If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but lack accountability and motivation, participating in the National Novel Writing Month can give you that extra push you desperately need. Here’s everything you need about this most anticipated writing event. And, yes, it’s open for everyone!
What Is National Novel Writing Month?
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is the ultimate challenge for writers! For the entire month of November, you will have one goal to complete: to write a novel that is at least 50,000 words.
When Is National Novel Writing Month?
National Novel Writing Month happens in November every year. This intense November-only event has been around for over a decade. Thousand upon thousands of aspiring writers have done it, and you can also join and put your writing skills to the test.
NaNoWrimo Rules You Need to Know
There are essential NaNoWriMo rules for participating in National Novel Writing Month, but they’re pretty simple to follow.
- You have to commit to writing at least 1,667 words per day.
- You can’t do any of the following: write out of order, revise your novel before November 30th, or start a new work of fiction.
- On November 30th, you are allowed to revise what you’ve written so far, but not more than 10% of your total word count for the month.
How to Join NaNoWrimo
If you’re a fiction writer, it is a fantastic way to motivate yourself throughout November. The following steps will help you get started:
- Sign up for free at nanowrimo.org. You don’t need to enter any personal info or even set up an account to participate in Novel Writing Month! Also, don’t worry about word counts or any of that yet. You’ll get a daily e-mail from them with your task for the day, but you can always do more if you’re inspired.
- Start planning your novel! It’s easier to start drafting out a novel before November than it is to plan and prewrite an entire story over the next month. You can use mind maps, outlines, or whatever creative process works best for you.
- Write whatever comes to mind. Your first draft doesn’t need to be perfect (or even pretty); keep putting words on paper and edit as needed afterward. Remember, completing your first draft is the goal.
- Perfect your manuspcript. After November 30th, you can take a break from your novel if you need to, but consider continuing by editing and revising what you’ve written so far. You’ll have the rest of the year to work on perfecting your manuscript!
Why You Should Join NaNoWrimo
National Writing Month is an excellent opportunity to get yourself into a writing habit. You’ll have an entire month dedicated to writing, which will hopefully give you the push you need to continue making time for your creative work throughout the rest of the year. If you are under the age of 18, you can join the NaNoWriMo YWP.
The following are all great reasons to participate and win:
You’ll quickly find that writing 1,667 words per day is a lot harder than it sounds. It will give you the motivation to keep going even when you’re tired of working on your novel. You also have to write every day.
There’s something thrilling about having to write 50,000 words in 30 days. It forces you to make your story real, putting more responsibility on the characters and situations than writing for fun.
3. A Sense of Accomplishment
Many writers don’t finish their novels because they get bored or lose interest after a few chapters. If you’re able to see your novel through to the end successfully, you’ll feel a fantastic sense of accomplishment that comes from actually completing a significant project.
No matter where in the world you are, there are hundreds or thousands of other people writing along with you during National Writing Month. That means you have an instant support group to cheer for you, brainstorm with you, and share your progress on social media!
To meet the word count every day, you’ve got to get up early (or stay up late) and write. It will hold you accountable for getting your writing done, which is the first step to being a dedicated writer.
5. A Finished Manuscript
By December 1st, you’ll have an entire novel manuscript in front of you! It doesn’t matter if it’s perfect (or even good), but now you’ve got one completed work that can serve as a foundation for future projects.
6. Free Publicity
When you’re done, you can submit your work to literary agents and publishers. You’ll probably have better luck if your manuscript is polished before sending it out, but finishing the story will also make an impact on readers and critics alike.
Tips: How to Win NaNoWrimo
To finish your first draft, you’ll need a few tips and tricks up your sleeve. The following will help you finish writing a novel of at least 50,000 words in 30 days:
1. Don’t Stop
It’s easy to stop writing after a few days if you’re not feeling the process. Instead, keep writing for as long as you can (even if it’s just a single paragraph) and try to go to bed an hour earlier than usual. You can edit your draft later; for now, focus on getting words down on paper!
2. Take Breaks
Everyone needs breaks sometimes, but taking one may mean losing valuable momentum. Try counting words instead of time to make sure you’ve written 500 words before you take a break. If 500 words sound like too much, try a few pushups or jumping jacks to get your blood going.
3. Find a Community
It may be hard to find other writers in your hometown, but many people are constantly participating in it! Search for a local writing group on social media, and you’re sure to find people who will cheer you on during the challenge. The support from other people working towards their novels will help keep you motivated throughout November.
4. Set Goals
Make sure you’re tracking your progress so you can look back on what you’ve done. Just knowing that you have 50,000 words to go before the end should be enough motivation for you to keep writing! Before November starts, make sure you set both personal and word goals for yourself.
5. Have Fun
It’s okay to be a little stressed or nervous when you’re participating, but don’t let the challenge get you down. If you need a break, take one! If you want to rewrite a chapter because it doesn’t sound quite right, go ahead and do so. With every word written in November, you’ll be that much closer to finishing your novel!
Are You Going to Join?
National Novel Writing Month is a fantastic way to work on your craft and complete a story you’ll be proud of. Just remember that it’s okay not to follow all the “rules.” Remember, finishing your first draft within November is what’s most important! Get started here.