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) 

  • 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.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jasmine Guillory is the New York Times bestselling author of The Wedding Date, The Proposal, The Wedding Party, and Royal Holiday

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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. 

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

  • 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.

  • 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, New York Times bestselling author of Puddin', Dumplin', Ramona Blue, and Side Effects May Vary.

  • 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.

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

  • 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.

  • Tamora Pierce, award-winning author of the Song of the Lioness and Protector of the Small series, among others.             

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

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

  • 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, author of the Books of Faerie, The Wolves of Mercy Falls, and The Raven Cycle series. 

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

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