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All You Need to Know About NaNoWriMo

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All You Need to Know About NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) writers gather in a Manhattan coffeehouse for a weekly write-in.

© 2007 Ginny Wiehardt, licensed to About.com, Inc.

NaNoWriMo Basics:

Every November, thousands of intrepid souls, all around the world, embark on a great novel-writing adventure. National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, as it's affectionately called by participants, was begun by Chris Baty in 1999, with the goal of getting writers to tackle a big project and of raising money for various causes. Over the years, it's grown from 21 participants and six "winners" to 101,510 participants and 15,333 winners. How do you win? Just write an entire novel from scratch (50,000 words) by midnight, November 30.

How to Participate in NaNoWriMo:

Sign up for NaNoWriMo online beginning October 1 of each year. Start writing November 1, and "write like crazy for thirty days." If you succeed in writing 50,000 words, you enter your novel to have the words counted, and your name will be added to the list of winners. As Chris Baty explains in his book, No Plot? No Problem!, NaNoWriMo provides writers with a deadline, forcing them to overcome their fears and write.

Find a NaNoWriMo Group in Your Area:

One of the great things about NaNoWriMo is that it provides writers with instant community and support ("Win or lose, you rock for even trying"). After all, it's kind of insane to try to write a novel in a month. NaNoWriMo ensures that you don't go it alone. To find a chapter near you, simply go to their website.

For a better idea of what NaNoWriMo experiences are like -- or can be like -- check out scenes from past NaNoWriMo Write-Ins.

So Who Does This Crazy Thing?:

For a better idea of the company you'd be keeping, see profiles of some of last year's participants, who included lawyers, librarians, screenwriters, teachers, and waitresses -- or hear from wrimos themselves. (If you're a veteran, be sure to add your stories to the list.)

Have NaNoWriMo Novels Been Published?:

NaNoWriMo books have borne the logos of presses such as Warner Books, Ballantine, and Berkley Books. One novel, Sarah Gruen's Flying Changes, was even a New York Times bestseller. Other published books include Rebecca Agiewich's Breakup Babe, Dave Wilson's The Mote in Andrea's Eye, and Gayle Brandeis's Self Storage.
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