What is NaNoWriMo? It is short for National Novel Writing Month. 30 days of novel writing fun.
NaNoWriMo began in 1999 with 21 participants in California and grew to 256,618 participants worldwide by 2011. In 2005, over 100 K-12 schools joined in the fun with the Young Writers Program and this program has grown to over 2000 K-12 schools participating in 2011 and over 50,000 young writers. There are over 500 chapters worldwide as of 2011. I think these are really cool stats for a yearly even which started with 21 people in California and it has blossomed worldwide.
You can find information about NaNoWriMo at http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and for the Young Writers Program at http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/. You will find pep talks for if you get “stuck” in your thoughts of what to write. The word count goal for adults is 50,000 in 30 days but for the Young Writers Program (YWP), it allows the young writers to set an individual word count that is challenging but manageable.
Some particpants have gone on to publishing their novels either as an online book or paperbook. You can find a list of those authors at http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/publishedwrimos.
Not everyone who participates has to publish their novels when they are finished nor are they forced to finish the goal of 50,000. It’s ok if you start out with so much excitement you could climb Mt. Everest and fizzle out or life gets in the way as the month goes on. The point is that you started writing something and you can continue again after NaNoWriMo ends.
There are great fun writing events that you can attend and meet other people just like you who are interesting in writing novels or just writing in general. In Massachusetts, there are three chapters: Boston, Metrowest and Norfolk/Bristol Counties. Our own Teen Librarian, Anna, is one of the municipal liasons for the Boston Chapter (http://www.nanowrimo.org/en/regions/usa-massachusetts-boston and http://nanoboston.org/). You will find the list of events, dates and locations on both pages. There are also forums for those who want to discuss their work or the writing process online if you can’t make it to any of the events. Please note that for some events, there are some age restrictions and requirements due to times and/or locations of the events, especially the 24 hour Write-in (The Big Event) but not for the entire day. See the event at http://nanoboston.org/24-hour-write-in/ for more information.
I have tried my hand at writing this month. I do better with short stories but it’s a start and I am writing.
For the rest of you, get your notebooks (paper or computer) and put on your “thinking caps” and just start writing!