Take the entire month to create a single piece of work or art. Every day develop it a little further- your work can be undone, redone, and altered as often as you choose, but keep one singular goal in mind. What can you do when you focus your effort on writing a novel, recording an album, perfecting a painting, or stitching together an amazing costume? Remember, like all the goals of The Brave New, the point is to see what happens. The point isn't to force a magnum opus, but rather to let yourself go in pursuit of one thing.
Simply make one single new thing over the course of the month.


All too often in our frenetic lives we spread ourselves thin, frantically trying to accomplish as many things as possible and getting swept up in a wave of anxiety. Sometimes in an attempt to do as much as possible, we forget the beauty in focusing on doing one thing- and doing it well. Try to capture the meditative quality of pouring yourself into one goal!

Bonus points!

See if you can invoke a new skill you've picked up in the course of the Brave New to create this thing. What was the skill you picked up in February? Were there any people you met in January that inspired you to direct yourself somehow?

An Interesting Coincidence!

What-ho? It just so happens that November is also NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH? Feeling like you need a nudge to give you some impetus? Maybe NaNoWriMo is something you too would like to try your hand at!


NaNoWriMo.org - National Novel Writing Month! Join up with thousands of people who
support each other in the attempt to bang out a big in the month of November!

This novel is becoming a struggle.

I know words. I often employ them to explain how hungry I am. Occasionally I’ll also express confusion, sexual arousal, and other emotions I’m sure I have when I’m not experiencing those other three things.

However, now that I’m put to the test, I’m not wholly certain I don’t simply recite words I’ve heard other people say. There’s a good chance my entire lifetime of communication has been nothing more than a parlor trick.

My Little Pony Cthulu

My Little Pony Cthulu: shockingly relevent to the new chapter

I’d like to blame it on the economy. I really would.

Today is day 9, and, while I haven’t started my writing run for the evening, I’m hovering around 9,000 words. At roughly 1,000 words a day, that is WELL under where I need to be to finish a 50,000 word novel by the 30th.

So what to do?

I’m going to call Brett Ratner and ask him for tips on expressing myself with words.  I’m fairly sure he’ll simply offer, “Novels are for [redacted]

Also, picture relevant-  here’s a snippet of my second-favorite chapter so far. http://thebravenew.com/Chapter21WhereinShitGetsReal.pdf

It’s a Lovecraftian nightmare that will drive you to the brink of madness and back again.  Maybe then you’ll go on a leisurely stroll, returning to madness.  But by then, it’s old news, and you’ll return.  But then you’ll take someone on a date, and hell, they’ve never been there before, so even though you’re pretty bored with it, you’ll return to madness for a third time.  And your date will force a strained smile, but she can tell you’re bored with the whole thing, and that doesn’t make for a good date now, does it?

So this novel writing excursion is off to an alright start.  My first night, I wrote around 3000 words.  My second night, a meager 1000.  As I just returned home from an insanely busy day at work, and another meeting for a side project, I’ve yet to write today.  But I’m feeling good about this.  I’m not a novelist, but I feel like I’m becoming one suddenly.  It could just be gas though.

Here’s a little snippet (pic related) of this evolving trainwreck of a novel. thebravenew.com/Chapter14.pdf

The novel is clearly going to be based around things I’ve experienced that I’ve found to be quirky and intriguing, but remember it is fiction.  If you see something of yourself or a friend in there, it may be a coincidence, it may be an homage, but it’s certainly never an interpretation of your character or judgement of your activities.

Oh, a little background:  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenges a budding author (or an experienced one) to come up with a story of 50,000 words in thirty days.  The number seems daunting, but broken down into small slices, it’s a perfectly relaxing writing pace.

But does length account for everything?  Literary great Ernest Hemingway was once challenged to write the world’s shortest story.  He is said to have declared his resulting creation his best work.

The entirety of the story is six words.

For sale: baby shoes, never worn.

Hemingway was not a happy man.  But he did understand one of the most important goals for anyone who wants to effectively communicate:

Be clearly understood in six words.

Alright Brave Newbies.  I’ve learned a lot progressing into the Brave New, and one of those things is:  I suck at maintaining a site.  I have piles of writing that’s gone “unpublished” onto thebravenew.com, and clearly I have some hurdles to jump here.  That being said, I’ve always felt like there’s no kill like overkill-  so if I’m having trouble writing, it’s time to really pour myself into writing and get over it.  Oh, also I’ve always wanted to be a novelist.  That being said, you know what I’d like to do for November’s pursuit of one great “opus”?

I’m going to write a novel.

It’s no coincidence that this month lines up with National Novel Writing Month.  The goal of writing a novel is too specific for the deliberately open monthly challenges for The Brave New, but it falls well within the guidelines I’ve set up for this month.  So, for those of you joining me in the month’s challenge, if you’re looking to do something really difficult, why not attempt it with me?

Looking out on the unrealized adventure that is November, I’d like to remind everyone:
All good stories start somewhere!

Brave Newbie Writers

Phil WarrenPhil Warren (81)
Founder and editor of The Brave New, Phil Warren is now an accordion player, a minister, a sonic weapons expert, a director, a photographer, a public speaker, and a bunch of other things. Mostly he's an adventurer though. An adventurer who smells nice. Except when he doesn't.
NickNick (6)
One part Burner and one part Engineer; I’ve lived through twenty-five-and-a-half winters, and aim to keep it that way. My world is a strange one, and it’s my goal to make it stranger.

Facebook Challengers!


  • No Weekend Left Behind An adventure group dedicated to ensuring that when the work week is done, the weekend lives up to it’s potential.
  • The Eskhaton The life and times of Cub, an adventurer I respect blossoming with energy who sucks the marrow out of life.
  • This Tumblr Will Change Your Life Part instruction manual, part therapy, part religious cult, part sheer anarchy, this is a day-to-day quest very similar to “This Book Will Change Your Life”