Ready, Set, Novel. His quest for the perfect cup of coffee is ongoing, and will likely kill him someday.

The Takeaway

This week’s takeaway is a NaNoWriMo exercise: word sprints. This is something that will help any writer keep banging out words on the page. Try one week of word sprints. Take your main character, for example, and spend 10 minutes writing as quickly as you can about him or her. Don’t worry about punctuation or logic. Try to not even take your pen off the page or your fingers off the keyboard. Do 10 minutes a day for a week and explore other characters in your novel, your setting, anything. Just fill the pages with words to explore your story before you sit down to write it in November.

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