Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I want to put the record straight and I can't find a way to do it. Here's the problem.

Last year I published "From Quill to Keyboard", a slight book of eight essays about writing. The essays had been published separately elsewhere but I re-formatted them as an e-book, and gave them a whole new public. In fact, gave them to a whole new public, as a free book, on Smashwords. They have been flying off the shelf – if a virtual book can fly off a virtual shelf in a modest way.

To change focus for a moment – the reason will become clear – I sometimes Google myself. It's shameful but I can't help it. I type "Joan Curry" + writer into the panel and see where I am in the grand scheme of things. Pages 1, 2 and 3 are satisfactorily ego-boosting and it's usually enough to calm a troubled mind. Occasionally I go further, to pages 4 and 5, even 6. And that's when I found the problem.

There was my name in connection with two sites:  and  In the first, under free ebooks about writing, I found "From Quill to Keyboard" with the gratifying comment that it was a "motivating read for every writer". Then I read that I was "one of the founders of NaNoWriMo". This was repeated on the Pearltrees site.

I should explain that NaNoWriMo was started by an American called Chris Baty who decided to write a novel in one calendar month. The aim was 50,000 words of hell-for-leather exuberant imperfection, never mind editing or planning. He and twenty friends spent July 1999 writing and six of them actually finished their novels. The next year they changed the month to November, and NaNoWriMo was born – national novel writing month. There are now thousands of people from all over the world participating in NaNoWriMo every year.

It is true that in "From Quill to Keyboard" I mention NaNoWriMo to illustrate the working method of an old friend whose exuberance was legendary and whose editing and planning non-existent. Her output, however, was prodigious. But I'm afraid that I was not only not one of the founders of NaNoWriMo, but I have never even participated in the event.

I have tried to correct the mistake, presumably made by the reviewer of the book, on both Squidoo and Pearltrees but without success. Pearltrees proved impossible to navigate to the mistake once logged on – and you can't comment until you've logged on. On Squidoo there seems no way to comment at all. So, for the record, I was not responsible for NaNoWriMo – but I would have been proud to have been, had I been.


  1. It is always strange how those associations happen - and usually on sites you have to sign up for to make a comment on. That often makes it impossible to correct it. I guess though, in the grand scheme of things, NaNoWriMo isn't the worst thing to be associated with. I tried it in November of this year. I got about 8000 words in and then found I got bogged down in plot outlines and research - which has been the underlying problem with most writing I have tried. Photos are much quicker for me to produce. :)

  2. The point of NaNoWriMo really was NOT to worry about plots and research but just to barrell onwards, helter-skelter. Words are what count. Words can be sorted afterwards - but you need the words down on paper to do it. It is, apparently, seriously liberating. I apply the concept, but not in NaNoWriMo - it works!