NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is an event that takes place annually in november. The event has been running since 1999 and in that time the company responsible for the event, also called National Novel Writing Month, has become a nonprofit. But what exactly is NaNoWriMo and what can you get out of the event? We’ve written about this event several times, but we’ve never written a sort of primer on how to get involved, or what you need to know. If the idea of writing a novel in a month sounds like a blast, a terrifying prospect, or something you find slightly curious – Then read on, as NaNoWriMo is a beast that should be taken on by all comers!
So, let’s say you have a novel you really want to write. You’ve got an idea for the novel, but you’ve not really got the time to write anything. Your day job prevents you getting that amazing story out to everyone, which is definitely a real problem that people face. If you can imagine that you’ve got to write a masterpiece, you’re going to need to dedicate a lot of time and effort to it. You have to plan out a story, then you have to write it, then get it edited and finally published. There’s a lot of steps behind it, so how the hell do you find the time? In essence – You just have to.
NaNoWriMo offers a sort of gamified way to give you that incentive to finish writing your novel. The goal is to achieve 50,000 words, which as Joel figured in this article, equates to approximately 1,667 words per day. That sounds like a lot, but consider a few things a moment. If you’re already a blogger, or you’re looking to get into writing, then 50,000 words isn’t as crazy as you might first think. You get from November 1st to November 30th to get the full 50,000. Needless to say, you might not write every single day, but you may go for massive spats of 5,000 words in a day. If you think that’s crazy, here’s a weird fact about how the GeekOut South-West blog runs.
As many of you will be aware, we write articles daily, however I’ve mentioned in the past how I sometimes schedule articles in advance by sometimes even a whole month! This is because of my current journey to work, which is an hour on the train. Granted, not every one of you will be sat on a train for an hour – But what about a bus? Or, how about the times you sit in a pub and just drink and enjoy your evening by yourself or one or two friends? Quickly, the time adds up. On average, my articles are about 850 words; some of my reviews go as far as 1,600 words and our Top 10’s go far over 2,100 words on average easily. However, it’s fair to say I’m a fast typist – So don’t set your sights on doing things as fast as me!
The joy of the event is that it encourages you to think about what you’re going to write in advance. You can literally plan the entire month of October, hence why we’re posting this article now in September. If you’re considering taking part in NaNoWriMo, I absolutely implore you to do so – But in doing so, I’d just ask that you take my advice and plan early. Don’t think you’ll walk into November and just start writing, when magically a whole novel appears before you. It doesn’t happen like that; no one, not one person out there, has just picked up a pen and paper, or a keyboard, and made a wonderful novel. They take time; they take planning.
As a final note, I thought I’d say: Leave editing out of the equation. Get your words on paper, virtual or otherwise. Make sure your ideas are coherent and don’t just throw words at a page to see what sticks. Seriously plan out your story, but don’t worry if your spelling isn’t yet 100% perfect; nor if your grammar is spot on. You’re a budding writer, so focus on your writing before you shift your sights on the presentation.
If you think you want to conquer the challenge of NaNoWriMo, writing 50,000 words in 30 days and getting badges and rewards along the way, go check out the official NaNoWriMo website and have a look. The resources are hugely helpful; as are other authors taking the challenge. If you hit a snag, don’t worry! This happens! This happens a lot. Check out the hashtag #amwriting during November! The most important thing you can do in NaNoWriMo is to keep on going – And if something doesn’t read right, then sleep on it. As always, we’re going to either take part, or we’re going to at least give people updates about the event as a whole, so stay tuned. In the mean time however, what will you be doing? Have you heard of NaNoWriMo before, either via this website or another? Do you think this is the type of event you could sit down and do? As always, share your thoughts below, or over on Facebook or Twitter.