Today, November 1, is the official launch date of the National Novel Writing Month, affectionately known as NaNoWriMo. The concept is amazingly simple and yet, for some people, awesomely powerful: During the 30 days of November, you commit to writing a full novel. That’s right: You officially begin on November 1 at midnight with the goal of completing 50,000 words by 11:59 on November 30. If you stick with it, by the end of the month, you will have a full draft in hand.
Sound challenging? Yes, it won’t be easy! But is it an impossible dream? No! National Novel Writing Month was established in 1999 to help both writers and aspiring writers get their stories out of their head and onto the page by kick starting them with a deadline and ongoing support. This year, the nonprofit’s organizers expect half a million writers to start their engines and cruise through the month, hopefully with 50,000 words in tow.
Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have made it big and been traditionally published, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. Who knows? The next big success might be yours!
If the idea sounds appealing, then check out NaNoWriMo.com and consider signing up. Once you do, you’ll receive information on local in-person events near you that will help keep you pumped and on track. You can fill out a profile, join a forum, and hook up with writing buddies. At midnight, November 1 (the official launch time), you’ll start writing your draft using pen and paper, a computer, an iPad — whatever approach works for you. You can keep a daily word count or update it weekly — whatever floats your boat.
As a NaNoWriMo participant, you’ll receive pep talks to help you stay motivated (they’ll be sent to your on-site inbox and your email). You can also connect with other NaNo writers via Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Starting on November 25, you can submit your novel to NaNo. If it’s over 50,000 words, you can simply paste the text into the word-count validator and voila! You’ll be declared an official winner and you’ll collect some exciting “novelist goodies.” If you have a great story to tell but have been dragging your feet, why not jump on board? Write on!