Not sure what to do with yourself now that fall is starting to come to an end? Want to try something new that's a challenge but still fun? Ever wanted to write a novel? Look no further than NaNoWriMo!
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is exactly what it sounds like. Each November, hundreds of thousands of participants sign up for the challenge of writing a novel in just 30 days. Starting on November 1st, your goal is to write and submit a 50,000 word novel before 11:59 PM on November 30th. NaNoWriMo gives you the excuse to finally write that novel you've always dreamed of writing!
One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is that you can choose to write absolutely anything you want with no restrictions. When you set up your novel on the website, they give you a suggested list of novel genres to choose from. This list includes "Adventure", "Fantasy", "Horror/Supernatural", "Romance", "Science Fiction", and many more. The list even includes the category of "Fanfiction". If your novel doesn't seem to fit any of the suggested categories, there is an option for "Other" as well.
Seem easy? Believe me, it's not. I've personally participated in NaNoWriMo for the past three years. My friends introduced it to me when I was a junior in high school, and we would have writing sessions after school. Of these three times I have participated, I only won once (anyone who completes their novel within the month is considered a winner!). I did not realize the amount of commitment it takes to do this. In order to reach the goal of 50,000 words by the end of the month, you have to write an average of 1,667 words per day. You are encouraged to write every day so you can get into the flow of writing your novel, but it is possible to miss a day and make up for it elsewhere. In my past attempts at NaNoWriMo, I've had to choose to stop due to other commitments, but when you really get into the habit of writing every day it really feels great. NaNoWriMo really is a challenge, but it's quite rewarding if you can really commit to it.
Still not sure if you should try out NaNoWriMo? Do you think you're not good enough of a writer to participate? Well that's probably the best part of it all- you don't need to be a good writer to do this. That's not the point of NaNoWriMo. While many professionally published novels have been originally written as a NaNoWriMo novels, this is for everyone to participate in-not just experienced writers. The challenge of NaNoWriMo is to continually write nearly every day for a month straight, not to write the Great American Novel.
Another really great thing about NaNoWriMo is what happens if and when you win. Firstly, you get the satisfaction of knowing that you were capable of completing a difficult challenge. Besides that, you also win a free printed copy of your novel from FastPencil and 70% off of all publishing packages from there. There are many other great prizes that allow you to do more great things such as create and distribute your novel as an ebook and access to more writing software (full list of prizes can be viewed here). NaNoWriMo also has what they call the "Now What?" months, where you are able to revise your novel throughout January and February. This is what you can do if you're not quite done with your novel.
Though NaNoWriMo has already started for the year, it's still not too late to join. If you have an idea, just get started writing and let it flow from there. If you'd rather not participate just yet, but you would like to in the future, the people behind NaNoWriMo also host another similar event called Camp NaNoWriMo. Camp NaNoWriMo runs in both April and July, and works just the same as NaNoWriMo. Camp NaNoWriMo, however, accepts any word count from 10,000 to 1,000,000- and you do not have to write specifically a novel. Many participants of Camp NaNoWriMo choose to write poetry, scripts, collections of short stories, and even nonfiction. If you're interested in learning even more about NaNoWriMo, I suggest watching Kristina Horner's collection of videos about it; she's participated in NaNoWriMo for many years and knows everything there is to know about it. So, if you're not quite ready to jump into NaNoWriMo right now, there are plenty of upcoming opportunities for you to become the author you've always wanted to be. If you do choose to participate, happy writing!