by Sarah Denman
When November hits, some of you writers out there may know what that means. For those of you who don't, let me enlighten you. November is National Novel Writing Month. Yes, you write a novel in a month. Simple!
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. It is where participants embark on a wondrous adventure of novel writing. Essentially, you spend the month of November writing a novel with a total word count of 50,000.
You may not see the point in churning out words, and writing utter rubbish, simply to reach the 50k word count, but guess what? That's the whole point! The NaNoWriMo challenge allows you to write without worrying over quality, and to just "go with the flow" and write as much as you can, focussing on creating rather than the endless editing you do before the words even hit the page. The only thing that matters is quantity.
And wouldn't you just love to mock real novelists? If you participate in NaNoWriMo and write a novel, you can boast about how you wrote a novel in thirty days. Real novelists can take years, even decades to write one.
How You Can Get Involved In NaNoWriMo
Firstly, you need to sign up at http://www.nanowrimo.org/. Click 'sign up now' above the big 'National', and follow the instructions to create an account. On 1st November, you begin writing your novel, and can update your word count.
Write, write, write!
By 30th November, midnight local time, you have to have finished your novel and upload your novel for word count validation. But if you finish earlier, you can upload your novel from 25th November.
During NaNoWriMo, there are ways to interact with other participants who are also doing it. You can explore the forums where you can discuss your novel, any writing issues, how you're finding NaNoWriMo, procrastinate and generally share your NaNoWriMo experience with other Nanoers.
On your account, you can select a region and then you can talk with other Nanoers in your region. Regions organise write-ins where everyone from that region taking part meet up and write. It can be used as a way to discuss plot issues, play word games and just to have fun with others who are trying to write a novel in thirty days.
And hey, it's not all about reaching that 50k and winning. We're all winners for even trying! If you didn't fully write a novel in November, there's always December - or the whole of next year - to aim to finish it...