Each year Novelist, Journalist, and Writing Marathon Leader Chris Baty challenges the masses to write a novel in 30 days. Crazy? Absolutely. Impossible? Not at all.
What stops most people from participating in something like NaNoWriMo is lack of a deadline. “Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen,” Baty wrote in No Plot? No Problem! – A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide To Writing A Novel In 30 Days.
National Novel Writing Month, affectionately shortened to NaNoWriMo, is a personal writing challenge. Valuing enthusiasm and effort over accuracy and quality, participants in this writing marathon all have the same goal: to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. There is no prize at the end, no publisher ready to sign a contract with the winner, there’s not even a required global editing process in place for the thousands of novels that are written each year.
What is at the end of it all is a chance for the writer to check off that one item from their life’s to-do list: to write a novel. Participants start the personal race as students, accountants, parents, plumbers, entrepreneurs, musicians, burger flippers, and technicians, but they end the marathon as novelists.
Some say the key is persistence. Breaking down the ultimate word goal into a daily quota of 1667 words per day is more manageable. Some say the challenge itself is what keeps them going. Others simply want to get words out on paper for therapy, creative output, or publishing dreams.
It began in 1999 when 21 writers from California decided to give it a try, and by the fifth anniversary there were over 25,000 participants worldwide. Now in its sixth year, the number of registered NaNoWriMo participants topples the 35,000 mark and is still growing.
Signups start each year on Oct 1 when the message boards are activated, but the writing isn’t allowed to start until Nov 1 and is finished at midnight Nov 30. For more information, go to www.nanowrimo.org.
Read Rachel’s review of No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide To Writing a Novel In 30 Days here.