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Novel Writing Month

Updated on January 4, 2016

A Little Bit of Background

The first novel writing challenge started in July not November. There were 21 participants with 6 winners from the San Francisco Bay Area. That was in 1999. The second year included approximately 140 people. By this year, the challenge was considered international since participants came from Canada as well as the U.S. Of those 140, 29 finished the 50,000 word novel in thirty days. The decision to move the challenge to November was made in this second year based on the gloomy weather of the Bay area. Writers are more apt to stay indoors and write when the weather was miserable.

By the third year, novel writing month had really taken off and basic rules and guidelines were set. The addition of asking for donations from participants happened around this time since the cost of operating this event was coming directly out of the pocket of its host and creator, Chris Baty. Besides accepting donations via PayPal, the website is supported by profits made by selling tee shirts and other NaNoWriMo merchandise. The NaNoWriMo website hosts the sign up for writers inspired to face the monthly challenge and the online NaNoWriMo Catalyst store as well as forums and FAQ's. Visit their website at for more information.

There are very few rules for facing this annual challenge. Once you sign up and confirm your interest in the site, you begin writing. You must write a fictional novel and complete the novel by midnight on the 30th of November. The novel must be 50,000 or more words, original and not a repeat of the same word 50,000 times. When you write, write on your own computer and with whatever software you choose. Entries can be uploaded to the site and there are check in spots ans well as word count meters to keep you on track. Meet new writers in the forum section of the site and to get help with questions and issues that might pop up during the challenge.

Tips For Writing a Novel in Thirty Days


Fun NaNoWriMo Facts

The novel writing month challenge has been around since 1999. In the years following the initial challenge, the program has grown to be a world wide event. In 2002, 13,500 writers participated in the challenge and 2,100 successfully completed the event. By 2011, that number increased to over 256,000 participants with over 36,000 winners.

There are over 500 official NaNoWriMo chapters around the world with participants of all ages. In 2011 approximately 2,000 Kindergarten through 12th grade schools have enrolled in the event. In the same year, 2011, the number of words submitted to NaNoWriMo is staggering. A whopping 3,074,068,446 words were logged for that event.

What about publishing? Yes, many authors have been published as a result of their hard work facing the novel writing month challenge. In fact, over 100 novels are posted on their website and can be purchased on Amazon. View the list through the link called publishedwrimos on the website.

Besides fun facts, the NanoWriMo website is host to a word count score board, widgets, the forum, cartoons and a "Pep Talk Archive". The Pep talk Archive hosts inspiring stories written by famous authors to get you motivated to write and face the thirty day challenge. Beloved authors include; Piers Anthony, Sue Grafton, Tom Robbins, Lemony Snicket, Philip Pullman, Tamora Pierce and Audrey Niffenegger, just to name a few. These pep talks will motivate you to write and give you great insights to the style and challenges that these writers faced on their own journey to the top.

You can join the NaNoWriMo website at any time prior to the start of the challenge in November. Keep up to date with other writers and events by liking NaNoWriMo on Facebook. Do not forget Camp NaNoWriMo. Camp NaNoWriMO is an online retreat that takes place for three months prior to the event in November. It is a place for writers to find inspiration, participate in challenges and just have some good fun.

Make November Your Favorite Month

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    • cabmgmnt profile image

      Corey 4 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Thanks Glenn,

      He will get a kick out of trying this if nothing else and it is a great way to meet fellow writers. Thanks again!

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Great Hub Corey. I'm going to share in Google+ with Jim B. from our past local HubMeets. He is working on a novel and I am sure he will find your Hub very useful.

    • carter06 profile image

      Mary 5 years ago from Cronulla NSW

      Thanks for this great explanation of Nano month.. a worthwhile read for those wanting to participate..cheers