Well about sixteen years ago, Chris Baty was sitting around with his friends talking about the desire to write the great American novel. “People just need a deadline,” he decided. And so he developed Nanowrimo.org, a non-profit, online community built to encourage and support would be writers in their efforts to complete a novel. That first year 21 writers participated.
Here are the numbers for 2014:
325,142 participants, including 81,311 students and educators in the Young Writers Program, started the month as auto mechanics, out-of-work actors, and middle school English teachers. They walked away novelists.
849 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.
Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. See a full list of our published authors.
Here are the rules to win:
- You can’t start before midnight at the beginning of November 1.
- You can’t write another word after midnight at the end of November 30.
- You write at least 50,000 words. A single story; one you have never written before.
That is it. What do you win? I know, we were just talking about contests, but this prize is the joy of having written a novel from beginning to end in 30 days. Talk about bragging rights.
Now as an author and publisher, I will tell you that the books finished at the end of the month are far from ready to self-publish. They are a first draft at best. But for those that have always wanted to write a book, Nanowrimo is an amazing support system.
People from around the world participate during this frenzied 30 days. The website offers daily encouraging articles and videos and each local market is supported by a local Municipal Liaison, a non-paid fellow writer who hosts in person writing gatherings and answers questions.
November first is just right around the corner and so I encourage you to check out their site. There is no cost involved and no obligation to start or if you start; to finish. But if you have ever wanted to see if you could put a book down on paper in a month – this is the time to do it.
Check out Nanowrimo.org. and find the group in your area. If nothing else, you’ll meet others in your backyard who love to write. Bonus.
As an aside, many of the writers that participate in Nanowrimo are also part of monthly writing groups and often are willing to help promote books written by others in the group. Great way to build your community for when you are ready to self-publish your book.
One more thing. Writing is a fairly solitary endeavor. How many times have you been writing a story and come to a road block, plot hole, or blank wall? Wouldn’t it be great if you could ask someone how they think you should kill that one character in your story? Only another writer will understand the challenge.
The Nanowrimo write-ins (in person writing times) are a great place to get ideas for character names, plot direction, or just encouragement. They also have word wars which are great fun.
Ready for a word war? Set you clocks for fifteen minutes, ready set….write as much as you can in fifteen minutes. Word wars are a great way to be forced into productivity.
Whether you participate in Nanowrimo or not, there are many great articles and discussions in the online Forums that will help offer advice regardless of genre or experience.
Bottom Line: If you are considering writing a new novel and just need someone to hold your feet to the fire – give Nanowrimo a try. Starts November 1st.
Photo courtesy of http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/07/14/books/review/12snider.html