Spotting NaNoWriMo in the wild

I wear a lot of NaNo swag, including the original NaNo laptop bag that goes with me everywhere. Last night I was at a crowded bar with a friend with the bag on my lap when a couple sat down next to us. One person asked “Do you do NaNoWriMo?” and then promptly apologized for being creepy.

And then we talked for the next 15ish minutes about NaNo and how he had done it a few years ago and was going to give it another try this year.

No, person, you’re not being creepy. You’re my new best friend.

Has this ever happened to you? Or have you been on the other end of this conversation, recognizing someone’s NaNo swag and using it as a conversation mover?


Hasn’t happened to me. I don’t wear NaNo swag ( don’t even own any ) and I have told only to few people that I write. Those people don’t include my family, they wouldn’t understand. But I’d love to be in a situation like you, some time.

Once when I was “interviewing” to become a volunteer, I mentioned I was doing a writing challenge. The interviewer’s face lit up and she said, “You do NaNo, too?”


A few times, though not as often as you’d think considering I always have a nano sticker on my laptop and wear some of the swag around.

I usually respond with “yes, I’m the guy that emails you so much”


It’s been happening a lot lately for me! I’ve been surprised at the number of my professors who are like, “Oh, I love NaNo, you actually work for them?”

I get a lot of swag too (perks of the job) so I’m pretty much always wearing something. It’s about half my warddrobe.I don’t get as many reactions to those, though. I did make a friend at my kids’ VBS though, when we were talking about things and she said, “Oh NaNo!” and now we’re buddies.


Through my work, I have met several regional authors who have never shown up at any events. I typicaly have the latest NaNo poster on the wall in my office, and although I meet with clients in a conference room, we pass by my office on the way, with the poster in full view from the door.

I’ve even had an attorney acquiantance (he used to practice in the suite next-door, which we took over when he moved out) call me up to tell me his new paralegal “does that NaNo thing, too.”


It’s never happened to me, and I wear my Nano shirts a lot! Mostly I just end up having to explain to people what Nano is, and they just end up looking confused…


Probably partly why I never tell anyone that I do Nano. I don’t have the energy to explain to anyone what it is, only to still get “What the heck it is?” face.

or a “WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?” :smiley:


I usually say it’s a writing challenge. Most people accept that brief explanation.

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I get that a lot too. I usually because “Because it’s fun and lifechanging and look just give it a try sometime okay”.

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Yep, that too. That would probably be my parents’ answer to it. “Why are you doing it? There’s better things to do than writing. Are you going to do something with your story? No? Then why?”

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This has never actually happened to me yet, or at least not that I remember!

A few years ago I went to one of the Come Write In write-ins somewhere in the Bay Area, and because I showed up in a NaNo shirt and bag, the other attendees thought I was on staff! Nope, I’m another writer just like you. Even if I probably traveled a few thousand miles farther to get there…


The funny thing is, I don’t usually volunteer that I’m staff at local write-ins. I don’t want to appear all lordly and “I’m better than you” or anything.It’s often one of the other participants who “outs” me. (Usually Miri, although these days she’s all other-state and stuff.)


“It’s a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. You should do it!”

See, as an ML, I need to encourage them to do it while explaining it.

My mother accepts the concept of doing it, but doesn’t understand why one would go through the trouble of writing a novel and then not showing it to people or attempting to publish it.

Fine Mom, I’ll attempt to publish. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Sometimes others don’t understand that the writing process is a journey for some people, and that the journey is what drives them.


I haven’t had it yet, but I do have NaNo stickers on my laptop and occasionally I write in public. Though I’ve had more of a reaction to the Undertale dog next to it… And constant questions about what TWRP is. One day someone will know/ask about NaNo!

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I remember once in a Finncon (yearly SpeFi event in Finland) at the sales area a bookseller asked “did you win” seeing me wear a nano shirt. And we discussed about nano for a moment.


Saw a guy in a NaNo shirt a couple of months ago. Didn’t know if he was a friend or an enemy, so I just waved and walked on.

If that was you and if you’re a friend, “Hi!”

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