Do you have a story stirring in you? Have you ever had the fleeting thought of writing a novel of your own? Or, have you just simply dismissed this as impossible, due to time and lack of support? Then, perhaps, NaNoWriMo is just what you need.
What is NaNoWriMo? Well, the month of November is National Novel Writing Month (or, NaNoWriMo). And, simply put, it's about writing 50,000 words of fiction in just 30 days. I know it sounds daunting, but each and every year since 1999 the month of November has steadily gathered larger numbers of people the world over who attempt this lofty goal. And it's a novel idea (pun intended)...and why I try to help promote it every year.
The real beauty of NaNoWriMo is the amount of support available to those who take this challenge. Without it, many might never realize their dreams, and there have been hundreds of traditionally published works to come out of NaNoWriMo, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.
NaNoWriMo has also been greatly influential as an educational tool. It officially became a nonprofit organization in 2006, and their programs fully support writing fluency and education. And the NaNoWriMo website serves as a great social network, offering author profiles, personal project libraries, and even writing buddies you can pair up with. NaNoWriMo tracks words for it's writers so you always know where you're at in your jouney. Also, there are plenty of real-world writing events that are hosted in cities all over the world, with the help of volunteers in thousands of partnering libraries and community centers. I've had the opportunity to attend a few of these events, and the atmosphere and comraderie is incredible.
Here are some quick stats from NaNoWriMo 2020:
• 552,335 writers participated in our programs, including 97,439 students and educators in the Young Writers Program.
• 906 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 671 regions on six continents.
• 448 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
• 71,832 Campers tackled a writing project—novel or not—at Camp NaNoWriMo.
So, how does it all work, exactly?
Well, first you go to the NaNoWriMo website, sign up and complete your profile. There you can include, if you wish, all the info on the novel you are attempting, like genre, a working title, synopsis, etc. Throughout November you will be able to keep track of your current word count and measure how you're doing on your profile page.
Next, by selecting your region, you will get updates on local support events taking place near you. There are volunteer Municipal Liaisons that will organize these events, being perhaps a kick-off party, write-ins at local libraries, etc. It's good fun to meet up with others likely just as insane taking this challenge.
On November 1st you start your writing journey. And over the course of the month, you have access to forums with other participants worldwide that are there to help out with advice and camaraderie. You will also be treated with inspirational pep talks delivered to you from published authors to help keep your momentum. You can read the pep talks from authors featured in past years here.
Then, beginning November 20th, if you have reached the 50,000-word goal, you can submit your novel text to claim your win. Novels are verified for word count through auto-verification software and none of your text is actually saved on the website.
There are no official prizes awarded for reaching the 50,000-word goal, but you do get a printable certificate and a darn good dose of self-accomplishment.
It is still a lofty goal, and there will undoubtedly be much more work ahead for you if you do reach that 50,000 word milestone in the month of November. But, there is plenty of help to be found with fellow writers around the globe. The first step awaits you at the NaNoWriMo website, where you can create your profile, get in touch with writers in your local area, and get the tools and inspiration you need to push through. So, why not give it a shot?
NaNoWriMo is upon us. Are you ready?
Nick C Sorbin (Nick Charles) is a former Managing Editor of 9 years for Renderosity's CG Industry News. By day, a mild-mannered Certified Pharmacy Technician working in both home infusion and a hospital ER, contrasting creative outlets as a digital artist, sculptor, musician, singer/songwriter, and Staff Writer for Renderosity Magazine. Read his articles