National Novel Writing Month is an event that was started by Chris Baty in July 1999. Since its humble beginnings with 21 participants back then, it has grown into a global phenomenon with several hundred thousand people doing it every year during November. The event is meant to encourage people to write and to produce a body of work that each participant can call their own.
Ultimately, everyone has a story to share. Although getting it out may not always be a straightforward process, #NaNoWriMo doesn’t judge you for what you can or cannot write. The idea is just to write. In addition to writing, another goal of #NaNoWriMo is to reach 50,000 words by the end of November.
“WHAT? 50k words?!”
You may be wondering, “Why 50k words?”. Well, according to #NaNoWriMo:
“We’ve found that 50,000 words is a challenging but achievable goal for many people, even folks with full-time jobs and children. And, though on the shorter side, it’s definitely long enough to be considered a novel: 50,000 words is about the length of The Great Gatsby.
We define a novel as “a lengthy work of fiction.” Beyond that, we let you decide whether what you’re writing falls under the heading of “novel”.
In short: If you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel, too.”
What I’m Planning to Write About
I’ve done #NaNoWriMo before but I’ve never reached 50k words. I started during my freshman year of undergrad and somehow, exams and projects always got in the way. So naturally, now that I have the least amount of time ever now that work and graduate school are in full force, I have decided that this time, I won’t let excuses beat me. 😅
Something that I didn’t have for previous years was a plan. This year, my plan includes writing blocks scheduled for all sorts of nooks and crannies in my calendar. I will be writing during my lunch breaks, shortly after I wake up, while I’m making dinner, and on the bus! There is no window of time where I can’t see at least a word being written. By doing this, I can’t ever say that I don’t have time to finish this year. In any event, we all make time for the things we care about.
Additionally, my plan has a plot outline! I am consistently drawn to science-fiction, dystopia and fantasy. These genres are unlike our own world but the ways that authors can weave relatable plots and leverage similarities to shock and engage the reader has always been something that I’ve been interested in doing.
My plot follows a protagonist whose consciousness has been uploaded to a simulation without her knowledge. As she learns how to navigate this seemingly realistic world, she increasingly becomes aware of the true nature of her surroundings.
Soon enough, she realizes that her data—and the data of others like her—are used to affect change in the real world. In an effort to rebel against the confines of the simulated world, she has to beat the architects at their own game and figure how to escape before it’s too late.
Lightning Fast FAQs
Who can join #NaNoWriMo?
- Anyone can participate in #NaNoWriMo!
How do I win #NaNoWriMo?
How do I know I’ve written 50k words?
You can update your word count by pasting your story into #NaNoWriMo’s counter. This will net you badges that can help motivate you to keep writing.
If you don’t feel comfortable pasting your work in the counter, you can just update with however many words your word processor, notebook, napkin, and etc. tells you.
I don’t want to write alone. What can I do?
If you want to join a meet-up for a local write-in, you can do that here: https://preview.nanowrimo.org/regions/find.
And if you want to post with others in a forum, here’s a link for that: https://forums.nanowrimo.org/.
If you don’t want to do either of those, you can join the writing sprints that take place on the #NaNoWriMo Twitter!
Writing starts at 12:00: a.m. on November 1 and ends 11:59:59 p.m. on November 30. To win on time, I have to write at least 1,666 words a day.
The road seems treacherous but I definitely think I can do it. My story has been bottled up in me for long enough.
I’m looking forward to getting it all down! 😄✨