National Novel Writing Month
by Tif Sweeney
Did you know that November is National Novel Writing Month (also known as NaNoWriMo)? People all over the world begin writing a novel on November 1 with the intent of getting 50,000 words on paper by midnight on November 30. Aspiring authors receive encouragement from both the online community and for some, in person via writing support groups: sharing successes, discussing struggles, tracking word counts, and pushing each other to keep on writing. After all, the purpose is not to write a book that will instantly be published; it is simply to reach that quantity of 50,000 words. The idea is that the quality will come later through the editing process.
NaNoWriMo began in 1999 in the San Francisco Bay Area with a mere 21 individuals banding together. During its second year, the number grew to 140 participants and expanded around the world. Today, the number has grown exponentially to hundreds of thousands, boasting the beginnings of such recent bestsellers as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern as well as Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. (For more published works with a NaNo origin, visit the Published WriMos webpage.)
You can even search “NaNo Near You” to find others participants near you, including right here in our very own St. Louis region. Though each region operates on its own, it is not uncommon to find local meet-ups, online encouragements from your liaisons, and so much more.
To join in on the action, simply click on over to the National Novel Writing Month homepage and sign up. From there, you can access forums based upon your age group, the region you are writing from, and the genre you are penning. You can keep track of your word count, become a Writing Buddy, and stay in the loop via your own NaNoMail. You can even find a Procrastination Station, featuring tips for your writing pleasure. However, you do not want to explore too long! You have 50,000 words to write. With 30 days, that means 1667 words per day!
For more information, you can also follow NaNoWriMo on Facebook and Twitter. The blog, The Office of Letters and Light, is also dedicated to the event, featuring daily entries on a multitude of topics, including the well known young adult author and 2011 NaNoWriMo “Agony Aunt,” Maureen Johnson.
Tell us about your NaNoWriMo experiences! Have you participated in the past or are you a newbie? What are your thoughts on writing a novel in a month?