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November 6th, 2013

National Novel Writing Month: Write a Novel this November

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by David Rogers

NaNoWriMo Postcard

Yes, you read that headline correctly. Not National Novel Writing Year (or Decade), but Month. And that month is now upon us.

Since 1999, every November has been dedicated as the time to write a novel in just one month. You may have seen it abbreviated far and wide on the internet as NaNoWriMo, and the concept is simple even if the execution is not (and it definitely isn’t).

How NaNoWriMo Works

Here’s what happens: every November, hundreds of thousands of writers around the world commit to writing an entire novel before the month is over. The powers that be over at NaNoWriMo define a novel – for the purposes of the project, anyway – as anything over 50,000 words. So, anyone that completes a work with at least 50,000 is declared a winner.

What does a winner get, you may ask? A badge. A digital one that can proudly displayed throughout all of the internet.

The Real Prize

But as any author knows, the real winning prize will be the satisfaction of completing a writing task you’ve set out to do. Sure, 50,000 words may be closer to the definition of a novella for most writers, but it also tends to be significantly more words than many authors write during most months.

We know that the authors we work with here at Advanced Print & Finishing have writing methods as diverse as the books we publish. Some have devoted many years to crafting the perfect project, while others have completed their work during much shorter time frames.

The Great Motivator

We see NaNoWriMo as more of a motivator than anything else – and a great motivator at that. All too often, we authors search for any and every way we can put off writing. Sometimes it’s just everyday life and other time commitments that get in the way, other times it’s the sheer anxiety that can come from sitting in front of a blank computer screen.

NaNoWriMo obviously tries to help us overcome whatever stands in our way by setting a deadline and assuring us that other people are going through the same thing we are. As you know, writing can be a lonely endeavor, and knowing others are experiencing the same thing you are can be comforting.

In fact, 341,375 authors participated last year. Perhaps even more inspiring, 38,438 were declared winners that year. For those of you that are sans calculator, that means 11.26 percent of participants completed 50,000 words. That also means a minimum of almost 2 billion words were written throughout November 2012. Not too shabby.

So get out there and start writing; we may already be a few days into the month, but there’s still plenty of time to be inspired. Even if you don’t hit that prescribed 50,000-word mark, we have a feeling you’ll write more than you would have if you hadn’t decided to participate.

Group Write?

And remember when we said you don’t have to do it alone? You can go to the official NaNoWriMo website to find out about local “write-ins,” meetings in public places where authors gather to work on their respective books.

All in all, it’s hard to see a downside of the event. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’ve got some more writing to do… I don’t think what I’ve written here counts toward my word count total.

Image Source: Flickr