If you’re a writer, you’ve probably heard of this thing called NaNoWriMo – the crazy idea to write 50,000 words between 12:01 am November 1 and 11:59 pm November 30.
Insane? Maybe. Impossible? Absolutely not!
What began as a writing challenge by Chris Baty in 1999, with himself and 20 friends, has mushroomed over the past 21 years, with more than 400,000 wordsmiths participing in 2018 alone!
While some novels have gone on to become published (after extensive editing) – Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants , and Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, to name a few – the object is to get writers to commit to planting their tushes in a chair and writing 1,667 words per day for an entire month, to prove to themselves that they do have time to write, if they have the right motivation.
No, there’s no cash prize, no promise for a publishing deal at the end – but you can claim a really cool badge to post on social media, and you can purchase a T-shirt that declares you’re a winner. And you can tell people you did it (your non-writer friends will think you’re weird; your writer friends will compare NaNo trench-stories with you).
There’s no fee to enter, nobody else reads your work, and reaching the goal is completely up to you. Since its a quantity-not-quality thing, you are free to write your best-crappiest story ever (which isn’t hard to do if you’re at the keyboard at 2 in the morning), just to finish.
It’s a club for introverts (which most writers profess to be), in which the cool kids have multiple NaNos saved in a cryptic file on their desktops. The purpose is to develop a habit that you can stick to and actually write that novel you’ve always wanted to… after warming up with the NaNo challenge. (Please don’t send unedited, unpolished work to publishers in December! If you have something good, then work on it for a while after November, to turn it into something people will truly want to read.)
If you’re up for the challenge, but want some weekly check-ins, PenDragon Literary is offering four (live-via-video) workshops throughout the month, where you will be able to talk through your project with other NaNo-ers, discuss frustrations, and receive feedback and encouragement to help you continue on your journey. ($25 for each 2-hour session.) We’re also hosting a 3-hour NaNoWriMo-themed Creative Writing Boot Camp on Saturday, November 7 ($75 per person; ask about our discount for participants who also pre-register for all four weekly 2-hour sessions.)
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.