Want to Write a Novel? Now’s the Time

Writers write. Isn’t that the saying? But more often than not, other things get in the way; work, family, social obligations, or maybe it’s just fear of failing. Luckily, the month of November brings with it a challenge to, in a manner of speaking, write or get off the pot. So anyone toeing the line between civilian and active member of the caffeine-fueled writing militia better get ready, because November is National Novel Writing Month.

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short, is an annual online writing challenge. Despite its name, it’s open to participants from around the world. The goal? To write 50,000 words of fiction in 30 days. Thankfully, there’s nothing in the rules that says what is written has to be good.




According to the website, the rules state that, to be an official NaNoWriMo winner, you must…

  • Write a 50,000-word (or longer!) novel, between November 1 and November 30.
  • Start from scratch. None of your own previously written prose can be included in your NaNoWriMo draft (though outlines, character sketches, and research are all fine, as are citations from other people’s works).
  • Write a novel. We define a novel as a lengthy work of fiction. If you consider the book you’re writing a novel, we consider it a novel too!
  • Be the sole author of your novel. Apart from those citations mentioned two bullet-points up.
  • Write more than one word repeated 50,000 times.
  • Upload your novel for word-count validation to their site between November 25 and November 30.

It should be noted though, that the main point of NaNoWriMo is to start writing, so if you need to stretch, break, or annihilate the rules to keep going, at least you will have started on your literary journey.



With the collective word count for 2012 clocking in at an impressive 3,311,723,354, it’s safe to say you won’t be journeying alone. You’ll be in good company too, Erin Morgenstern wrote The Night Circus during NaNoWriMo. Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen was also written during the competition.

Why am I bringing this up now? So that those of you out there who—like me—want to participate this year can start preparing for your writing frenzy. I don’t just mean making outlines and character studies, I mean let your family and friends know that you are going to travel into your imagination for a while and that you’ll bring them back a lovely souvenir upon your return – a copy of your novel given with a smug smile that says, “Why yes, I am a writer. I write.”



For more information on National Novel Writing Month, visit the official website at https://nanowrimo.org/

If you accepted the challenge presented by NaNoWriMo, what would you write about?