It’s October which means it’s the perfect time of the year for pumpkin spiced drinks, busting ghosts, asking strangers for candy, and prepping for NaNoWriMo.
Yep, that’s right, it’s time for NaNoWriMo, which is short for National Novel Writing Month. Starting at 12:01 AM on November 1st, as you’re coming down your Halloween candy sugar high, you begin trying to write a 50,000 novel and have it finished by 11:59 PM on November 30th. Should you do so, you get a nice certificate showing that you managed to write a novel in a single month, discounts and goodies for being a winner, and the satisfaction that you finally wrote that novel you always said you would.
The rules are simple.
All 50,000 must be written between 12:00 AM on November 1st and end by 11:59 PM on November 30th. The 50,000 words can either be a complete novel, or part of one. You are allowed to plan and complete outlines for your novel, but anything written prior to November 1st, cannot be included in your final word count. The novel can be in any genre, any format, typed or written by hand.
For more details, I highly suggest checking out the FAQ page on the NaNo website.
So why should you participate in NaNo?
If you’ve ever had an idea floating around in your head that you thought, that’d make a great story, NaNo is for you. Or if you love reading and have always wanted to write a story of you’re own, NaNo is for you. Or if you’ve had a project going on for years that you just don’t seem to have the time to finish, NaNo is for you.
Writing 50,000 words in a single month (1,667 words a day) may seem intimidating, but NaNo is the perfect time to try because you’re not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of other writers all trying to write a novel too, and who are more than happy to offer words of encouragement to keep you going. The forums are a great place to meet writing buddies, get writing advice, or find answers to whatever random plot question pops into your head.
Even if you think your idea for a novel isn’t great, or your writing is the worst thing ever, I still highly recommend giving NaNo a try. My first NaNo I limped to the finish line, and the novel I wrote is nowhere close to my best; I doubt I’ll ever show it to anyone else. But it was a learning experience I don’t regret. My past few attempts at NaNo have gone better each time. Last year I managed to write 100,000 words of a novel that I actually hope to publish someday.
Now if you’re reading this and it’s not anywhere close to November, NaNo also has Camp NaNo in April and July. Camp NaNo is similar to regular NaNo but you can choose your own word count goal, and you’ll be put into cabins with other writers.
Also, NaNo is completely free. That’s right, free. All you have to do is a create an account on the NaNoWriMo website, update your word count throughout the month, and validate it at the end of the month. The only thing it’ll cost you is time and energy while writing your novel.
For the rest of the month I plan on posting two other posts revolving around NaNo— how to choose a plot, and tips and tricks to help you reach 50,000 words and beyond.
Thanks for reading and hope to see you writing in November,
—Kay S. Beckett