An Introduction to NaNoWriMo

November is that magical time of the year where autumn is in full swing and No-Shave November is noticeable. Yet for those in the writing community, it's one of our favorite times since the first of November is the official kick off for National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo. It's a time that, for those who participate in it, is both exciting and exhausting.

NaNoWriMo started as an internet challenge back in 1999 and over its 17 years, it has given thousands of writers, both young and old, the kick in the pants to write consistently. The exact challenge is starting November 1; authors must start, from scratch, a draft for a book that will be finished by midnight on November 30. To win, writers must have a 50,000 or more word count by the end of the month. The purpose of the challenge is to help writers overcome writer's block and to be writing consistently every day.

Now while you won't have an edited manuscript all ready for publication come December 1, you will have a finished draft of your story which is nothing to sneeze at. Not to mention that you will have bragging rights to say you wrote your entire first draft in a month's time (no big deal, guys).

By now you're probably wondering how you can get in on the fun, because who doesn't love a good challenge? Especially one that inspires creativity and productivity. To join, simply search NaNoWriMo's website.

For those 18 and older, you can join and make an account. For those who are younger than 18, there's the Young Writer's Program, also known as the YWP, which recently saw its website be redone for this year's event. Both websites offer writing communities to join up with, whether you want your friends to get in on the fun, or if you want to meet local writing groups in your community. The website also provides a handy word count calculator that keeps your stats up to date and can even project when you should be finished depending on your daily rate.

Now, while this challenge can seem daunting, especially when it's your first year joining, this shouldn't discourage you from trying. The whole purpose is to get your creativity flowing and to help make writing a priority in your schedule if it's something important to you. While 50,000 words in one month can seem and some most days can be daunting, the daily goal breaks down to writing about 1,667 words per day to keep on track. If you win, your book has the opportunity to get published through Swoon reads and e-book platforms as well as other goodies that are listed on the website's page. A couple of success stories that have come out of the event are "Fangirl" by Rainbow Rowell and "Water for Elephants" by Sara Gruen, so why not give it a shot yourself?

To both the new and returning wrimos, good luck and happy writing!


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