NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month.

It’s Year 13 for our family. When our kids were all still at home, we had as many as six of us participating. This year I don’t know how many we have. I will, but then that goes almost without saying.

NaNoWriMo. The best way for me to describe the fun, the excitement, the atmosphere of NaNoWriMo is to share something I wrote after our Kick-Off Party in 2010…


NaNoWriMo, EdmoWriMo & PeptoWriMo

And the Madness begins again! Actually, it began Monday morning at midnight. November Madness… the Madness that is NaNoWriMo! Consequently, this month you will either find me posting even less often than you have in the past month… or MORE, as I fight writer’s block by sharing some of what’s going on! Anything I write during November that could possibly, conceivably be used in my novel at some future date… i.e. anything related to it at all… can be used as word count. Participants are actually encouraged to write all manner of useless drivel, just to pad their word count. Why?

In the words of the NaNoWriMo website:

“Because of the limited writing window, the ONLY thing that matters in NaNoWriMo is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality. The kamikaze approach forces you to lower your expectations, take risks, and write on the fly.

“Make no mistake: You will be writing a lot of crap. And that’s a good thing. By forcing yourself to write so intensely, you are giving yourself permission to make mistakes. To forgo the endless tweaking and editing and just create. To build without tearing down.”

So you see, the primary goal is to get people writing… which, as you may or may not know, I have not been doing a lot of, in the past month or two.

So what on earth do I mean by NaNoWriMo, EdmoWriMo and PeptoWriMo?? Well, let’s start with NaNoWriMo.

This is that special, crazy, frantic, deliriously wonderful time of the year when thousands upon thousands of writers worldwide commit to writing a 50000 word novel during the month of November. Some published writers are involved, and some have become published since joining NaNoWriMo, but the vast majority are just everyday people who have a love of writing, and want to try their hand at a long term project that may some day see print.

Now some people may never get so far as to type the first word before midnight strikes on November 30. Some may get only a few chapters into their Opus Magnus before the deadline. But for MANY of us, this novel writing is a VERY serious matter indeed! We will weather the weather and be oblivious to all kinds of disasters happening all around us and right under our noses… We won’t even bat an eye! We are FOCUSED, man! GOTTA finish that novel!

And if we are successful and cross the finish line before the stroke of midnight on November 3O?

Oh my word! Did I really say “if”??? WHEN we cross the finish line on November 30, we are awarded a certificate something like the one pictured here, complete with Chris Baty’s signature on it, to prove to the world that we DID it!

That explains NaNoWriMo.

EdmoWriMo may or may not be self explanatory. It means Edmonton NaNoWriMo participants, aka the EdmoWriMo Literary Ninjas. There are close to 200 of us, and we shall see if this year’s track record remains as good as the past several years. Even pitted against much larger urban regions, we are the 3rd highest region IN THE WORLD for collective word count and for percentage of participants who cross the finish line. I credit our wonderful Municipal Liasons (MLs) for that. Especially Sarah Mackey, who has been one of our leaders the whole time our family has been involved. She’s only a year or two older than our own daughter Irene, and talk about enthusiasm and energy!!! She’s a sheer delight to be around, but also has a reputation for cracking the whip to keep the team moving toward our GOAL.

Each year the Edmonwrimos are split up into four teams… or, as it happens this year… 6 teams. This is done by having us pick a colour out of a hat. I don’t know how we manage to do this, but EVERY year all the participants in our carload somehow manages to get on DIFFERENT teams!! It’s good in a way, because it means friendly competition among us every year… and it also means we all have to sit at different tables during our parties, so we get to know people we never would have, had we sat together as a family. Even Raewyn and her friend Melinda, who are now sharing a house in Westlock with Vicki, ended up on different teams! So funny!!

This year’s expansion to 6 teams means two additional colours. The following story will tell you which team I am on…

The Edmowrimos’ “theme” this year is a camping theme. Each team had to design a banner and build a cabin out of popsicle sticks. We were given a tiny box with a cardboard roof, onto which the popsicle sticks would be glued, and then painted our team colour… and an 18 inch square piece of white cotton, a sponge brush and a cup of tempra paint. Pink paint. Pepto Bismal Pink paint.

We were also to come up with a name for our team. We thought of names such as “Sunrise”, “Wild Roses” and “Think Pink”, among others. Then one young lady said, “PeptoWrimos”… and everyone went wild! It just… fit. ‘Way too funny and clever to pass up. It was a unanimous vote.

Our banner is still white, but has a bottle of PeptoBismal pouring into a blue NaNoWriMo mug with the camping theme picture on the front (black tent silhouetted against a starry navy blue sky studded with stars). Totally amazing how Dawn could do all that with only a sponge brush… but she is, after all, an artist. And she “cheated”… creative thinking outside the box was allowed to some extent, and her outlining of the bottle and mug, and the lettering, with black felt marker, made it look quite classy. In big letters on the background are the words, “Pink is the New Black”. Don’t ask me what the connection is there… it just sounded good, I guess!

Meanwhile our team engineers were hard at work planning and executing the construction of our cabin. Ours boasted a turret in place of a chimney, and a drawbridge instead of a door. Of course it too was painted Pepto Bismal Pink. Very classy. It was with great pride that our team went to the front afterward, wearing our pink sashes, to show off our banner and cabin.

There you have it… the explanation of the word PeptoWriMo!

And that, my friends, is ONLY THE BEGINNING!!! This is the Flewelling family’s 6th year in NaNoWriMo, but only three of us are participating this time. Timothy and I have a friendly competition going, with him on the Red team and me on the Pink. I’m looking forward to the next four weeks!!


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Have you ever heard of it before? It’s a great way to get your kids involved if you’re homeschooling… or to get a little competition going in your family, or among your friends, just for fun. I remember one year there were six of us in my family participating — even my husband!

© Willena Flewelling


  1. Hi Willena,

    Sounds fun. This is only the 2nd time I’ve heard of the contest, but understand the power of writing without filtering.

    I wish you and the other “PeptoWrimolites” continued success and enthusiasm!
    Edward Thorpe recently posted…8 Anti Aging Exercise ProgramsMy Profile

    • Thank you, Edward! I had success again this year! The only reason my daughter did not this time is that she was packing and cleaning, in preparation to move house the day after NaNoWriMo ended.
      Willena Flewelling recently posted…The RingMy Profile

  2. Hey Willena, may this message bring joy in this day!

    I laugh so much, brings back memories of hearing the first time. About this from your site. Years ago!

    Everyone’s a winner in my book. You make communicating and sharing amazing stories of our lives. More doable. Each unique and exciting to learn some value. People, have forgotten about this fading art of writing.

    You are appreciated,

  3. Hey Willena, thanks for sharing good info keep sharing

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