Behind the National Novel Writing Month

Have you ever been perusing Twitter (y’know, like we do every second of every day), seen people using the hashtag #NaNoWriMo and wondered whether they had simply fallen asleep on their keyboard and accidentally pressed enter? Well, it turns out that those letters aren’t simply a keyboard accident. Instead, the hashtag stands for the National Novel Writing Month. But what is it all about? Here’s everything you need to know…

What is it?

If you’re a budding writer, you should definitely get involved in the National Writing Month – because it is a heck load of fun, and will also get you in the mood to write your first (or your sixty-first!) novel. The aim of this month is simple; every year in the month of November, participants will embark on a mission to write their novel, with an understanding that they have to write 50,000 words by the end of the month. Once you’ve signed up to the website, you’ll receive pep talks, tips, tricks, help, and advice to help you along the way and reach the all-important word count. What more could you want?

When was it started?

The National Novel Writing Month was originally founded in July 1999 by Chris Baty, a freelance writer. He started the project with 21 participants while he was living in San Francisco and soon realized that he had a good idea on his hands (well, duh). A year later, the Baty decided to move the writing month to November, as he noticed participants were reluctant to write during the height of summer – and we don’t blame them. He then set up a website for the cause, which drastically increased the number of participants for NaNoWriMo. In fact, Chris had 5,000 participants on the third year alone. The project continues to grow in numbers every single year, and in 2015, 431,626 people took part in the National Novel Writing Month. Wowza.

What are the rules?

The National Novel Writing Month is not a competition of any sort – instead, it is a project that aims to get people writing and pursuing a passion. Because of this, the rules are simple. To take part in NaNoWriMo, you’ll need to sign up to the website, and you can start writing from 12:00 am on November 1, and you will finish by 11:59:59 on November 30 (you cannot start any earlier, or finish any later than those times). To complete the project, you will need to have written 50,000 words by the end date. However, these 50,000 words can either be a whole novel, or just a small section of a larger novel – so you can write to your heart’s content! The rest is all down to you. You can write on any subject or genre you want, because ‘if you believe you’re writing a novel, we believe you’re writing a novel.’

What do you win?

As we’ve previously stated, the National Novel Writing Month is not a competition – which means you don’t actually win any prizes. If you manage to write an average of 1,667 words per day and reach the 50,000 words by the end of the day, you are automatically declared a winner of the NaNoWriMo. You’ll get the pride of knowing you’ve completed a whole novel, and the project may have even sparked a sequel! Since 2007, the National Writing Month has teamed up with CreateSpace to offer winners paperback copies of their novels. You never know, you could be the next big writer and even get it published!

Is your mind overrun with ideas and stories that you just want to write down? Well, take part in the National Novel Writing Month, and you could see your first novel come to life in just one month…