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Who Should Participate in NaNoWriMo?

Updated on November 1, 2011

It's that time of year again, when thousands of intrepid novelist-wannabes across America hunker down with some coffee and get to work on the next bestseller. Well, that's the pitch anyways. National Novel Writing Month takes place every November and is free to participate in. The rules are simple: write 50,000 words. It can be a silly, disjointed word salad for all the organizers care; they just want you to write your heart out for one month of the year. For those who already write regularly, NaNoWriMo is a bit redundant. Many criticize the program for stressing quantity over quality, and publishers lament the sudden tide of NaNo submissions in December and January.

However, despite these grumblings from more established sources, NaNoWriMo can be a positive experience for many people. This article covers those who would get the most out of kick-starting their writing career.


Have you had that great idea floating around in your head for months, or even years, but never seem to find the time to get it on paper? NaNoWriMo is geared toward you. The whole idea behind the program is to get the hardest part over quickly. Writing a first draft is where most ambitious authors stall out. With deadlines, reminders, and community support, if you can't get the book done during NaNo, you never will.


Another big block for would-be writers is what NaNo fondly calls 'your inner editor.' NaNoWriMo espouses the philosophy that it's just fine for a first draft to be bilge in ink form. If you can never get more than a few thousand words without throwing up your hands in disgust, commit to NaNoWriMo. Even if your draft is so illegible as to require burning next December, it will at least have taught you to relax, get the words out, and worry about editing later.

Young Writers

NaNoWriMo has a special program for kids and teenagers. The Young Writers Program allows participants to set their own goals in a fun and challenging environment. Kids learn how to work with discipline while still exercising creativity and without facing criticism. Plus, knowing that they completed NaNo is a great confidence booster for aspiring young authors. I have to say, I could take or leave the adult NaNoWriMo, but I think the Young Writers Program is awesome.

Everyone goes into National Novel Writing Month with slightly different motives. I personally participate because I enjoy supporting others, I write at least the daily amount anyways, and because the editing community in December and January are very helpful. Things can get a bit silly, but even if most of the novels that come out of November are little more than a sad diatribe against squirrels and coffee, it's a great, massive way to challenge yourself and just maybe come out with something great.

If anyone would like to join up, there's still plenty of time! Head to and start writing today!


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    • brsmom68 profile image

      Diane Ziomek 5 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      I have thought about it, although that would mean a total of 70,000 words for me this month. I am still about 20,000 away from my goal in my current book. It does sound interesting though.

    • profile image

      AnnaStephens 5 years ago

      I'm participating this year, but not writing from scratch, so effectively cheating. I'm using the 30-day deadline in order to finish the revision of my novel before Christmas.

      I like the idea - it allows you to develop a daily writing habit and after that you can go back and edit, and really, 1,667 words per day is only an hour's worth of writing.


    • Gofygure profile image

      Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

      Brsmom68- It can be a lot of work, but in the end it's got a great community and the rules are pretty lax. I'm sure you could count the remaining 20,000 and then just do 30,000 from the next.

      AnnaStephens- Heh, I'm sort of cheating too, in that I was about 15,000 words into my project when it started. But, I write at least 3,000 words per day (plus a hub a day and four blog posts...) so it's basically just a little augment on my daily grind.

    • homesteadbound profile image

      Cindy Murdoch 5 years ago from Texas

      I am doing it for the first time this year. I had never heard of it before November 3, 3 days ago. So I started 2 days late. I'm working on catching up. My biggest concern is that it will end before I get to 50,000 words!

    • Gofygure profile image

      Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

      My goal is 100,000 this month, but I'll be happy with 50,000! School and work and my other writing obligations sure do eat up novel time.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 5 years ago from Iowa

      I've always wanted to do NaNoWriMo but November is a terrible month for it, with Thanksgiving and the holidays right around the corner. I think I'm going to have my own personal NaNoWriMo starting January 1! January seems to last forever; I can certainly complete a novel during the longest, coldest, darkest month of the year, right?

    • Gofygure profile image

      Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

      Definitely! I know how you feel- I had to put my writing on hold for midterms and it'll take a while to catch up. I'm more productive over summer and winter break, for obvious reasons...

    • Ercolano profile image

      Sam Walker 5 years ago

      Yes, many of my blogger friends are doing this currently. I write a great deal anyway, and 50,000 words is not a lot for me - I think I might have the opposite problem. But it is a great way to get the writer in you flowing. Now I wonder how much time is spend editing these things afterwards. I know anything I write usually gets completely changed the next morning, and the next after that, and that and that. The competition here on the hubs this month certainly made me feel as if I was in NanoWriMo mode, and this evening taking time to catch up on everyone who left comments on the many entries I made feels good to relax, at least for a day or so before getting back into the writing, but I do love having a deadline and a project to write for.

      Diatribe against squirrels and coffee! LOL

    • Gofygure profile image

      Gofygure 5 years ago from Kutztown, PA

      :) Having an active writing life is great, isn't it? I'm loving Hubpages also for the supportive community here. It's a great outlet to get some feedback to bolster my confidence in other projects.

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