Have you ever wanted to write a novel? Do you have the strange notion that you have a story that you should really write down someday? Are you completely crazy and have a strange aversion to sleep? Can you type really fast? Then NaNoWriMo is for you.
NaNoWriMo is short for National Novel Writing Month, a yearly writing contest that is free to enter that calls upon people to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Held in November, NaNoWriMo is a fun, crazy challenge that keeps getting bigger every year. The only reward for winning is the satisfaction gained from writing more words of original fiction in one month than most people write in their lifetimes.
The first NaNoWriMo was created by freelance author Chris Baty and 20 other people from the San Francisco Bay area in 1999. He realized that if he could write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, then anyone could do it. From there, with the help of friends and volunteers, a website was created and participation exploded. The whole of NaNoWriMo history, a very entertaining read in itself, can be found here.
In addition to the regular NaNoWriMo, the Office of Letters and Light, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit that Chris Baty created to not only keep NaNo afloat, but to increase its ability to support writers of all kinds, developed the Young Writers Program. The Young Writers Program lets kids (17 and younger) set their own word count goal for NaNoWriMo, and provides educators YWP noveling kits to use in the classroom. On top of all that, they developed a new month of writing craziness called Script Frenzy, where the goal is to write 100 pages of original scripted material in 30 days, from April 1st – 30th.
I first signed up for NaNo in 2004, and have religiously signed up since. Some years I make a go of it, others I just cheer from the forums. This year I’ve made the biggest attempt at winning so far. This is also the first year I’ve tried keeping a blog dedicated to my writing, beginning with posting my NaNo novel as I’m writing it. I’m not sure if I’ll make it, but I’m going to work like crazy to get close, and even if I don’t hit the big 50,000 words by midnight on the 30th, I still will have had a fantastic time doing it.