Friday, October 8, 2010

National Novel Writing Month is just around the corner

National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it has come to be known, is a 30-day online challenge taking place every year in November. The goal? To write at least 50,000 words within the span of those 30 days--and to get them successfully counted and registered on the NaNoWriMo website before midnight on November 30.

Are you ready for this challenge? It will--I repeat, it will change your life. As a three-time participant and two-time winner in this great yearly event, I'd like to invite you to consider giving a mere hour or two every day this November toward cranking out 50K words of whatever you consider to be a novel (the definition of "novel" here is quite loose--see the NaNoWriMo website for more details, and the official "rules"). Though what you will end up with is not, strictly speaking, a "novel" by most normal standards, what you will have to show for all those hours of blood, sweat and tears will be a spectacular 50,000-word writing exercise. And rumour has it that some participants do, in fact, go on to edit and publish the "novels" so created. I've never done it myself, but supposedly some people have.

Highly recommended is the NaNoWriMo "handbook," No Plot? No Problem!, available through and on the NaNoWriMo website. I got mine secondhand and saved a few bucks--and as you can see from the photograph at the beginning of this post, it has been well-read and much used.

NaNoWriMo runs on donations. You can get a miniature halo around your username whenever it shows up on their website, by contributing as little as $10 to the cause. Some of us contribute things other than money. In this motivational short video from last year's event, a papier-mache doll looking somewhat like founder Chris Baty wearing his signature Viking helmet appears to contribute its two cents' worth (in speech balloons) to the discussion on how to beef up one's lagging word count towards the end of the month. You'll have to guess who contributed the handmade doll, which later on was featured in a NaNoWriMo silent auction fundraiser attended by hundreds of enthusiastic participants from around the world.

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