By in Writing

NaNoWriMo: The Ultimate Writing Challenge

As strange as it may seem to try writing an entire novel in only a month, NaNoWriMo (so called because "National Novel Writing Month" is quite a mouthful) must be working for some writers. NaNo is in its sixteenth year in 2014, and in each of the preceding years it has grown in terns of the total number of participants, as well as those who have completed the challenge.

In 2013 there were 310,095 NaNoWriMo participants from all around the globe, including 89,500 students and their teachers. A further 55,774 writers came back during the summer for the Camp NaNoWriMo event. While it may not be turning out masterpieces, NaNo is getting writers of every calibre moving!

Wrimos, as participants are called, are provided with the challenge and a virtual meeting place where they can ask questions, seek support, or brag about their accomplishments. At the end of the challenge, there are some helpful resources for those authors who want to self-publish.

Sharing the actual text of one's novel is completely optional. The book is uploaded once in order to determine its word count, but the site actually has a tutorial on how to mask the text for this purpose. No novel is ever stored on the site or read by anyone associated with NaNoWriMo.

If you have always dreamt of being a novelist, and you enjoy a bit of a crazy challenge, NaNoWriMo might be just the thing to get you moving too!

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Image credit: Writing notebook by Daria GÅ‚odowska/Pixabay ( CC0 1.0 )

Disclosure : The author is not an official representative of NaNoWriMo and is in no way rewarded for mentioning this writing challenge.

Note: This content is an adaptation of an earlier piece the author published on the now defunct Yahoo Voices web site

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bestwriter wrote on September 14, 2014, 11:15 PM

Ever since I joined these posting sites I have become dumb when it comes to writing real substantial stuff. Actually I am a bit worried about it. Each time I go to sites where I am required to write good amount of material I just cannot do it any more.

Ruby3881 wrote on September 14, 2014, 11:48 PM

I can identify with that feeling, Grace. In some ways, doing something that requires me to write longer pieces is also about exercising those "muscles" again for a while....

allen0187 wrote on September 15, 2014, 1:43 AM

Sounds like it is indeed a crazy challenge. I'm going to look this up and see if it suits me. Perhaps, I can join this next year. Who knows?

MegL wrote on September 15, 2014, 5:58 AM

I have heard of NaNoWriMo but have never tried it, however, I might put the principle to work on my thesis! And maybe in a couple of years try the challenge myself. Good reminder to get ready!

Akshar wrote on September 15, 2014, 6:47 AM

That sounds like a crazy and interesting challenge to write a novel in one month. But there may be dedicated writers who would accomplish the challenge. Best of luck for all wrimos emoticon :smile:

BarbRad wrote on September 15, 2014, 12:32 PM

I'm a bit like bestwriter . I can write if I really need to, but it takes a lot of motivation to get me moving. As for fiction, I don't even want to go there. I've not even an idea. I'm a nonfiction / poetry sort of girl.

Ruby3881 wrote on September 15, 2014, 3:19 PM

You could start as early as November 2014, if you have an idea for a novel you're ready to run with!

Ruby3881 wrote on September 15, 2014, 3:22 PM

I've had a number of friends participate in the challenge in previous years. Not everyone finishes, but a good many do. People find that doing the writing in a disciplined way and being able to report their daily tallies to other writers helps. There are even libraries that organize open writing sessions, and other places where individuals organize meetups in their region :)

Ruby3881 wrote on September 15, 2014, 3:23 PM

It took me a few years from the time I looked into NaNoWriMo until I first participated, and then I needed to take a break for a few years afterwards. It does take some of us a little extra time to get psyched up, I think....

Ruby3881 wrote on September 15, 2014, 3:24 PM

I believe the Camp NaNoWriMo, which takes place in the summer, has a category for nonfiction works and poetry :)

bestwriter wrote on September 15, 2014, 8:03 PM

Copy all your posts from different writing sites and give it a title "my colourful thoughts" What say? emoticon :grin:

paigea wrote on September 15, 2014, 8:31 PM

I've signed up before and wrote for a couple of days and fizzled out. :D

Ruby3881 wrote on September 17, 2014, 5:38 PM

Since there's nothing to gain from participating except actually getting the writing done, I'd only be cheating myself. Cute suggestion I suppose, but why even bother?

Ruby3881 wrote on September 17, 2014, 5:41 PM

Yup, some folks are like that! I think one year I'd set up an account sometime near the end of the summer, and was getting all excited about starting. By the time November actually came around, I hadn't even figured out what I wanted to write, so I dropped out!

JanetJenson wrote on September 18, 2014, 2:57 AM

I can understand the motivation factor in something like that. I wouldn't have time to devote in a block like that, but I do remember once when a coworker actually pestered me to bring into work every day just a small segment of a book I was working on, and before I knew it that book was finished. I would not have done it on my own.

Ruby3881 wrote on September 19, 2014, 8:44 AM

I figure we should all do whatever works for us personally - be it a structured challenge like NaNo, or just holding ourselves to a given number of published posts or words written per day...