“325,142 participants started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.” – NaNoWriMo website


It’s almost November, and that means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), when writers around the world work towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30. It’s not a contest, but an Internet-based community and support for anyone who has dreamt of writing a book and decided now is the time. The only thing you “win” is the satisfaction of having completed a goal.

NaNoWriMo was created in 1999 and each year the number of participants increases, with 325,142 would-be novelists participating in 2014. This year, I join them.

I’m doing it on my own terms, however. Rather than write a completely new novel, I will be adding 50,000 new words to my existing project, a novel-in-progress. At the end of November, my project will total almost 90,000 words, making it a nearly complete draft. During November, I will write every day, with a daily writing goal of 1700 words. Beginning December 1, I begin the detailed work of revision.

According to NaNoWriMo’s website, 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published (not self-published). These include: Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstem’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowells’ Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cider. While publishing success is my ultimate goal, the more immediate reward is best captured in the statement of Grant Faulkner, Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month: “National Novel Writing month is a wonderful opportunity for people to dive into their imaginations and do one of the most crucial things in life: create.”

Anyone else participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, let’s support one another during the month and toast our success on December 1!


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