Night of Writing Dangerously on a budget, revisited

One of the most common replies I hear when discussing NaNoWriMo’s Night of Writing Dangerously (NOWD) is “I’d love to go one year!” with “one year” meaning “some vague time in the future, likely when they have the money and time to do so”.

While I’ve estimated my budget for my first Night of Writing Dangerously, I thought it’d be fun to revisit the topic with more budget specifics (and for a longer trip). I did my best to save every receipt; where that fails, I have my bank account history and my occasionally unreliable memory.

Want an idea of how much money to set aside for a NOWD San Francisco trip? Keep reading for my experience. Note: All of these prices listed include all applicable taxes.

Or if you want to add to my fundraising page, you can do that right here.


Help me go to NaNoWriMo’s Night of Writing Dangerously!

Hi. Remember that Night of Writing Dangerously thing I wouldn’t shut up about over the past few years?

It’s back. And it’s better than ever.

Last year I got to wear the coveted flowerpot hat for winning a word sprint. That’s right, I beat 250 other people in a word war. I met people who were previously Twitter followers and fellow @NaNoWordSprints leaders. I visited NaNoWriMo HQ and rolled up all those posters in the NOWD tote bags and had lunch with Grant, NaNo’s Executive Director. I did research for Wikiwrimo and documented even more of NaNoWriMo culture.

This year several people I’ve befriended through NaNo are also attending. Among them are Debs and Errol, and I’m convinced that putting Errol and me in the same room will result in a NaNo enthusiasm explosion. Or we’ll fight to the death for the NaNoWriMo’s Biggest Fan title.

But for that to happen, I need to reach the $275 goal first. And for that I need your help.

So what’s in it for you? Good question.

Any amount: a handcrafted email from me thanking you. Pixels! Sent through the Internet!

$5 or more: a public thank you on Twitter

$10 or more: a character named after you (or the thing of your choice)

$20 or more: one of YOUR characters makes a cameo appearance

$40 or more: a pep talk just for you written by yours truly

The top donor: choose one of my NaNoWriMo 2014 novels for me. Tell me what to write!

Not only that, but every cent donated will go to improving NaNoWriMo’s writing programs for kids and adults all over the world. Wrimos have written novels in classrooms and on active military duty, in libraries and coffee shops. We’ve written on all seven continents (yes, even Antarctica).

The National Novel Writing Month community can get even more awesome, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, it needs YOU to help with that.

Donate to NaNoWriMo today and help half a million kids and adults realize their creative potential.


Night of Writing Dangerously on a Budget

It’s no secret that I’m going back to NaNoWriMo’s Night of Writing Dangerously this year. This will be my second time attending the fundraiser write-a-thon featuring writing, Wrimos from all over the country and a few other countries, food, writing-themed drinks, and candy; my first was in 2011.

A common concern I hear from Wrimos, especially those not local to San Francisco, is the cost. And it’s an understandable one. There’s the $250 admission cost ($350 if you want to bring a guest), and while you can fundraise to support the cost, a lot of folks use some of their own money for admission. Tack on the costs specific to out-of-towners: travel and lodging and food and any touristy stuff for the weekend in San Francisco, and the trip can get expensive.

I was very broke when I attended the first time in 2011, and honestly, I probably shouldn’t have gone with how little money I had. But I told myself in 2010 that I was going to go for my tenth NaNo, and then everything lined up nicely.

But the trip still cost money. How much?

My estimate is around $600.

Whoa, that’s not right, you may say.

Here’s how it breaks down:

Flight: $329 (I got lucky here and got a really cheap direct flight, ATL-SFO)
Lodging: $81 (three nights. hostels FTW)
Everything else: … Okay, I don’t have a real number for this since I don’t have that statement. But this would include food, transportation, and everything else for those days I was in San Francisco. Considering I didn’t buy any souvenirs, I took BART only to/from the airport and walked almost everywhere else, and my hostel had free breakfast, I’d say $200 for everything else is reasonable here.

I should note here that this does not include the costs of my outfit for the Night of Writing Dangerously, which cost around $30.

Who says weekend trips are really expensive? I may have to pull this off some other time.

I’ll probably spend more than that for this trip thanks to staying in the Bay Area longer. If I’m lucky I can pull off a combination of couchsurfing and hostelling to keep the costs down for a longer stay, but there’s no getting around the fact that a longer stay will cost more money.

I can’t wait! Anyone else going?

P.S. Wanna donate to my 2013 Night of Writing Dangerously page and make me cut my hair? Here you go!


My next few months are filling up. Does this make me popular? (Spoiler: no)

My next few months are filling up quickly. I already RSVP’d to the Night of Writing Dangerously (and am still fundraising to dress like my Twitter icon!), but a couple of nights ago I took the next big step and bought the plane ticket to San Francisco.

I didn’t mean to. I was talking to a couple of folks about the event and found myself checking flight costs again, as I had been doing casually over the past few weeks, when I spotted a flight that fit my wants and needs (Fri-Mon, arriving in San Francisco early, not a red-eye return to Atlanta or leaving San Francisco at the crack of dawn, nonstop–oh, and wifi on both flights) perfectly for a much better price than what I had been spotting over the past few weeks. Low enough that I wouldn’t kick myself too hard if the price went down any further.

So I did some quick math, consulted Bing Travel’s prediction to see what it said about buying, and caved and bought. And now it’s officially official: I am going to the Night of Writing Dangerously in San Francisco.

My other weekends between now and the end of Nano are also filling up quickly. I count two completely free weekends between now and the beginning of Nano, but those weekends will fill up as Nano approaches or non-Nano friends want to see me in a non-noveling context. Even my Nano weekends are slowly filling up. Between Nanolanta shenanigans, the Night of Writing Dangerously, and 50k weekend, only the first weekend remains fully available, and I’m sure it’ll fill up with write-ins as November approaches. Meatspace non-Wrimos, if you want to see me before December, you better see me soon or take advantage of my flexible schedule to see me during the week because soon it’s going to be really hard to do so unless you’re also doing Nano.

This means December will be a breath of fresh air. Won’t that be exciting?