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National Novel Writing Month

This worldwide annual event -shortened to NaNoWriMo, as its full name can be a mouthful- takes place in November. The goal, as one could infer from the title, is to write an entire novel (50000 words) over the course of a month. Started by Chris Baty in 1999 as a dare from his friends, NaNoWriMo now has thousands of participants, spanning across the generations. There are certain prizes you can obtain from event donors that one can access upon achieving success, such as free ebooks and discounts on writing tools.

I personally find NaNoWriMo to be an enjoyable experience. Having participated twice (in 2014 and this year) and won both times, I believe that I most likely wouldn’t have been able to write two and a half novels without this event. Writing 1667 words a day to reach my goal of 50000 not only helped me explore my novel’s plot in great detail, but this grueling activity also strengthened my time management and scheduling skills. I learned that every minute was valuable and not to be wasted on procrastination.

The NaNoWriMo forums were the major source of motivation during these past few Novembers. There were many words of encouragement posted by various fellow NaNo-ers that helped me persevere through the toughest days. In return, I encouraged and gave advice to those who were struggling in their quest to complete a novel in a month. It almost felt as if I was writing along with them, albeit separated by a computer screen. Throughout my two years of participating in National Novel Writing Month, I made some online writing friends, with which I communicated with even after NaNoWriMo ended.

Besides November’s National Novel Writing Month, there are Camp NaNoWriMo sessions in the months of April and July. In these events, one can set his/her own word count goal anywhere from 10,000 words to a million. I participated once in both of these mini NaNoWriMo’s and found them to be a little less hectic than the main event. The July session definitely helped me resist the bright and drowsy summer rays of Milan – where I spent my summer vacation -, although I did go outside to explore the city in addition to writing.

Overall, NaNoWriMo is an incredible experience that has brought new confidence and motivation into my writing endeavors. In other words, it helped me overcome my procrastination and got me to actually work on my stories instead of simply dreaming about where my characters would take me.

By: Elisa Sung

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