November is known for turkey, Black Friday sales, not shaving, and—since the year 2000—the month when writers try to (finally) craft the Great American Novel. We're talking about the sixteenth annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).
What began as a little event in San Francisco in July 1999 (it moved to November the next year) has ballooned into something far more than national. It's a worldwide phenomenon, backed by a non-profit company created by the founder, Chris Baty, that doubles as a major cheerleader for writers.
It's free to participate, but your tax-deductable donations are encouraged to keep it afloat. That's because you don't really need the NaNoWriMo site to get a book written. But consider how you "win" at NaNoWriMo: You have to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days. That's 1,667 words a day. Stephen King might snap that much off before lunchtime, but the rest of us need encouragement.
Take the first step by announcing your novel at NaNoWriMo.org, and on November 1, start recording your daily word count. You'll earn badges along the way and get advice via newsletters (some by famous authors) and the forums. You can build a community of fellow WriMos online and through local events.
In the end, you'll have a novel. It will probably be crappy. No, it will definitely be crap-tastic. But that's okay! The only rule of NaNoWriMo is to finish—because that's the hardest part. Some famous modern novels, such as Wool, The Night Circus, and Water for Elephants all started life as NaNoWriMo novels. Over 250 traditionally published have come from NaNoWriMo. That's not counting countless more great self-published books. 325,142 people tried to write a NaNoWriMo book in 2014 alone—and 58,917 met the 50,000 word goal!
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