November is National Novel Writing Month. It started in 1999 with a handful of writers in San Francisco and a challenge: write 50,000 words in 30 days. In fifteen years, NaNoWriMo has spread across six continents. Over 300,000 people participated last November.
Sign up is free on the nanowrimo.org website. When you participate, it includes pep talks by famous authors, the chance to meet up with fellow authors in the area, and tools to help you get organized. Not writing a novel? No problem! There is a sub-group of writers on the NaNoWriMo site called the “NaNo Rebels”. They write short stories, memoir, creative non-fiction, experimental work, basically anything but novels. NaNoWriMo is for adult participants, but a Young Writers Program is available in November for students who wish to take the challenge.
This year, In Print members Bob Francis and Mary Lamphere are the Municipal Liaisons for NaNoWriMo in the Rockford area. They are organizing “Come Write In” events where NaNoWriMo participants are welcome to write for a few hours with fellow writers. There will also be social events. The kick-off party is Sunday, October 25 and the “Thank God It’s Over” Party is December 5. Sign up on the NaNoWriMo website for more details.
50,000 words is a lot to write. Writing it in a month with holidays and school and sporting events is a challenge. However, every month has challenges when it comes to finding time to write. NaNoWriMo helps writers give their words a higher priority. 87% of students who participated said the NaNoWriMo program said it made them more confident writers. 86% of those participants asked reported they learned more about what they could accomplish if they put their minds to it. Over 250 books have been published that had their origins in National Novel Writing Month. However, even if you don’t make the 50,000 words by the end of the month, any words you write will be that many more closer to the completion of your goal.