National Novel Writing Month is back once again, marking the 20th year since the event begun. If you’ve never heard of it, or if you’re only vaguely aware, I think it’s always worth sharing what this is at this time of year, because hey, even if you’re not ready to take the plunge yourself this year, there’s always time to get yourself ready for the next one! In today’s article, I’ll discuss a bit of the history of National Novel Writing Month, what you can do to get involved and also some tips on how to work through your writing bug, without breaking the bank balance.
A Brief History of National Novel Writing Month
Long time readers of this site will be well aware of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s abbreviated. It’s been running since 1999, starting in the San Francisco Bay Area, where it started as just 21 friends who got together with a common goal – To write a novel. The first NaNoWriMo they simply called “novelling” and this took place in July, as opposed to the annual month of November like it has been since 2000. The idea started with a bunch of friends and they were successful in making their own novels, by binge writing in such a way that it could be considered to be more of a party atmosphere than a typical writers environment.
In the 20 years since inception, NaNoWriMo has gone from strength to strength The second year is where the team had really come up with the rules and regulations for the event, along with their first website. As someone who has been running a community group and website for five years now, I understand how shocking that first “big turnout” can be (although, granted, NaNoWriMo is a much larger scale than our two locations) – And it seems like the folks over at NaNoWriMo experienced this too.
If you’re interested in a rather amusing, but admittedly very long history of NaNoWriMo, I’d seriously recommend you check out the rest on their official website.
Who Does NaNoWriMo?
- Write a novel
- At least 50,000 words
- No plagiarism
- Submit your work by the end of the deadline to be counted
Seems simple enough, though the amount of people who actually manage to get this far is quite low by contrast to those who take part. If you’re looking for a deadline and something to do, a good, solid project, then I’d highly recommend you give it a go. Even if you’ve never written a novel before, give it a go. You may be surprised to see that so many people even here in the Bristol & Bath area are taking part in the event.
How Do I Write With Little To No Money?
That’s a great question! One of the joys of writing is the relatively low startup costs by contrast to other professions. Writing requires your brain and either pen and paper, or something to type up on. Naturally, as a massive tech fan myself, I’m going to advise some of the best bits of software you can use to get yourself writing during NaNoWriMo:
- OpenOffice: This is a fantastic starting point, if you don’t own Microsoft Office. It can take a bit of time to get used to the layout, but ultimately anything Microsoft Word can do, OpenOffice can do it too.
- LibreOffice: Another good option, if you’re hugely into your open source software – If that means nothing to you, LibreOffice is free and is, similar to OpenOffice, a fantastic alternative to Micrsoft Word.
- Google Drive or Dropbox: Seriously, use either of these to save your work. Both are free, with optional storage upgrades. You get more space for free from Google Drive, however. It may be worth keeping your “writing space” separate to your main space, so perhaps a new Dropbox account could help you?
- Google Docs: The software Joel and I use almost exclusively for writing content before publishing on WordPress. This is the same with our eBook.
Whilst Joel and I will not be partaking in the event this year, we both are working on writing something big behind the scenes, in the form of our first eBook. I can confirm, we’re already past 120 pages in our eBook, with some major editing still to be done, but hey – We’re getting there! In the meantime, if you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo yourself this year, then why not share how you’re doing in the comments below? Alternatively, if you’ve never done this before, but would like to think about getting involved next year, or even as a late entrant for this month, then share your thoughts with us below, or over on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
Before you go, we’d just like to say, to everyone who is writing a novel this month – Good luck and congratulations for taking such an awesome first step!