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Gah. When I was perusing the National Novel Writing Month website last night after I posted, I discovered that their donation-funded annual budget is around $200K. They post enough information to know that most of this goes to salaries for a staff, including a full-time managing editor.

IMHO, $200K is a ridiculous budget for this organization. All they are, at the end of the day, is a website. (Maybe they provide some expensive service I've missed. But I looked pretty hard.)

Yes, the idea of National Novel Writing Month is cool. But let's put this in perspective…

I am currently privileged to be Secretary of the X.Org Foundation. Our current total cash reserve is about $200K. We will spend something like $60K this year on our activities. This budget includes running two technical conferences with free admission, flying dozens of people to said conferences, purchasing a membership in VESA, funding three students to work for the Summer in our Vacation of Code program, and probably some other stuff I'm forgetting. We currently have no paid staff, but for the work we're doing we don't need it. All we do is host some conferences, coordinate some volunteers, and run a website.

I am also currently a Principal Investigator on a grant from the National Institutes of Justice. (Indeed, I am sitting in Washington DC as I type this; a meeting with our funders starts in a couple of hours.) In this grant, a team of three PIs and currently about 3 students are integrating speech recognition and generation software with police in-car computers, and constructing and programming software-defined radios for voice command and communications, all using open technologies. Our three-year annual budget is something like $150K per year.

Let us not even start with the Portland State Aerospace Society, for which I'm the Faculty Advisor. A team of up to 20 students has been working for 9 years constructing perhaps the world's most advanced amateur sounding rocket avionics, and the medium-altitude amateur sounding rockets to go with them. All open tech. Our total budget for this 9 year period, while hard to estimate, has certainly been less than $100K.


So, in good conscience, I'm going to have to give the "official" National Novel Writing Month a pass. Maybe I'll still write a 50K-word novel in a month. Somehow, though, I think I can live without the Certificate and the Web Icon. Fob



I agree, you can live without the certificate and the icon. But I still think its good to write Smile Paul McKenney shared a great story with me recently about some of his writing experiences. Writing well is an art and learning how to communicate to different audiences Smile