THE BLOG
11/02/2012 11:43 am ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

November Is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month

November is NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month. The term NaNoWriMo is something that most aspiring authors are familiar with and something that most of them have attempted at least once.

Since 1999, the NaNoWriMo contest has grown exponentially in popularity each year. For example, during the contest's third year, things really exploded. That year roughly 120 participants were expected; however, 5,000 hopefuls showed up!

One of the coolest nuances since NaNoWriMo's humble beginnings are the hundreds of NaNoWriMo meet-up groups that have cropped up worldwide.

NaNoWriMo was officially kicked off in 1999 by Chris Baty. By having aspiring novelists work on their novels as a group (with a deadline imposed), Baty theorized a sense of camaraderie would prevail, hence manuscripts would be completed. Working together would not only improve the writers' efficiency as a whole, but their motivation, too, as it is common knowledge that procrastination is a prevalent trait amongst scribes everywhere. Baty, a seasoned writer and procrastinator, figured that by posing a deadline participants would have a better chance at completing their novels.

But what exactly is NaNoWriMo? Still wondering?

With thousands of participants (200,000 and counting this year alone), NaNoWriMo is never dull. Most people have a book in mind that they "plan on writing one day." That is the beauty of NaNoWriMo and part of its purpose! It's a high-low-pressure way for people to write that book they've always wanted to write. High pressure because there is a deadline that keeps participants in check, and low pressure because they are doing NaNoWriMo for fun!

The rules are simple:

"On November 1st, begin writing your novel. Your goal is to write a 50,000-word novel by midnight, local time, on November 30th. You write on your own computer, using whatever software you prefer."

That's roughly 1,700 words a day (approximately 7 pages double-spaced).

"Competing in NaNoWriMo is really exciting, and making the word quota is not that bad," says one seasoned NaNoWriMo veteran.

When asked if he has ever successfully completed the challenge, "Well, that's another story," he says with a laugh.

Winning NaNoWriMo is simple too!

If you write 50,000 words of fiction by midnight, local time, November 30th, you can upload your novel for official verification, and be added to our hallowed Winner's Page and receive a handsome winner's certificate and web badge. We'll post step-by-step instructions on how to scramble and upload your novel starting in mid-November.

Winning the contest is easy -- that is, if you consider writing 50,000 cohesive words in 30 days to be an easy task...

Not everyone makes it to the 50,000 word finish line, but anyone who attempts the NaNoWriMo challenge is sure to get some good material:

I

t was my first year at the University of Arizona, and my first try at NaNoWriMo. For my novel, I pretty much transcribed an extremely thinly veiled autobiography about trying to keep up with the shopping habits of my roommate, a Kuwaiti princess. As a middle class girl from The Valley, keeping up with her shopping habits was a nearly impossible task (kind of like my decision to scrap this manuscript around the 7,000 word mark).

Even though this chica didn't complete the NaNoWriMo, what she did write sure sounds interesting!

What do you think? Will you join in on NaNoWriMo this year? Or are you participating in NaNoWriMo as a returning champion? Please leave your answers in the comment section below!

For more information about NaNoWriMo meet-up groups in your area click here.

To register for the official contest go to the National Novel Writing Month's Official Website or click here.

(And if you want to connect with me on the site, I am registered under HRH1.)

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