National Novel Writing Month: An exciting challenge for novelists


November, for most, is simply the month that comes between Halloween and Christmas. It’s Black Friday for the cross-border shoppers and when the crows finally decide to fly away, making mornings a little more quiet.

Much less known, however, is that November is National Novel Writing Month — NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo is a worldwide not-for-profit that works to provide a platform for creativity. The project, admittedly ambitious, is a sure-fire way to challenge yourself and push your creativity and time-management skills as far as you can.

The goal is to write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November. For those of you who enjoy math, that’s roughly 1,667 words a day. That’s more than the average first-year paper every day for a month.

If you manage to meet this challenge, you receive various “winner’s perks,” which have included (in years passed) several discounted subscriptions to writing programs and a hardcover version of your novel, among other writing-related prizes.

Of course, every winner receives unlimited bragging rights. Writing a novel also doesn’t look too shabby on your resume. If you’re in for more of a physical reward, you also get a swanky certificate proving your accomplishment. I also bought a winner’s shirt in 2013 to show off my newly written novel and support the charity that NaNoWriMo is.

This will be my sixth year participating in NaNoWriMo and though I’ve already fallen behind in my word count, I know I can make it up if I just sit down for a few hours and focus.

Winning NaNoWriMo all comes down to your style. Some people prefer to write in blocks of words all at once and others prefer to do an even number every day. Some authors find it more effective to plan their novels before November and others choose to wing it.

It all comes down to your style and how you work best.

If I’ve learned anything about the program, it’s that you have to be passionate to win. This isn’t an assignment you can do the night before it’s due.

If you want to succeed, the project becomes your child. When you treat it with care, it will infinitely reward you. You obsess over it to the point where all of your friends probably want to stop hearing about your fictional world.

If you’re into creative writing, I’d highly recommend NaNoWriMo. It’s a great gateway into novel writing because you’re accountable for what you get done and you get to pick your own topics and genres.

Nothing has taught me how to write under a deadline quite like NaNoWriMo has.

Whether you want to be the next Charles Dickens or you’re writing Harry Potter fanfiction, the world needs your story.

This could be your opportunity to tell it.

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