And When October Goes …

It’s almost November first … and that means NaNoWriMo is about to start!

What’s NaNoWriMo, you ask?  Why it’s National Novel Writing Month of course!  It’s a big, wacky-ass writing challenge, in which you are charged with writing a novel of at least 50,000 words between midnight, November 1st and midnight, November 30th.

I’ve taken up the challenge since 2003, and the change it has made in my writing has been amazing.  My NaNoWriMo writing is all basically crap, but my ‘real’ writing has turning into something so much stronger and more fluid.  Who knew churning out 50,000 words of shlock could be so productive?

So this year I had a crazy thought.  What if I try this with my students?  I’m not going to do the night class, I don’t think.  There’s such a different vibe in there now that all but one of the girls are gone.  My morning class, however, could be interesting.  It’s a big group — about 25 people! — and they have much more faithful attendance.

We talked about this yesterday, and they’ve accepted the challenge: not to write 50,000 words, but to write as much as we can in 30 days.  We’re going to set aside time each day and just write in silence …  This should be interesting, to say the least!


I can’t end without giving more of a nod to Mr. Mercer and his lovely, melancholy lyric.  I loved this song from the first time I heard it.  The melody was written by Barry Manilow.  I’m serious.  Mercer and Manilow.  It’s pure and clean and so refined it’s hard to remember Manilow also gave us the Copacabana song (not that I don’t love that saga of Lola, Tony and Rico, but …).

When October Goes

And when October goes
The snow begins to fly
Above the smokey roofs
I watch the planes go by

The children running home
Beneath a twilight sky
Oh, for the fun of them
When I was one of them

And when October goes
The same old dream appears
And you are in my arms
To share the happy years

I turn my head away
To hide the helpless tears
Oh how I hate to see October go

I should be over it now I know
It doesn’t matter much
How old I grow
I hate to see October go

7 thoughts on “And When October Goes …

  1. That’s a great exercise to give to a class! My younger sister is in college and one of her professors is trying to organize write-ins for NaNo.

    This is only my second year participating in it, but I’m tremendously excited! As a result of NaNo last year, I ended up meeting and joining a local novel critique group. It’s been incredibly helpful in more ways than writing the 50K in 30 days.

    It’s funny too…the start of NaNo is also my birthday…so I wonder when I’ll find the time that first day to have birthday cake? 😛

    Anyway, it’s nice to see another NaNo participant!


  2. Hey, Dara, good luck with your NaNo writing, and happy early birthday!

    I teach Pre-GED and GED classes, but I know teachers have done NaNo with students as young as junior high, so I’m thinking my crowd might really get through this. I’m just wondering if I have the energy to get through it …

    Thanks for stopping in!


  3. Damnation. Those lyrcis by Manilow are fabulous. Do you mean I’m going to have to think good thoughts about him? Perfect month to invest in creativity, Stacie. It shall fight the melancholy of October.


  4. Hi, Pat–
    As much as I’d love to help Barry earn a little respect from you … he wrote the music, Johnny Mercer wrote the words! But the lyrics are beautiful, aren’t they? Tried to find a good YouTube vid of someone singing it, but just kept finding sappy renditions and a really weird, made-for-karaoke and ultimately over-melancholy montage set to Manilow singing. No thanks!

    Checked out your holiday card … funny and creepy all at once!


  5. I like the sound of that, Bonnie! I have to say, my first year was my best year. I wrote the most and was able to be the most focused. In each of the subsequent years my work has really gotten in the way of my ability to get my head into the fun of the challenge. With my schedule as crazy and demanding as it is right now, maybe having a writing buddy will help me sustain my effort!


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