NaNoWriMo returns

Nathan Smith

     For any aspiring novelist, chronic storyteller or someone just looking for something creative to do, the 2010 round of National Novel Writing Month this November is for them. National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual online challenge that encourages writers of all ages and backgrounds to buckle down and finally write the story they’ve been itching to tell.

     Since 1999, NaNoWriMo has encouraged its writers – “Wrimos” as they call them – to write a minimum of 50,000 words for their story, no matter what it may be. It all started in July 1999, in the San Francisco Bay Area, with just 21 writers on a “noveling binge.”  In the 11 years since its beginning, what started as a pet project between friends has blossomed into a multi-national event, raking in hundreds of thousands of writers ever year.

     NaNoWriMo offers its participants the chance to finally pen the first draft of their novel, employing the method of no edits or revision writing — no matter how awful they may think their draft is; they just press on with the goal of simply finishing.  The idea is not to write the next great American novel, but to finally get started on what could potentially become said novel. Editing can come the month after.

     This annual challenge is offered to writers of any age. If a writer can’t think of an idea or needs a little inspiration, the NaNoWriMo website offers a plethora of inspiring and thought provoking resources for any participant who may need them. But NaNoWriMo is not limited to just fiction writers; if it can be written, it can be submitted.

     2009 saw a total word count of just under 2.5 billion, compiled by a total of over 170,000 Wrimos, and this year is sure to be even more eventful.  Although it is completely free to sign up and participate, NaNoWriMo accepts any and all donations.  Just last year, the non-profit organization accumulated just under $700,000 in donations, ensuring the return of NaNoWriMo this year.

     Although 50,000 words is considered on the short side of novel-writing – 75,000 being the average word count for most commercial fiction – those who complete the November challenge will be well on their way to finishing the novel that had just been collecting dust in their daydreams. Those who finish the NaNoWriMo challenge will be given a special graphic as a medal; access to several other contests – some that are free, and others that require submission fees – and also several pages of advice on how to successfully and safely publish their intellectual property.

     National Novel Writing Month begins November 1 and ends November 30.  To sign up visit – it is free to participate, but entrants must be 13 years of age or older to sign up online.  For kids under age 13, visit NaNoWriMo’s Young Writers Program website: