Grant Faulkner

• Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month

• Co-founder of 100 Word Story

• Author of 'Pep Talks for Writers' & 'Brave the Page'

Grant Faulkner ( galvanizes thousands of people's creativity each year. He is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), the world's largest fiction writing event, and the co-founder of 100 Word Story. He has published two books on writing, Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo, and Brave the Page.

He's spoken at events around the world, including the Frankfurt Book Fair, the Aspen Institute, Book Expo America, the Chicago Humanities Festival, and the Digital Publishing Innovation Summit. His essays on creativity have been published in The New York Times, Poets & Writers, and Writer’s Digest, and he's been profiled on NPR and in the San Francisco Chronicle, among others. He serves on the National Writing Project’s Writer’s Council, Lit Camp’s Advisory Council, and Aspen Words’ Creative Council.

He’s published a collection of 100-word stories, Fissures, and Nothing Short of 100: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story. His stories have appeared in dozens of literary magazines, and he has been anthologized widely. His collection of short stories, All the Comfort Sin Could Provide, is forthcoming in 2021.

For more, go to, follow him on Twitter @grantfaulkner, or listen to his podcast, Write-minded.

Speech topics

Overcome Your Creative Demons and Achieve Your Goals

So many things conspire to keep you from achieving your creative goals. Self-doubt, lack of discipline, time management, writer’s block, creative solitude, fear of rejection, procrastination … the list goes on and on.

But just because you’ve been struggling with one or more of these challenges doesn’t mean you have to abandon your creativity. Grant Faulkner, executive director of National Novel Writing Month and author of “Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo,” will show you ways to banish your inner editor, dive into your work with creative abandon, and develop your creative self-confidence.

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Take creative risks.

  • Create what you love, not what you should.

  • Find and nourish your muse.

  • Use the power of a creative midwife: set an audacious goal and a deadline.

  • Be accountable by tracking your daily progress.

  • Use games and challenges to overcome creative blocks.

  • Deal with feedback and rejection.

Everyone participates and explores their creative selves so that they can return to the office invigorated by their creative drive and moxie.

Less Is More: Cutting through the Clutter of a Crowded World

According to a study by Microsoft, the average human being now has an attention span of eight seconds. This is a sharp decrease from the average attention span of 12 seconds in the year 2000.

Brevity is more important than ever, whether you're writing an email or explaining a new product or service, whether you're the CEO or an administrative assistant. Short-form storytelling expert Grant Faulkner will train your group in the power of creative constraint through a tool that they can apply to their work in countless ways: the 100-word story.

Grant has been a pioneer in the art of short, sharp storytelling, and in this session he uses interactive exercises to help employees clarify their personal and professional brands, mottoes, and missions—to improve internal communication and enhance external marketing. Grant’s inspirational talk will help attendees figure out just who they want to be as individuals and as an organization as a whole while having fun writing simple stories to forge better connections with teammates and customers.

Rejection's Gift: Getting Turned Down Can Be One of Your Most Important Creative Tools

Many of the people we most revere were nearly shut down by rejection. Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star because his editor said he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Oprah Winfrey lost her job as a newscaster because she couldn’t sever her emotions from her stories. After a performance at Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Elvis was told by the concert hall manager that he was better off returning to Memphis and driving trucks (his former career).

While most of us don't go on to become an Elvis, we all face a minefield of possible rejections in our daily lives, whether it's an idea that gets shot down in a meeting or an idea that goes unexpressed because of our own self-rejection.

Based on his upcoming book, Rejection's Gift, Grant will discuss how our most admired creators and innovators faced rejection and creative crisis, yet continued to believe in the value of their work and kept trying. He'll show how a person's rejection journey can be an essential creative tool, whether it's by doubling down and being even more bold or simply mustering the resilience and belief in oneself to keep going, a la Sylvia Plath's statement, “I love my rejection slips. They show me I try.”

Grant weaves in psychological research about how rejection affects our brains—how it can resemble physical pain, lower self-esteem, and spark aggression. But in the end, rejection is at the heart of becoming and the way we deal with rejection shapes who we are as individuals and teammates. The more your team develops a "rejection mindset," the more innovative your team will be.

We Are Our Stories: Building Team Culture Through Creative Exploration and Collaboration

Many people say they're not a "creative type," but the definition of being human is to be a creator. We are makers by design, and the way we make meaning in the world is through the stories we tell.

Companies large and small have tapped into the power of storytelling and deepened teams' connections by inviting Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of National Novel Writing month (aka NaNoWriMo), to lead employees through a fun, engaging, interactive presentation that ignites people's powers of creativity.

After sharing the background on NaNoWriMo and the reasons why it is so creatively successful, Faulkner leads the audience through personal creative exercises and games. Everyone participates, explores different creative processes, gains a better understanding of the collective strength of their team, and leaves armed with ways to keep building team culture when they return to the office. This session will definitely lead to a lift in creativity, commitment, and collaboration.


Brave the Page: A Young Writer's Guide to Telling Epic Stories

The official NaNoWriMo handbook that inspires young people to tackle audacious goals and complete their creative projects.

Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo

Every writer knows that as rewarding as the creative process is, it can often be a bumpy road. Have hope and keep at it! Designed to kick-start creativity, this handbook from the executive director of National Novel Writing Month gathers a wide range of insights and advice for writers at any stage of their career.

Nothing Short Of: Selected Tales from 100 Word Story

Gems, shards, bon bons, quickies, nuggets, tickles, or even pinpricks. Each 100 Word Story is its own kind of special. NOTHING SHORT OF presents the best of, the leader in short-short fiction and a popular go-to for great reading.

Fissures: One Hundred 100-Word Stories

In Fissures, a collection of one hundred 100-word stories, Grant Faulkner uses the hard borders of the 100-word story form to evocatively capture the drama of the lacunae we live in, whether it's the gulf between a loved one, the natural world, or God.


Write-minded: Weekly Inspiration for Writers is for writers craving a unique blend of inspiration and real talk about the ups and downs of the writing life. Hosted by Brooke Warner of She Writes and Grant Faulkner of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), each theme-focused episode of Write-minded features a pep talk, a green-light moment, and a writing action. Brooke and Grant interview writers, authors, and publishing industry folks, and bring to this weekly podcast their shared spirit of community, collaboration, and a deeply held belief that everyone is a writer, and everyone’s story matters.

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