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My NaNo Story: A Guest Post By Patricia Rockwell

November 10, 2010

If it weren’t for NaNoWriMo, I wouldn’t have a published book today.  My cozy mystery Sounds of Murder was born during NaNoWriMo, two years ago.  As a recent retiree, I knew I wanted to write a mystery, but had no idea if I could or how to go about doing it.  I stumbled upon the NaNoWriMo site and joined.  Soon I was bombarded by friendly emails of encouragement and advice.  Also, I met several NaNo-ers in my local area when I went to some of NaNo’s local events.  Some area NaNo participants brought with them the books they had written the previous year during NaNo, now bound with a colorful cover and officially published.

That first year that I participated in NaNo was the most exciting.  I was determined to follow their directions for writing a book during the month of November.  Their slogan of “quantity over quality” became my mantra.  Starting on November 1st, I plunged in with “chapter one.”  Each day, I persisted and completed a chapter, updating my NaNo page each day with my accomplishments and receiving raves from all members.  NaNo has many forums on its site specifically oriented to various different genres and different types of writers (such as old, retired people like me).  When you’re not actually churning out verbiage for your book, you can drop by and chat with like-minded writers who are doing exactly what you’re doing, and see how many pages they have produced compared to you.

When the NaNo month ended, I actually had a novel.  Of course, I knew it needed a lot of editing, but it existed–over 60,000 words of it.  I’m the type of writer, that I work better editing a complete (albeit imperfect document) than polishing one sentence at a time until it is perfected.  NaNo worked so well for me in writing my first book, that last year I resolved to do it again to produce my second mystery.  I found the second book actually much easier to write than the first, as I knew what to expect with the NaNo program.  Again, at the end of November I had a complete book in my hands—FM For Murder.

This November, I plan to write my third book (tentatively titled Voice Mail Murder).  I will definitely follow the NaNo formula and I will attempt to produce my typical one chapter a day (I know this amount of text is quite doable for me).  However, this year I don’t plan to actually report my accomplishments on the NaNo site.  It’s not because I don’t credit NaNo with helping me succeed at writing my books; it’s merely that I believe I’ve assimilated the NaNo work ethic so completely that I feel a bit like a little baby writer bird that has finally left the nest and no longer needs Momma NaNo to take care of me.

For anyone who wants to finally write that book, I encourage you to try NaNoWriMo.  It’s a very supportive and positive experience.  And, of course, if you’re looking for positive support, stick with the Indie Book Collective—their forums, articles, and mentors are just perfect for helping all of us newbie authors with everything we need to become successful.


Patricia Rockwell has spent most of her life teaching.  From small liberal arts colleges to large regional research universities—and even a brief stint in a high school, her background in education is extensive.  She has taught virtually everything related to Communication—from a fine arts speech-theatre orientation to more recently a social science research approach.  Her Bachelors’ and Masters’ degrees are from the University of Nebraska in Speech and her Ph.D. is from the University of Arizona in Communication.  She was on the faculty at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette for thirteen years, retiring in 2007.

Her publications are extensive, with over 20 peer-reviewed articles in scholarly journals, several textbooks, and a research book on her major interest area of sarcasm, published by Edwin Mellen Press.  In addition to publications, she has presented numerous papers at academic conferences and served for eight years as Editor of the Louisiana Communication Journal.  Her research focuses primarily on several areas of communication:  deception, sarcasm, and vocal cues.

Dr. Rockwell is presently living in Aurora, Illinois, with her husband Milt, also a retired educator.  The couple have two adult children.  SOUNDS OF MURDER is her first novel.  It can be purchased from Amazon or Smashwords.  You can find her on her websiteTwitter, Goodreads,

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