Tag Archives: National Novel Writing Month

Why you should be participating in NaNoWriMo (if you’re not already)

November 1 marks the start of “National Novel Writing Month” a.k.a. “NaNoWriMo”. While the idea of writing an entire novel in a month seems daunting, the NaNoWriMo process is extremely fun, social, and easy.

So how does it work?

First go www.nanowrimo.org and make an account. Next create your profile and register your novel. As you write all month, log onto the website each day to log your word count. The minimum number of words you need to have a “complete novel” is 50,000. If, at the end of November you have achieved this goal, you log your final word count, paste your story onto the website so that your win can be verified and then you are eligible to receive all sorts of cool prizes including a free printed copy of your book and free e-book publishing.

Look, NaNoWriMo's logo has a viking's helmet. How could you NOT want to get involved with that coolness? Graphic from NaNoWriMo
Look, NaNoWriMo’s logo has a viking’s helmet. How could you NOT want to get involved with that coolness? Graphic from NaNoWriMo

When you create your NaNoWriMo account, you specify your exact location so that fellow participants in your area can connect with you. Each region has a leader who schedules meet and greets and writing sessions which usually take place at coffee houses or bookstores. Some of these sessions even turn into overnight lock ins, encouraging writers to collaborate and share ideas.

If you’re not into the idea of writing in public, the website also has numerous message boards so you can talk to writers from all over the world.

Even if you don’t “win” a.k.a. meet the 50,000 word minimum, the whole experience of meeting new people to bounce ideas off of is terrific. Plus, it’s a great way to get into a writing routine so that you never get too busy to write.

While NaNoWriMo is an awesome thing for all writers to take part in, it’s especially important if you’re suffering from writer’s block or feel like you’re too busy to write. The encouragement that you receive members is unparalleled. The website even e-mails inspirational quotes and messages to your WriMo inbox daily.

In addition to nurturing the novel process, NaNoWriMo also hooks you up with people who can help you find out what you want to do with your novel once it’s been completed.

So if you have an idea, but need that push, start writing today! It’s never too late to get to work.

NaNoWriMo: What is It?

National Novel Writing Month Starts in November. Graphic by Alex Morgan.

I was surprised when a professor and a friend of mine brought NaNoWriMo to my attention. As a hopeful writer and an editor, I relish the chance to get a little practice and NaNoWriMo is the perfect opportunity for anyone who enjoys writing or wants to start.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It starts on the first of November, a date that is rapidly approaching. It is a month-long frenzy of writing just to write. The basic premise is this: writers from all over the world will be writing a novel of at least 50,000 words before the end of November.

Before you say that NaNoWriMo sounds like a way to an early death, hear me out. NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing something good, or something that is ready for the world. It is simply about writing. Let’s face it: a lot of us writers procrastinate. NaNoWriMo is an excuse to sit down and write it out. If you don’t reach the goal of 50,000 words, then oh well. You’ve started a novel, and you have some extra practice under your belt. I didn’t even get 10,000 words last year.

NaNoWriMo isn’t about quality; it’s about volume. Your job is simply to crank out as much of a novel as you can. For the most part, you can write about anything. Say you’ve got a brilliant fan fiction burning a hole in your mind. Just start writing on November 1st and see how far you get. Each week you receive encouraging e-mails from various writers. I saved one from my favorite author, who happened to be one of the writers as well. This year, a few of the ‘pep-talkers’ include Lemony Snicket, Mercedes Lackey and Holly Black, among others.

If you are interested in NaNoWriMo, sign up on their website. Then, when November rolls around, you can submit your novel as you write it to the mechanical word counters. They offer a scramble feature so you can keep your novel secret if you like. Your word count total gets added to the region you are registered with to see how much each region writes.

It might seem hard, but it really is a lot of fun. As college students, of course, your exams and school work are important and should come first. But even people busy with life can give it a try. Who knows, when you’re finished, you might have a diamond in the rough, something that, with a little refinement, will one day be a published book. If you don’t finish, that’s fine too. You still have something that you can go back to, and practice, which is extremely important to all writers. Like the website says on their “How NaNoWriMo Works” page: “Win or lose, you rock for even trying.”