Every year as trick-or-treaters trail home on Halloween to tally their loot, writers around the world flex their fingers in readiness for National Novel Writing Month, better known as NaNoWriMo, that begins on November 1st.
This is the month when aspiring novelists churn out thousands of words a day with the goal of creating the rough draft of a 50,000-word novel.
National Novel Writing Month was started in July 1999 in San Francisco by Chris Baty and 20 of his friends. Although it began as a half-literary fest and half-block party, it has grown into a worldwide explosion of the imagination among 300,000+ aspiring novelists.
It is now even a 501(3)(c) nonprofit providing programs such as the Young Writers Program and Camp NaNoWriMo, that empower and encourage vibrant creativity around the world. If you've been longing to write a novel or struggling to finish one, here are some very good reasons to join your fellow novelists during NaNoWriMo.
Here's your chance to push yourself to turn out that rough draft that every writer must create. At the end of November, you will have a product that will definitely need to be edited and polished before it's ready for publication, maybe for months later. But won't it be great to have it done in a month instead of dragging on for years? Your one-month novel will likely be bad, Actually really, really horrible. But no one will ever need to see your rough draft. Let me repeat that.
What is important is that you will discover that you can create something that is the same length as a good novel. Maybe, with attention to the elements of novel writing, you COULD turn a feeble attempt into a publishable novel with professional editing and polishing. Listen to Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo, share the history and give tips.
2. Follow up with a workbook Chris co-authored, Ready, Set, Novel! A Workbook
3. Keep up with the NaNoWriMo excitement on Twitter. https://twitter.com/NaNoWriMo
4. Check out the calendar at http://nanowrimo.org/calendar for this and other exciting events, even virtual write-ins.
5. Join on Facebook and learn about ways to get ready at https://www.facebook.com/nanowrimo.
6. Although you may certainly write alone, many NaNoWriMo writers gather in coffee shops, libraries and other public places to work on their novels and encourage each other toward their 50,000-word goal.
7.There are volunteer Municipal Liaisons guiding in regions on all the continents. Once you join, locate your region to see a listing of meeting places and times. Attend the ones that are convenient for you.
8. In addition to the typical coffee shop meet-ins, my local NaNoWriMo groups have met on a train, at Disney's Grand Californian Hotel and even IKEA. Then there was our write-a-thon, Night of Writing Dangerously in SanFrancisco. Check the Forums or Calendar to see where the events are near you this year.
9. Get loads of other tips and strategies in the http://nanowrimo.org/forums
10.Be inspired by pep talk letters from well-known authors at https://nanowrimo.org/pep-talks
11. Find out ways to prepare at https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep-101
The volunteer liaisons are wonderfully creative and energetic as they plan events to make it fun to join in. Some have themed dress-ups days and offer prizes.
They encourage writings year-round. Learn about their many other programs at https://www.youtube.com/user/lettersandlightvideo
Yes! Over 500+ NaNoWriMo participants have published their books. Here are two you may recognize. Hugh Howey, author of Wool and Sara Gruen, author of the historical novel Water for Elephants wrote their first drafts at NaNoWriMo. Discover what other published books were started or completed during NaNoWriMo at https://youtu.be/Pn6VlzWtLR8
Disciplined writers already know they must turn out a certain number of words per day. They do it by making a commitment and fitting it into their daily lives. You can do this too. There is no pressure. You may track your word count on the NaNoWriMo site, but it's on the honor system. Even if you don't make the 50,000-word finish line, you will be happy to enjoy whatever progress you make. Just participating is an achievement. If you're ready, learn more and then register, go to https://www.nanowrimo.org/
Then search on YouTube to find a virtual write-in to help you get started. Here's a video about getting organized to increase your chance of reaching your 50,000 word goal.
Remember, in this challenge everyone who finishes 50,000 words is a winner. Quantity, not quality is what counts because this is your rough draft.
Tell me in the comments the book idea you plan to work on.