If you’ve always been meaning to write a novel, you don’t have to wait until the New Year to make a resolution. You can start your novel tomorrow along with 400,000 other writers participating in the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo.
The goal of the project is to write 50,000 words during the month of November, which breaks out to a little over 1600 words a day. If you free write without editing and don’t get stuck staring at your screen for long periods of time, this task could take about an hour each day, a challenging but feasible goal for almost anyone. At the end of the month, you would have a rough draft around the length of The Great Gatsby. And you would be an official NaNoWriMo “winner.”
One of the best parts of NaNoWriMo is the community of writers who help you along the way. You can sign up for a region and participate in write-ins, which means you meet other writers at a physical location and write with them. Also, you can participate in forums and read scheduled pep talks from known authors. As you make friends, you can add these people as “Buddies” in your dashboard, and you can cheer each other along. Because let’s face it. Writing can be a lonesome activity, and we all need encouragement.
Then, in January and February, you can participate in the “Now What?” Months. During this period, you revise your novel for possible publication. Over NaNoWriMo 250 novels have been traditionally published.
However, NaNoWriMo isn’t just about getting published. For many people, writing a novel is kind of like running a marathon, a challenge worth undertaking for its own sake. And what you learn in the process of writing your novel it is far more important than the achievement of the final goal itself.
In a participant testimonial on the NaNoWriMo website, Deana Anker says, “Honestly, no one really ever told me I could be a writer. The first time I even considered it was NaNoWriMo 2010. A few friends had posted blurbs about NaNoWriMo and I signed up on a whim. It was the single most transformative and enlightening experience of my life.”
NaNoWriMo believes we all have a story to tell and that each person’s story matters. Participating in NaNoWriMo is about breaking away from the pressure and the feeling of being judged. It brings the writer back to his or her own creativity.
“Every year, we’re reminded that there are still stories that have yet to be told, still voices yet to be heard from all corners of the world,” says Executive Director Grant Faulkner. “NaNoWriMo helps people make creativity a priority in life and realize the vital ways our stories connect us.”
Are you ready to get started? Sign up today, and write your first words tomorrow.
Debby DeRosa holds a BA in English from the University of South Carolina-Columbia and an MFA in Creative Writing from Converse College. In addition to being Editor-in-Chief of South85 Journal, she is the Marketing Manager of Five Star Plumbing Heating Cooling in Greer, SC, and she freelances as a copywriter and content developer. She and her husband, Joe, live in Greenville, SC, with their two daughters, Aimee and Ruby.