Pep Talks

Pep talks are inspirational letters written by well-known authors during NaNoWriMo.  Look for new ones here and in Breaking News throughout the month of November, read some of our old favorites, or review the whole archive. (Not finding what you're looking for? Try the main NaNoWriMo archive!)

You can also download our favorite printable pep talks or illustrated pep talk quotes.


2020 Pep Talks

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Charlie Jane Anders' latest novel is The City in the Middle of the Night. She's also the author of All the Birds in the Sky, which won the Nebula, Crawford and Locus awards, and Choir Boy, which won a Lambda Literary Award. Her story "Six Months, Three Days" won a Hugo Award, and her story "Don't Press Charges And I Won't Sue" won a Theodore Sturgeon Award. Read Charlie Jane's pep talk!

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Alexis Daria is a native New Yorker and award-winning author writing stories about successful Latinx characters and their (occasionally messy) familias. Her debut Take the Lead won the 2018 RITA® Award for “Best First Book” and was one of the “Best Romance Novels of 2017” in The Washington Post and Entertainment WeeklyRead Alexis's pep talk!

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Born and raised in St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, Kacen Callender is a bestselling and award-winning author of the middle-grade novels Hurricane Child and King and the Dragonflies, the young-adult novels This Is Kind of an Epic Love Story and Felix Ever After, and the adult novel Queen of the Conquered and its forthcoming sequel King of the Rising. Read Kacen's pep talk!

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Elizabeth Acevedo is the New York Times-bestselling author of The Poet X, which won (among other things) the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. She is also the author of With the Fire on High and Clap When You Land, which was a Boston Globe–Horn Book Honor book and a Kirkus finalist. Read Elizabeth's pep talk! 



Some Old Favorites:

Lois Lowry Lois Lowry

"There is no better feeling than realizing you got the words just right." Read the rest of Lois's pep talk!  

Listen to the audio version read by YWP Director, Marya.
Sharon Flake Sharon G. Flake

"You were meant to be on this road... And because others have walked it before, you can do so as well—if you do not give up." 
Read the rest of Sharon's pep talk!

Listen to the audio version read by Communications Manager, Katharine.
Avi Avi

"Write with compassion, not judgment—a compassion enriched by love for your fellow beings." Read the rest of Avi's pep talk!

Listen to the audio version read by Operations Director, Shelby.
Leer en español.
Jerry Spinelli Jerry Spinelli

"As a writer, I can be everything. And everybody." Read the rest of Jerry's pep talk!

Listen to the audio version read by YWP Intern, Kristen.
Leer en español.
Walter Dean Myers Walter Dean Myers
 
"The best writers enjoy the heck out of what they do." Read the rest of Walter's pep talk!
Kate Dicamillo Kate DiCamillo

"Write for yourself. Write for the story. And write, also, for all of the people who doubt you." Read the rest of Kate's pep talk!

Leer en español.

John Green John Green

"All of us harbor secret hopes that a magnificent novel will tumble out of the sky and appear on our screens, but almost universally, writing is hard, slow, and totally unglamorous." Read the rest of John's pep talk!
Scott Westerfield Scott Westerfeld

"Sometimes getting to the end of a novel simply takes remembering that the world is more complicated than we know, and then sticking some of those complications into the story." Read the rest of Scott's pep talk!
Roxane Gay Roxane Gay

"I decided to ignore all the advice I had read and do the only thing I know how to do, which is write. I wrote what I felt like writing, when I felt like writing, how I felt like writing. I jumped all over the place." Read the rest of Roxane's pep talk! 

Leer en español


All Pep Talks
(in alphabetical order) 

  • Gennifer Albin is the author of Crewel, which she wrote during NaNoWriMo 2010.

  • Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times-bestselling author. Her books Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was also short-listed for the United Kingdom's Carnegie medal.

  • Avi, Newbery winning author of more than 75 books including Crispin: The Cross of Lead and The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

  • Annie Barrows is the author of the Ivy + Bean series, as well as The Magic Half and Magic in the Mix.

  • Hilari Bell is the author of the Farsala Trilogy — Fall of a Kingdom, Rise of a Hero, and Forging the Sword — as well as Songs of Power, A Matter of Profit, and The Goblin Wood.

  • Ali Benjamin's debut novel The Thing about Jellyfish was a National Book Award for Young People's Literature finalist in 2015 and a New York Times best seller.

  • Meg Cabot is the author of The Princess Diaries and 80+ books for both adults and young adults which include multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers. Her series has been published in more than 38 countries and was made into two hit films by Disney.

  • Alexander Chee, award-winning author of Edinburgh, The Queen of the Night, and How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.

  • Kate DiCamillo is the author of The Tale of Despereaux (Newbery Medal), Because of Winn-Dixie (Newbery Honor), and The Tiger Rising (National Book Award finalist).

  • Dave Eggers is the author of ten books, including Your Fathers, Where Are They? and the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?, The Circle, and A Hologram for the King, which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Award. 

  • Nancy Yi Fan is the New York Times bestselling author of Swordbird, a fantasy novel she started writing when she was ten, and its sequels Sword Quest and Sword Mountain

  • Jasper Fforde has published more than thirteen more books since 2001 when his novel The Eyre Affair debuted on the New York Times Bestseller list. 

  • Sharon G. Flake writes for children and young adults, and is the author of nine novels, including The Skin I'm In. She has been the recipient of the Coretta Scott King Award and the YWCA's Racial Justice Award.

  • Neil Gaiman is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Neverwhere, Stardust, the Hugo and Nebula Award-winning American Gods , Anansi Boys, and Good Omens (with Terry Pratchett), among others. 

  • Kami Garcia is the co-author of the Beautiful Creatures series, and the author of Unbreakable and Unmarked

  • Roxane Gay is the author of the books Ayiti, An Untamed State, the New York Times bestselling Bad Feminist, the nationally bestselling Difficult Women, and the New York Times bestselling Hunger.

  • Maurene Goo is the author of several acclaimed books for young adults, including I Believe in a Thing Called Love and The Way You Make Me Feel
  • John GreenNew York Times bestselling author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, and Turtles All the Way Down.
  • Lev Grossman is the author of the bestselling novels The Magicians and The Magician King.

  • Jasmine Guillory is the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date, The Proposal, The Wedding Party, and Royal Holiday
  • Margaret Peterson Haddix has written more than 40 books for kids and teens, including Running Out of Time, Double Identity, Uprising, The Always War, The Palace Chronicles and many more.

  • Jenny HanNew York Times bestselling author of Shug, The Summer I Turned Pretty series, co-author of the Burn for Burn series, and most recently, the To All the Boys I've Loved Before trilogy.

  • Carolivia Herron is a writer of children's and adult literature, including Nappy Hair, and a scholar of African-American Judaica.

  • Justina Ireland is the author of Vengeance Bound, Promise of Shadows, and Dread Nation, which is a New York Times bestseller and has received six starred reviews. 

  • Brian Jacques was best known for his vividly written Redwall series of children’s fantasy-adventure books, which follow the adventures in medieval England of brave mice who defend Redwall Abbey against cruel rats and other woodland marauders.

  • N(ora). K. Jemisin is the award-winning author of many critically-acclaimed novels such as the Broken Earth trilogy, The City We Became, How Long 'til Black Future Month, The Killing Moon and many more.

  • Alaya Dawn Johnson has published six novels, including The Summer Prince, which was longlisted for the National Book Award in 2013, and Love is the Drug. 

  • Varian Johnson is the author of Saving Maddie, My Life as a Rhombus, and A Red Polka Dot in a World Full of Plaid.

  • Dean Koontz is the New York Times best selling author of Odd Thomas, Whispers, Watchers, and The Bad Place.
  • Gordon Korman is the New York Times bestselling author of over seventy middle-grade and young adult books, including Restart, Swindle, Masterminds, The Unteachables, and many more.

  • Kevin Kwan is the international bestselling author of Crazy Rich Asians, China Rich Girlfriend, and Rich People Problems.

  • Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Hallelujah Anyway; Help, Thanks, Wow; Grace (Eventually); Traveling Mercies; Bird by Bird; and Operating Instructions.

  • Justine Larbalestier is an author whose novels include Razorhurst, Team Human, and Liar. 

  • Gail Carson Levine is the author of The King’s Cure, an art appreciation book for kids, and Ella Enchanted; a 1998 Newbery Honor Book.

  • Robert Lipsyte is the author of Center Field, One Fat Summer, The Contender, and An Accidental Sportwriter: A Memoir. His work has appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times, New York Post, and USA Today

  • Malinda Lo is the author of several young adult novels, including A Line in the Dark, which was a Kirkus Best YA Book of 2017. Her novel Ash, a lesbian retelling of Cinderella, was shortlisted for several awards and a Kirkus Best Book for Children and Teens.

  • Alex London is the author of young adult novels Black Wings Beating and Proxy, an American Library Association Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Readers.

  • Lois Lowry is the author of Number the Stars and The Giver (both Newbery Medal winners), among 30 other books for children and young adults.

  • Marie Lu writes young adult novels, and has a special love for dystopic books. She is the author of the Legend trilogy.

  • Megan McCafferty is the author of the Jessica Darling series and Bumped. Megan has contributed to numerous national magazines and nonfiction anthologies, and her work has been translated into 11 languages.

  • Robin McKinley is a Newbery Medal award-winning author for The Hero and the Crown and a Newbery Honor for The Blue Sword. Her other books include Sunshine, the New York Times bestseller Spindle’s End, Beauty and Rose Daughter, and The Outlaws of Sherwood.

  • Marissa Meyer is the author of Cinder, which she wrote during NaNoWriMo 2008, Scarlet, and Cress. 

  • Erin Morgenstern is the author of The Night Circus and The Starless Sea and someday hopefully she will write other books so she has more things to list in biographies. 

  • Julie Murphy is the author of the young adult novel, Side Effects May Vary, Dumplin’, Ramona Blue, Puddin', Dear Sweet Pea, and many more. Dumplin' has been adapted to film by Netflix and Disney has optioned the rights to Dear Sweet Pea.

  • Walter Dean Myers is the author of Monster (Printz Award and National Book Award finalist), Fallen Angels, and Slam, among 80 other books for children and young adults. In 2012, he was named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature.

  • Garth Nix is the award-winning author of countless works including the Old Kingdom fantasy series, Shade’s Children, A Confusion of Princes, Newt’s Emerald, The Seventh Tower series, The Keys to the Kingdom series and many more. 

  • Daniel José Older is the author of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series, which begins with Half-Resurrection Blues.

  • Christopher Paolini is the author of Eragon and its three sequels. He wrote the first draft of Eragon when he was 15, and self-published its first edition. Books in the series have now sold over 25 million copies worldwide.

  • James Patterson writes suspense and thriller books for kids, teens, and adults. Among his works are the Alex Cross, Michael Bennett, Women's Murder Club, Maximum Ride, Daniel X, NYPD Red, Witch and Wizard, and Private series.  He holds the Guinness World Record for the most New York Times bestsellers of any author.

  • Mitali Perkins has written nine novels for young readers, including Rickshaw Girl (chosen by the New York Public Library as one of the top 100 books for children in the past 100 years) and Bamboo People (an American Library Association’s Top Ten Novels for Young Adults.

  • Tamora Pierce is the author of the Song of the Lioness and Immortals quartets, Battle Magic, and many others. She won the Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult Library Services Association in 2013. 

  • Philip Pullman is a prolific author best known for the His Dark Materials trilogy which have been honored by several prizes, including the Carnegie Medal. He is also the author of The Scarecrow and his Servant, The Tin Princess, John Blake and many more.   

  • Jason Reynolds is the New York Times best-selling author of  All-American Boys, Ghost, Patina, Long Way Down, and Miles Morales: Spider-Man.

  • Ransom Riggs is the author of The Sherlock Holmes Handbook, Talking Pictures and the Miss Peregrine series. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children has been adapted into film.

  • Veronica Roth is best known for her debut New York Times bestselling Divergent trilogy, consisting of Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant.

  • Rainbow Rowell is the critically-acclaimed author of beloved young adult novels Eleanor and Park, Fangirl, Carry On, Wayward Son and many more.

  • Karen Russell is the author of Swamplandia!, Vampires in the Lemon Grove, Booth 7, Orange World and Other Stories and more. Her work has been recognized by, among others, the National Book Foundation, the NYPL Young Lions Award, and the Bard Fiction Prize.

  • Brandon Sanderson is the prolific and multi-award-winning author of the renowned Mistborn series and The Stormlight Archive series, as well as the final installment of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time, among others.

  • Victoria “V. E.” Schwab is the #1 New York Times, USA, and Indie bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including Vicious, the Shades of Magic series, and This Savage Song.

  • Lemony Snicket is the author of several children's books, including A Series of Unfortunate Events (his best-known work) and All the Wrong Questions.

  • Jerry Spinelli, author of over 30 novels for young adults, including Maniac Magee, Wringer, and Stargirl. 

  • Rebecca Stead has written four books for kids: the Newbery medal-winning When You Reach Me, First Light, Liar & Spy, and Goodbye Stranger. 

  • Maggie Stiefvater is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the novels Shiver, Linger, Forever, and The Scorpio Races, as well as Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception and Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie.

  • Jeff VanderMeer is the acclaimed author of many books including Shriek: An Afterword, Borne, The Steampunk Bible, Wonderbook, and the Southern Reach trilogy, which has been adapted to film.

  • Andy Weir is the author of The Martian and Artemis.

  • Scott Westerfeld is the author of the Uglies, Leviathan, and Midnighters series.

  • Gene Luen Yang is the author of the multi-award-winning graphic novels American Born Chinese and Boxers & Saints, as well as comic adaptions of Nickelodeon's Avatar: The Last Airbender and DC Comics’ Superman!

  • Markus Zusak is the award-winning, #1 bestselling author of The Book Thief, I Am the Messenger, Fighting Ruben Wolf, Getting the Girl, and Bridge of Clay, among others.