NaNoWriMo: The Calm Before the Storm

NaNoWriMo_2016_WebBanner_ParticipantYou may be looking at my title thinking, “what is this word, is that even English?” In answer, yes and no.  NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month (see what they did there?) and is a non-profit organization that promotes creativity and the arts.  Their main event takes place during the month of November, although they have other, smaller, events like Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer, and more.  During November, their event, which the organization is named after, is more of a challenge.  A fun, yet maddening challenge, that pushes writers to create a 50,000 words draft of their novel.

Ever heard someone say “one day, I’m going to write a novel?”  This challenge is a direct response to that age old statement, which let’s admit, people rarely following through with.  The founders of NaNo felt that this was a travesty and that these writers were denying their true potential.  They want writers to know that they can do it! They have the power and the ability, if they only sit down and actually do it.  Let me repeat that for the people in the back SIT DOWN AND ACTUALLY DO IT.  Just write. Write anything.  Let it flow from within you.

All joking aside, putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) is really important.  It doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, that’s for proofreading and editing down the road.  The key is to have something to edit.

Alright, I think I’ve made my point, you get it, write, write, write.  On to the scary logistics; 50,000 words.  Did you gasp? Raise your eyebrows? Make an incredulous expression?  Well I understand, it’s a lot.  A. Lot.  But that’s the fun of it! If it was easy, it wouldn’t be a challenge right? It has been done successfully by tens of thousands every year.  There are tons of tips and tricks to getting that winning word count.

The daily goal, which is really just 50k divided evenly over 30 days, is 1667 words.  The real challenge is keeping this up through Thanksgiving.  With travel, spending time with loved ones, and of course gorging yourself on turkey and other delicious holiday specials, it really cuts into your writing time.

I, a senior college student and intern at Beaufort Books, have competed 4 times and won twice.  Unfortunately, one year I got sick around the holidays and was down for the count which is yet another threat looming over your keyboard.  Winning and losing doesn’t matter, and the people over at NaNo are very clear that the goal is to end up with a workable manuscript, even a half finished one is better than none at all.  Fifty thousand words, they want you to know, is an arbitrary number, and they have compared it to the average word counts of popular novels.

Adults, students, authors, and more all around the global compete in this challenge to support writing and novelization as a whole.  Through the NaNo website you are able to choose the region where you live so that you can get updates about events in your area, and even see the progress that people around you are making.  NaNo doesn’t have to a solo adventure.  Each region has liaisons, people who organize events like meet-ups and write-ins, where groups of NaNo-ers pile into a Panera or library, and write in comfortable companionship.  The website also has forums where there are all sorts of topics up for discussion, from tips and strategies, to coffee and tea, and wacky plot twists and dares, tons of fun things to keep you and your novel going.

For more information check them out on their website, where if you are so inclined, you can join me and many others as we write ‘til we drop next month!


-Madeline, intern Beaufort Books

This post is shared between Beaufort Books and Spencer Hill Press and can be found on their various blogs.