Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I suspect most of you know what that title means. It’s the nickname for the National Novel Writing Month, now in its 13th year of existence. The idea is to write a novel, a minimum of 50,000 words, during one month. The month is November, so if you’re planning to enter, start getting prepared.

Although tempted many times, I’ve never entered, and the reason is simple. They picked the wrong month. November is a poor choice, because of time. How can one write 50,000 words when there are only thirty days in November and one of them is Thanksgiving? Plus, did no one think of Christmas shopping?

Any month with thirty-one days would have been better (averaging only 1613 words per day instead of 1667). October comes to mind, in case you consider July and August too hot and January too soon after the holidays. On the other hand, if “writing that book” was your New Year’s resolution, January seems ideal. “Strike while the iron is hot” and the Muse is calling you, right?

I was tempted to try because dashing off an entire novel without worrying about bad spelling, inadequate research and plot holes gives way to the thrill of typing “The End.” My NaNoWriMo book would be just a first draft, and everything could be fixed later. After all, there are no prizes and no one will actually read it unless I want them to.

Finishing a book is the hardest part of novel writing. How many people do you know who say they’re writing a novel, but have only the first chapter or three? For years? In one writing group I belonged to, we strove to win the FTDB Award, the letters standing for, “Finish the Damn Book.” With NaNoWriMo, you finish the book in thirty days. Okay, maybe your book isn’t truly finished on November 30, but 50,000 words is a great start.

So, even though I’m not going to do it--at least not this year--here are the rules if you want to. Register at the site before November 1st and submit your 50,000 words (not one word 50,000 times) for verification. It doesn’t cost a thing, and you can brag about it on your blog. Some authors have sold those novels, although presumably after a little rewriting.

In fact, Anne R. Allen has tips and more information on her blog. Would you believe NYT best-sellers started out there? I started this post before I knew about hers and decided maybe two notices are not too much. So, go for it and happy speed-typing.

Anne R. Allen


  1. I agree, November is not the best month for NaNoWriMo, but I think that adds a bit to the challenge. :-)
    This will be my third year attempting NaNoWriMo (and, hopefully, my second win). I tend to be very competitive, and seeing my writing friends plugging away tends to give me that little added push of motivation on the days when I just want to take a break. :-)

    1. Susi:

      Congratulations on meeting the challenge twice. That's awesome. What happened to those books? Did you finish them and get them published? Thanks for the comment.


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