NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation of National Novel Writing Month is a non-profit writing event held every November where participants attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in exactly 30 days. There’s also a more informal version of the event every April and July called Camp NaNoWriMo which expands the challenge to scripts, non-fiction, memoirs and other projects while offering variable word count goals. There was also a sister event called Script Frenzy (nicknamed Screnzy) which was retired in 2012 where participants could write scripts, screenplays, comics and more.
A participant since 2002 and an ML for both Screnzy and NaNoWriMo since 2010, this is my guide to the world of NaNo.
The following is an excerpt from NaNo What Now? Finding your editing process, revising your NaNoWriMo book and building a writing career through publishing and beyond Available now in paperback and eBook. To the writer that finished neither their NaNoWriMo project nor reached the 50,000 words, I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2002, and from 2002 until 2007, I lost every single year. Two of those years, I wrote less than 5,000 words. For one, I signed up and then wrote exactly zero words, and I don’t even have a good excuse for why. I...read more
I’m a volunteer with NaNoWriMo and it always amazes me how many participants are completely shocked to learn that NaNoWriMo isn’t completely flush with cash because everyone’s heard of them, haven’t they? It’s easy to get the idea in your head that supporting an organization by retweeting or clicking like on their posts, talking them up to family and friends or even just by feeling super affectionate toward them somehow translates to monetary support but that simply isn’t true. The fact is, NaNoWriMo is a...read more
At the moment I’m writing this, I’m 42,488 words behind on my goal for NaNoWriMo. On my lesser goal? I’m 24,772 words behind. Yeesh. That’s a big deficit. And if I can’t hit my goal, what’s the point of writing anymore at all? It would be much nicer to just take the holiday weekend off. On a normal year with my normal writing time available to me, making up those numbers would be no big deal. But absolutely nothing about this November has been normal. I’m terrified by current events with news getting...read more
I had a pep talk all ready for this week that was your standard NaNoWriMo stuff but I scrapped it because we’ve had anything but a standard NaNoWriMo this year and it’s silly to ignore the elephant in the room. (Pun intended.) How can I be all “Rah rah, writing!” when we’ve just had an election that threw the entire nation in turmoil? Many people are in a state close to grieving while others are living in fear and uncertainty for the future. It’s more than just distracting, it can be all-consuming, and...read more
You’re working on your novel. You’re writing away and the words are flowing great and then it hits you. The doubt. You have no idea where you were going with this. The characters are all stupid. What made you think you could pull this off? You’re just so sick of this story. More than that, you’re sick of this whole writing process. Why should you give up another night to this boring book nobody’s going to ever want to read anyway? What was easy writing before is now like pulling teeth and the thought of walking...read more
Back in the day, I used to work for one of NaNoWriMo’s sponsors. We were encouraged to sign up for NaNoWriMo and try to participate so we understood what the event was about when customers came to us with questions. I dutifully signed up and joked about writing a novel in a month with co-workers but never wrote so much as a word year after year. But 2007 was different. While the process of signing up wasn’t any different than any past year, it felt different to me because this time I was really going to write 50,000 words in 30...read more
I know that some of you out there are as obsessive as me when it comes to trying to figure out how far along you are in National Novel Writing Month so I decided to share my personal calculator. It’s simple but powerful. This calculator will work in Open Office, Microsoft Excel or Google Drive, depending on what you use. But it works best in Google Drive since that is what I set it up in (there are also some handy little charts in the Google version the other versions won’t get). It is very simple to use. All you do is type in...read more
Let’s chat NaNoWriMo! Come hang out with me in person this Monday night at 7 PM at the main branch of the Maplewood Library where I’ll be answering questions and offering tips, tricks and advice on how to get through your first novel and the NaNoWriMo challenge! Ideal for anyone who’s a first timer, curious about the event or has done it before but wants to get a little bit more out of it this year but everyone is welcome regardless of your experience level. It’ll be a fun, informal little knowledge slam and should be...read more
I’m having one of those days when the writing is just not happening. I can’t make myself open my work in progress, the words are coming like molasses, and I’m just bopping around the internet doing absolutely anything to avoid doing some actual writing. And it’s in this state of advanced procrastination that I see you post something like this: “Was going to work on my novel tonight but Toddlers and Tiara’s marathon wooo!” “Managed only 100 words before I got distracted by tumblr lol”...read more
Camp NaNoWriMo is kinda weird, isn’t it? It’s quieter than the November event, for one, and I also find it much harder to keep yourself motivated without all the trappings of the main event. But for those of you that stuck it out, I have a little present for you whether you hit your goal or not. The April session of Camp NaNoWriMo ends on April 30th and I’m celebrating what you accomplished this month that by giving away copies of NaNo What Now?, my guide to the next steps including revision, publishing and building a...read more