Monday, September 14, 2009

Everyone Has a Novel in Them

At least that’s what they say. And the National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo for short – is a great way to get it out of your head and onto paper. Well, maybe into the computer. It happens for the entire month of November each and every year.

They’ve defined a novel as 50,000 words, a nice round number. It comes out to 1,667 words a day. That comes out to about 2 hours a day, give or take. To give you an idea, Catcher in the Rye and Brave New Worlds both come out to about 50,000 words. It’s a little short for a novel, but it’s also quite a commitment to write that much in a month. Believe me. But the feeling of accomplishment when you cross the finish line at the end is indescribable.

NaNoWriMo started several years ago as a bar bet between five or six friends…and they were stupid enough to go through with it! Now it’s not just national, it’s an international event! Thousands of people around the world kiss their families goodbye for the month and lose themselves in another world. There is an entire support community built around those brave and foolhardy enough to attempt it.

And the good news is, there are no losers. Suppose you’re only able to write 12,000 words, or 20,000 words, or 2,000 words. That’s great! It’s still an accomplishment to be proud of! But even though there are no losers, there are winners. Every year, thousands of people make it to the finish line to proudly claim the bragging rights of having completed a novel in 30 days! If they can do it, then so can you!

If you want to learn more about NaNoWriMo, you can check out the website at There is also a companion book written by Chris Baty, one of the founders of NaNoWriMo. The book is called, appropriately, No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.

1 comment:

  1. Kaye pointed me to this blog and when I saw NaNoWriMo, I just had to comment. I've "won" NaNo three times and participated four. It's a great way to get past that inner editor (you're supposed to go for quantity, not quality) and gets you in the habit of writing every day. Watching the thermometer bar increase on a regular basis is a great incentive to keep going and even that silly little PDF certificate you get at the end is something I'm proud of. I think everyone who wants to write a novel but hasn't had the courage to try to do it should participate at least once.