November is National Novel Writing Month
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November is National Novel Writing Month

November is the National Novel Writing Month, a free competition for anyone willing to accept the challenge of producing a 50,000 word novel in one short month. This is a great opportunity for the unpublished writer.

The National Novel Writing Month is almost upon us once again. The National Novel Writing Month, AKA NaNoWriMo, an Internet based writing challenge kicks off on November 1, thirty short days away. Are you up to the challenge? Can you write at least 50,000 words of a new novel in 30 days? Can you average 1,667 words every day for 30 days? In 2010, the 11th annual NaNoWriMo challenge, 200,000 people took up the gauntlet and produced 2.8 billion words. Will pick up the gauntlet this year and add your 50,000 words to that 2.8 billion words generated last year?

How it all started

The first NaNoWriMo competition was organized by Chris Baty in July of 1999, and 21 writers in the San Francisco Bay took part. In 2000, Baty started the web site and it became an Internet event. That year 140 writers accepted the challenge, and 21 of the participants reached their goal of writing 50,000 words to a new novel in one month. Baty also moved the competition to November in 2000. To quote Baty, he moved it to November, “to more fully take advantage of the miserable weather.” The following year, 5,000 people took up the gauntlet and the competition has been growing by leaps and bounds ever since.

Awards and recognitions given the winners

ecause there are no entry fees, and because of the multiple winners, there are no monetary awards or merchandise awards given those who reach the 50,000 word count. Baty’s organization recognizes all the winners with a printable certificate of achievement and with an icon that the winner can display on their web sites. All the winners are included on a list of winners that appears on the NaNoWriMo’s web site.

In 2008, CreateSpace, a self-publishing book company, joined forces with NaNoWriMo to add to the incentives and rewards. CreateSpace offered each of the winners a single paperback book proof copy of their manuscript with the option to the rights to use the proof to sell the manuscript on Amazon.

The Young Writers Program

In 2005, NaNoWriMo started their young writers program aimed at K—12 students. Teachers could enter their classes into the competition, as could homeschoolers. The main difference between the regular competition and the Young Writer’s competitions is that students could choose their goal for how many words they would write during the month competition. Each student received a starter kit that contained incentives like stickers and monogramed pencils. The classroom teacher received free lesson plans to use in conjunction with the competition.

A laptop loaner program

The National Novel Writing Month operates a laptop loaner program for those who do not have regular access to a computer. The loaner laptops are old but fully functional. There are no fees for using the loaner laptops, but the borrower must provide a $300 security deposit along with proof of identity. The borrower must also pay for the cost of returning the laptop. Personally, I believe that if a person can afford to put up a security deposit of $300 and pay the cost of returning the laptop, he would be better off buying his own laptop. Prices are dropping every day, and a decent entry level laptop can be purchased for less than $500.

Designed for the amateur

This program is not for the working writer, one who writes for a living because a working writer just does not have the time to devote to writing 1,667 words a day for free. This is a program for the novice, the unpublished writer. For the unpublished, it is an excellent confidence builder, a terrific morale builder.

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Comments (12)

You know, I never knew this. Thanks for sharing Jerry. Also, i just wanted to double check and see if you got my message. The private message i sent you regarding your Facebook page. Feel fee to let me know if you got it, and if not, i will resend it.

Another excellent share, Jerry. You are always my inspiration my friend, you know being caught up in life's mundane affairs could lose one's enthusiasm to write regularly and yet when I come to see you tirelessly publishing it gives me the strength to come back.

Great information to know. that is a lot of words a day for even the retired person more or less the working person.

Actually, Roberta, 1,667 words isn't really that many words to write in a day if the person has no other obligations as a writer. In an average day I produce 2,000 to 2,500 words for my various clients and editors. The 1,667 words, reverting back to the day when we writer used typewriters, is roughly equal to 6.7 double-spaced pages and that really isn't all that many. It just sounds like a lot more when you say 1,667 words.

I heard of this contest in 2009 and as you said, its not for the freelance writer who has to do 2000 words a day in articles and blog posts :) I think I'll start doing 200 words a day on my own now, and maybe I'll have enough for next year's contest :)

Thank you sincerely Deep Blue, you have just made my day and it's not even 7 AM yet here in Colorado Springs.

This is a cool competition. Considering that it is open to all, it gives equal opportunity to aspiring writers in the Third World. Good job in sharing this.

I will not be writing any novels next month, I think it would be cool but gosh I would never know when to stop!

Jerry, it sounds like it doesn't have to be a completed novel, just 50,000 words OF a novel, is this correct?

That is correct. It doesn't have to be a finished novel. It can be just the first 50,000 words of a longer novel. Do the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo and the go on and finish it during December, the National Novel Finishing Month (NaNoFiniMo). I have an article on Factoidz about that competition too,

I am thinking about doing this. It sounds like a good exercise at least. Artists will sometimes do a similar sort of project - it is always instructive and freeing.

Voted up. Thanks for sharing.