About Every Mother Counts
Every Mother Counts is a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. They inform, engage, and mobilize new audiences to take actions and raise funds that support maternal health programs around the world.
Hundreds of thousands of girls and women around the world die every year from complications in pregnancy or childbirth — Sooz was almost one of them! — creating a rippling effect that devastates children, families, and communities. 90% of these deaths are preventable, and with proper focus on women’s health, we can prevent many of them.
About National Novel Writing Month
Each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with 50,000 words of a brand-new novel. You may know this mass creative explosion by the name National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo—but that’s not all that NaNoWriMo is!
NaNoWriMo is also a nonprofit organization that supports writing fluency and education. And it’s a real-world event, during which 900+ volunteers in places like Mexico City, Seoul, and Milwaukee coordinate communal writing sessions in thousands of partnering libraries, coffee shops, and community centers like… well, like nothing else.
Nothing empowers writers to finish a novel quite like NaNoWriMo does!
About the Mighty Pens
WHAT DO WE DO?
Our mission is to raise $10,000 across for Every Mother Counts, bringing awareness to an issue that affects so many lives and also supporting legislation to prevent maternal mortality. Did you know that the US is ranked 55th in the world for maternal deaths? It is shockingly common, both globally and at home.
We also want to encourage authors to finish their books!
HOW DOES IT WORK?
- Basically, it’s just like people who run in races and have each mile sponsored — but instead, we’re getting the words we write sponsored!
- Participants ask for pledges. Friends, colleagues, strangers, whoever, agree to donate any amount of money when the participant hits word goals. Or your friends, colleagues, and strangers can also just donate in your name because donating is awesome. You can even donate in your OWN name!!
- When you hit certain fundraising and/or word count goals, you get awesome prizes! (Note: To be eligible for any prizes, participants must donate an initial $10 to NaNoWriMo.)
- All participants must also be a member of NaNoWriMo and provide Kat and Susan their NaNoWriMo name.
- Write, keep track of your word count, join in the sprints or discord (if you dare!), and help raise money for the health of every mother worldwide!
WHAT DO YOU MEAN, “PLEDGES”/”SPONSORS”?
We mean asking the people in your life — friends, family, colleagues — to sponsor your words!
For example, you might ask a sibling to donate $1o to our fundraiser for every 1,000 words you write. Or maybe your cubicle neighbor at work (who is now your Zoom neighbor, sigh) to donate $1 for ever 1,000 words. The monetary amount and word count are entirely up to you and them!
But don’t worry if you have no one to ask. Every year, we have extra sponsors to help out. Just sign up here.
CAN PARTICIPATE EVEN IF I DON’T RAISE MONEY OR IF I DON’T RAISE MUCH MONEY?
Of course!! All that we ask is that you donate the initial $10 to the fundraiser. That enters you into tight-knit group of writers dedicated to awesome — a.k.a. the Mighty Pens.
If you don’t ever get any more donations than that initial $10, that’s totally okay. You’re still eligible for some of our super cool Writing Prizes and will be entered into the raffle!
DO I HAVE TO WRITE 50,000 WORDS?
Heck no! You can set whatever goal you want to set for the month. Due to Life and the Universe, Kat is just going to try and write *something* (it’s been so long, fam), and Sooz has an infant to deal with but would love to tackle some short stories.
Everyone writes at different paces, and we don’t want to exclude anyone because of that!
I’M NOT SURE HOW TO ASK FOR SPONSORSHIP — HELP?
We’ve got you covered! Just head here for some templates and scripts!
WHAT ARE THE PRIZES I CAN WIN?
Check out the Fundraising or Writing Prizes pages. These pages should be updated as the campaign ramps up and more authors, agents, and editors hear about the effort, so keep your eye out!
HOW DO I COLLECT FUNDRAISING PRIZES?
You’ll receive an email with instructions on how to join, set up your fundraising page, and even contact your mentor (if you want one) after you send us your information.
If you get donations outside of November, they will not count towards your fundraising total. Don’t get us wrong, it’s still awesome, but donations before or after November do not count!
On the 10th and 20th of November, and 1st of December, buttons will appear on our prizes page (coming soon!) that allow you to collect one prize from whichever tier you quality for! That means you can choose up to three fundraising prizes across all of NaNoWriMo.
HOW DO I COLLECT WRITING PRIZES?
Unlike our fundraising prizes, you can collect writing prizes at any time in November! Once the page is live, we’ll share it!
Make sure your word count in the Google spreadsheet (URL will be provided to participants) matches the word count that you list on the form. After that, we’ll email you with your latest prize!
WHAT IF I WANT TO DONATE STUFF FOR PRIZES? OR I WANT TO SPONSOR A WRITER?
We’re always looking for more contributors. If you’re an author, agent, or editor, contact us or use this handy form. Contributions can be pretty much anything—bookmarks, signed books or signed series, critiques of pages or query letters, one-on-one skype chats, a silly video, an interview, deleted scenes from earlier books—the sky is the limit, and there’s nothing too big or too small. Let us know!
WHAT ABOUT THE COMMUNITY STUFF — WHERE IS THAT?
After you sign up, you’ll get an email with a link to our discord server! We’ve got lots of community activities planned there, but joining is totally optional. It’s also a great place to get advice for fundraising or prompts for writing if you’re feeling stuck with either.
If you don’t join the server, be sure to check out our Sprint Schedule (coming soon!) to write with fellow Mighty Pens! Or set up your own sprints with #TheMightyPens hashtag!
Finally, keep your eye on the News & Updates page for the latest happenings.
About Kat Brauer
Kat loves writing (and reading omg) futuristic and fantasy YA…but Life has gotten in the way of her muse for awhile. Kat also loves contributing to worthy causes — she was the founder of Crits for Water, a hugely successful initiative merging charity and critiques.
Once more, Kat is combining her two loves. In 2012, her sister suffered major complications in the weeks following her c-section. Initially, doctors trivialized her concerns and misdiagnosed the problem. Her sister might have easily died did she not have the resources and knowledge to fight the system. Maternal health affects everyone, even those of us who aren’t mothers! Kat is excited to reignite her creativity while improving maternal health worldwide.
About Susan Dennard
Sooz is a New York Times bestselling author of a lot of novels and a few short stories in there too.
In June of 2020, she gave birth to her first child after 7 years of infertility treatment. It did not go as planned. She suffered a rare complication that caused her to bleed out 2/3 of her body’s blood in 20 minutes. She is only alive today because she happened to be at a hospital with experts trained for just such an emergency. Many women are not so lucky, and so she feels strongly about supporting Every Mother Counts.
Sooz has run lots of charitable causes over the years (YA Gives Back Tour, YA Runs a 5K, etc.), so when Kat mentioned her idea for The Mighty Pens, she was ALL IN.
About Our Volunteers
Abigail lives in Seattle, WA, but she gave up coding for writing. She drinks too much tea, goes all-in on Halloween costumes, and actively follows football (the American kind). If she could be anywhere right now, she’d be on a beach holding a drink with a little umbrella in it.
Kim is an engineer, maker, and avid reader. Whether it’s constructing go-karts or putting ideas to the page, she’s always building towards a goal. She’s here to cheer everyone to their own definition of success. Having her own complications during childbirth, Every Mother Counts’ work towards improving access to maternal care is a cause close to her heart.
Casey is the Head of Youth Services and Young Adult Librarian at a library just north of Boston, MA. She lives even further north in MA with her two best friends, a dog, and a bird. She’s been doing NaNo every year since 2003, had been an ML twice, and helped on the old forums moderating for years, so Mighty Pens seemed like a great new NaNo challenge. In her spare time (when not working or trying to write), she loves to do puzzles and crafts, GM D&D, be outdoors, and geek out about Star Wars and other things.
Hanna is a 23 year old literature and language student from Finland. She writes everything from poetry to novels, but currently that’s mostly writing academia for her master’s degree in teaching and comparative literature. This is her third year with the Mighty Pens. Apart from writing, she loves hiking, drawing, reading and music, among other things.
Sarah Elise Williams
Sarah Elise Williams is a writer and cognitive researcher with an emphasis on conscious and unconscious decision-making, which she hopes will one day explain why she owns so many books she hasn’t read yet. Also found in her library are two cats named after musicals and a plush platypus named – Platypus. Sarah writes YA fantasy and will eventually learn how to plot instead of pantsing.
Zara Hoffman is a self-published author of YA paranormal romance and is always writing another story. She is currently in NYU’s MS in Publishing program and has a YouTube channel where she hosts sprints every Sunday morning from 9 am-11 am EST/EDT. Her love of musical theater and her dog often make appearances on there.
Breanna is an aspiring author and translator from Southern Indiana. She recently graduated with her English BA and presented at John Hopkins University about short story cycles. For years, she had abandoned her true self for more realistic goals; however, she decided to finally pursue her dreams. Now she spends her time writing short stories, applying to MFA programs, and improving Japanese language skills.
Megan works in marketing, but would much rather be reading or writing. She guzzles YA lit like it’s her job—because it kind of is! Check back in a few years and maybe her fantasy novels will be up on those shelves, too. Megan also spends way too much time browsing bookstagram and Pinterest, getting distracted by her cat Toulouse, and dreaming of hopping on a plane and never coming back.
Chloe is freshman studying Graphic Design at Wichita State University. She was design editor for her high school’s yearbook staff and also enjoyed writing student features for the yearbook. As a volunteer for the Mighty Pens, Chloe is excited to combine her interests of design and writing. In her free time, she likes reading, playing the flute, and spending time with her dogs.