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The Office of Letters and Light

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Media & Communications

Mission: The Office of Letters and Light organizes events where children and adults find the inspiration, encouragement, and structure they need to achieve their creative potential. Our programs are web-enabled challenges with vibrant real-world components, designed to foster self-expression while building community on local and global levels.

Programs: National Novel Writing Month, Script Frenzy, the Young Writers Program

Community Stories

2532 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Very good fun, and they're very supportive, with witty pep talks which I always enjoy. I am also very pleased with the Office Of Letters And Lights Ready Set Novel Kit, which I was bought for Christmas.

Previous Stories

Board Member

Rating: 5

National Novel Writing Month, run by the office of Letters and Light, is, in one word - not 50,000 - brilliant.
Having spent the past ten years of my life writing, without many goals to aim for, this opened up the doors for me and allowed me to do what I've always wanted to do - write a novel.
Aged 15, it was a challenge nonetheless, but I feel that I approached it well, all down to the support I received from the amazing team behind NaNoWriMo, and this lead me to not only beat the target, but reach 65,000 words, a massive achievement for me considering I spent much of November working backstage at a theatre, at school, or doing homework.
Also, the forums there have been brilliant, and I even found out about a new singer who has rapidly become one of my favourites.
All the people are really friendly and the emails we received were brilliant for motivation. Thank you to everyone involved.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

How to describe Office of Letters and Light? Organized, empowering, energizing. My favorite programs is their Young Writer's Program which I've used in the classroom as an English teacher (8th grade). Through the materials OLL provides, not only have the students improved their own writing, but they've finally come to understand many of the concepts primary to selecting and enjoying good literature. The National Novel Writing Month format translated well into my classroom, and applying many of OLL's WYP materials helped me teach state content standards in ways students could really apply them. The NaNoWriMo also has inspired and motivated my own writing.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

National Novel Writing Month, which is organized by the Office of Letters and Light has been such an encouraging experience for me. Personally I've written three novels during NaNoWriMo, and I have three incomplete novels in the wings. It has been just the push that I have needed to work toward one of my dreams.

Even more, though, as an 8th grade English teacher I watched students who resisted writing open up their imaginations and pull out delightful fiction. They enjoy the freedom of the Young Writers Program attached to NaNoWriMo. They thrive in the atmosphere of a class of writing colleagues. They cheered each other on and competed to be the first to read a classmates completed novel.

I love this project!

Review from Guidestar

Janet B.

Donor

Rating: 4

As an annual partcipant in NaNoWriMo, I am grateful to the Office of Letters and Light for offering writers the opportunity to share a love of writing with other writers. Whether participants continue a writing career or not, this experience promotes the importance of the arts in enriching our lives. I've made life-long friends and colleagues.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is a tremendous experience for any aspiring writer. I have participated for two years (and donated because I considered it so worthy). The encouragement and camaraderie are unique experiences in a field that tends to be solitary. Thanks to NaNo I finished rough drafts of two manuscripts and obtained a permanent critique partner/friend.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am epileptic and have short term memory problems due to complications from the initial (unexplained) illness that brought on the epilepsy almost ten years ago. Writing is one of the things I am still able to do, and with the organizational and goal-setting skills I've learned by participating in NaNoWriMo, I have been able to hone my craft a great deal. I participated in 2010 and 2011, and the novel that I started in 2011 is now up to just shy of eighty thousand words of rough draft. I have gotten to the point where I am noticing bumps in the plot line that I am working on smoothing out, and with the step by step and goal for each day method I have learned doing NaNoWriMo, I know I will get things smoothed out and get the rough draft of the novel completed. Then I will get to have fun applying the same methods to revising and get the novel ready to start finding a publisher and see where I can go from there!

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I found out about NaNoWriMo through the leader of a writing club at my local public library. I have loved to write since I was young, and decided to try this. A little over eight years ago, I suffered an unexplained illness that caused short term memory problems and left me epileptic. These things made it more difficult for me to pursue my dreams as a writer. By trying out the method of writing suggested in NaNoWriMo - setting specific word count goals for each day - I was able to get 50,000 words of a novel written in a month, and although I have slowed down and written more carefully on my current piece, I recently passed the 25,000 word mark on my current novel. Writing regularly with specific goals helps me to keep the story line fresh in my mind, even with my memory problems, and what I learned about writing by doing NaNoWriMo has given me the courage to pursue my dream of getting published more actively - with all of my heart!

Review from Guidestar

Brittany G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

The OLL continues to provide programs that help all writers meet their goals. My experience with them has been nothing but positive. They are an excellent source of encouragement and motivation, and their programs have helped me complete several novels that are now on their way to being published. I couldn't have acheived that dream without their support and assistance.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

The OLL is the only reason I have had the courage to continue to pursue my dream. The community they create through National Novel Writing Month, the encouragement they provide, and the motivation they continually dole out are among the most fantastic resources that a writer could hope for. I can't tell you how badly I've needed the help they provide!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Nanowrimo experience is a lasting one. I've now written 3 novels, thanks to the prompts and pushes (in the gentlest way) and I'm in the middle of an extensive rework to combine two of them, thanks again to a prompt from the team. Although I probably won't participate again this year, I continue to donate because I know I'll be back...after I finish my rewrite and (hopefully) publish. I've recommended the program to many of my friends and family, all of whom are thrilled to be playing in the Nanowrimo sandbox. One doesn't do it for the goodies, of course, but it also sure helped me that as a Winner, I got a free license to Scrivener, the best writing tool I've ever seen! So...all in all I'm a total fan!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Three times I've participated in NaNoWriMo - introduced by my niece - and three times I've had the satisfaction of seeing that yes, in one month, it is possible to create a novel of more than 50,000 words. (Actually, the first was more than 70,000.) Daily emails, tools to help me track my progress, encouragement from online "friends" all helped me to stay on track and committed. Chris Baty, the director, strikes a fine balance between cheerleading, commiserating, and offering helpful pointers. NaNoWriMo is a great tool for staying focused. Now, for the editing stage...and the challenge of trying to combine at least two of my efforts into a single story...and hopefully publication. We'll see!

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

Among other works, the Office of Letters and Light organises NaNoWriMo, an amazing worldwide novel writing challenge. My taking part in the 2006 edition changed my life as I found out that I really could write a novel. Now a published writer, I donate every year, so others get a chance to go through the same experience. And of course, I still participate. The challenge is a great way to push one's writing further.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I tried my first NaNoWriMo, I didn't think such a thing as writing fifty thousand words in one month was possible. However, with a lot off support from the whole community, I succeeded. I even won the challenge five years in a row, finishing all my first drafts. In the meantime, I came to know myself as a writer, gain confidence and improve my writing skills. A revised version of my very first NaNoWriMo will be published this year. None of this would have been accomplished without all the hard work from the Office of Letters and Light, and I have to thank them for changing my life. This nonprofit makes wonders in the promotion of creative writing.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Office of letters and light provide free literary services to adults and children alike. Personally I have taken part in their Nanowrimo writing challenge for three years running and have improved my own writing speed and style in a forum where I am challenged and supported by peers world wide that I would otherwise have had absolutely no opportunity to communicate with. There is nothing else like The office of letters and light, and their work with the young writers program within schools and community is unsurpassed.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

Nanowrimo was a fantastic experience for me. It provides a community of like minded people across the world all working for a common goal, and that is for everyone who wants to, to achieve the writing of a novel within a one month period. Everyone who achieves this, wins. It is inclusive, encouraging and motivational. I now have two Nano-novels to my credit thanks to Nanowrimo. Writing a novel isnt just about producing a bunch of words either, it's about setting out to achieve a goal, applying self discipline, taking part in a community, helping others, and being pro-active by taking "i think i can" to "look at me I'm doing it".

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is a contest that I heard of through a friend. I was interested in it, therefore I entered. This contest has helped me to realize my dream of becoming a published author. It has also helped me through some very difficult times.

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Hi,
I entered the National Novel Writing month last November and was thrilled with it. It helped me to reach my goals for the first time as far as my writing goes and gave me the self confidence to make my work available through self publishing. If it wasn't for NaNoWriMo, I would likely have never met the people I have, nor would I be so active in making my own dreams come true.
Thank you Office of Letters and Light! I wouldn't be where I am now without you!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

While I didn't finish a novel this past year, I was glad to support their new initiative of Camp NaNo during the summer. They're allowing people more opportunities to work toward their dream of writing a 50, 000 word novel in a month as well as continuing their great work with youth.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been writing for many years and I had heard of NaNoWriMo over the years, but I had never had the opportunity to investigate it further until this past year. That was when I learned more about the Office of Letters and Light and all the great work they do in not only encouraging and supporting those of us participating in NaNo, but also the youth who aspire to be writers. I'm proud to be a supporter of this organization!

Review from Guidestar

Kathi B.

Client Served

Rating: 4

I love these guys. They are on the ball in getting orders out, have a great variety of items. Only bad thing this year....they ran out of winner Tshirts before the event ended. I wasn't sure I was going to "win" so waited until I did to order and they were out :(

Previous Stories

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

This was the second time I attempted NaNoWriMo and this is the time I succeeded. The support of the folks behind NaNoWriMo were fantastic help and a great "cheer team". Without their support I would of never taken the first step to write a novel, much less finish one. thank you so much!
Kathi briefer-Gose

Review from Guidestar

frodo-lives

Donor

Rating: 5

This past November was my second time doing NaNoWriMo. I was just as impressed by the quality of pep talks from authors, the quick responses to questions, the organization that brought fellow writers together, and the fun "can do" attitude that fills the OLL site. I finished a novel in thirty days, something that will require a lot of work to polish, but there is nothing like holding that first draft in your hands...something it could have easily taken me a year to do without the support system of OLL. But it doesn't stop there. That "I can do anything" attitude spills over into life after November. It inspires dreams and the action needed to do something about it. OLL is bringing not just more written word to the world, but an army of dreamers who can see no limits to the power of a dream. They are making things better and a future filled with possibilities.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been an avid writer for over 25 years, never having trouble writing or finishing my writing. Until, that is, my Dad passed away in Jan 2009. Words, my one comfort in life, fled me altogether. I couldn't string a handful together. Then a friend told me about NaNoWriMo one week before the start of the Nov 2010 event. I signed up, fully expecting to fail at this too. It started off well, lots of pep talks and chat lounges that let me reach out around the world to other writers and share experiences. There were word races, each region's tally on an easy to find board, and a half dozen other things that sparked the drive to keep going. A little over half done, I despaired and nearly quit. Exhausted and lonely(I had told all my friends and family to stay away), I nearly quit. That day I received the pep talk from Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo. It was simple and eloquent. We're all there, he said. You are not alone. You can push through. I did and reached the 50,000 word goal two days early. Since then I have continued to write. There is joy in my life again. I plan on spending the rest of this year in revision then warn off my friends for another rewarding November. One final note, I am up to my nose in debt and never donate to anything other than my equally cash-strapped local library. I sent OLL $35. It was all I had.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Office of Letters and Light is an organization dedicated to service. It makes a difference in the world of literacy. We get pep talks from best selling authors. We get organized to meet in groups, make friends, and talk book talk. I love NaNoWriMo so much that I have done it for 3 years (two straight, then one I took off because I was a college freshman with too much on my plate, then another in college.) It is such a great way to raise literacy rates in schools, which the Office supports with classroom materials and help, and in adults, who aren't reading or writing as much as they should either. We have several "chapters" within easy driving distance of where I live. I have the flexibility I need. Even though I haven't met the people in the Office, I still feel like I'm friends with them. Besides learning how to write better and the pleasure I get from story telling, NaNoWriMo also helped me strengthen my organizational skills, learn perseverance, made writing exciting, gave me a sense of accomplishment, and provided a wholesome recreational activity for a whole month, both in solitary but also in social settings. The teen demographic is high in the organization. Shouldn't that be encouraged?

Previous Stories

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last year is the third year I participated in the Office of Letters and Light's program National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. This program inspired me to be creative. Writing 50,000 words of fiction in one month is pretty hard, but it is well worth the effort. I could not have done it without the Office. They provided immense support for me: forums, peptalks from famous authors--Holly Black, Dave Eggers, John Green, Lemony Snicket--interactive webpages, and organized "write-ins" where participants like myself could gather to write together. All the time they were cheerful, energetic, and supportive. They believed that every participant could write a novel. I felt like a real writer in a real writing world. So did my friends. After participating in this event, I felt inspired to try some more things that I felt before were too hard or "only for talented people." I have joined a club and am working on revising my novel. The Office of Letters and Light is fantastic!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Until NaNoWriMo showed me that you CAN finish a novel, I had done no more than write starting chapters and do outlines. With NaNoWriMo, I have completed six manuscripts. No, they weren't good when they were finished, but you can't fix something until it exists. Every year I have gotten better and I'm on the second draft of my 2011 manuscript. But my story is not the important one. To me, NaNoWriMo's important contribution is providing this same structure and encouragement to high school and elementary school age writers. There is no question in my mind that NaNoWriMo is changing young lives.

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

For more than 40 years I said I wanted to write a novel and never seemed to get beyond a few pages. Now, thanks to NaNoWriMo and the Office of Letters and Light, I have completed five -- count 'em -- five 50,000-word manuscripts. If you haven't had the itch to write a book, I may not be able to convey what this means. Not once but five times in the past five years I have done what I spent more than 40 years trying to do. It is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world. Each year the manuscript has gotten better and my 2010 is worth revising and attempting to market. I'd spend more time on this, but I need to get back to editing. It is only 9 months until the next NaNoWriMo, and I need to be finished with this one before then.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I started NaNoWriMo last year, in 2010. It sounded intimidating, but I and handful of friends were ready to go at it and see where it took us! That long month was full of panic and progress, but in the end a novel finally came out of it. I'd never written a novel before, and not at the end of November 2011 I'm finishing up my second NaNo novel. Not to mention my Script Frenzy scripts. OLL is a true inspiration, compelling people to write and really express that message that they always wanted to tell the world. Their funding goes to helping schools across the nation. It's OLL that builds communities, that can get people together to accomphsh one common goal.

Darren L.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began writing with NaNoWriMo in 2006. I was a fledgling author at the time and it gave me an opportunity to be motivated and encouraged to write as much as I could in one month--and I wrote more than I had thought possible! Sure, the quality wasn't where I could have wanted it, but it was a first step to many years of growth that I've been able to be a part of because of NaNoWriMo.

In 2009 I served my first year volunteering as a Municipal Liaison, or volunteer regional coordinator. Not only did this allow me to continue to develop my writing skills and my leadership skills, it opened a new world of writing with others to me that has forged friendships that have now lasted years, making me a stronger writer and a stronger person.

NaNoWriMo has been instrumental in my growth and I know it will continue to be a part of my life for years to come.

Review from Guidestar

Eleanor M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

OLL has been outstanding in the service they provide individual people as well as society on a whole; literacy and creativity. In a world plagued by TV and movies no one has time for imagination and books any more. OLL has made it possible to motivate both self and others to imagine a new story (one that isn't Harry Potter or Twilight or Jursey Shores), create it and by creating it they write. Whether it's NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy, all the participants have to start and work the same way, one word after another, and that's fantastic.
But they're more then just words on .doc files or paper, the guys back in the Office work their butts off to organize book drives and other sorts of events that raise money for literacy programs. Oops, there's that word again, literacy.
Here in Ontario we have a problem with kids not passing their grade 10 Literacy tests (approx 40% of test-takers fail) and therefore not being able to graduate high school until they do pass the class. OLL puts money into literacy programs all over North America and the UK to develop these sadly underfunded programs.
OLL is creating a future for a generation raised on media and spell check. I can't think of a better thing to do.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo was easily the most fun I had in November. I was working full-time so I knew it would be time-consuming, although I didn't really know what else to expect. I shouldn't have worried. The encouraging e-mails arrived frequently enough to spur me on but not so frequently that I felt harried. The input from people taking part was especially heartening towards the end, it was good to hear the organisers themselves were behind on their word count!

Real Life friends were supportive if not understanding; they all wanted to know what I would gain at the end, what the tangible benefit was. Towards the end I was berating myself for taking on something so overwhelming with no clear payoff - November had seen a death in the family, my best friend was away travelling, and I felt very much alone in my ridiculous endeavour. Why not do it another month indeed?
That day a NaNo mail from Lemony Snicket arrived, one of many from different authors. Lemony Snicket is a literary god to me, so this felt very much like a sign! Suddenly the ridiculous was fun, suddenly it made sense to do it because other people were too; other people were having a hard time, other people were asking themselves why they'd started this, but they were doing it. Suddenly I wasn't alone.

Less than an hour from midnight on the day of the dealine I hit 50,000 words and basically fell to the ground in a heap, exhausted, my poor hand cramping up. But I smiled because I'd done it. I felt something I hadn't felt since I'd graduated 2 years ago - acheivement. A sense that I could. I tried to e-mail my travelling friend but I ouldn't type another word. It didn't matter. That cyber certificate confirmed what I felt. I had done it. I could do it. All because of the kindness and craziness of NaNoWriMo volunteers.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have participated in NaNoWriMo, hosted by The Office of Letters and LIght for the last two years... and actually achieved my goal last year. It was a difficult task, being an at home mom with 'better' things to do with my time than sit in front of a computer and pretend to play author, but I did it-- and honestly, I think I did a pretty good job! While I did receive support from friends and family, the set up and organization of the program was really what helped me to get through. Motivational emails from recognized authors, reference help, bar graphs to help chart my progress-- all of it helped to push me through, especially on those days when nothing went right and I needed to figure out how the villain was going to approach poor Charlotte but she was being so closely guarded that it seemed next to impossible...

I have completed a 60,000 word story that I am now in the process of editing. This is a goal that I've held onto since I'd been a teenager. I'm 36 years old now and have only accomplished it because of NaNoWriMo. Having someone else on the sidelines helping to keep me from getting overwhelmed, providing structure, and just reminding me that the only way to progress was to move forward made it all possible.

I am so grateful for The Office of Letters and Light and am glad that there are people out there who see the importance of nurturing the creative mind.

... and who are there to applaud a job well done at the end.

Thank you.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

The Office of Letters and Light is an inspiring NGO that is using the very best forms of grassroots tactics and social networking. I would support them in any endeavor they choose to start because I trust them as an organization. They have great integrity.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a participant in The Office of Letters and Light for eight years and can say without hesitation that the work that they do is as important as anything in the world. Creativity is something that will serve every individual in positive nature. With the work that OLL does, people are able to strive towards goals that they would otherwise believe impossible for them. Because of their hardwork and dedication, I have been able to finish three novels and am in the process of preparing a manuscript for publishing. All of which would have been infinitely harder without the support, knowledge and encouragement of the OLL staff.

Review from Guidestar

Sarah R.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am a high school English teacher in Colorado, in the Denver metro area. I have had my creative writing class participate in the Office of Letters and Light's NaNoWriMo program for four year now. National Novel Writing Month has become an important part of my curriculum and, more importantly, part of the school's culture. Students who are not participating for a class can still participate on their own, and at the school we hold write-ins and other events around NaNoWriMo.

The OLL provides us with SO much to make this a big part of our school. They send FREE classroom kits, they offer FREE lesson plans, and they even have a FREE online version of the student workbook (for all grade levels and even homeschool children, not just traditional high school students). I can easily purchase additional materials as needed, such as t-shirts and journals and mugs and buttons that I give away as prizes to students (and they LOVE them!). These resources are what make this wonderful project possible each year.

My students have found out so much about themselves as writers and as people through NaNoWriMo. They connect with other students worldwide via the NaNoWriMo website, and they connect with each other in more meaningful ways as a result of reading each other's work and helping each other through the strenuous creative process of trying to write a novel in a month! Their creativity, which for many of them has been buried beneath years of formal writing, five paragraph essays, and research papers, comes out timidly at first, and then explode out of them. Many of my students, in their reflections, speak of how much confidence they gained through NaNoWriMo, how much they learned about writing (in general, not just creatively), and how they accomplished so much more than they ever thought they could.

Last year, I had a student, Andrew, who tried to drop my creative writing class early in the year, because he hated writing. His parents, however, made him stay in the class because they believed it would help him improve his writing skills in general. He slogged through the first two months of school, where we studied units on fiction writing and poetry. He went through the motions. Then NaNoWriMo hit and his hatred had reached a boiling point.

"Write a whole novel in a month?!" I remember him exclaiming. "No effing way."

But as we started planning our novels at the end of October, he begrudgingly started to like his characters and his plot and his story idea. Three days into November, I remember Andrew coming in before class, getting his class materials out and talking excitedly to anyone who would listen. He was talking about his novel. A particularly snobby teenage girl flipped her hair, turned around to him, and said with a sneer, "What, did you just, like, figure out you like writing or something?"

Andrew became silent for a moment, then responded with a huge smile on his face, "Yeah!"

I will never forget that moment. It was one of the best moments of my teaching career thus far. Andrew reached his word count goal that November--surpassed it, in fact--and then finished his novel before he graduated that summer. He sometimes returns to visit, and he always talks to me about his novel and how he's still working on it even now. He likes writing now. He likes reading now. If NaNoWriMo can help to inspire a change so great in a high school senior, a 17-year-old, to grab hold of a love of life-long learning--well, I say that organization needs all the support it can get!

I love NaNoWriMo and what is does for education in this country. I love the people at the OLL for putting in such hard work to make it possible. I can't imagine a year without NaNo!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

This past November, I participated in Nanowrimo, sponsored by The Office of Letters and Light. Without the great opportunity, I would never have finished a novel. What an inspiring organization!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I did Nanowrimo last November, and it is one of the best things I have ever done. I managed to write a novel that month, and it has changed the way i think about and approach my own writing. I'm applying what I learned in November now and trying to complete another novel, one that has been in progress and not finished for about 7 years. All this was made possible by the tireless efforts of all the volunteers and OLL who worked so hard to make it possible.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I probably would never have even tried to write a novel if it weren't for the Office of Letters and Light. Because without them, there wouldn't be Nanowrimo every November or Script Frenzy every April. They do so much work to make sure that the websites work so we can keep updating and supporting each other from all over the world.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've been doing NaNoWriMo, through the Office of Letters and Light, for several years now. It's provided immeasurable motivation and inspiration for my writing by kick-starting the process and helping me continue in it. It emphasizes freeing yourself from killing the creative process by ignoring the inner-editor. The frequent emails from OLL leaders and published authors provide encouragement. This organization wants to help aspiring writers become actual writers, and its value is excellent!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Office of Letters and Light is really a wonderful thing. I honestly would never had had the courage to finish up my novel and get my ideas down on paper. NaNoWriMo was the first encouragement that I really had--I felt a drive to write. Though it was stressful, I think it was a wonderful learning experience, which is why I returned for my second year in 2010. I may not be a professional writer, and I may still be young, but I feel an enormous sense of accomplishment having finished this program.

The community NaNoWriMo creates, and the entire tone of the event creates a wonderfully stressful month. I really appreciate OLL for being there. :)

Review from Guidestar

Emily N.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On October 31, 2010, I sat up eagerly, waiting for the bell to toll 12, and for NaNoWriMo to officially begin. As it did, I began my frantic race to finish 50,000 words, and, on November 28th, two days before the deadline, I did! NaNoWriMo was an AWESOME program. I've never ever been able to finish anything before, and with the NaNoWriMo staff's constant encouragement, I finally did. I mean, really. I went on the site everyday to find tips, encouragement, and to ask questions. I love absolutely everything about it, and I'm psyched for next year. Seriously, anyone who has ever toyed with the idea of being an author should look into NaNoWriMo. See you next year in the forums!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

If you have a passion for writing, you have to check these folks out. I have been a participant I NaNoWriMo for six years now where every November a bunch of writers get together and see what magic they can produce in a manic month of writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It gives you the freedom to explore creativity without the pressure of making every word just right. The folks at the Office of Letters and Light host a great sight and are very supportive in their efforts to mold creativity in writers of all ages. I support them with a donation every year as well as participate in their programs. Give it a try! You won’t be sorry.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

As a free-lance writer with dreams of becoming a fiction writer, particularly a novelist, I stumbled upon NANOWRIMO about 3 years ago. Now I have succeeded in completing the 50,000 words-in-one-month challenge two times. What every writer knows is that showing up at the blank page every day is how you get stories started, keep them going and get them completed. And NANOWRIMO helped me do this by forcing me to meet daily word count and providing daily encouragement from established writers via email. I have two drafts of novels as a result of my two experiences with NANOWRIMO and one of them can be directly credited with helping gain admissions to a Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program where I believe the rewritten novel will be ready for publishing. NANOWRIMO held me accountable by encouraging output and supplying technological tools to help me track my progress and connect with other writers. The daily emails or maybe it was less frequent but it seemed daily helped me turn on my computer and start the process which is all it takes most days. It is said that once a person does something every day for 30 days it becomes habit and NANOWRIMO helped daily writing become habit for me.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I won NaNoWriMo this last year, and I have to say it was a wonderful experience. The team setting it up runs a very tight shop, the services provided are wonderful in assisting you to finish your work, and they are wonderful people in general.

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Rachel A.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've always wanted to write a book but have never ever EVER buckled down and just done it. Until NaNoWriMo. The Office of Letters and Light encouraged and inspired me to do something I possibly may have never done on my own; I found my voice and actually completed something. Since then, there has been a revolution in my life, spawned from that one simple activity of writing a book in a month.
The OLL is an organization that brings awareness to something that is being severely undermined by the world of social networking: creating an extended work and committing to something, not just getting out your 140 characters and calling it a day. One thing is for sure; if I ever publish, a good chunk of my first check is going to OLL.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

NanoWriMo inspired me to write a story that has been stuck in my head for ten years! They provided daily information, motivation, and fun challenges that helped thousands of people reach their writing goals. The literary world needs NanoWriMo! ~Kathy Gerstorff, www.breakthecyclebooks.com

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Nanowrimo is an excellent start for anyone who has eve tried to write then got bored along the way and stopped. I wrote nanowrimo for the first time in 2010 and it was a great eye opener and just the motivation i needed to continually put my thoughts on paper and actually come up with a very good draft in 29days. The pep talks were fantastic and kept my spirits up through the thirty days and i would definitely be a part of the program year after year.

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Jacque C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo was an amazing experience for me. I am a new writer and although I didn't go to any of the write-ins all of the emails and posts from other people really helped me. They encouraged me to not give up and helped me with ideas for my story. NaNoWriMo is a community for writers of all kinds to share expertise and thoughts.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo and the Office of Letters and Light made writing communal, and that is difficult to do. It brings together hundreds of people with passion to network and write, and enjoy doing so for the sake of it. This event is a wonderful opportunity to make friends and recognize your potential. One wonderful woman I met during NaNo, happened to live in my area. We're now good friends who support each other not only in our writing endeavours, but also in other pursuits. NaNo helped me work with my low self-esteem too. It's a funny thing, that such a simple event, writing a novel, can do that. But it did, and I'm so glad OLL gave me the opportunity to take up the challenge. It teaches us that things can change, that life has a lot of drafts. It's brilliant.

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Erissa H.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

When I was younger I always wanted to be a writer. I'd almost given up on that dream until I found The Office of Letters and Light and their NaNoWriMo program. It's so motivational and supportive in so many ways. The pep talks sent out every week are wonderful, and even the other participants are always so nice and helpful. It felt great to be part of such a strong writing community. And most importantly, NaNoWriMo helped me to finally write my first novel! I was finally able to push through it with the support of the OLL, and the sense of accomplishment and pride it gave me was amazing! I know there are plenty of others with this same story, especially other teenagers like me. I'd say The Office of Letters and Light is one of the best nonprofit programs for getting young people, and older adults as well, involved in the arts.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

Oh man! NaNo '10 and Screnzy '09 were my first experiences with OLL, and they were exhilarating. Just leaving behind the drive for perfection was freeing enough, but when I realized that hey, here was a huge achievement I'D done. Me. I'd actually managed to accomplish something-and it felt great.
OLL also provides a great community for its participants.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo, hosted by OLL gives people, young and old, the chance to do something people only dreamed about. People said "One day I want to write a novel." OLL turned the day into a month, set a specific start time and a dead line, created competition with others and incentive of one proof copy, and provided an outlet for advice, praise, guidance, help, pep talks, reverse psychology, and writing dares. Even the more famous published authors, such as Lemony Snicket, are interested in NaNoWriMo. Even if they don't write a novel specifically for this event, they provide the pep talks and the advice. OLL is a place where aspiring authors can get deadlines to work towards, and ideas to work from.
NaNoWriMo is the best thing that ever happened to me, even though it cut into my reading time of other novels.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is something I have tried on three separate occasions--and the third time's the charm! The month of November felt both too long and too short. There were days I wasn't sure I could write a novel at all, but somehow I made it through. The Office of Letters and Light have a wonderful organization, and it was thanks to their passion for this crazy cause and their crazy good web presence that I managed to make it to the finish line. The message boards in particular made a big impact on me. It helped me get out of the house to meet with other writers, which in turn helped me get a little more competitive with my word count. The whole concept of NaNo is absolutely outrageous, and I love it--along with a whole bunch of other people across the world. This is definitely something I will participate in, hopefully for years to come.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was a first time participant in NaNoWriMo (this past November 2010). It pushed me beyond what I had imagined I would be able to do - a novel(la) in less than 30 days! (I'd started on Nov 5.) There were posts/emails of encouragement and inspiration from the organizers (Letters and Light) amidst the gut-wrenching agony of blank screens and, yes, sometimes doubt.

NaNoWriMo helped me to do something I've always wanted to do. And, now I know, I CAN do it.

My heartfelt thanks to the Office of Letters and Light - and to NaNoWriMo! Haroo!

P.S. The winner's certificate was nice, too!)

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Elizabeth G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have participated in Nanowrimo for 4 years now. Through this wonderful organization, I have met close friends. I have encouraged people to write their own personal stories. I cannot say that everything has been rosy, I have written about some very personal topics. However, writing about them and having a goal to obtain helped me get through it, and I feel that by writing things out I am beginning to understand myself and the world around me more. So why Nanowrimo? It helped me make lifelong friends, encouraged me to write for the joy of writing, and helped me understand more about myself.

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Lynn D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is an inspiration to aspiring authors! In fact, even college professors are encouraging their students to participate in the program to develop perseverance and a stronger work ethic.

This is no divisive group, either! Where else can thousands of individuals with a myriad of opinions come together to accomplish so much? Nowhere. (Oh, sure, we could point to Congress, where reams of writing are generated annually, but do we really want more of THAT kind of writing?)

Spread the word: The Office of Letters and Light has a wonderful thing going with it's NaNoWriMo!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I recently completed writing a 50,000 word novel during National Novel Writing Month. It was a terrific experience! I had always wanted to write a novel and don't believe I would have accomplished this task had it not been for NaNoWriMo. I logged in every day and updated my word count total and there was always something new on the site that would lift me up and move me forward: a video, something to read, new cover art to look at, updates from other participants, etc. I received words of encouragement in my email inbox at regular intervals. Through the good times, when I wrote like I was flying and through the bad times, when I was slogging through confusion, the staff at NaNoWriMo was always there with a encouraging word.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

A friend had recently completed 50,000 words in 2009 and encouraged me to join in 2010 as she knew I loved writing but never had the drive to continue. To start, I was nervous - unsure about plot-lines, if my character's were strong enough - however, she assured me it's not all about the qaulity and it can be revisited in December. I started Nanowrimo pumped with the idea of 50,000 words written down, my own words. The month was hard work, but well worth it. By the end; my fingers ached with typing, my head felt it was exploding with idea's and my school notebook was becoming a plot book - I would go into lessons and end up writing my own story down instead of notes. I encourage everyone I now meet and know of to join Nanowrimo and to particpate in this amazing event and I'm defaintly going to rock Nanowrimo 2011!

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is an undertaking, it's a challenge, and like anything that stirs the spirit, it isn't simple, it isn't something you can approach lightly. But no matter how you come at it, there are going to be challenges, there are going to be roadblocks. One way to overcome these struggles is to have an excellent backing -- and a whole lot of stubbornness -- and that's precisely what the Office of Letters and Light delivers to each and ever NaNoWriMo participant. I've never personally done Script Frenzy, but I'm sure it's the same.

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Victoria B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have never been a part of something so encouraging. My whole life I have dreamed of being a writer, but my confidence in... well, everything! was shot. I didn't believe I could ever finish anytrhing, written or otherwise. My first year, of NaNoWriMo, I didn't even win, but I felt a burning determination that I could win next year. In 2010, I did.

It... it's a challenge unlike anything I've ever done before, and non-nanoers don't seem to understand why I bother with a competition where everyone can win and you don't get a prize. But it builds you up and makes you believe in yourself. It's energizing.

Throughout the year until the next November, The OLL team don't leave us hanging. The put on other challenges but more than anything, they continue to be encouraging. We regularly recieve emails and notices letting us know about fun competitions we might be interested in, and encouraging us in our writing.

And the forums they have created are left open to us all year round, which in an invaluable gift, to be able to meet and talk to people who actually understand what you're going through. Writing can be so lonely and hard, but the NaNoWriMo program that OLL puts on changes all that.

I don't mean to gush, but I am really, genuinely grateful for OLL and what they have helped me achieve and the people they have helped me meet.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was talked into doing NaNoWriMo by a friend, and I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did. It's exhausting and your brain is fried, but the experience is totally worth it. Without all the encouragement from the NaNo team (especially the adopt-a-____ forums and the frequent pep talks) I know I would never have finished my novel. I plan to continue doing NaNoWriMo for as long as I can.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

National Novel Writing Month is a brilliant group. The community that can be found among writers is always a strange one (in a good way!) but the community that it's possible to build through NaNo, with the hectic, craziness of the month of November and the insane drive that calls so many writers back for more every year is impossible to capture adequately in words.
Nanowrimo brings people together; when I first started doing it in my freshman year of high school, it was with a small group of classmates who thought the idea was cool. As time has progressed, I've found that no matter where I go, there's always someone who has heard of Nanowrimo, and it makes an excellent Nice To Meet You type icebreaker in social situations.
I've written a novel in a month. What have YOU done with YOUR life?
Nanowrimo is amazing.
The forums, the people, the idea. All of it. Every single heartbreaking, hope-filled minute nanosecond. It's worth anything.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm so grateful for OLL and NaNoWriMo. I wouldn't be the writer I am without them.

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Stephanie E.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Though NaNoWriMo is supposedly only a novel writing month, the Office of Letters and Light is more than just something that encourages people to write. Through it, I have learned to let go and release my creative energy in many forms: novels, pictures, films and music. It encourages us to forget about the fear of failing at our endeavors, and to stick with them until they are finished. They tell us that everyone has their own story to tell, something unique from everyone else's. In short, the Office of Letters and Light is totally awesome.

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Donor

Rating: 5

The Office of Letters and Light is one of the top promoters for creative writing. NaNoWriMo has become an international event, inspiring thousands.

I've done NaNo nine times, and continue to write year-round. It's been an helpful both in terms of moral support but also when it comes to being a clearinghouse for information.

The OLL has given me at least one month out of the year when I know the meaning of life. It is to write a book in November.

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Volunteer

Rating: 5

The OLL sponsors two of the greatest writing programs I know: National Novel Writing Month and Script Frenzy. Both are done in the name of supporting writing and reading, as well as education. This organization is wonderful and these two programs have inspired me as a student to actually care about reading and writing, as well as caring about spreading literacy. Besides supporting young and old adults to act, these two programs encourage the Young Writers' Program, which gets even middle and grade schoolers to care about literature.
As an organization that pushes so hard for intellect in a society that generally does not, I feel that the OLL is definately worthy of five stars. I donate to them every year and strongly encourage others to do the same.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The office of Letters and Light organizes NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month, every November. NaNo is an incredible movement of people all across the globe, working on the same project -- or related projects -- at the same time. The community of support and encouragement is unbelievable, and enables people who never thought they would write a novel to produce 50,000 words of story. Many of them are not particularly good words of story, but it is still a very real accomplishment, and it is much easier to make a mediocre novel into a good novel than to make a blank page into a good novel. I know people who would never have dreamed of trying to write a novel if NaNo weren't there, encouraging amateurs to just sit down and write, and providing a specific, concrete timeframe in which to do so. I think that a lot people who don't manage to reach their wordcount goal still find NaNo to be a rewarding experience, because it got them writing more than they would've otherwise, and the only way to get better at writing is to do it.

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David G.

Donor

Rating: 5

During the 30 days of NaNoWriMo I wrote a novel. I know a lot of people did, but I am terrible for procrastinating. I've always wanted to write a novel, and finally after some gentle nudging from a friend I dove into NaNo head first. After 28 days of hard graft I sat back and marveled that a novel had appeared in front of me.

I thought about how comparatively easy it was. It had been easy to write a novel in 30 days. Then I realized what made it easy: The website, the staff, the regional liaison, the graph on my personalized page, the forums, even the little sticker on my laptop that said "Noveling machine".

The Office of Letters and Light deserve any and all assistance they get. So even though I was unemployed and in a tough spot I dug deep into my paypal and gave them 10 dollars. NaNoWriMo gave me the gift of a novel, they affirmed my place on this earth as a writer and the very least that I could do, was give them whatever I could.

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Jacqueline N.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is possibly one of the best writing programs I have ever entered in. Going into what could be viewed to many as an impossible feat, with thousands of people from around the world beside you can really be a life-changing experience.
The first year I participated in NaNo, I didn't go online and make an account, and it was brutal. The second year, just being able to go online and chat with others going through the same writing struggles was able to give me that extra edge and push myself further as a writer and an artist.
I don't know what I would do without NaNoWriMo, or the Office of Letters and Light that runs it.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have participated for two years in the Office of Letters and Light program - NanoWrimo. I am an avid writer and my teacher not only requires that we participate in Nano but that we are also writing for at least 30 minutes everyday. Although I have personal motivation to write everday without the requirement of having to do NanoWrimo, I probably wouldn't do it. I am thanking this program because it has gave me the confidence I needed to become a good writer. There is not better practice to perfect this skill than the challenge of having to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Without it I wouldn't be nearly at the level I am now. I can't wait for next year's Nano, and Happy Writing!~

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

The Office of Letters and Light is an amazing organization. They allow millions of people across the world to have the opportunity to test their creative juices. In a world where TV overpowers intellectual thought and makes it difficult to convince the masses that reading is as rewarding if not more...they allow those of us that would like to take reading a step farther into creating. From high school students to college students to stay at home moms to working professionals The Office of Letters and Light gives people the opportunity to test their creativity by creating and supporting Nanowrimo and Script Frenzy. It is an amazing feat the amount of time and energy they put into encouraging us to write and keep writing until we reach our goal...even when we are utterly behind. They give many people the opportunity to experiment with a skill they never knew they had...while others have the chance to learn more about writing, creating a story, and developing characters.

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Andrew F.

Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo completely changed my conception of what I'm capable of, writing-wise. If I can write a 50,000 word novel in a month, then there's no reason why I can't write down all the stories that come into my head the rest of the year. It's an incredible motivating force that has been invaluable to me as a writer.

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General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

The Office of LEtters and Light was very helpful to me over the past year with their challenge to write a 50000 word novel in one month. They say everyone has a book in them, and this helped get mine out. Through discipline and the encouragement from their web site, I was able to complete my 50000 word novel in about 28 days, and am now working to self publish it. In fact, that part has been going rather slowly, so I'll have to look and see if they have anything that can motivate me to finishing up this project that is so close to being completely finished. I hope to do it again and see if there are any more books inside me waiting to get out. Thank you, OLL and nanowrimo.org!

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Donor

Rating: 5

I am an English teacher who is completely sold on The Office of Letters and Light's program--NANOWRIMO. I require my Creative Wrting students to participate in November,and they are all excited about it. November's competition has literally changed the lives of many young people in Idaho. Nothing better than seeing the satisfaction and pride on a young writer's face when they complete the 50,000 words in a month. I have completed each year we have participated, and I am looking forward to another November.

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Client Served

Rating: 5

I have participated in NaNoWriMo, an Office of Letters and Light every year since I discovered the event. I donate each year because I believe in the power of the project. I wish that the Young Writers Program had been a part of my education. It might not have taken me so many years to claim my identity as a writer if i had taken part in such a supportive program.

NaNoWriMo turned me from a person who thought about writing into a writer. The challenge and encouraging community provided by NaNoWriMo pushed me to write more than I had ever written before.

Breaking through my doubts about writing a novel also helped me to conquer doubts in other creative ventures in my life. I come back every year because I learn more about myself and my creative process every year that I compete. Even when I fail, I learn something useful that I can take with me as I develop my writing skills.

The first year that I failed, I learned that I needed to learn how to structure a plot, so I studied and wrote focusing on plot for a year and my next NaNoWriMo novel had a better plot than any piece of long fiction than I had ever written before.

I would not be blogging regularly if it were not for NaNoWriMo. I am known in several communities as a writer now. Before NaNoWriMo, I didn't even think of myself as a writer. No I really am one.

I haven't published a novel yet, but because of NaNoWrimo, I have had short stories published and have non-fiction material out in the world for people to read.

I can honestly say that NaNoWriMo changed my life.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'd always wated to be a novelist but it was hard to find the time. Then I heard about Nanowrimo, a yearly competition run by the Office of Letters and Light. 50k words, 30 days. I've alwasys liked a dare, so I took part. I wrote a novel - and I realised I could do it.

And I realised that Nano, and the Office of Letters and Light, was about more than a slightly mental challenge.

It was about convincing people that they had the potential to do all of those things which they had always been convinced they could not realisitcally do. It was about hitting them over the head, repeatedly (and metaphorically) until they did just those things. It was about making people realise that they have something unique and creative to offer the world if they are willing to take the plunge. It was about supporting them while they did it. Best of all, it was about making it fun.

OLL does so many wonderful things: It sends wicked pep talks throughout both November and the year to keep you on track - the latest draft I'm hoping to send to an agent would not have happened without an email from Chris Baty. It runs a brilliant, friendly and excellently moderated set of forums for writers to share info and advice. It runs the Young Writers' Programme. If I had known about the Young Writers' Programme at 13, my first novel would not have taken so long and my life would have been better for it. It keeps people like me sane, and reminds us of the purpose. It makes life better. It's all in the name - office of letters AND light.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Walking into my local library book sale I found "How to Write a Novel in 30 Days". This book introduced me to NaNoWriMo and the 50,000 word challenge. I have done it 3 times now and it has changed me. I know face the challenge and other things in my life with the support of the staff and fellow writers. I can only wish them continued success and hope everyone who is thinking of writing for fun or professionally will get their start here.

Review from Guidestar