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National Novel Writing Month: November

Updated: Oct 24, 2018


Image by Brittany Zambrano

One of the events that takes place in November is the annual internet-based creative writing project called the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Between November 1st and 30th, participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript. On November 1st, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. This website provides participants with tips on preventing writer’s block, information on where the local participants are meeting, and an online community for support. The focus of NaNoWriMo is about the length of the work rather than the quality. This project encourages writers to finish their first draft so that it can be later edited at the author’s discretion. This project started in July 1999 with 21 participants. However, by 2010 the event had a total of 200,000 people that took part in and they had written over 2.8 million words.


This event was started in July 1999 by the freelancer Chris Baty with twenty-one participants in the San Francisco, Bay Area. In 2000, this magazine was moved to November “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather” and then launched a website through one of his friends. Through the same year, Baty expected similar numbers, but 5,000 participants registered, and the news of these events was spread by various news organizations such as the Los Angeles Times and Washington Post. Due to a number of problems, Baty was happy about the large turnout of events, but because of multiple issues, the event was cancelled. In 2002, due to the attention from media sites such as the National Public Radio and CBS Evening News, the number of participants in the challenge was raised up to be 14,000. In 2005, NaNoWriMo was registered as a non-profit organization due to the event growing stronger every year, which eventually became the Office of Letters and Light. By 2015, the numbers of participants of this event were raised up to 431,626 people of 63 different regions. More than 40,000 of the participants completed the challenge.


There are various programs started by NaNoWriMo which are the Laptop Loaner, Young Writers program, The Office of Letters and Rights, Camp NaNoWriMo and the “Now What Months?” .The Laptop Loaners program started in 2002 and it was run for those who do not have a regular access to a computer or a word processor. Some laptops that were donated by NaNoWriMo participants were old but functional. Then in 2004, NaNoWri Mo ran the Young Writers Program (YMP) which was a writing workshop whose purpose was to aid classrooms of kindergartners through 12th-grade students. The Office of Letters and Rights was established in September of 2006 when NaNoWriMo officially became a nonprofit organization. The NaNoWriMo collaborated with child literacy non-profit Room to Read and continued this partnership for four years. This program retired in 2007 and continued to focus its resources on NaNoWriMo and the Young Writers Program. Camp NaNoWriMo established in 2011. This camp did not have a forum, but participants can choose to join a group of up to 11 editing notes and interact with publishers. Then in 2013, the months of February and January were known as NaNoWriMo’s “Now What Months?” which are designed to help novelists during the editing and revision processes. To participate, writers must make a commitment again to visit their novels which includes signing a contract through NaNoWriMo. Another further step is to attend different internet seminars where publishing experts and NaNoWriMo writers are available to assist novelists on the next step in revising their first drafts. Participants then communicate on Twitter through the hashtags to compare editing notes and interact with agents and publishers. The main goal of the “Now What Months?” is to get the novelists published.


November is home to National Novel Writing Month which is dedicated to helping novelists to edit and get their novels published. Started in 1999 this event still continues to be a pivotal moment which still impacts writers of all ages. The amount of participants continues to increase every year. National Novel Writing Month is great for writers of all ages, who are eager to get their novels published and to anyone who is passionate about writing. By contributing to this event, it could ignite the spark for writing for anyone craving or who has been having thoughts about writing.


Article by: Sara Ali


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