For the fiction writer, NaNoWriMo is part conference, part writing frenzy and part fun-fest. November is National Novel Writing Month, but don’t let the name fool you. It is actually an international annual phenomenon where hundreds of thousands of fiction writers from all over the world commit to write 50,000 of their own novel in 30 days.
NaNoWriMo is in its fifteenth year as a 501(c)(3) non-profit group organized to help inspire and encourage novelists of every skill level to write their little hearts out for the entire month of November. Last year, 341,375 writers participated as 648 volunteer Municipal Liaisons guided 586 regions on six continents by hosting/facilitating local workshops and events.
This year, over 500,000 participants from all seven continents are expected to take part. According to the NaNoWriMo website, “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.”
Who Can Participate?
NaNoWriMo participants must be 13 years of age or older. That is the only criteria. Participants include mechanics, out-of-work actors, teachers and people from all walks of life. Every skill level is encouraged to participate.
How Does it Work?
Writers sign up at NaNoWriMo.org and track their progress throughout the month. “Winners” are those who complete the full 50,000 words by the deadline on November 30th. There are no prizes awarded, but bragging rights as a NaNoWriMo winner and the sense of accomplishment for having completed such a task are their own rewards.
The NaNoWriMo website includes a plethora of tools and resources to help writers stay on track and enjoy the 30-day ride, including:
- PepTalks: Inspirational letters written by well-known authors delivered to your inbox. This year’s authors include James Patterson, Marie Lu, Lev Grossman, Holly McGhee and others;
- NaNo Flair: Web graphics to help spread the word about your participation on your website or blog;
- Sponsor Offers: Free and discounted goodies from 15+ sponsors;
- Word Count Helpers: Stats and apps to help your word count;
- Store: NaNo gadgets, gear and goodies.
Also featured on the website are over 50 writer forums to help you connect with other writers and moderators. Forum categories include NaNo Tips & Strategies, Life During NaNo, Resources & Writing Support, Genre Lounges, and NaNo Groups (age groups from teens to seniors, a military lounge, a group for newbies and more).
New for 2013
This year, NaNoWriMo has added several new features, including Twitter Coaches (5 published authors will take over the NaNoWriMo Twitter account as coaches to answer questions and cheer on participants), Come Write In (390 spaces including cafes, libraries and community centers will become local hangouts for creative writing through NaNoWriMo) and 30 Covers, 30 Days (graphic designers are partnered with NaNoWriMo writers to design covers for 30 novels being written during NaNoWriMo).
Austin NaNoWriMo Events
To tap into the local NaNoWriMo flow, visit NaNoWriMo Austin for information on local workshops, regional forums, links to Austin chat rooms and Austin Twitter, and the Austin area Come Write In calendar.
To sign up and get more information, visit NaNoWriMo.org.