Welcome to NaNoWriMo

So you have never heard of NaNoWriMo?  You know what, that’s ok.  I have known what it is for at least ten years and still hear people ask what it stands for.  There are many who when they hear what the acronym means know it, they have just never hear the actual “title” before.  Well it stands for Nation Novel Writing Month. 

Held every November people across the nation (and I think across the world) attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in only 30 days.  While this sounds impossible it really boils down to writing 1667 words per day, every day of the month.  (This actually puts you 10 words over the minimum but hey what is 10 extra words when you are going for 50K?). 

However it actually isn’t as simple as writing 1667 words every day.  Why?  Because life happens and there are days when writing is impossible, other commitments take precedence.  So how do you make it to the 50K mark?  You schedule writing time, figure out the day you KNOW you won’t be writing (like Thanksgiving and Black Friday), add a couple extra days just in case and with the total you have left over, divide that by 50,000 to see how many words you need to write each writing day to finish on time.

This is the third year I have attempted NaNoWriMo.  Last year I did finish a novel.  This year I am well on my way to doing so again.  The first time however I flopped, big time.  What made that attempt worse was I had a 15,000 word novel started that I was trying to finish.  I couldn’t commit myself to the intense writing and thus it did not get done (in fact that novel was until recently still in the works 15 years later at 30,000 plus words.  It has now been put in the “not to be used” pile.  Don’t get me wrong, the stuff in it will be used, just not as the individual novel it initially was intended to be).

Many people know this month by what it used to be called; simply NaNo.  It stood for the same thing back then but I’m sure Apple or the organizers who run the NaNoWriMo site did not want a lawsuit so the name was changed.  Oh you did not realize there was a site for this month of insanity?  Yup (www.nanowrimo.org).  They have all kinds of forums for help, you can become buddies with people to keep track of each other’s progress (and encourage), or just keep track of yourself.  You update your word count daily (or as often as you want).  There is a stats page which will show how many words you have written that day, your overall total, how you rate with the 1667 words-per-day amount they offer to finish, your average words per day, where you will finish if you keep up the current writing pace (this can be bad or good), and some other things.  For someone like me, it helps push me where I need to be pushed.

NaNoWriMo is actually not for everyone.  I say this because everyone has different writing styles and some people just don’t do well with writing now and editing later.  That’s ok.  It is nice to do it though because after that month of writing like crazy, you can say you have written a novel (or two or five depending on how many years you keep at it).  And while the idea is to write a complete 50,000 word novel in that single month, there are people who take previous started work and finish it.  While this is considered “cheating” the discipline needed tends to be stronger when you have a network to keep you motivated.

So welcome to the insanity (although we are almost a third of the way in) that is NaNoWriMo.


About awritersprocess
I have been a writer longer than I can remember. It started with poems in grade school and evolved into the manuscripts, articles, and blogs that I currently write for. My desire to become an editor came later in life but I am no less passionate about that as I am about writing. I have a BA in English (with a minor in History) and have even taken a proofreading class through Editorial Freelancers Association. I am a writer for hire.

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