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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: 4

My experience with OLL has solely been with NaNoWriMo, and in that sense meets my expectations: I was able to write a 50,000-word novel and submit it to them, a feat that I would never have done previously. The Office of Letters and Light also do many outreach programs and community contributions, which are also very difficult to do without the generous donations of NaNoWriMo's participants. In short, OLL is changing the world, one classroom at a time.

Donor

Rating: 5

Four times out of the starting gate at NaNoWriMo, and three times a winner. Actually, four times, since I win for effort regardless of whether I finish the novel or not. Without NaNoWriMo I would have been among the hundreds? thousands? millions? who wish to be a novelist but never get started. By committing to the November novel-writing challenge the competition is with myself, but the support of fellow wrimos and the encouragement from established writers and yes, even that lame winner's banner are all the motivation I need. The best part is that it keeps me writing, rewriting, and revising throughout the year. And every November I become a better novelist. (Or is that novelaist?)

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo, hosted by the Office of Letters and Light, is a wonderful tool to motivate fledgling writers. I'm so glad I participated! It's really a life-changing event.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have participated in Office of Letters and Light programs since 2005 and have been one of the organizers in Toronto since 2008. This organization has enabled me to pursue my passion for writing, improve my craft, and meet hundreds of other people in my city with similar creative interests. NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy are amazing projects and there is absolutely nothing else like this program or this fabulous organization. I am a volunteer, an annual participant, and a donor because I love OLL and believe in everything they do!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

The Office of Letters and Light's NaNoWriMo progam and other services offered directly to its clientel are of particular significance. As a participant in their November extravaganza, I can state with sincerity my appreciation of their work, as it has led directly to the achievment of several personal goals.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

LOVE. IT.

Office of Letters and Light hosts possibly the greatest thing I have been a part of - NaNoWriMo. Inspiring consistent dedication and deadline-smashing, participating in NaNoWriMo is an experience that fills people with inspiration and self-confidence.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been participating in National Novel Writing Month now since 2007 and I find it FABULOUS! It motivates me and SO many, many more people who would never have the discipline to write to sit down and apply ourselves. The site is wonderful, well-designed and user friendly. The people are very supportive, whether via e-mail updates or videos, and they've garnered some of the best writer's around to give us weekly pep talks! I would never have written four novels without them and look forward every year to November! Long Live the Office of Letters and Light!!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I participated in NaNoWriMo in 2010 and had a wonderful experience. It was really hard, really rewarding, and quite a ride! I will never read novels the same way again.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

For writers, NanoWriMo is the best thing since sliced bread.

Wait. You'd think I could come up with something more creative then that since I'm apparently the kind of person who spends a whole month writing 50,000 creative words. So let me start over.

For writers, NanoWriMo is the best thing since plot ninjas. It takes thousands of different people from all around the world and joins them together in the magical, mind-bending process that is writing a novel. While anyone can say, "Here, write 50,000 words this month, or whatever." I think Nano is so different because of the community it builds for writers and just your general artistic oddballs. I've never felt so embraced or so understood in a group of people before. It really made me understand for the first time that I'm not the only one. There aren't many places where I can openly say, "I hear all of these voices inside my head." and the reply is simply and knowing smile that says, "I know, my characters talk to me, too."

Around Nano, you can always find a kind word of encouragement when you're doubting yourself, or a gentle kick in the butt when you're procrastinating and need to get your work done. But above all, there's always someone to talk to who just gets it in ways that even the people closest to you can't.

Nano's sort of kind of life changing, in it's own way. It was for me, at least. And I couldn't possibly say thank you enough.

Review from Guidestar

Laurel M.

Donor

Rating: 5

I participated in National Novel Writing Month sponsored by OLL first in November of 2009, and again in 2010. I've never felt so motivated to get my fingers moving on a keyboard and keep 'em moving so that I could watch my word count increase every day. Some days were difficult, but I always felt encouraged and inspired by the staff at OLL. I chose to donate money to the foundation each year, as I feel that their Young Writers program is a wonderful way to promote the creative arts in our communities, especially because writing is an art that requires very little in the way of start up capital.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have taken part in 4 NaNoWriMo events and been a winner every time. What this means is 4 new novels have come into the world and been shared within our culture. Three are likely to be published soon.
The communication provided by the Office of Letters and Light has enhanced my productivity as a writer. The chance to glimpse and chat with the world-wide community of writers is inspiring. Also the local events through my liason and library in association with NaNo have put me in touch with other writers in my area, and we have formed groups that support our writing and literary events in our region. The goal set by NaNo and the shared experience via website blogs, pages, videos and widgets pushes us all forward to create and feel the glory of success in our craft. The products offered help us share this joy with others all year long, and each year the number of authors participating in our area grows. This is a great contribution to the well-being of the arts, the creation of new work, and the fostering of community--both amongst the writers and our community at large.
EXCELLENT! I will continue to support this organization and its efforts!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have participated in Nanowrimo 2 years in a row now, as well as got my kids involved. I also ran clubs at my kids schools. This program is wonderful and full of amazing, free resources. Personally, I wrote 2 novels in 2 years, something I previously had only dreamed of. The fun, quantity over quality approach really appealed to me - and it worked!! I love the encouragement, camaraderie, and resources available from this program.
My kids and their friends at school also loved the program. I was able to give them free writing resources from the site. They loved the dares on the young writers site and felt these helped them get past some writer's block. My seven year old now knows that he is a novelist - it has been great for his self esteem. He knows he can set a challenging goal and achieve it. The lessons leaned definitely spill over into other aspects of life.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I participated in NaNoWriMo this year for the first time and I absolutely loved it.
The Office of Letters and Light does a good job of supporting their participants.

I appreciate all of their work and support.

i didn't really know what to expect, but the experience was amazing.

Review from Guidestar

Heather W.

Client Served

Rating: 5

Everyone knows a good story when they hear one. In my case, I knew a great beginning to a story when I dreamt it. For months and years later, I was still thinking, changing, plotting and rewriting it in my head. I even tried to put it on paper one summer. Three pages later, my life with children pulled me away from the computer again, sending my dream back to dreamland. Years later, I learned about the NaNoWriMo challenge from a friend. The commonality of goals, new friends struggling and riding the same ups and downs, weekly encouragement from those who have survived before. It was all I really needed. The dream came to life and a novel was born. I started typing 3 days late, already behind schedule. Struggling furiously , I squeaked out the last words needed with 10 minutes to spare. I was so tired. I cried with joy. My happy dance bounced the house. I FINISHED IT! The next year I finished a new novel with 90 minutes to spare. Last year, I finished 2 days early. I now have 3 wonderfully different and creative novels I can call my own. Look out editors, here I come! But, seriously, no matter what ever becomes of my novels, I have a new boost of accomplishment. I am not just a mom. I am a novelist. Which has also inspired my confidence in other areas. I just completed my first Triathlon in January. :) Thank you to Chris Baty and the NaNoWriMo team.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

My first experience with OLL was participating in NaNoWriMo 2009. My sibling had previously participated and suggested I take on the NaNo's challenge of trying to write 50,000 words in a month since I was down and not sure what to with my life after 1 year of college. I've never been a good writer and I've always struggled and cursed essays and research papers in school, but I decided to take a shot at it. Boy, what a surge! What a feeling! Thanks to NaNo I was able to discover that I actually have the talent and ablitiy to write well if I put my mind to it. Thanks to NaNo I am now putting a ton of words down on paper that I never thought I could write.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Thanks to The Office of Letters and Light, I was able to write a 50000 word novel in 30 days. I had previously tried writing on my own, but I didn't know how to pace myself to reach my goal and I had never finished a book. My entire family participated in this event because we were so excited by the concept of being able to write a novel, and I'm happy to say everyone in my family who participated finished the goal. It was exhilarating to be able to develop a story and actually commit it to words. This allowed me not only to develop my writing techniques and work with time management, but to share the experience with those I love.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo changed my life. In a world in which I spend much of my time struggling to make anything substantial NaNoWriMo taught me that I could buckle down, work hard, and create. As long as kept the momentum going there was nothing that could stop me. It opened up my creative floodgates and forced me to be more present, connected, confident, and capable than I have ever felt before. NaNoWriMo taught me to trust myself, my creative abilities, and the power of a hard deadline. Thank you NaNoWriMo for making me a creative being.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Thanks to NaNoWriMo I have completed 3 manuscripts. More importantly I have connected with other writers in ways I never imagined. During the month of November, I get encouragement letters from professional writers and save them for those times when I desperately need to be reminded that I am on the right (or is that write) track. I have always been a writer but NaNoWriMo has made me more of a writer than I ever thought possible.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in National Novel Writing Month last November. It was an amazing experience and I have the Office of Letters and Light to thank for that. They were helpful every step of the way, and I plan to continue working on my novel.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is a few years since I first came acriss NaNoWriMo - and now November is the month in my diary set aside for those 50,000 words.
Being a Wrimo can become adictive! But if you want to write - and have a plot lurking within you - it does offer the encouragement to get it into first draft and on the road to publication.

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered for Nanowrimo for 6 years now as a co-municipal liaison for a large metropolitan region. They have consistently been a fantastic organization to work wit, supporting their volunteers, recognizing how hard we work, and making the work feel worthwhile.
I have participated as a writer in the program for 10 years, and have found it to be life changing. I have found my successful years to be useful in helping me see how to achieve goals that I have for myself in other parts of my life, and the years that I have not reached 50,000 have in their own way taught me lessons both about writing, writing a novel, and life in general. I think that the impact this organization has had on many people's lives is profound beyond understanding.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo helped me exceed my personal expectations of myself, think of myself confidently, and helped me move forward in my writing career. I had never completed a novel before November 2010, and now I can proudly say that I have accomplished that feat. My exact problem was dealing with perfection. I would never finish anything because I never felt it was good enough. The support from The Office of Letters and Light recieved on their site and through email helped me overcome this problem and move on. By experiencing hands on, in an intensive, working, pleasurable enviorment, surrounded by members and participants who all cheer each other on, I was able to learn the lesson that it's not about perfection, it's about getting it all out. This was the best way that I could have learned it. I hope that they continue to grow and support participants in achieving their writing goals.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Fantastic website and organization. I support it every year. This organization gets me up and running and I produce such a great volume of work. I look forward to this proces every November. It is a fantastic learning experience every single tinme! Thank you!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've participated in one of the Office of Letters and Light's programs, National Novel Writing Month, over the last three years.
Each year I have been delighted and humbled by the resources they muster in order to encourage writers from all walks of life and in all locations.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I had a wonderful first experience participating in the NaNoWriMo event in 2010! I always wanted to write a novel but never knew where to begin until I found the help and support from a NaNoWriMo class at a local writing center. They are volunteers that provide expertise, guidance, and lots of encouragement in getting 50,000 words down on paper! Lots of late nights, crazy hair, and tons of fun. Thank you for sharing this with anyone with an interest in writing!!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I first learned about the Office of Letters and Light's NaNoWriMo program through a writing group four years ago and have been participating every November since (lost first two, won second two). The 50,000 words in 30 days challenge was a great way to focus and charge ahead instead of letting the usual fears stop me from writing, but the best part of the program was the amazing community that was writing alongside with me. There are forums where every participate can cheer each other on, give fun dares and challenge others to word wars or pick up tips to keep going. The pep talks emailed to us each week were always inspiring and helped me at least, to go that extra bit to reach my daily word count. This program brings writers every where of every level and age together to share in a common spirit of fun, adventure and crazy writing shenanigans.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

This was my first year doing NaNoWriMo. Initially, I thought to try it and see whether my students would like it.
Really, it would be worth it just to get the supportive emails, read the blogs--but at the end, I also had a 50,000 word manuscript. Who could ask for more?

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I had heard about NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, by the Office of Letters and Light) previously and always thought it would be neat to try. When I signed up for the first time this year, I was nervous about it and expected to drop out somewhere around the halfway point.

To my surprise and delight, after two weeks of slogging through my daily word count, writing started to get easier - and then really fun!

NaNoWriMo reminded me why I love to write. I've had this story idea marinating in the back of my mind for years, but I didn't try to get it out on paper because it seemed too daunting a task. What I needed was the motivation and structure provided by NaNoWriMo, and also the permission to just let the words flow onto the page without worrying about editing. It was a freeing experience. I have rarely been so proud of anything in my life as I felt when I exceeded that 50,000 word count three days early. I can hardly wait to write the sequel in next year's NaNoWriMo.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have always been a writer. I have a bachelor's degree in English, with an emphasis in Creative Writing. But after my college days, I still considered myself a writer but felt like a sham because I wasn't doing any writing. I heard about NaNoWriMo, one of The Office of Letters and Light's programs, a couple of years ago, and I was hooked. Thousands of people getting together during one month a year, challenging themselves to write a novel? I'm in. I didn't meet the 50,000-word goal the first year, but I came back a second year and met the goal. I also participated in one of their other programs, Script Frenzy, where I challenged myself to write a 100-page script in a month (I also met this goal). NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy helped me to realized what I've known all along - that I'm a writer, and writing is what I love and what I should do. I'm hoping to someday publish one of my NaNoWriMo novels.
But that's not all that The Office of Letters and Light helped me with. At the time of my first attempt at NaNoWriMo, I was still new to my town, and only had a few friends. But with the "Regions" feature in NaNoWriMo (and Script Frenzy) you are given the option and encouraged to meet with other participants in your area. I went to several meet-ups that first year and many of the people I met there are my close friends today.
The Office of Letters and Light might not be your average non-profit. They aren't your typical relief organization. But I truly believe that writing is therapeutic, and I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few people struggling with depression found a release through participation in NaNoWriMo or Script Frenzy. And with their Young Writers Program and their work in communities through libraries and book stores, I believe that they are helping to make us a culture of book readers, which I would say is priceless.

Review from Guidestar

Shelly F.

Donor

Rating: 5

Every year I do NaNoWriMo and every year I'm not disappointed. I throughly enjoy being motivated to write for writings sake and more people, especially young people need to be encouraged to use their creativity. NaNoWriMo offers a non judgmental, competitive, and fun place for young people, and heck, old people to just let their inner creativity shine through!

Review from Guidestar

Volunteer

Rating: 4

The OLL helped me to finally write the novel that has been sitting in note form since I was fourteen years old. That's a long time, I assure you! They have helped to inspire me to write full time, and having a deadline and daily target has been invaluable in guiding me through the writing process. I still use these methods in my writing now and will be taking part in many future challenges with OLL. They have also given me the confidence to get on and just do it! Roll on april, when i will be writing my first script on the Script Frenzy challenge. Thank you OLL.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Writing novels is an e-ticket ride - equal parts terror and thrill, and OLL provides the means for writers to enjoy the ride and let go of the safety bar as they reach for that goal of a novel in written form. The fact that it has spawned so many knock-offs (childrens writers alone have added NaPiBoWriWee:National Picture Book Writing Week, PiBoIdMo:Picture Book Idea Month and JoNoWriMo) is a testament to its success. I can honestly say that it works. I can think of at least two recent childrens book manuscripts that have been bought and published by major publishers that were written as NaNoWriMo projects, including Running for My Life by Ann Gonzalez and The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan. While not every novel is going to see it all the way through to being published, this organization helps writers fearlessly get ideas out of their head and on paper, which is where it all starts.

Review from Guidestar

Carrie K.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I love the opportunity to be able to join fellow writers and write, and all for free, no less. The Office of Letters and Light is an awesome organization that makes opportunities like the National Novel Writing Month possible. They work hard to make awesome opportunities possible for hundreds of thousands of people. They're an organization very deserving of support.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I've participated in NaNoWriMo (and won!) twice now, 2009 and 2010, and enjoyed myself immensely both times. The structure and community provided by OLL for NaNoWriMo is stupendous, and I'm impressed with all their other endeavors as well, particularly their Young Writers programs. They have done an amazing amount of

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo gave me the chance to finally write that novel that I had always wanted to put down onto paper. It gave me a great sense of accomplishment to cross the finish line, by writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
Without NaNoWriMo, I would never have been able to accomplish such a thing. And I would never have met the multitude of people that I did on the site forums, people with similar goals of writing novels. It was an incredible experience to go from being the only writer I knew of, to being one of many participants in a challenge to write a novel in 30 days.
My novel is my greatest accomplishment to date, and I have NaNoWriMo to thank for helping me get it out of my head and onto paper (or, rather, a Word document). I will certainly be back in future years to take part in it again!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

In our current society, determination is hard to find among artists. Of the many people who have ever contemplated writing a book, not many have actually carried out those aspirations. With just a little encouragement in the form of structure, The Office of Letters and Light's National Novel Writing Month greatly improves the output of writers everywhere by challenging them to personal growth. NaNoWriMo's premise is brilliantly simple (write an entire first draft of a novel in one month), but its true beauty lies in how it creates determination. By causing writers to strive for output, more stories are becoming more than just a fleeting fantasy of a would-be writer. Those novels become real.

Review from Guidestar

Nicole B.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo 2010 was my first year competing, and I had a blast! I plan on participating for many years to come, and will weep in sadness any year that I cannot participate. NaNo made me push myself as a writer, and while this year's piece was a fan fic, I hope to make next year's piece something that is completely my own work

Review from Guidestar

Stacey M.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. The challenge - and being joined in it by so many other writers - pushed me past a lifelong writer's block and enabled me to finish my first major writing project. This draft may not be the greatest piece of literature ever, but it's a start, and one that reminds me that it is possible for me to complete a major writing project. I was very impressed by the constant support during NaNoWriMo, through emails from well-known authors, encouraging reminders from the program staff, and discussions on the website forums. This program challenges and supports writers of all ages and experience levels.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

What The Office of Letters and Light do every year is so special to me. They put so much work into helping all writers of raw talent. They really give us writers hope and resources.
I've enjoyed participating in their events and I look forward to them every year. I cannot imagine life without OLL. I really appreciate their hard work and I want them to keep it up.
Thank you.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

For years I've had stories in my head, but never the drive to put them on paper. Nanowrimo was a great way to motivate me to finally get those stories down on paper. Having a deadline and a lot of motivation encouraged me to write what I'd been wanting to write for years.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I had always wanted to write a novel but I lacked confidence, motivation, and so I thought, time. National Novel in a Month was like the answer to my prayers - it was supportive, creative, inclusive, fun and encouraging. The website became a part of my daily life in November last year as I struggled to write 50,000 words in a month. I managed it because of the uniquely imaginative approach of NaNo. I particularly love the non-elitist and light hearted approach of the organisation. Its obvious enthusiasm for spreading the idea of creative self-expression is an inspiration. I felt cherished and connected to other creative people. Great for anyone who has ever felt marginalised by mainstream literary or creative culture. Can't recommend them highly enough.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

Without National Novel Writing Month, and the Office of Lights and Letters, I may never have taken that first, crucial step on the road of living my best, and truest life. What the fine folks behind National Novel Writing Month, the Young Writers Program, ScriptFrenzy and the Office of Lights and Letters do is incalculably valuable and important. They promote the arts, and the pursuit of your own art, and voice, in everything you do. I've now written two novels and a script, thanks to these wonderful programs. I will continue to support them in any way I can. Thank you!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I participated in the Novel writing challenge for the first time this year and was blown away at what they offer. Writing can be a lonely profession or hobby. However my eyes were open to an entire community of fellow writers. It was encouraging to know that I am not alone in my pursuits.

Secondly, the folks who make it all happen - the wonderful people at OLL went above and beyond to encourage, facilitate, organize and generally do everything they could to make my experience a success. They put a lot of work and effort into making a month long, globally spanning event go off with barely a hitch. (Perhaps there were hitches on their end - but on my end it was seamless.)

Lastly, aside from the community they foster and the hard work they do behind the scenes, the greatest benefit for me was the opportunity to turn a dream into a reality. Not many organizations are committed to seeing you (one lone person) succeed at your own personal and creative goals. They gave freely - advice on writing, a kick in the pants, a breath of air beneath my spark and a platform to be a writer.

Everyone who has an inkling of a dream to write should check out the Office of Letters and Light and the Nanowrimo contests they put on. In fact they have inspired my 11 year old daughter, who couldn't join in November, download their Young Writer's Program and work through it page by page. She is now ready to go ahead come November 2011.

Thank you to everyone who put in time - volunteer or otherwise to build me up! You are greatly appreciated.

Review from Guidestar

Donor

Rating: 5

I have supported them for several years now by donating during their NaNoWriMo. I am always impressed with the effort they put out to encourage people in their writing, especially in their young writers program. The people running the program work hard and are very nice. I believe writing this way is truly enriching for anyone. NaNoWriMo has helped me learn to be disciplined in my work and not be afraid to challenge myself.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

For a long time, I was unable to write anything more than just a very short story, but I was able to write a novel of over 50,000 words, with the help of the Office of Letters and Light and the NaNoWriMo program. It drove me to write everyday, and not give up until it was done. Though my novel still needs revising and editing, it is one of the greatest things I've ever accomplished.

Review from Guidestar

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

There comes a time in nearly every life, sometimes more than once, when a man or a woman must stand for something. Finding that ‘something’ may be found and discovered with concerted effort, or you might just stumble upon it one day and say, “What a great idea. I should do this.”

It is rare, I believe, that anyone stumbles upon a great idea or life mission and then finds or discovers completeness to life. Likewise, I believe, those who plan for, execute to perfection and live the so-called ideal life of collage, internship, ‘linked-in’ and eventually married with more cars in the garage than children in bedrooms, more debt than substantive values and less time to make love than to screw-in a light bulb, are also less than what they once perceived their future selves to be.

So, where does that lead?

If I were twenty-five again, I’d say the possibilities are endless. However, at fifty-six? It is not so much endless are the possibilities now, it is the possibilities left endlessly abandoned. Such is the case of many talented writers who curse their inability to complete a novel-length work of fiction. I know, I was one of those writers.

Then, one day I did indeed stumble upon a website declaring November to be National Novel Writing Month. I have never heard of such a thing. I read the story of how this event came to be and the rules for joining the contest to write a 50,000-word novel during the month of November. I thought it insane to think that anyone might actually achieve such a feat, but the more I read and realized that tens of thousands have done just that over the course of this organizations short life, I became remarkably motivated.

I knew I had a story to tell; it had been rattling around in my head for ten years. Because of this organization and its mission to give writers of all ages the motivation, innovation, and structure needed to create from scratch a work of art in the form of novel-length fiction, I dedicated myself for the month of November 2010 to write, and write, write until done. And, I did just that and completed my novel and proudly became a winner of the NaNoWriMo contest. I was not alone. Literally hundreds of thousands of writers all around the world have benefited from this organization.

I will be participating in future events.

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 3

I enjoy writing stories, but never had a tendency to finish them, when I heard about Nanowrimo I tried it out and for the first couple of years I was kind of working my brain into knowing that I could write absolutely anything I felt like writing. Then the third year I went to the meetings and, over the course of one month, did what so many others have been inspired to do, write a novel. Nanowrimo is brilliant. And I'm very happy I got involved with it, even though my story still isn't finished, with Nanowrimo, I at least had a reason to keep my story alive.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've been taking part in NaNoWriMo since 2005. I'd always wanted to write a novel and spent years managing to get started but never managing to keep going. The incentive of writing alongside so many other people world wide during the month of November, with a set word count and deadline, has got me over the finishline and actually ending novels for five years now. I've made lovely friendships both on line and in real life and seen so many people encouraged and gain confidence in themselves and their creativity and others who have gone on to publish their novels too - something I am also working on thanks to the confidence and skills I've gained through NaNo.


Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have participated in NaNoWriMo for two years, and I won in 2010. I finished almost a week ahead of schedule, and I decided then to make a small donation. In doing so, I learned a little more about what the Office of Letters and Light does.

Writing is one of the most important skills an individual should have, and OLL helps promote solid writing fundamentals to children and adults alike. I was a tutor in my college's Writing Center for three years, and while there, I learned that confidence in writing is the most essential, and most often lacked, part of composing written word. My pupils came to me looking for confidence, not grammar rules.

OLL helps provide confidence for students of all ages, so that they can take part in one of the most important parts of conversation, and I think that is a very admirable cause.

Review from Guidestar

Sofia N.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been a part of the National Novel Writing Challenge for two years. The first year I didn't quite make it, but the second year I finished a few days ahead. I intend to make this a november tradition, and I would love it if everyone I knew took part in it, too. I also attended a real life event at my local library where other people were working on their novels too. I think this experience can make people appreciate novels they read everyday, as well as empower them to realize that theirs could be the next book on the shelf. Anything that increases creativity and appreciation for the arts, as well as motivation people to live out their dreams and reach challenging goals, is something I support!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I've participated in NaNoWriMo twice now, and both times have been fairly life changing experiences. The first time, I finished my very first novel ever, which was pretty amazing considering I was only fifteen. The entire month felt like a dream, and I especially appreciated being able to keep an eye on other people's progress, because it kick-started my own most days.
This past NaNo is the one that really rocked my world, though. I discovered a story that only I could tell because, well, it's my story. And that's a scary thing, you know? You don't want to screw it up because then you'll feel disappointed in yourself. I knew I would never buckle down and write it if I didn't have a reason to spit everything out. So I started my book on the first of November and just kept writing. There were a lot of times I wanted to quit, but I knew my best friend (who was also participating) and some of the people I'd met over the site would be extremely disappointed in me. There were some days when I hopped on the forums and what I read there was the only reason I wrote anything.
Throughout the course of the month, my plot changed a hundred times, characters showed up and disappeared at their own discretion. But I didn't cut a single word out and I didn't sweat it that nothing made any sense. Because that's what NaNoWriMo is for. The whole point is to get your story down and understand exactly how important to you it is. The world may never see it. You may never finish editing because the world just gets in the way. But you know what? It's written. And nothing can take that away.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have written and revised and written and revised, rarely seeing a project through to completion. I decided to use NaNoWriMo this year as an opportunity to ditch revisions and write through to the end. SUCCESS!! The website was easy to use, the encouraging emails and little prizes at the finish line made the experience pleasurable when it might have been just hectic! I learned so much in one month that I will take forward with me. Thanks much, OLL!!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have a really horrible habit of writing a ton of stories but never actually finishing them; they just drizzle off into nothingness and hover around the corners of my mind. My friend told me about NaNo and we made a pact that every day we would yell at each other and make sure the other was doing their day's work. I remember sitting in my house and thinking to myself, "I hate never finishing I ever start. I am going to do this, and I am going to finish it. I am actually going to accomplish this." And I did. I actually did it. I nearly cried when my little word count bar turned purple and excitedly told me that I was, for the first time in a long time, a WINNER! It was truly inspiring to me. And whenever I'm feeling worthless, or like I can't achieve anything, I log onto my NaNo page and I look at my winner's certificate and I think, "Oh hell yes." NaNo has so far been the single most beneficial thing to my writing career. If I weren't so lazy I would donate. I probably will donate an entire paycheck at some time or another because NaNoWriMo is the best thing a slacker like myself could ever ask for. Go NaNo!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo is an awesome organization that every November, encourages people all over the world to write 50,000 words, encouraging writing and creativity. This last year (2010), I was privileged to take part in my first NaNo competition, and I had a lot of fun. I also got a novel (or at least... half of one :P) out of it all. I had a bunch of friends who also completed the competition with similar results, although I should point out that THEY actually finished their book. Overall, it was a great experience, and I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. I encourage you to check it out too!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I originally participated in national novel writing month purely because members of my family were participating. That was the single most helpful bit of peer pressure I have ever experienced.
I had first of all never realized how much fun the process of writing a novel could be, but I also never expected to learn this much. Taking part in this allowed me to discover a love of writing that has stuck with me ever since, and has become a major part of who I am as a person. If it were not for The Office of Letters and Light, I would never have had that experience.
The process of doing this taught me many valuable skills. Even though quality is not emphasized, the sheer amount of practice that this involved helped me sharpen my writing skills a huge amount. It was also trying to write a novel that helped me learn how to meet a deadline, and not to give up when things start looking bad.
In all honesty, this is one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever had, and one that I hope more people have the chance to experience someday.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

A wonderful way to flex your creative muscles while getting support from a huge community just like you.
The Office of Letters and Light make it possible to find help, get ideas, rediscover your motivation and meet more people with similar interests without every abandoning your computer. Not only do they help private people, but they also lend assistance to teachers who want to encourage their students to participate in their Young Writers' program.
Brilliant!
I wish there were more organizations like this, devoted to expanding the creativity of the Internet at Large.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

When I first heard of this fabulous organization I was thrilled to find a place that would nurture the writer within and help me to realize a dream. I participated in NaNoWriMo in November of 2010 and much to my pleasure can now count myself as a Winner. This competition in which my only nemesis was myself revealed something important to me and has changed my life. The work that this organization does is so important in helping people realize their dreams and in so doing makes the world a better and more creative place. Viva La NaNoWriMo & The OLL!!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 4

I have spent my entire life saying I was going to write a novel. It was a dream. But I never could find the time or the energy or inclination to do it. Then I heard about NaNoWriMo from a friend. I joined the website, I watched the videos and read the letters of encouragment. I followed the steps and I wrote a novel. Then I wrote a second one.

This organization does more than encourage swiftly and shoddily produced books (though it does do that with great joy) but it gave me the tools to make my dream come true. The Office of Letters and Light encourages you by sending videos and letters and words of wisdom. They also collect donations to encourage children to engage in their world through writing. I wish that I'd had an organization like this around when I was a kid. I'd have written a novel long before I hit my thirties.

Without NaNoWriMo and the Office of Letter and Light, I would never have known this joy, this sense of fulfillment and I would never have been able to utter the words, "I'm a novelist".

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

I loved participating in Nanowrimo; I have been trying to complete a novel for a decade and have never been able to. But when I joined nanowrimo, it gave me a plan, a purpose, and a reason to finish my novel. I wrote a 54,000 word novel in only 30 days, and came out with ideas for a sequel next year. I recommend nanowrimo to any aspiring writers out there who think that all they need is a little nudge of encouragement and a plan to get going on their novels! It is a great feeling when you have completed to the challenge.

Review from Guidestar

Sara E.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Nanowrimo is providing an excellent service for young writers and students by helping to strengthen their writing skills at a time when the writing skills of our youth have been in decline. I am a former teacher, and now work in the publishing field where I continually disappointed by the lack of writing skills of young applicants. Nanowrimo's workshops not only help to strengthen writing skills, but also make give it a movie-star quality so that writing well can be perceived as "cool".

Review from Guidestar

Elizabeth D.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have been a member of the Nano community since 2004, when I first tried my hand at the writing challenge. Though I only got some 30,000 words of the 50K challenge that year, I still kept coming back, again and again. The fellow enthusiasts I've met at local writing support groups as well as the online community have bolstered my confidence far more that I would have ever thought. I eagerly look forward to next year's gathers!

Review from Guidestar

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I have worked at writing for several years. This past year I joined a writing group in St. Louis that participates in the No No Nano program. It appeared to be a fun, yet stimulating exercise, and I starting writing--soon my interest and energy accelerated to a the point that I wrote every day. I completed the 50,000 word task and remain excited about the process. it has formed a good basis of material to expand into a more full novel that I am pursuing now.
I hope you continue with these exercises in the future, as they appear to provide the encouragement that someone like myself benefits from.

Daniel Sullivan
Chesterfield, MO.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I'm an author & taught NaNoWriMo as a volunteer to a 3rd class for the month of November. They revised and self-published the novels, with illustrations, author bios, and blurbs in December. This included a lesson in bookbinding (they made their own books). We had a well-attended reading/author reception at the end.

The material and lesson plans provided by OLL were terrific. Clear, accessible, challenging, easily adaptable for my class. This was an incredible experience for the entire class. All children participated and finished. THey wrote over 600 pages. They learned a terrific amount about storytelling, narrative, character, deepening imaginative thought, letter-writing in the form of peer-review....Most important, they persevered, and have great pride in their ability to finish. They sort of couldn't believe what they accomplished.

Review from Guidestar

Michelle O.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

NaNoWriMo was the turning point for me in my writing career. Taking on this challenge and having the amazing people at NNWM cheer me on, I completed something I never knew I had inside of me - a novel in 30 days! I'm now on book 2 and I've completed 60K words in 30 days. NNWM gave me the confidence to know I can do whatever I set my writing mind to do!

Review from Guidestar