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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Why NaNoWriMo is Very Cool

I'm taking a break from my usual self-pub fare to bring you some info about NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month -- November, 2010.

I'm sure many of you are already aware of this novel-writing phenomenon. But please bear with me as I share with others.

According to its official webpage, NaNoWriMo is:

: Writing one 50,000-word novel from scratch in a month's time.

Who: You! We can't do this unless we have some other people trying it as well. Let's write laughably awful yet lengthy prose together.

Why: The reasons are endless! To actively participate in one of our era's most enchanting art forms! To write without having to obsess over quality. To be able to make obscure references to passages from our novels at parties. To be able to mock real novelists who dawdle on and on, taking far longer than 30 days to produce their work.

When: You can sign up anytime to add your name to the roster and browse the forums. Writing begins November 1. To be added to the official list of winners, you must reach the 50,000-word mark by November 30 at midnight. Once your novel has been verified by our web-based team of robotic word counters, the partying begins.

Where: You write wherever you’d like. On your computer, on your iPad, on a typewriter---anywhere is fine, just as long as you’re writing!


Your NaNoWriMo novel doesn't go anywhere other than to the contest sponsors for word count verification. Then they destroy their copy. So you can feel free to let your creative juices flow without fear that your reading public will see what a crummy piece of writing you have produced.

The first NaNoWriMo was held in 1999 with 21 participants and six winners. (You win by completing your novel within the month's time.) Since then, participation has sky-rocketed, as shown below:

Annual participant/winner totals
1999: 21 participants and six winners
2000: 140 participants and 29 winners
2001: 5000 participants and more than 700 winners
2002: 13,500 participants and around 2,100 winners
2003: 25,500 participants and about 3,500 winners
2004: 42,000 participants and just shy of 6,000 winners
2005: 59,000 participants and 9,769 winners
2006: 79,813 participants and 12,948 winners
2007: 101,510 participants and 15,333 winners
2008: 119,301participants and 21,683 winners
2009: 167,150 participants and 32,178 winners

Number of official NaNoWriMo chapters around the world: Over 500
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2005: Over 100
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2006: Over 300
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2007: 366
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2008: 600
Number of K-12 schools who participated in 2009: 1,295
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2004 event: 428,164,975
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2005 event: 714,227,354
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2006 event: 982,564,701
Number of words officially logged by participants during the 2007 event: 1,187,931,929
Number of words officially logged during the 2008 event: 1,643,343,993
Number of words officially logged during the 2009 event: 2,427,190,537

Personally, I think NaNoWriMo is a great idea. I would participate myself except, this year, I have a November Virtual Blog Tour and two existing WIPs. I'll be writing my 50,000 words on those ventures for sure.

This is what's really cool about NaNoWriMo. It encourages creativity without fear of criticism.

Lot's of folks have been wanting to write a novel. NaNoWriMo gives them the support they need to get one started. And everyone knows that for normal humans, a novel written in a single month is going to be pretty bad. So all can feel free to join the party.

Check out the NaNoWriMo site for more details and related social activities.

If you need that push to start writing. . . here's your chance. Go for it!

That's it for today.




  1. Yep, nano is cool! I'll be doing it again this year

  2. I keep saying I'm going to do this one of these years. Hasn't happened yet. This year we're going to Disney World.

    BTW, I gave your name to tons of people at a writng conference last weekend. Your blog is amazing.

  3. Thanks Julie for your endorsement of nano. What a great idea!

    And thanks Tamara. I really appreciate the word of mouth about the blog. I try to make it useful.

    What writing conference were you at?


  4. Just caught you on twitter, John. I'm doing NaNo for the second year this year. I've just posted a post somewhat like yours, without the history. I hope you'll check it out..:)

  5. L'Aussie and Julie,

    Can you give us any insights in to your first year NaNo experience? Was it creatively "freeing"?



  6. This year I'm going for 6-for-6! I hate to break a streak, so you know, the pressure's getting pretty strong now.

    I'll never forget my first NaNoWriMo. It was, indeed, very creatively freeing. It helped that I had a story idea for which I had all the backstory and overall story arc well in mind already, but yes. It was a wonderful experience.

    For me, I think I would have crashed and burned had I gone into it with NO planning whatsoever, but on the strength of a story idea I'd been thinking about for years (but was always too scared to actually do anything with), I managed to whiz through 100,000 words that November, and had the most wonderful, joyous, liberating, exhilerating experience doing it.

  7. Thanks for sharing, Jason. Sounds like you've got a great streak going. Keep it up!



  8. I love the concept of NaNoWriMo, but I have some issues. For example, if I take all of November and focus all of my free time writing, how will I convince my wife to let me write during the other 11 months?

    However, if I write sporadically all of the time, she never catches on ;)

    The concept actually inspired me to write a book last summer when I had the time and it turned into two months and 100,000 words! But now I am striving to get it published so all is well.

  9. I'm doing NaNo for the first time this year. My husband, also a first-timer, will be doing it with me. I'm excited to get started!

  10. Thanks Samuel and Jesilea for more great NaNo moments!

    All the best!