“National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.”
How do I sign up?
Fill in the details on this form.
How much does it cost?
NaNoWriMo is free to everyone BUT, naturally, these things cost money. Here is a list of expenses the NaNoWriMo team incurs, so even if you can only contribute five bucks, it will make a difference.
What do I do once I’ve signed up?
Wait for the e-mail to confirm your participation.
Read the forums to get a feel of what the heck it’s all about.
With some writing friends (or on the forums) plot your novel.
Download a word count widget for your blog, forums signature, etc.
Add a web badge to any public web page you own.
And then what?
Start writing on November 1. You’ll need to write close to 2,000 words a day, but it doesn’t matter if all you write is total trash. All that matters is the word count, and the whole point of this exercise is not to write something perfect and stunning; it’s to just write. It’s an exceptionally good project for the perfectionists among us, and face it, most writers tend to lean on the side of perfectionism.
The time for editing and going over mistakes and dumb writing is not November; it’s after the first draft is complete. Most novelists never get beyond their first chapter because they keep going over and over and over the same few sentences. You may as well quit as a writer if that’s all you’re ever going to do. To be a writer you have to WRITE!
I took part in this in 2007, and I now have the results (after quite a few edits and rewrites) in the hands of an agent. It’s called We Know The Truth. I don’t know if I would have ever finished the first draft had it not been for NaNoWriMo.
Some things you can expect if you participate in this year’s NaNoWriMo
A lot of time away from other daily activities and loved ones
Feeling like a total failure
Some good things you can expect
The beginnings of a finished novel
A sense of accomplishment
The thought that perhaps you can be a writer after all
A greater appreciation for your computer and writing software
To have a novel that is eventually good enough to submit to an agent or publishing house
If you’re under eighteen, and the thought of writing with a bunch of old fogies is a huge turn off, NaNoWriMo has a page just for you. It’s also a big help to teachers who would like to have their students go through the writing meat grinder, um, I mean, enjoy the delectable process of writing a novel.
I’d like to be more involved in this
If you’re one of those project-oriented people who loves to help the world, you can print off NaNoWriMo flyers and put them in bookstores.
If you’re the competitive type, you can check your area’s word count against those of other states or cities.
Take advantage of the discounts for Schrivener, Writer’s Digest Shop, and Alphasmart NEO that are available to NaNoWriMo participants.
There is more fun to be found on the NaNoWriMo site, but rather than spoil it all for you, I’ll leave you to look around for yourself. Once the last day of November comes around, I hope to see many certificates posted on your sites for the world to see. It’s a huge accomplishment to be able to write 50,000 words of anything.