by Ami Maxine Irmen
It’s November first – which means that writers all over the world are starting to count words. 50,000 words to be exact.
NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, has taken place every November since 1999 with the challenge to write a new novel of at least 50,000 words in just thirty days. The goal of this month is not perfection. In fact, the goal is to tell your internal editor to take a hike – it’s time to just create. Just write. Thirty days of writing. Sounds wonderful, right?
But it’s also more than that.
NaNoWriMo “is a nonprofit organization that supports fluency and education.” It’s a community both online and in person, where over nine hundred volunteers all over the world coordinate communal writing sessions. NaNoWriMo is also the founder of the Young Writers Program – a kid-friendly online writing community for those under eighteen. They even have resources for educators who wish to encourage their students to complete the challenge.
While some people use this challenge just for the fun of creating, some use it for the accountability of getting down an idea they’ve always wanted to write. In fact, some NaNoWriMo have gone on to become best sellers.
Did you see the movie Water for Elephants staring Reese Witherspoon and Robert Pattison? It was based on the novel with the same name by Sara Gruen – she started it as a NaNoWriMo challenge.
In November of 2004, Erin Morgenstern sat down to participate in NaNoWriMo – and the result was his 2011 best-seller The Night Circus.
Other best sellers that started as NaNoWriMo challenges include Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, Wool by Hugh Howey, The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, and all three of Marissa Meyer’s YA series – Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress.
Whether your goal is publication or merely just to get down that novel idea you’ve always wanted to write, give NaNoWriMo a chance. Check out Facebook and other social media platforms for NaNoWriMo groups in your area. If there isn’t one already, consider creating one – you never know what community is waiting for you!