National Novel Writing Month

Although I don’t know where to begin talking about my writing, there is one thing I believe I can talk about with excitement and enthusiasm, and that is National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it is affectionately called. I first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2002, and I personally believe that no other writing activity has had more impact on me. I’ve participated nearly every year since, with varying degrees of success, but it’s something I encourage people to take part in.

So what exactly is it?

As the name would imply, National Novel Writing Month is about writing a novel, basically 50,000 words or more, in one single month of 30 days. Sounds kind of crazy, doesn’t it? I know that it sounds like a lot of words, and not a lot of time, but it is possible! Heck, there are people who participate who manage over 100k words! I’ve never managed to do that, but hey, you’ve got to be ambitious, right?

That’s basically all there is to the actual event, but it doesn’t even come close to explaining what NaNoWriMo really is. When I first participated in 2002, I managed to cross that 50k word finish line, and I finally realized something about my writing abilities. Up until that fateful month, I’d never really written in any form of abundance on one particular story. I had a lot of story starts, and a few short stories, but nothing substantial.

And then I wrote 50,000 words in 30 days, and I realized that I can do it. I could actually write a novel if I set my mind to it. But perhaps more importantly, I finally understood that if you want to write, then you need to write. A lot. With abandon and without limits. The words will not be perfect, but that’s not what really matters. All that matters is getting the words out there, because once the story exists, there’s really no stopping what you can do with it.

But in order to get to that point, you need the words.

And that’s not all!

Here’s the thing about NaNoWriMo that someone who has never participated in might not know...there is this amazing community that comes with taking the plunge into this massive writing adventure. Writing 50k words in 30 days is a big deal! And the NaNo community isn’t going to let you do it alone. You can find people in your area to help be your support group, or find writing buddies from all over the world to encourage you to write that next 100 words, or be inspired by a perfect stranger on the forums with a writing challenge. There is something for everyone in the NaNo community to help you reach that goal line.

I’ve met some amazing people through NaNoWriMo, people who continue to inspire me, encourage me, and just be a friend. To be honest, one of the reasons I keep coming back, year after year, is the community.

So you want to participate? Awesome!

NaNoWriMo is typically held every November, and all you need to do to participate is sign up. If November doesn’t work for you, and you really want to give writing 50k words in 30 days a try, you may want to check out Camp NaNoWriMo. Camp NaNoWriMo was officially started in 2011 for those who can’t participate in the traditional month of writing. This event consists of two “sessions” held during the summer, and you can participate in one or the other, or both! Camp NaNoWriMo 2012 will be held in June and August, and I’m looking forward to taking part in the June session this year.

You can find me on both the NaNoWriMo sites:
NaNoWriMo: Julsey
Camp NaNoWriMo: Julsey