November Writing Challenge! Start a New Novel or Find a Pen Pal

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November Writing Challenge! Start a New Novel or Find a Pen Pal

November Writing Challenge! Start a New Novel or Find a Pen Pal

I can’t remember the last time I actually sat down and wrote a letter by hand. And I love writing! But I usually turn to my phone or laptop to record rapidly forming thoughts with ease and immediacy these days — unless I have my beloved sticky notes nearby to jot down a short poem.

However, as much as I appreciate the usefulness of modern technology, the thought of writing a letter to a loved one with beautiful pens and paper, and receiving one back is really heartwarming. When a good friend of mine moved overseas a few years ago we had planned to do just that and never did (because, social media ;). But we’ve recently started talking about it again and now is as good a time as any to start!

A Novel, a Pen Pal, or Both — Your Choice!

Ready to flex those writing muscles and have a little fun? November is the month for you. 

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which runs November 1st through the 30th, is the creative brainchild of Chris Baty. It’s also a community-run organization that hosts  programs and events for thousands of writers worldwide. 

If you’ve had an idea for a novel at the back of your mind, or already have one in the works, this contest is a great way to jumpstart your work or give you a push towards completion. The challenge is to complete 50,000 words by writing every day with the goal of completing a first draft. It’s also a great way to meet other writers and stay motivated!

On the other hand, if you’d just like to start writing as a means of connecting with other literary-minded souls, finding a pen pal is also a great way to celebrate this month. Here are three easy ways to get started.

1. Websites to Explore

There are tons of sites out there, here are a few popular ones.

Geek Girl Pen Pals 

  • Open to everyone 
  • Pals are paired up by age group, called Houses, and interests


  • Written online messages are mailed as postcards by the service
  • Addresses remain hidden

Global Pen Friends

  • Family-owned and operated
  • School classes and clubs can register

Conversation Exchange 

  • Practice new languages with a global network of members 
  • Help new international friends practice their English

2. Social Media Inspiration

Scroll through accounts or make your own post to find the right fit for you.




3. Splurge on a Fancy Fountain Pen

Besides making friends around the world and brushing up on your language skills, the benefits of pen pals are many. Once you’ve found “your person”, you can enjoy…

  • Receiving an actual letter personalized just for YOU
  • A slowly deepening friendship…without following each other on social media, at least at first; try sending themed letters to keep things interesting so that you have the space and time to get to know each other (e.g., a letter about the wildest adventure you’ve ever been on, quirky hobbies and likes, the scariest thing you’ve ever done, etc.)
  • Creative hardware — pens, markers, pencils, paper, envelopes, postcards
  • Creative content — send puzzles and riddles; start a story and have your pal continue it, going back and forth a few times before starting a new story series 

Penpalling is something you can really have fun with — when done safely. Here are some final tips: only give out personal information when you feel safe doing so, check your privacy settings if your dialogue starts online, and last but not least, resist the temptation to send money for someone’s sick cat. You’re welcome 🙂 Now get writing and have fun getting creative!

Another great way to make connections is by hosting your very own BooknBrunch event, either virtually or in-person! We also love hearing from our Brookies. Reach out to us here with your comments and ideas on anything book-related. 

Keisha Paterson

Keisha Paterson is a lifetime writer of sticky-note poetry who enjoys comfort foods, self-care holidays, and Hawaiian dance. A prolific wanderer, she loves to discover and take home old orphaned books and eclectic records. She is an office manager, private yoga instructor, and freelance editor in Toronto. 

Favourite Book: Wouldn’t Take Nothing for My Journey Now by Maya Angelou
                                 Favourite brunch spot: Sisters and Co.


Lakesedge by Lyndall Clipstone (384 pages)


Love From A to Z by S.K. Ali (335 pages)