November marks the start of the 28th Annual National Novel Writing Month.
The National Novel Writing Month, often shortened to NaNoWrimo, is a worldwide web event in which aspiring writers set the goal of writing 50,000 words in one month. This event is held between the 1st and 30th of November every year and has the goal of motivating aspiring authors to put their ideas on paper and finish the first draft of their novel.
This project first started in July 1999 with 21 participants but has now evolved to a worldwide movement, expecting 400,000 people to participate in the 2018 edition. This organisation became non-profit in 2005 and has set its goal to “provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.”
The NaNoWriMo official website allows users, called Wrimos, to create a personal account that opens the door to a world of resources and to a community of writers. On the site, users can track their projects and word count, with a provided goal tracker in which they insert their work in order to have their official word count updated. Wrimos also have access to writing advice from experienced writers, writing buddies and special forums, amongst other things. There is the option to join groups in the several areas across the world, which allow Wrimos to meet with their local peers through events and regional forums, put together by Municipal/Regional Leaders. These groups also provide support, encouragement and connect peers.
Since the goal is to write 50,000 words in one month, Wrimos are expected to write 1,667 words on a daily basis. Anyone who reaches the 50,000 word mark is considered a winner, whether they write a finished first draft or whether they write the first 50,000 words of the aforementioned draft. From the 20th of November, winners can submit their work for automatic verification and receive a printable certificate as well as other rewards provided by the project’s numerous sponsors, and also be included in the official list of winners.
Most Wrimos start preparing their novel in October, in what they usually call Preptober. This is the month where they think about the plot, create characters and prepare everything they need in order to start writing on the 1st of November. Preptober has a different meaning for everyone; workers may want to reserve some vacation days for the next month while students may want to get ahead on their tasks so they can have some free time to write in November. However, Preptober is not mandatory. You can do NaNoWriMo without it, so don’t be discouraged if you have not prepped anything. The project’s goal is to give you the motivation to start!
If you have decided to participate in this year’s edition of NaNoWriMo there are some basic things you can do for motivation, like watching YouTube videos related to the topic. There are various YouTube channels dedicated to writing and even NaNoWriMo daily vlogs. Some of these are: Heart Breathings, Abbie Emmons, Oh She Reads, Rachael Stephen and NaNoWriMo’s official YouTube channel. You can also get motivated by the community events in your area. There is a Yorkshire group for NaNoWriMo with various write-ins, which are writing get-togethers for every Wrimo in the area, some of them are in Leeds!
It is never too late to start NaNoWriMo! You only need to get an idea and sign up! However, if you cannot do it right now, do not worry! There are April and July editions of NaNoWriMo, called Camp NaNoWriMo, that you can also do, they are not as complex or as tasking but you will still get the community support of writing a novel in a month along with other people. You only have to start!
Ana Beatriz Esteves