Writing Wednesdays: NaNoWriMo - what it is and why you should do it

Have you tackled 50,000 words of a novel in a single month? Welcome to NaNoWriMo...

NaNoWriMo (short for ‘National Novel Writing Month’) is here once again!

National Novel Writing Month is where people endeavour to write 50,000 words of a novel in the month of November.

Sometimes NaNoWriMo is run at other times of the year – like Camp NaNoWriMo in the summer for instance, where you pick your own word count goal – but November is really THE time for it.

Anybody can sign up.

Seriously, any of you can go to the website and register to become a participant. It’s very easy. Even if you haven’t had a go at writing a full novel before.

There are a few rules, one of which is that it has to be a new novel. You don’t do it to write another 50,000 words to something you’re already writing. And the 50,000 words is to encourage you to write, but it’s not there to make you feel like a failure. I mean, if you sign up and only write 12,000 words, that’s still 12,000 words you might not have otherwise written!

You can track your progress.

It’s a very user-friendly site. You can upload a bit of personal info to your profile, talk to other writers on there; you can upload a blurb and sample of your book once you get started, and then as you write, you update your word count (the total word count, that is) and the site generates an awesome graph to show your progress. It also tells you how many words per day you’re averaging, and how many words you need to write per day after that to get to 50,000.

So… why should you sign up?

NaNoWriMo is there to try and encourage you to get writing, and to stop procrastinating. 

I mean, how many of us start writing a novel and then after about 6,000 words, end up abandoning it and never working on it again, even if we were really passionate about the idea at first?

Yeah, me too. So when you’ve got this goal of 50,000 words, and you’ve got a website that’s there tracking your progress, you feel way more motivated to succeed. You feel like you’ve gone and given yourself this huge goal and damn it, you’re going to do your best to achieve it!

Plus, there are thousands of other writers participating, and there’s a great feeling of community around the whole thing.

I’m not going to lie: it can get super stressful. I did NaNoWriMo in 2010, just after finishing writing The Kissing Booth, and the book I started writing for it was called Rolling Dice (my second published YA novel!) and that was when I started Sixth Form and I’d just started seeing my boyfriend then, so it was a pretty hectic time. Very stressful. Lots of hours hunched over my laptop writing like something possessed.


And you can, too. At the very least, you can try. Like I said earlier – even if you don’t get to the 50,000 word target, you’ll have had a crack at it and probably written more than you would have without NaNoWriMo!

It can take over your life a little bit, but it’s only for the one month, and the feeling at the end when you manage it is amazing.

Well, what are you waiting for?

Have you participated in a NaNoWriMo challenge? How did it go? Let me know in the comments below!

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