November is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it is affectionately known by writers. It is a thirty-day challenge to write the first draft of a novel or at least 50,000 words.
The initiative was founded by Chris Baty in San Francisco in 1999. It became a nonprofit in 2005, and the current Website and format was launched in 2011.
For some creative, productive individuals, a month may be sufficient to get the initial kernel of a book on paper. For most, the time period is just the beginning. Others may use the time to continue to work on an existing project.
Some writers are “plotters”: they meticulously outline their novel thread before putting pen to paper to start their book. Others are “pantsers”: these Authors jot down their stories as the ideas come to them. I use a combination of the two processes. I start a list of general concepts and main characters, then begin to type.
The NaNoWriMo website provides tracking options. A graph shows how much progress the Author has made on their project. The site awards fun challenge badges for reaching milestones of a specific number of days or weeks of writing or thousands of words completed.
A writer can address the challenge as a solitary creator or join writing groups for moral support. Pep talk videos by published Authors are available for viewing. There is even an online store with writer-inspired mugs, notebooks, posters, clothing, and educational books.
Now what? The site continues to motivate writers to move on with their work by hosting a “Now What?” Revision Challenge in January and February. They provide revision, editing, and publishing resources, plus have another online challenge in February to revise 150 pages of an existing project.
Okay, writers, I understand we are already 6 days into November, but it is not too late to enter.
And non-writers, what are you to do with this information? First, you can encourage and support the scribes in your personal and professional circles. Also, NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that would appreciate your financial assistance. This link will take you to the location to answer your donation questions.