National Novel Writing Month (or for debatably short, NaNoWriMo) is a program run by a nonprofit called the Office of Letters and Light. The premise is the promotion of “thirty days and nights of literary abandon,” encouraging writers to write a novel over the course of November by engaging in an online community of other authors.
NaNoWriMo is a large scale creative writing project. It encourages participants to write 50,000 word novels between November 1st and 30th and emphasizes quantity over quality in an attempt to overcome the traditional writing difficulties of writer’s block, lack of motivation, and lack of time. The deadline encourages writers to hit the 50,000 word benchmark and at least embark on (if not totally complete) the rough draft of a novel.
Started in 1999, the project originated with much smaller numbers in the San Francisco Bay area. With only 21 participants in 1999, the contest has grown exponentially with over 200,000 people participating in 2010 writing nearly 3 trillion words of fiction. Each year, “winners” are declared by submitting a work that meets the 50,000 word benchmark. Entries are not judged on content or achievement, simply on word count.
This aspect of NaNoWriMo is particularly interesting to me because of its somewhat unusual emphasis on quantity over quality. Writing, like many forms of arts, produces works that are frequently revisited by their creators. Sometimes even completed works never come to the surface if their authors deem them unfit for public consumption (one of my favorite authors, Gogol, burned some of his manuscripts). The project helps authors at least get to the point where they can go back to revise before deciding to abandon a literary piece. While there is no doubt that a novel written within the span of the month likely requires some tinkering under the hood after its first draft, celebrating the accomplishment of getting to that milestone is an excellent way to acknowledge both author and craft.
Vist NaNoWriMo to create an account and sign up for the challenge if you’re feeling prolific.Content Development Experimental General Topics Inspirations Resources