NaNoWriMo Fever

Have you ever heard of Nanowrimo ? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it takes place each November. Participants in this free event challenge themselves to write 50,000 words during the month of November. 

Nanowrimo is an excellent event for a number of reasons: 

*You have an excuse to say “I have to go write.” 
*You have an excuse to say “no” to things you’d rather not do. 
*You’re forced to turn off your inner editor, in order to meet your word-count goals. This may be just the thing you need to move forward in your story, instead of re-editing the same first five pages. 
*You are part of an international group of writers who are all sweating over their keyboards at the same time. 
*If you finish 50K, you receive a handsome winner’s certificate. 
*Even if you don’t finish (and 80% of participants do not), you’ll still have more writing accomplished than you would have otherwise. 
    Don’t write fiction? Don’t let that stop you. There’s a “Nano Rebel” group on the Nanowrimo forums just for those who write non-fiction, or poetry, or engage in song-writing. 

    So, in honor of Nanowrimo, starting November 1st, I’ve collected some helpful links to get you through the month. There are many more on the Nanowrimo Forum page .

    Helpful Books

    Here's a free ebook on everything you need for Nanowrimo. It has a “character generator”, which helps you randomly invent new characters, as needed. Also has a timeline chart, map page, and list of ways to combat writer’s block. 

    Another free ebook I found is called Nano for the New and the Insane , by Lazette Gifford. It includes tips on breaking down your daily allotment of words into manageable chunks. 

    Interested in getting your kids or your students in on the fun? Nanowrimo has a Young Writer's Program just for them. Kids pick their own word-count goal to shoot for. Also on the site are three excellent (and free!) ebooks to help kids plan their novels (one each for elementary, middle school and high school). Don't tell your kids, but adults will glean lots of good information from the high school workbook.

    Here is a field guide to help you get started in Nanowrimo (or figure out if you even want to).

    Two Free Contests

    If you sign up for Nanowrimo and you write YA, send your first 250 words to this contest for a chance to win a one-on-one pitch session with YA literary agent Regina Brooks . This is a free contest. 
    Have you ever wondered what your current novel’s cover would look like? Never mind that you haven’t written past page one. Any writer who signs up for Nanowrimo, and posts a title and synopsis on their author profile, is entered for a chance at one of thirty book covers , created by a professional graphic designer . 

    Other Good Stuff

    While the Nanowrimo site has an active forum where you can communicate with other “wrimos” in regional, genre, or age-specific categories,  you may want a more specific group. Search the groups at Yahoo for Nanowrimo groups. You’ll find groups for homeschool writers, regional groups, even a group for writers who love playing the Sims!

    Want to keep track of your word count and see how far you’ve come? Nano’s website has several word-count widgets to help you out. Alternately, do a search for Nanowrimo + word count, to find dozens more.

    But I Can't Do It Now!

    So, you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner for 28 relatives, haven’t done a lick of Christmas shopping, and work full-time? Besides the fact that many Nanowrimo participants do all this and more, this may not be the month for you.

    Thankfully, there are similar events spread throughout the year. Check out this list of other events. 

    You might write 50K in November, then continue the story with another 50K in the Janowrimo .  Take some time off in February, then gear up to edit your 100K in March during NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month).  

    I’ll admit, no one can participate in everything, but hopefully you'll be motivated to pick one of the events and get writing.

    Don’t worry if you have no idea what you might write. The majority of participants are in exactly the same boat.

    What are you waiting for? Sign up here , and post a comment below if you do. And look me up as a “writing buddy”. I’m profile number 550371. 


    1. Hi Debbie I signed up too I'm profile number 560453

      Rachel Stoll

    2. Hi Debbie - I came over from the NaNo forums. I'm also in Woodland Park. Good stuff you have here! :) (Requested FB friendship...)

    3. Great Rachel! I'll add you as a writing buddy.

    4. Thanks for stopping by, Angela. We'll have to meet up. I think we have a lot in common!

    5. Great post, Debbie! How great to have the info all in one place. Thank you!

    6. If you have a homeschooled child participating, don't forget to check out the Book Arts Bash, a writing contest where the prizes are agent critiques of your synopsis!

    7. Sara- thank you so much. Glad it helps.

      Lostcheerio- I KNEW I forgot something! Thank you for reminding me. I hope that my two daughters finish so they can enter.



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